Friday, February 17, 2012

Ramblings of a Normal Guy: A Rambling for Gay Marriage

Welcome to another addition of ramblings of a normal guy. This is my special column, where I go off on wild rants complaining about the things that happen and effect my (and ours) every day life. Because of the excessive amounts of stupidity that will be featured, a large amount of inappropriate language will most likely be used. Also expect a large helping of calling out and "I don't give a crap". Rated M for mature, and read at  your own risk.

So before we do this, I need to get a few things straight;

As many of you know by now, I have this growing desire to be pat of and participate in the human rights moment. Why? Because... well it's just not right how humans treat each other. It's deplorable really. The color of one's skin should not dictate social standing, just like who one's love shouldn't get them chained to a car and dragged to death. Seriously, how could anyone thing this is ok to do? How the fuck could anyone think it's ok to kill another because they are gay? All people are equal, all people have the right to life and all people have the right to love. No "god", no bullshit religion, and no book could nor should ever take that away. And no, being gay doesn't lead to bestiality. So it was probably because of this belief, that I was asked to write a essay for gay marriage. Sure, no big there! Yet confident in my choose, a bit of iffyness hits me. It can be best described as doing something you know is right, but also knowing it isn't going to be pretty. As I'm sitting here formulating how I'm going to write this, my brain box races with different ways this will all play out. The purpose of this rambling is to open eyes, not a bitch fest.*1 I happen to know a few people who are very religious, one happens to be a great friend. I want to go about this to show that gay marriage really isn't this horrid thing, not do anything to offend his beliefs. Can I actually do this? 
Another point I want to make before I begin in this; when one uses the bible to make arguments about anything of a (non)religious nature, a certain mind set is present. The bible is a two thousand old year old book that many believe is without question or suspect. Within the pages, such people say that nothing is subject to interpretation, nothing is in need of being "updated" to current times and nothing is in need of editing in, out or changed. The bible is a book said to have divine inspiration, and as such should not be held to any mortal law or thought. Each person should and MUST have the right to believe in what they hold true, even if we and others think them batshit insane. While I may find much of Christianity suspect, and the ideas of Creationism just silly, each person that holds true belief in it, must forever be allowed to do so in peace. Religion and faith is their personal relationship in the Divine, not a bloody boxing match! My only problem comes when people use such religion for ego, profit or (in this case) to deny others civil rights. 

Religion is yours to keep, not force on others.

Now that I'm here, and as I further organize my thoughts about this, and I'm just about ready to get started, I come to the realization I will probably offend some people. No matter how one puts it, how nicely it is said or what evidence is presented, there will always be at least one person who takes offense. When one mixes speaking about human rights, taboos and the bible, well let's just say it rarely ends well. As I said before, people have very specific and fixed ideas when it comes to their religious worlds, and when questioned, it is rarely handled civilly. But I seem to be repeat loop here. The purpose of today's Ramblings of a Normal Guy is not to insult or shake ones faith. If you are offended by this, and you are not a egotistical a-hole, I do apologize but ask you to read on. If it shakes your faith in what ever you hold, these are issues you should probably address with yourself.

So yea... here goes.


Back in my parents time, it was a sexual orientation spoken about only in whispers; if anyone would speak of it at all. To define one's self as homosexual was to bring about the wrath of the community upon you. Such a unclean choice was considered worse than how we (should) consider rape. The few who where courageous enough to publicly declare their status or where found out, where subjected to firings, exorcisms, mental reprogramming, death, and more. Fortunately as the after effects of the Age of Aqueous continue to fester and grow, many people are waking up to question established and demeaning taboos. Is being gay really this horrible world destroying thing? Would allowing gays to marry really destroy all freedom? How are gays not people too... they live, breath and work just like the rest of us, right? But as many join the fight for equality, still many others seek to keep the status qua, be it for personal power, sheep like mentality, honest (in their view) religious belief or uneasiness of change. Many religious communities are forming and leading efforts to preserve what they feel is the "traditional definition of marriage". They feel that acceptance of homosexuality and their legal civil unions would destroy the morality of our nation, bring about God's wrath and ultimately end freedom. One would think allowing politicians to accept bribes for votes AND tolerating the practice of such would end morality... but what do I know. But is any of this really true? What does the "traditional definition of marriage" even mean?! It is my hopes with this rambling to explore these main arguments and see how they really hold up.

Argument 1: Marriage is "One man One Woman" anything else ruins marriage. 

Opponents (forth with defined as against marriage equality or gay marriage) say that the bible defines the marriage union as one man and one woman. In Genesis 2:24 it states "This is why a man leaves his father and mother and bonds with his wife, and they become one flesh." In Genesis 6: 1-2 we also read "And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose". For the sake of time, we will ignore the incest implication (of course if we ignore one thing in the bible, why can we ignore others?) of Genesis for the time being, we have this and other verses that many opponent use to feel confident that the traditional definition of marriage is indeed one man and one woman.

Only that it's not.

Abijah was the second King of Judah (911-908 BC). He was the son of King Rehoboam and Maacah, the grand-daughter of Absalom. He was a sinner as was his father, and his heart was not right with God. However, in a battle with Israel, he defies Jeroboam's powerful army and tells the people of Israel "do not fight against the Lord God of your fathers, for you will not succeed." God used Abijah and the men of Judah to turn the tide of the battle against King Jeroboam and the army of Israel, defeating Israel and capturing the cities of Bethel, Jeshanah, and Ephron. Abijah's reign lasted three years, he had 14 wives, and 22 sons and 16 daughters. When Abijah died, he was buried in Jerusalem, and his son, Asa, became the new king of Judah. 1 Kings 15:1-8 and in 2 Chronicles, chapter 13 is where his story can be found. ... as stated he had 14 wives.
"But Abijah waxed mighty, and married fourteen wives, and begat twenty and two sons, and sixteen daughters." 2 Chronicles 13:21

Abraham migrated with his father Terah from Ur to Haran. After his father's death God called Abraham to go to the land that he would show him where he would make of Abraham a great nation.  Abraham went to Canaan with his wife  Sarah and nephew Lot.  As Abraham and Sarah grew older they had no children, so Abraham fathered a son, Ishmael, through Sarah's servant Hagar. The birth of Ishmael did not fulfill God's promise of a child to Abraham and Sarah so the promise of a great nation remained unrealized.  God reaffirmed his promise to give Abraham descendants as numerous as the stars in heaven, however, and God made circumcision the sign of his covenant relationship. When Abraham was 100 years old, Sarah bore a son named Isaac.  God tested Abraham by commanding him to sacrifice Isaac. As they traveled, Isaac asked what they would sacrifice and Abraham replied that God would provide the lamb. As Abraham made ready to sacrifice the boy, God intervened and spared him, and Abraham sacrificed a ram caught in the bushes. The New Testament portrays Abraham as an example of faith, affirming that the promises God made to Abraham extend to all who believe.  ... he had three wives. 

"Now Sarai Abram's wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar." Genesis 16:1

"And Sarai Abram's wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife." Genesis 16:3

"Then again Abraham took a wife, and her name was Keturah." Genesis 25:1

Caleb was in the Exodus with Moses, Aaron and Joshua. He was one of the twelve spies sent to scout the land of Canaan. He gave an honest report, as did Joshua, and was granted entrance to the promised land later. When Israel entered Canaan forty years later, Caleb was granted by Joshua, the area around the city of Hebron, for his faithfulness... he had five wives.
"And Caleb the son of Hezron begat children of Azubah his wife, and of Jerioth: her sons are these; Jesher, and Shobab, and Ardon. And when Azubah was dead, Caleb took unto him Ephrath, which bare him Hur." 1 Chronicles 2:18-19

"And Ephah, Caleb's concubine, " 1 Chronicles 2:46

"Maachah, Caleb's concubine, " 1 Chronicles 2:48

David, a shepherd, was the son of Jesse of Bethlehem. He was anointed by Samuel to be successor to Saul who was first king of the united Israel. David entered Saul's service as a musician, but when David defeated Goliath, the Philistine champion, Saul became jealous. Soon Saul tried to kill David, but Saul's son Jonathan, who was David's close friend, helped him to escape. David lived as an outlaw for a time. Once Saul entered a cave where David was hiding. Instead of killing Saul, David secretly clipped off the corner of Saul's robe, showing his loyalty to the king. Eventually, Saul died in battle with the Philistines, the men of Judah made David their king. After winning a war against the followers of Saul's son, David was chosen as ruler by all the tribes of Israel. His reign began in 1000 BC. He captured Jerusalem and made it his capital. David broke the Philistine power, united the country, brought the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem, and established Jerusalem as the religious center. He committed adultery with Bathsheba, but repented. He was forced to flee from Jerusalem when his son Absalom rebelled, but when Absalom was killed, David grieved deeply. Shortly before David died, he indicated that his son Solomon should succeed him on the throne. God promised David that one of his sons would always be on the throne, and the New Testament finds this promise fulfilled in Jesus.  .... had at least 18 wives.

"Wherefore David arose and went, he and his men, and slew of the Philistines two hundred men; and David brought their foreskins, and they gave them in full tale to the king, that he might be the king's son in law. And Saul gave him Michal his daughter to wife." 1 Samuel 18:27. (See also 1 Samuel 19:11-18; 25:44; and 2 Samuel 3:13-14; 6:20-23.)

"David sent and communed with Abigail, to take her to him to wife." 1 Samuel 25:39

"David also took Ahinoam of Jezreel; and they were also both of them his wives." 1 Samuel 25:43

"But Saul had given Michal his daughter, David's wife," 1 Samuel 25:44

"Absalom the son of Maacah the daughter of Talmai king of Geshur;" 2 Samuel 3:3

"And the fourth, Adonijah the son of Haggith; and the fifth, Shephatiah the son of Abital; And the sixth, Ithream, by Eglah David's wife. These were born to David in Hebron." 2 Samuel 3:4-5

"And David took him more concubines and wives" 2 Samuel 5:13, 1 Chronicles 14:3

"And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul; And I gave thee thy master's house, and thy master's wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things." 2 Samuel 12:7-8

"And David comforted Bathsheba his wife..." 2 Samuel 12:24

"And the king went forth, and all his household after him. And the king left ten women, which were concubines, to keep the house." 2 Samuel 15:16. (See also 2 Samuel 16:21-23.)

Eliphaz the Temanite was more sympathetic in his counseling than Job's other two friends, Bildad and Zophar. But he too wanted Job to admit that his punishment by the Lord was just, for the sins he committed. Eliphaz was the oldest of the three friends and was a very religious man . Because he was the oldest, he was the first one to speak to Job. Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar were instructed by God to sacrifice seven bulls and seven rams in atonement for the way they acted towards Job.... he had two wives.
"And the sons of Eliphaz were Teman, Omar, Zepho, and Gatam, and Kenaz. And Timna was concubine to Eliphaz " Genesis 36:11-12

Elkanah was a Levite (see Levites) who became the father of Samuel (who is regarded as the last of The Judges and the first of The Prophets), although not without The Lord's assistance. As had been the case with Sarah, who The Lord miraculously helped to become the mother of Isaac, so too Elkanah's wife Hannah was given to bear children in answer to prayer. Elkanah was married to two women, but only one had children: "he had two wives; the name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah: and Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children." Hannah was however a woman who worshipped the true God. The Lord answered her prayers for a child, who turned out to be Samuel, a man of God after whom two books of the Hebrew Scriptures have been named.... he had two wives.
"And he had two wives; the name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah" 1 Samuel 1:2

Esau and Jacob were twins, born to Isaac and Rebekah. Esau was the first of the twins to be born. He was covered with red hair, and was called Esau. Some scholars believe that the word Esau means "hairy." Esau became the ancestor of the people of Edom ("red."), which was a country near Israel during ancient times. Before Esau's birth, the Lord told Rebekah that her older son would serve the younger son . This was an unusual concept in ancient times because the oldest son was regarded as the heir of the father's wealth, power and authority. Esau was born first. But when his twin brother Jacob was being born, Jacob's hand was holding onto Esau's heel. This was taken as a sign that Jacob wanted to be born first. Later in life, Jacob continued to show that he wanted to be his father's heir.... he had three wives.
"And Esau was forty years old when he took to wife Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Bashemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite:" Genesis 26:34

"Then went Esau unto Ishmael, and took unto the wives which he had Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael Abraham's son, the sister of Nebajoth, to be his wife." Genesis 28:9

Ezra was the leader of a group of Jews returning to Jerusalem from the Babylonian Exile in 458 BC, during the reign of King Artaxerxes. When Ezra learned that the renewed Jewish community in Judah lacked spiritual direction, he got permission from the king to lead 1,754 exiles to Judah, to give a firm foundation to Mosaic Law there. Ezra convened the people for a public reading of the Law. Ezra was a descendant from the priestly line of Aaron, and the author of the Old Testament Book of Ezra. The name Ezra means "God helps." ... he had two wives.
"And the sons of Ezra were, Jether, and Mered, and Epher, and Jalon: and she bare Miriam, and Shammai, and Ishbah the father of Eshtemoa. And his wife Jehudijah bare Jered the father of Gedor, and Heber the father of Socho, and Jekuthiel the father of Zanoah. And these are the sons of Bithiah the daughter of Pharaoh, which Mered took." 1 Chronicles 4:17-18

Gideon was the son of Joash the Abiezrite from the town of Ophrah. He was Israel's fifth Judge. During Gideon's time, a large army of Midianites and other nations had gathered against Israel. The Lord told Gideon that he would be made strong and that he was to save Israel from the Midianites. Gideon raised an army of 32,000, but after several tests by the Lord, the army was whittled down to 300 men. God did this so that the people of Israel would not boast to him that they saved themselves by their own strength. At night, Gideon and his 300 men lit torches, blew trumpets and shouted. Then they stood by and watched as the enemy panicked and began fighting and killing each other. Midian never recovered from this defeat, and there was peace for 40 years during Gideon's lifetime. Gideon lived to be an old man. After he died he was buried near his father in the town of Ophrah. His victory over the Midianites was remembered for many generations as the "Day of Midian". ... had at least two wives. 

"And Gideon had threescore and ten sons of his body begotten: for he had many wives." Judges 8:30

Jacob was the son of Isaac and Rebekah, the brother of Esau, and the grandson of Abraham and Sarah. The stories about Jacob are in the book of Genesis and take place during the Ancestrial Period. Jacob was known for trickery.  He came out of the womb grasping his brother Esau's heal.  Later he persuaded Esau to sell him his birthright and tricked Isaac into blessing him instead of Esau.  Fearing his brother's anger he fled to live with his uncle Laban. On the way he had a dream in which he saw a ladder extending to heaven with angels ascending and descending on it. Jacob married two sisters, Rachel and Leah, and also had two concubines, Bilhah and Zilpah. These four women bore him twelve sons.  Jacob became wealthy while working for his uncle Laban.  Eventually jealousy among Laban's sons forced Jacob to flee back to Canaan in spite of his fear of Esau. On the way he wrestled an angel all night. In the morning the angel changed Jacob's name to Israel and he became the father of the nation that bears his name.  His sons gave their names to the twelve tribes of Israel. Jacob eventually migrated to Egypt to be with his son Joseph, who had been sold there as a slave but later rose to prominence in Pharaoh's court. ...he had four wives.

"And it came to pass in the evening, that he took Leah his daughter, and brought her to him; and he went in unto her." Genesis 29:23

"And Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week: and he gave him Rachel his daughter to wife also." Genesis 29:28

"And she gave him Bilhah her handmaid to wife: and Jacob went in unto her." Genesis 30:4

"When Leah saw that she had left bearing, she took Zilpah her maid, and gave her Jacob to wife."
Genesis 30:9

Moses' story begins with his preservation as a child in the reeds by the river Nile.  Moses was brought up in Pharaoh's court in Egypt.  As an adult Moses was angered by the oppression of the Hebrew people.  Seeing an Egyptian task master beating a Hebrew, Moses killed the Egyptian and fled to Midian.  While Moses was a shepherd in Midian, God spoke from a burning bush and called him.  His task was to go back to Egypt to bring about the deliverance of God's people, Israel. God also disclosed that the divine name was "I Am." When Moses hesitated, God told him that his brother Aaron could be his spokesman. The plagues, the crossing of the Red Sea, the gifts of manna, quails, and water in the desert were signs that God was leading his people. Moses brought the law from Mt. Sinai. Moses was unique in that he spoke with God "face to face."  While in the wilderness, Moses failed to honor God for providing water from a rock. Because of this God did not allow Moses to enter the promised land, but only to look at it from Mount Nebo in the land of Moab. He died in Transjordan. .... he had two wives.

 "And Moses was content to dwell with the man: and he gave Moses Zipporah his daughter." Exodus 2:21. (See also Exodus 18:1-6.)

"And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married: for he had married an Ethiopian woman." Numbers 12:1

Saul was anointed by Samuel to be the first king of Israel. He was the son of Kish, a wealthy man of the tribe of Benjamin. His first test came when he successfully rallied the men of Israel against the Ammonites, proving himself to be an able soldier. When Saul became moody, David entered his service as a musician. Later, David gained fame as a warrior and Saul became jealous and tried to kill him. David fled and lived as an outlaw. Eventually Saul and his sons and the men of Israel fought a battle with the Philistines at Mount Gilboa. Before battle Saul had a medium call Samuel's ghost back from the dead. In the battle they were disastrously defeated, the sons of Saul were slain, and Saul fell upon his own sword.  ...he had two wives.

"And the name of Saul's wife was Ahinoam, the daughter of Ahimaaz: and the name of the captain of his host was Abner, the son of Ner, Saul's uncle." 1 Samuel 14:50

"And Saul had a concubine, whose name was Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah: and Ishbosheth said to Abner, Wherefore hast thou gone in unto my father's concubine?" 2 Samuel 3:7

In total, one can find at least forty big name cases recorded in the Bible that either ignore or completely invalidate the one man one woman concept. The bible also makes mention and imply such practices where common with "the little people" too. With so many recorded cases of polygamy and so many more implied one can come to the conclusion that God was OK with such practices. After all he gave the children of Abraham a nation of their own. More importantly it brings into question this very statement of "only one man and one woman" idea of traditional marriage. But what about claims this is from the Old Testament and therefor not binding to modern Christians? All I can say is this; If you use the Old Testament to support your arguments against homosexuality, then you must follow and accept ALL OF THE BIBLE. This holy book isn't a buffet, don't insult it by treating it as such.

Argument 2:  Homosexuality is against the bible!

Said to be brought forth by a devil (not Satan) or demon depending on translation, and/or one's own impure thoughts, opponents will say that homosexual relations are born of sin. They will say that the bible labels such instances or acts "as acts that defies the will of God and ignores established natural laws". In Leviticus 18:22  we read "Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable" to speak against men and  Romans 1:26 "Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones." is said to address homosexuality in women, but not directly state it (many "sex positions" where considered unnatural). But it would be short sighted of me to only address these two, and not the whole of the argument.

Old Testament:
The first mention of homosexuality in the Bible is in Genesis 19:1-13. Related here is the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, and it's rather fiery and explosive end. During the course of the story's events, we learn that villagers attempted to rape two messengers of God who had come to visit Lot. In a effort to save these messengers, Lot offered his two daughters in their stead. Awesome parenting there by the way. Later we learn that because of this and other widespread and unrelated sins, God destroyed the cities with fire and brimstone. The surrounding cities where also destroyed but where given no name. We next move on to Leviticus for the next two mentions of homosexuality. Lev 18:22 says You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination. And Lev 20:13 says If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them. *4

Homosexual actions as stated in the bible are associated with idolatrous cult prostitution. You can see an example of this in 1 Kings 14:24 and 15:12. If we refer to the original texts, we see the Hebrew word for these acts (as stated in Leviticus) is tow’ebah. Tow’ebah bears the meaning of “morally disgusting”, but what is lost in the translation is “with very strong idolatry undertones”. Thus, many Bible scholars believe the condemnations in Leviticus are more a condemnation of the idolatry than of the homosexual acts themselves.

I would also like to take a side moment and expand upon this a bit. In the Old Testament, we see that Jews where forced to become little more than hermits and exiles, and as such the life of the Jewish people did not allow for prisons or rehabilitation. It also did not allow time to understand, expand one's mind or call into question social taboos. New ideas, new ways of thinking, even questioning everything and finding ourselves just didn't happen back then... well at least for the Jew for a while. Such was their way of life that everything had to be in a define order, which any previewed chaos being routed asap. We see this in how the Old Testament commands death by stoning or worse for the crimes of murder, attacking or cursing a parent, kidnapping, failure to confine a dangerous animal, witchcraft (KJV only), sorcery for harmful ends, sex with an animal, doing any work on the Sabbath, incest except with Adam & Even and various kids, adultery, homosexual acts, prostitution by a priest's daughter, blasphemy, false prophecy, perjury in capital cases and false claim of a woman's virginity at the time of marriage. One could even face death for not being a proper woman and slave. Now considering these same people are not out murdering the population for such acts today, one wonders about this buffet style of thinking again. 

However, as anyone who claims faith in Christ knows, such harsh treatments are no longer required or tolerated (John 1:16-17, Romans 8:1-3, 1 Corinthians 9:20-21). The concern with punishment is now secondary to Jesus' message of repentance and redemption. It’s all God (and Jesus) are love, and we all know what love is.

New Testament:
While Christ paid more attention to his message of salvation than concerns with earth bed pleasures, he did mention a few things on sexual immorality. Reading Mark 7, you will come across a verse that states “What comes out of you is what defiles you. For from within, out of your hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile you." The problem with this is no definite description of what is "sexual immorality" is given. Could it refer to homosexuals? Could it refer to prostitutes? Women who have sex and birth children outside of marriage? The million and one different sex positions humanity has come up with over the years? Or could it mean none of these... When you have so many topics that are defined clearly in the bible, one wonders why sexual immorality was left so vague. Also something about a all knowing, all seeing God inspiring a vague bible passage comes to mind.

In Corinthians 6:9-11 Paul speaks to his Christian followers Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. Doing a quick Google search, one can quickly find the bible has been translated in many different ways, and as such, things that where once clear as day become clouded and confused. The word for male prostitute or the act of, literally means "soft to the touch". In biblical times, such a word was used as a slur to refer to Catamites. This was done in much the same way we use various slurs for other nationalities today. Arsenokoites is another word for sodomite or a person who engages in any kind of unnatural sex, aka a Catamite. Perhaps Peter was throwing out there that these people who kept Catamites boys and slaves where the sinners here. Just a thought…

The final verses to be addressed are Romans 1:25-27 and 1 Timothy 1:8-10. Speaking plainly about the evils of homosexuality (this time for both sexes), such verses once again in the context of idolatry. In this case, we are referring to a old practice in the old pagan faiths. Such women mentioned in this verses where engaging in a cheapened form of what is referred to as “sexual knowledge awaking”. I more than likely got the name of the act wrong, but it gets the point across. Before the times of Christ, religious women where considered the holders (or gatekeepers) of universal knowledge. By a man (one who has great power) having sex with said High Priestess, he could be awakened to the universe.

I'll end this section with a few quick points;
  • Are consensual (as in agree upon by two willing adults) homosexual acts prohibited by the Bible, or were the Bible passages intended to apply only to homosexual acts of rape, prostitution, pederasty and idolatry? This is not examined or referenced in the bible.
  • Is the supposed New Testament prohibition against homosexual acts an important spiritual law for all times? Or was it just a warning against creating a scandal that was taboo for the day? Other such out-of-date laws would be slavery (1 Corinthians 7:21-22, Ephesians 6:5-6), the role of women (1 Corinthians 14:33-35), and dress (1 Corinthians 11:4-7).
  • Homosexual acts are not listed in the Ten Commandments or by Christ during his time with us. In the entire text of the bible homosexuality is only mentioned twelve times. In comparison, the sin of hatred is mentioned 21 times, lying and false testimony 30, greed, avarice and covetousness 40, theft 42, adultery 52, murder 57, self-righteousness 79, and idolatry 169 times.
Argument 3:  Homosexuality is against nature!

When opponents mention natural laws, they are saying that homosexual relations are "naturally sterile" and unable to preform what nature intended. Sterility is the physiological inability to effect sexual reproduction in a living thing, members of whose kind have been produced sexually. Or simply put, you can't make babies. Sexual sterility effects both male and females of all race and age groups. However under normal conditions, both hetero or homo couples, men or women, are still capable (and do) produce sperm and eggs for reproductive purposes. One's sexuality does not change or effect this. This is a proven fact. However I can see where they are trying to go with this. Using the argument from Christian site against the evils of homosexuality;
Marriage is not just any relationship between human beings and as such rooted in human nature and thus governed by natural law. They will continue to say natural law’s most elementary precept is that “good is to be done and pursued, and evil is to be avoided.” By his natural reason, man can perceive what is morally good or bad for him. Thus, he can know the end or purpose of each of his acts and how it is morally wrong to transform the means that help him accomplish an act into the act’s purpose.

First and foremost, it's 2012. Women are people too, always using this "he" crap is demeaning to everyone. Don't be that guy. Now, marriage is the social presentation and representation of the religious and/or legal union between two (or more) people. Protip here: marriage was around before religion. Differentiating thoughts of the marriage union are as numerous as the reasons why one participated in marriage. Some examples of "the thoughts of union" include attitudes and taboos while record reasons range from legal, social and libidinal to emotional, economic, spiritual, and religious. We see these throughout history as arranged marriages, family obligations, the legal establishment of a nuclear family unit, the legal protection of children and public declaration of commitment. Such relationships are, in addition to being rooted in (or should be) the love they feel in each other, are bound to natural law. After all, humans are still a part of the natural world, despite our best attempts otherwise. The rest of the presented argument falls short, or as I like to say "complete and total crap".  

Let me take it piece by piece;

1) The most basic and elementary law of nature is to ensure the continued balance of all life. Sometimes this calls for the creation of life in many wondrous forms. Sometimes this balance calls for the evolution of life, changing what we once knew to better live and grow. Sometimes it calls for the end of life, what we refer to as "natural selection". Sometimes nature calls for reproduction to slow or even stop, as to not over tax the environment. Even more so, some animals even change sexes if one gender is found to limited. Would that be transgender? If a species, subspecies or genetic adaptation can not be sustained by nature, it will die out. That, my readers, is the prime law of nature. Considering homosexuality in humanity has been preset for at least Four Thousand Years of recorded history, and in all of the animal kingdom for much longer....

2) Next we deal with the supposed morality that comes with natural law. Be they inspired by a divine power or great scholars, such moral and ethical codes are the sole creation of the human sphere and subject to the ever changing opinions of just what is moral and ethical. Remember, the submission of women and the ownership of slaves was once considered morally acceptable. Concepts of "good" and "evil" do not exist in nature for they are neither needed for life, nor necessary for the continued balance. Additionally humans are not born with this "natural moral code" because we are in fact, products of our surroundings. When we look around, watch TV, or browse the internet, we find bitter and sometimes violent moral disagreements about religion, euthanasia, animal rights,social justice, gay rights and many other issues. If we take this into consideration along with the vast gulfs that separate the moral outlooks of different cultures, we can see that this universal inborn moral codes just isn't there. Taken to the extreme we can see how some people insist they are right, and all others are wrong even to the point of "holy" wars. Again if such a inborn moral code existed, such disagreements would not occur. If such inborn moral codes existed, there would have been no need to write up this bloody long post.

3) Finally, we see that homosexual unions are considered sinful and abominations because they can never accomplish the purpose of sexual relations, that is to produce a child. This will be addressed in the next section (that actually deals with "openness to life") but I would like to make one quick point. If humanity is to be held to such "natural moral" and religious standards, than why are heterosexual unions that are sterile, couples are elder age, and couple who engage in sex but do not produce a child every single time not living in sin?

Argument 4:  "Gay marriage" is not open to life! 

Opponents will say that gay marriage can never be allowed or even tolerated because they can never create families. Anything that does not coincide with the sacred format of "one man one woman" is a abomination to the Lord. If homosexual unions where to harbor any thoughts of having a family they must circumvent nature by costly and artificial means or employ surrogates. To do this, is to preform acts that defies the will of God and is unnatural... making the apparent sin even worse. However, to say such a thing is not only shortsighted but equivalent to a double edge sword. 

Let me explain why;

It is shortsighted to say that same sex unions are not open to life is because of what opponents often and conveniently forget about, adoption. With the current legal battle between people and groups for/against same sex couples, you will occasionally hear about how some states and organizations ban gay adoption. #fail Because of this, opponents will also point out they shouldn't be allowed to marry. Such bans are due to religious morals and more about gay discrimination than child welfare. Why? Because even before some Republicans and religious groups decided to make this an "end of times issue" there where already thousands of children living in gay couple households. Referring to the 2000 AD census reports thirty three percent of female same-sex couple households have at least one child in them, while twenty two percent of male same-sex couple households have at least one child too. Keep in mind, this is a report from twelve years ago. Civilization hasn't collapsed and the only thing morally bankrupt are the idiots we put into office.

What was that about gay parents destroying morals? 

Studies conducted by the American Psychological Association (Policy Statement on Sexual Orientation, Parents, & Children 2001) examined the emotional, physical and "sexual" effect of children raised by a homosexual parent or parents. These studies concluded that there is ultimately no difference in developmental outcomes as compared with children raised by heterosexual parents. There report is summarized below;

Researchers Judith Stacey and Timothy Biblarz of the University of Southern California reported the results of their examination studies on gay parenting. Stacey and Biblarz found that although "the authors of all studies almost uniformly claim to find no differences in measures of parenting or child outcomes," their examination of the data suggests that the children of gay parents demonstrate some differences in gender behavior and preferences. Lesbian mothers reported their children, especially daughters, are less likely to conform to cultural gender norms in dress, play, and behavior, and are more likely to aspire to nontraditional gender occupations, such as doctors, lawyers, or engineers. Women doctors and lawyers!?? END OF THE WORLD! They also discovered that the children of gay and lesbian parents are no more likely to identify themselves as gay, lesbian, or bisexual than the children of heterosexual parents.
Stacey and Biblarz also found that the children of homosexual parents show no difference in levels of self-esteem, anxiety, depression, behavior problems, or social performance, but do show a higher level of affection, responsiveness, and concern for younger children and seem to exhibit impressive psychological strength. Gay parents were found to be more likely to equally share child care and household duties, and the children of gay partners reported closer relationships to the parent who was not their primary caregiver than did the children of heterosexual couples. "These findings imply that lesbian co-parents may enjoy greater parental compatibility and achieve particularly high quality parenting skills, which may help explain the striking findings on parent-child relationships." Stacey and Biblarz point out that the differences they found should not be considered deficits. "They either favor the children with lesbigay parents, are secondary effects of social prejudice, or represent 'just a difference' of the sort democratic societies should respect and protect." They go on to stress that categorizing parents as gay or heterosexual "erroneously impl[ies] that a parent's sexual orientation is the decisive characteristic of his or her parenting." They suggest that sexual orientation only matters because homophobia and discrimination say it matters.

When doing my research about the practices of adoption and the effects the parents have, I found that children waiting for adoption range anywhere from 50,000 to 120,000. These numbers could be even higher if you take into account children that are forced to live on the street or worse. Such high numbers can not easily be explained away by the parents suddenly dieing or not honestly being able to raise the child. Many of these children where cast out because they where prom babies, oops babies, or simply inconvenient to have around. Many of these children where taken away from their heterosexual parents because of cases of child abuse (fucking good for nothing wastes of flesh "parents") or molestation. How many children, who have scars deeper than anything physical can show, will find a home? These are the children no one wants, because it is to hard to deal with the emotional burden of such. And may the Gods forever bless the kind, generous and unbelievably awesome people who do.  Another interesting piece of information I found while researching this, is that many same sex couples are actually adopting the children with the greatest need. The report says that so many homosexual couples are looking to adopting children from the child welfare system that they are willing to take the children others do not want. With so many children waiting to be adopted (not to mention the feeling of being a store commodity rather than a living person) you would think allowing gays to adopt would be a no brainier. 

I'll conclude this part with a quote from Dan Savage, an author, syndicated columnist of the New York Times, and adoptive father, wrote. "The real choice for children waiting to be adopted in Florida and elsewhere isn't between gay and straight parents, but between parents and no parents." To deny a child a home because someone wants to cry religious hell... it's just not right. Religion is not meant to hurt others or deny children homes. Being used as such is just well shameful don't you think?

Now, it is a double edge sword to say that same sex unions are not open to life because of what I underlined at the beginning of this section. "They must circumvent nature by costly and artificial means or employ surrogates" 

Right from a Christian site:
"So what is an infertile Christian couple to do? It is good to seek advice from gynecologists and other fertility specialists"

  • Fertility drugs remain the primary treatment for women with ovulation disorders; some are taken orally and some are injected. In general, these medications work by causing the release of hormones that either trigger ovulation or regulate it. Even if you're using assisted reproductive techniques such as in vitro fertilization, fertility drugs are still an important part of treatment. Since the number and names of all of the infertility medications may seem dizzying, here are the basic facts on the drugs most commonly prescribed. The following are common drugs used; 
    • Clomid
    • Serophene
    • Pergonal
    • Repronex
    • Fertinex
    • Follistim
    • Gonal F
    • Novarel
    • Ovidrel
    • Pregnyl
    • Profasi
    • Menogon
    • Puregon
  • Depending on the cause, surgery may be a treatment option for infertility. Blockages or other problems in the fallopian tubes can often be surgically repaired. Laparoscopic techniques allow delicate operations on the fallopian tubes.If you have endometriosis, your doctor may treat you with ovulation therapy, in which medication is used to stimulate or regulate ovulation, or in vitro fertilization, in which the egg and sperm are joined in the laboratory and transferred to the uterus.

  • Each year thousands of babies are born in the United States as a result of ART. An ART health team includes physicians, psychologists, embryologists, laboratory technicians, nurses and allied health professionals who work together to help infertile couples achieve pregnancy. The most common forms of ART include:
    • In vitro fertilization (IVF). IVF involves retrieving mature eggs from a woman, fertilizing them with a man's sperm in a dish in a laboratory, and implanting the embryos in the uterus three to five days after fertilization.
    • Electric or vibratory stimulation to achieve ejaculation. Electric or vibratory stimulation brings about ejaculation to obtain semen. This procedure can be used in men with a spinal cord injury who can't otherwise achieve ejaculation.
    • Surgical sperm aspiration. This technique involves removing sperm from part of the male reproductive tract, such as the epididymis, vas deferens or testicle. This allows retrieval of sperm if the ejaculatory duct is blocked.
    • Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). This procedure consists of a microscopic technique (micromanipulation) in which a single sperm is injected directly into an egg to achieve fertilization in conjunction with the standard IVF procedure.
    • Assisted hatching. This technique attempts to assist the implantation of the embryo into the lining of the uterus by opening the outer covering of the embryo (hatching).
When heterosexual couples are unable to produce a child, they seek medical treatment. Many can be "cured" with drugs, others with expensive operations; many of which have been outlined above. If we are to accept universal morals and ethical standards, then such practices as the one above should be considered a sin for everyone. Why are the above treatments that bypass nature, and the will of God if what opponents say are true,  acceptable in the eyes of the Church despite the fact they defy what nature attended? If one was born with fertility difficulties, or completely unable to create children, who are we to deny what God and nature intended? Should not the "circumventing nature by costly and artificial means or employ surrogates"*2 abomination and sin apply to all people? 

Like the double edge sword, double standards are never a good thing.

Argument 5: Same-sex marriage would bring about divine retribution.

Fear has many logical and manipulative uses. It can be used as a early warning system to keep you from entering into a situation that might hurt you. You may have heard it refereed to as "that little voice in my head".  It can be used to motivate you away from some really stupid idea, or give you the heads up when something isn't right. It can be used to give you the will to break out of a dangerous situation or be used by others to control you.
Various political and religious leaders have suggested that Hurricane Katrina, which killed 1,836 people, was sent as a divine retribution for the sins of New Orleans, or of the South, or for the United States as a whole. New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin is said to have asserted in a speech on January 16, 2006, addressing the effects of Hurricane Katrina, "Surely God is mad at America"
 A handful of politically conservative Christians blamed 2005’s Hurricane Katrina - which struck New Orleans, Louisiana, and left more than 1,800 dead - on the Crescent City’s embrace of gay pride events.“All hurricanes are acts of God, because God controls the heavens,” John Hagee, a Texas-based evangelical pastor who leads the Christian Zionist movement in the United States, said after Katrina. “I believe that New Orleans had a level of sin that was offensive to God, and they are – were recipients of the judgment of God for that."
Two days after the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, the Rev. Jerry Falwell said the attacks were, at least in part, God’s judgment on those who would secularize American public life. “I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America, I point the finger in their face and say, 'You helped this happen,'” Falwell said on Pat Robertson’s “700 Club" program. "God will not be mocked,” said Falwell, who was made famous by leading the Moral Majority in the 1980s. In a phone call to CNN later the same day, Falwell stepped back a bit, saying that only the hijackers and terrorists were responsible for the attacks. But Falwell reiterated that forces trying to secularize the U.S. “created an environment which possibly has caused God to lift the veil of protection which has allowed no one to attack America on our soil since 1812."
For alpha status or personal power, bullying results in a need to control others by fear and/or physical confrontations. Bullies will engage in constant undermining and dis-empowering by whittling away at your self-confidence and self-esteem. Such behavior is widespread in our school systems and largely tolerated. Constant trivial nitpicking criticism sows the seeds of self-doubt which eventually take root and sprout into full-blown fear. In many cases the victim of bullying will withdraw from society, become social outcast with poor social skills, or worse of all, commit suicide. Bullies will even form wolf packs to engage in isolating, bad-mouthing, and make your life a living hell. Such things happen with all peoples and all age groups. When this is applied to religion, things get even worse. To bully for personal power, glory and having your way suddenly becomes acceptable because "god said so". These religious bullies do not care if the victim is of the same faith or even same ideas. They will cheer when their victims die, saying it was god's will. They will then go on to say only their way is right and poo on everyone else.

An example of a religious bully
So where am I going with this?

Anyone with access to some type of social media, can tell you how often stories of death appear. Listening to your radio will tell you of various accidents on this road or that highway. Watching tv before dinner will show you about this shooting or that hit and run. Spending some time before bed on the internet will tell you about how these very stories are happening all over the world. Because we have such easy access to information from around the world, these religious people and communities are either misunderstand the "signs" or see a opening to control people by fear and escape goats. 

  • The world is far more interconnected than it was even fifty years ago. During the times of the bible, it could take days, sometimes weeks to receive information from border to border. Assuming they got it at all. Until the invention of the printing press, and in some cases telegraph, many people wouldn't know anything outside their community. Now information can be beamed from one end of the world to the other in seconds. Youtube can produce news faster than TV and radio combined. Twitter can tell us what some guy just ate on the other side of the world. So its not the fact things are taking place more and more, its just we are now hearing about them more and more.
  • The sphere of humanity has increased in population by, well lets just say a crap ton, since the times of the bible. Where once humanity existed in only a few locations, now from the icy arctics to the deepest seas, we touch every inch of the globe. As such, population numbers have increased and the amount of land available and liveable has stayed the same. A earthquake that may have taken down a small town block of a hundred people in the past, now takes down a high rise apartment building with a thousand people. This is not divine punishment but merely a effect of increased population growth. 
  • Last year (2011) 2477 earthquakes, 3 tsunamis, 1,897 tornadoes, 20 tropical cyclones, 19 tropical storms, 7 hurricanes, and 4 major hurricanes occurred. Such recorded numbers will change as our technological advancements become more accurate and attuned to such events. Each year, we find more of these events are recorded. Sometimes, like in the case of rogue waves, new events are added. If such events are the "wrath of god", why do we not hear about all of them from religious leaders? Because they can not be used to cause fear and control people.
  • With the amount of information readily and freely available concerning the sins of humanity committed on a daily and hourly basis, why is homosexuality the one that will call forth divine wrath? Why are people who are born homosexual (because of god's will according to them) singled out when they are spoken about least in the bible? 

I also have to question any theology that portrays God as some sort of violent, capricious bogeyman who must be supplicated, like the malevolent spirits of animist traditions, by sacrifices and incantations....

Just something to think about, hopefully for the better. 

*1 I already had to rewrite this damn thing once twice four 5 6 8 12 times already. 
*2 Before anyone get's pissy, no I don't think any of these are sinful. I fully support anything a woman needs to do to keep herself healthy and if so wishes, the ability to bare children.
*3 In a previous How WBC Fails, I already addressed how bad translational and out of context effects how we read things.
*4 Editors note: Holy crap that is violent!

1 comment:

  1. Hank, that is a beautifully researched and written article! love you!
    Mama Dukes xoxo