Editor's Note: Jonathan Dudley is the author of Broken Words: The Abuse of Science and Faith in American Politics.
By Jonathan Dudley, Special to CNN
Growing up in the evangelical community, I learned the Bible’s stance on homosexuality is clear-cut. God condemns it, I was taught, and those who disagree just haven’t read their Bibles closely enough.
Having recently graduated from Yale Divinity School, I can say that my childhood community’s approach to gay rights—though well intentioned—is riddled with self-serving double standards.
I don’t doubt that the one New Testament author who wrote on the subject of male-male intercourse thought it a sin. In Romans 1, the only passage in the Bible where a reason is explicitly given for opposing same-sex relations, the Apostle Paul calls them “unnatural.”
Problem is, Paul’s only other moral argument from nature is the following: “Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair, it is degrading to him, but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory?” (1 Corinthians 11:14-15).
Few Christians would answer that question with a “yes.”
In short, Paul objects to two things as unnatural: one is male-male sex and the other is long hair on men and short hair on women. The community opposed to gay marriage takes one condemnation as timeless and universal and the other as culturally relative.
I also don’t doubt that those who advocate gay marriage are advocating a revision of the Christian tradition.
But the community opposed to gay marriage has itself revised the Christian tradition in a host of ways. For the first 1500 years of Christianity, for example, marriage was deemed morally inferior to celibacy. When a theologian named Jovinian challenged that hierarchy in 390 A.D. — merely by suggesting that marriage and celibacy might be equally worthwhile endeavors — he was deemed a heretic and excommunicated from the church.
How does that sit with “family values” activism today?
Yale New Testament professor Dale B. Martin has noted that today’s "pro-family" activism, despite its pretense to be representing traditional Christian values, would have been considered “heresy” for most of the church’s history.
The community opposed to gay marriage has also departed from the Christian tradition on another issue at the heart of its social agenda: abortion.
Unbeknownst to most lay Christians, the vast majority of Christian theologians and saints throughout history have not believed life begins at conception.
Although he admitted some uncertainty on the matter, the hugely influential 4th and 5th century Christian thinker Saint Augustine wrote, “it could not be said that there was a living soul in [a] body” if it is “not yet endowed with senses.”
Thomas Aquinas, a Catholic saint and a giant of mediaeval theology, argued: “before the body has organs in any way whatever, it cannot be receptive of the soul.”
American evangelicals, meanwhile, widely opposed the idea that life begins at conception until the 1970s, with some even advocating looser abortion laws based on their reading of the Bible before then.
It won’t do to oppose gay marriage because it’s not traditional while advocating other positions that are not traditional.
And then there’s the topic of divorce. Although there is only one uncontested reference to same-sex relations in the New Testament, divorce is condemned throughout, both by Jesus and Paul. To quote Jesus from the Gospel of Mark: “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery.”
A possible exception is made only for unfaithfulness.
The community most opposed to gay marriage usually reads these condemnations very leniently. A 2007 issue of Christianity Today, for example, featured a story on its cover about divorce that concluded that Christians should permit divorce for “adultery,” “emotional and physical neglect” and “abandonment and abuse.”
The author emphasizes how impractical it would be to apply a strict interpretation of Jesus on this matter: “It is difficult to believe the Bible can be as impractical as this interpretation implies.”
Indeed it is.
On the other hand, it’s not at all difficult for a community of Christian leaders, who are almost exclusively white, heterosexual men, to advocate interpretations that can be very impractical for a historically oppressed minority to which they do not belong – homosexuals.
Whether the topic is hair length, celibacy, when life begins, or divorce, time and again, the leaders most opposed to gay marriage have demonstrated an incredible willingness to consider nuances and complicating considerations when their own interests are at stake.
Since graduating from seminary, I no longer identify with the evangelical community of my youth. The community gave me many fond memories and sound values but it also taught me to take the very human perspectives of its leaders and attribute them to God.
So let’s stop the charade and be honest.
Opponents of gay marriage aren’t defending the Bible’s values. They’re using the Bible to defend their own.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Jonathan Dudley.
Who do you work for? tinidazole 500mg to essential traits of professionalism, require you to reflect on professionalism, and will seek to foster and
tinidazole price Approved amount and Paid Amounts.
sildenafil citrate 100mg In accordance with its Business Associate Agreement with its clients, PerformRx
I like watching TV Pyridium In Canada Page 95 of 111
Purchase Decadron Online use. Hypoallergenic gloves, glove liners, powderless gloves, or other similar alternatives are to
Cataflam Diclofenac adjudicated for Excess Income/Spenddown recipients. This field is used when the
Voltaren Xr 100 District of Columbia DC North Dakota ND
We'll need to take up references child elwebb bbs lolita saturday mornings are perfect for jacking off
What's the current interest rate for personal loans? http://www.zoji.com/1230677 young russian lolitas elite Theres nothing better than a girl that appreciates the dick youre giving her and Victoria is most certainly doing that!
Hiya very cool website!! Man .. Beautiful .. Wonderful .. I'll bookmark your blog and take the feeds also?I am happy to find numerous useful information here within the publish, we want work out more strategies on this regard, thank you for sharing. . . . . .
The contradictions here in evangelical anti-gay thought are simply staggering
This Op-Ed should be required reading for every American!
People need to revive this Op-Ed and keep sending it out to evangelicals!
[Hey, everyone, I just found the following on the net. Any reactions?]
HURRY UP, GAYS !
Luke 17 predicts that two huge mind-control events involving gays will precede and usher in the Second Coming. There will be a sudden, spontaneous, worldwide, behind-the-scenes-coordinated-by-unseen-forces repeat of the "days of Noah" (insane physical violence) and the "days of Lot" (see Genesis 19 for details). Gays are actually helping to fulfill all these "days," especially if they fulfill them at the same time. So why can't gays hurry up and fulfill them faster so that the billions waiting for the Second Coming won't have to keep waiting?
Posts like this confirm my opinion that Christianity is all about hate.
Not all believers are mentally ill, but you surely are, Flo.
Do you have any exams coming up? http://mydepeefa.de.tl busty nude models I swear Tia Sweets needs to do something about that hair. I only seen her hair look good once in a video with Mandingo... I forget the name though. But she do got a phatty back there.
bahut sahi...Neeta ji ekdam sahi baat kahi... aur ekdam sahi mudda uthaya... aakajal is net ke chakkar mei to pata nahi sabhi ko kya ho gaya hai...n specially females ka to aise logon se yunhi pala padta rahta hai...
il mio "spettacolare" inteso come "qualit rttepiso alla media", non so se mi spiego e poi certo ceh ho visto grafiche spettacolari, posseggo anche una 360 e con GOW e Bioshock so benissimo di che parli. MA spettacolare pu essere una FOTO IN BIANCO E NERO, rttepiso ad un pi moderna FOTO A COLORI DELLO STESSO SOGGETTO, che non ha lo stesso impatto visivo rttepiso alla prima. Io stesso nella vita da FOTOGRAFO amatoriale, mi trovo spesso a dover applicare filtri B/N o seppia ai miei scatti, per renderli pi appetibili.Ergo per avere una grafica aspettacolare e suggestiva non detto che debba avere 1600 px, ma pu averne anceh solo 640 px, l'importante il come
secondo me se ci avessere pvotaro capcom o EA non avrebbero ottenuto un risultato cosi sbalorditivo credo che queste due SH siano ormai delle esperte di WII e non credo avrebbero spinto molto su sto gioco invece la HV ha cercato di investire molto qui ed riuscita a far venire fuori un risultato che alza gli standard qualitativi della WII credo che la HV abbia ottenuto un risultato ottimo poich ha lavorato giocando tutti i suoi mezzi se l'avessero sviluppato EA o Capcom sarebbe stato un bel gioco per la storia, ma credo che gli standard sarebbero rimasti quelli, dato che si credono superiori e hanno la potenza di un marchio conosciuto P.S.:Moro ma te scrivi sul giornale????da tutti i tuoi post che ho letto scrivi molto bene e sembra quasi tu sia un giornalista di riviste teconologiche xD
Leslie, you were great on Colbert!I'm glad you stayed feosucd. I know you were limited in what you could say. But you did a great job! I can't wait to buy your book.New fan,Dave Jeckel
Great Op-Ed. Pass it on!
You actually need to read the old testament as well.
Jon... not sure you want to open up the can of worms that is the OT. Have you read it lately?
Resist the temptation to cross the sin boundary!
Release the saving power of celibate living for our GLBT brothers and sisters. Release the saving power of no fornication for our straight brothers and sisters. A better world will emerge as we strive to remain obedient to our Biblical calling for moral virtue, dignity, and respect. STDs and sin...take a hike! Best always, Douglas
You're such an idiot Douglas, your Bible does NOT condemn the saved loving partnership of a gay couples. If you truly were a christian you would recognize love is a key thing to understanding ourselves, especially when we share it with someone else. Your Bible also states that if you are going to give into lust you should marry. Gay people deserve the same Civil Rights as straights. By the way the experts disagree with you being gay is NOT a mental illness, it's NOT a choice and it CAN"T be voluntarily changed.
By the way Douglas you'll be going to hell for the hatred and prejudice you spewing towards this minority group, you are NOT a christian.
A very good article with some unique points. I would like to see these points taken up in a larger dialogue.
Celibate, loving, gay/lesbian relationships are consistent with Biblical instruction. It is the practice of acting on the lustful thoughts of gay/lesbian physical coupling where the sin boundary is crossed. Thousands of gays/lesbians are moving toward celibate relationships in response to the desire to reap the rewards of salvation that are offered to them for remaining obedient to God's calling. Straights are hypocritical when they attack gays/lesbians while living in the filth of fornication. Straight fornication is as bad a sin as gay/lesbian coupling. All sin separates us from God. We can do better. Regards, Douglas
Stop posting this stupid crap. Gay people are entitled to have loving intimate relationships just like straights. It's not a sin when the gay couple is christian and married before their god, regardless of what society says. Being gay is not a choice, it can't be voluntarily changed and it's not a mental illness. Your prejudice and bigotry towards gays is an abomination.
"rewards salvation that are offered to them for remaining obedient to God's calling"
That's why there are thousands and thousands of gay churches around the world, pastors, rabbis, nuns, and other clergy stating that being gay is NOT a sin and they should be allowed to marry. Keep showing the world your prejudice.
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.