Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Lisa Miller has a cover story on the Dec 15, 2008 Newsweek, "The Religious Case for Gay Marriage"

Lisa Miller, with Sarah Ball and Anne Underwood, has a cover story on the Dec. 15, 2008 Newsweek, “The Religious Case for Gay Marriage.” The story appears on p 28, “Our Mutual Joy: Opponents of gay marriage often cite Scripture. But what the Bible teaches about love argues for the other side,” link here.

Miller points out that the Bible, as far as making an explicit case, says next to nothing about the constitutional definitions (“one man to one woman”) proposed in various state referendums including California’s Proposition 8. She does talk about the tortuous dichotomy of the church and state issue. She also points out some historical anomalies – the disappearance of the “man and wife” phrase, and of the concept of “obedience.”

The big hangup still has to do with objection to homosexuality itself, particularly among men, where she admits that a few Biblical passages could be taken as per se condemnations, but probably don’t have to be. (What if we took all of Leviticus literally?) What’s the pragmatic reason? She seems to think it is largely an ick factor. But perhaps I would add, from my own experience, a reaction that some men resent what they see as my “copping out” from communal notions of gender-associated family responsibility, as if I then had a vested interest in showing other men that they can “fail”, too. (Randy Shilts discussed this idea in his “Conduct Unbecoming” book on gays in the military in 1993.) In fact, hyper-individualism fits well with modern notions of gay rights, the notion that every adult is perfectly sovereign and accountable for his or her own actions; in a real world, a lot more skills at familial interdependence are needed from everybody.

Miller finally makes a case for gay marriage in Biblical terms, one that is rooted in the notion of immutability and typing. She does compare denying the sacrament of marriage based on sexuality as comparable to denying it on the basis of race.

By all means, read the article. It helps in these economic times if some people really buy the print editions.

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