Debate over the issues of “gay” rights and “gay” marriage have been going on for some time; but since the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling making homosexual marriage legal in all States, my Yahoo News pages have been overflowing with articles both vilifying and celebrating the Supreme Court’s decision. Some of the arguments (both pro and con), however, have been extremely poor. Although perhaps you’re (justifiably) tired of reading rants on the issue, I would still like to look at a few of those poor arguments.
First, though, let me try to briefly give my own thoughts on the issue. Back in the late 1980s when I abandoned “Biblical Christianity”, I abandoned much of “Biblical” morality almost as a ‘knee-jerk’ reaction. Biblical views on homosexuality were among those things I abandoned. However, regarding homosexuality at least, my beliefs were in fact rather conflicted. Intellectually, I fully embraced the “gay rights” movement; but emotionally (or ‘in my gut’) I remained repulsed by the very thought of homosexual relationships. Nevertheless I sought to subdue my emotional abhorrence, and publicly denounced ‘homophobia’.
In 2010, when I began investigating Islam to see if it really was as horrible as so many people were saying, I was so overwhelmed by how totally opposite the teachings of the Qur’an were compared to the accusations that it is a hate-filled book calling for the murder of everyone who doesn’t embrace Islam, that I began to ‘fall in love’ with the Qur’an; and consequently I also allowed myself to fall under the influence of the anti-homosexuality statements in the Qur’an. I again succumbed to my emotional (or ‘gut’) feelings; hence my “I Agree With Phil” article of Dec. 21, 2013.
Recently I have once again begun to rethink this issue, and have regained my ‘conflicted’ state. 🙄 I still have that automatic feeling of disgust and revulsion when I see pictures of two men or two women ‘lip-locked’; but intellectually I see flaws in the arguments I had against homosexuality and ‘gay’ marriage.
Now I’ll examine some of those faulty arguments that I’ve been reading in the news. From the side of those celebrating the Supreme Court decision, there are those who seek to show that homosexual rights and homosexual marriage are perfectly consistent with Christianity and the Bible. Some say that the Bible never condemns homosexual marriage – to which I respond, “well, Duh!” When the Bible condemns homosexuality itself, and says that those who practice homosexual acts should be killed, why would you imagine that it would be necessary to specifically condemn homosexual marriage??? Can you imagine someone saying that although pedophilia is a major crime, if the law does not specifically forbid pedophiles to marry the children they ‘love’ it mean that adults marrying young children must be acceptable, and we must open ourselves up to ‘love’? What nonsense! The Bible (both ‘Old’ and ‘New’ Testaments) considers homosexuality to be a major ‘sin’, worthy of death; so the Bible obviously is not compatible with homosexual marriage!
In An Open Letter to Franklin Graham Paula Garrett castigates Franklin Graham for saying that the Bible is clear about homosexuality and homosexual marriage. She says that although a few passages here and there can be cherry picked which indicate that marriage is between a male and a female, there are other passages in the Bible that have other views of marriage. The Bible allows for polygamy, concubines, and even the forced marriage of a rapist to his victim. The obvious problem with this argument is that all of those instances involve heterosexual relationships. There is simply not one hint in the Bible of an openness to homosexual relationships (including marriage). Although I have little to no respect for Franklin Graham, he is most certainly right that the Bible is quite clear as to its view of homosexuality.
If Paula Garrett had been arguing that the Bible is unclear with regard to the “Church” doctrine that marriage is between one man and one woman, she would of course have been correct – and quite justified in bringing up the many passages about polygamy and concubines. But when the argument is concerning heterosexuality versus homosexuality, the Bible is quite clear about its position.
The question then is whether or not the Bible is right in its position. But for a “Bible believing Christian” such as Franklin Graham, who believes that the Bible is infallibly inspired by God, this is not even debatable. Of course the Bible is right, and homosexuality is a great evil. Repent and be converted, you vile homosexuals, lest you be consumed by the fire of God’s judgment! 😆 For an ‘infidel’ such as me, though – who believes that the Bible is at best the teachings of men, and in fact much of it is more worthy of being labeled “doctrines of demons” than “the word of God” – the fact that the Bible teaches something is not at all a favorable recommendation for that teaching. 🙂
Now I’ll refer to unsound arguments from the anti-‘gay’ marriage side. In an article in “National Review” Dennis Prager argues that the Supreme Court decision legalizing homosexual marriage has completed the undermining of the USA as the ‘Founding Fathers’ envisioned it. He maintains the fallacious viewpoint that the USA was founded specifically on “Judeo-Christian” principles of morality and law, as contained in the holy book of “Judeo-Christianity”: the Bible. And of course, the Biblical (“Judeo-Christian”) view on marriage is unquestionably heterosexual, as mentioned in previous paragraphs.
Of course, this view of the “Judeo-Christian” and Biblical foundation of the USA, as envisioned by its “Founding Fathers”, is simply a falsehood. The “Founding Fathers” themselves were quite explicit about this. In the Treaty of Peace and Friendship with Tripoli of Barbary (ratified in 1797, only approximately 10 years after the ratification of the US Constitution), Congress unanimously agreed in article 11 of the Treaty: As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion,-as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen, [Muslims]-and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan [Muhammadan] nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries. That is why the Constitution states emphatically that Congress can’t make any law establishing religion, or prohibiting the free exercise of religion. And that is why the Constitution insists that there may not be any religious tests for prospective members of Congress or any public position.
Christianity is simply not the foundation of our nation (nor is any other religion). The Government was clearly intended to be ‘secular’, with religion and morals left up to the individual citizens and their churches. [For more complete discussion of this subject, see Are the United States a Christian Nation? and More Falsehoods From Franklin Graham.]
Mr. Prager then argues that the “Fathers” sought to base the laws and morals of the USA on the Bible because they realized that otherwise everything would be purely subjective. We would be left to what we ‘feel in our hearts’, rather than having objective ‘truth’ as a foundation. However the most famous of those “Fathers” – such as Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Paine – in fact realized that the Bible was so full of errors and contradictions that it could not possibly serve as an authoritative source of ‘objective truth’. On the contrary, the only ‘infallible word of God’ available to men is written not in a book, but in “Nature”. “Nature” speaks to men of every language all over the world. This is why the Declaration of Independence stated that true Government is founded on the laws of Nature and of Nature’s God – not the Bible and the Bible’s God.
This means that the “Fathers” believed that laws and morals are not just derived from what we feel in our “hearts”, but also (and perhaps more so) from reason and logic as applied to what can be observed in nature. Intuitive feelings are not to be overlooked or derided; but reason and nature are at least as important.
But this appeal to nature and reason might seem to in fact be the strongest argument against homosexuality. Isn’t heterosexuality ‘writ large’ in ‘nature’s book’? Isn’t it ‘obvious’ in nature itself that sexual relationships and marriage are intended to be between male and female – not male and male or female and female? This is the argument that I have used; and in point of fact it was no doubt just as clear an argument to Jefferson, Madison, and Paine.
This is an argument that Mike Huckabee used in his repudiation of the Supreme Court decision. Laws of nature – such as the law of Gravity – cannot be annulled by a fiat of Supreme Court Justices; and he feels that heterosexual marriage is as much a law of nature as the law of Gravity.
The problem with such an argument is, first of all, that laws of nature are not necessarily absolute. It is true that we can’t annul the law of Gravity (or haven’t been able to so far at least); but we can counterbalance it by exerting a force greater than Gravity’s force. That’s how we’re able to get airplanes and spaceships to fly. Even jumping up in the air illustrates a very temporary overcoming of Gravity’s force. The ability of birds to fly shows even in nature (without the addition of human technology) that one law of nature can be counterbalanced by another law of nature.
So while I don’t believe there is any ‘natural’ way to reproduce apart from ‘normal’ male/female sexual activity, we have discovered ways to impregnate a female without sexual intercourse with a male (in vitro fertilization, I believe it is called). Two males can get a female to agree to bear a child for them; and two females can get a male to provide sperm without actual sexual intercourse. Of course, there is always adoption also (though of course the adopted child could not have been born without a male and a female contributing).
As a matter of fact, though, there is nothing in nature to dictate that sexual activity must be limited to the ‘normal’ male/female relationship. Instances of homosexuality have long been observed in nature; and like it or not, homosexuality has existed ‘naturally’ among humans also throughout recorded human history. It may not be the ‘usual’ or ‘normal’ natural order, but it is nevertheless a real part of that order. Homosexuality can’t produce offspring; but who will be so foolish as to say that the production of offspring is the only reason for sexual activity? It is a reason, but certainly not “the” reason.
In fact, marriage itself is not a ‘law of nature’; it is simply a human arrangement (despite religious myths that declare that ‘God’ decreed the marriage contract and granted his priests – and government agents – the authority to supervise the making of such contracts). And human arrangements are subject to change. So I suppose that it’s perfectly legitimate for modern society to ‘redefine’ marriage to include homosexual unions. I still have my automatic ‘gut’ reactions to the concept of homosexuality and the sight of two males or two females kissing, etc.; but I have to submit to my intellect and reason telling me that it really is acceptable –and such arguments as given by Paula Garrett and Dennis Prager are decidedly poor ones.