The Newsweek Thing

There’s been understandable controversy over a Newsweek story which argued that gay marriage is permissible according to the Bible. I don’t read Newsweek, so I’ve refrained from commenting on it, but I was very surprised to come across this article, written by a theologian, which agrees with the basic idea behind the Newsweek story but claims that it was too basic. I was even more surprised to learn (from there) of the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry in the Pacific School of Religion, which has a rather intriguing FAQ. Here’s a taster:

Hasn’t Christianity always supported the importance of marriage?
No, it has not. Unlike the positive regard in which marriage was generally held in the “pagan” Greek and Roman cultures in which Christianity developed, early Christianity itself demoted the institution of marriage in favor of celibacy. It is only in the medieval world and especially in the development of Protestant Christianity during the 16th century that marriage was re-constituted as an important Christian institution.

Should religious communities support the right to marry in this country?
Yes. The right to civil marriage in the United States has absolutely nothing to do with the religious and spiritual meaning of marriage. It does have everything to do with social justice. Religious leaders and communities have been on the forefront of every movement for social change in this country; the freedom to marry should be no different.

For too long, Christians have done themselves a disservice by allowing right-wing bigots to be their public front. The world needs more progressive believers, and I applaud a religious educational institute for coming out in such unequivocal support for marriage equality. I wonder what the anti-gay crowd on WordPress makes of this?

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