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December 8, 2008

Newsweek's Religious Case for Gay Marriage

Newsweek's cover story attempts to tackle gay marriage from a biblical perspective.

"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," Lisa Miller writes. Here's her opening paragraph:

Let's try for a minute to take the religious conservatives at their word and define marriage as the Bible does. Shall we look to Abraham, the great patriarch, who slept with his servant when he discovered his beloved wife Sarah was infertile? Or to Jacob, who fathered children with four different women (two sisters and their servants)? Abraham, Jacob, David, Solomon and the kings of Judah and Israel - all these fathers and heroes were polygamists. The New Testament model of marriage is hardly better. Jesus himself was single and preached an indifference to earthly attachments - especially family. The apostle Paul (also single) regarded marriage as an act of last resort for those unable to contain their animal lust. "It is better to marry than to burn with passion," says the apostle, in one of the most lukewarm endorsements of a treasured institution ever uttered. Would any contemporary heterosexual married couple - who likely woke up on their wedding day harboring some optimistic and newfangled ideas about gender equality and romantic love - turn to the Bible as a how-to script?

Of course not, yet the religious opponents of gay marriage would have it be so.

To those who believe marriage should be between a man and a woman, Miller says there are two obvious responses:

First, while the Bible and Jesus say many important things about love and family, neither explicitly defines marriage as between one man and one woman. And second, as the examples above illustrate, no sensible modern person wants marriage - theirs or anyone else's - to look in its particulars anything like what the Bible describes.

Mollie Hemingway has promptly taken the article to task at GetReligion. CT posted a classic today in response: What God Hath Not Joined | Sorry, Newsweek: the Bible is in fact quite clear on why marriage was designed for male and female.

Comments

God tolerated Abraham and other polygamy and he will tolerate same-sex marriage if that happens. But it was not the way we were created to marry. Marriage was one man and one woman in the beginning.

what a load of crock. the bible talks agreat deal about God's take on homosexuality. both in the old & new testaments. the ideas about it seem abhorant to many in today's modern world. they may indeed be abhorent, but they are explicit...and pretty clear. You can rail against them, but you can't simply ignore them or deny they exisit, as the writer of this article seems to have chosen to do.

Newsweek should know there are many Christians who support gay marriage for religious reasons. I am a Christian pastor, and I support same-sex marriage because it is an issue of justice, and while Jesus spent almost no time talking about sex, he talked and acted to bring justice to the excluded wherever he went.
In his day, Jesus chose to spend his time and attention on whores, tax collectors, foreigners, the sick, disabled, and ritually unclean. He welcomed them into his circle and demanded his followers include them. Beyond any verse or verses of Scripture some well-meaning modern-day follower of Jesus might quote, emphasis should be given to acting as Jesus acted.
Those passages of the Bible most often quoted to condemn homosexuality refer to very specific practices no one is engaging today--like pagan temple same-sex prostitution. Remember nearly all adult Jews of Jesus' day were in arranged marriages; therefore, anyone engaged in homosexual relations was violating a covenant relationship with a spouse. Committed same-sex relationships were virtually unknown to the people of the Bible.
The Bible condemns violations of fidelity at every turn, and it is such violations that threaten the modern institution of marriage, not equal access to the legal and secular institution that conveys rights and privileges to those who make a legal marriage commitment with one another. Gay marriage is a civil rights issue, and Christians should remember, along with all U.S. citizens, that our constitution makes clear that ALL people are created equal, without exception. At the same time, Christians might want to remember that Jesus said ALL the law and the prophets could be summed up in two commands: love God and love neighbor. He did not say love your STRAIGHT neighbor--in fact, he went out of his way to demonstrate that our neighbor is the one we would want to exclude.

Liberals used to be pretty smart, often with a modicum of integrity. My how things change.

Even disregarding ideological and religious bias, this Newsweek article is among the most stupid pieces on marriage ever written. It demonstrates a virulent misunderstanding of traditional Christian teaching on marriage, including the Scriptural context for such teaching. The sad thing is how many people take such tripe seriously.

I'm convinced that people who write such garbage don't give a rat's rear end about marriage, they just want to throw rocks at traditionally-minded Christians. They're the same ones who, 30 years ago, told us that a marriage license was merely a "piece of paper" and totally unnecessary for those high minded individuals whose blissful shack-ups didn't require such lowbrow legalities. Not content with the level of marital dysfunction caused by their prior escapades, they're back to offer more "help."

Give me a break.

Humphrey's piece is one of the more morally and intellectually bankrupt things I've read in awhile. CT should be quite ashamed for republishing it, except to help illustrate why they're repenting for having published it.

I've read all that stuff before, when I was studying pro-slavery, antebellum apologetics. Shameful, very shameful, to not have learned anything since, except how to use a word processor's word substitute function.

The Golden Rule is not an attack on theological foundations and marriage. It is the foundation. God is the bedrock upon which the foundation is laid. Where is the Golden Rule in Humphrey's piece?

The proslavery activists had an answer. They practiced the Golden Rule by imagining that if they were a slave, rather unthinkable, but it was just a thought experiment, they would want a strong, fair, Christian, patriarchy defending, father-master like what they imagined themselves to be, or thought they should be, at least.

The more radical abolitionists thought of the Golden Rule differently. "If I were a slave, I would want to be free."

More radical: "I am a slave. Slaves are my people. I am no better, no worse than my people."

The Golden Rule today? "If I were Gay..."

The religious right says..."I would want the abominable sin of "homosexuality" and homosexual attraction gone." That's actually easy, people don't do "homosexuality," a Victorian sexology theory that really doesn't work that well, as it doesn't take in account identity. People do what people do, and what some people do is be Gay, or GLBT, or MSM, or SGL, or what people identify as what they simple are, or belong with, or, as with MSM, are group labeled by scientists who study such things.

Animals do "homosexuality " as they don't do identity. They do what pheromones and natural variation does to them.

People, while animals subject to natural variation as well, do identity, a different, multi-dimensioned, socially tangled and very complex, compromised, always being influenced and influential, never ending journey of self-discovery. Genes and memes...both are the basic atoms of identity to us.

Gay people probably don't chose to be Gay, but they choose to accept the label and their communities, which overlap with all communities. Gay is identity, what they are, where they inhabit. Not an essence, not a sin, certainly not a pathology, but a natural variation that one should expect in an intensely social, intensely intelligent, intensely complicated species, a human, your neighbor, your child, you?

Even if Gays actually choose to be gay, when it comes to civil rights, so what? America is an experiment in democracy, and after the Civil War, democracy and what civil rights really mean. Something conservative Christians, in general, have generally feared and opposed anyway. So, why are we still listening to them? They're the people, after all, who seem to think they can they just vote the most basic equality away with a just a proposition. That is dangerous and shameful behavior.

"If I were Gay."
Radical. I would want the freedom to be my best GLBT self, a full citizen, in marriage, in service to the country, in courts and governments, everything." That's not radical enough for me, however.

More radical. "I am your Gay neighbor." If you have or don't have the "sexual orientation" of most Gay identifying people, well, that's actually quite irrelevant.

The author of the article is wrong. Jesus explicitly defined marriage as being between a man and a woman when He said:

"Haven't you read," he replied, "that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,' and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate." (Matthew 19:4-6)

Paul was married- one of the requirements of being a Pharisee was marriage. We don't know what happened to his wife.

Jesus made it clear in Mark 10:6-9 what the standard was. Yes, the Bible points out example of those who married many wives- those who chose to live how they wanted to. That is no different than today.

Jesus taught that God's kingdom is number one compared to anything we have on earth. That is not indifference.

Those who support, propagate, endorse and canverse GAY MARRIAGE including the couples themselves have been described in the Bilbe as REPROBATE MINDS! Animals like the dog, goat, even chickens are better than them! Has anyone seen where a he goat mate with a he goat, or a male dog mating with a male dog? God created everything male and female to produce result (procreation}. In elementary science, you need the positively charged part and the negatively charged end to produce result of whatever you want. How come a man would marry another man. MADNESS IS THE RIGHT WORD FOR THEM.

First of all, God loves the sinner; but hates their sin - which is why He sent His only Son to be our propitiation (making amends) towards God. He does not condone the patriarchs sin - in fact they suffered consequences for said sin(s). He acknowledged their faith in Him & that's what saved them.
Secondly, in the Garden of Eden, God brot all the animals to Adam to see what he'd name them. Amongst all the animals, there was none "suitable" for him - so God created woman.{Adam & Eve, not Adam & Steve!}
Third, there are a number of explicit Scriptures that speak against homosexuality. Reread, w/in the context of the chapter:
Mt 19:4
Mk 10:6
Rom 1:26
1 Cor 6:9
I find these to be very explicit in their intended meaning!
The 4th & last issue I wish to deal w/tonite is that God told everyone: plants, animals, & humans to "be fruitful & mulitiply!" Try as they will, w/out some intervention from a person of the opposite sex, no same-sex relationship has created a child from their "union"! But when they desire to have a child, there seems to be "no problem" in having someone of the opposite sex involved in creating a child (or adopting one).

Dear M J Spaulding,
Where do you get the idea that God will tolerate homosexual marriage? You only have to look at Genesis Ch. 19, and yes, Lot was an absolute mongrel, before you point that out. Equally check Romans 1:27. You can find other references, but these will do.
Marriage is still only one man and one woman, in God's eyes.

Wether its its poligamy or monogamy, God tolerated. But all homosexual relationshps are punishable by death for those involved. its a peversiveness that is punished by death both now and in hell fire on the day of final judgement.
"Gay"is certainly not marriage and can only thrive through recruitment from the fruits of real marriages.
a day is coming when all those involved in the so-called gay marriage will answer for it wether they believe in God or not!

No that is not correct. God will not tolerate that foolishness. If you read your Bible with wisdom,knowledge and understanding of his word,if you don't have that pray and ask God and he will give it to you. The Bible says "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not to your own understanding and he will direct your path." But if you are not reading your Bible you should because the Bible I read tells me that My God whom I serve destroyed a whole city for this reason you can read Genisis 13, Leviticus 18:22,and 20:13. Why would you think that God will tolerate this? In Romans 2:11 The Bible says God does not show favoratism! So why do you think he is going to show favoritism to those who are not even trying to do anything the correct way. Now I am not trying to offend anyone but it is what the Bible says it is. It was the same then,will be today and tomorrow. I didn't add nor did I take away anything. That is why I put the scriptures there so you can see for yourself and not be misguided by myself or anyone else.

"Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman, that is detestable." Lve.18:22 "If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman,both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death;their blood will be on their own hands."Lev. 20:13 Dont forget Abrahma and Sarah took matters into their own hands and did what was wrong and they paid the price for their sin as did others.

God loves everyone! Homosexuality is a behavior and God does not make mistakes!! There are many consequences each of us have to face and there is a reason why sodomy is mentioned as one of the sins or wrong doing. Whether we like it or not, we will all stand before the Master and give account of what we have done in the body we live in!! The fact is are we ready to meet our maker? Tomorrow is promise to no one; In this world we can be or do what we want, but when we leave this world, what happens when we find out that everything we know about the bible is true? It will be too late for all, if we don't tell God we are sorry for our wrongs, cause anything we do in the earthly body will be judged according to the Bible and another thing, understand that prophecy is being fulfilled, you just have to look at Isreal today, the harvest is ready!! JESUS IS COMING!

The Newsweek article caught my eye off the magazine rack at the airport, and I picked it up and read it through end to end. I was actually more puzzled than anything by the article, wondering why Newsweek would publish something like that. There was no 'news' quality to the article, it was simply an opinion piece, and predictable at that. I put the article down, and thought to myself, I hope Christianity Today responds to this poor attempt at biblical deconstructionism to prove a point. My wife sent me this link, and now I'm happy to see you responded.

How refreshing to finally see the secular media overcome taboo of challenging conservative Christianity and pick up on this story. Change isn't new, folks -it's been in the works for centuries. Maybe if this acknowledgment of same-sex marriage as a civil right had been adopted a few years ago this former Evangelical wouldn't have renounced Christianity.

Maybe the next time you sit down to vote someone's rights out of the Constitution for the sake of a leader who teaches you to love your neighbor as yourself, you'll find it just a little bit more difficult to suppress thoughts of hypocrisy.

The "traditional" Christian understanding of marriage is that marriage is for maintaining patriarchy, male privilege, rigid social structures, hierarchies, and institutions that attend to patriarchy. The age of patriarchy has passed.

In traditional marriages, love is nice, but not necessary. What is important in traditional marriage is having "legitimate" male heirs. Daughters, however much loved, are for bargaining for hopefully friendly alliances with other patriarchs.

Marriage today is about love, commitment, respect, mutual support; establishing a family, from a family of two facing a difficult world together, to a family with children growing up in a difficult world where family love and support helps make the world maybe a little less difficult for all.

It's good to have parents of both sexes, but it's even better to have good parents. Gay couples can be good parents. Some straight couples can be lousy parents. Life is that way. Expand the pool of possible good parents by allowing equal marriage for same sex couples.

Gay people can "reproduce," though they shouldn't expect to have Gay children. I know several Gay people with children, and not one of their children is Gay. (Keep in mind that personal experience isn't definitive at all, but maybe illustrative.)

Gay people today probably seldom have to deal with unplanned pregnancies, however, as having children usually takes foresight and planning. Would that more straight couples have that.

Please thoughtfully study the Bible before using it in your politics. When the next generation rejects the Bible as hateful, some of you will share the blame for reading your own cultural biases into it.

Walter Wink, Professor of Biblical Interpretation, writes a short essay "Homosexuality and the Bible" which every Christian should read and consider:

http://www.theotherjournal.com/article.php?id=23

How dare Newsweek take the bible at face value and interpret it literally.....

Mark, your broad accusation is simply not accurate. I'm a Christian whose support for gay marriage is explicitly rooted in my belief that marriage is a bedrock sacred institution that's integral to American society. And I'm not the only one.

Individuals and churches can certainly continue to believe as they like. But the fact is that when our grandchildren look back at how we behaved during this crucial moment in history, the forces against legalizing gay marriage will look like so many antebellum Southerners clinging to a transparently unjust way of life. I'm proud to say I'm a Christian who has marched for this cause, and I will continue to do so until justice is inevitably achieved.

I don't recall that Adam and Eve were formally married. God, in a very unacceptable manner these days, merely presented Eve to Adam to be his "helpmate," without her consent. That is not called "marriage" today. That is called "enslavement."

Not to mention that Eve, being made from Adam's rib, would have been an altered clone; sort of a fraternal twin. An Adam and Eve marriage...that would be "incest."

On the other hand, one can be sure that God knows genetics, so I'm sure there were adequate safeguards against the possible harmful effects of such inbreeding, right?

Or, maybe not? I have a genetic disease that's cost me plenty, and I want to sue my Creator for negligence and irresponsibility in my "intelligent design."

Gregory Peterson: Let me get this straight: Eve was "enslaved" -- not married -- to Adam. And their coming together was "incest" because it was "inbreeding." And you wish to sue God for his negligence in allowing your genetic disease because you think a "design flaw" was the cause. I honestly don't know if you are trying to be factitious to make a point or you are simply bitter about the claims of the Bible. There's nothing within your "list" which hasn't been addressed thousands of times on various Internet Q&A forums as well as countless Bible commentaries and sermons. I sympathize with your difficult situation and I wish you all of the peace and comfort which God, his people, and medical science can make possible. But I can't help but wonder if your
post is more a product of your anguish and spiritual "exhaustion" than a reasoned and informed analysis of the Biblical texts associated with these topics.

Gregory Peterson: Let me get this straight: Eve was "enslaved" -- not married -- to Adam. And their coming together was "incest" because it was "inbreeding." And you wish to sue God for his negligence in allowing your genetic disease because you think a "design flaw" was the cause. I honestly don't know if you are trying to be facetitious to make a point or you are simply bitter about the claims of the Bible. There's nothing within your "list" which hasn't been addressed thousands of times on various Internet Q&A forums as well as countless Bible commentaries and sermons. I sympathize with your difficult situation and I wish you all of the peace and comfort which God, his people, and medical science can make possible. But I can't help but wonder if your
post is more a product of your anguish and spiritual "exhaustion" than a reasoned and informed analysis of the Biblical texts associated with these topics.

The article points out that what the Bible says "God has joined together" has already been separated by man. It has also taken place in other religions and cultures regardless of Christian presence. The article seeks to take Christians at their word; a word that pledges acceptance and love, shunning exceptionalism, violence, and prejudice. That, combined with our legal constitution that aims to insure equal protection and equal rights (which inadvertaetly includes the right to marry because of the rights associated), is what this author seems to use as her argument.

Saying that she has taken verses out-of-context (though I saw none of the verses she uses in anyone's response), and then arguing her verses with other verses taken out-of-context, will probably do very little. One author is painting Christianity as loving and inclusive, and Jesus as peaceful and mysterious. The many other paint Christianity as a rigid and cold dogma that excludes many for the sake of palatable ideals. What would Jesus choose?

LOVE IS THE MESSAGE AND THE MESSAGE IS LOVE (Mt 22:37-40).
Judy, you quote Leviticus correctly but Jesus systematically turned Hebrew Scripture's values around. His message, like Yestoredpill says, was one of inclusion of all, and ESPECIALLY those with lowly status, bad habits or dubious jobs (Mk 2:17): he discussed theology with women (Jn 4), healed alleged sinners on the Sabbat (Jn 5) and dined with greedy tax collectors (Mk 2:13-17). Yet how many women are pastors and preachers in today's churches? How many christians' talk shows forgiveness trumping rules? How many of us would dine with a Wall St broker these days?
So even for those who believe (unlike me) that same-sex relationships are dubious or even sinful, I think it's more important to look at what Jesus DID DO than try to guess what he MIGHT HAVE SAID had he spoken about them at all. Fact is, he didn't. As Gregory points out, however, he DID TALK a lot about care and fidelity, and I think those two are the Christian challenge to people of any sexual orientation.
NOTE as to Paul, thanks Christina for the references but I personally think he was simply a male chauvinist who disliked anything remotely sexual (1 Cor 7). But remember he was NOT the Christ; Christ was.

Along with the evangelicals there are the Catholics and the Mormons who did the most to torpedo legal marriages in California by their support of Proposition 8. And the anger about the rational Newsweek article is surprising. So naturally I'm *shocked* *shocked* that these reformed polygamists and confirmed pedophiles should have the temerity to claim the moral high ground on the topic of marriage. Their sanctimonious pontificating smothers loving couples who simply want to have their relationships legally recognized. There is no requirement for any Catholic Church or Mormon Temple to solemnize anyone whose union they don't approve. Yet they can wield the tax-free power to stir up all kinds of fears based solely on prejudice, and nothing more. Lest I leave out the evangelicals, who so literally pick and choose among the Bible verses, if "lying with another man as with a woman" is an abomination, then read on and spend $30 million to outlaw the eating of shellfish or the mixing of fibers in clothing: both of these are condemned in exactly the same terms. Give us a break!

Posted by: yes2redpill at December 9, 2008
... there are many Christians who support gay marriage for religious reasons.
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Scripturally, what reasons?

Posted by: yes2redpill at December 9, 2008
I am a Christian pastor, and I support same-sex marriage because it is an issue of justice...
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Whose justice?

Posted by: yes2redpill at December 9, 2008
... and while Jesus spent almost no time talking about sex...
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He talked about divorce as it relates to marriage. He reminded the Pharisees that God joined a man, as husband, and a woman, as his wife. In other words, the only way you can have divorce is if you have marriage which consists of a man, as husband, and a woman, as his wife.

There is absolutely, utterly and completely no mention in the Word of God of so-called "same-sex 'marriage'" approved by God. "Marriage" is mentioned only in relation to the union of a man, as husband, and a woman, as his wife. There is no other, holy, matrimonial unit.

Posted by: yes2redpill at December 9, 2008
... he talked and acted to bring justice...
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Whose justice and what kind?

Posted by: yes2redpill at December 9, 2008
... to the excluded wherever he went.
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Excluded from what?

Posted by: yes2redpill at December 9, 2008
In his day, Jesus chose to spend his time and attention on whores, tax collectors, foreigners, the sick, disabled, and ritually unclean.
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Cuz, as He said, the healthy have no need for a doctor. Why would He come to save those who are already saved?

Posted by: yes2redpill at December 9, 2008
He welcomed them into his circle...
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However,(Eph 5:11) And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.

Posted by: yes2redpill at December 9, 2008
... and demanded his followers include them.
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For what purpose? To learn how to be a sinner? To find out what the sinners have to teach them? Not at all. So they could see Righteousness at work.

Posted by: yes2redpill at December 9, 2008
Beyond any verse or verses of Scripture some well-meaning modern-day follower of Jesus might quote, emphasis should be given to acting as Jesus acted.
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What was His main act? GIVING THEM THE WORD OF GOD, THE MESSAGE OF GOD'S OFFER OF RECONCILIATION. It was not to make sinners feel good. It was not to make them welcomed in His circle, there to remain sinners.

Posted by: yes2redpill at December 9, 2008
Those passages of the Bible most often quoted to condemn homosexuality...
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We don't do the condemning. We merely report what God says. A Scripture upon Scripture reading of those versus make it very clear that God condemns what we now call "homosexuality" as an "abomination."

Posted by: yes2redpill at December 9, 2008
... refer to very specific practices no one is engaging today--like pagan temple same-sex prostitution.
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Not true. Leviticus is reiterated in Romans, and they, together, along with others, condemn homosexuality.

Again, throughout the Word, the only holy, matrimonial unit is a man, as husband, and a woman, as his wife. There is no other, matrimonial arrangement that is Godly.

Posted by: yes2redpill at December 9, 2008
The Bible condemns violations of fidelity at every turn, and it is such violations that threaten the modern institution of marriage, not equal access to the legal and secular institution...
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However, that institution grew out of what God joined -- WHAT, not who. God established the marriage template.

Posted by: yes2redpill at December 9, 2008
... that conveys rights and privileges to those who make a legal marriage commitment with one another.
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If that's all there is to it, those who claim to be homosexual can go to a lawyer and draft up a document that calls their relationship "marriage." After all, according to them, all that matters is love. That legal commitment would establish what they call "love."

Posted by: yes2redpill at December 9, 2008
Gay marriage is a civil rights issue...
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Blacks say it is not. They say those who claim to be homosexual, their supporters, activist and advocate are co-opting Civil Rights.

It is IS an issue of Civil Rights on par with Black Civil Rights, tell us what the physical characteristic of homosexuality is that separates those who claim to be homosexual from the rest of us.

Posted by: yes2redpill at December 9, 2008
... and Christians should remember, along with all U.S. citizens, that our constitution makes clear that ALL people are created equal, without exception.
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The Constitution protects persons, not the types of persons persons choose to be, nor the way persons choose to act. Persons have Rights as persons, not, say, as German-Americans.

Those who claim to be homosexual already have equal Rights when it comes to marriage.

BEHOLD!

There is no discrimination in the law that defines "marriage" as the union of a man, as husband, and a woman, as his wife, given that everybody is either male/a man, or female/a woman. There is no third sex excluded. You're not saying that those who claim to be homosexual are members of a third sex, are you?

So, since those who claim to be homosexual are either male, or female, they are covered by the law -- that is, a man who claims to be homosexual may marry a woman who claims to be homosexual. That is the same opportunity a man who is heterosexual as to marry a woman who is heterosexual. Equality in every point that's relevant.

Posted by: yes2redpill at December 9, 2008
At the same time, Christians might want to remember that Jesus said ALL the law and the prophets could be summed up in two commands: love God and love neighbor.
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God is love. The Word is God. Therefore, the Word is love.

Jesus came to bring the Message of God's offer of Reconciliation. For what? For Salvation. What motivated God? Love, for one thing.

So, biblical "love" is "unselfish concern for the Salvation of others, as much concern for others' Salvation as we have for our own." Those who are born again love others by giving them the Word -- that is, the very "thing" that will save them. Worldly love will not save anyone.

Posted by: yes2redpill at December 9, 2008
He did not say love your STRAIGHT neighbor--in fact, he went out of his way to demonstrate that our neighbor is the one we would want to exclude.
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Exclude from what?

It is IS an issue of Civil Rights -- -- > If it IS an issue of Civil Rights

At the same time, Christians might want to remember that Jesus said ALL the law and the prophets could be summed up in two commands: love God and love neighbor. Posted by: yes2redpill at December 9, 2008


God is love. The Word is God. Therefore, the Word is love.

God is a spirit. Jesus said, "[M]y words, they are spirit." He also said that His words are life.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue.

So, the spirits are in words. Words of blessing, or words of curses. God told you to choose life. Words of life.

Thus, the words of life and love are in the Word of God. They are not in the words of men. They are not in worldly words.

Jesus came to bring the Message of God's offer of Reconciliation. For what? For Salvation. What motivated God? Love, for one thing.

So, biblical "love" is "unselfish concern for the Salvation of others, as much concern for others' Salvation as we have for our own." Those who are born again love others by giving them the Word -- that is, the very "thing" that will save them. Worldly love will not save anyone.