BATTLING BIBLE-BASED BIGOTRY IN AMERICA
How interpretations of a centuries-old book are igniting intolerance today
As the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decisions involving marriage equality continue to be debated in many circles, much of the opposition to it comes from people quoting the Bible as if they lived by every rule in it. One of the most frequently cited arguments against members of the LGBT community are the Bible’s prohibitions against homosexual relations and yet people today, even true believers, would never:
- Kill disobedient sons (Deuteronomy 21:18-21)
- Kill adulterers (Look out John Edwards! Deuteronomy 22:22)
- Force rapists to buy their victims from her father for 50 shekels (Deuteronomy 22:28-29)
- Bar war veterans with groin injuries from entering a church (Deuteronomy 23:1)
- Stone someone wearing linen and wool in the same garment (Good-bye Fashion Week! Deuteronomy 22:11)
- Cancel all debts every seven years (Deuteronomy 15)
Religious-based bigotry and intolerance toward women and members of the LGBT community are topics LGBT rights activist Dr. Joseph Wenke frequently tackles as a contributor to The Huffington Post. According to Wenke, who considers LGBT equality the Civil Rights movement of this century, the old Biblical rules no longer apply as definitions of being in a relationship, marriage or family. His book, YOU GOT TO BE KIDDING! The Cultural Arsonist’s Satirical Reading of the Bible, was written to urge readers to question what is often accepted as fact to:
- Use the Bible as a guidepost to unite people rather than separate them.
- Crack open the walls of bigotry.
- Empower people to overcome adversity.
- Be free thinkers.
“You do have the right to hate, but you do not have the right to take away other peoples’ rights,” says Wenke who is opposed to people justifying their own bigotry through religion. He claims that though the LGBT community has come a long way regarding its human rights, it still has a long way to go, adding that similar to women’s rights struggle in America, any gains they make may also see a conservative backlash.
When it comes to the Bible, author, satirist and cultural arsonist Dr. Joe Wenke has a lot of questions. Why did God turn Lot’s wife into a pillar of salt? Were there no other seasonings available? How come no one noticed that Samson’s hair grew back and he was super strong again? Who lost Jesus’s baby book? The story of the Devil tempting Jesus—did the Devil or Jesus report it? And why does the Holy Spirit like to show up as a bird?
As irreverent as the musical The Book of Mormon, YOU GOT TO BE KIDDING! THE CULTURAL ARSONIST’S SATIRICAL READING OF THE BIBLE (TransÜber, LLC; November 2012) is an engaging, provocative and often hilarious investigation into the bestselling book of all time. Written to “cause trouble” and provoke deeper thought during a time when religious fundamentalism is gaining strength around the world, Wenke, a marketing executive, former corporate speechwriter and keen observer of human gullibility, lures readers out of their mental closets and tempts them to more closely examine the stories they think they know about the Bible.
Drawing upon the same pool of incendiary and cerebral humor as Bill Maher, Jon Stewart and the late, great George Carlin, YOU GOT TO BE KIDDING! follows a trail of talking angels, fratricidal siblings, divinely sanctioned massacres and surprised lepers from the Old to the New Testament pointing out the impossible, the illogical and the unrealistic. Among the stories laid bare, are:
- Noah’s Ark: How big was that boat—and who cleaned up after the animals?
- Jonah and the Whale: Just how does one survive being digested for three days?
- The Three Wise Men: If they were so wise, why did they get lost?
- Jesus, Miracle Worker: Where did Jesus learn how to perform miracles—at Hogwarts?
YOU GOT TO BE KIDDING! is a call for humor to restore our sanity and our ability to think for ourselves. Just as it was written in the Bible—or was it?
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