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Expiation rant


Ah, Leviticus. The book of Torah that people love to hate, with its sacrifices, priests, and archaic rules (no tattoos! no homosexual lying-with!). Not me. As I wrote last year, I’m happy to be here in the meat of the religion, the visceral worship style and clear sense of right & wrong. Leviticus is about doing a thing with gusto (see: The Book of Blood & Guts). Push back all you want, but at least you know what you’re pushing back against.

Plus, there’s something appealing about the straightforward sacrifice and sprinkling of blood, with none of the ambiguity of person-to-person confusion.  No contested language or I said/you said. Do something dopey and the next step is clear: offer up the correct item as expiation. You broke it, you buy it.

Hear a public imprecation (curse, oath, swear word) and say nothing about it, or unwittingly touch an unclean object: time to make expiation with sheep or equivalent. Fail to pay sufficient attention to sacred items: bring a lamb as guilt offering plus some extra silver. Do something that should not be done: bring a ram or equivalent. Deal deceitfully with someone: you must provide a replacement of what was stolen (plus another 1/5) and a ram or the equivalent.

Don’t you love the solidity of this? There’s no mistaking a sheep for something else (like a half-baked apology). No crossing your fingers behind your back. You can explain away your mistakes all you want, but you still gotta bring that animal or vegetable to the fire. Publicly. Unabashedly. Stand in line with the exact thing required and take your turn.

Charlie Sheen could take a Levitical clue on making amends (he also needs to be locked up). So could Mike Huckabee (for dissing Natalie Portman’s unwed pregnancy as well as a million other things) and Brigitte Gabriel, who claims that the FBI, CIA, and Pentagon have been infiltrated by radical Muslims looking to bring down the government. In every case, garbage comes out of their mouths and then they complain they’re misunderstood. They need to own their stupidities and say sorry.

I want to see BP and fellow travelers (file this under failed to pay attention to the sacred) bring their required sacrifices and extra silver in front of the people. I want all those who blame teachers & firefighters & road crews for the economic misery in this country to line up with their rams (see under: dealing in deceit) alongside Representative Peter King (R-NY), who will begin Congressional hearings this week on American mosques as hotbeds of Islamic radicalism. Doing things that should not be done? Oh man, the list is far too long, but I include here the parents of a 14-year-old girl who paid for their minivan by pimping her to the used car salesman, as well as those who are pushing a $1000+/month 500-calorie-a-day-plus-pregnancy-hormones diet marketed to women. Also, Glenn Beck (sorry, easy target) falls across multiple categories.

And for all those times I heard a public curse (broadly defined) and remained silent? For the times I let myself be enamored of something clearly unclean (again broadly defined)? I’m getting my guilt offering ready right now…

Join me, will you?

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