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When i lived in the South, I will admit I used to eat at Chick-Fil-A all the time. I was dimly aware that they had some sketchy religious leanings or something, and they tended to hire only surrealistically white people to work in their restaurants, but hey, the sandwiches were good.

Well, not really good. But at least better than much of the mediocre fast-food stuff you could get at, say, Taco Bell or Burger King.

I wish I could say that I was surprised to learn that Chick-Fil-A has bought into the virulent strain of anti-gay nonsense that seems to have the self-described Christian conservative bits of society in such a frenzy, but I'm really not. Like I said, I was dimly aware that ther was some kind of right-wing religious something something at play.

But the media attention about Chick-Fil-A and gay marriage got me to thinking. Most self-described Christian conservatives base their opposition to gay marriage on two Bible verses. Leviticus 18:22 reads:

Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is an abomination.


Leviticus 20:13 says:

If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.


The rest of Leviticus goes on to say similar things about cutting your beard, wearing clothes made of different fibers, eating shellfish, having sex with a woman on her period, letting different kinds of cattle graze in the same field, and executing women if their husbands cheat on them they cheat on their husbands (seriously, it's there, Leviticus 20:10).

Most Christians don't follow these rules, arguing that Jesus made them irrelevant except the ones about homosexuality because those are totally different from the shellfish ones because of reasons, and some will even quote a third Bible verse, Romans 1:26-27, to justify banning gay marriage:

Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.


But the Bible, both old and new testaments, actually spends a whole lot more time talking about divorce than it does about homosexuality. Both testaments are very, very clear that divorce is never permitted, and that those who divorce and remarry are guilty of adultery, a sin forbidden by the Ten Commandments, and with the penalty of death according to the old testament...

Um, wait a minute, didn't we recently see a serial divorcee running on some kind of pro-family, conservative Christian platform?



In fact, the Bible even claims that Jesus, who never spoke about homosexuality at all, had plenty to say about divorce, in Matthew 5:31-32:

And it was said, 'Whoever sends his wife away, let him give her a certificate of divorce'; but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the cause of unchastity, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.


The Bible has Jesus speaking the same message many more times, in Mark 10:2 and Luke 16:18, for example.

So I wonder...

What would the right-wing Christian pronouncements look like if they actually applied the same thinking on divorce to their supposedly "Bible-based" blatherings about homosexuality? What would happen if you took their hysterical anti-gay screeds and replaced the word "homosexual" with the word "divorce"? It seems a fair substitution; the same moral, Biblical justifications for opposing homosexuality even more strongly apply to divorce, after all.

I started Googling Christian proclamations about homosexuality, which...well, if you have ever felt the need to go trolling on a motorboat down an open sewer, doing that sort of Google search will give you a similar experience. And I took "homosexuality" and replaced it with "divorce." The results were...interesting.



First, let's look at the Web site Got Questions? The Bible has answers! to see what sort of answers we might find in the Bible on the subject of social tolerance of divorce. On the site, we see this argument:

It is clear, however, that the Bible condemns divorce as an immoral and unnatural sin. Mark 10:2-12 identifies divorced sex as an abomination, a detestable sin. Luke 16:8 declares desires and actions for divorced people to be shameful, unnatural, lustful, and indecent. Malachi 2:13-16 states that divorcees are unrighteous and will not inherit the kingdom of God. [...] It is clear that divorcees “marrying” is not God’s will, and would be, in fact, sinful.


Can't argue with that. The Bible does in fact say exactly that.

From Complete Marriage and Family Home Reference Guide by James Dobson of Focus on the Family, we get:

The divorcee agenda includes teaching pro-divorce concepts in the public schools, redefining the family to represent "any circle of people who love each other," approval of adoption by divorcees, legitimizing remarriage after divorce, and securing special rights for those who identify themselves as divorced. Those ideas must be opposed.


The Illinois Family Association has dire warnings about the catastrophe happening in public schools:

Your local public schools are supposed to be places where young minds are taught the basics-reading, writing, and arithmetic — and how to think critically. But, increasingly, they are becoming institutions where liberal and even radical social agendas are implemented, designed to undermine the truths we teach our children at home and church.

Today, more than ever, parents must take to heart their God-given responsibility to guide their child’s education and moral training. Activist administrators, faculty, and school board members work tenaciously to implement radical social views through curricula, policy, and the professional development opportunities they provide to staff and faculty, all at taxpayer expense. They work to undermine our deeply held beliefs using our hard-earned money.

Organizations constantly pressure school administrators and teachers to use the classroom to indoctrinate students into accepting divorce as just another healthy and moral option, demonizing traditional beliefs in the process. [...] These political events are used to get the attention of all students and implicitly convey the message that participating schools support divorce.


I suppose that means we'd better not allow any divorced teachers into public schools. Who knows what such immoral people--people who under Biblical law should be put to death!--might do to our children.

Former Presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann, the child of divorced parents, clearly spoke from her own experience when she said:

Divorce leads to the personal enslavement of individuals. Because if you're involved in the divorce lifestyle, it's bondage. Personal bondage, personal despair, and personal enslavement. And that's why this is so dangerous. [...] It is profoundly sad to recognize that almost all, if not all, individuals who have been divorced have been abused at one time in their life. Sending pro-divorce message to children is child abuse. We've all but lost the generation that is under 30 years of age. Some would say even under 40 years of age. Because this generation has already shrugged its shoulders, gotten on the boat of apathy and said, 'Yeah, hey, what's wrong with being divorced?'


In the Supreme Court decision Lawrence v. Texas, conservative Justice Antonin Scalia ruefully wrote:

Today's opinion is the product of a Court, which is the product of a law-profession culture, that has largely signed on to the so-called divorce agenda, by which I mean the agenda promoted by some activists directed at eliminating the moral opprobrium that has traditionally attached to divorce.


The conservative political group Renew America is quite specific on the goals and tactics of those who oppose Bible-based sexual morality and believe that divorce is OK:

Through a carefully crafted, decades-old propaganda campaign, activists have successfully cast divorcees — many of whom enjoy positions of influence and affluence — as a disadvantaged minority. They have repackaged and sold to the public behaviors which thousands of years of history, every major world religion and uncompromising human biology have long identified as immoral and sexually deviant.

As with every major political movement, the divorce lobby is pushing a specific agenda. At its core is a concerted effort to remove from society all traditional notions of sexual morality and replace them with the post-modern concept of sexual relativism. That is to say, when it comes to sex, there is never right or wrong. All sexual appetites are "equal." If it feels good, do it.

Ultimately, the divorce lobby's primary objective is to radically redefine our foundational institutions of legitimate marriage and the nuclear family by unraveling God's natural design for human sexuality. [...] There's hope for people who are trapped in the divorce lifestyle or who suffer from unwanted thoughts of divorce. Part of our fallen condition as humans is that we are all subject to sin. Those who know the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ, are no better or worse than those who engage in divorce.

But through the loving and redemptive power of Jesus Christ, we can all find salvation from sin. So can divorcees. With God's help, we can turn back the tide of sexual and moral relativism that has both permeated our society and offended our founding principles.


Now, of course, if folks were to say things like that, they'd rightly be considered barking mad. After all, taking select passages from the Bible and using them as blunt instruments to attack folks who engage in supposedly "sinful" behaviors when there are clearly so many folks who do this...that would be nuts, right? And taking those arguments to their logical conclusion--the Bible clearly says that anyone who divorces and remarries is an adulterer, and also clearly calls for adulterers to be put to death...why, that's so absurd on the face of it that nobody could make that argument with a straight face, right?


Comments

( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
edwardmartiniii
Aug. 16th, 2012 09:50 pm (UTC)
Indeed such would be inconceivable.
locus_ofcontrol
Aug. 16th, 2012 10:01 pm (UTC)
I've been peeking in on your writing for quite some time, and with this one have added you to my Flist, so you're writing just pops up.

Your clear articulation, humour and respectful communication style is wonderful to read and share.

Thanks for being out there.
unfettrdphoenix
Sep. 6th, 2012 06:07 am (UTC)
with this one have added you to my Flist, so you're writing just pops up.

Your clear articulation, humour and respectful communication style is wonderful to read and share.

Thanks for being out there.


Ditto all of this!

Edited at 2012-09-06 06:10 am (UTC)
pickledginger
Aug. 16th, 2012 10:41 pm (UTC)
Very sensible approach to debunking homophobia. This needs to get spread around!

(Though I'm not entirely sure where your word substitution begins. Also, might be worth linking to something about the nature of Gingrich's divorces: Sorry, honey, found a new trophy wife, one who is richer and younger and better-connected, so you'll just have to handle that pesky cancer without me. Gosh, what's not to love?)
naath
Aug. 17th, 2012 08:53 am (UTC)
I know lots of people who don't eat shrimp because they believe it's Wrong To Eat Shrimp. None of them have tried to stop *me* eating shrimp though.

I don't understand the need of these people to force everyone else to obey their moral framework. Especially when they are so bad at obeying it themselves...
ab3nd
Aug. 17th, 2012 04:13 pm (UTC)
"Your local public schools are supposed to be places where young minds are taught the basics-reading, writing, and arithmetic — and how to think critically."

Public schools teach critical thinking now? This would shock me more than them pushing the "homosexual agenda".

emanix
Aug. 17th, 2012 06:09 pm (UTC)
Yes!
Love it! Suspect I will be coming back to this one to link folks to it. :)
(Anonymous)
Aug. 18th, 2012 02:56 am (UTC)
Did you read Leviticus 20:10? It says "If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife —with the wife of his neighbor—both the adulterer and the adulteress are to be put to death."

If a Man, Man A, who is (let's say) married to Woman B, commits adultery with another man's wife (that's Man C and Woman D), with the wife of his neighbor (again, we're talking Man A committing adultery with Woman D) then both the adulterer (Man A) and the adulteress (Woman D) are to be put to death.

Wait. That's not what YOU Said: "...and executing women if their husbands cheat on them (seriously, it's there, Leviticus 20:10)."

See, what you're saying is Man A, who is married to Woman B, commits adultery with Woman D - and therefore Woman B should be executed.

But I guess lying to prove a point is ok.
(Anonymous)
Aug. 18th, 2012 05:57 pm (UTC)
Divorce
"Now, of course, if folks were to say things like that, they'd rightly be considered barking mad."

I think there are many Christians who would be happy to see a stricter stance on divorce; just ask a Catholic (or me).

Many of us are aware of the hypocrisy. I agree with you that this undermines our credibility. Christians speak of keeping marriage sacred, whilst we go about soiling it ourselves. This is one reason why I am, at my most conservative, apathetic about the gay marriage debate. On my liberal days I'm in favor of gay marriage, and on my libertarian days in favor of getting government out of marriage entirely. Churches can decide who they will and will not give a marriage blessing to; there's not a whole lot of reason for us to pressure the government to select what contract two consenting adults can get in to. If there is a reason, then, in a secular society, we must make that argument outside of religion as best we can. Christianity ought not change things from the top down, but, if we are to influence a culture, it must be from the bottom up. And hopefully with love rather than hate.

I also don't understand why people can't disagree civilly. I think gay acts are sin; I also think many things I do, even habitually, are sin. The stigma around gay folks makes no sense to me, since being gay does not remove the dignity of an instance of humankind any more than my sins remove my humanity.
freefall127
Aug. 18th, 2012 07:00 pm (UTC)
i've several times had the urge to send a link to one of your journal entries to one of my conservative friends because of how unusually sane you are and how generally inoffensive your rhetoric. however, the sidebar ads for your journal are to kinky websites and my conservative friends would be so offended that they would certainly and miss the content for the context. since you're already prone to starting new websites can you do a queer-apologist version of this?
fyre
Aug. 19th, 2012 01:58 pm (UTC)
*begins slow clap*
(Anonymous)
Oct. 3rd, 2012 04:55 pm (UTC)
Good Stuff
A great article, all told. I think there is inherent double standards wrapped up in nearly every moral approach derived form the Old Testament, with respect to how we should and do act today.

I have put together my tuppence with regards to this issue. http://skepticink.com/tippling/2012/10/02/christianity-and-homosexuality-part-1/
Jonathan Pearce
Oct. 3rd, 2012 05:33 pm (UTC)
Good Stuff
A great article, all told. I think there is inherent double standards wrapped up in nearly every moral approach derived form the Old Testament, with respect to how we should and do act today.

I have put together my tuppence with regards to this issue. http://skepticink.com/tippling/2012/10/02/christianity-and-homosexuality-part-1/
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )