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Newsweek on the Bible and Gay Marriage

HomeNews, Politics, and MoreNewsweek on the Bible and Gay Marriage

I’ve never considered Newsweek any sort of authority on theology, primarily because they’re not. Dedicating a section of your magazine to religion doesn’t mean you know what you’re talking about…especially when you’re well-known for being absurdly biased.

I’m biased, by the way…just not absurdly so.

Back to the point. The bad logic in this article should be obvious to all, but – I’m sure – some will miss it. Here’s the rundown:

  1. Newsweek claims that the Bible doesn’t actually condemn homosexual behaviors.
  2. Newsweek claims that even if the Bible does condemn homosexual behaviors, it doesn’t really mean it.
  3. Newsweek claims that since many people routinely ignore the Bible’s instructions on divorce, we shouldn’t bother paying attention to the parts about homosexuality.

Yep. It’s that bad. Here’s a quote for #1:

It probably goes without saying that the phrase “gay marriage” does not appear in the Bible at all.

Ah, the old ‘argument from silence’. Since the Bible doesn’t mention reverse mortgages, it has nothing to say about reverse mortgages. Such arguments ignore the actual content of the Bible and paint it as irrelevant to modern concerns. As anyone who’s read it with an open mind can tell you – whether believers or not – the Bible contains useful instructions on virtually every issue modern man runs across. There’s nothing new under the sun.

Here’s #2…talking about the New Testament passages where Paul strongly condemns homosexual behavior:

…Paul is referring in this famous passage to the depravity of the Roman emperors, the craven habits of Nero and Caligula, a reference his audience would have grasped instantly. “Paul is not talking about what we call homosexuality at all…

Unfortunately, there’s nothing in the text to substantiate such a view. It’s simply made up, imposed on the text, and accepted as true. Just as unfortunately, many will read that and say “Hmmm…I didn’t know that!”.

Here Newsweek tells us (#3) that we shouldn’t bother applying Old Testament passages about homosexual behaviors:

Twice Leviticus refers to sex between men as “an abomination” (King James version), but these are throwaway lines in a peculiar text given over to codes for living in the ancient Jewish world…

Their argument is that, since few people follow the Levitical instructions for cleanliness or for sacrificing animals, the portions that mention homosexual behaviors are “throwaway lines”. That’s a ridiculous claim, of course. Each passage must be taken in context to see to whom it would apply.

Again:

The Bible endorses slavery, a practice that Americans now universally consider shameful and barbaric.

The Bible does NOT endorse slavery as Newsweek’s readers would understand it. Had they done their homework, they would have seen that the kind of slavery that the Bible talks about is more like employement than enforced servitude…but it’s always been a stretch to think that Newsweek’s religion department would do their homework.

For the record: homosexual behaviors have been around for millenia, and my opinion won’t change that fact. To be honest, I really don’t have a serious objection to homosexual having civil unions or marriage ceremonies. Here’s what I do object to:

To all of my gay friends: I love you. I don’t condemn you. I accept you as you are…but you already knew that, didn’t you?


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Comments

2 responses to “Newsweek on the Bible and Gay Marriage”

  1. BRENDA SHEPPARD NELSON says:

    If Leviticus refers to sex between men (women)as “an abomination”, why do you have no objections to marriage between men (women)?

    I believe if somethings does not bring praise or glory to God, there is no reason to engage in it. Help me to understand your meaning. Is this (Homosexuality) a sin in God’s sight or do you feel since the world accepts it, then it’s ok.

    • Tony says:

      Brenda:

      I’m sorry to have confused you with my article. To be clear, both the Old Testament and the New Testament teach that sexual activity between same-sex couples is forbidden. It’s not wrong to be attracted to anyone, but what we do about those attractions matter. For example, I’m heterosexual… but that doesn’t give me license to have sex with whatever woman I’m attracted to. There are spiritual implications in our actions, and sex is as much a spiritual act as a physical one. God’s restrictions on sex and marriage are specifically designed to teach us about Him so that we will understand His intentions toward us. Both sex and marriage are beautiful images of His love and devotion for us, and the images of adultery and idolatry are strong warnings about the consequences of living as we should not.

      As for same-sex marriage, I have two points.

      1. When two people go to the courthouse to get a marriage license, they’re not asking the government for permission to have a relationship. They can have that relationship whether anyone or no one approves. What the marriage license does is register a legal relationship with the government. The implications of that relationship cover things like taxes, hospital visits and medical decisions, inheritance, and more. It’s a contract. I see no reason for the government to deny that contract between any two individuals. We already had some of that in place. For example, giving someone power of attorney allows them to make legal decisions for you. That doesn’t require you to be their blood relative, or their spouse. The government may be in a position to regulate contracts like that, but I don’t see a reason to deny those contracts to any two willing adults.
      2. I’m a Christian. That is, I follow Jesus and work to do what He taught. As the apostle Paul pointed out, my job is not to judge those outside the church as though they are part of the Body of Christ. While I don’t sanction same-sex marriage because of my views on what the Bible teaches about sexuality and relationships, it seems both unwise and inconsistent to try to make non-Christians live as Christians would. If the American people want to allow homosexuals (or even groups of people) to enter into civil contracts like marriage, that’s their legal right. My focus is not on making, or keeping, those things illegal. My focus is on helping others understand who God is, how He interacts with us, what He wants, and how that benefits us. Telling people to stop sinning might (or might not) change their behavior, but that does not change their spiritual condition. When a lost person surrenders to God, the Holy Spirit will work in them to make them more like Jesus… and their behavior will change as a result.

      Does that clear things up? This article was written before the US Supreme Court made same-sex marriage legal, so it’s a bit out of date. I’m not FOR same-sex marriage. I’m also not for giving some Americans the ability to enter into legal contracts and denying other Americans the same ability based on Christian doctrine.

      Let me know if you have any questions. Have a great day!

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