Paul Mitchinson is a part-time writer and a full-time father of two. He writes when he can. » more about me

How poorly we are served by our religious leaders! The same-sex marriage debate may now be officially over in Canada, but the ignorance and bigotry it revealed – particularly in our official religious representatives – will live on.

Consider a couple letters to the editor written to the National Post, one by a priest, the other by a rabbi.

Writes Toronto’s Father Fernando Mignone, on July 8th:

“What would Jesus do” about same-sex marriage? The answer is not hard to find: Read the Bible, listen to the Pope.

His advice, of course, is absolutely sound. Read the Bible, and one quickly discovers that Jesus said precisely nothing about homosexuality. This is an eloquent silence. So eloquent, one might argue, that it might be compared with the silence of an earlier Pope – Pius XII – on the subject of the Holocaust. There is a general rule of thumb here. People tend to remain silent on issues about which they feel morally indifferent.

Toronto’s Rabbi David Spiro, meanwhile, lovingly cites the Levitican prohibition of gay sex. (This is a particular favorite of Christian fundamentalists, of course, but the Vatican tends to steer clear of this minefield.) It is often pointed out by same-sex marriage supporters that Leviticus uses the same word — “abomination” — to describe both gay sex and … the eating of shellfish. Rabbi Spiro will have none of this, though. “I haven’t seen the death penalty for the transgression of eating the forbidden foods,” he writes encouragingly.

And en passant, I am proud to state that there are millions of people who observe the laws of Leviticus that can be observed at this time and the many more that are found in the Five Books.

Tell me, Rabbi, since the death penalty for homosexuality is so critical to your argument, how many of those millions of “observant” followers of Leviticus have executed a homosexual, or even advocated doing so? Do you? Precisely how observant are you?

It’s enough to make you shake your head. But it should also remind us that religion is far greater than its flawed human representatives.

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