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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Glad to be wrong (& other gay thoughts)

I am thoroughly, completely and utterly thrilled to be wrong regarding Governor Tom Corbett's potential appeal of marriage equality in Pennsylvania.  The Governor did surprise me in not pursing an appeal of the decision, but politics (and make no mistake about it...this was a political decision on the part of Tom Corbett) can be a complex business at times.  Regardless, I'm giving the Governor a symbolic ^5 for doing the right thing this time around.

While we are on the subject of marriage, I'm increasingly finding that the arguments against equality  boil down to three things:

1) The Bible says that homosexuality is wrong
2) Marriage has traditionally been between one man and one woman
3) The purpose of marriage is procreation, and two individuals of the same gender can't procreate

Let's parse these out.

The Bible & Marriage
I am not a biblical scholar, and I do know enough about the Bible to be dangerous.  So that noted, let me quote the Book of Leviticus, chapter 11, verse 10 (King James version of the Bible):

"And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you:"

What this means is that you can't eat shellfish.  No shrimp.  No crabs.  No lobsters.  If it lacks fins and scales, you can't eat it.  The Bible is very clear on this point.  Luckily the conjunction used is "and", not "or", so all those that want to eat catfish and still stay within Biblical guidelines are safe*.

Now some say "well, you have to view that chapter within the context of the times in that it probably wasn't actually safe to eat those things, therefore the Biblical prohibition made sense then...", which I completely understand and agree with.  My point though is the following:  If the Bible is wrong about lobster, shrimp and crabs, it can no longer be viewed as being completely infallible for other things as well.

Where does this leave us?  Well it means that if you are a Christian and you want to shrimp, lobsters or crabs, then you have to rely on a human interpretation of Leviticus in order for that act to not be considered an abomination.  Who gets to decide?  Who gets to reinterpret Leviticus?  I don't know.  Heck, I don't even like shellfish.  I do know this though:  if someone can over-ride the Bible and say that eating lobster is no longer an abomination, then I'm thinking similar abominations are subject to nullification (or at least qualification) as well.

Oh, and lest anyone think that I'm picking on the poor lobsters, the following other things are also prohibited in the Bible:

Mixing fiber types in clothing (Leviticus 19:19)
Bowl haircuts (Leviticus 19:27)
Tattoos (Leviticus 19:28)
Getting your fortune told & astrology (Leviticus 19:31)

Lastly, and this is my favorite, did you know that castrated males (regardless of whether the castration was voluntary or an accident) are not allowed into church?  Well let's consult Deuteronomy, Chapter 23, verse 1:

"He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD."

Now I personally find that the King James version of the Bible has some funky language, so let's go with another translation for this verse, this time the New Living Translation:

"If a man's testicles are crushed or his penis is cut off, he may not be admitted to the assembly of the LORD"

Point (painfully) made.  Next.

Marriage Tradition
"Traditional marriage is between a man and a woman and it should stay that way" is how the line goes.  Now I could go down a long list of past traditions that have not survived the test of time, even religious traditions, but that would be like shooting fish in a barrel.  No, let's instead look at what the very word "tradition" means.  Here's a definition (from Merriam-Webster on-line):

Full Definition of TRADITION
a :  an inherited, established, or customary pattern of thought, action, or behavior (as a religious practice or a social custom)
b :  a belief or story or a body of beliefs or stories relating to the past that are commonly accepted as historical though not verifiable
:  the handing down of information, beliefs, and customs by word of mouth or by example from one generation to another without written instruction
:  cultural continuity in social attitudes, customs, and institutions
:  characteristic manner, method, or style tradition
It's almost surreal to think that any of the above should trump the basic happiness of others.  "Just because it has always been that way" just doesn't hold a lot of weight.

Marriage and Procreation
This is an easy one:  if you believe that the sole purpose of marriage is procreation, then you end up invalidating the marriages of...

...two widows who marry and are past child-bearing years
...a couple where one or both individuals suffers from infertility
...any couple who makes the choice not to have children

I'll take this one step further:  the only people who I think should be able to claim that the purpose of marriage is procreation are the Duggars (and folks like then), as they are walking the talk.  No one else gets to make this claim.  That may sound flippant, but so be it in that it also has a ring of truth.  In a way I do admire the Duggar family, as hypocrisy doesn't seem to be something they practice, along with a few other things.  Note that I'm not sure if they eat shellfish though.

Lastly, and this is a true story, I was listening to the local militantly conservative Catholic radio station the other day and a commentator was claiming that these marriage equality decions, if not overturned, would result in the "end of our civilization".  Why?  Because in the words of the speaker, "procreation would stop".  Mind you this was an older adult male speaking, claimng that marriage equality would apparently turn us all gay, stopping the replenishment of our species.  I will leave that comment and line of reasoning to stand on its own.

(*) Catfish don't have scales.

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