West Wing Bible Scene

Here’s a scene from the TV show ‘The West Wing’ explaining why the Bible should not be taken literally. I’ve also received nearly identical text via email. I believe the email came first.

(google break)

Yup, snopes confirms that the email came first. Still, it’s somewhat more powerful to see it in a video, even though some of the great text of the email was missed. Specifically, the bit about whether one in the U.S. may own a Canadian is missing.


Here’s the full text of the legendary letter, literally legendary, as stated by snopes.

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 I 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 him that Leviticus 18:22 clearly
states it to be an abomination. End of debate.

I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the specific laws and how to best follow them.

a) When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord (Lev 1:9). The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

b) 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?

c) 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 offense.

d) Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed 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?

e) I have a neighbor 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?

f) 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?

g) 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?

h) 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) 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?

j) 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, so I am confident you can help.

Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging.

Your devoted disciple and adoring fan.

For those who still believe religion has a place in politics, let me just state this in no uncertain terms. The same amendment (the first) that provides for a wall of separation between church and state is the one that grants your church or temple or mosque tax-free status. Want to tear down the wall? Start by paying your damn taxes!

4 Responses to West Wing Bible Scene

  1. buckeyenonbeliever says:

    Love this scene from West Wing. Christians naturally excuse this as old testament mumbo jumbo and proclaim jay-sus dismissed the the ways of the old. Christians cannot find any verse where the fictional jay-sus proclaims this, so they rely upon their old friend and true founder of christianity….. saul of Tarsus.

    Such hypocrisy. I would laugh about how ridiculous the whole thing is except there are those in powerful positions who wholeheartedly believe and are trying to make this mumbo jumbo the law of the land. This thought removes my smile pretty quickly and gets me geared up for the fight.

  2. buckeyenonbeliever,

    I couldn’t agree more. I would add though that not only does jeebus never dismiss the ways of the old testament, he actively reaffirmed that the O.T. is still in full force. Were it otherwise, and he had explicitly dismissed the old, no Christian would still reference the 10 commandments.

    “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.” — Matt 5:17

    Don’t you just love the way google can make a faux bible scholar out of an anti-theist?

    • Karl Ruf says:

      Your google study has left you wanting. Jesus didn’t say to continue obeying the law, he stated he keep it all, (fulfilled) (you forgot to google that one) unlike anyone before or since. Unlike Mosaic law, which was to the Jew only, and ended with the New Covenant. (New google search) Moral law has continued into the new testament.

      • Interpret it however you want. I’m just reading what he said. You’re pretending he said something else.

        And, if you think my google search was inadequate, why not provide some links instead of telling me to do your homework?

        P.S. Yes. I’m aware that a great number of people pretend that they know better than the bible what the bible actually says. Some of them wrote the Talmud. Others wrote Catechisms. But, some of us can read words in plain language and understand what they mean without pretending that they mean something else. But, go ahead and post some links.

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