Cumberland Times-News

Editorials

October 29, 2012

This is anything but a new argument

Driving around the area, I can see plenty of signs on churches asking people to vote against Question 6. How can we really vote against gay marriage?

As a religious person, one planning on joining the clergy, I see no morally justifiable position to take against the rights of an entire class of people.

Yes it’s true there are several lines of the Bible that speak against homosexual activity (the activity, never the homosexual state), but there are likewise many parts of the Bible which say things no moral person today holds to.

Would we really argue that a rape victim should be required to marry her attacker (Deuteronomy 22:28-29)? People cited the Bible to defend slavery (Ephesians 6:5, 1 Timothy 6:1-2, Titus 2:9-10, etc). People cited the Bible to deny the rights of women (multiple references in Genesis III, among many others).

This isn’t a new argument. It keeps coming up because too many people dismiss it, uncomfortable with change, but change we must. We’ve turned the corner on many issues of civil rights.

We know that the scripture was written at particular times and that it reflects the attitudes of those times. We live in a better time. We can do better.

People say that you can’t cherry-pick the Bible. I disagree. I believe you have a moral obligation to do so. If the scripture says I must stone someone to death for working on a Sunday (Deuteronomy again), I have a moral obligation to disagree.

Doing otherwise isn’t faith, it is blind sycophancy, devoid of meaning and morals. It is a perversion of piety. This doesn’t mean we toss out scripture, using it not at all. If we are to do more then simply believe, that is, if we are going to take action, such as passing laws, we must have more justification than chapter and verse.

It simply means that anything, from any source, must have outside confirmation to be acted on. This is particularly the case in a pluralistic society, where laws aren’t based on religious teachings.

And we, as religious people, really don’t want them based on religious teachings. Do you really want your legal religious rights changed every time someone new gets elected?

I have heard some claim that homosexuality is unnatural, but what is natural is what is found in nature. Nearly 1,500 species have been found to display homosexual behavior. Even if that wasn’t the case, this still wouldn’t amount to a valuable objection, because what is moral and what is natural aren’t synonymous.

Open-heart surgery is not at all natural, but if you need it would you really turn it down for that reason? Guns are unnatural, should we ban them? There are so many examples.

What bothers me the most is that people seem to reject the idea of homosexual marriage only because they reject the gay couple, and they seem to reject the gay couple largely on grounds of personal disgust.

By the same reasoning, perhaps we should ban ugly marriage. Alcoholic marriage? People who talk at the theater? Where’s the line if the motivation is disgust?

I’ve heard it said that “We’ll be forced to let them get married in our church.” Nonsense. They can get married in mine. Who gets married where they aren’t welcome?

Michael Siciliano

LaVale

 

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