Friday, June 24, 2011

1 man + many women = bible marriage

As the gay marriage issue continues to lose its potency for right-wing evangelicals in the US, and even the Republican New York Senate is within inches of legalizing gay marriage, the rhetoric from Bible-beaters continues to get more shrill and asinine.

A man who resembles that last remark would be Archbishop Dolan, who claims that the definition of marriage is "as old as reason". Clearly his own reason is none to sharp these days, because the bible quite clearly did not limit men to 1 woman. Reason must have started pretty late in the day. After all, King Solomon was reputed to have a thousand wives. Of course, some times they were called "concubines", but if you get to screw them silly, impregnate them whether they want it or not, and treat them as your property then this is pretty much synonymous with the definition of a "wife" in the Old Testament.

As I am having to say all too often about religious extremists these days, Archbishop Dolan cannot possibly be as stupid as he sounds when he makes such pig-ignorant claims. There were many types of marriage throughout the Bible, and throughout the world. Levirate marriage was just one form in which the brother of the deceased husband was obligated to marry his brother's widow, as per Deuteronomy 25:5. Now tell me how this squares with "1 man + 1 woman = God's marriage", especially if the brother is already married.

Similarly, sororate marriage also exists, in which the husband marries (or just has sex with) the wife's sister if the wife dies or proves infertile. While this form is not found in the Bible, it existed in places from ancient to China to Greenland and the Americas.

And then there are the Mormons, who also claim to be Christians, and had no problem with polygamy. They only ended up outlawing it, in theory but not practice, around the turn of the beginning of the 20th century, primarily as a political maneuver to gain admission to the Union.

Another detail about marriage described in the Bible is a restriction upon the mixing of races. In Ezra 9, for example, there is condemnation of the men of Israel having married foreign wives. In the US, well into the 20th century, laws existed, particularly in the South, which prohibited miscegenation, or inter-racial marriage. In fact Bob Jones University, a center for religious extremism, only rescinded bans on inter-racial dating in the year 2000. are you going to marry when you can't even date?

I suppose it's possible if you hit her over the head with a club like they show the cavemen doing. That's probably the original definition of "marriage", and I doubt it's one that most people want to keep.

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