Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Marriage and the Bible

Newsweek nails it.
The cover story is by religion editor Lisa Miller. She asks to take religious conservatives at their word and look towards the bible for definition of marriage. It turns out (not surprisingly) that traditional biblical marriage meant that men could have as many wives (or concubines) as they wanted, especially if one or more wives couldn't produce children.
I particularly like that she breaks modern American marriage into its two distinct parts: religious and civil. I also like this passage, quoted in its entirety:
  • If the bible doesn't give abundant examples of traditional marriage, then what are the gay-marriage opponents really exercised about? Well, homosexuality, of course—specifically sex between men. Sex between women has never, even in biblical times, raised as much ire. In its entry on "Homosexual Practices," the Anchor Bible Dictionary notes that nowhere in the Bible do its authors refer to sex between women, "possibly because it did not result in true physical 'union' (by male entry)." The Bible does condemn gay male sex in a handful of passages. Twice Leviticus refers to sex between men as "an abomination" (King James version), but these are throwaway lines in a peculiar text given over to codes for living in the ancient Jewish world, a text that devotes verse after verse to treatments for leprosy, cleanliness rituals for menstruating women and the correct way to sacrifice a goat—or a lamb or a turtle dove. Most of us no longer heed Leviticus on haircuts or blood sacrifices; our modern understanding of the world has surpassed its prescriptions. Why would we regard its condemnation of homosexuality with more seriousness than we regard its advice, which is far lengthier, on the best price to pay for a slave?
She points out my biggest beef with the fervently holier-than-thou religious conservatives which is that they pick and choose the parts of the bible they like and leave all the rest out. Much has been said by anonymous internet emailers regarding the questions asked of the evil Dr. Laura: shrimp cocktails, daughters into slavery, and all the rest. My mother and I had this discussion years ago (which is when she stopped asking me about going to church) and it helped her understand how silly some of it is. Here 's a question to ponder: is it really possible to bring a pair of every animal onto an ark? If so, wouldn't it mean that Noah was the first man to discover North America, Australia and Antarctica (my sincere apologies to the native peoples of those continents, some who had been living there for thousands of years before Noah was supposed to have lived)?
Of course, this is just a silly post regarding religious zealots, not some honest effort to engage others in philosophical discourse.
Read the article. It's pretty good. Too bad it came out after Prop 8 passed.
Hat tip to dailykos and jem6x's diary that got me started.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Oh, Noland.

I read this Portland food blog regularly.
An apple pie with a bacon lattice top? Too much. Here in Portland? I'm there.

Funny or Die: Prop 8 - The Musical

Gay marriage will save the economy. Praise Jesus.
See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die