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.