Defense of Marriage Act ruled unconstitutional

The Defense of Marriage Act, a federal law defining marriage as being between a man and a woman, was declared unconstitutional by an appeals court in Boston because it discriminates against legally-married gay couples.

This will likely  go the Supreme Court.

This means that gay marriage will likely no longer be left up to the states.  Rather, it will be resolved on a national basis.

Court says marriage law discriminates against gay couples | Reuters.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • MichaelZ

    Sigh, it was going to happen eventually, “Full Faith and Credit” and all that…
    This is going to get messy.

  • MichaelZ

    Sigh, it was going to happen eventually, “Full Faith and Credit” and all that…
    This is going to get messy.

  • Michael B.

    I’m sure after homosexuals get equal rights we can find another group to look down upon.

  • Michael B.

    I’m sure after homosexuals get equal rights we can find another group to look down upon.

  • TE Schroeder

    Michael B., either you believe a) it would be a good thing for America if perversion were endorsed or b) homosexual behavior is not perversion and there is no reason for anyone to repent of it. May I ask which one you believe it is?

  • TE Schroeder

    Michael B., either you believe a) it would be a good thing for America if perversion were endorsed or b) homosexual behavior is not perversion and there is no reason for anyone to repent of it. May I ask which one you believe it is?

  • http://gslcnm.com Pastor Spomer

    Where does my daughter fit in? She’s an Asian woman. She’s also one of those children who would have been killed, as she was a Chinese baby girl.

  • http://gslcnm.com Pastor Spomer

    Where does my daughter fit in? She’s an Asian woman. She’s also one of those children who would have been killed, as she was a Chinese baby girl.

  • Jon

    “This means that gay marriage will likely no longer be left up to the states. “

    Yes, which is what the other part of the DOMA was designed to do–ensure that states that don’t have genderless marriage do not have to recognize those marriages performed in states that do.

    Which is why I found Obama’s “but it should be up to the states” to be completely disingenuous. This, when he’s directed his justice department to not enforce the law because he’s determined it’s unconstitutional.

  • Jon

    “This means that gay marriage will likely no longer be left up to the states. “

    Yes, which is what the other part of the DOMA was designed to do–ensure that states that don’t have genderless marriage do not have to recognize those marriages performed in states that do.

    Which is why I found Obama’s “but it should be up to the states” to be completely disingenuous. This, when he’s directed his justice department to not enforce the law because he’s determined it’s unconstitutional.

  • http://www.christlutheran.net Jeff Samelson

    What none of the articles I’ve read on this seem to put any stress on is the fact that the Justice Department, which is charged with defending the laws of the United States, has simply decided not to do so. So it’s not surprising at all that the court’s decision is going to favor the plaintiffs — generally speaking, when the defendant’s attorney doesn’t bother putting up a defense, the other side wins.

    Theoretically, Congress could act to somehow censure or punish Obama, Holder, or the Justice Department for failing to uphold the law they enacted — perhaps even impeach the president for acting unconstitutionally — but a) it’s doubtful many in Congress would have the stomach for it, and b) as long as the Democrats control the Senate there’s no chance of success.

    Those who want to defend the Defense of Marriage Act have to hope (pray?) both that Obama loses in November and the new (Romney) administration decides to defend the law and that the case doesn’t make it to the Supreme Court until after the inauguration.

  • http://www.christlutheran.net Jeff Samelson

    What none of the articles I’ve read on this seem to put any stress on is the fact that the Justice Department, which is charged with defending the laws of the United States, has simply decided not to do so. So it’s not surprising at all that the court’s decision is going to favor the plaintiffs — generally speaking, when the defendant’s attorney doesn’t bother putting up a defense, the other side wins.

    Theoretically, Congress could act to somehow censure or punish Obama, Holder, or the Justice Department for failing to uphold the law they enacted — perhaps even impeach the president for acting unconstitutionally — but a) it’s doubtful many in Congress would have the stomach for it, and b) as long as the Democrats control the Senate there’s no chance of success.

    Those who want to defend the Defense of Marriage Act have to hope (pray?) both that Obama loses in November and the new (Romney) administration decides to defend the law and that the case doesn’t make it to the Supreme Court until after the inauguration.

  • Jon

    @Jeff- Congress has been hiring attorneys to defend the law that the DOJ refuses to defend.

  • Jon

    @Jeff- Congress has been hiring attorneys to defend the law that the DOJ refuses to defend.

  • Charles

    “The Defense of Marriage Act, a federal law defining marriage…”

    “This means that [the definition of] marriage will likely no longer be left up to the states.”

    It sure looks like marriage was not left up to the states since the federal law defining marriage took effect.

  • Charles

    “The Defense of Marriage Act, a federal law defining marriage…”

    “This means that [the definition of] marriage will likely no longer be left up to the states.”

    It sure looks like marriage was not left up to the states since the federal law defining marriage took effect.

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com John

    This is where “conservatives” and liberals often kiss. They both want the most powerful force enforcing their own beliefs and desires.

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com John

    This is where “conservatives” and liberals often kiss. They both want the most powerful force enforcing their own beliefs and desires.

  • DonS

    If you read the opinion, you will find it to be filled with the most banal and tortured reasoning you could possibly imagine. It essentially acknowledges that binding Supreme Court precedent does not permit the court to reach the conclusion it reaches, but then it does so anyway, for reasons that are so obscure as to be unexplainable. This opinion is exemplary of the foolishness of the wisdom of man.

    The Supreme Court will almost certainly take up this case and the others percolating through the appellate court system, in the next term. Keep in mind that no vote of the people has EVER supported the notion of sanctioned gay marriage. This is another case of judges forging new law, because they think that somehow they are more enlightened than we, the rubes, are.

  • DonS

    If you read the opinion, you will find it to be filled with the most banal and tortured reasoning you could possibly imagine. It essentially acknowledges that binding Supreme Court precedent does not permit the court to reach the conclusion it reaches, but then it does so anyway, for reasons that are so obscure as to be unexplainable. This opinion is exemplary of the foolishness of the wisdom of man.

    The Supreme Court will almost certainly take up this case and the others percolating through the appellate court system, in the next term. Keep in mind that no vote of the people has EVER supported the notion of sanctioned gay marriage. This is another case of judges forging new law, because they think that somehow they are more enlightened than we, the rubes, are.

  • Joe

    While I have only read snippits of the opinion, it appears that federalism is why the court struck DOMA’s provisions that created a federal definition of marriage and then denied federal benefits to couples outside that definition. The Court stated that the federal gov’t failed to articlate any interest in denying benefits to those persons who were validly married under the laws of their home state. I’m not see an intrusion of the feds into who states are to define marriage in that reasoning.

    Also, the full faith and credit clause does not requrie a state with a gay marriage ban to recognize the marriage of a couple who move into that state after having been married on a state that allows for same sex unions. Under the current formulation of the clause as applied to marriage (state marrage laws are already very different thus, the intersection of the FF&C Clause and marrigae is nothing new) – State A does not have to recognize a marriage preformed in State B if:

    1. the couple traveled to State B for the purpose of circumventing State A’s marrigae laws.

    OR

    2. If state A has an articulated public policy against recognizing the marriage. (A consitutional provision banning smae sex marraige would seem to satisfy this requriement in spades.)

    Now a future court could ignore this past case law or perhaps find a reason that it does not apply to same sex marriage the same way it applies to marriage between cousins or common law marriages. But whether DOMA is on the books will be irrevenat to that analysis if we ever get to it.

  • Joe

    While I have only read snippits of the opinion, it appears that federalism is why the court struck DOMA’s provisions that created a federal definition of marriage and then denied federal benefits to couples outside that definition. The Court stated that the federal gov’t failed to articlate any interest in denying benefits to those persons who were validly married under the laws of their home state. I’m not see an intrusion of the feds into who states are to define marriage in that reasoning.

    Also, the full faith and credit clause does not requrie a state with a gay marriage ban to recognize the marriage of a couple who move into that state after having been married on a state that allows for same sex unions. Under the current formulation of the clause as applied to marriage (state marrage laws are already very different thus, the intersection of the FF&C Clause and marrigae is nothing new) – State A does not have to recognize a marriage preformed in State B if:

    1. the couple traveled to State B for the purpose of circumventing State A’s marrigae laws.

    OR

    2. If state A has an articulated public policy against recognizing the marriage. (A consitutional provision banning smae sex marraige would seem to satisfy this requriement in spades.)

    Now a future court could ignore this past case law or perhaps find a reason that it does not apply to same sex marriage the same way it applies to marriage between cousins or common law marriages. But whether DOMA is on the books will be irrevenat to that analysis if we ever get to it.

  • Joe

    sorry for all the typos

  • Joe

    sorry for all the typos

  • DonS

    Joe @ 11: I’m still reading through it — it is really hard to follow the logic. But the strangest thing of all is to argue federalism as a reason why the federal government cannot define “marriage” for the purpose of distributing federal benefits. That is just plain absurd, for a host of reasons, not the least of which is to ensure that states do not jimmy definitions of terms for the purpose of securing for their citizens a disproportionate share of federal benefits.

    Now if you want to talk about federalism in the context of whether these federal programs should exist at all, I’m all ears.

  • DonS

    Joe @ 11: I’m still reading through it — it is really hard to follow the logic. But the strangest thing of all is to argue federalism as a reason why the federal government cannot define “marriage” for the purpose of distributing federal benefits. That is just plain absurd, for a host of reasons, not the least of which is to ensure that states do not jimmy definitions of terms for the purpose of securing for their citizens a disproportionate share of federal benefits.

    Now if you want to talk about federalism in the context of whether these federal programs should exist at all, I’m all ears.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    We are losing rule of law and democracy.

    Talk about not caring about community.

    The reason we can form communities and organizations is based in the right to free association. The Boy Scouts were able to keep out gays last time, but what about this court? Or with a few more judges like Kagan?

    Gay marriage is not the endgame.

    It is a step.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    We are losing rule of law and democracy.

    Talk about not caring about community.

    The reason we can form communities and organizations is based in the right to free association. The Boy Scouts were able to keep out gays last time, but what about this court? Or with a few more judges like Kagan?

    Gay marriage is not the endgame.

    It is a step.

  • http://gslcnm.com Pastor Spomer

    Oops! Pardon my post it was meant for the thread on gender selective abortions. Never mind.

  • http://gslcnm.com Pastor Spomer

    Oops! Pardon my post it was meant for the thread on gender selective abortions. Never mind.

  • fws

    Interesting facts from NOM the National Organization to Save Marriage. SAVE Marriage! By preventing homos from getting married.

    This is the beginning of the End of Marriage in the usa. We need to save marriage! This is a desperate battle!

    Men and women will stop having sex with each other.
    Men and women will have more divorces.
    Men and women will stop procreating.
    Men and women will stop getting married.
    Fewer children will live with both their birth parents.

    What else could “save marriage” mean?

    We know this because that is what is happening in Massachuchetts and Iowa? Marriage has been legal in Mass for how many years now?

    Sg? what are the statistics in Mass and Iowa on this? If there are none, how many years before we have the statistics to prove these things that NOM is declaring?

  • fws

    Interesting facts from NOM the National Organization to Save Marriage. SAVE Marriage! By preventing homos from getting married.

    This is the beginning of the End of Marriage in the usa. We need to save marriage! This is a desperate battle!

    Men and women will stop having sex with each other.
    Men and women will have more divorces.
    Men and women will stop procreating.
    Men and women will stop getting married.
    Fewer children will live with both their birth parents.

    What else could “save marriage” mean?

    We know this because that is what is happening in Massachuchetts and Iowa? Marriage has been legal in Mass for how many years now?

    Sg? what are the statistics in Mass and Iowa on this? If there are none, how many years before we have the statistics to prove these things that NOM is declaring?

  • fws

    sg @ 14

    why is it that two gay men cannot chose to freely associate in the form of contracting to marry? remind me why not…..

  • fws

    sg @ 14

    why is it that two gay men cannot chose to freely associate in the form of contracting to marry? remind me why not…..

  • thirddayfreak

    ..We officially have Judicial Oligarchy running the country.

  • thirddayfreak

    ..We officially have Judicial Oligarchy running the country.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Be warned: this will eventually be used as war on the church.

    Thankfully, God’s morality is not determined by man’s legislation. Man can scoff and curse in the eye of God all he wants: God is not changed by our rebellion against Him.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Be warned: this will eventually be used as war on the church.

    Thankfully, God’s morality is not determined by man’s legislation. Man can scoff and curse in the eye of God all he wants: God is not changed by our rebellion against Him.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Michael B @ 2, I must be frank: when a person professes Christianity, yet flagrantly and unrepentantly denies that which is specifically taught as true in the Old and New Testaments, I question whether or not that person has truly undergone a conversion in the first place.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Michael B @ 2, I must be frank: when a person professes Christianity, yet flagrantly and unrepentantly denies that which is specifically taught as true in the Old and New Testaments, I question whether or not that person has truly undergone a conversion in the first place.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    J. Dean (@20), good job, there, cowboy!

    What, exactly, did Michael B. say (@2) that “flagrantly and unrepentantly denies that which is specifically taught as true in the Old and New Testaments”? Was it where he suggested that we shouldn’t “look down” on homosexuals?

    I won’t speak for Michael — I can’t actually recall if he has “professed Christianity” or not. But that could just be issues with my memory.

    Still, given that you’re a “closet Calvinist going to a Nazarene church”, there’s a pretty good chance that you also flagrantly and unrepentantly deny that which is specifically taught as true in the Bible. So I guess, by your logic, you maybe should be worried about whether you’re really converted or not.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    J. Dean (@20), good job, there, cowboy!

    What, exactly, did Michael B. say (@2) that “flagrantly and unrepentantly denies that which is specifically taught as true in the Old and New Testaments”? Was it where he suggested that we shouldn’t “look down” on homosexuals?

    I won’t speak for Michael — I can’t actually recall if he has “professed Christianity” or not. But that could just be issues with my memory.

    Still, given that you’re a “closet Calvinist going to a Nazarene church”, there’s a pretty good chance that you also flagrantly and unrepentantly deny that which is specifically taught as true in the Bible. So I guess, by your logic, you maybe should be worried about whether you’re really converted or not.

  • Michael B.

    @JDean@20

    The Old Testament says that a man lying with another man should be put to death. Now I know you don’t believe that gays should be punished with the death penalty. Although many nations do have these types of laws. So why is it okay for you to deny these laws, but it’s not okay for me to deny “defense of marriage” laws?

  • Michael B.

    @JDean@20

    The Old Testament says that a man lying with another man should be put to death. Now I know you don’t believe that gays should be punished with the death penalty. Although many nations do have these types of laws. So why is it okay for you to deny these laws, but it’s not okay for me to deny “defense of marriage” laws?

  • Wayne

    The culture will do what the culture will do. Some day and it seems soon, gay marriage will be the law of the land. But that is not the end goal, the goal is to shut up all opposition. I guess I have no real problem with the world redefining marriage to be anything they want it to be, as long as I still have the right to preach the whole council of God and call sin, sin. But have you heard the hatred towards Kirk Cameron or anyone else who is bold enough to call sin sin. We are about to get rolled over by the tolerance machine.

  • Wayne

    The culture will do what the culture will do. Some day and it seems soon, gay marriage will be the law of the land. But that is not the end goal, the goal is to shut up all opposition. I guess I have no real problem with the world redefining marriage to be anything they want it to be, as long as I still have the right to preach the whole council of God and call sin, sin. But have you heard the hatred towards Kirk Cameron or anyone else who is bold enough to call sin sin. We are about to get rolled over by the tolerance machine.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Michael B. (@22) said:

    The Old Testament says that a man lying with another man should be put to death.

    Man, when you say it like that, it makes me think you don’t know where it says that. “The Old Testament says”?

    You really should figure out where it says that, because then you’d know the answer to your other question: “why is it okay for you to deny these laws?”

    The context makes it pretty darn clear what group of people that law was for. Hint: not Americans.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Michael B. (@22) said:

    The Old Testament says that a man lying with another man should be put to death.

    Man, when you say it like that, it makes me think you don’t know where it says that. “The Old Testament says”?

    You really should figure out where it says that, because then you’d know the answer to your other question: “why is it okay for you to deny these laws?”

    The context makes it pretty darn clear what group of people that law was for. Hint: not Americans.

  • fws

    wayne @ 23

    I am not sure I buy into the idea that there is a vast con-spiracy of “us” vs a vast conspiracy of “them”. Often those who shout the loudest seem far larger and more influential than they are (eg radical penticostals).

    To most gay men and women, their side of the argument looks, amazingly, like how conservatives perceive theirs. 1) “Why doesn’t society and govt mind to their own business and stay out of my personal life?” and 2) but what “those” people do in their private lives matters to society and so govt needs to interfere.

    NOM says that their mission is nothing less that something very dramatic and very important. It is to “Save Marriage.”

    The thesis that the slogan “Save Marriage” undeniably implies is overcooked at best.

    IF gays are allowed to have a marriage license from the state, THEN man/woman marriage will be destroyed. How?

    There will be less copulation the allows for reproduction.
    There will be fewer children raised by both birth parents.
    There will be fewer marriage licenses issued?
    Churches will lose their civil power to legal “create” marriages they have when pastors issue marriage licenses.

    And the doozy is this one:
    They now define marriage as the government does!
    “if you have a marriage license you are married. If not you are not”. So they have accepted this ‘redefinition’ of marriage as the very unquestionable basis for their campaign.

    We are supposed to all accept these things as facts .
    SG: where are the statistics supporting all these amazing claims of NOM from those states where homo-marriage has been legalized? If there are none, then how long must we wait for all that NOM is claiming will come true?

  • fws

    wayne @ 23

    I am not sure I buy into the idea that there is a vast con-spiracy of “us” vs a vast conspiracy of “them”. Often those who shout the loudest seem far larger and more influential than they are (eg radical penticostals).

    To most gay men and women, their side of the argument looks, amazingly, like how conservatives perceive theirs. 1) “Why doesn’t society and govt mind to their own business and stay out of my personal life?” and 2) but what “those” people do in their private lives matters to society and so govt needs to interfere.

    NOM says that their mission is nothing less that something very dramatic and very important. It is to “Save Marriage.”

    The thesis that the slogan “Save Marriage” undeniably implies is overcooked at best.

    IF gays are allowed to have a marriage license from the state, THEN man/woman marriage will be destroyed. How?

    There will be less copulation the allows for reproduction.
    There will be fewer children raised by both birth parents.
    There will be fewer marriage licenses issued?
    Churches will lose their civil power to legal “create” marriages they have when pastors issue marriage licenses.

    And the doozy is this one:
    They now define marriage as the government does!
    “if you have a marriage license you are married. If not you are not”. So they have accepted this ‘redefinition’ of marriage as the very unquestionable basis for their campaign.

    We are supposed to all accept these things as facts .
    SG: where are the statistics supporting all these amazing claims of NOM from those states where homo-marriage has been legalized? If there are none, then how long must we wait for all that NOM is claiming will come true?

  • fws

    Todd @ 24

    I think that is his point Todd. It was all for the OT Jews. And he is saying we cherry pick. We trot out that passage as applying to non jews today . And we leave every single other rule in Leviticus as not applying to any of us today. And his implied question is this : “we do this on what basis”.

    this is to ignore that this rule is explicitly repeated by the use of the word “arsenokoitia” in 1 corinthians. So St Paul reapplies the rule in the New Testament.

    I would suggest this is the honest reading . But to stop there is still not to arrive at the intended meaning of the text, which is not at all about “homosexuality”, which simply did not exist in the OT and NT. Nor did clinical depression. Nor did many other technical medical terms. Did clinical depression exist back then. Yes. As a known category? no. Why does that matter?

    Isn’t he right in that assertion?

  • fws

    Todd @ 24

    I think that is his point Todd. It was all for the OT Jews. And he is saying we cherry pick. We trot out that passage as applying to non jews today . And we leave every single other rule in Leviticus as not applying to any of us today. And his implied question is this : “we do this on what basis”.

    this is to ignore that this rule is explicitly repeated by the use of the word “arsenokoitia” in 1 corinthians. So St Paul reapplies the rule in the New Testament.

    I would suggest this is the honest reading . But to stop there is still not to arrive at the intended meaning of the text, which is not at all about “homosexuality”, which simply did not exist in the OT and NT. Nor did clinical depression. Nor did many other technical medical terms. Did clinical depression exist back then. Yes. As a known category? no. Why does that matter?

    Isn’t he right in that assertion?

  • Michael B.

    @Todd

    “The context makes it pretty darn clear what group of people that law was for. Hint: not Americans.”

    So putting homosexuals to death is moral for some cultures, but immoral for others? Sounds like relative morality to me.

  • Michael B.

    @Todd

    “The context makes it pretty darn clear what group of people that law was for. Hint: not Americans.”

    So putting homosexuals to death is moral for some cultures, but immoral for others? Sounds like relative morality to me.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    FWS (@26), thanks, but I think Michael B’s response (@27) proves false your assumptions as per his point.

    Michael B. (@27), you seem to be flailing about, having changed the topic in response to my reply. Originally your question (@22) was about the application of Old Testament laws (i.e., why is it okay for Americans to not apply them today?), but now you’ve decided that you want to discuss the morality of those laws, instead?

    No thanks. I’ll stick to your original point, which is merely to note, again, that the law in Leviticus is clearly limited in scope to the Israelites, and thus not to be applied to Americans. This appears to be news for you.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    FWS (@26), thanks, but I think Michael B’s response (@27) proves false your assumptions as per his point.

    Michael B. (@27), you seem to be flailing about, having changed the topic in response to my reply. Originally your question (@22) was about the application of Old Testament laws (i.e., why is it okay for Americans to not apply them today?), but now you’ve decided that you want to discuss the morality of those laws, instead?

    No thanks. I’ll stick to your original point, which is merely to note, again, that the law in Leviticus is clearly limited in scope to the Israelites, and thus not to be applied to Americans. This appears to be news for you.

  • Michael B.

    @tODD

    The whole premise just seems kind of odd to me. What’s God saying here? Execute homosexuals. Women should marry their rapists. Suffer not a witch to live. But should you happen to be born thousands of years in the future in a different land, get your 3 branches of government established, enable a middle class with freedom of speech and religion with rights for women, and you can just disregard all the barbarism I recommended earlier.

  • Michael B.

    @tODD

    The whole premise just seems kind of odd to me. What’s God saying here? Execute homosexuals. Women should marry their rapists. Suffer not a witch to live. But should you happen to be born thousands of years in the future in a different land, get your 3 branches of government established, enable a middle class with freedom of speech and religion with rights for women, and you can just disregard all the barbarism I recommended earlier.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Two comments:

    The best comment here was made by John, way back at #9.

    tOdd at #21 also (indirectly) made a good comment, namely that context matters. Including our own. And we are all guilty – that is not the point. Converted doesn’t mean guiltless, or impeccable. This confusion is indicative of Pelagian thinking…

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Two comments:

    The best comment here was made by John, way back at #9.

    tOdd at #21 also (indirectly) made a good comment, namely that context matters. Including our own. And we are all guilty – that is not the point. Converted doesn’t mean guiltless, or impeccable. This confusion is indicative of Pelagian thinking…

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Michael B., you asked (@29):

    What’s God saying here?

    Well, as to God’s commands to execute various kinds of sinners, what God is saying is that sin is real, and sin is serious, even to the point of death, which is what sin merits. Here we also see God claiming the sole right to determine when a man dies. Which is the difference between murder (when a man decides another man should die), and the deaths that are prescribed in Scripture.

    As for women marrying rapists, you haven’t convinced me that you understand from that societal context how that could have been a good thing. (Go ahead, gasp and flail your arms here, perhaps adding, “Well, I never!”. A fainting couch can be provided.) Assume for a minute that an adult woman in ancient Israel is raped and does not marry the rapist. Who will provide for her?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Michael B., you asked (@29):

    What’s God saying here?

    Well, as to God’s commands to execute various kinds of sinners, what God is saying is that sin is real, and sin is serious, even to the point of death, which is what sin merits. Here we also see God claiming the sole right to determine when a man dies. Which is the difference between murder (when a man decides another man should die), and the deaths that are prescribed in Scripture.

    As for women marrying rapists, you haven’t convinced me that you understand from that societal context how that could have been a good thing. (Go ahead, gasp and flail your arms here, perhaps adding, “Well, I never!”. A fainting couch can be provided.) Assume for a minute that an adult woman in ancient Israel is raped and does not marry the rapist. Who will provide for her?

  • Michael B.

    @Todd

    “As for women marrying rapists, you haven’t convinced me that you understand from that societal context how that could have been a good thing. Assume for a minute that an adult woman in ancient Israel is raped and does not marry the rapist. ”

    Practically, we are on same page. These laws are of no effect the time and place we live. Theologically, though, we have some huge differences, and I see only 2 options. Either this law was thought up by ordinary men living in the bronze age, in which women were regarded as inferior, slavery was acceptable, the earth was regarded as flat, and a wheel barrel would have been thought of as emerging technology. Or the second option — the most wise being in our universe wrote this law. Could God have come up with a better system than having women marry their rapists? I suppose we both have to weigh the evidence and decide for ourselves which option is more probable.

  • Michael B.

    @Todd

    “As for women marrying rapists, you haven’t convinced me that you understand from that societal context how that could have been a good thing. Assume for a minute that an adult woman in ancient Israel is raped and does not marry the rapist. ”

    Practically, we are on same page. These laws are of no effect the time and place we live. Theologically, though, we have some huge differences, and I see only 2 options. Either this law was thought up by ordinary men living in the bronze age, in which women were regarded as inferior, slavery was acceptable, the earth was regarded as flat, and a wheel barrel would have been thought of as emerging technology. Or the second option — the most wise being in our universe wrote this law. Could God have come up with a better system than having women marry their rapists? I suppose we both have to weigh the evidence and decide for ourselves which option is more probable.

  • Fws

    michael b

    those laws were written for the Jews alone, in their specific time and place. My understanding was that those times looked very similar to what we see in today’s Afghanistan. Forcing the rapist to marry his victim in today’s context might seem very very cruel indeed . it would be in fact. in those times the options of women were far more limited. What would have been a better alternative for God to mandate in that historical context Michael?

    Laws we see in the OT were a huge improvement on what had come before them . God never fixes anything with the civil carnal part of Divine Law, he only slaps a bandaid on mankind’s intrinsic desire to abuse power.

  • Fws

    michael b

    those laws were written for the Jews alone, in their specific time and place. My understanding was that those times looked very similar to what we see in today’s Afghanistan. Forcing the rapist to marry his victim in today’s context might seem very very cruel indeed . it would be in fact. in those times the options of women were far more limited. What would have been a better alternative for God to mandate in that historical context Michael?

    Laws we see in the OT were a huge improvement on what had come before them . God never fixes anything with the civil carnal part of Divine Law, he only slaps a bandaid on mankind’s intrinsic desire to abuse power.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Michael B. (@32), you seem to think that the fact that the OT Israelite laws reflect their time and place is, itself, evidence that these laws were not written by God.

    Which is curious, since, again, God himself says that these laws are for that particular people. He even went so far as to indicate quite clearly that their time had come to an end when he allowed the temple — the center of the worship laws — to be destroyed in 70 AD (which event Jesus had predicted).

    Your argument seems to go something like this: these laws are not universal (which you state by expressing your distaste for some of them, which is merely a statement of your own cultural time and place), and therefore they are not of God. But, again, you are criticizing the laws for being something they were not intended to be.

    You will find this, as well, in the New Testament. God does not challenge the government. In fact, he commands us to pay taxes to it, honor it, and submit to it.

    Ultimately, I suspect the flaw in your argument is that you want God to tell us how to have a perfect society, with perfect (which is to say for you, perfectly liberal in the present-day political sense) laws that make everything work. If so, you’ve failed to understand the role of the law, and the problem with mankind.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Michael B. (@32), you seem to think that the fact that the OT Israelite laws reflect their time and place is, itself, evidence that these laws were not written by God.

    Which is curious, since, again, God himself says that these laws are for that particular people. He even went so far as to indicate quite clearly that their time had come to an end when he allowed the temple — the center of the worship laws — to be destroyed in 70 AD (which event Jesus had predicted).

    Your argument seems to go something like this: these laws are not universal (which you state by expressing your distaste for some of them, which is merely a statement of your own cultural time and place), and therefore they are not of God. But, again, you are criticizing the laws for being something they were not intended to be.

    You will find this, as well, in the New Testament. God does not challenge the government. In fact, he commands us to pay taxes to it, honor it, and submit to it.

    Ultimately, I suspect the flaw in your argument is that you want God to tell us how to have a perfect society, with perfect (which is to say for you, perfectly liberal in the present-day political sense) laws that make everything work. If so, you’ve failed to understand the role of the law, and the problem with mankind.


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