Posts Tagged “biblical marriage”

'Veracicat has checked your facts and is not impressed with your lies' / PsiCop graphic, based on http://www.quitor.com/cat-with-glasses.htmlKim Davis, the anti-gay-marriage county clerk from Kentucky, having contrived to martyr herself is still angling for a second career as a Christianist pundit/lecturer/author. Toward that end, as Raw Story explains, she had an interview on (where the fuck else?) Fox News, with Megyn Kelly (WebCite cached article):

“When the legal challenges ended up not going in your favor, many people have asked, why not just resign at that point?” Kelly asked.

“If I resign I lose my voice,” Davis replied.

Thus, we see why Ms Davis has remained both defiant and on the job: She doesn’t want to lose the spotlight. It’s the only way she can spread her gospel of anti-gay hatred.

While this is quite a revelation … and it demonstrates how truly selfish she’s being … that’s not the part of her interview I’m most concerned about. There’s another little snippet (emphasis mine):

“It has been about upholding the word of God and how God defined marriage from the very beginning of time,” [Davis] insisted.

Please take note of this. It’s a commonly-repeated Christianist canard that God has “always” defined marriage as only “one-man-&-one-woman.” They love to say it over and over and over again.

There’s just one tiny little problem with it: If you look at their own scripture, you easily see that it’s not fucking true!

You see, as I noted long ago, marriage in the Bible comes in more than one form. The following Biblical figures all had marriages decidedly not of the one-man-&-one-woman variety:

Abraham: Married Sarah (Gen 16:1), then took as additional wives Hagar (Gen 16:3) and later Keturah (Gen 25:1).

Jacob: Married Leah (Gen 29:23), then Rachel (Gen 29:28), then Bilhah (Gen 30:4), then Zilpah (Gen 30:9).

Moses: Married Zipporah (Ex 2:21), then an unnamed Ethiopian woman (Num 12:1).

David: His named wives were Michal (1 Sam 18:27), Abigail (1 Sam 25:39), Ahinoam (1 Sam 25:43), Eglah, Abital, Haggith, & Maacah (2 Sam 3:3-5); and Bathsheba (2 Sam 12:24); there were an unknown number of other wives as well (2 Sam 5:13).

Solomon: Had 700 wives plus 300 concubines (1 Kg 11:3)

There are many more I could have listed, but didn’t. Yes, folks, Biblical marriage included polygamy and even concubinage! Granted, all of this is in the Old Testament, which some Christians will say doesn’t apply to them any more. (Except for the parts of it they say do still apply.) But really, whether it not it applies to them personally, cannot and will never make Ms Davis’s statement that “God defined marriage from the very beginning of time” as being only one-man-&-one-woman. It is, quite simply, flat-out untrue. A lie. A big fat fucking lie, in fact, since it’s so easy to verify as untrue! All one has to do is open up a fucking Bible and look at the words, fercryinoutloud.

However, as they like to say in infomercials, “But wait; there’s more!”

Looking at the New Testament, we see a pair of interesting admonitions. In 1 Tim 3:2 we see that overseers (aka bishops) must be men married to only one woman. Just ten verses later, in 1 Tim 3:12, we find that deacons also must be men married to one woman. The reason I call these instructions “interesting” is not just in what they say, but in what they don’t. That is, these requirements don’t apply to all Christians. They apply only to deacons and bishops. It’s quite possible, then, that some of the men in early Christian congregations — like many of the patriarchs and Hebrew monarchs before them — might have had multiple wives. The only problem for them was that they couldn’t be deacons or bishops. Otherwise they were Christians in good standing.

This, too, shows Ms Davis and her militant Christianist cohorts are lying when they said their deity had always declared marriage to be only of the one-man-&-one-woman sort. It’s just not true … not for the Biblical monarchs and patriarchs, and not even for the first few generations of Christians.

Now, that these presumably-devout Christians would lie for their Jesus is understandable, and par for the course. They lie for Jesus because they think they have to, because they should, and because they think they’ve got a special license to do so. They have no problem with it. But … I don’t understand why people in the media to whom they speak never summon the courage to challenge them on it. As I point out above, that’s remarkably easy to do. All that’s needed is a handy copy of the Bible to show them chapter-&-verse in which there were polygamous marriages, then ask them how they can say their God “always” defined marriage as one-man-&-one-woman. Megyn Kelly may work for the Religious Right’s house organ, but that isn’t really a justifiable excuse for her not to do her job. And it certainly can’t explain why journalists and interviewers from other outlets never issue the same challenge.

I’m happy to introduce Ms Davis to membership in my “lying liars for Jesus” club. She has lots of friends there already, so I know she’ll be happy. But she and her fellow Christofascists shouldn’t be granted carte blanche to lie as often as they want by the media. That’s got to fucking stop. Journalists need to grow up, and grow a pair, then do what they should. Period.

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Portrait of crying baby girlBy now you already know about the US Supreme Court having declared the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional. You also know the Religious Right is going out of its collective mind over it. Their sanctimonious rage is predictable and entertaining.

In light of this decision, I’ll crib a little from one of my first posts on this blog, addressing some of their misconceptions and lies about marriage:

The R.R. rages and fumes about “Biblical marriage” being solely between one man and one woman, but because they don’t read their own Bibles, they have no fucking clue that this just isn’t the case. The Bible actually presents several different forms of marriage. These forms include polygamy and even concubinage:

These are not the only Biblical figures whose God-approved marriages were decidedly not of the “one man, one woman” variety.

Lest one think polygamy was solely an Old Testament-era phenomenon, the author of 1 Timothy makes a point of declaring that deacons and bishops had to be men married to only one woman (1 Tim 3:2, 12). That this had to be specified, indicates that polygamy wasn’t unheard of in the Greco-Roman world, nor even among Christians. And note, the injunction was only against polygamous men becoming deacons or bishops. They could be, and some of them presumably did, otherwise remain Christians in good standing within their churches.

The “marriage is for procreation only!” claim is belied by the fact that there’s nothing that forces heterosexual couples to have children if they choose not to, nor any way to prevent an infertile heterosexual couple from marrying, if they want to.

The idea that letting gays marry will lead to people marrying their pets, is bullshit of the highest order. A marriage is a contract. Animals can’t enter into contracts. Hence, people can’t “marry” animals. It’s legally impossible.

I particularly love the hypocritical whining and bellyaching over the supposed loss of “religious freedom” for people and churches whose dogma teaches that gays and lesbians are second-class citizens who must be marginalized and ostracized — without acknowledging there are also religions that welcome gays and lesbians and which wish to treat them equally … including marrying them. According to the R.R., it’s OK to deprive those churches of their “religious freedom” to marry gays. Only they — that is, members of gay-hating churches — should have “religious freedom.”

I could continue addressing the R.R.’s claims about marriage, but it would be pointless. They aren’t interested in facts. They’re only interested in being angry about DOMA being invalidated and in venting their pointless, juvenile rage about it. The following Web pages provide useful catalogs of their collective insanity over this:

Keep stamping and fuming, little crybabies. Keep yelling and screaming that you’re not going to stand for it any more. Keep carrying on as though the world just ended when you know damn well it didn’t. Honestly, I find your outrage funny. And the best part is: Your anger over gay marriage no longer matters one iota. You aren’t going to be able to unravel the Supreme Court’s action — your only option is a Constitutional amendment, which everyone knows will never be enacted. So, boo fucking hoo hoo, little babies! Holler and rage all you like over it; I’m laughing at all of you.

Photo credit: Fiery-Phoenix, via Flickr.

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On the heels of the recent California Supreme Court ruling I blogged about earlier, it’s time to set the record straight on the matter of marriage in Judeo-Christian tradition. There are a great many misconceptions about it, which are frequently stated but are erroneous, and many flaws in the traditional views of it.

First, most people who are of the Judeo-Christian tradition consider marriage to be sacred and to be only between one man and one woman. There is scriptural support for this, in Genesis 2:24:

For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.

This verse is alluded to or quoted by Jesus in the gospels and in other books of the New Testament, so it can safely be said that this basic idea was presumed valid by those later authors. But the Bible is not consistent on the matter. A number of important figures in the Bible had multiple wives and even concubines in addition:

Abraham: Married Sarah (Gen 16:1), then took as additional wives Hagar (Gen 16:3) and later Keturah (Gen 25:1).

Jacob: Married Leah (Gen 29:23), then Rachel (Gen 29:28), then Bilhah (Gen 30:4), then Zilpah (Gen 30:9).

Moses: Married Zipporah (Ex 2:21), then an unnamed Ethiopian woman (Num 12:1).

David: His named wives were Michal (1 Sam 18:27), Abigail (1 Sam 25:39), Ahinoam (1 Sam 25:43), Eglah, Abital, Haggith, & Maacah (2 Sam 3:3-5); and Bathsheba (2 Sam 12:24); there were an unknown number of other wives as well (2 Sam 5:13).

Solomon: Had 700 wives plus 300 concubines (1 Kg 11:3)

There are many other Biblical figures with multiple wives and concubines, including Esau and several kings of Israel such as Ahab; but the above should suffice to demonstrate that multiple wives and concubines litter the pages of the Old Testament.

Lest anyone think that God allowed these patriarchs and kings to have multiple marriages but did not approve of the practice, note that Solomon, David’s heir, was the son of Bathsheba, who was not David’s first wife. God obviously didn’t mind polygamy that much if one of its offspring could have become God’s favorite and a later standard for divine wisdom.

In the wider Greco-Roman world of the 1st century CE, marriage was mostly monogamous, however, in the Near East — especially in places at the fringe of the Empire such as Persia and Egypt — polygamy and concubinage sometimes appeared, and the Romans generally tolerated it. Thus, in the pastoral epistles, there is an injunction on deacons in the early church:

Deacons must be husbands of only one wife (1 Tim 3:12)

as is the case for overseers or bishops (1 Tim 3:2). That the author of the epistle found it necessary to make this distinction implies that polygamy occurred, even if it may not have been the usual practice. If the words of this epistle are viewed through a strict legalistic interpretation, they mean that a Christian man could have more than one wife; he was merely disqualified to be a deacon or bishop. Let me repeat: These passages in 1 Timothy indicate that its author considered it possible for a good Christian man to have more than one wife! The only restriction on a Christian man with more than one wife, is that he cannot be a deacon or bishop.

Marriage did not become a Christian sacrament in practice until the Middle Ages. But even then this was merely an informal understanding; during the Reformation, the sacramental nature of marriage was still up in the air, so it was not officially declared a sacrament by the Roman Catholic Church until the Council of Trent in the 16th century, and it took some time to work its way into the official doctrines of other Christian sects.

So we are not talking, here, of millennia of Church control over marriage; the truth is far different.

There are two other common objections that Judeo-Christian traditionalists make against gay marriage, both of which are also just as invalid as their belief that monogamous marriage is scriptural. These are:

1. Letting gays marry will open the door to polygamists, communal or plural marriages, etc. This is an example of the slippery-slope fallacy. Doing one thing does not automatically require doing another, no matter how they appear. Polygamy and plural marriages are quite different from gay marriages — mainly because marriages are actually contracts between two parties. How can multiple people simultaneously enter into the same contract? Furthermore, how would inheritance, control over one’s affairs, etc. be adjudicated in a plural marriage? The answer: It can’t, at least not easily. Allowing plural marriages would require many adaptations and changes in the legal system. Going from man/woman marriage to two-person gay marriages, is not much of a leap; but enabling plural marriage introduces many potential complications. So slippery-slope thinking just does not apply here.

2. Marriage is intended for procreation only. Most people who spout this canard have never once considered the ramifications of this statement. If one follows this logic, it leads to the conclusion that infertile people cannot be allowed to marry (since they will never have children); it also means that couples cannot be left childless. I cannot even begin to imagine policing the “marriage-is-only-for-procreation” policy if it were to be made law; I suppose one could arrest and punish childless couples, and force infertile people to divorce, but really … it’s simply absurd. The idea that marriage is solely for procreation, cannot become the basis for matrimonial policy.

The bottom line, folks, is that gay marriage is here, and it will stay. I suppose opponents could fend it off for a generation or two by amending constitutions (state and/or federal), but eventually it will happen. Offhand I’d say the better thing to do is to grow up, accept it, and stop meddling in other people’s lives for no good reason.

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