More often than not, the Bible is used to condemn LGBT people. Using the Bible to further discrimination is not a new concept. Over the years, the Bible has been used to condone segregation, condone slavery, and justify the mistreatment of women, minorities, and interracial couples.
Cherry-picking specific verses from the Bible to support prejudices continues to cause much harm to others. Why is it that the conservative right and so many “Christians” constantly pick verses of the Bible to condemn LGBT people, yet completely ignore other verses that condemn getting tattoos (1 Corinthians 6:19-20, Leviticus 19:28), putting up Christmas trees (Jeremiah 10:1-8), wearing jewelry (1 Timothy 2:9, 1 Peter 2:3, Leviticus 19:28), praying in public (Matthew 6:5-7, Mark 1:35, Luke 5:16, Luke 6:12), getting divorced (Matthew 5:31-32, Mark 10:2-12, Luke 16:18, Matthew 19:8-9), and eating shrimp (Leviticus 11:10-12)?
Is it because these so-called “Christians” commit these sins themselves? Maybe their pastors don’t preach about these sins because if they did, they would lose almost their entire congregation?
Leviticus 11:10-12 states:
Leviticus 11:10-12 King James Version (KJV)
10 And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you:
11 They shall be even an abomination unto you; ye shall not eat of their flesh, but ye shall have their carcases in abomination.
12 Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you
What if eating shrimp was as big of an “abomination” as homosexuality in the church’s eyes? Can you imagine it? I can picture it now… Here are a few scenarios:
- A young boy secretly eats shrimp in his bedroom. His mom walks in and catches him. “No!” she screams. She quickly takes the shrimp and throws it in the garbage. “How could you? We’ve got to get on our knees right now!” she exclaims. The mother and son get on their knees and kneel beside the bed. The mother attempts to “pray the shrimp away” and desperately pleads to God that her son will “stay on the right path and follow God’s Word.” Before she leaves the room, the mom demands that her son change his ways and that if he doesn’t, she will put him in ex-shrimp therapy.
- A family of four decides to go out to eat at the local Red Lobster. Upon driving into the parking lot, they are met with protestors who hold signs that say, “God hates shrimp-eaters!” and “You’re an abomination!” The family pushes their way through the screaming crowd and finally makes it inside the restaurant. Outside their window, protestors scream insults and yell out Bible verse, when suddenly the main character is seen eating shrimp. The parents quickly turn to social media to complain about how their favorite show can no longer be watched by their children. The parents talk about how they’re “tired of shrimp being shoved in their face.” They refuse to ever watch the show again.
- Politicians try to make laws that ban eating shrimp. Lawmakers desperately try to close all of the restaurants that serve shrimp. They cleverly craft “religious freedom” laws that allow workers to refuse service to anyone who eats shrimp.
- In the pulpits, pastors constantly preach about Leviticus 10-12. Preachers claim that the world is “going to Hell in a hand basket.” Churches refuse entry to those who eat shrimp. The choir director is caught eating shrimp and must resign his position and leave the church. People are shunned and called abominations.
- A kid sits quietly in the middle of a classroom with students all around him. He sits at his desk trying to ignore all of the students calling him shrimp-eater, freak, loser, and an abomination to God. The boy endures this torture for months until he can’t take anymore abuse. He ends up committing suicide.
- A young woman walks down the street at night. She makes her way home, wearing her favorite shirt that has a big picture of a shrimp on it. Before she can reach her apartment, two men notice the picture of a shrimp on her shirt and decide to attack her. The two men leave the young woman broken and alone on the street. The woman is badly injured and doesn’t survive. She is now the victim of a hate crime.
These scenarios are not that far-fetched. LGBT people endure these situations daily. The main reason they endure this? A book of hate — the Bible. It’s time for the Bible to be used as a book of love, not hate. The Bible can be a great inspiration — it sheds light on love, hope, compassion, kindness, and friendship. When we become so focused on “sin,” we miss the point. The “Christians” who condemn gay people, yet refuse to acknowledge other parts of the Bible, are no longer fooling anyone. The gig is up. Stop hurting people with your book. If God is love, then God doesn’t hate gay people or shrimp-eaters. God loves everyone.