On her radio show, Dr. Laura Schlesinger said that the Bible condemns homosexuality as an abomination.
In response, Dr. James M. Kauffman penned a very witty response enumerating many highly questionable passages from the Bible. Also, Dr. Kauffman has his own very witty questions about these passages, which he poses to Dr. Laura.
[Note: After doing a little research, I’ve found that Dr. Kauffman says he did NOT actually write the famous letter to Dr. Schlesinger. However, he adds that he wishes he had written it. See article by Erik Stetson in the reference section. In any case, I’m going to leave the rest of this blog post unchanged. Just remember, Dr. Kauffman says he didn’t actually write the letter, but he likes it, anyway.]
IMO, Kauffman’s response to Dr. Schlesinger is spot on.
Their exchange helps explain why the late medieval Roman Catholic Church did not want to see the bible translated out of Latin and into the vernacular (ie. into languages their parishioners actually understood).
Although the Church did print Bibles to get their message out, some in the Church may have not liked the spread of literacy and the invention of the printing press.
These changes meant that more people, people like Dr. Kauffman, could actually read the Bible and then start asking questions.
Someone on Facebook
In her radio show, Dr. Laura Schlesinger said that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22, and cannot be condoned under any circumstance.
The following response is an open letter to Dr. Laura, penned by a US resident, which was posted on the Internet. It’s funny, as well as informative:
James M. Kauffman
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.
- Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased 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?
- 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?
- I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of Menstrual uncleanliness – Lev.15: 19-24.
– The problem is how do I tell?
– I have tried asking, but most women take offence.
- When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odour for the Lord – Lev.1:9.
– The problem is my neighbours.
– They claim the odour is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?
- I have a neighbour 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?
- 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?
- 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?
- 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?
- 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?
– 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.
Dept. Of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education University of Virginia
The Schlesinger quote [I believe he’s referring to the long quote of the letter by James M. Kauffman to Dr. Schlesinger] makes valid and clever points, but your FB friend’s intro confuses the early church with the late medieval Roman Catholic Church—it was that church that resisted translation of the Bible into the vernacular. Also, I’m unaware of any church resisting the printing press—all adopted it eagerly to spread their messages
I stand corrected. It was the late medieval Roman Catholic Church that resisted the translation of the bible from Latin into the vernacular. In my confusion, I thought the late medieval Roman Catholic church and the early Church were one in the same. They’re different. So, my mistake.
Some question whether the Roman Catholic Church resisted the introduction of the printing press, which was invented in Europe in 1440. They suggest that the Roman Catholic Church thought the printing press was great because it helped them get their message out.
I’ve done some digging and what I found suggests that the spread of literacy and the invention of printing press were both good and bad for the Roman Catholic Church.
The printing press was good for the Church since it enabled them to print Bibles to help get it out to the public along with literature that promoted the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.
Of course, Protestant churches were also able to print the Bible and distribute it along with printed literature on their teachings. In some cases, the teachings the Roman Catholic Church put out were at odds with the teachings of the Protestants. So, in that sense the printing press turned out to be a problem for the Church.
In general, it’s easier to cherry pick passages from the Bible if others are not really in a position to have one that they can read for themselves. Therefore, with the spread of literacy and the printing of the Bible, the Church may have had a harder time spreading its interpretation of the Bible.
Yes, there was a differential between RCs and Protestants on publishing biblical translations. But that doesn’t mean the RCs were against the printing press itself, which was what your FB friend suggested. As a matter of fact, a lively publishing battle between Catholics and Protestants characterized the Reformation period.
As for for the question of how the Roman Catholic Church responded to the invention of the printing press, my quick internet search suggests that the Church was not of one mind.
Apparently, the Church did promote the printing of bibles, probably because they wanted to get the word out, as you suggest.
On the other hand, the folks at the McDonald Collection assert that: “[the] Roman Catholic Church maintained that only members of the clergy were qualified to interpret the Bible.”
As I mentioned before: It’s easier to cherry pick passages from the Bible if others are not really in a position to have one that they can read for themselves. So, with the spread of literacy and the printing of the Bible, the Church may have had a harder time spreading its interpretation of the Bible.
Online Protest Targets Dr. Laura
The radio talk show host hasn’t made any fans in the gay community, and now a small group of activists has organized a massive online campaign against the studio planning to launch her new TV show.
By Lakshmi Chaudhry.
21 March 2000
GAY ACTIVISTS ARE using the Internet to wage a protest campaign against Paramount Television and its plans to produce a TV show featuring radio host Dr. Laura Schlessinger, who has said that homosexuality is “destructive” and constitutes “sexually deviant behavior.”
“It’s a matter of corporate responsibility not to promote hate or hateful speech,” said television producer Robin Tyler, a member of the Stop Dr. Laura coalition, which wants to squash Paramount’s plans for the show, due to air in the fall.
Schlessinger has long been under fire from the gay community for her remarks about gays. She did not respond to repeated requests for an interview.
Found with a question for Google: How did the Roman Catholic Church respond to the printing press
Chapter 03 – The Spread of Knowledge via Print
by Richelle McDaniel
Western Oregon University
“With an increase in literacy, the more opportunities to own personal religious texts and growth of individual reading, the printing press ultimately undermined the Catholic Church and disrupted the European religious culture by spreading religious knowledge and shifting the power to the people.”
Found with a question for Google: Did the Catholic Church welcome the printing press?
Treasures of the McDonald Collection
“The clergy quickly adopted the printing press, sometimes replacing their traditional scriptoria with a press. … Though the Roman Catholic Church maintained that only members of the clergy were qualified to interpret the Bible, this new degree of access to religious texts provided impetus for a growing reformist movement.”
Found with a question for Google: Why was the Catholic Church not happy about the results of the printing press?
What Impact Did the Invention of the Printing Press Have on the Spread of Religion?
by Rita Kennedy
“The invention of the printing press removed control of written material from the Catholic Church and made it difficult for the church to inhibit the spread of what it regarded as heretical ideas.”
Not bad satire, says writer; but not mine
by Erik Stetson
22 March 2024
RICHMOND, VA. – It’s a parody James M. Kauffman said he wished he had written – but he didn’t, a point that the University of Virginia education professor emeritus has been repeating and repeating.
Mr. Kauffman’s name and title have been circulating under a long-lived e-mail that satirizes the anti-homosexual pronouncements of conservative radio talk show host Laura Schlessinger. The result has been a flood of daily calls and e-mails from people around the world.