Monday, December 8, 2008

Newsweek on Gay Marriage: "At Least Get Scripture Right"

I need to follow up my piece from last night, "The Secular Case Against Gay Marriage," where I argued against Newsweek's cover story this week, "The Religious Case for Gay Marriage."

It turns out that
Mollie Hemmingway takes apart Newsweek's Lisa Miller and her disastrous hack job on the Bible's scriptural foundations for traditional marriage:

This is such hackery that it’s offensive ....

I hold sacred the New Testament model of marriage and find Miller’s comments to be beneath contempt. I also wonder what, if anything, she has read from the New Testament.

When my husband read the opening graph of this train wreck of a hit piece, he wondered if these words of Jesus, found in the Gospel of Matthew, indicated indifference to family:

And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”

Would that be the indifference that Miller is referring to? Because it really just doesn’t sound indifferent to me. This quote from Jesus comes in a larger section on, well, earthly attachments. One part notes that only those who have the gift of celibacy are to be celibate. I have no doubt that my elementary school-age nieces know these things. Shouldn’t Lisa Miller?

And while St. Paul does endorse single life enthusiastically, for those who are able (a key point left out of Miller’s little opening paragraph), he writes extensively about marriage. In fact, he’s normally picked on for his clear endorsement of traditional marriage, as in Ephesians 5:

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.

There is nothing lukewarm about this. In fact, there is nothing lukewarm about any of the writings of Paul.

Now, as a member of a contemporary marriage, albeit one that isn’t so foolish as to think marriage is about gender equality or romantic love, I can honestly say that the Bible has been the only guide that has helped my husband and myself. We turn to it constantly to be reminded that the husband is to sacrifice for the wife and the wife is to respect the husband (these things don’t come naturally to either my husband or myself).

And yet Miller discounts our faith by saying that “of course” a contemporary married couple wouldn’t turn to Scripture as a guide for marriage. Just who does she think she is? And why does she have the cover story of Newsweek?

The rest of the piece is about as worthless and mendacious as the opening paragraph. She repeatedly pretends that marriage is not defined in Scripture — although the two examples I gave above manage to define it unambiguously as a heterosexual union. Even her own mentions of the patriarchs prove the point that Biblical marriage is heterosexual in nature.

RELATED: "KipEsquire" has no effective response for my essay on the secular case against gay marriage:
It’s all circular: Since marriage is procreative, anything that is not procreative is not marriage.
Actually, the argument at the post is not circular, but gay advocates are more about visceral emotion than rigorous logic.


Nikki said...

I think its funny that religious folk have to prove the legitimacy of their held belief, like gay marriage to critics. For LDS people we have a prophet and what is known as "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" as a declaration from the Prophet and the Apostles. Modern day revelation is a Mormon belief, where the Bible is vague we have more. This of course is the annoyance with us in the Christian community, however it never denies what all Christians believe, it only re-affirms what you already know and further validates the teachings of Christendom.
I would say that the destruction of Sodom and Gommorah should suffice as behavior unacceptable. Very interesting discussion on this subject, keep it going, I may dive in soon on my blog! :)N

Laura Lee - Grace Explosion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rita Loca said...

Can I just give you a big Baptist 'Amen'! You were almost preaching there!!

Anonymous said...

Well, here's another question...

As someone who does not subscribe to any of these doctrines, be they bible, or the Mormon bible, or the Koran, or the Bagavad Gita...

Does this mean I cannot get married, or that my marriage has less value? If I get married by a Justice o' the Peace in a county seat, or a captain of a ship, or have a secular ceremony, is it not a true marriage? Legally it certainly is. Should I just call it a civil union because I don't believe in a god?

Remember, these are my beliefs, not St. Pauls or Jesus'. Legally, though, I can be married. So I'm a bit bemused by all the religious talk.

And for the record, approximately 90% of Americans believe in a big guy in the sky watching over them, so Nikki, please quit complaining about how you have to rationalize your beliefs. You are in an overwhelming majority. I, for instance, could never hope to run for president in this country because of a hypocritical prejudice on the part of most Christians. I, however, am forced to vote for a Christian every four years.

And remember, Christians and Mormons are also disregard all gods except your own. I just disregard one more than you do.

Nikki said...

Tim, I was not annoyed nor did I feel the need to rationalize. Just stating my opinion and my belief. I don't expect anyone to change their mind about anything. Besides this country is ruled by the minority not the majority just ask my sons teacher if she can say Merry Christmas or if it has to be happy winter. :)N

Anonymous said...

My son can say Merry Christmas at his school. It's Episcopalian. Ironically, this atheist family almost always attends religious schools. I firmly believe that Merry Christmas should be allowed anywhere. It's the reason for the season, mainly. There are others, sure.

As for being ruled by the minority, that's not true. Just ask the gays who in California who can no longer be married.