Posted by Christopher Johnson | Monday, December 8th, 2008 | Uncategorized | 14 Comments

People make public jackasses of themselves all the time but it’s rare when a national news magazine gives someone space to do it and for a cover story, no less.  NewsWeak religion editor Lisa Miller hallucinates that it’s conservative Christians who have it wrong about same-sex marriage and that the Bible’s just fine with it, thanks very much.

Mollie Hemingway over at GetReligion eviscerates this steaming pile of “exegesis” so be sure not to miss that.  Me, I got this far:

First, while the Bible and Jesus say many important things about love and family, neither explicitly defines marriage as between one man and one woman.

before concluding that Miller’s piece was nothing more than spectacularly inept propaganda as well as fundamentally dishonest garbage and I didn’t need to waste any more time with it.  Did they happen to leave the following out of your Bible, airhead?

And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”

But Miller’s very last paragraph gives the game away.

More basic than theology, though, is human need. We want, as Abraham did, to grow old surrounded by friends and family and to be buried at last peacefully among them. We want, as Jesus taught, to love one another for our own good—and, not to be too grandiose about it, for the good of the world. We want our children to grow up in stable homes. What happens in the bedroom, really, has nothing to do with any of this. My friend the priest James Martin says his favorite Scripture relating to the question of homosexuality is Psalm 139, a song that praises the beauty and imperfection in all of us and that glorifies God’s knowledge of our most secret selves: “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” And then he adds that in his heart he believes that if Jesus were alive today…

Ballgame.  Thanks for playing.

14 Comments to AND NOW…IDIOTS

FW Ken
December 8, 2008

MCJ and GetReligion are my daily reads. Mollie’s takedown of Lisa Miller was a thing of beauty. And don’t miss the comments. That site has some regular liberal types and a fair number of drive-by commenters eager to enlighten us not-so-noble savages.

December 8, 2008

Wow, the things I didn’t know until Lisa enlightened me: “(H)usbands’ frequent enjoyment of mistresses and prostitutes became taboo by the beginning of the 20th (century).”

So, up to 31st December 1900 Mrs. Smith smiled benignly on Mr. Smith’s visits to the local knocking shop and it wasn’t until the calendar rolled around to 1st January 1901 that she said “Hey! That’s taboo!”

There are so many plums in that piece, it’s hard to pick out only a couple, but the ones that most struck me were the easy way she segues from “Jesus himself was single and preached an indifference to earthly attachments — especially family. The apostle Paul (also single) regarded marriage as an act of last resort for those unable to contain their animal lust…The apostle Paul echoed the Christian Lord’s lack of interest in matters of the flesh. For him, celibacy was the Christian ideal, but family stability was the best alternative” to “Monogamy became the norm in the Christian world in the sixth century”.

Which, if you take it seriously(!) as a line of reasoning, means that for the first five centuries or so of the life of the Church, Christians were not getting married at all – except for the guys who had two, four or more wives. Hey, that explains why St. Paul says a bishop should only have one wife! More women to go round for the rest of the guys! Bishops, don’t abuse your position of authority to bogart them dames!

With exegesis like that, am I surprised that her priest friend is a Jesuit? 😉

Michael D
December 8, 2008

What burns me most about this sort if thing is that people who know nothing about the Bible read it and think they then know something about the Bible.

The Little Myrmidon
December 8, 2008

You see, for liberals, all other humans are evaluated on one ctiterion only – where do you stand vis-a-vis political issues. Everything has a political component. EVERYTHING. To illustrate: I get about 15-20 emails a day from about a half dozen sources – real emails from friends, mostly jokes. If I get a chain email or some really sappy glurge, I look at it and close it up and go on to the next. I made the mistake of sending an email about keeping Christ in Christmas to a couple of my more liberal friends. I got SCOLDING emails back. This has happened more than once – often enough so that I know if I send anything that expresses a pro-Christian or politically conservative viewpoint, I’ll get nasty, rabid, SCOLDING letters back. Everything is always political with these people and they can’t sem to tolerate anyone having an opposing view.

Daniel Muller
December 8, 2008

We want, as Abraham did, to grow old surrounded by friends and family and to be buried at last peacefully among them. We want, as Jesus taught, to love one another for our own good—and, not to be too grandiose about it, for the good of the world. We want our children to grow up in stable homes. What happens in the bedroom, really, has nothing to do with any of this.

Hmm … maybe it is time Miss Miller’s mother had a little chat with her about the birds and the bees.

December 8, 2008

It’s interesting that you proof your Bible text, and though the passage from Matthew is compelling, you leave out the fact that, starting from Matthew 19:1, it’s the Pharisees (many of you are quite familiar with that group), who are ‘testing’ Jesus about DIVORCE.

Consider Matthew 19:12, where Jesus states: NIV–“For some are born eunuchs because they are born that way; others were made by men; and others have renounced marriage because of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept this.”

I don’t know if the word ‘eunuch’ means ‘homosexual,’ however the passage above makes me think that Jesus is a lot more compassionate to people’s circumstances than the way some of you paint Jesus as some sort of angry warrior. You do realize that there are hermaphrodites in the world. Do you think God condemns them?

Keep your biblical passages in context, and do not confuse those into thinking that the passages from Matthew 19 have ANY thing to do with Jesus discussing homosexuality.

Thanks for letting me post.


Florida Anglican
December 8, 2008


You’re right, the passage from Matthew that you and others refer to above discusses marriage and divorce which Jesus plainly and clearly understands to be and assumes his listeners plainly and clearly understand to be between one man and one woman. One would think that if God in the form of His Son Jesus Christ wanted to let us know that homosexuality was OK, He would have also made some indication about that at some point along the way. Since He does not, it is logical and reasonable to assume that He did not and does not approve of homosexual behavior. While He may have had compassion for “eunuchs”, be they homosexual or not, He did not show any sign that any unlawful behavior was OK by Him (and, let’s face it, the Hewbrew laws at that time concerning sexuality and marriage were clear and straightforward).

Christopher Johnson
December 8, 2008

Glad to have you.

I’m not condemning anybody for anything. But it would seem that a discourse about divorce would require a definition of marriage, would it not? And by quoting Genesis, going back to the beginning if you like, Jesus defines marriage as God originally intended it as against what it later became “because of the hardness of your hearts.”

In any event, I was merely responding to Miller’s ridiculous assertion that Christ never had anything definite to say on the subject when He clearly did.

Allen Lewis
December 8, 2008

“We want. We want! We want!! We NEED! We DEMAND!.

So goes the self-centered, prideful whining of men and women. It has been so ever since Creation. All you have to do is read Genesis chapter 3.

But these twits will not accept Genesis as being authentic and having any meaning for them. No, it is always what we want!

December 8, 2008

“We want our children to grow up in stable homes. What happens in the bedroom, really, has nothing to do with any of this.”
Ever so often, one of the pundits actually lets one of these slip by. Oh, I know they are thinking only of the test tube incubation of sperm and egg and in-vitro fertilization techniques so as to avoid all that nasty biological stuff in so far as they can, BUT, can you really trust anything that anyone says after they string together these two sentences?

I’m with Daniel on this one. Miller’s Mom needs to address the basics of producing progeny with this philistine.

FW Ken
December 8, 2008

Our own Mr. Johnson on GetReligion:

When all else fails, work in the “bigotry” blast, the last refuge of the leftist who’s lost the argument. This post has nothing whatsoever to do with “bigotry” and everything to do with the titantic dishonesty of an alleged “reporter” trying to make the Bible say what it clearly does not(and if you think it says what Miller thinks it says, you are beyond delusional). Try addressing the points actually raised here and leave off the pseudo-moral posturing.

Exceptionally well-put, Christopher. Unfortunately, the “liberals” over there are still blathering on making fools of themselves. If I were a theological liberal, I would be embarrassed at some of the liberal agitprop going on over there.

December 9, 2008

Sometimes I wonder whether a committed liberal “theologian” could take any Bible passage selected at random and claim that it really means that God approves homosexual sex acts.

That Jesus is not recorded as having said anything countermanding the OT instructions with regard to homosexual acts suggests that the people of first century Judea did not need correction on this point. Unless, of course, it just slipped the mind of the Son of God, and (fortunately) The Episcopal Church is now here to make amends for Jesus’s negligence.

December 10, 2008

Christopher and others,

Thanks for the responses. I guess I am trying to write or say that Jesus had compassion for those that were not ‘traditional’ in the sense of ‘man, woman, marriage,’ and though Jesus never utters one word about homosexuality, per se, it would seem that through the rest of the passage in Matthew, he has great compassion for those who are different, whether born that way, or ‘made’ that way.

Using only part of that passage, to prove that Jesus described marriage between a ‘man and a woman,’ isn’t telling the whole story.

Actually, I am no ‘liberal apologist’; I am just someone searching for answers.


FW Ken
December 10, 2008

Joan –

Jesus truly does accept “the other”, and all of us are “the other”, but look at what acceptance means:

Mark 10:17-30:

The rich young ruler comes to Jesus and gets more than he bargained for. He comes looking for a moral code and gets offered a relationship. “Acceptance” means a demand the young man isn’t willing to meet, and Jesus lets him go his way. Read past the rich young ruler and you get to some serious demands.

John 8:3-11

Arguably one of the greatest stories about Jesus. The woman caught in adultery is brought to Jesus and utterly accepted. Then the last word: Go and sin no more. Tradition identifies the woman as Mary Magdalene, today venerated as a saint in the Catholic Church.

“Acceptance” by Jesus is absolute and the complete opposite of indulgence. Faced with the Living God, we are challenged to the core of our beings and everyone of us has something to give up. Like the woman caught in adultery, it might be actual sins; like the rich young ruler, it might be attachments to things good in themselves. Of course, avarice is a sin as much as fornication, so I guess it’s the same thing.

So the real issue isn’t Jesus accepts us, it’s whether the gay rights claims are true: is being gay truly a normal variant like being left-handed or blue-eyed (or African-American?) or is it a disorder like alcoholism or diabetes?

The answer to that question has nothing about “condemnation” to it. We live in a broken world where all roses have thorns (conversely, excrement is useful for growing roses) and God doesn’t judge us for the hand we are dealt. He does judge us for what we do. Or, perhaps, we could say, that the consequences of our actions condemn us. Drink poison, you get sick and maybe die. The love of God makes us free, primarily free from the prisons of our own making. He opens the door, but he doesn’t drag us out. He even picks us up and carries us out, but if we jump out of his arms, he respects that choice.

Best wishes.

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