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Sunday, July 11, 2004

We put the "AMEN!" in amendment...



One of the problems I have always had with the rabidly religious crowd (of the Judeo-Christian variety, at least) is their adherance to the position that the Bible is "God's Law", writ in stone, unaltered by the hand and mind of Man, and that Man must follow "God's Law". If this is so, please explain to me why there are so many versions of the Bible (KJV, NIV, &c., &c...some of which have very interesting translative interpretations), when their own logic dictates that we should probably still be reading "God's Law" in Hebrew from stone tablets? By that same logic there is (so far as I know) not one place of worship on the planet that is built in accordance with "God's Law" (see Exodus chs. 25-27, incl.), or a priest who is robed in accordance with "God's Law" (see Exodus chs. 28-29, incl.).

What about atonement for sins and offerings to God? "God's Law" is very specific about this sort of thing (see Leviticus chs. 1-16), and Jesus' own words (Luke 20:25) do not disallow observance of "God's Law", but I don't know of any Christian Church (or Jewish synagogue, for that matter) equipped to accept the sacrificial or burnt offerings required by "God's Law", yet every church accepts "offerings" in the current coin of the realm.

If you ask any "good Christian" why these "Laws" are not adhered to, you generally get subjected to a screed about "the New Christian covenant" as being the One True Way to Salvation (John 14:6), followed by an attempt to avoid the subject.

Obviously, the religious-right seems quite prone to ignoring those portions of "God's Law" that are somehow "inconvenient" to them, despite their loud pronouncements that "God's Law" is, in fact, "God's Law". This is hypocrisy plain, pure, and simple.

The religious-right (spearheaded by His Dubyaness) is currently exercising themselves over the rights of gays to marry, and they are constantly on (and on, and on) about how it is "against tradition and the laws of God," and wish to have the U.S. constitution amended to prevent gay marriages by defining marriage strictly on the grounds of "one man and one woman."

The argument of tradition is nicely taken care of in this article in The Salt Lake Tribune.

As for the religious argument for "one man and one woman," the religious right is once again ignoring those portions of "God's Law" that might inconvenience them. If the religious-right wishes to cite "God's Law" in defining marriage, then they (in order to be honest God-fearing types) must cite all of it, and be prepared to deal with the firestorm that would follow.

Here is what the Federal Marriage Amendment should contain, if one wishes to define marriage according to "God's Law" (referenced with appropriate Biblical citations, of course).:
Amendment XXVIII (The Federal Marriage Amendment)

1) Marriage in the United States shall consist of a union between one man and one or more women. (Genesis 29:17-28; II Samuel 3:2-5)

2) Marriage shall not impede a man's right to take concubines in addition to his wife or wives. (II Samuel 5:13; I Kings 11:3; II Chronicles 11:21)

3) A marriage shall be considered valid only if the wife is a virgin. If the wife is not a virgin, she shall be executed. (Deuteronomy 22:13-21)

4) Since marriage is for life, neither this Constitution nor the constitution of any State, nor any state or federal law, shall be construed to permit divorce. (Deuteronomy 22:19; Mark 10:9)

5) No state may sanction marriage between people of the same gender. (see note 1)

6) No state may sanction marriage between a man and a woman who was married previously but has since divorced (Matthew 5:32). (see note 2)

7) No state may sanction marriage involving a widow (unless it is to her brother-in-law or another of her husband's kin - see section 11). All women whose husbands have passed away are to refrain from intimacy and pleasure for the remainder of their lives (1 Timothy 5:5-15).

8) No state may sanction marriage between people of different races (Deuteronomy 7:3; Numbers 25:6-8; 36:3-9; 1 Kings 11:2; Ezra 9:2; Nehemiah 13:25-27).

9) No state may sanction marriage between a Christian and a non-Christian (Genesis 24:3; Numbers 25:1-9; Ezra 9:12; Nehemiah 10:30; 2 John 1:9-11; 2 Corinthians 6:14-17).

10) No state may sanction marriage involving a man who has had sexual thoughts about a woman other than the one he intends to marry (Matthew 5:28).

11) (a) No state may sanction marriage between a man whose brother has passed away without issue and any woman other than his brother's widow. Each state must require the brother of a deceased man to marry his brother's widow. If he refuses to marry his brother's widow or deliberately does not give her children, he shall pay a fine of one shoe and be otherwise punished in a manner to be determined by law. (Genesis 38:6-10; Deuteronomy 25:5-10)
(b) In circumstances where a deceased man has no brothers, or whose brothers have also passed away without issue, the state shall sanction the marriage of his widow to his nearest living kinsman. If the kinsman does not wish to marry the widow he shall be allowed to pay a fine of one shoe and sell the widow to another kinsman as part of an estate transaction. (Ruth 4:2-12)

12) No state may sanction marriage between a man and any woman unwilling to promise in her wedding vows to obey her husband and submit to his every whim (Ephesians 5:22-24; 1 Corinthians 11:3; Colossians 3:18; 1 Timothy 2:11-12; Titus 2:3, 5; 1 Peter 3:1).

13) No state may sanction marriage in which the wedding ceremony is to occur during the woman's menstrual cycle unless the prospective spouses agree to refrain from intimate relations until the woman's period of uncleanness has terminated (Leviticus 18:19, 20:18; Ezekiel 18:5-6).

14) No state may sanction marriage between a minister and any woman other than a virgin (Leviticus 21:13-14).

15) No state may sanction marriage between a rapist and any woman other than his victim. States must require a rapist to marry his victim (Deuteronomy 22:28-29) unless the victim failed to cry out, in which case the rapist is relieved of this obligation (Deuteronomy 22:23-24).

16) No state may sanction marriage between a man and an aggressive or contentious woman (Proverbs 21:9, 21:19, 25:24, 27:15).

Notes:

1) There is no specific biblical prohibition that I can find on marriage between persons of the same gender. Indeed, it may be inferred that same-sex marriage is permissible (Ruth 1:16-17), but only among women (Lev. 18:22)

2) This does not contradict section (4). This section would only apply in cases of women who were "legally" divorced before the Amendment came into force.
Humanity has shown most of it's best growth despite religion. Church and State must remain separate, as this separation allows freedom and independence of thought. The attempt by the religious-right to use the power of the State to impose an agenda fueled by narrow-mindedness and bigotry on the greater populace is politics of the lowest order. It is the opening of the door to tyranny, and it must be stopped before it goes any further, because the willful repression of one part of the populace inevitably leads to the repression of all.

Here endeth the lesson...