LETTER FROM THE HEARTLAND.
Needless to say, I followed your maiden speech in Parliament with great interest. I see where you have protested against Muslims on the basis their holy book, the Q’ran, says all good Muslims should hate infidels and go to war and all that sort of stuff. Because you seem to know a bit about holy books, I thought you could help clear up a few points about the Bible. I’m not sure what it was like in Ipswich where you grew up, but Church was pretty strict when I was younger. I lived in mortal fear of being found guilty of Onan’s sin but luckily I’m still here.
Those Old Testament prophets were always banging on about idols and worshipping false gods. Of course, that was before rugby and State of Origin matches, and I doubt the producers of Australian Idol intended it to be taken literally. Having seen the show, I’m sure they didn’t. But could that be right? Surely everybody knows the Bible is literally true? No way, Leviticus 11:20 gets poetic: “All fowls that creep, going upon all four, shall be an abomination unto you.” I imagine they would, four-legged chooks would probably be nuclear mutants, even in Ipswich.
There’s an awful lot of rules in Leviticus, it wouldn’t be easy following them. For example, if a cockroach walks on your stove, which cockroaches are wont to do when you go out, you’re supposed to drag the stove out and smash it. Same goes for garden pots that a lizard has walked on. We have lots of skinks here but if I tried to smash my wife’s pot plants, she wouldn’t be happy. There’s a lot more, of course, all those rules about spilling the blood of sacrifices around the alter (imagine all the flies in summer) and the priest wringing the heads off pigeons. If the priest is getting on or he has arthritis, do you think it would it be enough if he simply bit the dove’s head off?
Leviticus devotes several chapters to stoning lepers but that disease has gone out of fashion so I expect the rules could transfer to AIDS. It would be cheaper than antivirals, that’s for sure. They were very long on stoning people in Biblical times, perhaps they had more stones in Israel than we’ve got at our place. I had to buy stones for my wife’s rockery but she shouldn’t mind if I borrowed them to stone my neighbour’s son and his boyfriend.
Trouble is, he’s a big boy for his age (nineteen) and his mother is still fearsomely protective of him so it might be easier if we simply enslaved him. But circumcised slaves must be freed after seven years and I’m not sure on the etiquette of asking whether he’s been circumcised, especially if his boyfriend misunderstood. But if we have to stone him, do you think I should wash the stones before replacing them in my wife’s garden, or should we leave the blood and hair and bits of gristle as a warning to others? Also, could it wait until he mows our lawns next week?
Talking of stoning, it says if your son is a drunk or a glutton or just plain naughty, you and your wife can stone him to death. Our son doesn’t drink but he’s certainly cheeky and he’s emptied the fridge often enough, so we could probably slip it through. And I’m sure ritual stoning is cheaper than a wedding. It also says that if a priest misbehaves, say he trims the corners of his beard or wears mixed linen and wool, his congregation have to stone him. My mother wouldn’t be happy with this, her shoulder plays up in cold weather but we could probably convince her to join in with some Dencorub.
Actually, I wonder if those old prophets had done any of your actual stoning? It’s a lot harder than you might think, especially with young and nimble sinners. I used to throw stones at my older brother but he was a fast ducker (and no, that’s not a spoonerism) and I could never hit him. He’d stay just out of range and tease me which drove me to a frenzy, then he’d run into the bush and hide
when my father came out and demanded to know who’d been swearing. Where was divine justice then, I ask you?
The story of Lot used to bother me (Genesis 19). You’ll recall how the Lord decided to incinerate Sodom and Gomorrah because they were a bit depraved (probably more like the Gold Coast than Ipswich) but he allowed Lot and his family to leave before the divine B52s arrived. As you know, Mrs Lot looked back, leaving only the old man and his two widowed daughters. That night, the girls worried about the family name dying out so they got the old chap drunk and bedded him (Genesis 19:31-36). Does that mean we shouldn’t make jokes about Tasmanians?
There’s all the usual injunctions against coveting your neighbour’s wife but Wikipedia says there was a fair bit of that in your family so perhaps we can skip that section. I’d like to focus on Leviticus 18:27 which concerns men of the land who have done abominations. Now I know the Nationals picked up extra seats in Queensland and I’m not pointing the finger but I grew up in a small country town and I know what some of those naughty boys got up to in the sheep sheds. But it does say in the next few verses that anybody who defiles the land will be spewed out so if they lose their seats next election, could we draw any conclusions from that?
I’m running out of space but I’d direct you to Leviticus 19:28, which specifically bans tattoos and self-laceration. Sure, you get excited about burqas but if you could come to our supermarket one Saturday and stand in line behind all the enormously fat, tattooed and bestudded people with their fishhooks, dreadlocks and green mohawks, their beer bellies overflowing their footy shorts and their straining blue singlets lifting to reveal gigantic bumcracks, you’d start to see the value in full-length cloaks. Some of them look terrible, riveted as though they’d had an argument with a nail gun. Actually, the Afghan burqas would be better because they’d cover their close-set, bloodshot eyes as well. And I’m not being sexist, the men are no better.
Well, that’s my questions for this week, I’ll be thrilled to read your answers. Oh yes, one more. Leviticus 19: 33-34. “And if a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not vex him. But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself.” Do you think this is binding, or does it leave some wriggle-room for slagging little Muslim kids waiting for the school bus?
Signed: Concerned, of Pullenvale, Qld, 4069.
Bucolic Pullenvale lies in the Federal electorate of Ryan, the oldest, wealthiest and best-educated electorate in the state. It is also one of safest conservative seats in the country.