Thursday, December 11, 2008

Newsweek 12/15/08

The newest issue of Newsweek apparently has a cover story supporting gay marriage by their religion editor according to this posting on the More Light Presbyterian listserve that just arrived in my inbox. Here's the post from the MLP Associate Director Toby Rogers...

Dear Friends:

Have you seen the new issue of Newsweek (Dec. 15, 2008)? All I can say is wow! If you haven't already read it, you are in for a treat! The cover story, "The Religious Case for Gay Marriage" by Newsweek religion editor Lisa Miller is extraordinary. As to what the Bible says or doesn't say about homosexuality and marriage, Miller did her homework and went back to the Scriptures to see for herself. And in just a few well-crafted paragraphs, she completely dismantles decades of traditionalist subterfuge, misdirection, and flat out misinformation about what the Bible actually says.

Here are some of the highlights from the article:
"Biblical literalists will disagree, but the Bible is a living document, powerful for more than 2,000 years because its truths speak to us even as we change through history. In that light, Scripture gives us no good reason why gays and lesbians should not be (civilly and religiously) married -- and a number of excellent reasons why they should..."

"The biblical Jesus was -- in spite of recent efforts of novelists to paint him otherwise -- emphatically unmarried. He preached a radical kind of family, a caring community of believers, whose bond in God superseded all blood ties. Leave your families and follow me, Jesus says in the gospels."
"Religious objections to gay marriage are rooted not in the Bible at all, then, but in custom and tradition (and, to talk turkey for a minute, a personal discomfort with gay sex that transcends theological argument)."
"In the Christian story, the message of acceptance for all is codified. Jesus reaches out to everyone, especially those on the margins, and brings the whole Christian community into his embrace."
"The practice of inclusion, even in defiance of social convention, the reaching out to outcasts, the emphasis on togetherness and community over and against chaos, depravity, indifference -- all these biblical values argue for gay marriage. If one is for racial equality and the common nature of humanity, then the values of stability, monogamy and family necessarily follow."
The only major point of contention I had with the article is when Miller writes, "Jesus never mentions homosexuality…" A growing body of biblical scholarship suggests that Miller is incorrect on this point. Read Matthew 19:12 again where Jesus talks about "eunuchs who have been so from birth…" The term "eunuch" seems to refers to many different types of sexual minorities in that era. The evidence from Matthew 19:12 suggests that Jesus sees and accepts sexual minorities and urges us to do the same. John 19:26-27 also offers some provocative possibilities for further study.

Now of course traditionalists will write angry letters to the editor and generally try to shout down Miller for having the temerity to speak truth to power in the public square. But what this remarkable Newsweek cover story shows us is that this debate has tipped. If a religion writer at a middle-of-the-road news magazine can argue the Biblical case in favor of gay marriage this powerfully (and indeed more Biblically than many of the traditionalists in our own church) -- then it's all over but the shouting.

Please take a moment to read the full article and share it with your friends.

Peace and justice,
Toby Rogers
Associate Director
More Light Presbyterians

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