What Parts of Leviticus are Binding?

“You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you: I am the LORD.”-Leviticus 19:28

“Electric monks believed things for you, thus saving you what was becoming an increasingly onerous task, that of believing all the things the world expected you to believe… The new improved Monk Plus models were twice as powerful, had an entirely new multi-tasking Negative Capability feature that allowed them to hold up to 16 entirely different and contradictory ideas in memory simultaneously without generating any irritating system errors.” -Douglas Adams, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency

A story from Joe. My. God. piqued my interest today.  Joe reports that the Ruth Institute, an organization against same sex marriage (Slogan: Making Marriage Cool!) is offering “One Man One Woman” tattoos on its web site.  (“Kids love them.”)  Of course, these are stick on tattoos, but it’s the symbolism here that interested me.

I remembered that the Bible specifically prohibits tattoos.  When I went to look up the verse (You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you: I am the LORD.-Leviticus 19:28) I stumbled on a web page called Clarifying Christianity.

The verse in question was cited in a page with the title: “What the Bible Says About God’s View of Tattoos and Body Piercing.”

ImageWhat I read there made me scramble through the rest of the site to clarify who the group was who created this resource (I never did figure that out) and what their view was on homosexuality.

“Homosexuality is like adultery, it is not a biological problem, any more than any other sexual sin.”

Why did the entry on tattoos lead me to this?  Because the most unambiguous Biblical condemnation of homosexuality appears in Leviticus.  I have seen Leviticus 18:22 on billboards in the South followed by the attribution: “-God.”

Yet here is what Clarifying Christianity has to say about Leviticus in the context of tattoos:

There is one passage that seems to teach against such things, Leviticus chapter 19, verse 28, which says: You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you: I am the LORD.

However, only nine verses earlier in the same chapter (Leviticus 19:19) the people of Israel were also commanded to avoid mixing fibers in garments:

Nor shall a garment of mixed linen and wool come upon you.

Therefore, if someone chose to consider a tattoo sinful, then they would have to toss all their cotton/polyester clothing too!

So when is Leviticus a binding commandment by God almighty and when is it an outmoded cultural habit?


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