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This Is What Biblical Marriage Looks Like

Jim Burroway

September 18th, 2009

Something for the voters of Maine and Washington to consider, and for everyone else who wants to stand up for “Biblical Marriage“:

If a man takes a wife and, after lying with her, dislikes her and slanders her and gives her a bad name, saying, “I married this woman, but when I approached her, I did not find proof of her virginity,” then the girl’s father and mother shall bring proof that she was a virgin to the town elders at the gate. The girl’s father will say to the elders, “I gave my daughter in marriage to this man, but he dislikes her. Now he has slandered her and said, ‘I did not find your daughter to be a virgin.’ But here is the proof of my daughter’s virginity.” Then her parents shall display the cloth before the elders of the town, and the elders shall take the man and punish him. They shall fine him a hundred shekels of silver and give them to the girl’s father, because this man has given an Israelite virgin a bad name. She shall continue to be his wife; he must not divorce her as long as he lives.

If, however, the charge is true and no proof of the girl’s virginity can be found, she shall be brought to the door of her father’s house and there the men of her town shall stone her to death. She has done a disgraceful thing in Israel by being promiscuous while still in her father’s house. You must purge the evil from among you.

Comments

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Rebecca
September 18th, 2009 | LINK

My favorite example of “Biblical marriage” is the one forced on a rape victim. Every “Bible-believing” right-winger I’ve mentioned this to has flat-out denied it.

Alex
September 18th, 2009 | LINK

Ah how romantic!

Chris McCoy
September 18th, 2009 | LINK

Rebecca wrote:

My favorite example of “Biblical marriage” is the one forced on a rape victim. Every “Bible-believing” right-winger I’ve mentioned this to has flat-out denied it.

The King James Bible in (Deuteronomy 22:28-29) wrote:

28 If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found;

29 Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days.

One of my favorites as well.

me again
September 18th, 2009 | LINK

This is well worth the 4 minutes. Punchline about half-way through.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ntC0PNHFRgU

Another hilarious video has the relevant punchline about 45 seconds in.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OFkeKKszXTw

Bill S
September 18th, 2009 | LINK

You left out the best part: if she was engaged to one man, but is raped by another, she is to be excecuted along with the rapist.

Emily K
September 18th, 2009 | LINK

Actually, the rapist is required to marry his victim if she chooses. Chabad lists this with the 613 commandments.

The draconian practices of stoning and “forced marriage of a dead, childless husband’s brother” are not taken literally; the Rabbinical Writings (Oral Torah) interpret these things to mean things quite different from their literal interpretation. And, in the case of the widow/brother-in-law, the Torah (Deut. 25:9) tells us it’s the woman’s choice. the woman is not required to marry her brother in law; rather she may choose not to and in Orthodox circles a ceremony is performed which official declares that she will not marry him.

Additionally, the marriage dealt with in these verses is one where the woman was presented as a virgin before marriage. It’s not against the Torah for a man to marry a woman who is not a virgin. Only the High Priest must marry a virgin.

Stoning in practice in Jewish culture rarely occurred. There are certain laws that call for stoning that many rabbis are unsure if they were ever carried out.

Timothy Kincaid
September 18th, 2009 | LINK

Emily,

Thanks for the clarification.

But many “Bible believing Christians” are not quite so nuanced in their understanding of sacred Jewish texts.

When they say “biblical marriage”, most are so ignorant that they think that the Bible defines marriage as one man and one woman falling in love and raising their children together in blissful domesticity. I can’t think of a single instance of “biblical marriage” of that sort occurring in the Bible.

I especially love those who say, “well, you know what the Bible says about homosexual marriage!!”

Ummmmm… nothing?

Emily K
September 18th, 2009 | LINK

I agree, Timothy, with what you say about Christian understanding of the nuances of Jewish Scripture. It takes a lifetime and a dedication to Jewish studies to understand them.. The Rabbinical Commentaries are vast and still more are being created.

But also, Christianity does not consider the Rabbinical Writings to be Canonical, as Judaism does. So they are left with just the black and white without any of the grey. They say that Jesus made null the punishments prescribed in the Torah, etc… but then they say “but Paul made clear what was still against God.” Ok. If that’s how it is… but I like having the views of an entire learned community that keeps growing through time behind the scripture of my faith.

Priya Lynn
September 18th, 2009 | LINK

Emily said “It takes a lifetime and a dedication to Jewish studies to understand them.”.

I always have to laugh when I hear something like this. I’d say that’s what it takes when you want the book to say something it doesn’t.

Richard W. Fitch
September 18th, 2009 | LINK

So Priya, I suppose your 6-week mail order study course taught you everything you REALLY need to know about the Jewish and Christian scriptures.

Emily K
September 18th, 2009 | LINK

Dan: *Buddum-chsshhh!*

Richard: My favorite studies have to do mostly with Kabbalah and Mysticism; people who think the very letters (the Hebrew letters) of the Torah are saying something. Wouldn’t it be fascinating if there was something hidden within the letters just waiting to be revealed? We’ve been lugging the book around long enough, dressing it up and housing it in fancy arks.. One such example is the the first letter of the Torah is a “Bet.” The last letter is “Lamed.” Now, synagogues have 2 Torah scrolls because when we reach the end, it’s not supposed to be the end of study – so when we close one, the other must be opened at the same time, at the beginning again! So the “Lamed” at the end loops back to “touch” the “Bet” at the beginning. And put those Hebrew letters together and you get the word “Lev” – “Heart.” Which is where you are supposed to keep the Torah, in your heart.

I guess that’s OT – but I like sharing that example of “making the book saying something it doesn’t say.”

Priya Lynn
September 18th, 2009 | LINK

Richard, I was born knowing everything I really need to know about the Jewish and Christian scriptures.

Richard W. Fitch
September 18th, 2009 | LINK

Which you have repeatedly and amply demonstrated time and again on this site — absolutely NOTHING!!

Sol Invictus
September 19th, 2009 | LINK

First, many thanks to Regan Ducasse who suggested posting here. Timothy Kincaid offers this:

“When they say “biblical marriage”, most are so ignorant that they think that the Bible defines marriage as one man and one woman falling in love and raising their children together in blissful domesticity. I can’t think of a single instance of “biblical marriage” of that sort occurring in the Bible.”

Comment: Biblical marriage in the bible, is between a man and a woman. Anything else that follows is irrelevant. Name me a marriage in the bible,or any other bible, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, that was homosexual in nature. Can you?

“I especially love those who say, “well, you know what the Bible says about homosexual marriage!!”

Ummmmm… nothing?”

Comment: The bible is self explanatory concerning homosexual activity, it is prohibited. Since homosexuality is prohibited specifically, what need is there to follow it up with anything else?

Ohh, and by the way where is there a non Christian country, note NON Christian, where homosexuals may marry?

Can anyone name just one?

Sol Invictus
September 19th, 2009 | LINK

Rebecca is wrong about her “rape” quote and so are those that follow in agreement. The verbage used is not related to rape when translated properly

This linkage to rape has also been used by Muslims to suggest rape is condoned by Christians. Here is a link explaining the translation from Greek and the meaning:

http://answering-islam.org/Shamoun/ot_and_rape.htm

Perhaps this will offer a clearer perspective on the meaning.

William
September 19th, 2009 | LINK

“Biblical marriage in the bible, is between a man and a woman.” – Sol Invictus

No, it isn’t. You’ll find plenty of biblical marriages between a man and more than one woman. Jacob and King David spring to mind, to start with. Lamech had two wives (Genesis 4:19). Deuteronomy 21:15 assumes that it will be quite the thing for a man to have two wives. Gideon had many wives (Judges 8:30). Solomon had 700 wives (plus 300 concubines). You’ll find other examples if you look for them.

That’s why when Philip, Landgrave of Hesse, was dissatisfied with his wife Christina of Saxony and wanted to marry Margarethe von der Saal as well, the Protestant reformers Luther, Melanchthon and Bucer told him, “If the Old Testament patriarchs did it, Philip old chap, then you can do it too.” He did.

Rebecca
September 19th, 2009 | LINK

Rebecca is wrong about her “rape” quote and so are those that follow in agreement. The verbage used is not related to rape when translated properly

Do tell. I’d love to hear you try to wiggle out of translating that as rape. Your link contrasts the different verbs in that law and in the law about the virgin in the field, but it utterly fails to explain why, if we’re talking about a consensual relationship, it adds a verb that is not used in the other laws about illegal consensual relationships.

Rev. Ray Neal
September 19th, 2009 | LINK

Let’s not do what the CHristian fundmentalist right does to us! Let’s not rip scriptures out of context and say that this is what modern Christian relationships should look like. Religion isn’t frozen in time. We do not live like ancient Hebrews and we most certainly don’t follow their social rules and regulations for marriage or much of anything else. This is the falacy of the Christian fundamentalists for quoting ancient scripture and telling us that it condemns our loving relationships of today. They do not use passages like this to determine their own relationships, why should anyone think that the passages on same-sex love be any different?

If you ran this article to stimulate some discussion, I suppose you have achieved your goal. It holds up to ridicule the claim that Christian fundamentalists apply all the scripture to their lives…when they obviously don’t.

Priya Lynn
September 19th, 2009 | LINK

Take a valium Richard, you’re getting all worked up over nothing.

Priya Lynn
September 19th, 2009 | LINK

Sol Invictus, thanks once again for the tortured explanation as to how the bible doesn’t mean what it says – I needed another good laugh. Once again if you have to go to these kind of extremes to explain away what it says that should be a clue to you that there’s something wrong with your “interpretation”.

Emily K
September 19th, 2009 | LINK

Rev. Neal, it’s true about the changing landscape of Hebrew culture. And additionally, Jews were never meant to take the Books of Moses to be 100% black-and-white literal, since certain expressions that were common at the time it was written down were used. But today those expressions are lost, especially in the translation from Hebrew to English. Example:

The phrase “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a hand for a hand, a foot for a foot” Ex 21:22–27 is held in the oral tradition to imply monetary compensation – as opposed to a literal Lex talionis. Since the Torah requires that penalties be universally applicable, the phrase cannot be interpreted literally; it would be inapplicable to blind or eyeless offenders. Further, personal retribution is explicitly forbidden by the Torah (Lv 19:18 Leviticus 19:18), such reciprocal justice being strictly reserved for the social magistrate (usually in the form of regional courts). The Talmud explains this concept entails monetary compensation in tort cases.[5] This is the only interpretation consistent with Numbers 35:31. Additionally, this law cannot be carried out in practice, for both practical and ethical reasons (see also parashat Emor);

From parashat Emor:

The Gemara taught that the words “eye for eye” in Leviticus 24:20 meant pecuniary compensation. Rabbi Simon ben Yohai asked those who would take the words literally how they would enforce equal justice where a blind man put out the eye of another man, or an amputee cut off the hand of another, or where a lame person broke the leg of another. The school of Rabbi Ishmael cited the words “so shall it be given to him” in Leviticus 24:20, and deduced that the word “give” could apply only to pecuniary compensation. The school of Rabbi Hiyya cited the words “hand for hand” in the parallel discussion in Deuteronomy 19:21 to mean that an article was given from hand to hand, namely money. Abaye reported that a sage of the school of Hezekiah taught that Exodus 21:23–24 said “eye for eye” and “life for life,” but not “life and eye for eye,” and it could sometimes happen that eye and life would be taken for an eye, as when the offender died while being blinded. Rav Papa said in the name of Raba that Exodus 21:19 referred explicitly to healing, and the verse would not make sense if one assumed that retaliation was meant. And Rav Ashi taught that the principle of pecuniary compensation could be derived from the analogous use of the term “for” in Exodus 21:24 in the expression “eye for eye” and in Exodus 21:36 in the expression “he shall surely pay ox for ox.” As the latter case plainly indicated pecuniary compensation, so must the former. (Babylonian Talmud Bava Kamma 84a.)

Christopher Waldrop
September 19th, 2009 | LINK

Ohh, and by the way where is there a non Christian country, note NON Christian, where homosexuals may marry?

Can anyone name just one?

The United States. The majority of the citizens may be Christians, but our Constitution specifically prohibits the institution of a state religion. Although, admittedly, I’m a little fuzzy on what makes a country Christian or non-Christian.

Bumble Bee
September 19th, 2009 | LINK

Why do gays want to be married to each other? Reason are given related to inequality in legal matters. Why should married people be given extra rights? Is marriage an institution of the federal government? If a state issues a gay marriage certificate, then that is not enough since the feds won’t accept it. But is this not an issue between two people? Yet marriage is never just between two people, since there is a wanted feeling that extended family or community has acceptance of it. Not just gays are discriminated against. Even straight married people are discriminated against, when family or relatives do not acknowledge an the other party due to ethnic or cultural problems. Is the ultimate success when Washington finally gives in, or will we have to make sure every last person accepts it? Let us propose, though, that no married people get special recognition: no tax breaks, no exceptional visitation rights, no SSI benefits, etc. Then will gays be fighting so much for recognition on the highest governmental level? If marriage is love and romance and commitment, how does law enhance marriage rather than just create a superficial exploit. If it is love, no law is required. If it is to demand privalages, then how is it love? What stake does the continence of government interest have in marriage? Procreation. This is what makes the Catholic church so powerful: massive procreation is their primary interest. If gays cannot potentially or consistently be able to replenish populations, their political clout will never match that of traditional unions.
Also, if fundamentalists would put their money where their mouths are, then I propose they support banning special legal rights for married people. This will undermine a foundational motivation for gays to want legal marriage validation and will allow a test. If traditional marriage is so much better than gay marriage, then they should not require special government perks.

Burr
September 19th, 2009 | LINK

Bumble Bee, I’m down with your line of thought. Unfortunately that’s even LESS popular than simply licensing same-sex marriage..

These Bible battles get so tiresome. I will say that the Bible is probably the most useless document to cite in the history of mankind as nobody can agree what actual words compose it (see the various conflicting translations), let alone the meaning to be interpreted from it.

Sol Invictus
September 19th, 2009 | LINK

Just a couple of comments.

William:
I stated biblical marriage was between a man and a woman. You responded with polygamy. Ok, there is still a woman involved with a man, men, or women with a man. Now as I asked, show me a “gay” biblical relationship in any of those bibles I listed. BTW William, shouldn’t polygamous marriages be included in the marriage equality fight?

Rebecca writes:

“Do tell. I’d love to hear you try to wiggle out of translating that as rape.”

Comment: I provided you the link,please take a moment and read it, the explanation is neither tortured or incorrect. I do not need to wiggle, the translation from Greek, and in its proper context, is very straightforward. Please take a moment to read it for a clearer understanding.

Christopher Waldrop:

Sorry Christopher, the USA may not have a state religion, but that is irrelevant to the point. The fact is 70% or more of the population is Christian. Those statistics are easily verifiable, making the USA a predominantly Christian country.

I asked for a NON Christian country. Place the word predominantly in front if you like. Somewhere in the world there is little or no Christian influence.. where “gays” may marry.

Priya Lynn:

Perhaps you did not read the link I posted. I did not have to go to any lengths to explain something. The link explains it far more clearly than I can, both in translation from Greek and in context. I summarized the link, and suggested you read it for a clearer perspective. It would certainly help if you would.

Rebecca
September 19th, 2009 | LINK

Sol, I read your link and it fails to address my question. The case of the fiancée in the field and in the city are paired because, as a fiancée, the woman is already the property of someone other than her father. The crying out is relevant here because there is a conflict of financial interest between the fiancé and the rapist. In 22:28, there is no financial conflict because the virgin is not betrothed, so whether or not she cries out, she becomes the rapist’s wife anyway.

In your interpretation, the extra words in 22:28 don’t mean anything, but you and your link have utterly failed to explain why they are present, in that case.

Rebecca
September 19th, 2009 | LINK

*between fiancée and other man, I should say, as the case in the city doesn’t explicitly define the man as a rapist

Rebecca
September 19th, 2009 | LINK

*fiancé. *fail!*

Also, your question about non-Christian countries that have marriage equality is 100% irrelevant.

William
September 19th, 2009 | LINK

“Now as I asked, show me a “gay” biblical relationship in any of those bibles I listed.” – Sol Invictus

I can’t. I don’t believe that there are any gay relationships recounted in the Bible. (I find attempts to interpret, for example, David and Jonathan, Ruth and Naomi or the centurion and his servant as gay relationships unconvincing – or at best inconclusive.) But just because something can’t be found in the Bible that doesn’t mean that it must be wrong. As a professor of theology at the University of Copenhagen remarked on BBC television some years ago, shortly after Denmark had enacted civil partnership legislation for gays and lesbians, it has taken centuries to come to an understanding of woman as equal to man, for instance, so it’s not surprising that it takes time to understand this also.

“BTW William, shouldn’t polygamous marriages be included in the marriage equality fight?” – Sol Invictus

I don’t see why myself, but if you’re going to take so-called “biblical marriage” as the standard for modern marriage legislation – which I wouldn’t – then the answer should probably be “yes”. If there’s a “slippery slope” in the direction of polygamy here, then it doesn’t start with the acceptance of homosexual relationships, nor does it follow from such an acceptance; it starts irrespective of that, with the acceptance of heterosexual ones, as a reading of the Old Testament demonstrates. Other homophobic cultures (non-Christian and non-Jewish) tell the same story.

----
September 19th, 2009 | LINK

It’s useless to argue with Christian apologists. For them, the bible is the “BEST BOOK EVER” and nothing will convince them that there’s anything wrong, incongruent, or outdated (when convenient) in it. Same with Trekkies or Matrix geeks who will defend to death their “philosophy”.

Sol Invictus
September 19th, 2009 | LINK

William you close your latest post with this:

“Other homophobic cultures (non-Christian and non-Jewish) tell the same story.”

People generally are not homophobes that do not support the gay aganda.. That is a label that short circuits legitimate arguement.

You’re Just a Homophobe”

Those opposed to homosexual behavior are often charged with “homophobia”—that they hold the position they do because they are “afraid” of homosexuals. Sometimes the charge is even made that these same people are perhaps homosexuals themselves and are overcompensating to hide this fact, even from themselves, by condemning other homosexuals.
Both of these arguments attempt to stop rational discussion of an issue by shifting the focus to one of the participants. In doing so, they dismiss another person’s arguments based on some real or supposed attribute of the person. In this case, the supposed attribute is a fear of homosexuals.

Like similar attempts to avoid rational discussion of an issue, the homophobia argument completely misses the point. Even if a person were afraid of homosexuals, that would not diminish his arguments against their behavior. The fact that a person is afraid of handguns would not nullify arguments against handguns, nor would the fact that a person might be afraid of handgun control diminish arguments against handgun control.

Furthermore, the homophobia charge rings false. The vast majority of those who oppose homosexual behavior are in no way “afraid” of homosexuals. A disagreement is not the same as a fear. One can disagree with something without fearing it, and the attempt to shut down rational discussion by crying “homophobe!” falls flat. It is an attempt to divert attention from the arguments against one’s position by focusing attention on the one who made the arguments, while trying to claim the moral high ground against him.

Labeling people as “homophobes” because they are Christian, or non supportive, is a major stumbling block in obtaining support for gay causes among likely voters.

Richard W. Fitch
September 19th, 2009 | LINK

Just as “homophobe” tends to shutdown rational discussion, so also does the assertation of “The Gay Agenda”. The LGBT citizens of the world/US are no more monolithic in their ideology than are the various social/religious/ideological groups that dismiss LGBT people as second-class citizens lackiing any sense of morality.

Rebecca
September 19th, 2009 | LINK

Blah, blah, blah, you’re not afraid of gay people, blah. Would you prefer “anti-gay” or “hater”? Perhaps “heterosexual supremacist”?

Priya Lynn
September 19th, 2009 | LINK

Sol Invictus, I got about half way through your link before my eyes glazed over and I gave up. That’s the definition of a tortured explanation. Only someone who’s already decided they want to disbelieve what the book clearly says would buy that “explanation”.

Emily K
September 19th, 2009 | LINK

Can somebody please tell me what this “gay agenda” is??

I guess if “gay agenda” means not having to worry about whether giving my consenting similar-aged romantically reciprocating girlfriend a smooch on the lips casually in public will get me lynched, then I think that any sane human being would appreciate that “agenda.”

Priya Lynn
September 19th, 2009 | LINK

Sol Invictus said “People generally are not homophobes that do not support the gay aganda.”.

The gay agenda is to have the same rights everyone else has. If you oppose this you are by definition a homophobe and a bigot.

Priya Lynn
September 19th, 2009 | LINK

Sol Invictus said “I asked for a NON Christian country. Place the word predominantly in front if you like. Somewhere in the world there is little or no Christian influence.. where “gays” may marry.”.

Sweden, Denmark, The Netherlands, and Norway. Only minorities in those countries believe in a traditional god and attend church.

Richard Rush
September 19th, 2009 | LINK

The Bible is a collection of ancient writings permeated with all the ignorance, superstition, and prejudices of the time. The notion of the Bible as the word of a god is simply part of the superstition that, astonishingly, still survives. The Bible may be interesting as part of the study of human history, and it may contain some insights into the human condition, but it is no more or less significant than any number of other ancient, or more recent, writings.

While I can say that the Bible has no relevance to my life, that is really not true due to the determination of millions of people to rule my life based on their interpretation of what the book says or does not say.

So when I read these frequent conversations, such as the comments here, a part of me is just amused at how people can debate the Bible as though it really matters. The other part of me is not at all amused when I realize how many people will vote to impact my life based upon superstition, rather than real knowledge, evidence, reason, and logic. I can certainly acknowledge that there are many limitations to our current state of human development, but surely we can do a whole lot better than wasting our time being concerned with what the Bible says or does not say.

Burr
September 19th, 2009 | LINK

Someone takes the word homophobe a little too literally.

Homophobes might not be directly afraid of us fags, but they certainly conjure up all sorts of doom and gloom and scary stories if *GASP* we are treated like human beings with dignity and the same rights as all other law-abiding citizens.

Burr
September 19th, 2009 | LINK

There’s not one rational argument against gay rights. Every single one that gets parroted out is a scare tactic, always pontificating “what if?” or tautologically asserting “because it’s wrong.”

Emily K
September 19th, 2009 | LINK

Well, Israel (predominantly Jewish and largely secular) recognizes gay marriage. But they don’t have civil marriage, they only have religious marriage and the Orthodoxy has somewhat of a stranglehold on “legitimate” marriages that may be performed on Israeli soil. But this includes intermarriage – and again this is religious and not civil marriage. I don’t quite get it; maybe it’s complicated, but marriage over there isn’t the same as it is in America.

But since Israel I think is about the size of New Jersey, it’s not terribly difficult to obtain some kind of civil license outside the country that will automatically be considered valid upon crossing back over the border into Israel. Gays may also adopt and serve in the military.

Christopher Waldrop
September 19th, 2009 | LINK

Sol Invictus said “I asked for a NON Christian country. Place the word predominantly in front if you like. Somewhere in the world there is little or no Christian influence.. where “gays” may marry.”.

Sweden, Denmark, The Netherlands, and Norway. Only minorities in those countries believe in a traditional god and attend church.

I thought of those countries as well, but, as I said, I’m not clear as to what, in the opinion of Sol Invictus, a NON Christian country is, or what relevance it has to the discussion. After all, Canada and Spain could be considered Christian countries and allow same-sex marriage. And the countries Priya lists could be considered NON Christian, and allow same-sex marriage.

Whatever Sol Invictus’s point is, it appears to be irrelevant.

Brian
September 19th, 2009 | LINK

“there is still a woman involved with a man, men, or women with a man. Now as I asked, show me a “gay” biblical relationship in any of those bibles I listed. BTW William, shouldn’t polygamous marriages be included in the marriage equality fight?”

So you’re saying an ancient, agrarian, patriarchal society only assumes marriages between men and women? Stop the presses!

Demanding people find a passage that condones same-sex marriage is like asking someone to find a passage that condemns slavery. It would not happen because those societies assumed that to be normal and natural. It’s the same way with marriage–they assumed it to be normal and natural. They could not even conceive of marriage between people of the same-sex because their social structure was based on the patriarchal household as the primary economic unit. That is not the case now–the individual on the labor market is the primary economic unit.

WMDKitty
September 19th, 2009 | LINK

Hey, guys, just ignore Sol Invictus — he’s a known fundie. His “opinions” are nothing more than the standard regurgitated drivel.

Sol Invictus
September 20th, 2009 | LINK

Christoper Waldrop your information on Christian churches you posted is incorrect by a quite a bit. Here is Norway who has a state religion:

In Norway’s case, the concept of being a “Christian nation” has to be defined legally, culturally and historically. Article 2 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Norway declares that:

“All inhabitants of the Realm shall have the right to free exercise of their religion. ”

“The Evangelical-Lutheran religion shall remain the official religion of the State. The inhabitants professing it are bound to bring up their children in the same. ”

Norway has a state religion. Your example of Norway is wrong as a predominantly non Christian country, now as to Sweden:

From Encyclopedia.com:

“The majority of the population still belongs to the Church of Sweden, which was disestablished in 2000. The next largest denomination is the RC Church, followed by the Orthodox, the Swedish Mission Covenant Church, and the Pentecostals”

Now Denmark: From the US Department of state:

“Although religious freedom is guaranteed, the state-supported Evangelical Lutheran Church accounts for about 95% of those persons claiming religious affiliation. Several other Christian denominations, as well as other major religions, find adherents in Denmark”

Christopher, all of your examples are invalid factually, and it is important to recognize that there is not a single predominantly non Christian country that allows gays to marry.

My point is relevant and factual. Spain is not a correct example either.

Christians are in fact very liberal in their understanding and acceptance of differing points of view.

William
September 20th, 2009 | LINK

Sol Invictus,

You have given us a lengthy post objecting to the use of the word “homophobia” and replying to arguments that I didn’t use. Whether your objections are valid or not isn’t relevant in this context. (I could ask you why you call yourself by the name of a pagan festival, but that wouldn’t be to the point either.)

I can rephrase my last statement as follows:

“Other cultures (non-Christian and non-Jewish) which are strongly averse to homosexuality tell the same story.”

There! Does that keep you happy?

The rational discussion can now resume, and the points that I made still stand.

Sol Invictus
September 20th, 2009 | LINK

Priya Lynn, you posted this in response:

“The gay agenda is to have the same rights everyone else has. If you oppose this you are by definition a homophobe and a bigot”

Comment: Priya, sadly this is why the gay cause is losing voters in droves at the polls. People who have differing views are not homophobes or bigots. Gays have exactly the same rights as anyone else. Marriage is not a civil right, however each man has the right to marry a person of the opposite sex and each female a right to marry a man of their choice. No gay person is deprived of any constitutional rights a heterosexual has, or a bisexual for that matter.

Polygamists are forbidden, and other types of behaviors that society does not want to license in marriage. That is not depriving anyone of civil rights. The state deprives people of drivers licenses who do not meet certain requirements, establishes minimum qualifications for other licenses, and also established entrance requirements for colleges. Are those all violations of someones rights?

No civil right needs a license to exercise it. If the exercise needs a license, it is not a civil right. If the citizenry wants to change the rules, each person has a vote to do so.

Burr
September 20th, 2009 | LINK

Wrong Sol. It’s not just the fact that we can’t call our relationships marriage or apply them to the same level of bureaucracy as heterosexual ones. Not being allowed to be married deprives us of SEVERAL very tangible and specific rights. Hospital visitation, inheritance, shared custody of children, etc.

If you think those aren’t constitutional rights, well take a look at the 9th Amendment which states that just because some rights are listed in the Bill of Rights does not construe it to mean that all other rights are null and void. Since the Constitution does not give the government any level of authority to deny or even recognize marriage, the whole concept of discriminating based on marriage licenses is completely unconstitutional. The 14th Amendment enforces equal treatment under the law for all U.S. citizens.

Massive fail.

Priya Lynn
September 20th, 2009 | LINK

Sol Invictus said “Norway has a state religion. Your example of Norway is wrong as a predominantly non Christian country”.

No, you’re wrong. According to the most recent Eurobarometer only 32% of Norwegian citizens responded that “they believe there is a God”. State religion or no, the vast majority of Norwegians are not Christians.

Sol said “now as to Sweden: “The majority of the population still belongs to the Church of Sweden, which was disestablished in 2000. The next largest denomination is the RC Church, followed by the Orthodox, the Swedish Mission Covenant Church, and the Pentecostals”

Wrong again. Swedes join the church out of tradition but the vast majority of them are not active believers. Only 1 out of 10 think religion is important in their lives, less than 4 percent of the Church of Sweden membership attends public worship during an average week; about 2 percent are regular attenders.

Sol Invictus said “Now Denmark: “Although religious freedom is guaranteed, the state-supported Evangelical Lutheran Church accounts for about 95% of those persons claiming religious affiliation.”

That’s out of date. In 2008 81% were members of the Lutheran church, but that does not mean they are Christians. People often refer to themselves as cultural christians out of family connections in the same way that someone born in the U.S. may say they are Irish or Italian because that’s where their family originated from. I called myself a Catholic for many years even though I didn’t believe in a god. In fact according to a 1999 EVS poll only 21% of Danes said they believe in a traditional god – the vast majority of Danes are not Christians despite their membership in the church.

And of course you never mentioned the Netherlands because there you couldn’t twist people’s belonging to a state church or being cultural christians as an actual belief in the Christian god.

Fact is that religion is of little importance to the vast majority of people in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and the Netherlands. The vast majority of people there do not believe in the Christian god and it is exactly the waning of religon that is responsible for the advancement of equal rights for gays.

Priya Lynn
September 20th, 2009 | LINK

Sol Invictus said “Priya, sadly this is why the gay cause is losing voters in droves at the polls. People who have differing views are not homophobes or bigots. Gays have exactly the same rights as anyone else. Marriage is not a civil right, however each man has the right to marry a person of the opposite sex and each female a right to marry a man of their choice.”.

First, as time goes by gays are gaining more and more supporters – you’re living in a dream world if you think equal rights is losing voters in droves. Secondly – don’t be disingenous – you aren’t said at all about people opposing equal rights for gays, it gives you a thrill – admit it.
Finally, yes marriage is a civil right, it was stated as such in Loving vs Virginia.

The example you gave is simply a dishonest word game. Gays do not have equal marriage rights. Ted had the right to marry Alice, but Donna does not have the same right he has to marry Alice. Similarly Dorothy has the right to marry Jason, but Alex does not have the same right she has to marry Jason. The rights are not equal by any stretch of the imagination.

Imagine for a minute if the U.S. made Islam the state religion and outlawed Christianity. A bigot would say “Everyone has equal rights. Everyone has the right to be Muslim and no one has the right to be Christian” – the stupidity of your “argument” should be apparent when it is applied to something you consider your right.

Timothy (TRiG)
September 20th, 2009 | LINK

people who think the very letters (the Hebrew letters) of the Torah are saying something.

Which is, of course, complete and utter nonsense.

TRiG.

Burr
September 20th, 2009 | LINK

If marriage is not a fundamental civil right, then why do even murderers on death row have the right to marry? They lose so many other rights, but not that one!

Priya Lynn
September 20th, 2009 | LINK

Further to the “Christianity” of Sweden, the reason church membership is high despite the vast majority of Swedes not believing in the Christian god is that until 1996 Children automatically became members if one of their parents was a member. Also, in Denmark atheists and agnostics are estimated to be between 43% and 80% of the population. (Wikipedia).

Richard Rush
September 20th, 2009 | LINK

Sol Invictus, you wrote (emphasis is mine):

Gays have exactly the same rights as anyone else. Marriage is not a civil right, however each man has the right to marry a person of the opposite sex and each female a right to marry a man of their choice. No gay person is deprived of any constitutional rights a heterosexual has, or a bisexual for that matter.

Are you seriously promoting this well worn talking point? If you happen to have a daughter, how would you feel about her marrying a gay man who is pretending to be straight? Or would it be okay if it is someone else’s daughter? As a means of avoiding being social outcasts, homosexuals have been pretending to be heterosexuals for eons. Do you seriously believe that society benefits by promoting the conditions that produce these fake marriages? A vote to deny full social acceptance of gays is, in fact, a vote to produce more fake marriages.

I have personally seen the results of these empty marriages, and they are not pretty (my experience involves gay men, not women). The most common result I see is divorce after many years of marriage. One divorced friend was married for over 20 years and produced six children. That example may be the most extreme, but not by much. Another common situation is gay spouses secretly having regular same-sex encounters while being married. Gay people who cruise places other than gay bars know that there are lots of married men out looking for homosex on the side. While you may be inclined to label and dismiss these people as adulterous sinners, society is culpable for creating the conditions whereby homosexuals are virtually forced into phony marriages in order to gain social acceptance at best, and avoid being persecuted at worst.

If it is possible for you to think beyond your beliefs and attitudes attained via indoctrination, you should be able to realize that everyone benefits from full social acceptance of homosexuals.

Regan DuCasse
September 20th, 2009 | LINK

And Sol Invictus, I didn’t ‘invite’ you here.
I asked why the usual suspects in TH aren’t seen anywhere their opinions aren’t in the majority.
It was a challenge, not an invitation.

Since you’re here, you’re apparently not any smarter, nor especially able to discuss civil law, and relevance to what the political context of civil rights means.
The Bible, not now, nor ever was the bulwark between systemic and institutionalized discrimination and bigotry.
It’s been the Constitution and Bill of Rights.
The Bible IS irrelevant when it comes to civil rights.

It is relevant only to one’s personal study, and congregation of like minded people.
At least here, there are people who are believers and committed to their faith.
They differ in it’s use in depriving fellow, productive and contributing citizens of their ability to function in THAT capacity.
That is the difference between a person of faith, and a GOOD person of faith.

Eastsidejim
September 20th, 2009 | LINK

Yes it is a question of civil rights. At one time it was illegal for blacks and whites to marry. The Supreme Court of the US ruled that blacks and whites can marry in 1967. Please pay attention to the sentence where the Supreme Court decision says that marriage is a civil right…

“The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men. Marriage is one of the ‘basic civil rights of man,’ fundamental to our very existence and survival. To deny this fundamental freedom… is surely to deprive all the State’s citizens of liberty without due process of law. The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry… resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State.”

- Supreme Court of the United States; June 12, 1967.
http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/conlaw/loving.html

Rebecca
September 20th, 2009 | LINK

Ahh, Eastsidejim beat me to citing Loving. Yup, basic civil rights!

Also, I’ll point out that Sol is deliberately conflating “majority Christian” with “officially Christian”; the United States is only the former, and Norway etc. are only the latter.

Regan DuCasse
September 20th, 2009 | LINK

Thanks, eastsidejim!

Sol Invictus: Marriage requires consent AND the adult of choice.

Gay people are NOT allowed to marry the person of their choice. So the assertion that gay people can marry, is disingenuous at BEST or an outright lie at worst.

Gender IS variant in nature, the ROLE of gender is an artificial construct.
Even more so in ‘traditional’ marriage.

The more egalitarian marriage has been along gender lines, the BETTER it has become. THAT is a fact.
No exception in this, even where gay couples can marry.

We have the countries of Canada and Spain and states like MA proving this, even in the short time that marriage equality has been in effect.

What this means is, that you and your ilk and your assertions were never the truth.
But mores the point, MORE people who are married, IS a good thing.
So why keep gay couples FROM doing what decent, responsible people SHOULD and we’d EXPECT them to do?

Emily K
September 20th, 2009 | LINK

@TRiG:

Oh, well gee! Now that you’ve shown me the absolute ridiculousness of one kind of Torah study (one I never really liked nor saw much merit to in the first place) I’m absolutely going to forget anything I said about loving to study the ancient text. There is no God. I’m officially an existentialist atheist. Absolutely all religion, no exceptions, is a farce perpetuated by people who want to seek power through subjugation. The millions that have perished before me were idiots – they should have just renounced being Jewish and maybe they would have stayed alive.

Now that that’s out of my system…

I like praying to the great “Invisible Skye Faerie.” I like studying Torah. And I like being a Jew. I’m proud of my culture and the way we’ve survived and thrived. People can call me insane and irrational – not like it hasn’t happened before, for completely unrelated things – I’ll keep Judaism warts and all.

@Regan – thanks for commenting. I was wondering if you would show up. I had a feeling this guy was a TH winger. I’m having a hard time understanding both why he uses the name of the pagan cult that Constantine I adhered to and what exactly is the point he’s trying to make here.

Richard W. Fitch
September 20th, 2009 | LINK

{When all else fails – Google} It appears that Sol Invictus is also the name of a neofacsist cabaret group, according to Wikipedia – for whatever that may be worth – there it is.

Timothy Kincaid
September 21st, 2009 | LINK

Sol Invectus,

You have been fairly successful up until now in changing the subject, avoiding direct questions, and redefining terms. That stops now.

1. Homophobia does not mean “afraid of homosexuals”. It is doubtful that it ever did have such a limited meaning, but if so it no longer does. Homophobia means: “irrational fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against homosexuality or homosexuals”.

As understood in common language, “fear or, aversion to, or discrimination against” can best be understood as “animus towards”, i.e. the emotional, political, and cultural contempt that you are showing in your postings.

We tend to avoid the term “homophobic” here because we’d rather discuss ideas than rant and rave about “I’m not afraid and don’t call me names, poor little victim me that only wants to coerce my will on others.”

2. “Marriage is not a civil right, however each man has the right to marry a person of the opposite sex and each female a right to marry a man of their choice.”

Though this is a common (and thoroughly offensive and smug) argument made by anti-gay activists, it is factually untrue.

A marriage by a gay person to a person of the opposite sex is not accorded the same legal protections as is a heterosexual marriage.

It is subject to religious one-sided annulment, considered to be “fraud” in a court of law, is assumed to be invalid for purposes of immigration or criminal testimony, and is a strong point of challenge in inheritance, and is almost never recognized by family or community. Pretty much anyone who wants to challenge such a marriage for any purpose whatsoever starts from a winning position. No heterosexual marriages are comparable.

3. You will note that my comment was not about whether biblical marriages involved men and women, but rather was:

When they say “biblical marriage”, most are so ignorant that they think that the Bible defines marriage as one man and one woman falling in love and raising their children together in blissful domesticity. I can’t think of a single instance of “biblical marriage” of that sort occurring in the Bible.

Kindly provide an example of such a “biblical marriage” or refrain from ever using that term as some justification for your desire to impose your un-Biblical standards on the rest of us. Name the Patriarch whose marriage we should emulate.

Also, your comments about what the Bible says about same-sex marriage did not address same-sex marriage. They address what you think Scripture says about selected sexual acts. Those skilled in logic (or possessing sufficient intellect) can readily tell the difference.

Mykelb
September 21st, 2009 | LINK

Who cares about biblical marriage? What we have in these United States is civil marriage. Licensed by the state and unequal by the state for its citizens. You all can keep you religion to yourself and your church and marry there if you choose to do that, but please read the Constituion’s guarantee of the 1st and 14th Amendments and I dare you to find anything in there that prohibits marriage equality. Believe me, most gay people prefer to get married by civil rather than religious representative precisely because religion is a belief system, not a legal system.

Timothy (TRiG)
September 22nd, 2009 | LINK

I used to enjoy debate around the issues of where religion fits in society, but I don’t at the moment. When someone tells me I should live my life according to the laws laid down by his imaginary friend, I just feel like telling him to go jump in a lake.

So, Sol Invictus, go jump in a lake.

TRiG.

Timothy (TRiG)
September 22nd, 2009 | LINK

Let’s have a Bible-based marriage.

TRiG.

Timothy Kincaid
September 22nd, 2009 | LINK

TRiG,

Please be civil.

Mykelb,

You may not want religious marriage, but a large number of same-sex couples do. Please don’t extrapolate your choices to us all and tell us to “believe you” about what “most gay people prefer”.

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