Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Prop 8, Judge Walker and the Biblical View of Marriage Equality - Rita Nakashima Brock, Ph. D. – The Huffington Post

Director, Faith Voices for the Common Good

Judge Vaughn Walker's decision to allow resumption of legal same-sex weddings in California has right-wing Christians claiming his ruling against Proposition 8 threatens "Bible believing Christians." I've read the Bible pretty carefully myself (I read it cover to cover when I was in high school) and even taught it as a college professor. It is not a source I'd turn to in order to defend traditional marriage, but I think it does offer ways to think about ethical marriage.

The Bible presents multiple views of marriage, and most actual marriages it depicts are terrible by modern standards. "Traditional marriages" in ancient biblical times were arranged as transfers of the ownership of daughters. The tenth commandment lists wives among properties like houses and slaves: "You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor" (Exodus 20:17, also found in Deuteronomy 5:21). Marriages occurred via deception, kidnapping, adulterous seductions, theft, rape, and murder, and were often in multiples so that the pater familias could amass land, flocks, and progeny and cement political alliances. Abraham, David, and Solomon had marriages that would be illegal today. The book of Hosea likens the mercy of God to a husband who has the right to beat or kill his adulterous wife, but spares her -- for this, she was supposed to be grateful. When women seek marriages, such as Naomi arranged for Ruth, it was to avoid an even worse fate such as destitution…

…A number of Christian groups in California, as well as Reformed Jews and Unitarian Universalists, would agree. Prop 8 denied us our religious freedom by prohibiting us from authorizing same-sex marriages, but, even worse, it denied the basic human right of marriage to a group of people based on unfounded biases about their sexual orientation. Same-sex couples, like heterosexual couples, offer each other love, companionship, and a stable family environment for raising children. If marriage is good for society, and equality is the ethical basis for marriage, then gender difference is irrelevant. Marriage equality is good for everyone, including Bible-believing Christians. Read complete article:

Director, Faith Voices for the Common Good

Rita Nakashima Brock, Ph.D.: Award-winning author and a respected international scholar in religion; from 1997-2001 directed a think tank for women at Harvard University; has worked for over two decades in the field of religion in higher education and served on the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Religion and on national boards of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ. Read more:

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