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11 Things The Bible Bans, But You Do Anyway
written by Sam Greenspan

Yesterday, I found myself in a discussion about the anti-abortion people. The reason: It's just incomprehensible to us that people get so zealous about that issue that they'll go as far as to murder doctors who perform abortions and bomb abortion clinics.

The conversation then took its natural turn to selective, self-serving interpretations of the Bible... finding a few verses that you can use to justify a position that lets you impose your morality on someone, and riding those verses hard and fast for the rest of your life.

So I thought it'd be a good time to find a bunch of stuff that the Bible bans... stuff that's a lot LESS convenient. Don't worry, though... just because I'm pointing it out, that doesn't mean you now have to follow it. It's a lot easier to keep discriminating against gay people for no particular reason than to stop eating bacon, after all.

Here are 11 things that are technically banned by the Bible. (All quotes are translations from the New American Standard Bible, but, because I'm actually trying to maintain serious journalistic integrity here, I cross-referenced several other translations to make sure I wasn't missing the point.)

  1. This butt cut is a guaranteed one-way ticket to sin.
    Round haircuts. See you in Hell, Beatles... and/or kids with bowl cuts, surfer cuts or (my favorite) butt cuts. Leviticus 19:27 reads "You shall not round off the side-growth of your heads nor harm the edges of your beard."

  2. Football. At least, the pure version of football, where you play with a pigskin. The modern synthetic footballs are ugly and slippery anyways. Leviticus 11:8, which is discussing pigs, reads "You shall not eat of their flesh nor touch their carcasses; they are unclean to you."

    And you're doubly breaking that if you wake up, eat some sausage then go throw around the football. Or go to the county fair and enter a greased pig catching contest.

  3. Fortune telling. Before you call a 900 number (do people still call 900 numbers, by the way?), read your horoscope or crack open a fortune cookie, realize you're in huge trouble if you do.

    Leviticus 19:31 reads "Do not turn to mediums or spiritists; do not seek them out to be defiled by them. I am the Lord your God." The penalty for that? Check Leviticus 20:6: "As for the person who turns to mediums and to spiritists, to play the harlot after them, I will also set My face against that person and will cut him off from among his people."

    Seems like a lifetime of exile is a pretty harsh penalty for talking to Zoltar.

  4. Pulling out. The Bible doesn't get too much into birth control... it's clearly pro-populating but, back when it was written, no one really anticipated the condom or the sponge, so those don't get specific bans.

    But... pulling out does. One of the most famous sexual-oriented Bible verses... the one that's used as anti-masturbation rhetoric... is actually anti-pulling out.

    It's Genesis 38:9-10: "Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so when he went in to his brother's wife, he wasted his seed on the ground in order not to give offspring to his brother. But what he did was displeasing in the sight of the Lord; so He took his life also."

    Yep -- pull out and get smote. That's harsh.


  5. Banned.
    Tattoos. No tattoos. Leviticus 19:28 reads, "You shall not make any cuts in your body for the dead nor make any tattoo marks on yourselves: I am the Lord."

    Not even a little butterfly on your ankle. Or Thug Life across your abdomen. Or even, fittingly enough, a cross.

  6. Polyester, or any other fabric blends. The Bible doesn't want you to wear polyester. Not just because it looks cheap. It's sinfully unnatural.

    Leviticus 19:19 reads, "You are to keep My statutes. You shall not breed together two kinds of your cattle; you shall not sow your field with two kinds of seed, nor wear a garment upon you of two kinds of material mixed together."

    Check the tag on your shirt right now. Didn't realize you were mid-sin at this exact second, did you? (Unless you checked the tag by rolling off your neighbor's wife while you two were having anal sex in the middle of robbing a blind guy. Then your Lycra-spandex blend is really the least of your problems.)

  7. Divorce. The Bible is very clear on this one: No divorcing. You can't do it. Because when you marry someone, according to Mark 10:8, you "are no longer two, but one flesh." And, Mark 10:9 reads, "What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate."

    Mark gets even more hardcore about it a few verses later, in Mark 10:11-12, "And He said to them, 'Whoever divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her; and if she herself divorces her husband and marries another man, she is committing adultery.'"

  8. Letting people without testicles into church. Whether you've been castrated or lost one or two balls to cancer isn't important. The Bible doesn't get that specific. It just says you can't pray.

    Deuteronomy 23:1 reads (this is the God's Word translation, which spells it out better), "A man whose testicles are crushed or whose penis is cut off may never join the assembly of the Lord."

    Oh, and the next verse says that if you're a bastard, the child of a bastard... or even have a great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandchild of a bastard, you can't come to church or synagogue either. Deuteronomy 23:2 reads, "No one of illegitimate birth shall enter the assembly of the Lord; none of his descendants, even to the tenth generation, shall enter the assembly of the Lord."

  9. Wearing gold. 1 Timothy 2:9 doesn't like your gold necklace at all. Or your pearl necklace. Or any clothes you're wearing that you didn't get from Forever 21, Old Navy or H&M.

    "Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments."


  10. Lobster, shrimp and clam chowder: All banned.
    Shellfish. Leviticus 11:10 reads, "But whatever is in the seas and in the rivers that does not have fins and scales among all the teeming life of the water, and among all the living creatures that are in the water, they are detestable things to you." And shellfish is right in that wheelhouse.

    Leviticus 11 bans a TON of animals from being eaten (it's THE basis for Kosher law); beyond shellfish and pig, it also says you can't eat camel, rock badger, rabbit, eagle, vulture, buzzard, falcon, raven, crow, ostrich, owl, seagull, hawk, pelican, stork, heron, bat, winged insects that walk on four legs unless they have joints to jump with like grasshoppers (?), bear, mole, mouse, lizard, gecko, crocodile, chameleon and snail.

    Sorry if that totally ruins your plans to go to a rock badger eat-off this weekend.

  11. Your wife defending your life in a fight by grabbing your attacker's genitals. No joke. Deuteronomy actually devotes two verses to this exact scenario: Deuteronomy 25:11-12.

    "If two men, a man and his countryman, are struggling together, and the wife of one comes near to deliver her husband from the hand of the one who is striking him, and puts out her hand and seizes his genitals, then you shall cut off her hand; you shall not show pity."

    That's impossible to misinterpret. Ladies, if your husband is getting mugged, make sure to kick the mugger in the pills. Do not do the grip and squeeze (no matter what "Miss Congeniality" might advise). Or your hand needs to be cut off.

As a final note, I know that nine of these 11 cite the Old Testament, which Christianity doesn't necessarily adhere to as law.

To which I say: If you're going to ignore the section of Leviticus that bans about tattoos, pork, shellfish, round haircuts, polyester and football, how can you possibly turn around and quote Leviticus 18:22 ("You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.") as irrefutable law?

But that's me trying to introduce logic to religious fanaticism (or, at least, trying to counter some mix of ignorance, bigotry and narcissism with logic). And I should probably know better.

This list was originally published on Wednesday, September 24, 2008 at 12:00:00 PM under the category Books.
It currently has View Comments.

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