googlef87758e9b6df9bec.html A Sure Word: Is There a Religious Case for Gay Marriage?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Is There a Religious Case for Gay Marriage?

In the 12/15 issue of Newsweek, columnist Lisa Miller wrote an article titled, Our Mutual Joy, where she tries to make the case there are religious grounds to support gay marriage. Needless to say, her argument is a little weak. She gives a lot of “explanation” about what the Bible says but very few quotes from the Bible. You might say it’s sort of a “Gospel according to Lisa.”

She begins with the observation that Abraham, Jacob, David, Solomon, and other patriarchs of the Bible were all polygamists. I thought that was odd. If she’s trying to support gay marriage, why is she emphasizing all of these heterosexual marriages? The only possible reason I can think of is to plant the seed of doubt that the traditional model of marriage doesn’t really exist in the Bible. Consider this quote from the article:
“While the Bible and Jesus say many important things about love and family, neither explicitly defines marriage as between one man and one woman.”
What?? She can’t be serious! This is an example of what I meant in saying the article is mostly what Lisa says about the Bible and not really about what the Bible says. Perhaps Lisa is unfamiliar with Mark 10:5-9. When asked about marriage (or more specifically, about divorce), Jesus said:
"It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law," Jesus replied. "But at the beginning of creation God 'made them male and female.' 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.' So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate." (NIV)
Now, this isn't what I’m telling you about the Bible. This is what the Bible says. If we read this passage, we see very clearly how the Bible defines marriage: One man married to one woman for life. It’s not a man with a man. It’s not a woman with a woman. It’s not a man and many women. It’s one man and one woman. End of story. Is that so hard to understand?

But I guess it is hard to understand because Lisa doesn’t seem to get it. When Jesus made the above statement, He was quoting Genesis 2:24. In her article, Lisa actually included the Genesis quote, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” But she immediately dismisses it by citing “Bible scholar” Alan Segal saying, “if you believe that the Bible was written by men and not handed down in its leather bindings by God, then that verse was written by people for whom polygamy was the way of the world.”

Lisa has a very strange way of making a point: She tries to use the Bible to support gay marriage; she cites passages from the Bible that support monogamous, heterosexual marriage; then dismisses the passages claiming they were written by chauvinists anyway.

Later, Lisa alludes to Romans 1 where Paul describes homosexuality as a perversion. She again cites another Bible “scholar”, Neil Elliott, who claims that Paul was referring only to the Roman Emperors. Per Elliott, “Paul is not talking about what we call homosexuality at all.” He’s not? Then in verse 27, where Paul says, “In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion,” that’s not talking about homosexuality? It sounds to me like Mr. Elliot is not much of a “scholar.”

To Lisa’s credit, she dug deep to try to find any verse in the Bible that supported her position. She quoted 2 Samuel 1:26 where David mourned the passing of Jonathan:
I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother;
you were very dear to me.
Your love for me was wonderful,
more wonderful than that of women.

So, is she trying to say that David and Jonathan were gay for each other? That’s ridiculous! Need I remind readers of David’s infamous encounter with Bathsheba? I assure you David was very much straight.

In concluding her article, Lisa penned these words:
“My friend the priest James Martin says his favorite Scripture relating to the question of homosexuality is Psalm 139, a song that praises the beauty and imperfection in all of us and that glorifies God’s knowledge of our most secret selves: ‘I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.’”
Huh? How exactly does that verse relate to homosexuality? And that’s the “priest’s” favorite Scripture on the issue? That seems to me de facto evidence of the lack of Biblical support for gay marriage.

In short, Ms. Miller’s article was little more than opinion, out-of-context quotes, and misrepresentations of the Bible. The Bible outright condemns homosexuality and specifically limits marriage to the monogamous union of a man and a woman. If Ms. Miller doesn’t agree, then she’s welcome to disagree. But please don’t resort to the absurd notion that the Bible actually means the opposite of what it clearly says.

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