God v. The Constitution...Part 2 of 2
By: Craig Andresen and Diane Sori / Right Side Patriots on CPR Worldwide Media cprworldwidemedia.net
Yesterday, in Part 1 of our report 'God v. The Constitution' we laid out the
legal aspects of the upcoming Supreme Court case regarding same-sex marriage
but, at the bottom of all the hand-wringing and gnashing of teeth
however, is the mantra chanted endlessly by those on the far, far right
and the holier than thou set...that being...”traditional biblical marriage
is only between one man and one woman.”
What this really is, is the ultra-religious ascribing words either to
the Bible or directly to God that simply aren’t true but let’s give them
a chance and see how it lines up with the facts.
To imply that biblical marriage is between one man and one woman
would need a Bible verse or passage as backing to make it fact however,
no such verse or passage exists. In fact...the Bible never uses the word
“marriage” nor in fact does the Bible ever define marriage. Sure, there
are plenty of verses and passages regarding love or husbands and wives
that one can look up but none of them, not one, offers any definition
regarding the institution of marriage.
That said however, the Bible does offer a great deal of insight into what's called “traditional” marriage.
Throughout history, including a wide swath of biblical history,
“traditional marriage” is a topic which has received a good deal of
written examination and while not laying out a definition of it or
providing hard and fast rules to be followed at all costs, biblical
history does make clear what “traditional marriage” was.
Abraham for example, had a traditional biblical marriage which
included his wife Sara and his other wife...Sara’s handmaiden Hagar. One
might well question the wisdom of Solomon after realizing that his
biblically traditional marriage consisted of some 700 wives and around
300 odd concubines.
Tradition in those days stood on the principle that
if a man takes extra wives, he would have to continue to provide for his
previous wives as per Exodus 21:10 and let us not forget that, as per
Exodus 21:16 "...if a man were to have sex with a virgin"...he would be
required to marry that virgin...as per tradition of course.
In fact, the traditions written of in the Bible makes it clear that
marriage was the norm between a man and the woman he had raped and
historically, if an army conquered a city or a nation, the wives of the
men so conquered would then become the spoils of war and were to be
married to the conquerors.
Biblical tradition also held that girls of the age of ten were
acceptable wives and should a man die, his younger brother, by biblical
tradition, was required to marry the widow and to produce heirs that
would not be considered his heirs but those of his dead brother.
But, if the whole marriage is between "one man and one woman" thing
is ordained by God, how can certain biblically historic relationships be
explained? There was Ruth and Naomi where it was written..."Where you go I
will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people
and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be
buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything
but death separates you and me."
Sure sounds like a marriage doesn’t it? Especially when one reads
just a bit further and sees these words..."Ruth clave onto her." For the
record, the Hebrew word translated as “clave” is the exact same word
describing marriage in Genesis 2:24.
Jonathon, stripping naked in front of David doesn't sound platonic either biblically or currently does it?
However, perhaps the most telling verse regarding this relationship came
later in Samuel where it was written..."I grieve for you, Jonathan my
brother; you were very dear to me. Your love for me was wonderful, more
wonderful than that of women."
Sounds like a marriage there too doesn’t it?
And then there was the relationship between the two eunuchs, Daniel
and Ashpenaz as related in the Book of Daniel as another example of a
same-sex, biblical union, and none of these relationships was ever
besmirched in any biblical texts to follow.
Now, before the ultra-religious start in on the notion that these are
Old Testament traditions which are thousands of years old and have no
bearing on Christian traditions let us remind them that the Old Testament is the only place in the Bible where the actual laws, the only
laws ever ascribed directly to the hand of God...the Ten Commandments...can
be found and even there...not a single definition or law regarding who
can marry whom can be found and not a single condemnation of same-sex
relationships is there either.
There are those who point to this being the decisive "marriage is
between one man and one woman” tradition but, in fact, that is a far
stretch of what Paul was actually saying. Paul was simply providing a
remedy for people having multiple sex partners and nothing more.
Throughout the New Testament, arranged marriages were the tradition and
remained the tradition up until about 250 years ago with the idea that
people would meet, fall in love, and get married by happenstance regarded
as wholly inappropriate.
The fact is, the New Testament is replete with mentions of husbands
and wives but most of it has to do with how they should live and whether
or not they were allowed to divorce but none of it has anything to do
with rules regarding who is allowed to marry whom as New or Old
Testament times regarded marriage itself as a human condition and not as
either a right or a rite.
Marriage rites came later in history and that creates yet another paradox for the ultra-religious.
Here’s a little something else Pope Gregory put into church law or
doctrine...both parties in a marriage had to consent to the marriage but
not for the reasons we now find to be traditional. Back then, consent
was required to keep marriages within the church and those not of the
Catholic persuasion were not allowed to consent to marriage. Until Pope
Gregory...not consenting to marry was...traditional.
What we have here is societal evolution and as society evolved, so
too did traditions but even in those early centuries of Christianity no
church law was written prohibiting people of the same-sex from entering
Taken out of context, cherry-picked verses of biblical scripture can
be interpreted to mean whatever one wants them to mean in a political
light if and only if other parts and verses of scripture are completely
ignored but in context, in their original form, those mentions of same-sex relationships are not roundly or wholly condemned at all.
Regardless of what some, the ultra-religious far right, purport to be
biblical fact... marriage did not become a religious rite or sacrament
until the 12th century, some 1,100 years after the birth of Jesus, and
the notion of marriage being between one man and one woman didn’t enter
into the picture until the 16th century making both the religious rite
and the currently seized upon definition of “traditional” marriage the
concept of man, based in political doctrine rather than the law of God
based on religious doctrine.
Given that the Constitution does not define marriage and neither does
the Bible specifically define the institution...given that the former has
everything to do with the rights of all Americans and the latter
pertains only to the rites involved with those of certain faiths, given
that marriage itself wasn't even a church right until 1,100 years after
the birth of Christ and therefore, arguably not a religious but a
political matter even in biblical times, and given that marriage has
always been a state's issue rather than a federal or Constitutional
issue...here is what we believe will be the eventual outcome of the Supreme
Court case regarding same-sex marriage.
If the Supreme Court, as is its mission, upholds the Constitution, it
will render a decision that leaves same-sex marriage in the hands of
the states with certain stipulations. One stipulation should be that
government cannot and shall not interfere with the doctrines or
practices of the church meaning that should a state, either by manner of
their Constitution or by a vote of their people allow within their
individual states, same-sex marriages, neither the state nor the federal
government can impose penalties upon a church that refuses to participate
or perform such a ceremony.
Another stipulation should require all states, whether sanctioning
the legality of a same-sex marriage or not, to recognize all legal
adjuncts to such a marriage regarding any and all benefits offered to
opposite-sex couples for same-sex couples.
And the last stipulation, we believe, should be that government...the courts...must not redefine the definition of marriage in regards to any and all religious doctrine for that is the purview of only the church. This also keeps Thomas Jefferson's founding principal of 'separation of church and state' intact.
In closing, we do know that there will be a winner and a loser as a result of the Supreme Court's decision but we truly hope that the Court comes down on the side of sending this issue back to the individual states because that is what our Constitution intended.