In May 2000, the state of Vermont permitted homosexual couples to contract “civil unions,” an official recognition that gave same-sex partners the legal benefits of marriage. This “everything that is marriage but the name” decision pleased some and angered others, resulting in many heated opinions about same-sex unions and homosexuality in general.
Around the same time, radio’s Dr. Laura Schlessinger aired her opinion that homosexuals were a “mistake of nature”. She, apparently, was not in favor of same-sex marriage. In fact, here views on homosexuality were downright hateful. Here’s just a sample of her comments on the topic:
- She has described homosexuality as “deviant” and as a “biological error”
- She has said, according to Eonline.com, that society “… should discriminate against certain behaviors” with homosexuality being one of them.
- She has said, according to stopdrlaura.com, “… that gays are likely to be involved in pedophilia;”
- She’s been opposed to extending equal rights to gays and lesbian couples who wish to marry. She also has opposed feminism, access to abortion, and hate crimes legislation.
- The list is long, so for the sake of brevity, you can find the rest here.
Bottom line – she’s not a fan of homosexuality.
Through her radio show, she offers advice to callers, usually from a conservative point of view. She was an Orthodox Jew at the time the letter (below) was written. She announced her renunciation of that faith on her show in July 2003, but often draws upon the Bible or religious teachings for guidance. She is blunt and forthright in her replies, viewing most situations as inherently black or white.
And so, the stage is set.
Using the Bible to justify opposition to homosexuality
Christians and Jews who subscribe to the far-right versions of their respective faiths often quote the Bible to justify their opposition to homosexuality. “If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death, their blood is upon them,” says Leviticus chapter 20, verse 13. Leviticus, the third book of the Old Testament (to Christians) and the Torah (to Jews), is a list of rules sent supposedly by God, through Moses, to the descendants of biblical patriarch Levi, and by extension to all the faithful.
In the New Testament, St. Paul calls homosexuality “unnatural” and “indecent.”
But the people who cite these verses seldom mention that the Bible also prohibits the eating of pork and shellfish or the wearing of blended fabrics, condones slavery, mandates the death penalty for wizardry, and orders men to marry their brother’s widow or risk losing a shoe. Read it for yourself, and ye shall see’eth.
And so, we arrive at “the letter”, written by an individual to Dr. Laura who is clearly wise to the “pick and choose your favorite parts of the Bible and ignore the rest” fallacy.
A letter to Dr. Laura
Dear Dr. Laura,
Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate. I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the other specific laws and how to follow them:
When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord — Leviticus 1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?
I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness — Leviticus 15:19-24. The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.
Leviticus 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians?
A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination — Leviticus 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t agree. Can you settle this?
Leviticus 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?
Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Leviticus 19:27. How should they die?
My uncle has a farm. He violates Leviticus 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? — Leviticus 24:10-16. Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Leviticus 20:14)
I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging.
Your devoted fan,
The meaning behind the letter
According to Snopes, the counter to the “homosexuality is wrong because the Bible says so” argument that is the Dr. Laura letter was penned by Kent Ashcraft and was indeed mailed to her. It only became an Internet-circulated piece after its author e-mailed a copy to one friend whom he thought would find it amusing. She in turn forwarded the item to several of her friends, and the letter went viral within a couple of weeks. Incidentally, while some versions in circulation identify James M. Kauffman as the author of the piece, that particular gentleman denies authorship.
The authorship doesn’t matter. It’s the premise of the letter that’s important.
Barbara “re-mail” Mikkelson from Snopes notes that:
The key to this essay is its premise, not the pedantic details of it of how it is defended. Simply put, the letter points out a logical flaw in the “homosexuality is wrong because the Bible says so” argument: if homosexuality is wrong because it goes against God’s law as outlined in the Bible, why aren’t any number of activities now viewed as innocuous but once regarded as unacceptable also offenses against God’s law? How can one part of Leviticus be deemed as etched in stone when other parts have been discarded as archaic?
In other words, it’s completely illogical to use the Bible as a “source” of morality or guidance when, clearly, other abhorrent parts are completely ignored. If you’re going to use the Bible as a source, use all of it. But no one does because that would be ridiculous. If you did use all of it you’d surely end up in prison.
Dr. Laura’s Sets the Record Straight (?)
Dr. Laura responded on her blog in 2010 with a post entitled “Setting My Record Straight About Gays” where she denied referencing Leviticus:
For almost a dozen years (I think they’re automatically renewed computer-wise daily…you’ve probably seen it or heard about it), a blog appears under different sources, ostensibly asking me to answer questions about some of the Bible’s entries about slavery, daughters…so forth. It supposes that I ever quoted Leviticus that homosexuality is an abomination. That never happened. I repeat: that never happened. I never said that. I don’t believe that.
Really? Never? You don’t believe that?
Dr. Laura Schlessinger wrote the foreword to “ex-gay” Richard Cohen’s book, Coming Out Straight : Understanding and Healing Homosexuality. Here’s a screenshot of the conclusion of her contribution:
“And Richard Cohen is living, breathing, loving testimony to his own assertions that homosexuality can be cured…”. She makes it sound like it’s a disease. Surely, a Doctor would know?
The West Wing… oh, and Dr. Laura’s credentials
The West Wing took advantage of the Dr. Laura VS homosexuality situation in an episode which basically portrays The Letter. Watch it – it’s a great interpretation of the letter in visual format. It’s important to note a key point in the president’s words – that those who are respected as figures of authority and on the airwaves have great power and responsibility. Their words reach far and wide. They can influence thousands, if not millions of people.
In the clip, the president digs at the fictional Dr. Laura regarding her credentials. There’s a reason for that. Dr. Laura is neither a medical doctor nor a psychologist. Her PhD is in physiology — a degree which has nothing to do with human interpersonal relations. Physiology is the study of normal function within living creatures. It is a sub-section of biology, covering a myriad of topics including organs, anatomy, cells, biological compounds and how they interact together to make life possible.
“Dr.” Laura seems to be using a degree in one field to imply credibility in another. If most of her audience isn’t swayed by that credential, Schlessinger also occasionally refers to herself as a “shrink.”
And there’s more, but you can do a Google search yourself to discover Dr. Laura’s life full of contradictions. You can discover her infidelity, her nude photo leaks, and more. To err is human, one can suppose…
Dr. Laura doesn’t practice what she preaches, and what she preaches is immoral, insensitive, and downright offensive. She’s still on the air, on Sirius XM, where’s she’s happy to not be attacked by activists for her offending viewpoints.