The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

November 1, 2013

Moral miscues

Daily Item

---- — In his letter to the editor on Oct. 29, it was interesting and perhaps helpful to some for Pastor Butch Woolsey to remind us that Leviticus 18:22 and Romans 20:13 forbid homosexuality and that unions of gay people are sinful. In fact, these texts refer to homosexuality as an abomination. While I'm certain that the good pastor could run rings around me in quoting and interpreting biblical verse, I wonder what advice he might offer regarding some other passages from biblical texts.

For example, just how in this day and age do we sell our daughters into slavery as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7? Could I be charged with a crime for obeying the word of God here? Also, in Leviticus 25:44 it is clearly stated that I may own slaves, both male and female, that is as long as I purchase them from neighboring countries. I guess that leaves out owning one's own daughter or even the children of my neighbors.

On another note, I have a friend who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 is perfectly clear that he should be put to death. Do I have to do that myself or can someone else do it? I mean, I'm not a hunter and when I go fishing I practice catch and release.

Also, I'm a bit worried that I might be in big trouble. I recently discovered that Leviticus 11:10 forbids eating shellfish. I love shrimp and crab and eat them pretty often. Is there room for some forgiveness here? Although I doubt it since I've been a serial offender. And to make matter worse, I just had my hair cut (and yes, even around my temples). That's clearly forbidden in Leviticus 19:27.

In looking around here in Snyder County I notice quite a few farmers plant more than one crop in the same field. In addition, many of my friends and neighbors wear clothes made from two or more different threads. Both of these acts violate Leviticus 19:19 and I suspect the penalty for such an offense is that they must be stoned. Who does the stoning? Can you help out with that?

In doing this research I did find what I think may be a small loophole for myself in one area. Leviticus 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. Whew! Am I glad that I had that LASIK surgery some years back. Although I do wear reading glasses, but not as I approach the altar, so maybe I'm safe here.

Finally Pastor, if we are going to cherry pick the "laws of God" to dictate the lives of others, who decides? Do you decide for me? Do I decide for my neighbor? Do Christians decide for Jews? Jews for Buddhists? Muslims for Hindus? Believers for Non-beleivers? Straights for Gays? And so on.

Maybe we should try to not dictate the lives of others but concentrate instead on leading the best moral lives we are able. What do you think?

Dr. Tony Butto, Selinsgrove