The Religious Case For/Against Gay Marriage | Saying A Lot About So Little

Posted on December 12, 2008


081206_cover_small-thumb4While reading the current Newsweek cover article (“The Religious Case for Gay Marriage” by Lisa Miller), it struck me how much we say about how little the Bible mentions. The summation of the Newsweek article is found, really, in one sentence,

The practice of inclusion, even in defiance of social convention, the reaching out to outcasts, the emphasis on togetherness and community over and against chaos, depravity, indifference–all these biblical values argue for gay marriage. (p.31, Newsweek, December 15, 2008)

Really? I suppose we could find all sorts of arguments out there on what the Bible actually “says” about stem cell research by quoting Psalm 139, international wars by quoting a host of passages in the Torah (first five books of the Old Testament), parenting by quoting Proverbs 22:15, tithing by quoting Leviticus, tattoos and piercings by quoting Leviticus 19:28, global and environmental issues by quoting Genesis and Revelation,…shall we go on?

I am reminded about a quote a professor said to the class several years ago. “Where the Bible speaks, I speak. Where the Bible is silent, I am silent.” I wonder if we would do well to regain that ethic, at least in part.

The Washington Post’s site, On Faith, has several responses by Susan Jacoby, Leith Anderson, Irwin Kula, and Chuck Colson. While Jacoby simply wants to use “what seems reasonable in modern society,” Anderson wants to use “the plainest and simplest description of biblical marriage,” and Colson will use the pithy, “God loves us enough that he won’t leave us as he finds us,” I found Kula’s conclusion the most satisfying and helpful for the discussion:

Ultimately, the specific case we make invoking scripture, whether pro or con, ought to be far less important than using religion to foster humility, modesty, and a capacity to appreciate paradox, contradiction, and ambiguity – to help us understand each other and embrace the sacred messiness of life.