McAlister: Countering a case for gay marriage
By Jeff McAlister
Aug. 24, 2012 at 10 p.m.
Over a period of several years, I have written a number of essays touching on the gay rights agenda and the phenomenon of homosexual marriage. It is a subject that, ideally, I would prefer not to write so much about. But because the advance of same-sex "marriage," which now has the full and open support of President Obama and the DNC, has ominous implications for the future of American freedom and human society, I find myself returning to this subject out of a sense of duty.
In "A case for gay marriage" (Saturday Forum, Aug. 18), Lewis Bennett derides biblically-based opposition to homosexuality, dismissing Old Testament statutes as "conceptually stupid," while making no attempt to understand their origins or place them within their context. It is crucial to make necessary distinctions when encountering the laws found in Leviticus and Deuteronomy. The dietary restrictions, for example, were for the purpose of setting the people of Israel apart and were not intended to be universal in scope. Other instances of Mosaic law, such as that regarding the stoning of a disobedient son (Deut. 21:19-21), understandably produce squeamishness in contemporary Bible readers. But this was not directed at petty disobedience of children, but at long-term patterns of violent and extravagant rebellion that threatened the social health of that society.
At any rate, the punishments given for situations such as this and for adultery and sodomy are not meant to be universally applicable throughout history, though the actions prohibited remain sinful.
David Klinghoffer writes that "the rules of evidence and procedure were so strict that getting a conviction was practically impossible and so from the time the Jews entered Israel, capital punishment was carried out rarely, if ever." In the past, many Christian opponents of homosexuality have made the mistake of directly quoting Leviticus, which gives those who are sexually confused the unfortunate idea that Christians wish they were dead. Instead, Christians should offer grace, hope, love and forgiveness to the homosexual, while upholding the design for human sexuality described in the second chapter of Genesis.
As regards the New Testament, Bennett writes, " … what did Jesus have to say about gay people? Nothing! He did, however, have plenty to say about divorce."
He fails to mention, however, that in the same chapter he refers to (Matthew 19), Christ reaffirms the normative meaning of marriage as between male and female, quoting Genesis 2.
Bennett assumes that because Jesus does not explicitly condemn homosexual conduct in the Gospels that He must not have been concerned about it. This is known as "the argument from silence." Following this logic, one might conclude that Jesus was unconcerned about rape or bestiality, because those are not directly mentioned in the Gospels either.
I would suggest another possibility. Perhaps homosexuality was not addressed in the Gospels because there was no serious disagreement about it among the Jews of that day. If Jesus were really the rebel against the "Old Testament God" that many modernists believe He was, one would think that Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John would have recorded an incident where He denounced the prohibition on sodomy or sought to redefine marriage. But in fact they did not. In addition, St. Paul, who knew a thing or two about grace and forgiveness, was clear in his rejection of homosexual practices (Romans 1).
The author declares that "Because America has never (been), nor will ever be a Christian theocracy, denying gay people the right to marry … is a violation of the Constitution of the United States, which clearly separates church and state." To say this is twisting the truth would be an understatement. Marriage as an institution preceded both state and church in human history. Was America a "theocracy" until 2004, when Massachusetts enacted same-sex marriage by judicial fiat? No, and Bennett himself denies it.
One need not be a conservative Christian or orthodox Jew to recognize that marriage is about uniting male and female and forming families; one has only to be intellectually honest. It is absurd to say, on the one hand, that marriage is about bringing the two sexes together, and on the other hand, that marriage is also about keeping them apart. Yet in the several states where same-sex "marriage" is now on the books, this is essentially what the law communicates. To the extent that we accept such fraud, we are lying to ourselves and to our children, and this does not bode well for the future of the republic.
<em>- Jeff McAlister, a Longview resident, is a regular contributor to the Saturday Forum.</em>