Christian Nationalism and Leviticus

Published 8:01 am Friday, March 22, 2024

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There is a concerted nation-wide effort to elect candidates who identify themselves as Christian Nationalists.

Among other things, Christian Nationalists believe that religious scripture like the Hebrew and Christian bibles should influence secular laws by which all American citizens must abide, even non-Christians. Jews, Muslims, Hindus and those who choose not to be associated with any religious faith could be bound by the dictates of Christian lawmakers.

Let’s explore what that might look like. What might happen if Christian Nationalists were elected to political offices up and down the ballot, from School Boards to the White House?

According to one book of the Hebrew Bible, the ancient Book of Leviticus, persons who violate any of the following injunctions have sinned against the Hebrew/Christian God and are therefore subject to punishments of various severities. Thus sayeth the Lord thou God, thou shall not:

  1. Eat the fat or blood of an animal. No more juicy ribeye steaks on that special night out. (3:17)
  2. Fail to testify against any wrongdoing you’ve witnessed or been told about. All Whistle Blowers will please turn themselves into the priests, as soon as possible. Thanks. (5:1)
  3. Touch the carcass of an unclean animal, including, a dead Rover or Rum Tum Tugger. And if you work in a meat processing plant, you’re in special trouble. (5:2)
  4. Allow your hair to become unkempt. God will not be pleased. You will die and the whole community incur God’s wrath. Maybe that’s what’s wrong with America. Too many people walking around with disheveled hair. Americans, save your country. Carry a comb with you at all times. (10:6)
  5. Drink alcohol in holy places, i.e. churches, i.e. Holy Communion. Episcopalians, Roman Catholics and assorted Lutherans be advised. The penalty is nothing to sneeze at: DEATH. Talk about your priest shortage. (10:9)
  6. Eat or touch any seafood without fins or scales. What will Sound Rivers do without the annual Oyster Roast? (11:10-12)
  7. Go to church within 33 days of giving birth to a son; 66 days for daughters; because the mother’s “blood requires purification”. So much for infant baptism. (12:4-5)
  8. Marry your wife’s sister while your wife is still alive. Not a good idea, under any circumstance. (18:18)
  9. Have sex with a man as with a woman. (18:22) A favorite of Christian Nationalists and one of the most frequently employed by critics of public school books and curricula.
  10. Get a tattoo. This rule alone would condemn millions of Americans. No penalty is given but, knowing the God of Leviticus, it’s probably going to be painful. (19:28)

(I could go on. This list just scratches the surface. See Leviticus for more examples.)

It goes without saying that the day-to-day lives of Americans would have to change drastically to accommodate these religious injunctions. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.

Demand to know if local School Board, Gubernatorial, Congressional and Presidential candidates align themselves with the tenets of Christian Nationalism. Your future and the future of your children and grandchildren may well depend upon it.

Polk Culpepper is a retired Episcopal priest, former lawyer and a Washington resident.