At a Press Conference to Oppose Gay Marriage, Brave Reporter Asks About Polygamy in the Bible

The Coalition of African American Pastors (CAAP) is one of those groups that thinks gay marriage is a terrible, horrible thing. Yesterday, they held a press conference to oppose President Obama‘s stance on same-sex marriage. (Their timing is worthy of NBC coverage.)

But the timing worked out for them, since news broke yesterday that the Democrats may be including support of marriage equality in their party platform… (Meanwhile, Republicans are still unsure about that whole “evolution” thing.)

Anyway, CAAP was speaking at the National Press Club yesterday. Rev. William Owens was answering questions. And guess who was there to ask a question?

Jamila Bey.

You know this is gonna be good.

Since C-SPAN won’t let me embed the video, you can check it out here (start at the 19:10 mark).

Here’s the fun part:

Jamila Bey (far left) asks William Owens (far right) a question, much to his dismay

Bey: Reverend, What is God’s position on polygamy?

Owens: [Glares] Well, I think you know that. This is not about polygamy. This is about same-sex marriage.

Bey: This is about your — I need you to define for me, please, the Biblical definition of marriage–

Owens: The Biblical definition of marriage is a marriage between a man and a woman. And I’m not going to–

Bey: But Reverend–

Owens: I’m not going to get on another track!

Bey: … Talk to me about Abraham’s marriage.

Owens: Madam. Next question! Next question.

Bey: Reverend, what is God’s position on polygamy?

Owens: Next question!

Bey: Reverend, what is God’s position on polygamy?

Owens: Are you, are you going to stand there and just demand that I answer your question? This is not about polygamy. This is about same-sex marriage… and I will NOT do any different.

Bey: Reverend, you said that you would answer questions about Biblical marriage.

Owens: [To security] Would you have this lady removed?

Damn. Go, Jamila! (Though she ended up not getting kicked out and was able to ask more questions later in the press conference.)

If you want to have even more fun, watch the exchange immediately after Jamila’s, where a reporter asks Owens why he said Obama condones the molestation of children… Owens denies it… then the reporter quotes Owens’ words right back to him. Hilarious.

(via Greta)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • Joe Zamecki

    That’s DAMN good activism! She hit a weak spot and she hit it hard! Excellent. 

  • LesterBallard

    Motherfucking lying for Jesus hypocrite Christians. 

  • WoodwindsRock

    They’re so full of crap when it comes to this “Biblical definition of marriage” and “traditional marriage” nonsense that it’s great to see them cornered on it. Not too surprisingly they had no response.

    • jdm8

      They really don’t want to think about it too hard.  Heck, the only thing they take out of Leviticus is the anti-gay stuff.

      • johnee

        Yeah, it’s such selective bullshit. They completely ignore all the other stuff in Leviticus that wouldn’t play well.  Not to mention all the genocide, slavery, murder of children, and  rape of women  in the OT that the big guy himself commands. 

        • Mythra

          Dont forget the evil shrimp! Nobody likes evil crustaceans!

          • johnee

            LOL! It’s real funny how genuine dietary safety issues ( both shrimp and pork could give food poisoning and kill quite easily ) turned into a religious beleif of “unclean” animals.

            • Mythra

              So I wonder why chicken never made it on the shall not eat list. Good point though. Never really thought about it like that. Sent from my LG phone

  • David McNerney

    Unbelievable the cognitive dissonance in this guy.

    When he’s asked how this compares to the civil rights issue he dismisses it because gay people can use the water fountains and eat in the restaurant etc: They aren’t denied any of these rights.

    Then later he says it doesn’t matter if you are rich, have a good job, a good physician – the most important thing is family.

    Does he seriously think that being denied the right to marry is secondary to the right to drink out of the same tap as someone else. 

    I’m not sure why there was a distinction between blacks and whites in respect of water taps – but if I were to guess, they probably believed they might catch some kind of disease – which is actually more rational (given the correlation between race and poverty) than suggesting that heterosexual marriage will catch something from same-sex marriage.

    • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

      Unbelievable the cognitive dissonance in this guy.

      As I’ve observed before, there’s no cognitive dissonance here. This guy doesn’t give a damn about any biblical definition of marriage. He’s grossed out by homosexuality, and considers gays to be sick sinners. As a result, he doesn’t consider them deserving of the same rights as everyone else. In his mind they are no different from criminals. He simply uses his selective reading of the Bible as an excuse, since without that there are no grounds at all for his position.

      Compartmentalization is what allows a person to be simultaneously rational in some respects while irrationally being a theist. Cognitive dissonance is a sense of discomfort that can result from imperfect compartmentalization. This guy is not compartmentalizing, and there is no cognitive dissonance. The only dissonance here is the discomfort he feels when he’s called out in his lie about biblical marriage- because he knows it’s a lie, and he can’t defend it. So he blusters and runs from the question.

      • Mythra

        Well said. “Security please remove this woman! She’s making me look bad!” That’s what I heard.

      • David McNerney

        True.

    • Stev84

       

      Then later he says it doesn’t matter if you are rich, have a good job, a good physician – the most important thing is family.

      Except of course gay family members and their own families

  • Stev84

    Anti-gay activists not liking to be quoted is a big thing these days. A lot of them are crying persecution now when they’re merely quoted.

  • Iosue

    I guess these idiots have never heard of Coretta Scott King?

    http://scienceblogs.com/dispatches/2006/02/07/coretta-scott-king-on-gay-righ/

    • Sarah

      She was an eloquent lady.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/K4W25PSJSOBXLC7BPFHYBDRFBM FSM follower

    i rarely use profanity but… fuckyea! that was so delicious it had to be fattening!

  • Lamocla

    If journalists would do their jobs properly and ask the real question instead of given religious nut bag free pass, you would see those cockroacchs hide at any sign of a camera.

    • Stev84

      But every issue has two equally valid sides that both deserve consideration!

      /snark

      • Lamocla

        What? Have you been living under a rock or something? The media is bias and doesn’t consider both side.

        Why was not one single journalist question Romney when he declare with a straight face that he believe mariage is between one man and one woman when is founder of his religion taught polygamy?

        • http://canadianheathen.wordpress.com/ The Yazata

          I think you missed the /snark tag.

          • Lamocla

            My bad, talk about missing the point!

        • Proglibnol

          “Biased.”

          • http://gloomcookie613.tumblr.com GloomCookie613

            Thank you!

        • Rwlawoffice

           Are you seriously saying that the media is bias against conservatives?  If so, I do not know where you have been living.  For example, when Ann Romney wears a shirt that costs $900 she is raked over the goals for being out of touch, but when Michelle Obama wears a jacket that costs $6,500 at the Olympics she is called a fashion icon that is supporting businesses in America.

          • Michelle Porebski

            The First Lady has a clothing allowance, she should be dressing the part and I think she is doing a great job!  I am also sure that many designers give her clothing, it’s great advertisement for them as well as giving her wonderful clothes!

            • Rwlawoffice

              Of couser she can wear whatever she pleases, but that wasn’t the point I made.  Ihe point was that the liberal media lamblasted Ann Romney for wearing an expensive shirt (that she bought with her own money) for being out of touch with ordinary Americans and then said nothing about Michelle Obama wearing a much more expensive jacket (that according to you she may have bought with tax money).  It just shows their bias against conservatives and how hard they are trying to get Obama reelected.

              They are a joke.

               

              • Mythra

                You are a joke. That 900$ shirt was one of thousands I’m sure mrs romney owns. Although she probably has a secret stash in other countries closets to avoid paying taxes on them! Burn!

              • johnee

                You are over simplifying it way too much. While some journalists may be left of center, their bosses are not necessarily so.  The big news outlets are corporate controlled.

                Lately,  CNN has adopted more of right of center tone in a lot of their programming in order to compete with Fox News . I’ve seen some really softball interviews, and a reluctance to ask the tough questions .  

              • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke, orphan

                buddy, i don’t know what you spend on clothes, but a $900 shirt *is* out of touch with most americans’ budgets. if you don’t get that, so are you. 

                • Rwlawoffice

                  So since michelle Obama spent 6,800 on a jacket would you also call her out of touch?

                • unclemike

                   It’s still unclear if she spent the money or if it was a gift from the designer. All we know for sure is how much it is worth.

          • Patterrssonn

            That’s the best you can do? A t -shirt?

            • Rwlawoffice

              Just giving one example of many.

              • Patterrssonn

                Are the rest of them just as pathetic?

  • Sarah

    While I appreciate that people managed to get in some excellent questions, overall this was pretty depressing… Obviously the situations are not exactly the same, but it is sad to see how a group who has frequently been oppressed no problem turning around and doing the exact same thing to someone else.

    • Stev84

      For some reason that’s pretty normal. Almost every revolution ends with the victorious side oppressing someone else. It seems that despite any rhetoric about justice and freedom, most people only care about their own group’s interests.

      • Yourrep Regina

        Well said, Stev84

      • Rwlawoffice

         Actually the vast majority of African Americans are outraged that the gay rights crowd are calling this a civil rights issue and believe that the comparison is an outrage. (This is despite the NAACP vote).  They view it a choice not as a discrimination because of birth. 

        • Randomfactor

          They are entitled to their inappropriate outrage, although “vast majority” is a likely overstatement. 

          Choosing a particular faith, as these “ministers” have done is ALSO a matter of choice (but there’s evidence that sexual orientation is not.)  I feel sure that they’d be ALSO outraged at government discrimination based on their religious choices.

        • Patterrssonn

          I think you just proved Steve’s point

        • amycas

          Whether or not being gay is a choice, why should the government have any say in what consenting adults do in their bedrooms?

  • zazabard

    Actually, if you listen carefully, around 19:40, she asks “what is God’s position on slavery” not “polygamy” as written in the transcript.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=553145445 Gordon Duffy

    So long as a straight atheist like me can get married I don’t see what relevance the “biblical definition” could have. 

    • amycas

      I think it would be awesome if lesbian and gay (male) couples pared up. Get married, gain the benefits, and then be “actually” married to their gay partner. That’s what gay couples did at my high school in order to get the couples discount on the tickets (same-sex couples were not elligible for the discount). To by pass this a male couple and a female couple swapped partners for buying the tickets, received the discount and then showed up to prom with the partner they wanted. This wouldn’t fix anything, but I think it would be a powerful statement.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Dharmaworks David Benjamin Patton

    Ugh. I can’t stand these dumb shit bible bigots that can’t even string two coherent sentence fragments together yet they call that a conclusive argument. 

  • Tainda

    Jamila is my new hero!

  • NewAtheist

    It’s funny how they’re deliberatly ignoring bible passages that condone the slavery of darker-skinned races (being punished by god with dark skin); completely ignore the Constitution that says “all men are created equal” which makes their CAAP illegal and makes gay marriage bans illegal; profess to believe the bible is The word of god, where Jesus says to love thy neighbor as thyself… but are completely comfortable peddling bigotry, hate and exclusion…

    • Stev84

      They’re not ignoring them. They just conveniently re-interpret them to mean only “benign” indentured servitude

    • Freak

      “all men are created equal” is from the Declaration of Independence, not the Constitution.

    • Rwlawoffice

       What Bible verse are you referring to?

      • Stev84

        Everyone, please don’t feed the resident troll again.

        You know he’ll just lie about slavery in the Bible not being “real” slavery again. He’ll pretend it’s just indentured servitude and the servants were treated extremely well and were oh so happy. Just like the last couple of times he goaded people into getting into an argument.

        • Rwlawoffice

           Typical tactic- trying to shut down discussion by calling names. 

          • Stev84

            No. Just saying that any kind of discussion with you is impossible because it’s always the same frustrating and disingenuous shit with you.

            • Rwlawoffice

              I realize it’s frustrating to you that the reality of slavery in biblical times doesn’t fit with your sound bites but you really should not try to avoid the truth.

              • Piet

                The truth about you cherry picking the bible is very well known here.

              • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                You (and others) keep saying that slavery in the Bible was 6 years of voluntary labor to pay off debts.  But there are many cases that clearly are NOT that.

                If you give a slave a wive, at the end of the six years she and any children don’t go free with the man.

                So children born into slavery remain the property of the owner.  And women don’t really count.

                THAT IS SLAVERY IN YOUR FUCKING BIBLE.

                • johnee

                  Don’t forget the times  when God decided to have the chosen people wipe out another race.

                  The survivors would be taken or sold into slavery. Then the Patriarchs of the Hebrews, in their infinite wisdom, would command that the women  of the husbands that they just killed  ( right after they murdered all the little boys), should be taken as “wives” ( essentially raped sex slaves).

              • johnee

                 OK genius I know you’re reading this.  The rules in any kind of debate are….THAT YOU NEED TO COME BACK WITH SOME EVIDENCE IN ORDER TO RE-BUTT HIS ARGUMENT!! Got it?

            • amycas

              I second this. I and many others have discussed this issue with Rw in the past, and xe merely ignores what you say and then disingenuously spouts the same argument again. 

              • johnee

                Right. The first clue that some one is full of crap is that they won’t come back with any evidence supporting their views after others have re-butted their argument.

                 

        • Edmond

          Right, because willing servants can be beaten to within an inch of their lives (Exodus 21:20-21), and when their term of service is over, if they had any children during that time, the master gets to keep them (Exodus 21:4)!  Pretty standard employment contract stuff, really.

      • johnee

        He’s confusing the Bible with the Book of Mormon. However, the Bible is loaded with pro-slavery passages.  I would be happy to list several of them of you wish.

  • http://twitter.com/silo_mowbray Silo Mowbray

    I’d have a LOT more respect for the guy (“a lot more” means going from “zero” to “1″ on a scale of 1000) if he’d just admit that he gets icked out by the buttsecks.

    Biblical definition my ass. The dude just can’t cope with reality.

    • http://www.facebook.com/tmichael.stoudt T Michael Stoudt

      “… if he’d just admit that he gets icked out by the buttsecks.”

      … even though some straight couples have been known to do the same.

      • Michael

        I am icked by buttsecks. I deal with this by not having buttsecks. Problem solved.

        • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke, orphan

          what a wise person you are!

          just had to chime in to say that it’s always the boi on boi buttsecks. for some reason, two wimmin kissin and licking each other lady’s parts is rarely pointed out by these clowns. i wonder why that is…

          • johnee

            Hmmm.  Mysteriously, lesbians  are not mentioned in the OT. Methinks there may not have been an issue with girl on girl  stuff in the patriarchal controlled, polygamous culture of the ancient Hebrews. Which gets back to Jamila’s point.     

            • Lindsay Smith

              I’ve been given the explanation (on a facebook page called “Calling All Atheists”) that male-male sex is prohibited by Gawd because of the physical damage it does.  Females, this guy goes on to say, are prohibited from same because it would be unfair for the men to see women doing something they’re not allowed to do.

              This guy has also stated that the primary goal of the (male) homosexual community is to create as long a line as possible of connected men gettin’ it on.

              • amycas

                 To which I would reply: What physical damage is ever caused by a man giving another man a blow-job or mutual masturbation or other forms of non-penetrative sex?

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/47IDX2QAR6VU6ZAILFU6I23ACQ Joseph

       “…if he’d just admit that he gets icked out by the buttsecks.”

      …or perhaps his reaction is from his Christian shame for enjoying it just a little too much. 

  • Lambert Heenan

    Good ole CNN – the video is not ‘temporarily unavailable’

  • Lambert Heenan

    Oops

    Good ole CNN – the video is NOW  ‘temporarily unavailable’ 

  • http://twitter.com/InMyUnbelief TCC

    You can watch the whole press conference from the C-SPAN video library here.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dani.tofte Dani Tofte

    Can be viewed here:  
    http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/OppositiontoSa

    I love how Jamila also asked about the problem of a high percentage of black men leaving their families and leaving the mothers to be single parents (because he said that gay marriage is the #1 problem destroying marriage).

    • johnee

      Snap! She burned his ass good, didn’t she?

  • GregFromCos

    Sadly, I’m guessing they will not have an issue raising money to convince people to not vote for Obama because of this issue…

  • rlrose328

    At around 24:16, we get to his real point… African-Americans have been supporting Obama because he’s black (“well really, half black, half white”) and thus, ignoring the issues as this guy sees them.  And Obama hasn’t been bending over backwards to give the black community all of his attention:

    “He [Obama] has ignored us… he’s ignored the black preachers, he’s ignored the black press… he does not come to our conventions, he didn’t go to the NAACP convention… The church of which I’m a member has over 6 million members, he didn’t come there… But he goes to anything THEY want.”

    So this guy is mad because Obama isn’t catering to the African-American population like they think he should because he’s one of them.  So he’s going to punish Obama by making gay marriage a BIG DEAL.

  • http://sunombreenvano.blogspot.com/ Diego, El Mapache

    When I see African American leaders get so worked up against gay marriage without being able to understand that, just like them, gays are suffering discrimination, every bit of support for them and outrage at bigoted attacks against them are gone. It;s hard to see them acting that way and then being outraged at someone calling them niggers, or making a joke about lynching.

    • johnee

      Yep. A lot of well meaning people have the misguided assumption that minority groups that have suffered past discrimination are less likely to be racists or bigots. Unfortunately, that doesn’t appear to be the case.  Over the years, I have heard a lot of blacks and Jews say the most horrible shit about each other.

      • machintelligence

        Last guys don’t necessarily finish nice.

  • Rwlawoffice

    Jay Carney dodged the question about Obama’s position on polygamy in a press conference just the other day. 

     http://www.wnd.com/2012/07/carney-flees-question-about-obama-polygamy/?cat_orig=politics

    When this issue started several issues ago, those of us that oppose same sex marriage predicted that the next step would be for the legalization of polygamy.  That is already starting.  A suit has been filed in Utah to call the laws against polygamy unconstitutional.  But Obama is avoiding the question and not taking a stand on it like he did same sex marriage. 

    • http://twitter.com/FelyxLeiter Felyx Leiter

      Polyg-what?  Oh, you mean the Biblical definition of marriage.

    • alconnolly

       Before responding you should know that my dad was a polygamist and it was a mess, so I think it is almost always a stupid move. However, there is no legitimate reason to not allow polygamy when all parties all fully aware of all other parties, and in agreement regarding it. It would massively complicate divorce however.

      • Rwlawoffice

        As a child in a polygamist household you know better than most how this would harm children and as such the state has a legitimate interest in prohibiting it despite the fact that some adults may what to enter into this arrangement.

        • machintelligence

          It isn’t so much the number of wives that bother me , but the age at which they are married.  From what I have read,
           most FLDS  additional brides marry at about age 14 – 16.

          • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

            It’s also the one man-many wives assumption, and the coercion of women into it.

        • Earl G.

          How would it harm children?  If the group marriage is consensual and loving for every co-parent, how are the children harmed?

        • alconnolly

           Sorry but making polygamy illegal only makes actual legal documents unavailable, the same relationship and living arrangement is not illegal (my dad did not legally marry second wife, no law was broken, but the living arrangement and understanding of all parties was the same). Children are affected for good or bad (mostly bad) regardless of the legal status of the additional marriages. Making it legal only adds to the protection of vulnerable parties. The state does not make every unethical thing illegal there has to be strong compelling rational. As I said the living arrangement is not illegal, so the state does nothing to protect children by not giving the additional members of a marriage legal recognition.

    • RobMcCune

      There is a difference between dodging a question and not responding to a guy blurting out questions. 

    • Piet

      Of course the link between marriage equality and polygamy is just as obvious as the link between interracial marriage and beastiality.
      Don’t worry about it.

  • Mythra

    Wow. True hipocrasy. “We want to preserve the family”. What about the gay families? Tear them apart and start all over? These people make me sick. Obama represents an entire nation, not just a certain group, race or sect. These preachers need to listen to what they are saying.
    Good reporting. That woman is tough!

  • jefftav

    This is another area that confuses me greatly…how would fundamentalist christians be affected by strangers’ polygamous marriages?

  • Randy

    Wow.  They have doubled-down on offensive.

  • Tyrrlin Flamestrike

    I heard this guy briefly on CNN today while at work.  All one has to do is substitute “gay” with “black” or “homosexual” with “interracial” and not only does it sound like the same tripe spouted not-so-long-ago in U.S. history, but the dear “Reverend” sounds like a complete hypocrite.  

    In the not-too-distant future, we’re going to look back on this era of homosexual equal rights fight and shake our heads.

    • WoodwindsRock

       I’m already shaking my head.

  • Barnel Saintilma

    Oh shit that’s right!   Abraham was a polygamist!  (Sunday school was a long time ago for some of us)

  • Eliza Wood

    Beautiful.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=625429396 Andrew Kilian

    Boy, this Pastor is a prize moron.


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