Saturday, July 04, 2015

Jesus chasing the money changers out the temple, by Giotto. Do you know what Jesus never got angry about? Same-sex marriage. Image credit

I have been absent from the blog because of the craziness of life, but lately I've been feeling the need to write a bit more about the things that have been circling around in my head. I cam across this article on Facebook about Tennessee county clerks resigning rather than issue licenses for same-sex marriages, which resulted in the following rant:

All the injustice in the world, all the war, the poverty, the racism, the environmental degradation, domestic violence, child abuse, the abject suffering, and THIS is the issue that people decide to take a stand on.

I've said it before. There is no "biblical definition of marriage." Same-sex marriage is not discussed at all in the Bible, because it was not a cultural possibility at the time the Bible was written. There are a handful of condemnations of gay sex, but either in the context of Levitical law, superseded in Christian belief by the New Law (which is why these ignorant bigots didn't resign en masse when they served ham sandwiches at the office party), or in the context of rape (Sodom and Gomorrah), or, in the epistles of Paul, in the context of "sexual immorality," that is, classed with adultery and fornication and not in the context of committed relationships. It's very weak soup to make the center of your religious conviction.

More importantly for these "Christians" is that same-sex behavior of any kind is not brought up once in the Gospels. Jesus has nothing to say about either sex or marriage between two people of the same gender. You know what he did condemn? Divorce, and quite clearly (Mark 10:2-12). So why did these clerks not resign when told to issue certificates of divorce?

I think that there is a very weak case for Christian condemnation of same-sex marriage, but even if you do believe there is and you're Christian, don't you think that it's a rather mild problem in relation to the greater suffering in the world that Jesus did condemn? Even if Jesus did mention divorce once (reported in Matthew and Mark and, it should be said, in its own context before stated as an article of law), he spent much more time decrying hatred, poverty, the dangers of wealth , and (ahem) hypocrisy. Maybe Christians should focus on those issues first.

Even if your Pharisaical and even Talibanish understanding of Christianity makes you focus on things like gay marriage and seeing the splinter in your neighbor's eye instead of the beam in your own, the answer is simple: don't marry someone of the same gender. Leave the rest of us alone. And if you're really interested in "the glory of God," maybe you should read His word with more intelligence and understanding, bringing to it fewer cultural taboos that have little to do with the actual text.