If the Christian Right Really Wants to Get Worked Up About Sexual Controversy, They Should Read These 5 Bible Passages
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David Edwards at Raw Story quotes Mitt Romney from Meet the Press as saying “But I think marriage should be defined in the way that it has been defined for several thousand years . . .” implying, by the Bible. (Mitt says it is all right with him if gay people just shack up with each other, but he feigns not to know that this would deprive them of all sorts of legal rights with their spouses, including simple hospital visits or spousal health care from the other person’s employment).
Ancient scripture can be a source of higher values and spiritual strength, but any time you in a literal-minded way impose specific legal behavior because of it, you’re committing anachronism. Since this is the case, fundamentalists are always highly selective, trying to impose parts of the scripture on us but conveniently ignoring the parts even they can’t stomach as modern persons.
Edwards puts his barb in the title, pointing out that biblical marriage included polygamy. Of course, since Romney is a Mormon, maybe he still surreptitiously believes in that. Since Edwards didn’t follow through with the thought in his title, I thought I’d review the top five worst moments in biblical marriage that are much worse than gay marriage:
1. Let’s take Solomon, who maintained 300 concubines or sex slaves. 1 Kings 11:3: “He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray.” Led him astray! That’s all the Bible minded about this situation? Abducting 300 people and keeping them immured for sex? And the objection is only that they had a lot of diverse religions and interested Solomon in them? (By the way, this is proof that he wasn’t Jewish but just a legendary Canaanite polytheist). Mitt, I think a settled gay marriage is rather healthier than imprisoning 300 people in your house to have sex with at your whim.
2. Not only does the Bible authorize slavery and human trafficking, but it urges slaves to “submit themselves” to their masters. It should be remembered that masters had sexual rights over their property assuming the slave-woman was not betrothed to another, and so this advice is intended for concubines as well as other slaves. And, the Bible even suggests that slaves quietly accept sadism and cruelty from their masters: 1 Peter 2:18: “Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the cruel.” So a nice gay marriage between two legal equals with no acts of cruelty would be much better than this biblical nightmare.
3. Then there is Abraham, who made a sex slave of his wife’s slave, the Egyptian girl Hagar, and then abandoned her to cruel treatment.
Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian slave named Hagar; 2 so she said to Abram, “The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her.” Abram agreed to what Sarai said. 3 So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian slave Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife. 4 He slept with Hagar, and she conceived. When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress. 5 Then Sarai said to Abram, “You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my slave in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the Lord judge between you and me.” 6 “Your slave is in your hands,” Abram said. “Do with her whatever you think best.” Then Sarai mistreated Hagar; so she fled from her.