I am a huge fan of Lewis Black. His stand-up routines and commentaries on the Daily Show almost always evoke a laugh-out-loud reaction from me. One night last week I watched, for a second time, a Comedy Central showing of Black on stage in Washington, D.C. In response to Bush’s comments about Evolution that, “the jury is still out,” Black does a routine about the Old Testament. As is always the case with the best comedy, it made me think about me think about things from a different perspective…about how we Christians use the Old Testament to discriminate against gay people.
Black talks about the first books of the Bible being the book of his people, the Jewish people. He proceeds to make fun of Christians deciding the Old Testament wasn’t good enough, and having to come up with our own book…calling ours “New,” and his “Old.” It really gets funny when he talks about how, despite having to have our own book, Black says, “Yet every Sunday I turn on the TV set, and there’s a priest or pastor reading from my book, and interpreting it. And their interpretations, I have to tell you, are usually wrong. It’s not their fault, ’cause it’s not their book. You never see a Rabbi on TV interpreting the New Testament…do you?”
He notes that if there’s something about the Old Testament we don’t understand, there are Jews who walk among us we can ask. Now Black is making a point about the Creation story, but I find his logic applicable to other areas, such as the religious conservative view of homosexuality. Remember that most of the scripture cited by the krazy kristian kooks to justify their bigotry against gay people comes from the Old Testament. Of course, for the most part, the books of the Christian Old Testament constitute the Jewish Torah.
Black is correct that this is “his book,” and, while I understand there are very conservative orthodox Jews who also believe homosexuality is wrong, all the Jewish people I know have no problem at all with homosexuality. Funny, isn’t it, that most of the passages used to endorse homophobia come from the Old Testament, but the Jewish people…the people of “the Old Testament”…are the ones that seem to have the least aversion to homosexuals. Maybe we Christians should take Black’s advice to seek out the Jews among us, and have them interpret the Old Testament for us.