Same Sex Marriage Discussion: Scripture

On February 14th, we met to discuss Scripture and how it is used to both condemn the idea of Same Sex Marriage, as well as support it.  Father Mark asked us for Bible verses we think support or condemn it.

 

  • Love one another, as I have loved you. (John 12:34)
  • Male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:27)
  • You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination (Leviticus 18:22)
  • And the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh (Mark 10:8)
  •  Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error. (Romans 1:26-27)
  • Story of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19)

It is important to take the historical context of the Bible into account, as well as what the author was saying, what their characters were saying, and who the intended audience was/is.  It is also to give extra thought to any scripture that seems to justify the oppression of others, as that is likely a clue that our interpretation of the text has gone astray.

In much of the Old Testament era, it was thought that sex was something necessary for procreation, but not for pleasure. The Babylonians had the theory that a man only had so many seed, so it was also considered a waste of precious resources to have sex for a reason other than procreation. It was also thought that a man was at a moment of weakness during sex, and to be weak with another man was dangerous. Women were considered harmless and essentially “defective men” so it was permissible for a man to be weakened with a woman.  In addition, it was necessary for the small tribe of Israel to be fruitful and multiply as much as possible, for their survival. Related to that, it was mentioned that most of the restrictions laid out in Leviticus were given for sound medical reasons- eating pork or shellfish before modern sanitation and understanding of safe cooking methods was risky. Medical science has also proven that diseases are more readily spread through homosexual sex than through heterosexual sex. In modern times,  all those risks are a lot less, and the world is well populated.

 

The story of Sodom and Gomorrah is often used as proof of God’s opinion on homosexuality, but even many of those who are against same sex marriage agree that the retribution was a result of breaking the ancient responsibilities of Hospitality. The warnings in Romans was more a warning against idolatry, as the homosexuality mentioned was just one of many things that were getting between the people and God, for which they were punished.

 

Concern was expressed that although we can dismiss many of the often quoted scripture on the basis of historical context, there is no Bible text that specifically allows or blesses same sex unions. And that if we’re not careful, we could reason God entirely from the Bible. It was discussed that the Bible was decided on by committees, and any one who had written such scripture would have been dismissed, and if it existed, would never have been included in the Bible.  Instead we are left to look at what little God says about any kind of marriage in scripture.  The committees that came out of General Convention decided on how to define a “Holy Marriage”

 

A Holy Marriage contains

  • Commitment
  • Faithfulness
  • Love
  • Respect
  • Procreation is unnecessary.

As well, Anglicans base their beliefs on the Three-Legged Stool model. Tradition and Reason are also components of our faith, and we don’t and can’t base our beliefs on Scripture alone, without Reason. Without a specific Bible verse endorsing it, we are left to use our Reason to justify that God wouldn’t want to oppress people he created.

 

The next Same Sex Marriage Forum will be held on Feb 28th, and the topic will be Liturgy.

 

 

 

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