Questioning religiously 17

In her radio show, Dr Laura Schlesinger said, as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22, and cannot be condoned under any circumstance.

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 other elements of God’s Laws and how to follow them.

1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are 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?

2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7.  In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

3. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord – Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

4. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?

5. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination, Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t agree. Can you settle this? Are there ‘degrees’ of abomination?

6. Lev. 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?

7. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

8. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

9. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.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? Lev.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? (Lev. 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I’m confident you can help.

Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging.

Your adoring fan,

James M. Kauffman, Ed.D. Professor Emeritus,

Dept. Of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education

University of Virginia

PS. It will be a shame if we can’t own a Canadian.

Footnote: We are grateful to our reader, Damon Minvielle, for drawing our attention to Dr. James Kauffman’s denial that he wrote the “Dear Dr. Laura” letter. and

  • Fernando Montenegro

    As a self-described “West Wing”-widower – I absolutely loved the show, even though I didn’t agree with many of its positions – I remember quite fondly how this letter made its way into an episoide: Midterms (S02E03):

    “Bartlet: I like your show. I like how you call homosexuality an abomination.
    Dr. Jenna Jacobs: I don’t say homosexuality is an abomination, Mr. President. The Bible does.
    President Josiah Bartlet: Yes it does. Leviticus.
    Dr. Jenna Jacobs: 18:22.
    President Josiah Bartlet: Chapter and verse. I wanted to ask you a couple of questions while I have you here. I’m interested in selling my youngest daughter into slavery as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. She’s a Georgetown sophomore, speaks fluent Italian, always cleared the table when it was her turn. What would a good price for her be? While thinking about that, can I ask another? My Chief of Staff Leo McGarry insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly says he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself or is it okay to call the police? Here’s one that’s really important because we’ve got a lot of sports fans in this town: touching the skin of a dead pig makes one unclean. Leviticus 11:7. If they promise to wear gloves, can the Washington Redskins still play football? Can Notre Dame? Can West Point? Does the whole town really have to be together to stone my brother John for planting different crops side by side? Can I burn my mother in a small family gathering for wearing garments made from two different threads? Think about those questions, would you? One last thing: while you may be mistaking this for your monthly meeting of the Ignorant Tight-Ass Club, in this building, when the President stands, nobody sits.”

    Oh, for a true philosopher-king, not the rabble-rousing imitation…

    • George

      Hey Fernando , I love it ! I’m still laughing. Way to go Fernando !!!!! Ha ha ha ha

  • TyS

    EVERYONE knows why you cannot own a Canadian slave – they don’t work very hard, and always complain…”when can I have water?” My hands are bleeding – can I take a break?”…it’s just endless!

  • George

    A long time ago , I saw a full nude photo of Dr. Laura on the internet where she was sitting on the floor “spread eagle” which was allegedly taken by her then boyfriend. When questioned about this Dr. Laura excused it away by proclaiming that the photo was taken back when she was an atheist. What a bunch of BS. Yet there are gullible Christians & Jews who actually believe that BS. Anbody who believes that crap , I have some riverfront real estate on the sun to sell you. On a regular basis I listen to talk radio. I routinely listen to Michael Savage and he regularly bashes atheists and says the most insulting and defamatory things about atheists and yet he is constantly whining and accusing people of hating Christians along with his racist rants. He is reported on the internet of being Jewish . He was born Michael Weiner and later changed his name to Savage. When Louis Farrakhan reportedly made racist statements about Jews , the Jewish community went berserk and justifiably so IMHO lashed out at him. However when people like Michael Savage, Dr. Laura , and a multitude of other religious “public figures” attack atheists, agnostics, secular humanists, freethinkers and skeptics , there is TOTAL silence and often times applause and approval from the same individuals who are always screaming their heads off about TOLERANCE. Gee , do the words ‘double standard” and “hypocrisy” ring a bell ?

    • Macnvettes

      Look again, there were several photos, and I have to say, I’m glad I didn’t grow up in the ’70s!

      • George

        You’re right , I saw the photos and a Christian friend of mine alerted me of it. I grew up in the deep south in the 1950’s ( now retired ) during Jim Crow segregation ( which was orchestrated by the Christian fundamentalists ) who verbally proclaimed we’re all created equal yet practiced bigoted inequality. It’s mind boggling how gullible people will believe anything !!!!!!!!!!!!

        • Macnvettes

          They still do practice bigotry, mainly against the gays, but against atheists and people of other faiths as well. The Mormon church is about the worst. They didn’t even allow black members until the 70s, and still believe that being black is the “mark of Cain”. During the 2008 election cycle, they launched (in coalition with several other churches) a major campaign for prop 8 and demanded compulsory donations towards that campaign from their congregations, even followers from other states! Because we all know it’s ok to discriminate as long as god says it is!

      • George

        That is so true Macnvettes. When I go out with my girlfriend ( I’m black and she is white ) we get stares from the fundamentalist Christians ( both black and white ) as if we’re aliens from another planet. This from the stinking hypocrites who are always preaching in their houses of worship that we’re all created equal but they sure as heck don’t practice what they preach. I detest hypocrites and bigots of ALL kinds.

  • Damon

    Dear Jillian,
    As a conservative atheist myself, I admire your website, but please be advised that James M. Kauffman did not write the letter to Doctor Laura, as featured currently in the Questioning Religiously post.
    See his disavowal at and
    Best regards,
    Damon Minvielle

    • Macnvettes

      It doesn’t make the message any less relevant with a different name on it. The letter speaks of something that should be universal, however it is not.

  • Frank

    “You can safely assume that you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do”.
    ~ Anne Lamott

  • Ralph

    The Bible and Koran are two sides of one coin.

    • Macnvettes

      Actually, I find that the Quran is actually like a cheap 3rd installment of a failing series, written from the enemy’s point of view. Several of the stories from the bible are in the Quran, except with slightly different details and morals. Sort of like Evil Dead 3.

  • bornagainpagan

    As a Hockey Coach…I’m horribly dissapointed! Not ‘winning’ this season.
    ; )

  • Macnvettes

    You have to love how people always try their best to live by a book written 2000 years+ ago, it is interesting the choices they make and the prejudices that they harbor. I especially like the Westboro Baptist Church quote, “I don’t hate fags, god does.”

  • Ben

    As a Christian, I had to laugh at the “Dear Dr. Laura” letter.


      As a Jew, I trust the Lord will smite you mightily, yea unto the third generation, for such blasphemy. However as an atheist, I too was sorely amused.