When Cherry-Picking Bible Verses, Why Pick Such Rotten Ones?

Nowadays, you might say civil liberties and the religious right mix as well as oil and water. There is a staunch resistance from the Right to just about any minority civil liberty, yet their reasons for such a stance remain puzzling when one really takes the time to think about them.

There’s no doubt that religion is the key ingredient in the bigoted ideology behind ultra-conservative arguments against abortion, marriage equality, and even immigration, but where exactly do these stances stem from theologically? Countless religious teachings condemn just about any present-day activity you can think of, from cutting your hair to getting a tattoo, even eating less than perfect meat. Yet, some of our most important political decisions seem to continually be persuaded by such outdated ethical codes.

Two major issues right now are immigration policy and the morality of homosexuality. Leviticus is perhaps the most commonly cited book of the King James Bible used in such arguments. This is interesting, however, when you consider the blatant inconsistencies in believers’ loyalty to its teachings. Unsurprising to most, much of Leviticus goes ignored, while a select group of teachings are strictly enforced by devout believers.

Many of us have some familiarity with Bible verses condemning homosexuality. Leviticus 18:22 famously states: “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.” Leviticus 20:13 takes it one step further: “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.”

Yeah, we get it. Homosexuality is seemingly condemned numerous times in the Bible. And, to be fair, devout believers seem to stay true to that interpretation. But here is where it gets interesting: smack dab between Leviticus 18 and 20 is, you guessed it, Leviticus 19, which says a lot of things. For example, Leviticus 19:33 states: “And if a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not vex him,” an idea that goes virtually unmentioned when devout followers are supporting proposed travel bans and boarder walls to prevent immigration. Leviticus 19:34 continues with “But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.”

So how can such devout believers so faithfully support proposed legislation that tears down the very idea of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” while also supporting the construction of barriers around our borders to “protect” Americans from virtually any other culture not of Anglo-Saxon descent? How can they so easily forgive murder and rape, or other abuse for minor sins? The question here is not so much “Why are they hypocrites?” as it is “Why are they choosing to be hateful hypocrites?” You want to pick and choose certain rules to follow? Fine. But for goodness’ sake, choose the nice ones!