A Biblical definition of marriage
I noticed after my letter about the Supreme Court decision concerning gay marriage that there were some comments by some folks of the Christian persuasion that saw fit to reference their scriptures and belief as a continued justification of their bigotry. I thought a little Bible study would be a nice way of bringing things into perspective, so I decided to send in this piece I had previously written on a marriage from a Biblical perspective:
When you whittle down the arguments against gay marriage, the opponents have little else to stand on other than asserting their religious beliefs as an argument. Most in this country who stand opposed to legalizing gay marriage are Christians who say they are defending the 'sanctity' of marriage. They tell us that a marriage is between one man and one woman as defined in the Bible.
Well, what is a 'Biblical' marriage?
Nowhere in scripture does it specifically define marriage as between one man and one woman. In fact, polygamy was a widely accepted practice in both the Old and New Testaments. Some Christians infer this definition of marriage from Genesis 2:24 where the Bible says that a man should 'leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.'
However, God only created two people. If you can do math, you will soon discover the uncomfortable reality that incest must have been required for procreation making that first 'marriage' a little more complicated than one man and one woman. This is not a trend unfamiliar to scripture. In Genesis chapter 12 God commands Abraham to take his half sister as a wife. Abraham also had concubines which were basically live-in sex slaves.
A little further on into scripture we also find a curious passage in Deuteronomy 22:28,29 that says a man may sexually assault an unbetrothed virgin as long as he pays her father a sum of 50 shekels of silver. So, here, a Biblical marriage is between a rape victim and her rapist. In Numbers 31, the Israelites defeated the Midianites and Moses commanded that everyone be killed except the female children who had not slept with a man. In this instance, a Biblical marriage is between a man who killed mother, father, brothers, and sisters and his captive.
Deeper into scripture we find King David, the psalmist, who had at least eight wives and an unspecified number of concubines. His son, King Solomon, had 700 wives and 300 concubines. Let's remember that nowhere in the Bible does it condemn this behavior or is a cause for concern by the authors. According to Bible, marriage was between one man and as many women as he wanted as long as he was married to them at the same time, and, occasionally, between immediate family members.
Jumping forward into the New Testament, we can also see that Jesus has nothing to say about polygamy which was an accepted practice among many early Christians.
Knowing all of this, it becomes absolutely comical when someone like Rick Santorum or others of his ilk get on television and tell us that if we allow gay people to marry it will open the door to bigamy and polygamy. This, of course, coming from a man who stands on traditional 'Biblical' marriage. I think anyone with a shred of common sense can see the comedic hypocrisy of this argument.
A gay person being permitted to marry another gay person is not going to hurt anyone. There will be no lightning bolts from the sky or supernatural wrath poured out from the heavens. In fact, I have a hard time believing that the Jesus I read about in the New Testament would have a problem with gay marriage. He said nothing about it and preached a message of compassion and tolerance. I honestly believe if Christ could stand here today he would point his fingers at many of the religious fundamentalists who preach hate and intolerance as he did the Pharisees and Sadducees of his day.
At the end of the day, if you really can't get over all this and you are simply unable to be OK with gay marriage. I have an easy solution for you: Don't marry a gay person and let others pursue happiness in their own way Or, as a wise person once told a gathering of his followers, "Love your neighbor as yourself and do unto others as you would have them do unto you."