Monday, December 08, 2008

Newsweek's Revisionist, Religious Case for Gay Marriage

Here's the tease for Lisa Miller's new Newsweek cover story on The Religious Case for Gay Marriage: "Opponents of gay marriage often cite Scripture. But what the Bible teaches about love argues for the other side."

In addition, you can read the editorial note by Newsweek editor Jon Meacham:
No matter what one thinks about gay rights—for, against or somewhere in between —this conservative resort to biblical authority is the worst kind of fundamentalism. Given the history of the making of the Scriptures and the millennia of critical attention scholars and others have given to the stories and injunctions that come to us in the Hebrew Bible and the Christian New Testament, to argue that something is so because it is in the Bible is more than intellectually bankrupt—it is unserious, and unworthy of the great Judeo-Christian tradition.
He goes on to suggest that homosexuality is in the same category as race, and that those opposed to gay marriage will meet the same defeat (logically and legally) as those opposed to segregation.

Al Mohler has a detailed response, and concludes in this way:
Newsweek could have offered its readers a careful and balanced review of the crucial issues related to this question. It chose another path -- and published this cover story. The magazine's readers and this controversial issue deserved better.
Mark Hemingway is more curt:
So should I be surprised that Lisa Miller, Newsweek's religion reporter natch, can't even get through the first paragraph of her story without evincing an understanding of Christianity and its basic texts that is grossly oversimplified and distorted, filtered through an almost exclusively liberal political lens, not to mention catty and downright insulting?
Here's a very important point from Meacham's editorial:
One can decide to oppose it in good faith, but such opposition should at least be forged by those in full possession of the relevant cultural and religious history and context. The reaction to this cover is not difficult to predict. Religious conservatives will say that the liberal media are once again seeking to impose their values (or their "agenda," a favorite term to describe the views of those who disagree with you) on a God-fearing nation. Let the letters and e-mails come. History and demographics are on the side of those who favor inclusion over exclusion. (As it has been with reform in America from the Founding forward.) The NEWSWEEK Poll confirms what other surveys have also found: that there is a decided generational difference on the issue, with younger people supporting gay marriage at a higher rate than older Americans. One era's accepted reality often becomes the next era's clear wrong. So it was with segregation, and so it will be, I suspect, with the sacrament of marriage.
Newsweek has crunched the numbers. They know that those who take the Bible seriously will be upset with this cover story, but they also know that by and large they have young people--even young evangelicals--on their side. They have been taught the "right conclusions" but have been given no "good arguments."

Toward that end I want to encourage folks to take a half hour to think through the arguments of this video, which are at least a beginning step in formulating good, biblical, logical arguments on these issues:

Dr. Robert Gagnon, What Does the Bible Teach About Homosexuality? S3E2 from Pure Passion on Vimeo.