Main | Monday, December 08, 2008

Newsweek: The Bible Calls For Marriage Equality

As longtime readers would guess, I'm not too interested in debating where the Bible actually stands on homosexuality, but some of you may want to read what Newsweek's Lisa Miller says on the subject of the Bible and marriage equality. A small excerpt from her essay:
In the Old Testament, the concept of family is fundamental, but examples of what social conservatives would call "the traditional family" are scarcely to be found. Marriage was critical to the passing along of tradition and history, as well as to maintaining the Jews' precious and fragile monotheism. But as the Barnard University Bible scholar Alan Segal puts it, the arrangement was between "one man and as many women as he could pay for." Social conservatives point to Adam and Eve as evidence for their one man, one woman argument—in particular, this verse from Genesis: "Therefore shall a man leave his mother and father, and shall cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh." But as Segal says, if you believe that the Bible was written by men and not handed down in its leather bindings by God, then that verse was written by people for whom polygamy was the way of the world. (The fact that homosexual couples cannot procreate has also been raised as a biblical objection, for didn't God say, "Be fruitful and multiply"? But the Bible authors could never have imagined the brave new world of international adoption and assisted reproductive technology—and besides, heterosexuals who are infertile or past the age of reproducing get married all the time.)
It's fun to point out the inconsistencies, contradictions, and archaic notions that litter the Bible, but on principle we should not allow any religious viewpoints to stand in the way of equality. However, winning over at least some of the vast religious majority of the country is probably necessary to the fight. That really annoys me, of course.

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