The Biblical Basis for the Rape-Marriage #UMC

The Biblical Basis for the Rape-Marriage #UMC May 5, 2014

I just read this powerful, compelling, heart-rendering article  by the Rev. Wil(da) Gafney, Ph.D., associate professor of Hebrew and Old Testament at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, reminding us that the horror of the Nigerian girls being abducted into these “rape-marriages” has a sound biblical basis. – See more at:

The author is correct. Here’s a short snippet from her piece:

We must tell the truth that the bible says that fathers can sell their daughters into sexual slavery (Ex 21:7)—given that enslaved women were used to breed slaves and for sexual gratification; there was no slavery for women in the bible that was not sexual slavery. (An argument can be made for the sexual abuse of male slaves as well.)

We must tell the truth that the bible says soldiers can take virgin girls home with them as the spoils of war (Num 31:17).

We must tell the truth that the bible says cut the nails off the woman you take home as your war prize (Deut 21:11)—making the rape easier on the rapist.

We must tell the truth that the bible says that Israelite identity does not protect women from wholesale rape as a tool of war; Judges 21:10-23 details repeated kidnappings of girls for rape marriage within Israel by other Israelites.

Yes, we must tell the truth about what the Bible says.

And it is time that we recognize that this book has been and must be constantly reinterpreted in light of social advances that actually give more dignity to all of humanity–particularly women–than much of the Bible does.

I’ve said it before and will say it again: the Bible can and does open the door to grace. And it can and it does open the door to the worst of abuses. It all depends on our perspective upon reading it and the interpretative grids we use to discern what the stories mean to us today.

And so, once more, I take my stand: it is time to set down this unending battle that keeps those in the LGBTQ community from full membership and responsibility within God’s holy church. Let us apply to them the same sexual standards that we say we apply to the heterosexual community, i.e., celibacy in singleness and fidelity in marriage.

Time to drop this ridiculous battle that is threatening to tear apart The United Methodist Church and acknowledge that, taken just by itself without modern eyes, the Bible does affirm slavery, racism, sexism, and dozens of other “isms” that we have deemed unacceptable today.

But God does not affirm anything that detracts from the Imago Dei implanted upon humankind.

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