I've often been told that "homosexuality is an abomination, because the Bible says so."
My first response to that is that no one has any business forcing their religion on anyone else A man by the name of Bin Laden is a prime example of those who think otherwise, as he, like some extremist Christians, want the USA to follow his version of religion.
Furthermore, I usually remind the person citing the "biblical homosexuality" issue that the word "homosexuality" cannot be in the bible, for there was no actual word for it in any of the classical languages in biblical times, and certainly not in Hebrew, Aramaic, or ancient Greek. (the original languages of the books of the Bible).
The standard translations are slightly different:
(American Standard Version, 1901) "And if a man lie with mankind, as with womankind, both of them have committed abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them."
(English Standard Version): "If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them."
(King James Version): "If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them."
Can the above passagges be interpreted as referring to homosexuality? Yes. They could also be interpreted as referring to sleeping (platonicly) in the same bed, and in the English translations it could also be interpreted as lieing: a Man should not Lie to another man the same way he would lie to a woman".
Are my interpretations likly? No. However, just like the homosexuality issue, they are interpretations, and one of the tenets of most fundamentalist faiths is that they take the bible literally, they do not interpret it. It is often quite amusing to maneuver a fundamentalist into saying that they are interpreting, and then reminding them of their own prohibitions on doing so.
I am also fond of quoting a different passage from Leviticus:
Leviticus 11:9-12 (King James Version)
These shall ye eat of all that are in the waters: whatsoever hath fins and scales in the waters, in the seas, and in the rivers, them shall ye eat.
And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you:
They shall be even an abomination unto you; ye shall not eat of their flesh, but ye shall have their carcases in abomination.
Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you.
Yes, shellfish. I love pointing this out whenever a homophobe fundamentalist quotes Leviticus.
I think I can also make a fairly good case that the "whostsoever has fins and scales" passage is a directive to eat anything that does. This would include poisonous fish. Also, the control surfaces and anechoic tiles of a modern nuclear sub fit the "fins and scales" definition quite well.
Slavery? The sermons in the 1850's and before in support of slavery are quite interesting reading.