Here are just a few quotes from those good ol’ Conservative Christians on yesterday’s US Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage in the United States:
Marriage between a man and a woman was established by God, and no earthly court can alter that,” Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana.
Mike Huckabee warned the the legalization of gay marriage would lead to the “criminalization of Christianity.”
Tim Wildmon of the American Family Association said, “I fear for our country, quite frankly, because this is a spiritual 9/11, I believe. We have said to God Almighty, We don’t care what you say about marriage and your definition of what’s natural and normal.”
“Five judges have decided for them, and have declared war on marriage, on God, on morality, on family, and on our children,” said Bill Muehlenberg of BarbWire, claiming we are now facing the End Times.
Now let us pause to see what that guy these Conservatives so obviously love and so clearly follow, that guy named Jesus, had to say on gay marriage…
Oh wait, he didn’t say a damn thing about it.
Hm…I scratch my head.
Well shit, I thought Jesus hated fags.
Turns out, he had nothing to say about it.
There are approximately 31 thousand verses in the entire Bible.
Eight, perhaps nine (if you count Jude 1:7), specifically refer (again perhaps) to homosexuality and/or homosexual acts.
That is a whopping .0002580645 percent. Obviously, homosexuality was at the forefront of God’s mind. Why else would He dedicate so much time and thought to a topic he is so obviously concerned with? Shame then on his son, his only begotten son Jesus for not saying a word. And I thought Jesus had God’s back.
Homosexuality in the New Testament
There are three Greek words which are, by some, presumed to refer to homosexuality: arsenokoitēs (ἀρσενοκοίτης), malakos (μαλακός), and porneia.
So let us look a little more closely at these terms:
Arsenokoitēs is found in 1 Corinthians 6:9. This noun means homosexual and Paul is very clear such are excluded from the Kingdom. So it would seem that Paul, who never heard Jesus speak nor laid an eye on him, took it upon himself to declare who was and was not eligible for the kingdom. Ironic, considering that Jesus himself said the Kingdom was for the poor, the suffering, the persecuted. It’s pretty safe to say, I would assume, that abominations such as homosexuals were among the persecuted.
But wait…If gay marriage is legal, then doesn’t that mean they have certain rights now they previously did not enjoy? So doesn’t that mean certain persecutions are no longer? Well since, according to Jesus, the Kingdom of Heaven is for the persecuted, shouldn’t Conservative Christians be jumping for joy? I mean, heck, now that gay and lesbian men and women “won’t” face the same degree of persecution, doesn’t that mean their chances of getting into the Kingdom just got slimmer?
Malakos is again found in one of Paul’s writings: 1 Corinthians 6: 9. Meaning effeminate, Paul uses the term to refer to a male in the passive role during homosexual sex. Malakos is a form of malakia, meaning “weakness/softness.” And of course we all know what it means to be a man: strong, hard, and active, not weak, soft, and passive like women.
Well then to hell with what that guy Jesus said. Be compassionate, merciful, forgiving toward all? I don’t want to be any of it cause it’ll make me look too girly. (I am a man after all.)
Uh oh, now we come to that dreaded word porneia, and I’d bet my last dollar none of those Christian Conservatives have watched a second of porn. (Good thing I don’t have a dollar.) Poneia was “particularly an issue in the church at Corinth,” so much so Paul used the term 14 times in 1 Corinthians (Verbrugge 486). No no no, they weren’t watching porn on the internet way back when. Porneia specifically meant, for Paul, “any kind of illegitimate sexual intercourse” (ibid.). In other words, it did not specifically mean homosexual acts. More importantly, porneia, in the Greek, referred to prostitution and herein lies Paul’s problem with Corinth.
You see, back in those good old days, temple prostitution was practiced by those no good, dirty, rotten pagans who would go to certain temples dedicated to fertility gods or goddesses and have sex with a temple prostitute “which was supposed to bring him into cosmic harmony” (Verbruggge 485). Heck, the practice wasn’t limited to the pagans–even the ancient Israelites engaged in such as well!
And you know what? While such prostitutes were excluded, by Jewish Law, from God and salvation, Jesus offered them both.
Yet again, Paul seems to go over Jesus’s head on this one.
You go Paul.
Oh Those Conservatives
I often wonder how much of the Gospel Conservative Christians actually read and while I recognize what it means to be Christian is open to interpretation (an issue that would take this post too far afield) I would not hesitate to say that many are Christian only in name. Much of this view is based on how Conservatives approach the Bible.
First, it should be said that any theological statement regarding Jesus must be, according to Christian tradition, rooted in the gospel. So what happens when, in regards to homosexuality, mum’s the word?
Since Jesus didn’t say anything, neither can anyone make a claim on the subject. Sure, we could assume, by taking something like Leviticus 18: 22 and 20: 13, but you know what they say about assuming–it makes an ass out of you and me. Considering the current topic of discussion, I sure don’t want to be an ass.
Perhaps more problematic is the way Conservative Christians tend to approach and read the Bible. Such a view is what Daniel L. Migliore, Charles Hodge Professor of Systematic Theology Emeritus at Princeton Theological Seminary, calls the “biblicist view” in which “the Bible is authoritative by virtue of its supernatural origin and the direct identity of its words with the Word of God” and insists “that every book, every chapter, every verse, every word was directly inspired by God” (47). Such a view tends to be found in Protestant Churches, that is, those churches to which most Conservative Christians belong.
Since God said it, it must be true. Some of course will take such to the extreme. So God really made the first human being out of dirt and water, then made the first woman out of his rib. But wait, how did he make a woman out of a rib if the Bible doesn’t say God made a rib, let alone mention a skeletal system?
Therein lies my rub with Conservative Christians. They have faith, and faith is fine. But theirs, it seems so often to me, is a blind faith. Some might find that inspiring. I find that dangerous as it borders on tyranny of the mind.
According to classical Christian definition, “faith seeks understanding,” or, as Augustine put it, “I believe in order that I may understand” (qtd in Migliore 2). As such, faith must set “an inquiry into motion, fights the inclination to accept things as they are, and continually calls in question unexamined assumptions about God, our world, and ourselves” (ibid. 3). Seems to me many Conservatives are rather lax on the examination part. Faith must force one to wrestle with hard questions and when it does not, “Unquestioning faith soon slips into ideology, superstition, fanaticism, self-indulgence, and idolatry” (6).
So What Then?
“Scripture,” writes Migliore, “witnesses to God’s world transforming activity…The liberation of the individual from the egocentrism, isolation, apathy and hopelessness” (52).
At the heart of the gospel message is love–love for God, love for neighbor. According to St. Augustine, a proper reading of Scripture is guided by what he called the rule of love: “Whoever thinks that he understands the divine Scriptures or any part of them so that it does not build the double love of God and of our neighbor does not understand it at all” (On Christian Doctrine qtd. in Migliore 59-60).
The Christian God is a triune God, which affirms “that the eternal life of God is personal life in relationship” (76). It is a love that “freely gives of itself to others and creates community, mutuality, and shared life” (76, emphasis added). From my understanding of what it means to be Christian, Christians are called to do the same: freely give of oneself to others, create community, and share life.
It does not mean excluding others because they are different.
It is about transformation of self, of community, of world. And it is love that is that transforming power. I wonder if Conservatives, by virtue of being conservative, can even engage in such transformation, for the etymology of the word “conserve” makes the difficulty very clear: “to keep, preserve, keep intact, guard.” Doesn’t seem to encourage much change.
Christian love is supposed to melt the boundaries of self, of ego, of our boundaries with which we try to protect ourselves from being hurt. But we fear being hurt, so we remain closed off, guarded. When guarded, or, in Jesus’s words, when our hearts are hardened, that love that is the Christian love cannot flow…it cannot give of itself to others, it cannot create community, and it cannot create a shared life.
So what then, if that love is shared between two men or two women? It is love and through that love, whether it be between a man and a woman, a man and a man, or a woman and a woman, there is the giving of oneself to another freely, there is the creation of community even as two people, there is mutuality, and there is life being shared.
In The End
As stated above Bill Muehlenberg, one hell of a scary Conservative, says we are coming upon the End Time, the legalization of gay marriage apparently the tipping point. Well shit, if he’s read Revelation lately, I imagine him shaking in his boots, for as the book of the end times states clearly, Christ will come as the bridegroom.
And what of this upcoming marriage?
Christ takes John and his brothers as his bride!
Well how ’bout dem apples?