28
Apr
08

Tying the same-sex knot – by Big Man

As promised last week, a guest post from Big Man over at Raving Black Lunatic. Because you get enough of the sound of my virtual voice already, I’ll just shut up now and, without further ado, let the man talk… 


My main man Deacon Blue offered me the opportunity to enter his spot and post some of my thoughts on religion, particularly on the topic of homosexuality.

Look, I’m not going to beat folks over the head with a whole bunch of spiritual quotations about how God feels about being gay. Anybody with a rudimentary understanding of the Bible understands that the Big Guy isn’t a fan of same-sex relationships. I also don’t want to hear about shellfish and period sex. If you think pointing out the crazy rules in Leviticus is a good way to win an argument about whether God supports homosexuality then you really need to do a better job of studying your theology. When it comes to homosexuality the rules are the same as they are for fornication; don’t do it. Those are God’s rules, and we as Christians have to deal with them or move on.

Deal with them, or move on.

That seems to a sticking point for a lot of Christians. Now, it’s not my place to tell people whether or not they truly have a relationship with Christ, but I’m going to wager that if you are flagrantly breaking one of God’s commandments with no sense of repentance, well you might have a problem. And if your justification for breaking that commandment is that the Bible shouldn’t be taken literally, well I think we might be practicing a different type of faith.

But, I digress. I laid out those ground rules because I want to talk about a prickly subject for believers and non-believers.

Gay Marriage.

First off, let me just put it out there that despite my early comments on homosexuality I’m actually a supporter of gay marriage. I think any adults in America should have the ability to engage in a legally recognized union and call that union marriage. This marriage should bestow upon them all the rights of any other marriage. That’s where I stand.

Now, for some folks this may seem to be a confusing contradiction given my earlier comments. But, that’s only because those people either have a mistaken viewpoint about how God’s word interacts with American society, or they just like to argue. Either way, let me break it down.

Despite all the religious trappings, marriage in America has become a largely secular practice. We rarely take the whole idea of a ban on pre-marital sex seriously, and the idea that the only suitable reason for divorce is infidelity seems to be a foreign concept to many new couples. Nowadays, marriage means “I agree to live with you until I no longer want to live with you.”

Given these new realities, it seems pretty stupid to me to argue that allowing gay people to engage in this sacred event will somehow endanger the future of marriage for straight folks. Newflash, marriage is already in the crapper and allowing gay folks to join the party won’t have any effect.

Seriously, is anybody going to say “Well, I wanted to live with you forever, but now that gay people can get married, what’s the point?” Really, do we believe that’s what’s going to happen?

Nah, I don’t think that’s what most people believe. What I think is that most people, deep inside, believe that being gay is wrong, but they really don’t want to get into that argument with folks. Actually, I would respect conservative politicians more if they just came out and said they were against gay people instead of engaging in this whole marriage charade. That would be the open and honest way to express their feelings and it would give gay conservatives a real choice to make. Granted, it also might open politicians up to criticism and protests, but that’s the price you pay for speaking your mind.

Instead, politician and their constituents would rather focus their attention on whether gay people should be allowed to get tax benefits along with their lifelong bonds, or if gay people really deserve to call their unions “marriages.” They use the word of God as crutch to support their theories without even actually explaining when it became the American way to force everybody to abide by God’s rules.

After all, I don’t see a similar movement to ban divorce and fornication. Marchers still haven’t take to the streets to fight against lying and covetness. And it’s not because the Bible singled out homosexuality as an abomination, Proverbs lists seven abominations that include pride and gossiping and nobody’s passing a law against them.

No, what we’re really doing is picking on a minority group that most straight people don’t feel any kinship towards. I’ll admit that my actions towards gay people haven’t always been great, and I can’t say I’m totally comfortable with the lifestyle. But, my qualms and my faith do not give me the right to dictate how consenting adults behave in the bedroom or at the altar.

Gay marriage is as American as apple pie, vanilla ice cream and fucking in the backseat. Let’s stop pretending otherwise.

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21 Responses to “Tying the same-sex knot – by Big Man”


  1. 1 WNG
    April 28, 2008 at 5:19 pm

    I can’t agree with your feelings about homosexuals, but I have to say that I am (once again) really impressed with your ability to break down an argument. Most people can’t or won’t divorce their personal feelings and religious views from the law the way you just did. Thanks.
    And…have you ever thought of running for office?

  2. 2 Truthiz
    April 28, 2008 at 7:51 pm

    Well said Big Man! Well said!

  3. 3 Deacon Blue
    April 28, 2008 at 7:55 pm

    And…have you ever thought of running for office?

    I know I’d vote for him.

    One small thing in Big Man’s argument really hit home for me: And that was that grown folks should be able to marry other grown folks regardless.

    I have to admit, that’s something that in my own prejudice I have often overlooked. I have had in life various gay and lesbian friends (some single, some couples) but even though I’ve never singled them out for any kind of different treatment overall, I’ve always been squidgy about the same-sex marriage thing.

    I think a lot of that is the religious part, and the fact that, as Big Man points out, marriage is primarly a state thing and not a church thing means that I shouldn’t let that poke in as a reason for same-sex marriage to be denied to people.

    One of my concerns has always been (and again, this probably stems from the religious aspect of my life) that same-sex marriage might be one of those “slippery slope” items. That is, if we sanction same-sex marriages, something that to the best of my knowledge has never been considered before this VERY current point of human history, might not other folks start chiming in with their desires to change the traditional rules for themselves?

    That is, why ban marriage between siblings? Why ban plural marriages? After all, both of those have a greater historical precedent than gay marriage, right? To the best of my knowledge, no society, not even those that tolerate or embrace same-sex sexual relations, has ever in the historical record sanctioned marriage between people who share the same parts.

    It may be an irrational concern on my part that same-sex marriage will lead to other things being loosened up…after all, there are waaaay less people who want to marry siblings or have more than one spouse than there are gays and lesbians…but it remains a concern that I’ve never quite been able to shake.

    That being said, it does bother me that two people of the same gender can be in love and the state offers no method for them to make that official or get the same benefits that married couple enjoy.

    So, I remain conflicted on this

  4. April 28, 2008 at 9:00 pm

    I appreciate your effort to cut through the rhetoric and obfuscation that normally comprise the bulk of debate on marriage equality. It’s refreshing to see an acknowledgement of the separation of church and state and the existence of secular marriage from a religious person.

    It gives me hope that one day I’ll be able to marry my spouse of almost 10 years. But that can only happen if more people are able to look at the issue as rationally as you seem to. Given my time on this earth, I don’t see that happening any time soon.

    And so, I have no option but to take issue with your contention in this paragraph:

    “Look, I’m not going to beat folks over the head with a whole bunch of spiritual quotations about how God feels about being gay. Anybody with a rudimentary understanding of the Bible understands that the Big Guy isn’t a fan of same-sex relationships. I also don’t want to hear about shellfish and period sex. If you think pointing out the crazy rules in Leviticus is a good way to win an argument about whether God supports homosexuality then you really need to do a better job of studying your theology.”

    The cited source of most Christian religious objection to gay and lesbian people springs from a biblical literalist interpretation of part of the Holiness Code in Leviticus. You are either a biblical literalist, or you are not. If you are a biblical literalist, you believe that gay men, but not lesbians, should be put to death (Leviticus 20:13). And you have to believe and live by all the other “crazy rules in Leviticus” as well. (That’s why no mainstream church holds to muscular biblical literalism.)

    And if you don’t, then you are not a biblical literalist and *everything* is up for interpretation and negotiation. It is the highly selective acceptance and rejection of “biblical truths” that most clearly exposes the inconsistency and prejudice in modern religious organizations. The simplistic hand-waving ignorance of the above paragraph corrupts your otherwise laudable fairness with what looks remarkably like hypocrisy.

    Most people don’t have your sense of fairness or equality. Most people will fall back on whatever justification they can find for their learned prejudice. Most people will continue to use the bible and Leviticus as both sword and shield against equality for gays and lesbians. By letting it stand unexamined and unresolved at your back, it will continue to be used to fend off justice for gays and lesbians.

    My thanks for your support, but at this rate I think I will be long dead before I’m permitted to marry.

    ~GC

  5. April 28, 2008 at 9:18 pm

    An important thing to keep in mind about Old Testament vs. New Testament is that while God didn’t change, He changed the focus and direction a bit. The Old Testament is all about “tough love” and in particular, being tough on God’s Chosen People (the Hebrews). With the failure of mankind to live up to very simple and modest rules up front, God pretty much hit the message home of how people are disobedient to the core by putting up a massive amount of laws to get His message across. This set the stage for, ideally, people realizing that they need help (i.e. the Messiah) to get right with God. A lot of laws in Leviticus are also about ensuring the health and fertility and racial purity of the Hebrews…again, to keep them set apart as part of God’s larger plan. Basically, it sucked to be a Jew, and it kind of still does…from the standpoint of what is expected of you. Being “chosen” in this case is not all that great.

    Old Testament…people are under the law. New Testament, they are under grace, as long as they have Jesus. That doesn’t mean there aren’t rules…in fact, the New Testament makes clear what rules are still in effect. But there is a clear elimination of many of the harsher laws of stoning people to death for sins and dietary limitations.

  6. 6 Imhotep
    April 28, 2008 at 9:19 pm

    Deacon Blue, I travel to your site via directions from the raving lunatic. Good article Big man. I have no problems with same sex marriage, I think it long over due.

    DeaconBlue, your concerns that same sex marriage could lead to “other” marriages. Well if adults make the decision to get married, why not adult siblings marrying? If all other aspects of their life shows them to be reasonable people and contributing members of society, why can’t mother and son marry? If a lady wants to have 3 husbands, and they agree to marry her, why not?
    Did Eve not have an incestious relationship with one of her sons?

    The only restriction I would place on marriage is that the person be 21 years of age. My belief is that by 21 your have some very basic ideas of how the world work, and you’re in a position to make a decision about your life.

  7. April 28, 2008 at 10:44 pm

    I’m not necessarily “against” sibling or plural marriage per se (from the standpoint of civil/adult decision things)…except that, well, the former seems more than a little icky. It’s just that I guess if we set certain things in terms of legal/moral boundaries in society, it can a little unsettling to see them whittled away. Mainly because I distrust human nature and sometimes, moral boundaries are there for good reason, and the more that go away, the more uneasy I become about the health of society.

    EDIT: As for Eve and whether she had children with any of her sons, well, I have various thoughts on whether Adam and Eve and their offspring were the only people there to spawn babies…but that’s for another time and a full post…

  8. 8 Gye Greene
    April 29, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    Good stuff, Big Man — you’re a complex and nuanced person.

    No particular comments on the governmental portion on what you wrote, except to say that you put a spin on it that I hadn’t thought of.

    As far as the religious aspect, though, two things.

    First, the whole “Bible bans gay sex” thing is actually open to theological interpretation: Some scholars think that the whole “Sodom” thing actually refers to **promiscuous** gay sex — not gay sex itself. (And that’s why Sodom was destroyed: the orgy-ness of it, not the gay-ness.) The “Sodom” thing is usually what’s pointed to in saying that God disapproves of gay sex; are there any other passages?

    Second, I’m co-teaching an Intro. to Sociology course this semester, and the textbook points out that apparently both the Catholic and Orthodox churches had liturgical means of recognizing same-sex unions, and that same-sex couples used this opportunity… up until about the 12th
    century, when these churches then, um, outlawed same-sex unions.

    The book that supposedly provides evidence of this is J. Boswell (1994) SAME SEX UNIONS IN EARLY CHRISTIANITY, Vintage Books, NY.

    So: the banning of same-sex unions by “the church” is actually relatively(?) recent. SOME Pope thought it was o.k. And therefore, same-sex unions (dunno about homosexuality itself) isn’t inherently disapproved by God.

    –GG

  9. 9 Deacon Blue
    April 29, 2008 at 2:43 pm

    There are ample number of times in the Bible that homosexuality is decried as a sin (along with a host of other sins; I don’t hold up gays and lesbians to any higher category of sin than anyone else…it’s pretty much the same in God’s eyes). However, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah isn’t an event I would use as any argument against gay sex in particular. The problem in those two cities was overall moral decay, to the level that people roamed the streets sexually abusing others. In fact, according to the Bible, the two angels who visited Lot disguised as humans were stalked by a gang of city dwellers who demanded that the two newcomers to the city be given to them to rape. So, same-sex sexual congress was just a tiny aspect of what was going on there.

  10. April 29, 2008 at 2:59 pm

    I brought up the Leviticus argument because I know that is a common one. But, as my brother from another mother Deacon Blue pointed out, a real understanding of Christianity means you understand the difference between how Christians view the Old Testament and New Testament.

    You can be a bible literalist and understand that all Old Testament rules do not apply to today’s Christians. In fact, if you have studied your bible, that’s an easy case to make. A quick reading of Acts will show that the Bible explicitly states that Gentiles and new converts were not required to follow the Mosaic law to obtain salvation or be right with God. This was in response to a push by the apostles to make every one get circumcised and follow Jewish dietary rules.

    Also, you dont’ have to go back to the Old Testament to read God’s feelings on homosexuality. There is a passage in Romans that clearly outlines how God feels about the topic.

    So, I think that people on both sides bring up Leviticus out of sort of bible ignorance that clouds the real issue. Look, you can believe that homosexuality is a sin and still support gay marriage. The two issues are no exclusive in this country.

  11. April 29, 2008 at 3:02 pm

    Deac, I promise you I gave the EXACT same repsonse to Gye over at my sige without ever reading your comment on Sodom. I’m telling you, it’s freaky how much you and I have in common when it comes to religion.

  12. 12 Deacon Blue
    April 29, 2008 at 3:28 pm

    Well, Big Man, we may not have the same mother…but we do have the same (heavenly) father. Not that that guarantees agreement on things, but it IS funny how rarely we have a difference of opinion. Why do I have this weird feeling I’ll be in the New Orleans area some day strolling around with the wife, walk by you, and bust out with “Hey Big Man!” even though I have no idea what you look like…

  13. April 29, 2008 at 6:27 pm

    I don’t know how interested I’d be in a God that cares so much about whether or not gay people have sex. Seems a little petty, no? I mean, poverty and loving your neighbor I totally get. But safe sex between consenting adults? Doesn’t seem worthy of that much attention in the grand scheme of things.

  14. 14 Deacon Blue
    April 29, 2008 at 7:20 pm

    I feel you, slag, but why does he care about a lot of things that we do? I didn’t like a lot of the rules I grew up with at home, but now I see the necessity of placing the same rules on my children.

    Frankly, I don’t know why God dislikes gay sex. But why does He dislike premarital sex either? Why does He care whether we gossip or lie? Why does He care if we are slothful or vain or greedy? Why does He care whether we honor our parents?

    I suspect it’s for the reasons that I care whether my little girl watches prurient or marketing-related programming on TV or whether she uses the word “stupid” or whether she runs in the house…just on a much different scale. God is concerned with our spiritual future and our well-being but also concerned that we do not step away from the rules he has set.

    Not that any of this makes you any more interested in God, but singling out His feelings about homosexuality isn’t the most logical thing in the world considering that’s just one small part of his rules.

  15. April 29, 2008 at 10:10 pm

    Who says God cares “so much.” He seems to care the same about all sin to me.

  16. April 29, 2008 at 10:15 pm

    Yeah. Maybe that’s true. But I can see the value of rules about sloth, vanity, and greed. Those things can hinder our personal development. End up making us less than we actually are. Etc. In other words, there are visible negative outcomes to those things. Generally, sex (gay or otherwise) doesn’t have those same attributes. And I hear you on the needing rules thing. But we’ve seen times in our past and in our present where not questioning–or even rebelling against–rules makes us less than we are (eg, people following orders and torturing people).

    As for the logic of singling out the homosexuality rules, it could just be the natural by product of the fact that the rules are kind of singling out homosexuals. I feel like treating each other with respect and equality should be one of the supreme rules. And this one doesn’t seem to do that. So, I guess I do have rules after all. Maybe they’re just slightly different.

  17. 17 Deacon Blue
    April 30, 2008 at 3:05 am

    slag, I suspect that God might argue that putting our sexual energies into the wrong direction might actually hinder us…or hinder the other person…or both. This is probably also one of the reasons fornication (a.k.a premarital sex) is a no-no. Sexual passion and sexual energy is supposed to be the cement between to married people; something special to be shared only between them. And, apparently, between two married people of opposite genders.

    Why?

    Again, I don’t know. And I broke the one about fornicating myself. Multiple times. I’ve committed adultery as well. Did it feel wrong at the time? No. If I weren’t in Christ now, would I look back and call those things sins? Not likely.

    And I still cannot give you an answer as to why, intrinsically, fornication or incest or polygamy or homosexuality is wrong. God says he doesn’t like these things, so I take it on faith he has a reason.

    I say all of this only because I suspect these things do hinder us, distract us, lessen us, hold us back or do other things that are harmful to us. What? I don’t know. Why? I don’t know.

    That is the thing about faith that can be such a bitch sometimes. Just accepting that I’ll understand why later.

  18. April 30, 2008 at 3:46 am

    Big Man, you do me proud. I thought I was the only Christian who believed that if gay people wanted to marry, let them and allow God to sort it out.

    I’m reading a book on managing anger, and one of the most prolific statements the author made about Christians, and I agree, is that the Christians going strictly on Old Testament and nothing more, creating their lists of selective “do’s and don’ts” are the most evil and meanest people walking around. They always press off a “should” on a person and demand of them that which they are not willing to demand of themselves. How many times have we heard what a good Christian does and does not do – and then endure a guilt trip behind not measuring up to standards set by another human being who believes they have a direct hotline to Jesus Christ?

    Part of trying to live up to that hype has me in counseling (with a Christian counselor) and she’s told me to live my own truth and seek God and Jesus as I understand Him. Works for those in AA, because they are allowing themselves to study the Bible and create their own understanding of God and what He expects of them.

    I have a very good Christian friend, but her rigidity in her walk has had me feeling a huge amount of guilt because I wasn’t as seemingly diligent about my Christian walk as she is. She refuses to discuss gays and lesbians as human beings, but allow me to let you in on this.

    The greatest second chances and blessings I’ve received in my working career has come from gays and lesbians. My “Christian” bosses have been so full of haterade, they have shown me the door on my jobs more than I care to count. They have backstabbed, connived and lied, all while claiming their “annointing in Jesus” while they stick that knife in my back.

    How does a Christian Progressive Liberal like me deal with that? There is so much damage and abuse I’ve endured for the last 18 years, only Jesus can help me deal. One thing I’ve learned is to stop comparing my Christian walk with others, because my walk will not be the same as my friend’s.

    I feel the same way about the right of a woman to choose to have an abortion or not. I’m pro-choice. I feel the woman should have the right to determine whether or not she wants to bear a child. Having said that, I also support abortion to be safe, legal and rare – some women are playing around and a pregnancy is nothing more than a nuisance; so I disagree with the use of it as birth control, when a conscientious woman will use those methods to prevent pregnancy if she’s sexually active.

    Thank you, as well as Deacon Blue, for helping a Christian sista to keep it real and to honor her truth as a Christian and no one else’s.

  19. April 30, 2008 at 3:45 pm

    Oooh, abortion. Another hot button issue that I can discuss. That is unless the good Deacon has already touched on it? Let me know Deac, and I might have another blog post for you.

  20. 20 Deacon Blue
    April 30, 2008 at 6:40 pm

    Big Man, feel free to run with that whenever you like. Just like with homosexuality, I’m happy to let you introduce the first ever post on another hot-button topic.

    Depending on how soon you do that, I might even be able to consider myself on a little mini-vacation from blogging, as Miz Pink has told me she’ll have something in the next day or two for me as well.


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Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

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