This is the continuation of our look at three interesting articles on same-sex marriage. In part 1, we looked at a recommended secret weapon that Christians use against same-sex marriage.
The second article is “How gay marriage harms people” (2017). Let’s critique the many popular arguments it makes against same-sex marriage.
1. “The Bible says that marriage is rooted in God’s creation of mankind (Matthew 19:4–8).”
The Bible also says that marriage is to be avoided. Paul said, “Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry” (1 Corinthians 7:8–9). This is one more example where the Bible is a sock puppet that can be made to say just about anything.
Marriage as one of God’s sacred gifts to mankind is a new idea. Marriage wasn’t a Christian sacrament until 1215, and that was only to give the church the power to annul marriages that made political alliances it didn’t like (more here).
2. “Throughout Scripture, it is clear that marriage is a lifelong, exclusive covenantal union of two people—a husband and a wife.”
Nope. God gives polygamy two thumbs up. God said to David, “I gave your master’s house to you, and your master’s wives into your arms. I gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more.” (2 Samuel 12:8). More here.
One response is that God was simply working with the imperfect customs of the time, and that’s why he didn’t prohibit slavery or polygamy. In response, it’s ridiculous to imagine the perfect plan of an omnipotent god hobbled by the primitive morality of an Iron Age people. He didn’t have any problem putting the Ten Commandments into action immediately, with the death penalty for violating most of them.
Second, if “God was bound by the customs of the time” doesn’t constrain you from rejecting slavery and polygamy today, then you’re not constrained to keep other nutty Old Testament prohibitions like those against homosexuality. You can’t have it both ways—God’s clear preferences in the Old Testament either bind you or they don’t.
3. “The production of children requires both a man and a woman. So there cannot be any such thing as gay marriage, because marriage requires husband and wife.”
Well, that was a leap. Children require a man and a woman (no, they don’t have to be married), but so what? Reread the marriage vows—there’s a lot in that commitment, but none of it is about making babies.
And if marriage = babies, why focus on the tangential issue of same-sex marriage? Far more straight couples have a fertility problem than there are potential homosexual couples, and many more straight couples simply don’t want children. Why not complain that they are the ones who don’t understand what marriage is about? Or if you’re fine with childless straight couples, why not be consistent and accept childless gay couples? (The answer for those keeping score at home: they reject only gay childless couples because “marriage is all about the babies” is just a smokescreen.) More here.
Here again, the Bible is no friend to the Christian bigot. Paul says, “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman” (1 Cor. 7:1). So much for the celebrated role of procreation.
4. “Homosexual activity is harmful and destructive to oneself and others.”
Why? How? This statement is supported by no argument, so it doesn’t need an argument to be dismissed.
5. “If we abandon the Bible’s teaching on marriage and just make up new definitions as we go, then why couldn’t marriage be redefined in other ways?”
Uh, it has, and in your lifetime. Mixed-race marriage is now legal. Divorce has become no-fault. Marital rape is illegal.
Different states even have different rules defining marriage—whether you can marry your cousin, whether a blood test is required, waiting period, residency requirements, rules for divorced persons, and so on. No, the definition of “marriage” isn’t fixed, so don’t get your knickers in a bunch because marriage has changed again.
6. “The more we move away from the biblical teaching on marriage, the more we’ll have broken homes, because other arrangements simply do not work as well as God’s design.”
In the United States, the Constitution is completely secular. The First Amendment prohibits “because the Bible (or God) says so” from being the basis of any law. This is fortunate since statistics reveal that more religion in Western countries correlates with worse social conditions (more here).
Another problem with your desire to guide America with biblical principles is that the Bible’s punishment for homosexuality is death. You can’t have a crime without a punishment, so your hypocrisy is showing if you tell us that homosexuality is bad because God says so without also demanding God’s punishment.
Finally, and despite your best efforts, this doesn’t affect you at all. If you don’t like gay marriage, then don’t get gay married. If you are honestly concerned about attacks on marriage (rather than being a moral busybody, which is what it looks like), same-sex marriage is the good guy in this story. It is trying to expand and support marriage, not attack it. You want a problem? Divorce is a problem. Focus on why marriages fail if you want to help them.
Continue with the final part, “You Think You Understand What Leviticus Says Against Homosexuality?”
Life in Lubbock, Texas, taught me two things.
The other is that sex is the most awful, filthy thing on Earth
and you should save it for someone you love.
— Butch Hancock
Image credit: Bev Sykes, flickr, CC