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This week's Newsweek has a cover article by religion editor Lisa Miller that just knocked my socks off.  It addresses the claim by one fundamentalist homophobic leader after another that marriage equality for same-sex couples is contrary to the teaching of the Bible, and that the Bible prescribed traditional marriage between one man and one woman.

Ms. Miller calmly, thoughtfully, eloquently drives a stake into the heart of that claim.

Her argument goes through several stages.  First, she points out that no-one would want to practice marriage as it is laid out in much of the Bible -- a rigidly hierarchical polygamy.

In the Old Testament, the concept of family is fundamental, but examples of what social conservatives would call "the traditional family" are scarcely to be found..[A]s the Barnard University Bible scholar Alan Segal puts it, the arrangement was between "one man and as many women as he could pay for."

Then she looks at what is actually said about marriage.  Jesus had no interest in it, and told his followers that he wanted people to leave their families and follow him full time.  Paul had no interest in marriage, unless carnal desires became so unbearable that it was unavoidable.  Neither ever said anything about "defining" marriage.

Further, she examines the Bible's attitude toward homosexuality, and finds it complex and nuanced.  My favorite bit:

If the bible doesn't give abundant examples of traditional marriage, then what are the gay-marriage opponents really exercised about? Well, homosexuality, of course—specifically sex between men...The Bible does condemn gay male sex in a handful of passages. Twice Leviticus refers to sex between men as "an abomination" (King James version), but these are throwaway lines in a peculiar text given over to codes for living in the ancient Jewish world, a text that devotes verse after verse to treatments for leprosy, cleanliness rituals for menstruating women and the correct way to sacrifice a goat—or a lamb or a turtle dove. Most of us no longer heed Leviticus on haircuts or blood sacrifices; our modern understanding of the world has surpassed its prescriptions. Why would we regard its condemnation of homosexuality with more seriousness than we regard its advice, which is far lengthier, on the best price to pay for a slave?

Paul also condemns homosexuality, but Miller argues that those passages are open to different interpretations.  Finally, she argues that the spirit of inclusiveness running throughout the Bible is incompatible with having one set of sacraments for straight people and another for gays.

I think this is an important development.  Newsweek is your ultimate middle-of-the-road, centrist for the sake of being centrist publication.  The tone of the article is calm and sensible.  I think this could persuade a lot of people who got duped and voted the wrong way on Prop 8.

I do understand that many readers of this site have no interest in what the Bible says, or in religious arguments over public policy issues.  I respect that.  But of course, many voters do care about these Biblical arguments, and this article can help persuade many, many of those voters that they have been hoodwinked.  I wonder what would have happened if it had come out a couple of months earlier.

One last thing: An Action Item.  The fundies are declaring war on this, urging their members across the country to bury Newsweek in emails and letters of protest.  Let's support Newsweek.  You can click through to the story to boost their traffic, buy an issue from the news stand, and write a note of support to letters@newsweek.com.  Here's mine:

Dear Newsweek:

Thank you for the wonderful, thoughtful article on the religious case for marriage equality!  I still cannot believe that I read such a carefully reasoned, nuanced piece in a major news magazine.  Will wonders never cease.... I understand that the 'religious' right wing are up in arms about this.  Ms. Miller, after all, did the one thing one should never do: She looked up the actual text of scripture to see what it really says about marriage.  It turns out that the idea that the Bible defines marriage as between one man and one woman -- or that it portrays marriage even in a positive light -- is something our fundamentalist activists just made up.  It's a fib.

Well, the charade is up.  Their crusade against our gay brothers and sisters is not based on anything in the Bible, but on their own prejudice.  Learning that is a major piece of progress.

Thanks again.  I really learned from the article.

Regards, etc.

UPDATE.  Quite a number of commenters have argued that this is irrelevant, even detrimental, because we should not care what it says in the Bible when we are judging the question of granting equal rights to same-sex couples.  I agree, completely, with the principle.  Same-sex couples should have the same rights as hetero couples because of the principle, because of basic decency -- just as with mixed-race couples.

But this is still relevant.  My guess is that many voters who voted "yes" on Nov. 4 did so because they believed -- incorrectly -- that the Bible laid out a definition of marriage as Ozzie and Harriet.  If we can flip a chunk of those votes by simply informing them of that error, let's do it.  More subtly:  I want to make the following point to those voters:

You know that nice man on TV who told you the Bible said you need to vote Yes on 8?  The mister Dobson?  The mister Wildmon?  The mister Robertson?  Seems to be avuncular and concerned and wants to help us understand God's plan?

Well, that man was lying to you.  He looked straight into the camera, took a breath, and lied over and over again.  If the Bible says anything about marriage, it's that it's an institution that bonds one man and many, many women depending on how many cattle he owns.  So, if that nice man on TV lied to you -- why do you think he did that?  What kind of a guy do you think he is?  What's he up to?

And --- what else do you think he might be lying about?

UPDATE2. Here's Newsweek's page on the reaction to the article, and here's an especially telling comment by gladkov, with much juicy stuff that got left out of Miller's article.

Originally posted to jem6x on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 07:57 PM PST.

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    Try www.newsweek.com, or

    this link.

    A good read.  Thanks.

    Kingman, Barstow, San Bernardino!

    by jem6x on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 07:59:14 PM PST

  •  Great diary. Good for Newsweek. (22+ / 0-)

    "The president was writing checks to the Georgians without knowing what he had in the bank," said a senior administration official.

    by perro amarillo on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 08:06:09 PM PST

  •  But the question is... (76+ / 0-)

    Why is a legally-meaningless religious book even in a conversation about the legal rights of American citizens?  We might as well as what Peter Pan thinks of free speech or what Cap'n Crunch thinks of term limits.  

    It's mixing oil and water, superstition and reason, the legal vs. the legally meaningless.    

  •  While the article is great (32+ / 0-)

    and the subject matter needs to be treated, it should be noted that pointing these things out to fundies is exactly the same as arguing with an insane person.  

    Those people already KNOW what the Bible says about "homosexuals."  It is rare to change the mind of a person that KNOWS something, as the case (and his mind) is closed.

    However, those who KNOW are a dying breed.  Everyone with an ounce of intellect is aware that their reliance on the bible is nothing more than a justification for prejudice, just as it was used to justify slavery and miscegenation.  

    I don't think that biblical arguments and logic will do anything to change a fundy's mind.  It is already made up.

  •  Sounds like her exegesis is solid. (25+ / 0-)

    Imagine, a journalist who can do valid exegesis (extracting the meaning from the text). This is truly fantastic. As big a deal as this is for marriage equality, I'm even more glad to see an example of Christians who act from intelligence and tolerance and not their opposites, as we've had so many examples during these neocon years.

  •  Good question. (19+ / 0-)

    Why would we regard its condemnation of homosexuality with more seriousness than we regard its advice, which is far lengthier, on the best price to pay for a slave?

    Why would anyone bother reading such a book, much less allowing it to have any influence upon the legal rights of citizens under a secular government?

    Throw the Bible into the garbage disposal of history.  The future deserves much better.  

    •  I'm a librarian (36+ / 0-)

      so I'm always suspicious that someone who challenges a book has not read it. Yes, the Bible talks about how much a slave is worth, but that, too, is only incidental. And when it is read in context and not as a rule book from which you choose which rules to make others obey, it is full of phenomenal wisdom. My greatest anger with the neocons is that they have used the Bible in a manner that allows those not familiar with it to believe that it is only a set of outdated rules. It is not.

      Which is not to say I don't respect and understand your opinion, it's more to say that it makes me very sad.

      •  You may be right.... (16+ / 0-)

        ...that half of the people who believe the Bible have never read it.  Conversely, it seems that the majority of people who have actually read the Bible cover-to-cover: a) promptly became atheist/agnostic; b) are Biblical scholars; c) are Jesuit (see a and b).  

        But let's be honest here:  any book as large as the Bible is bound to have some wisdom in it.  But to reach it, you must wade through (or flip over) a stunning quantity of superstition, ignorance and bigotry, even given the primitive era of its creation.  Not the least of which is the amusing claim that it was 'written by God.'  

        •  The most difficult part of being on kos for me (20+ / 0-)

          is the flippant way that many people refer to what is, for me, the center of my life. The Bible 1) condemns superstition, 2) contains only the ignorance that comes from the fact that it was written thousands of years ago, for which I don't think the authors can be blamed. They were in fact quite interested in scientific pursuits. 3) reflects only the bigotry of the surrounding cultures, and puts in place economic policies which, if followed, would have significantly alleviated the problems with any economic system. The Hebrews were a minor people; they didn't get to set the rules of basic discourse. Of course, the significant exception to the lack of bigotry is the book of Joshua, in which the Hebrew people take over Canaan, which still causes problems. But as you point out, it's a long book. And while "written by God" is not a claim I take literally, the Bible is to me, and billions of others, the word of God, or God-breathed. I don't find that even a little amusing.

          I didn't ask if half the people who believe the Bible had read it. I asked if you had read it before condemning it. So your answer struck a nerve.

          •  Yup. (16+ / 0-)

            Read the whole thing at 18 -- found it repugnant in its ignorance, misogyny and disregard for human life or dignity; a book that made a virtue of weakness and tribalism and superstition, that groveled before a vengeful tyrant of a god, a book full of the sorts of fantastic stories that only children would believe.  With a few notable exceptions, there is little evidence that it was written by even  talented or insightful human beings, much less any alleged divinity.  

            But, of course, anyone is free to have their own opinion.  It's the Constitution that guarantees that right, while the Bible would and does condemn those who think outside its narrow confines.  

            •  Well (7+ / 0-)

              I agree. I can't really add much more than that. Bravo.

              The "children would believe" part is important, I think. It really is silly. We're in a modern age. We're past fairy tales.

            •  And you consider your reading to be enlightened? (4+ / 0-)

              There's a lot stuff in there.

              I'm not at all a literalist; I believe that this is a literature that was composed over close to a millennium, by a variety of people and schools of thought.  It contains poetry, polemics, mythology, some wonderful, even novelistic storytelling (read the whole Joseph cycle for some great examples).

              There's a great deal that you may reject from your modern standpoint.  But the fact that all you found was

              Read the whole thing at 18 -- found it repugnant in its ignorance, misogyny and disregard for human life or dignity; a book that made a virtue of weakness and tribalism and superstition, that groveled before a vengeful tyrant of a god, a book full of the sorts of fantastic stories that only children would believe.  With a few notable exceptions, there is little evidence that it was written by even  talented or insightful human beings, much less any alleged divinity.  

              I don't think this speaks well of any person who would read it and have that as their full view of it.  That is the conclusions of someone who is best close-minded, and even as a reader of literature, of shallow and poor spirit.

              "If another country builds a better car, we buy it. If they make a better wine, we drink it. If they have better healthcare . . . what's our problem? "

              by mbayrob on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 12:29:17 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I've read the entire thing also, (7+ / 0-)

                some parts multiple times. And overall I have to agree with KathleenM1. Even though there are some parts that aren't downright tyrannical, brutal, sexist and utterly ridiculous, these are immersed in an overall context that is detrimental to human development while being almost perfectly designed for human subjugation by authorities "speaking" for magical father figures.

                There is certainly utility in reading it as a bit of insight into how people lived and thought during those times, but these are not those times and we have moved on from such superstition and control, at least we should be moving on.

                I might have missed it, have you read the entire thing?

                Life isn't a battle between good and evil, it's a battle between signal and noise.

                by ChemBob on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 03:45:32 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I have (4+ / 0-)

                  And yes there's a lot of that in there, but there's also a lot of excellent insight and stories that can take a lot of interpretation and contemplation without getting to the bottom of them.  And frankly at this point, I'm an atheist.  (though not an anti-theist).

                  "Civility costs nothing and buys everything." - Mary Wortley Montagu

                  by sarac on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 04:57:01 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Maybe it's not a matter of how much of it (7+ / 0-)

                  you've read, so much as why, or in what context--if you read it because you're told that it's God's own truth, then I imagine the overall effect is repulsive--if you read it as a collection of ancient stories mixed with histories and laws, then there will still be some things that are shocking but the overall effect would be very different. The real problem is reading it in the context of a modern society where so many people believe (often without reading) that it is "God's word" and the basis of moral living.

                  "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

                  by Alice in Florida on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 05:33:20 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

            •  Please see the reply from mbayrob below. (3+ / 0-)

              She expresses why it is so difficult to be both Christian and on this blog. For some years now, it has been difficult to be a Christian and be a Democrat, a phenomenon first espoused by Kathleen Kennedy Townsend in what should have been watershed articles published in Washington Monthly in the early 80s. Living in the South, I must always be careful about the political opinions I offer for fear some conservative will jump me. Here, I must be careful how I express my faith, for fear that the atheists will come down on me. I choose to be here because the opinions, being in writing, tend to be more civil. But I pray for the day when the respect I offer atheists is returned. Your statement:

              while the Bible would and does condemn those who think outside its narrow confines.  

              clearly shows a lack of understanding of the stories of the Woman at the Well, Peter being called to eat both clean and unclean, Paul's mission to the Gentiles, and more others than I can name. I am not asking you to believe, I am not denying your absolute right to believe as you will. But I do take umbrage at statements that dismiss what is at the center of my life.

              •  I agree (2+ / 0-)
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                And fully understand your concerns in being a Christian and on this blog. You aren't alone.

                I also think this problem to be one of the hardest parts of expanding the Democratic party - and the left - if the left is so harsh toward Christians and dismisses them based on unfounded stereotypes; well, why should any of them follow their views?

                I think the prejudice can easily swing both ways; let us be more fair, and careful, of how each person believes, not dismissing with a sweep of the hand, but listening and understanding each person, and having logical, reasonable debates.

                •  Guh. (0+ / 0-)

                  dismisses them based on unfounded stereotypes....

                  And the "unfounded stereotype" in this case would be what? Those many of us who have studied the Bible in considerable depth for many years and who have thereby come to the (extremely founded) conclusion that it's a terrible book? And then who aren't afraid to say so out loud?

                  let us be more fair, and careful, of how each person believes, not dismissing with a sweep of the hand....

                  Indeed. Let us begin that exercise by not dismissing criticism of the Bible as "unfounded stereotype" and personal attack just because overwhelmingly powerful majoritarian religious groups think they have the right to pathologize and silence criticism of their ideas.

                  •  I agree with your criticism of "unfounded (0+ / 0-)

                    stereotype." The problem is more the unChristian behavior of the most vocal parts of the Christian family.

                    Why would you waste years of your life that you are convinced is "crap?"

                    I have no desire to "pathologize and silence" your criticism. I just ask that you do so respectfully. While I have stated that your broad generalizations show a lack of understanding of particular stories, I have not used ad hominems. (More on this below) I have been both a Christian and a Democrat for over 56 years, and one of the values I most value about both is the acceptance of the viewpoints of others. But it is bad politics to demean something held as valuable by so many.

                    •  Okay. (0+ / 0-)

                      The problem is more the unChristian behavior of the most vocal parts of the Christian family.

                      That does indeed appear to be a major concern of yours, though I think you're misdiagnosing the problem. (As an illustration of the linguistic gap present here, it seems to me that "unChristian behavior" includes things like abolishing slavery or lauding religious diversity.)

                      When it comes to serious secular critics of the Bible and Christianity, my experience is that it is ideas, not behavior, that are the fundamental focus.

                      Why would you waste years of your life [on something] that you are convinced is "crap?"

                      Well, even crap can be interesting. And of course it's crushingly relevant to the lives of nonbelievers in the United States--our society is positively drunk on God and the Bible, so it isn't as if we can escape those things by ignoring them. And we're hardly the only people in this general situation: most minorities know much more about the majorities that have power over them than vice versa.

                      Some of us spend time on this "crap" for much the same reason that other folks in this community spend time studying AIDS, or homelessness, or right-wing Republicanism. We secularists would like humanity to wake up from its religious nightmares at some point, and to find better ways to achieve the things that matter to all of us. To that end, studying religion is no less important than studying other things (AIDS et al.) that we would like to see defeated.

                      I have no desire to "pathologize and silence" your criticism.

                      Thank you; I appreciate it.

                      I just ask that you do so respectfully.

                      With respect for you? Certainly; that goes without saying. With respect for your book, for the ideas that it contains? No, that we cannot promise. We think your book contains much more inhumanity than humanity, and we think the consequences of the power it retains in our society are predominantly bad. I don't think we can express those conclusions in a manner that is "respectful" to the book or to the ideas it contains.

                      I do think your 04:12:59 PM EST comment is a far more praiseworthy request for respect--of whatever kind--than the ones that are more often made to the members of my minority group. Thanks again.

                      But it is bad politics to demean something held as valuable by so many.

                      In some cases, perhaps. Put a gun to my head, and I'll be willing to say as many nice things about your religion as you'd like--for very political reasons.

                      But in other cases, "something held as valuable by many" (such as white privilege or straight privilege) is itself a major obstacle to justice. There are various ways to deal with that situation, but the expectation that we refrain from critiquing ugliness--even popular ugliness--is something we outspoken infidels can't generally accept.

                      •  Criticism v. ad bookimen? (0+ / 0-)

                        Actually, you did express your conclusions respectfully. I, at least, find your statement

                        We think your book contains much more inhumanity than humanity, and we think the consequences of the power it retains in our society are predominantly bad.

                        to be much more respectful than the phrase "piece of crap." You've given your opinion, while allowing room for mine. I can accept that and honor it.

                        Interesting statement about the meaning of unChristian, and about white or straight privilege. You are correct on those points.

                        •  I did? (0+ / 0-)

                          Actually, you did express your conclusions respectfully.

                          Well, says you. Many of your conservative brethren (for that matter, plenty of liberal ones as well) would assuredly disagree that that passage of mine is acceptably respectful.

                          If the objection really is over "crap" or "manure" (please note that there are nastier words for that substance!), then it seems to me that you're really arguing against the viability of bumper stickers. That is, the notion that rhetorical/philosophical/political (etc.) positions can be usefully boiled down to a small number of punchy words.

                          Sure, I'd like to trot out my entire "We think" passage more often; I even agree with you that longer is almost inevitably better, because it allows more attention to nuance; but surely you've noticed that my comments are annoyingly long as they are. "We think the book is crap" hardly conveys the entire rhetorical basis or all of the intricacies of the position (good luck doing that in six words), but it does get across the seriousness of the conclusion. In context, brevity often has value.

                          If you can come up with an adequate reformulation that puts "We think your book contains much more inhumanity than humanity, and we think the consequences of the power it retains in our society are predominantly bad" in fewer than ten words, I can accept that I would have been better off writing that than my actual statement, "it's quite clear that the book in question is crap."

                          If reformulating my statement--without losing the meaning or emphasis--gets us to a place of consensus, I can live with that.

                          •  There's a subtle difference between (0+ / 0-)

                            "We think the book is crap." and "The book is crap." The former is an opinion, and allows others to have theirs. The latter is an "ad bookimen," or whatever the equivalent would be. The latter seems often to comes with the implication that only bigots and small-minded people would love it. That's ad hominem. That I object to. But I'll rarely take umbrage at another's opinion, expressed as such.

                            I'm glad we've had this dialogue.

                          •  Oh, please. (0+ / 0-)

                            There's a subtle difference between "[w]e think the book is crap." and "The book is crap." The former is an opinion, and allows others to have theirs.

                            Now, come on. Do Christians make sure to preface every statement of their beliefs with "We think"? "We think God is love"? "We think Jesus came to redeem us from sin"?

                            Please. People of all religious persuasions state their beliefs in simple declaratory statements. The expectation that irreligious ideas--and only irreligious ones--be constantly qualified with "We think" is a none-too-subtle method of emphasizing our marginalization.

              •  Please--it's a BOOK. (0+ / 0-)

                A very long book, with a very large number of messages. A huge number of these messages are either disgusting or flat false, and it is not bigotry to say so.

                Yes, there are liberals who have dug through this barrel of manure and claimed to find diamonds inside it. I think a less prejudged examination calls into question how diamond-ish they are (not to mention that it shows what a small proportion of the text they make up), but regardless, a barrel of manure is still a barrel of manure even if it has some grains of carbon in it.

                But I pray for the day when the respect I offer atheists is returned.

                Interesting formulation ("pray"ing to atheists?). That aside, you are a human being. You deserve human respect. In contrast, a book is not a human being, and your demand that we cease saying mean things about a book is in fact not directed at preserving "respect" for you--it's a demand that your book be protected from the challenge and criticism that every idea deserves.

                I respect you just fine. But I'm afraid that it's quite clear that the book in question is crap. If saying that violates someone's rights, then the basic notion of a free marketplace of ideas is a joke.

                But I do take umbrage at statements that dismiss what is at the center of my life.

                How would you respond to similar demands that you not "dismiss" a different book--say, Mein Kampf? From a viewpoint that is as thoroughly partisan as yours, the (non-Nazi) world's treatment of MK shows exactly the same kind of "lack of understanding" you complain of in Bible critics. Could someone who has put MK "at the center of [her] life" justifiably "take umbrage" if you breathed a discouraging word about that book? Or is this just a typical case of majoritarian perspectives demanding to be free from challenge?

                If you're going to "center" your life on a book, then you ought to be prepared to have that "center" challenged. Your decision creates no duty for anyone else to treat your "center" with kid gloves.

                •  swings both ways (0+ / 0-)

                  A huge number of these messages are either disgusting or flat false, and it is not bigotry to say so.

                  Opinion. You can't just "say" something is false, and then proceed to critique someone else's views, without backing up that view.

                  In contrast, a book is not a human being, and your demand that we cease saying mean things about a book is in fact not directed at preserving "respect" for you--it's a demand that your book be protected from the challenge and criticism that every idea deserves.

                  Wait here. Tenn Wisc Dem is just asking you to provide more substantiative critiques of their views, rather than just "I hate it it's crap it's so repulsive." TWD isn't asking you to stop critiquing it, just offer better ones. I think that's a fair request.

                  But I'm afraid that it's quite clear that the book in question is crap.

                  That's an opinion. Not a fact. If I go off saying that something you've studied for life is crap and deserves to be thrown out, I'm sure you'd try to defend it to, and require a bit more respect back.

                  How would you respond to similar demands that you not "dismiss" a different book--say, Mein Kampf?

                  I'd be okay with someone stating it. I'd ask them if they could justify the moral quality of the book, too.

                  Your decision creates no duty for anyone else to treat your "center" with kid gloves.

                  You too. ;)

                  •  Nope. (0+ / 0-)

                    Opinion.

                    No, conclusion. Based on many years of study. Far more study than the vast majority of Bible fans (though not necessarily Tenn Wisc Dem) have conducted.

                    I'm sure every time someone on a thread like this one posts a statement that the Bible is a good book, with good messages, you're there to object "Opinion! You have to back that up!", right? Because above all, you're even-handed, right?

                    You couldn't possibly be enforcing double standards with the purpose of protecting majoritarian religious perspectives from any challenge, could you?

                    Wait here. Tenn Wisc Dem is just asking you to provide more substantiative critiques of their views....

                    No, you've just concocted that notion out of whole cloth. TWD said nothing about wanting a "more substantive critique" of the Bible. (S)he just complained that, "here, (s)he must be careful how (s)he express his/her faith, for fear that the atheists will come down on him/her." And then she complained that a particular Bible-critical criticism "clearly shows a lack of understanding of " various Bible stories. (A reaction that, as I'm sure you noticed, was an "opinion" that TWD provided no basis for whatsoever. But, for some mysterious reason, you didn't attack TWD for that or demand that (s)he "back up that view.")

                    TWD made no request for "substantive critique," just a demand that we stop "critiquing" his/her beloved book at all. Because members of majoritarian religions generally get to muzzle minority perspectives that way.

                    If I go off saying that something you've studied for life is crap and deserves to be thrown out, I'm sure you'd try to defend it to[o]....

                    Very likely I would. I wouldn't, however, whine that it was "so difficult" to be here because people insisted on being so disgustingly critical (oh, the humanity!) of my beloved book.

                    I'd be okay with someone stating it. I'd ask them if they could justify the moral quality of the book, too.

                    Fabulous. Then why haven't you posted a single comment demanding that Bible fans provide profuse support for "the moral quality" of their book?

                    Your double standard is blatant: powerful majority conceptions that you're sympathetic with can be shouted from the highest rooftops, and you won't lift a finger to inquire further--but the minute a discouraging word is breathed about those conceptions, you demand supporting material, signed and notarized in triplicate.

                    That's a very poor excuse for the notion that your critical inquiry "swings both ways." Clearly it doesn't; you're just propping up the imbalance that already exists. The rest of us aren't obligated to play that game.

                    •  You are correct (0+ / 0-)

                      I did not ask for a "more substantive critique of the Bible." But neither did I demand that you stop critiquing my "beloved book" at all. I have a consistent record of critiquing the Bible, and, in some post in this thread pointed out that the bigotry and horror that folks ascribe to the Bible are in full view in the book of Joshua. (Which is not to say that they aren't elsewhere, as well.) I can, and do, regularly tell the story of Lot's daughters, Jepthah's daughter, etc. What I am asking for the Bible is that folks cease calling it "a barrel of manure." It may just be a book to you, but it is much more, not just to me, but to billions of others in the world. And while nothing you can say will shake my faith in the Democratic Party and my commitment to electing more and better Democrats, there are many who, upon reading your words, would have their stereotypes of Democrats as godless. That is directly opposed to the goal of this blog.

                      Yes, I know that it is difficult to be an atheist in a Christian society. My son is one, and, as he attends a Catholic university, he must be careful what he says. But consider that, on this site, atheists are in the majority, and the Christians here are almost entirely not fundamentalists (or at least I've only encountered one such person who might be fundamentalist, and I took the lead in explaining to her why her comments were a bad idea). All I am asking is for you to treat us--and yes, that includes the book that is just a book to you, but our sacred text--with the respect you wish to receive from the broader American people.

                      Along those lines, I would never pray to an atheist, and if I prayed for an atheist, I wouldn't let him/her know about it (except my son, but we have an agreement). The prayers I mentioned were for myself, and I did not mean to offend. Please accept my apologies.

                      •  asdf (0+ / 0-)

                        What I am asking for the Bible is that folks cease calling it "a barrel of manure."

                        Even if it is one? Even if we conclude that the portions within it that deserve acclaim are so minimal in extent, and irrelevant to the broader messages being conveyed, that they don't merit particular emphasis?

                        Claiming to welcome critique--except for the critique "it is very bad"--is not actually welcoming critique. You can't predetermine the outcome of an inquiry without opposing actual free inquiry.

                        It may just be a book to you, but it is much more, not just to me, but to billions of others in the world.

                        Indeed so. And that is a major, major problem in the eyes of many of us. We who see things that way are not given to soft-pedaling our objections about the book just because of its "centrality" to others' lives. Nor should we be expected to do so. That way lies silence, the closet, and self-destruction.

                        there are many who, upon reading your words, would have their stereotypes of Democrats as godless.

                        But some Democrats are "godless." Yours truly, for one. I will not remain silent just because (a) other people have severely bigoted notions about godlessness and (b) your preferred response is, apparently, to knuckle under to those notions rather than challenging them.

                        The tactic you urge is simple surrender to atheophobia. Sorry, but it won't happen.

                        All I am asking is for you to treat us--and yes, that includes the book that is just a book to you, but our sacred text--with the respect you wish to receive from the broader American people.

                        With regard to that book, no--that is not tenable. As atheists, our very announcement of who we are is, in the eyes of the bigots whose "stereotypes" you have invoked, deeply offensive. That you would allow us a modicum more elbow room (we're allowed to critique as long as it isn't seriously negative, a la "manure") is little better.

                        The extremely powerful religious majority to which you belong has kept my kind down, and crammed in our closets, long enough. Our freedom to state and to defend what we have concluded based on our study of religious ideas is a matter of our fundamental human rights. Your majority's attempts to insulate its preferred ideas from criticism have no such basis.

          •  would you be amused if you met someone who (14+ / 0-)

            believed in Zeus? or Thor? what would be your cognitive response to encountering a Native American who asserted the fundamental truth of her own mythologies ("Turtles all the way down")?

            do you think that is a flippant question?

            because it is not.

            dKos is populated by plenty of christians who find Dennis Kucinich's "peculiar" spiritual beliefs to be essentially comical -- evidence that there is something wrong with him. i find DK's peculiar spiritual beliefs to be no more nor less comical than those of anybody else.

            can you really comprehend that?

            imagine for a moment: you are conversing with a new acquaintance about thunderstorms -- perhaps the fact that your dog dislikes thunder -- and the other person begins to discuss a pet (ahem) theory involving some sort of antipathy between Thor and dogs, and you realise that this person is utterly sincere. okay. so. that bemusement you feel? the polite accommodation that you struggle to make in order to treat this person like a reasonable, sensible, intelligent human being? that's exactly how i feel every time a christian brings her faith into the conversation.

            the mythology of my ancestors was exterminated, not by science or wisdom, but by the explosion out of the desert of one small tribe's idiosyncratic version of the myths common to that region. along with that mythology came a boatload of culture -- culture of which i am not overly fond. (i'm especially appalled by the severe misogyny.)

            I am further of the opinion that the President must be impeached and removed from office!

            by UntimelyRippd on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 11:04:29 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I hear ya. (0+ / 0-)

              Did you vote for Obama?
              Do you think he's a man of faith?
              Or was religion just a platform for political maneuvering?
              Do you have to pretend to be religious to get elected in this country?

              •  i don't know about Obama's faith. (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                melpomene1, mellowwild, mniowan

                if he is faking it, then he was willing to do something i could not make myself do, though once upon a time i thought i might usefully run for office.

                i am a very, very bad politician because i cannot bring myself to speak things i do not fully believe. i cannot pretend to embrace ideas that i reject internally. thus, the obvious nonsense that permeates our political culture -- pledges of allegiance and god blessing america and flag pins ... the psychopathic rage with which was received any opinion that 9/11 was the obvious, inevitable, predictable outcome, not of The Prophet's setting down of some visions 1200 years ago, but of America's corporate imperialism ... etc. etc.

                from what i can tell, there are more people willing to believe that Bush and Cheney conspired to bring down those towers, than people who are willing to believe that a bunch of angry Saudis brought down those towers because they were the HQ of evil corporations doing evil business.

                if they hated us for our freedom, they wouldn't have targeted the World Trade Center, they would have targeted the Academy Awards. or the Boston Marathon. or the Super Bowl.

                I am further of the opinion that the President must be impeached and removed from office!

                by UntimelyRippd on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 06:47:16 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  Well - (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Pinko Elephant, khereva

              I have a Pagan friend who had an encounter with Ereshkigal during a ritual.  I don't think she's crazy.

          •  She may have seen the words. (8+ / 0-)

            But I don't think she could be bothered to escape the parochialism of her background:  a parochialism of time, of culture and of imagination.  A parochialism that lacks even the curiosity to ask "what do other people understand from this; why do they find it compelling?"

            It's possible to be religious, intolerant, narrow minded and a bigot.  But it's possible to be completely secular or anti-religious, and be intolerant, narrow minded, and a bigot.

            It's not the Bible.  It's the bigotry.

            Some of the non-religious types around here are bigots.  A categorical reading of that scripture like the one we see below, in my opinion, is bigotry.

            "If another country builds a better car, we buy it. If they make a better wine, we drink it. If they have better healthcare . . . what's our problem? "

            by mbayrob on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 12:35:30 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Thank you. I couldn't agree more. n/t (0+ / 0-)
            •  Or.... (0+ / 0-)

              But I don't think she could be bothered to escape the parochialism of her background:  a parochialism of time, of culture and of imagination.

              And you know this because... she came to a disfavored conclusion about the moral status of the Bible?

              You don't see any bigotry in your own thought process?

              it's possible to be completely secular or anti-religious, and be intolerant, narrow minded, and a bigot.

              It's also possible to be completely secular, anti-religious, and thoroughly cognizant of the perspectives of myriad religious people. The fact that a person is anti-religious in outlook does not imply ignorance or bigotry, though you have just made that logical leap.

              It's not the Bible.  It's the bigotry.

              Says you. I don't think anyone on this thread would claim that there's no bigotry in the Bible; how can you utterly discard the hypothesis that there exist people who hold Bigoted Belief X because that's what they've learned from the Bible?

              Some of the non-religious types around here are bigots.

              If that's the name we earn for violating your utterly partisan standards for what may and may not be said (or believed) about religion, then we should all hope that you brand us bigots.

              I, meanwhile, believe that tagging someone a bigot merely because of what (s)he believes about the contents of a particular book (especially given the hatred that a huge proportion of our society expresses toward people who refuse to laud that book) looks a lot like bigotry itself.

      •  Might have some good stuff in it - but it has a (11+ / 0-)

        lot more garbage.  And yes, I've read it.  In fact, memorized large swathes of it as a teenager whose sole permitted social life was the bible quiz team.  Garbage, garbage, garbage, with a wise phrase tossed in here and there for good measure, mostly I think to screw with our minds.

      •  If one looks at the bible as a cultural artifact (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ssgbryan, larryrant, catleigh, mellowwild

        rather than the sole source of "truth" or "morality," it becomes a much better book. The King James version is fundamental to the study of English literature; without understanding biblical references one misses a lot in all sorts of written works, including poetry and political essays and speeches.

        "Fundamentalism," though, is a complete crock--considering that most of those who believe in it don't understand the original language of the bible and only read it in translation, if they even read it at all.

        "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

        by Alice in Florida on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 05:22:26 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Question (0+ / 0-)

          If one looks at the bible as a cultural artifact rather than the sole source of "truth" or "morality," it becomes a much better book.

          Would you say the same thing about Mein Kampf or The Protocols of the Elders of Zion?

          Honest question--those books are significant "cultural artifacts" as well, but I hope that makes it clear what a weak defense, or non-defense, of the Bible your statement is. Every book that has had any notoriety, acclaim, or influence is necessarily "a cultural artifact," even if it's a bottomless pit of nastiness and hate. Mein Kampf "is fundamental to the study of" Germany in the 1930s and '40s, but it's still a horrible, horrible work.

          "Fundamentalism," though, is a complete crock--considering that most of those who believe in it don't understand the original language of the bible and only read it in translation, if they even read it at all.

          Well, that's a rather blatant ad hominem. Most people who believe in democracy probably can't read the works of the ancient Greek philosophers who are credited with inventing it, but that hardly discredits democracy.

          Fundamentalist strains of Christianity, just like all other strains, make factual and moral claims about the universe. Many of those claims are at best severely questionable--but after a very significant amount of study, it certainly seems to me that fundamentalists by-and-large have a more accurate take on the Bible and its messages than their liberal counterparts do.

          •  constant Mein Kampf references (0+ / 0-)

            I'm just curious as to when Godwin's Law went out the window.

            •  Non sequitur. (0+ / 0-)

              Uh, here's the actual Godwin's Law:

              As a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.

              And Wikipedia adds:

              The rule does not make any statement about whether any particular reference or comparison to Hitler or the Nazis might be appropriate, but only asserts that one arising is increasingly probable. It is precisely because such a comparison or reference may sometimes be appropriate, Godwin has argued[,] that overuse of Nazi and Hitler comparisons should be avoided, because it robs the valid comparisons of their impact.

              My argument is not a "comparison," it's a reductio ad absurdum. Alice argued that the Bible becomes "a much better book" when "one looks at [it] as a cultural artifact rather than the sole source of 'truth' or 'morality.'" I questioned that analysis, pointing out that Mein Kampf and The Protocols of the Elders of Zion are both unquestionably "cultural artifacts," and yet they are not good books in the estimation of anyone we respect. This calls strongly into question the validity of Alice's analysis.

              If you have a suggestion for a replacement book--a work that (1) is an undoubted "cultural artifact," (2) is widely considered evil and disgusting, but (3) is NOT connected to Nazis and/or anti-Semitism--then I invite you to name it. Quite possibly I would be happy to substitute that book for MK and Protocols in my argument.


              If not, do you have anything relevant to say in response to my comment, or were you just here to show us your misunderstanding of Godwin's Law?

              •  Of course, neither of your Godwin Artifacts (0+ / 0-)

                is the basis for a large body of literature.

                Non sequitur indeed.

                Oh, and one of the many corollaries to Godwin's Law is that the first to allude to Hitler or the Nazis, as you did, has lost.

                So long as men die, Liberty will never perish. -- Charlie Chaplin, "The Great Dictator"

                by khereva on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 02:27:14 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Are you KIDDING me? (0+ / 0-)

                  You don't think Mein Kampf or Protocols "is the basis for a large body of literature"? The scholarly lit examining each one is enormous.

                  Non sequitur indeed.

                  Well, yes. You've done nothing at all to rescue the Bible from the reductio. All three books are unquestionably major "cultural artifacts," but it does not follow that they are good.

                  Oh, and one of the many corollaries to Godwin's Law is that the first to allude to Hitler or the Nazis, as you did, has lost.

                  Says you. Godwin himself stated otherwise.

                  Again, I'm happy to substitute if you can come up with another work that matches criteria (1)-(3) above. I doubt it's possible, which is why Godwin's Law doesn't apply here; the invocation is in fact necessary (and thus "appropriate") to make this particular, and as yet unrebutted, point.

    •  "The future of the future (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wader, grada3784, big annie, mellowwild

      will still contain the past..."

    •  I believe the problem is not the book's existence (8+ / 0-)

      but, it's how that book has been offered as the basis of entire subcultural movements to large swaths of folks.  Under the notion that one must entirely give everything of themselves to such interpretations, for these are the (interpreted) words of God(s).

      Really, this book could have been a centuries-old, early version of "Goodnight Moon" sold with the notion of prophecy and deified connectivity between heaven and Earth, in which case I can absolutely guarantee that we would be debating whether or not kittens are the only acceptable pets and debating the sins of oatmeal vs. mush.

      "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

      by wader on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 10:22:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Let's burn the Greek classics too (8+ / 0-)

      Why would anyone read the Homer, Sophocles or Herodotus?, or for heavens sake, try to transcribe Egyptian hieroglyphs. The Athenian originators of Democracy believed in a pantheon and honored. Those wacko ignorami. What possible use could anything they wrote have for us in understanding love and justice now or in the future?  Just throw it all in histories garbage disposal. What good is Shakespeare for that matter? Since his work is chock full of romanticized historical inaccuracies.

      Thank god the Alexandria library burned or we'd be burdened with 'wading' through even more ignorance.

      The future doesn't deserve the past? Holy mackerel. Where did u come up with that?

      Moving on, finally.

      by fisheye on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 10:57:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Um... (5+ / 0-)

        ....did anyone suggest book burning?
        Other than you, I mean?  

        •  Wow, that's obtuse (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          catleigh, dirkster42

          But your're right, historically the religious folk 'burned' books and you want to 'dispose' of them. Silly me. Didn't those dumbasses ever hear of a Kitchen Aid?

          Moving on, finally.

          by fisheye on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 11:23:06 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Obtuse it is (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            grada3784

            I think our friend sees herself as enlightened.  How sad is that?

            "If another country builds a better car, we buy it. If they make a better wine, we drink it. If they have better healthcare . . . what's our problem? "

            by mbayrob on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 12:37:25 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Right. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            CajunBoyLgb

            Sure. She's arguing for destroying Bibles.

            In real life, atheists who object to the enforced veneration of the Bible would actually like to see the book reduced to the same kind of role that other kinds of ancient mythology--Greek, Roman, Norse--play in our society.

            We don't want to burn stories about Zeus, either, but we'd rather they weren't (1) believed in by billions of people and (2) treated with kid gloves by millions more.

            The snide crap Kathleen is putting up here with just because she's not toeing the majoritarian line (it appears that folks who are forthright about disliking the Bible are automatically bigots) is something that you don't see surrounding Norse myths. It would be nice if the Bible ceased to be protected by that kind of dishonest personal abuse.

            •  Believe me, I would as vehemently scorn (0+ / 0-)

              any suggestion that any of our other literary heritage be destroyed.

              Real life?

              The idea that my 'snide crap' has something to do with some unrevealed and benevolent approach to an aethiest sensibilities about the importance of one old book or another is pure bs. That's an easily comprendeable, rational and acceptable approach I would expect from an aethiest perspective which honored knowledge. And I appreciate u making the point.

              That is simply nothing even remotely resembling the comment I responded to.

              Moving on, finally.

              by fisheye on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 12:39:34 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Great. (0+ / 0-)

                Believe me, I would as vehemently scorn any suggestion that any of our other literary heritage be destroyed.

                ...Which would be relevant except that no such "suggestion" has actually been made in this thread. You just made it up.

                No one has argued that we "destroy [a] literary heritage." You just imagined that, and then based your comment on that concoction.

                The idea that my 'snide crap' has something to do with some unrevealed and benevolent approach to an aethiest sensibilities about the importance of one old book or another is pure bs.

                Hey, no argument here; I certainly don't think you have a "benevolent approach" to atheist anti-Bible perspectives. (Did you mean "malevolent"?)

                I'm wondering by your comment though, what atheism inherently brings to society to better it from the mass of Christian Budhist Hindu Muslim believers et al.

                Er... a commitment to justified conclusions from available evidence?

                Not that that's particularly relevant, of course, given that my arguments that "atheism inherently brings [something] to society to better it from [religion]," "historical examples of aethiest oriented societies are[ ] very pretty," and "spiritual orientation determines society and not the other way around," are further figments of your imagination.

                I haven't argued anything of the kind on this thread. My central claims here have merely been that (1) there are good reasons to conclude that the Bible is more bad than good and (2) it is not morally blameworthy to say so.

                Given the enormous strength of religious privilege in America, the response has been predictable.

                •  You have some serious reading comprehension (0+ / 0-)

                  shortcomings, or a penchant for gratuitous bickering.

                  The bible is part of our literary heritage.

                  Why would anyone bother reading such a book, much less allowing it to have any influence upon the legal rights of citizens under a secular government?

                  Throw the Bible into the garbage disposal of history.

                  I did not make this up. I cut and pasted it. KathleenM1 clearly suggests destroying this portion of our literary heritage. She didn't say 'a bible' she said 'the Bible' indicating all it contains.

                  Sure. She's arguing for destroying Bibles.

                  In real life, atheists who object to the enforced veneration of the Bible would actually like to see the book reduced to the same kind of role that other kinds of ancient mythology--Greek, Roman, Norse--play in our society.

                  here you attempt to speak for athiests in general and imply KathleenM1's comment is something it's clearly not. Again, I responded to her comment not your fanciful 'benevolent' inference of it.

                  The snide crap Kathleen is putting up here with just because she's not toeing the majoritarian line.

                  This is just wrong. It's because her comments are intellectually vacuous.

                  I am still interested to know what your noble 'commitment to justified conclusions of evidenc' leads you to believe about aethiest societies because the most prominant ones in the history I've learned were extremely brutal and persecutory authoritarian tyrannies, just like some theocracies. The similarities are actually striking.

                  Instead of creating distractions by misreading me, adhering to your own argument might serve you well. Because it appears to have a lot to offer, and you might even find agreement, if that interests you.

                  Moving on, finally.

                  by fisheye on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 06:14:47 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

            •  Many who think they have a handle on the (0+ / 0-)

              truth wishes other's would see their light. I'm wondering by your comment though, what atheism inherently brings to society to better it from the mass of Christian Budhist Hindu Muslim believers et al. I mean, historical examples of aethiest oriented societies aren't very pretty.

              The idea that spiritual orientation determines society and not the other way around really lacks any foundation for me.

              Who cares what mystical rationizations or denials people use to defend their behavior and that which they expect from society?
              The worlds religions are rich with knowledge history and colorful ideas, art, humanity and human achievement, and human communion. I wouldn't want to do away with any.

              Moving on, finally.

              by fisheye on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 01:59:39 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  You can't honestly compare (5+ / 0-)

        the blind of obedience of people to the Bible or the Koran, as the words of an inerrant God that must be followed at all cost, to be the same as thoughtful consideration of Homer, Sophocles, or Herodotus, whom no one worships.

        Life isn't a battle between good and evil, it's a battle between signal and noise.

        by ChemBob on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 03:54:09 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Agreed, Kathleen (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      grada3784

      Marriage Equality - Good for everyone!

      Bible - Good for emergency toilet paper!

    •  Sure, throw Isaiah on the pyre with the rest (7+ / 0-)

      You may have read it.  But not with the desire to understand.

      You are only showing that it is possible to be intolerant and not religious.  And that you do not understand how people other than yourself -- who are not literalists, who do not have the simple-minded spirituality that you impute to them, so arrogantly and ignorantly.  And who have virtually nothing in common with the yahoos who are fixated on gays and fetuses.

      The worse crimes of the last century were done in the name of secular ideologies.  You don't need to believe in a concept of the Divine to murder millions. You just need to be sufficiently arrogant, and lack enough in self doubt.

      "If another country builds a better car, we buy it. If they make a better wine, we drink it. If they have better healthcare . . . what's our problem? "

      by mbayrob on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 12:45:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Your statement (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ZenTrainer, st minutia, davespicer

        that "the worst crimes of the last century were done in the name of secular ideologies," is absolutely incorrect. For example, Hitler was a Christian, a Catholic actually.

        Life isn't a battle between good and evil, it's a battle between signal and noise.

        by ChemBob on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 03:57:39 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  And so was (0+ / 0-)

          Dorothy Day.  (not to mention - he was very lapsed, she was an active convert)

          "Civility costs nothing and buys everything." - Mary Wortley Montagu

          by sarac on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 05:03:02 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  i'd grant the point (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          catleigh, beneldon

          Hitler was not an atheist, certainly; he followed some sort of crackpot theism which you probably wouldn't mistake for Catholicism if anyone could explain it to you.

          But Nazism was a secular ideology, in the sense that it didn't give religion or god any political authority.

          And of course the state ideologies of Mao and Stalin were atheist (though there may have been some guarantee of religous freedom in the Soviet constitution, as there was for free speech, etc.).

          But the mass atrocities of the 20th century having been committed in service of secular ideologies doesn't say much about relative moral merit of secularism or religion.

          Atrocities are always committed in the name of the ruling ideologies of the age. Mass secular ideologies really only became dominant with the 20th century. Prior to that, pretty much all the mass atrocities in the West were committed in the name of religion.

          20th century atrocities were bigger, because there were more people and better technology - in each case largely due to scientific advances which were helped along by the spread of secularism itself.

          If secularism passes from the scene, mass atrocities will once again be justified in religious terms.

          Of course, I'd prefer if every ideology, religious or secular, would adopt the precept of "First rule: no mass atrocities!"

          At that point, preventing mass atrocities would be a simple matter of ridding the world of hypocricy and stupidity.

          Prison rape is not funny.

          by social democrat on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 05:55:58 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Agreed, and I gave up religion for Lent 25+ years (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ssgbryan, PsychoSavannah, dsteele2

        ago

    •  Bibles don't kill people; people do:-) (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      larryrant, catleigh, mellowwild

      Let's not confuse a repository of human history with its deliberate misuse by a minority of powerful people to cement their power.

      Also, we'd never want to discard our history, lest we be more likely to repeat it.  We ought to be learning these lessons from the Bible, not by interpreting it literally, but by studying tales from our past.

      The Bible is far more good than bad.  The Newsweek article will hopefully help more people see that by adding the desperately needed context of Then and Now.  There are huge differences between ancient social taboo sets and timeless concepts of selflessness and love, and the former need not apply for consideration in current secular politics.
         

      The hopeful depend on a world without end, whatever the hopeless may say. --Rush

      by Leftcandid on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 05:27:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Huh? (0+ / 0-)

        Let's not confuse a repository of human history...

        Oh, but there is vastly more in the Bible than just "a repository of human history." First, what "history" there is is almost entirely false. But second, surely you can't have missed the number of moral lessons (or demands) that are stated in the book. The Newsweek story that inspired the initial post was all about particular commands that are contained in the text. And even the supposedly historical material was written to convey various "moral" messages.

        Effectively no one, whether friend or foe of the Bible, considers it merely "a repository of human history."

        ...with its deliberate misuse by a minority of powerful people to cement their power.

        But many of us doubt that that use of the Bible is "misuse" at all. After long years of study, many of us believe that the larger weight of the moral messages in the Bible are bad ones that were intended to serve, and in fact do serve, to "cement" unjust power. In many cases, it appears to us, the "powerful people" you mention were accurately interpreting the commands of the Bible and applying them to their own situations.


        By stating off the top that inhumane use of the Bible is "misuse" of the Bible, you are presupposing the moral uprightness of the book. That's not objective, impartial, or (to the extent that we're trying to decide about that uprightness) intellectually honest.

        Also, we'd never want to discard our history, lest we be more likely to repeat it.

        As noted, almost all of the "history" in the Bible is fiction. That doesn't fit Santayana's axiom very well.

        The Bible is far more good than bad.

        Says you. Many of us strongly disagree, and I can't say that anyone here is even trying to engage that perspective.

        •  really now? (0+ / 0-)

          As noted, almost all of the "history" in the Bible is fiction. That doesn't fit Santayana's axiom very well.

          This is the second time you've exposed the paper thin depth of your study of the Bible. Archaeological discoveries quite clearly prove out a large number of historical facts contained in the Bible. To posit that "almost all" is fiction, is at best intellectually dishonest, and at worst and intentionally misleading statment.
          In the same breath I'll admit that archaeological discoveries also show some biblical accounts to be erroneous. But again, that doesn't nearly come close to "almost all".
          Hyperbole is not a good way to make your point.

          •  Hm. (0+ / 0-)

            I'll admit that archaeological discoveries also show some biblical accounts to be erroneous.

            "Some"? That's so cute!

            In fact, as the (dying--see Avalos below) field of biblical archeology has been proving for decades now, the archeological support for nearly the entire Bible is scant to nonexistent.

            Specifically, there is no archeological evidence that any Old Testament character of any consequence (such as Adam, Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, David, Solomon, Daniel, etc.) ever existed. Archeology provides no support for--and indeed frequently contradicts Biblical accounts of--every single significant event in the Old Testament (the Flood, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, the Exodus, the Israelite conquests, etc.). I suppose I should amend my statement to "Effectively all of the 'history' in the Bible that any significant number of people care about is fiction."

            There's evidence that Paul was a real person. Same goes for a handful of ancillary characters in each Testament (e.g., King Herod), though much if not all of what the Bible claims those characters did (e.g., the Slaughter of the Innocents) is without any support in the archeological record. That's your "some," I guess; the Bible (with Herod, Pontius Pilate and company) are as historical as Forrest Gump (which contains Elvis Presley, Abby Hoffman, Bear Bryant, LBJ, and many other real people). And yet Forrest Gump is fiction.

            Oh, and of course there's no generally accepted extra-biblical evidence that Jesus was an actual person, either.

            So I'm afraid that the real archeological record bears out exactly what I said. Hard as that can be for Bible fans to accept.

            Biblical archeology lies in ruins, be it literally, socially, or metaphorically. Biblical archeology once was a premier and even glamorous field within biblical studies, and now even some of its most famous practitioners are proclaiming its death.

            [...]

            Biblical archeology has helped to bury the Bible, and archaeologists know it. Ronald Hendel was exactly right when he said, "Archaeological research has--against the intentions of most of its practitioners--secured the non-historicity of much of the Bible before the era of Kings."  We can now expand Hendel's observation and affirm that there is not much history to be found in the era of kings either.

            [...]

            So does biblical archeology matter anymore? Let's recall [William G.] Dever's statement once more, "If the actual history of the Biblical world no longer matters, then archaeology is clearly irrelevant."  Phrased alternatively, we achieve the same result: Since archaeology has failed to reveal much biblical history that matters, biblical archeology, even in Dever's broader vision, not only has ceased to be relevant but has ceased to exist as we knew it.  Instead of revealing biblical history, archaeology has provided a fundamental argument to move beyond the Bible itself. If, as [Andrew] Vaughn would have it, biblical archaeology has to serve theology once more to be relevant, its days as a secular academic field are numbered.  Either way, biblical archaeology ended in ruins--literally, socially, and metaphorically.

            - Hector Avalos,
            History and Archeology: Fields Full of Holes,
            Chapter 3 of
            The End of Biblical Studies (2007)

        •  mythic history is still history (0+ / 0-)

          First,

          Says you. Many of us strongly disagree, and I can't say that anyone here is even trying to engage that perspective.

          Parent my comment; that's exactly what was happening.  I'm a fan of Biblical criticism, but no fan of overreaction in either direction.  Throwing it out is overreaction.

          Second, you might have misinterpreted my statement as in favor of literal history in the Bible.  Fair enough; my comment was certainly not comprehensive.  In any case, I"m against dismissal of mythic history as well.  

          Unless your claim is that the majority or entirety of the Bible is actual fiction, originally created with deliberate intent to deceive for malign purposes, then the opposite is true: the Bible is a historical book because it contains the remnants of people long gone, for which there is no comparable collection of their writing and stories.  

          It's not the perfect and direct word of God; it's been edited by those with an agenda, with additions and subtractions; existing passages may have been misinterpreted; archaeological evidence is scant.  None of those caveats subtract history.  Stories were created and passed down, and the degree to which they are based on actual fact is variably detectable or backed by found evidence.

          Lemme put it this way: would Joseph Campbell have argued that the Bible should be thrown out?

          It should play no part in our deliberate governance, but for many it affects the heart.  

          By stating off the top that inhumane use of the Bible is "misuse" of the Bible, you are presupposing the moral uprightness of the book. That's not objective, impartial, or (to the extent that we're trying to decide about that uprightness) intellectually honest.

          Why say a book is moral or immoral?  My whole point is that those are human qualities, not book qualities.  I ascribed not moral uprightness, but goodness, which is a different quality.  

          Would you actually argue that an inhumane use of something is NOT a misuse?  Could you actually be positing that the Bible is so bad that its only proper use is inhumane?  That's literally incredible.  Noncredible.  

          This is the Internet, so I will likely err in analysing you, but you sound very hurt by religion to hold such extreme views.  I'm sorry for whatever happened to you if that is the case.  But it was not the Bible that did anything; as always, it is people who hit you with it.  The difference between the Bible and a gun is that someone could also use the Bible to help or heal you.

          Anyway, you're a good person, and I kinda understand where you're coming from.  All I ask is that you not equate fiction with mythic history, only cuz yer missin' out if you do.

          Peace.

          The hopeful depend on a world without end, whatever the hopeless may say. --Rush

          by Leftcandid on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 04:52:49 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  I'll believe the Christian right (34+ / 0-)

    when they are as consistent about divorce, which IS mentioned in the Bible many many times, as they are about gays.  Oh, wait, that might inconvenience them.....

    It is illuminating to read the responses on line to the NEwsweek article--panicked conservative Christians trying to toe the party line.

    Let me give a sing out to the progressive Christians who do not put up with this s(tuff).

    Also, Newsweek is now the subject of an onslaught of letters from the right-wingers complaining about their Biblical scholarship,and calls for boycotts.  be sure to give them some love here by emailing good things to the CEO:

    tom.ascheim@newsweek.com

  •  I was so excited to see this in my mailbox (12+ / 0-)

    today. It would have been nice to have this come out sometime before the election though. I'm still bitter my state of California blew it so badly.

    On November 4, 2008 the nice guys finished FIRST!

    by voracious on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 08:36:44 PM PST

  •  What's the difference between love and religion? (7+ / 0-)

    Love is real!

  •  The argument that I always try to employ...logic (30+ / 0-)

    What I find particularly interesting in regards to arguments against gay marriage coming from the religious right is that the claim that it is altering a "timeless" religious institution and it would somehow devalue the idea marriage and family. I find this to be rather irrational and absurd.

    My response to this is that you do not need to involve the church to get married. The STATE grants marriage licenses (which is merely a legal contract) and in order to get divorced a civil court must be involved. Additionally, if it is a religious sanctioned institution does that then mean that atheists cannot marry? I don't recall there being a test down at the courthouse to determine whether one is religious so that God would approve.

    Secondly, marriage or partnering has been an occurrence which greatly predates the Abrahamic faiths and certainly it has evolved over eons. Therefore, Christians do not have an exclusive patent on marriage.

    And one other note, how about the Christians and other religious folks (Unitarians) who support gay marriage and offer to perform them in their places of worship? Why are their views ignored if this is claimed to be a religious institution?

    It baffles the mind.

  •  This goes beyond the issue of gay marriage. (29+ / 0-)

    I love what she said on the specific issue of gay marriage, but there are two money quotes in this article that are much more general. If they represent the beginning of the end for fundamentalists being the voice of Christianity, I will be very happy.

    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.

    A mature view of scriptural authority requires us, as we have in the past, to move beyond literalism. The Bible was written for a world so unlike our own, it's impossible to apply its rules, at face value, to ours.

    Literalism is a relatively new idea in Christianity. The sooner we break its monopoly on the public mind, the better.

  •  Athough I never buy Newsweek, I will do (20+ / 0-)

    so tomorrow. Thanks for the diary, jem6x. I want to just scream when I hear people referring to "traditional marriage," in the biblical sense. It reminds me of the guy who said, about English only, "If it was good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for me."

  •  Good for Newsweek! (5+ / 0-)

    Here's hoping that this great article can persuade even just a few moderate Christians to start asking questions.    

  •  Well, obviously, (6+ / 0-)

    Lisa Miller and the entire staff of Newsweek are Hell-bound heathens.  Or in English, if you prefer, she doesn't belong to the right Fundie tribe so they don't have to listen to her.  Logic means nothing next to tribalism.

    Mark Twain -Let me make the superstitions of a nation and I care not who makes its laws or its songs either.

    by Kingsmeg on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 09:20:33 PM PST

  •  So funny....I let my subscription lapse. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xyz, grada3784, dirkster42

    And just got a letter to renew. I think I will respond to it by renewing. I don't even read it.

    Tonight I'm going to party like it's 1929.

    by Bensdad on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 09:24:13 PM PST

  •  Everyone buy this issue of Newsweek (8+ / 0-)

    Show your support to Newsweek for having the audacity to put this on the cover.  Who could ever have imagined a cover story making a religious case for marriage equality?

    Everyone who believes in the equality of marriage should buy this issue.  

  •  In reality...this never had anything to do with.. (16+ / 0-)

    Religion...

    It's homophobia - pure and simple.  Just as invoking Leviticus to support the institution of slavery was racism, and so on and so forth.

    If it wasn't the Bible being used this way, it'd be the Koran, or some other Religious Text.

    One other comment - the King James translation reads that way.  If you want a great analysis of those sections and the historical backdrop of Leviticus, read here.

    •  Oh - one more GREAT RESOURCE (6+ / 0-)

      Religious Tolerance.org talks about translation errors and forgeries in the King James Bible.

      I don't think that these are a reason to throw the bible out with the bath water, so to speak.

      For thousands of years, many Christian Religions, including Catholicism, have viewed the teachings in the Bible as allegorical or metaphorical.

      There have always been simple-minded people who can't deal with uncertainty and claim to be "fundamentalists."

      The reality is that there is no such thing as fundamentalism in it's strictest form.  So once you start down the slope of interpreting or ignoring ANYTHING in the Bible, you are no longer a fundamentalist.  

    •  Huh? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CajunBoyLgb

      How is invoking religious texts and religious beliefs to justify a practice "never ... anything to do with religion"?

      I get that people here (as pretty much everywhere in this society) want to bend over backward to accommodate religion, but given that the commands and arguments in question are consistently and thoroughly made on religious grounds, how in the heck could they be non-religious?

      Of course religious attacks on gay rights have something to do with religion--homophobic religion. Of course support of slavery had something to do with religion--racist religion.

      Isn't it some kind of bizarre denial to claim that any kind of bigotry, no matter how clear its religious provenance is, is therefore not religious?

  •  I happy for the attempt (14+ / 0-)

    but after watching Huckabee on TDS tonight I realize that they have gone beyond attempting to use the bible to justify their bigoty.

    Now it's all about "traditional definitions" and what's next???

    Face it, it's just bigotry. Plain and simple, no need to argue points. When someone says they are against marriage equality just call 'em like ya see 'em. Bigot!

    "You are a bigot, not worth my time, not worth my breath. Go get yourself a hood and join a club."

    There is no argument, there is no excuse. Those who would deny equal rights are bigots, period.

    There still are two Americas. I live in the other one.

    by high uintas on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 09:32:51 PM PST

  •  Think it can't HAPPEN?? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    grada3784, sephius1

    It already HAS happened!

    and this satire video too:

    -4.75, -5.33 Cheney 10/05/04: "I have not suggested there is a connection between Iraq and 9/11."

    by sunbro on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 09:39:56 PM PST

  •  This article is a must read (11+ / 0-)

    for people on both sides of the issue.  Its great ammo for us who support marriage equality and it might talk some sense into the the people on the other side.

    The article was great at pointing out what I've always tried to argue--that the fundies' vision of marriage is itself a re-defining of marriage as it is not consistent with the view of marriage in the ancient world.

    I've also always wondered why the fundies always felt comfortable ignoring all sorts of prohibitions or allowances in the bible (e.g. pork, shellfish, slavery, bigamy), etc.  Its like the "Pop 8: The Musical" says, they love to "pick and choose."

    The responsibility of a great state is to serve and not to dominate the world--President Harry S. Truman (April 16, 1945)

    by TomK002 on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 09:40:27 PM PST

    •  Marriage equality is a legal right (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Rieux, DustyMathom

      it is not a matter of debate between which Christian view shall prevail.

      We are a Constitutional republic, not a theocracy - neither a conservative nor a liberal theocracy.

      The article gives me, a non-Christian, no "ammunition", only despair at the reaction on the Left, which has moved smack into the Right-wing frame that says that our morality should be encoded into laws dictated by Christian faith.

      Sorry, but that is just unamerican, and it is a prescription for holy war, not united tolerance.

      MLK never said, "Negros deserve equal rights because Jesus said so". He made a universal, humanistic case for equal rights - informed, personally, by his understanding of his faith, but never presuming that civil rights was merely a question of Christian interpretation.

      I am, frankly, appalled at the eagerness of so-called "liberals" to embrace what is essentially a theocratic debate - will we have a conservative theocracy in America, or a liberal theocracy?

      One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

      by RandomActsOfReason on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 02:33:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Its a matter of convincing people. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        1BQ

        The battle for equality in the law will also require, to some extent, that we win the battle for the hearts and minds as well.  As the diarist noted in the update,  most people that oppose marriage equality do so because of some misguided notion of what the bible says about marriage. If its possible to dispel that notion, it becomes a lot easier to win them over to our side. Its not going to convince everyone or even a majority of those opposed, but every person turned brings marriage equality closer to reality.

        This is simply NOT a claim that our laws should be encoded with the morality of the Christian faith. I think you are reading waaaay too much into this.

        The responsibility of a great state is to serve and not to dominate the world--President Harry S. Truman (April 16, 1945)

        by TomK002 on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 07:40:20 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Your neglecting my battle for equality (0+ / 0-)

          MLK could have taken your path and argued civil rights purely on Christian grounds. He chose not to; he chose instead to make an argument on universal, humanistic grounds.

          Why can't today's Christian Left rise to that example?

          As long as we you all make this a contest between competing versions of Christianity, we you all betray our Constitutional intent and we you all exclude the rest of us non-Christians, and particularly us non-theists.

          It is not a numbers game, it is a core principle of our Republic.

          One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

          by RandomActsOfReason on Sun Dec 14, 2008 at 05:16:17 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  I personally think... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    grada3784

    that these people really can only understand the Bible, and its very hard for them.

    Still, I think we call these people for what they are- that is, HERETICS -we can convince others to realize what their doing is wrong.

    •  clearly, they can't even understand that (5+ / 0-)

      they can only understand the barking and shouting they hear from their preachers and televangelists. that's all their minds can process, or all they are willing to hear. if they wanted their own understanding of the bible, they'd maybe pick it up, not selectively read it, and form their own judgments. of course, that would be easy and it would shake up their whole world and render everything uncertain -- their worst fear.

      in a crisis, we must have a sense of drama

      -- MLK

      by missreporter on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 04:57:58 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  this snerk?? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    grada3784
  •  God was a single father (9+ / 0-)

    One of the fundie arguments  for one man, one woman is the need for children to have a parent of each sex. Totally unnecessary. I always remind them that God was a single father. I'm proud of Newsweek and thanks for this diary.

  •  Every time these religion questions arise (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    grada3784

    I feel compelled to watch one of this guys video's since he gets angry enough to reply with video. He's kinda entertaining too. I do not endorse this man, in fact do not click this link lest you get angry or fired up or get hope or some silly stuff.

    A lovely little thinker, But a bugger when he's pissed

    by yuriwho on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 10:23:14 PM PST

  •  Some things the article didn't say (7+ / 0-)

    Caveat: I haven't read the full article yet - I'm basing this on the summary in this fine diary. I mention these details only because, if any of you should happen to have a conversation with a fundamentalist friend or family member about this, they're likely to come up.

    * Jesus does mention marriage, at least twice, in speaking against divorce (which could be, and often was, financially ruinous to the woman being divorced).

    * Several of Paul's epistles, in describing qualifications for church elders, deacons, and the like, specify that a man being considered for such a role must be "the husband of only one wife." Fundamentalists see this as evidence that one man, one woman is the way marriage is now (since the time of Christ) meant to be (they'll also argue that it was always meant to be that way, it's just that those Old Testament folks got it wrong a lot).

    Thanks for the diary. The Newsweek article won't convince anyone on the far side of the argument, but it could reach a lot of moderates.

    We seek not rest but transformation. - Marge Piercy

    by Leslie in CA on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 10:32:29 PM PST

  •  the whole idea of "understanding" (6+ / 0-)

    what the  "Bible says" is problematic.  It has been cut and pasted and revised and translated so many times over thousands of year.  People have fought and died and voted over what should be in and what should be out, how words should be translated, etc.

    Just for fun, look up what Lot did with his daughter when the citizens of Sodom asked Lot to turn over the angels to them.

    •  It's true. Sodom and Gomorrah is not the kind of (5+ / 0-)

      story you want to be preaching morality about. As a liberal Christian and pro-gay marriage individual, I love to completely deflate the opposing side whenever they bring up that story. There's nothing that can shut someone up like telling them that God destroyed the city because of homosexuality but saved the man who offered his daughter up for rape.

      The only reference that talks about Sodom and Gomorrah and doesn't state their main sin as ignoring the orphans and widows is found at the end of the Bible (I think it's Titus). Paul said to question your beliefs, and know why you believe what you do. Far too few Christians do that today. Someone on this site (if I remember correctly) stated the difference between Christians and "Christianists". I use that term a lot these days.

      "Liberalism is, I think, resurgent. One reason is that more and more people are so painfully aware of the alternative." -John Kenneth Galbraith

      by Modern Vendetta on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 01:43:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  And irrelevent re: legal rights in US. (0+ / 0-)

      One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

      by RandomActsOfReason on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 02:29:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  No doubt... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      1BQ, PoliticalJunkessa

      its a document that was written by men who were attempting to interpret people who were attempting to interpret the teachings of someone who supposedly could interpret the will of god.

      I remember seeing a sign outside of a church when the Da Vinci Code came out it said "The Da Vinci Code, Fact or Fiction", I wanted to go in there and say "The Bible, Fact or Fiction".

      What we do for ourselves dies with us, what we do for others and the world remains and is immortal. (Albert Pine)

      by laughingriver on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 05:20:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Delusion...the completely accurate description.. (8+ / 0-)

    Christians "cherry pick" the Holy Shopping List Book to select their delusion de jour. Death penalty / no death penalty - no problem. Universal health care / 40 million children without health care - no problem. Slaves / no-slaves - no problem. Choice / no-choice - no problem. Gay marriage / no gay marriage - no problem. Somewhere in the Holy Shopping Lists you'll find what you want.

    In the world today there are WAY too many religious people who think their delusion-de-jour is to BE TAKEN LITERALLY. They believe their version of their Holy Shopping List is TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY CORRECT and they see it, not as a 5,000 year old (amended just 2,000 years ago!) MORAL GUIDELINE, but as a STEEL GOALPOST - TOTALLY CORRECT in every way - AND EVEN IF PUTRID - to be believed in TOTAL or you burn in hell, or have to watch hours of Rosie reruns (apparently, you get a choice).

    Atheists just want you all to REALIZE your holy shopping lists are merely MYTHS and FABLES - like Aesop’s. For instance - the three blind mice (Jews, Christians and Muslins) ALL believe that the guy they want to LOVE and spend eternity with, "in his loving embrace" - IF YOU BELIEVE HIS OWN SHOPPING LIST BOOK - knowingly murdered almost every man, woman, child and animal on the PLANET because he was pissed off. He was pissed off - so up he decided to KILL - SLAUGHTER his creation.

    This is the work of a good guy? An OK guy? A smart enough guy to be able to teach people the error of their ways? A bad guy? A totally evil mass murdering homicidal maniac? IF he actually existed: I would go with the last one.

    Once we get you to realize that your "myth" is just that then the WORLD has a chance to have rational discourse with you. Until religious folk realize that their religion is a few good ideas wrapped in a bag of primitive jelly they won’t UNDERSTAND that PEOPLE are WAY more important than all the religious books and their sophomoric moral goalposts.

    I bet you anything that a few of us could sit down and in two or three hours WE could write a booklet with WAY better MORAL and ETHICAL teachings than any books that the spaghetti monsters have allegedly dictated to the world.

  •  For The Bible Tells Me So (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wader, grada3784, FarWestGirl

    is a fabulous documentary that goes over this ground as well, looking at the interpretations of those Biblical passages.  Heartily recommended, as it puts a human face on those in the movement for gay civil rights (including Dick Gephardt's daughter Chrissy).

    D-Day, the newest blog on the internet (at the moment of its launch)

    by dday on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 11:05:54 PM PST

  •  Amazing-Same author as "Is Obama the Antichrist?" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    grada3784, LynneK

    What a difference the framing of an article makes!  Perhaps some of the feedback from that regrettable article had an effect on Ms. Miller?  

    •  Same framing (6+ / 0-)

      still arguing about whether our laws should be governed by right wing interpretations of the Christian Bible, or left wing interpretations of the Christian Bible.

      It is the wrong frame for this discussion, which is about our secular laws, based on our secular Constitution - the same laws for all Americans, of all beliefs.

      This is the same theocracy in different robes.

      One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

      by RandomActsOfReason on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 02:28:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  exactly (5+ / 0-)

        i as a secularist could not give two shits about what the bible really says about gay marriage...but i see the utility of her exercise nonetheless.

        in a crisis, we must have a sense of drama

        -- MLK

        by missreporter on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 04:59:19 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  My thoughts, too ... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pasadena beggar, LynneK

        ... and I have said as much to Newsweek.  Here's my letter:

        Dear Newsweek,

        I was astonished and delighted to see Lisa Miller’s fact-based scripture-citing analysis on marriage equality.  I am a Christian who loves her Bible, has spend a good deal of time in thoughtful research and analysis of the scriptures, and goes around the bend whenever it is used to justify some horrific treatment of my fellow human beings.  As Anne LaMott noted, "You know you’ve created God in your own image when God hates the same people you do."

        However, as happy as I was to finally see Lisa Miller’s piece on marriage equality, I regret anything that furthers the notion that anyone’s interpretation of scripture, even mine, should be the rationale behind the legislating of secular law.  I am an American who loves her Constitution, has spent a good deal of time in thoughtful research and analysis of its history and articles, and goes around the bend whenever its delineation of rights are twisted around to justify restricting the civil rights of some by those who suffer from an unfortunate need to feel superior to others and impose one narrowly defined set of religious laws on society at large.  As Franklin Delano Roosevelt observed, "Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education."

        But regardless of that one regret, I am happy whenever a sensible light is shone on ancient writings of which many are ignorant in spite of their insistance that those writings be cherry-picked a particular way in order to satisfy their own prejudices.  They may prefer to remain in the dark, but they have no right to force the rest of us there.  For those who would like to base their political ideas on the Christian scriptures, Lisa Miller’s well-written piece offers a wealth of reasons why they should abandon their prejudices on civil marriage.  I personally believe this should apply to religious marriage as well, but that is a matter best left to religious organizations.

        Thanks to Newsweek in general and Lisa Miller in particular!

        Peace ~

        JBL55
        Maine

        There are 10 kinds of people in the world: those who know binary and those who don't.

        by JBL55 on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 06:30:20 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  One more reason I'm SO glad that it was Mormons.. (5+ / 0-)

    ...who killed Prop 8.  Soon, ONLY polygamists (and those who aspire to polygamy) will be allowed to contract marriage licenses.  Any other marriage is against the Bible.  /snark

  •  The position of the Bible on marriage (5+ / 0-)

    has no bearing on our secular laws.

    This is not just an abstraction - this is at the core of our Constitutional republic.

    Arguing about whether the Christian Bible sanctions law is arguing within the Right's frame. (What about the Koran? The Tanach? The whatever? Of what relevance is that in a 1st Amendment America?)

    It is the WRONG argument.

    This is not how we win civil rights - this is the path to holy war.

    The argument needs to be a universal one, based on our shared values, based on the Constitution, based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, based on common decency - NOT based on battling interpretations of the Christian Bible.

    One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

    by RandomActsOfReason on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 02:26:22 AM PST

    •  Sorry, but you are wrong (8+ / 0-)

      Nobody gives a flying 'f' about universal or shared values except those who are already in support of LGBT equality.

      It is not our friends who we must convince, but our enemies.  And for the most part, our enemies are not reasonable, rational people because their enmity lies not in reason but in emotion.  While much is made of the African American sentiment toward this issue, it is a hard fact that fully 3/4 of weekly church-goers oppose same sex marriage, regardless of race.

      That is the group that must be reached.  They must be made to understand the unsupportable nature of thier animosity.  You can shout universal humanity from the rooftops, but to this population you might as well be blowing a dog whistle.  They don't hear, because you are speaking in a language they do not understand, or value.

      They understand the language of the Bible, therefore refuting their animosity in the language of that symbology makes emminent sense.  In order to convince you must speak from a common ground, there is no common ground in universal equality, or they would already be on our side.

      If, however, you were to derive a BENEFIT to them for universal equality, then perhaps you might be able to leverage them away from their animosity, but the only thanks you will get for pleading with them for equality is the epithet we so often have thrown at us in contempt, the "bleeding heart liberal."

      •  So pray tell, what "benefit to them" could we use (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Rieux, pasadena beggar

        to underscore the importance of universal equality? Call me a bleeding-heart liberal; I don't care. IMO, universal equality IS its own benefit. That's why I'm a liberal--because I don't have to look for "what's in it for me" to care about my fellow Americans' human rights.

        To echo Barack Obama's 2004 DNCC speech, it benefits us all when all are treated as equals; if my next-door neighbor's rights are taken away because she can't marry the woman she loves or adopt a child because she is a lesbian, that makes my life all the more poorer, even though I am not a lesbian.

        The onus is on "the enemies" to grow the hell up and get over their hang-ups about what consenting adults do in the privacy of their own bedrooms. If the church-goers are not paying attention to Barack Obama's core message from 2004, especially if they voted for him but also for Prop 8 and similar measures, then shame on them.

        The media image of a "center-right" U.S. is a myth and a joke.

        by boofdah on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 05:15:00 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  They'd be less estranged from their children (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          larryrant, mellowwild

          So pray tell, what "benefit to them" could we use
          to underscore the importance of universal equality?

          Unless you are just a hater by temperament, it is obviously beneficial to you to hate fewer people instead of more. Especially if some of the people are going to be in your own family.
          The vast majority of these "anti-gay" churchgoers have gay relatives or gay fellow-parishioners in their choirs (or playing their organs,or DIRECTING their
          choirs, or arranging their flowers, or their hair,
          or even directing their children's musicals at their local public school).  All these haters ARE ALREADY
          ASSOCIATING IN COMMUNITIES with gay people, and that will obviously easier and more enjoyable for ALL concerned if there is LESS hate.

          The road to hell has not YET been paved with Republicans, but it SHOULD be -- Corrected BumperSticker

          by ge0rge on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 06:00:43 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  How about a lower HIV rate? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          CajunBoyLgb

          homophobia in the AA community adds to the numbers of infected through denial.

          THAT seems like a great benefit!

      •  am i understanding this right? (0+ / 0-)

        you think there isn't enough respect for universal equality in christian churches to get christians to support said universal equality?

        you think they will give up their christian inspired animosity toward gays if they get some kind of benefit out of it?

        that takes backhanded compliment to a whole new level.  

        "They say a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but it is not half so bad as a lot of ignorance." - Terry Pratchett

        by st minutia on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 09:52:06 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Ever hear of Martin Luther King? (0+ / 0-)

        I recommend reading him some time.

        He didn't frame the battle for civil rights as a Left Christian vs. Right Christian interpretive dance.

        He framed it in precisely the universal, humanistic, unifying, common cultural frames that this struggle should be framed in.

        Otherwise, you can, literally, count me and I suspect many others out. Don't expect me to go to bat for a Liberal Jesus.

        And don't expect me to get excited at the prospect of a possible, ancillary benefit by virtue of liberal Christians deigning to tolerate me and my kind.

        Your argument only divides us, and pits your interpretation of Christianity against theirs.

        Civil rights based on universal principles performs Aikido on Christian fundamentalism.

        The "group that must be reached" are human beings, citizens and voters. You only see them as Christians - misguided, perhaps, but primarily as members of your exclusionary tribe.

        You mean well, but the consequences suck.

        One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

        by RandomActsOfReason on Sun Dec 14, 2008 at 05:21:42 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  How to win an emotional war (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rainmanjr, LynneK

    "We can easily reduce our detractors to absurdity and show them thier hostility is groundless.  But what does that prove?  That their hatred is real.  When every slander has been rebutted, every misconception cleared up, every false opinion about us obrtvomr, intolerance itself will remain finally irrefutable."

    -- Moritz Goldstein, "Deutsch-Judischer Parnas" as quoted in Christianity, Social Tolerance and Homosexuality by John Boswell.

    Americans accepted the Jews only after the horrors of the Holocaust of WWII.

    White American acceptance of African Americans only came after a relentless media campaign that included All in the Family, the Jeffersons, the Cosby Show and Roots.

    Don't ever, ever, ever expect to win over emotion with reason.  When you're really mad, how many appeals to reason have ever won you over?

    The only way to win an emotional war is to supplant it with another, more desirable, more fundamental emotion.  

    Until we in the LGBT community can find that more desirable emotion, we will continue to be on the losing end of electoral battles.

    It only stands to reason to me that a society that accepts gay marriage is a HEALTHIER society for both gays and straights.  

    •  Well, hopefully it won't take a GLBT holocaust... (8+ / 0-)

      ...to awaken Americans up to the fact that prejudice against the GLBT community is very real, and very wrong.

      There is and has been a "media campaign," whether intentional or not, to introduce gays and lesbians as "one of us" and help them to be familiar, accessible, and likeable. Will and Grace. Ellen De Generis. Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. The L Word. Queer as Folk. Most recently, the movies Brokeback Mountain and Milk, the former of which Bill O'Asshole blasted as "humanizing homosexuality," as if gay people weren't even people.

      In her stand-up show Assassin, Margaret Cho came up with a brilliant bit of comedy that sums up the failure of America to catch up with the 21st Century perfectly:

      If you're against same-sex marriage, but laugh your ass off to "Will and Grace," FUCK YOU! You are NOT allowed to enjoy the creativity of our community and leave behind the burden of inequality!

      It's like the 1950s, when people were like: "I really love that song, but please don't drink from that water fountain." (dances)

      The media image of a "center-right" U.S. is a myth and a joke.

      by boofdah on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 05:23:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  What the Bible Says (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    boofdah

    I think that this kind of forced interpretation of the Bible to be OK with homosexuality is not following the spirit of the Bible.  The Bible was, in fact, pretty clear about homosexual relations.  If you read the Prophetic texts, for example, you'll see plenty of references to the archetypal evil cities, Sodom and Gomorah, and how Yahweh will turn the cities of Judah or Edom or whomever into a new Sodom and Gomorah unless they repent and such.  You'd have to be specifically looking for an interpretation that does not condemn homosexuality in order to find it.

    That said, if religious people can be swayed by this argument, well, it's not like they're going to listen to morality, so it's good enough.  Anyone who believes that the Bible is correct is a little insane, so as long as they're insane in a way that helps us, whatever.

  •  Lisa Miller redeems herself. (11+ / 0-)

    I don't buy many magazines off the newsstand, but this one's a keeper.

    Miller, indeed, does a great job explaining the Biblical case for same-sex marriage.  It makes up for the article she did a few weeks ago in which she explored---with a straight face (so to speak)---the loons out there who think Obama is the antiChrist.  That article was terrible because it basically said that such believers weren't nuts.

    So kudos to Miller and Newsweek for so patiently highlighting what the fundies so conveniently ignore whenevver they thump their Bibles against marriage equality.  Funny...I thought lying and deception were antithetical to Christian values.  I guess it's okay if you're a right-winger.

    -

    The fact that I occasionally spark rational thought depresses me to no end.

    by Bill in Portland Maine on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 04:07:53 AM PST

  •  Jon Stewart handed Mike Huckabee his ass (16+ / 0-)

    on this topic last night, pointing out that "traditional marriage" in the bible was polygamy - a practice that's illegal in all 50 states.

    This ain't no party. This ain't no disco. This ain't no foolin' around!

    by Snud on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 04:30:59 AM PST

  •  I'm proud (again!) to be a Newsweek subscriber... (10+ / 0-)

    They really have come around as a publication of late.

    Not sure if anyone caught last night's Daily Show interview between Jon Stewart and Mike Huckabee, but Jon Stewart completely owned the Huckster. In his usual manner, Stewart calmly and logically eviscerated Mike Huckabee's arguments using many of the points re: the actual Biblical views of marriage that Miller lays out above.

    The media image of a "center-right" U.S. is a myth and a joke.

    by boofdah on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 05:07:19 AM PST

    •  That was very interesting (7+ / 0-)

      Huckabee is smart enough to see what's at stake here but he can't say so or he'll lose his "base." No matter what the Bible actually says or doesn't say, if evangelicals back off from prohibiting gay marriage, they're admitting that their interpretation of the Bible has been wrong, lo these many years. Which means everything to do with religion is open to question. Of course this has happened before, but it tended to happen over a longer period of time, and with less consciousness of the process.

      The Catholic Church is in a similar bind over two additional issues: female priests and contraception. Of course no one remembers that once upon a time the Catholic Church firmly prohibited lending money for interest--usury they called it. It's one of the reason that Jews tended to dominate the banking industry until the 19th century.

      Things happen faster now, and there's a global media anxious to feature conflict, to compare and contrast, to celebrate or condemn change.

      •  Bingo. It's a matter of pride now. After throwing (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        boofdah

        everything they had at the gay marriage, if they back down now can you imagine how the credibility of the rest of their message will dissolve...

        One might have thoguht that would happen after we outlawed slavery, something that is still completely legal according to the Bible, and yet the Bible is still referred to as an "inerrant" text.

        They're going to keep digging, trying to salvage this, and it's going to get more ugly and more absurd, and then they're going bitch and whine that they're being "persecuted".

        After someone pokes me in the eye with a sharp stick a few hundred times, when I finally punch them back and knock them out, it's NOT persecution at that point.

        George Orwell is banging on the lid of his coffin and screaming, "1984 was a cautionary tale, you dolts, not a motivational speech!"

        by snafubar on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 10:24:54 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I would say it was better than his usual manner (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      boofdah

      I think he takes this issue personally, as anyone in the arts would.

      I miss acting but I really miss the people and especially gay people. Not enough of them in my mom/finance world right now.

      I think I prefer gay people to most straights.

  •  The bible contains lessons, both good and bad (0+ / 0-)

    Please read it if you want to discuss it.
    Take what you want to from it and apply it to your own situations.
    Some of the 'good' lessons in it have helped to shape our values for thousands of years. The 'bad' stuff is frequently not representative of today's culture, so I ignore it.
    We each have our own value set and I try to respect other's POV although they may be far different from my own.

  •  Not only is the Bible misinterpreted (12+ / 0-)

    about alleged statements, other statements on families and marriage are overlooked, the point I make to people again and again is: if you want to go for the mindset of that time, there are easily 1,000 or more things you can list just off the top of your head which in today's society would be completely incompatible with the family, marriage and society then, just a few examples out of literally thousands. Here are a few things we take for granted which would be impossible at that time:

    1. The concept that people could choose the person they love to marry
    1. The concept people can choose not to have children or have a small number of children
    1. That people could choose not to live in the same household or at least very near to the husband's family
    1. The people could go "on a date" unsupervised to get to know each other
    1. That people could willingly use devices or means to prevent pregnancy
    1. That women could choose to work outside of the home in any capacity
    1. That women had the right to ever refuse sexual advances or even the husband picked for her
    1. That the woman was of equal value to the man
    1. That the woman had any say whatsoever on any property issues
    1. That a woman could choose to live alone or a man could choose to live alone
    1. That any thing you had not be used for the purpose of the family and larger community - i.e. no discretionary income
    1. That people in the family could have substantive differences with how behavior was dictated within the larger tribe
    1. That people could ever leave their immediate community without being kicked out of it
    1. That a woman could have more than one male partner
    1. Any major digressions from the perceived norms of what correct family behavior was could result in stoning, displacement from the community etc.
    1. That it would be acceptable for a woman not to be able to bear children, i.e. be barren
    1. That children even at the age of 12 would not be married off
    1. That people could question religious practices in any way without being ejected from the community

    And the list goes on and on and on. It amazes me that people who cite part of an alleged mindset of a nomadic and/or agriculture-based society would cherry pick what the alleged opinion on homosexuality was yet still want to have each and every one of the freedoms I listed above. So some fundies want us to be 500 B.C. in terms of what allegedly was thought about gay people, but still want to work on the Sabbath, not go to church, date their girl friend whom they love, have sexual intercourse without a binding marriage agreement, use contraception, choose to limit the number of children they have, live away from their parents..all of these things can be 2008..so hypocritical.........

    A fellow ain't got a soul of his own, just little piece of a big soul, the one big soul that belongs to everybody - Tom Joad, Grapes of Wrath

    by gladkov on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 05:44:30 AM PST

  •  This is great and all (6+ / 0-)

    I find it very discouraging that so many issues today are still affected by how people interpret a book written thousands of years ago.  Why does anyone care what the bible says about this and so many other issues?  How is it a good source for information about how the Earth was created?  Yet religion is the main reason that people are not given a good science education so that they can enjoy the wonders of what we really know about the universe.  And then gay marriage.  People are consulting a book whose main character threatens to put people in hell for all of eternity because they don't subscribe to certain beliefs to decide what is moral?!  Even the most brutal dictator on Earth wouldn't torture an enemy forever.  Eventually the suffering would end, but not with god.  Until humanity grows up and works out ethics and morals like adults without consulting the bible, we will continue to have these silly issues.  

    The conversation should be about gay marriage in its own right and not what the bible says.  I just couldn't care less what the bible says about how we should live in the world.  

  •  I wrote a college paper on this... (7+ / 0-)

    The Bible is not "against homosexuality" as the cowards will tell you (the ones who hide their hate behind the Bible).

    There are about 3 or 4 passages (amidst thousands) that seem to condemn male-on-male intercourse specifically.  There are also passage that condemn eating shellfish, wearing clothing of mixed fibers, and others.

    Further, there are passages that seem pro-same-sex relations (one such passage, I believe, is in 2 Samuel).

    Anyway, the notion that the Bible is "anti-gay" is fallacious.

    •  And as I said in my post above (7+ / 0-)

      Of course, in a nomadic/agricultural society where it was better to have as many children as possible people probably did frown on homosexual activity, particularly the idea of wasting fertile sperm. But they also would frown on a thousand other things we now take for granted: limiting the size of a family, choosing birth control, getting a divorce, picking the person you love...you simply cannot pick one aspect out of an ancient society but then disregard the thousands and thousands of other prohibitions that were placed on the family and society of that time. Somehow the concept of divorce is anachronistic but a few lines on homosexuality must be taken most literally.

      A fellow ain't got a soul of his own, just little piece of a big soul, the one big soul that belongs to everybody - Tom Joad, Grapes of Wrath

      by gladkov on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 06:20:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  And as Thomas Malthus would later discover (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        terabthia2

        the idea that all sex was good sex in order to keep the population growing had an ultimate consequence: They can only reproduce until the environment that sustains them is overwhelmed and then attrition takes over.

        We've witnessed this for centuries in animal populations, but somehow continued with the delusion that mankind's only hope was to keep making more ad infinitum.

        So...even the species with the brain big enough to see what's coming isn't smart enough (honest enough?) to admit it's actually starting to arrive.

        Ugh.

        If there is a God, boy I bet he's pissed. I keep hearing someone say "God don't make no junk" - when the truth is that he has populated this world with a wretched excess of morons.

        George Carlin said, "Think of how dumb the average guy is, and realize that half of them are dumber than that..."

        George Orwell is banging on the lid of his coffin and screaming, "1984 was a cautionary tale, you dolts, not a motivational speech!"

        by snafubar on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 10:20:36 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  niiice (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          snafubar

          George Carlin said, "Think of how dumb the average guy is, and realize that half of them are dumber than that..."

          New sig line worthy.

          thanks

          Integrity Accountability '08 Or Chocula Frankenberry '12

          by beneldon on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 12:46:59 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I use that for my sig over at Street Prophets; (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            beneldon

            I thought the Orwell line was better here because I believe it's original and it's mine.

            Thanks.

            I miss Carlin. We needed about six of him to keep up with the Disgrace that was the last eight years.

            Keep the faith... :)

            George Orwell is banging on the lid of his coffin and screaming, "1984 was a cautionary tale, you dolts, not a motivational speech!"

            by snafubar on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 10:39:10 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  I did too! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Newzie, LynneK, FishBiscuit

      In my Old Testement class, I got stuck with Leviticus.  I read it & really, really pissed off the holy-rollers in the class.

    •  Have you ever found any scholarly articles (0+ / 0-)

      that suggest the phrase "man lay down with a man" was really addressing pedophelia?

      Ironic then that there came so many pedophiles in the Catholic church who were the same people chasing the gays with flaming torches.

      I only wish I were alive when this chapter of human history was over, but I don't think it will happen soon enough.

      George Orwell is banging on the lid of his coffin and screaming, "1984 was a cautionary tale, you dolts, not a motivational speech!"

      by snafubar on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 10:15:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  One day, we'll have a reasonable relationship (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    snafubar, beneldon, Newzie, LynneK, terabthia2

    with the Bible.

    Many people already do, but the Right is so good at shouting that we forget.  We buy into their interpretation as THE interpretation, which is a mistake.

    The F-Right-ened has also been very good at attacking the sort of educational framework that would otherwise provide a clear perspective on a Biblical coexistence with modernity.  They are scared of changing modernity, and seek the comfort of a static past that seems like it actually existed.

    The Bible is rich and complex; as a compilation of history and spirituality, it's all good, even if in a difficult way.  We are still struggling with it.  Every time we fail, we have terrible results: persecution and perhaps war.  But none of our mistakes are the Bible's fault; they are our faults, which the Bible has recorded.  it doesn't stand as an accusation against us, or a record of condemnation.  It's there to point the way up out of our misery.

    We are the keepers of our brothers and sisters.  When they lash out at us because they don't get the Bible, as with any other reason, we gotta deal with that pain, and hug the anger and fear out of them.  The burden is on us, but Yes We Can bear it.

    The hopeful depend on a world without end, whatever the hopeless may say. --Rush

    by Leftcandid on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 06:00:27 AM PST

    •  tipped for "F-right-ened" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Leftcandid

      "Oh, though I walk through the shadow of the valley of death I shall fear no evil

      ...but if two guys ever kiss each other or two girls want to own property together in a legally binding relationship, the world is lost!"

      It's hard to take them seriously when the contradictions in their message is so ludicrous it's laughable on just too many levels.

      George Orwell is banging on the lid of his coffin and screaming, "1984 was a cautionary tale, you dolts, not a motivational speech!"

      by snafubar on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 10:13:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Bible readers should also consider this: (5+ / 0-)

    ...if people are BORN gay, then isn't condemning what God made actaully saying that God made a mistake? How DARE they! Science is now indicating that some are genetically born gay. How can anyone call themselves religious and condemn anything that God has specifically made?  

    Just asking ...

    Cat in Seattle

    •  that is the point per jon stewart and others... (6+ / 0-)

      Huckabee said people are practicing (huh?) the "gay lifestyle" and therefore couldn't complain about not being allowed the "privilege" of marriage.
      Stewart corrected Huckabee: you are wrong, being gay is not a choice.
      He asked Huckabee when he chose to not be gay? Huckabee didn't answer.

      And Huckabee doesn't believe in evolution, but most animal species have a significant percentage of gay individuals. So why shouldn't humans be a mix of heterosexual and homosexual, with the smaller percentage being gay?

      Progressive Jews argue that homosexual behavior by gays, and same sex marriage, is okay, since being gay is NOT A CHOICE. This is the halacha of Reform and Conservative Judaism, etc. (The real reason to discount the prohibitions of Leviticus, which was written by Jews, not Christians).

      Gay marriage, same sex marriage, is not directly discussed in the Torah anywhere, merely prohibitions on sodomy by men (the act) and the promiscuity of lesbians (the act).

      Between the scientists, the liberal rabbis,and the Jewish comedians, there is no confusion about same sex marriage.

      All those Christian theologians arguing above are all off the mark, I think.

  •  Always liked this (11+ / 0-)
    [block]An engineering professor is treating her husband, a loan officer, to dinner for finally giving in to her pleas to shave off the scraggly
    beard he grew on vacation. His favorite restaurant is a casual place where they both feel comfortable
    in slacks and cotton/polyester-blend golf shirts. But, as always, she wears the gold and pearl pendant he gave her the day her
    divorce decree was final. They're laughing over their menus because they know he always
    ends up diving into a giant plate of ribs but she won't be talked into anything more fattening than shrimp.[/block]

    [block]
    Quiz: How many biblical prohibitions are they violating?
    * Well, wives are supposed to be `submissive' to their husbands
    (I Peter 3:1).
    * And all women are forbidden to teach men (I Timothy 2:12),
    * wear gold or pearls (I Timothy 2:9),
    * or dress in clothing that `pertains to a man.' (Deuteronomy 22:5).
    * Shellfish and pork are definitely out (Leviticus 11:7, 10
    [ abomination] ),
    * as are usury [loaning money at interest] (Deuteronomy 23:19
    [deserving of death] ),
    * shaving (Leviticus 19:27),
    * and clothes of more than one fabric (Leviticus 19:19).
    * And since the Bible rarely recognizes divorce, they're
    committing adultery, which carries the rather harsh penalty of
    death by stoning (Deuteronomy 22:22).
    [/block]

    A fellow ain't got a soul of his own, just little piece of a big soul, the one big soul that belongs to everybody - Tom Joad, Grapes of Wrath

    by gladkov on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 06:15:49 AM PST

  •  Marriage was a sin in the early church (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lirtydies, sfbob, LynneK, walja

    For hundreds of years, couples who married were barred from the sacraments, and even from prayer.  They were considered to be living in a state of sin.  

    I heard this in a homily one morning at church, and my jaw dropped.  That was how Paul used to be interpreted.

    The point the priest was making is that the church evolves, in much the way apples ripen, to a fuller understanding.  Those who think Christians "always believed" something need to do a little research.

    "It's what you think you know that just ain't so that will get you into trouble." --Will Rogers

    by winterbanyan on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 06:16:52 AM PST

  •  Bible Schmible (0+ / 0-)

    Love is all there is, is what Jesus taught. Burn the rest of it.

    emerging research proven

    by bob zimway on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 06:30:58 AM PST

  •  arguments fall on deaf ears (4+ / 0-)

    Religionists are not terribly willing to listen to all reasonable arguments that contradict their deeply held beliefs. They are so locked into the fact that the Bible is precisely the word of god as opposed to the library of writings by humans with agendas, perceptions, prejudices, etc.

    Unless they (all) see it as literature and cultural history, they'll never shift their thinking on any of their pivotal points. Lots of super smart people can't make this basic change & it boggles the mind.

    It is the soul that must be preserved, if one is to remain a credible leader. -- Alice Walker to Obama

    by michele2 on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 06:55:19 AM PST

    •  Have you figured out why? (I'm with you on this) (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PoliticalJunkessa, CajunBoyLgb

      Imagine devoting your life to a rigidly held set of beliefs that are supposed to be carved in stone and inviolate. And imagine that you have perpetuated this belief somehow by rationalizing that those who break such laws are evil people who will be horribly condemned for all eternity in the afterlife.

      Cultural history would not do justice to all that they would have sacrificed and burdened themselves with if they found out everyone else got a pass simply by being rational.

      So if we (those who can rationalize that working on the sabbath should not mean you get stoned to death) and they've been sacrificing all these years, if they suddenly cave now it means that their entire belief structure for their life up to that point was a fools errand.

      Even as an unapologetic atheist, I don't like rubbing it in to that degree, because it has ugly consequences to a person's soul, but after having been assailed the way I have by believers, I'm learning to get over it. I can can see how the inability to face that internal ugliness can generate the kind of overt and abject hostility we see in Christians of late.

      By being rational, something that by definition religion never is, we're destroying their faith that is founded on the neccessity of suspending reason in many (too many) circumstances;

      It all started with Copernicus and Galileo - once we could point to something that proved the Bible did not have all the answers, the mortar started working loose from the joints, and it's a little disappointing to me (a lot, actually) that it's taken almost another 400 years since to get people on board with the idea that if the Bible is to be taken literally, it will become a joke on it's own merits.

      George Orwell is banging on the lid of his coffin and screaming, "1984 was a cautionary tale, you dolts, not a motivational speech!"

      by snafubar on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 09:52:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  excellent post. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        snafubar

        thank you. you are 100% right. The funny thing is though, if one can truly appreciate the biblical writings and other books that didn't make it into the canon for what they really are - there's an added dimension to their sanctity. Not as rules to live by but as a window into the struggles of cultures and people to survive and overcome. It just brings a whole other dimension to the idea of the human spirit.

        It is the soul that must be preserved, if one is to remain a credible leader. -- Alice Walker to Obama

        by michele2 on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 08:59:28 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's what I find so tragic about religion; the (0+ / 0-)

          precepts of humility, honesty, and respect for rules are all noble pursuits that serve mankind well. Sadly, most people who wrap themselves in God and say "we are all sinners" bullshit line are merely exusing the sins they have committed by believing that there are so many more around them who have done worse that "G"od will reward them as the lesser of all evils.

          I really wish I could stomach the idea of God as they have presented it, because I would love to be in the bleachers when so many of these pious assholes find out that St Peter isn't impressed with their bullshit justifications and demonization and sends them to the basement, screaming all the way down.

          It's really sick how the ones who have the most to apologize for somehow delude themselves to believe they are "G"od's favorite.

          Thanks for the comisseration and encouragement.

          George Orwell is banging on the lid of his coffin and screaming, "1984 was a cautionary tale, you dolts, not a motivational speech!"

          by snafubar on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 10:44:30 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for the heads-up (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ebby

    I sent a thank you note as well--it's important to express support for people/organizations as they (ever so slowly and carefully) come around to the truth.  I'm sure they're getting slammed by the other side.  If only those folks could put their seemingly boundless energy, enthusiasm, and overflowing wallets on the line for more decent causes!

  •  By the way... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ssgbryan, snafubar, LynneK, SoCaliana

    ...the same book of the bible that calls homosexuality an "abomination" uses the same word to condemn the eating of shellfish.  Curiously, I do not see our fundamentalist friends denouncing Red Lobster...

    "I'm not negative - I'm ANGRY!" -- Howard the Duck

    by Roddy McCorley on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 07:15:01 AM PST

    •  I have often commented to my religious friend (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lirtydies

      that if we made the books of the Old Testament into rigid US law, even if every state had as many execution chambers as Texas and kept them running every day of the year with summary executions with no appeals, there's still no way they could keep up with the demand.

      Seriously - arent' we supposed to be put to death for working on the sabbath? That's going to be tough to explain to people who run the sewage treatment plant, the hospital, the police department, and a long list of other essential services that according to the Bible should not be a rewarding career but a death sentence.

      But hey - they wanted a literal reading...

      George Orwell is banging on the lid of his coffin and screaming, "1984 was a cautionary tale, you dolts, not a motivational speech!"

      by snafubar on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 09:42:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  This from Newsweek's "reaction" page is amazing: (9+ / 0-)

    Ralph Reed, the former executive director of the Christian Coalition, says:

    "I see it as an attempt to caricature and reduce to a cartoon the social conservative belief in the efficacy of a traditional marriage, and try to reduce it to some formulaic, scriptural literalism," he said. "There's more of a practical, sociological foundation for why we seek to affirm marriage as an institution than I think is generally understood by those who want to legalize same-sex marriage."

    This is priceless, because once the argument is in "practical" and "sociological" terms, we win, period.  It surprises me to see Ralph Reed conceding so much.  But the Catholic Church, which has also made same-sex marriage a "non-negotiable" priority, also relies on a very elaborated view of society and family, which they also do not want "caricatured" as fundamentalism.  This tells me we need more liberal Catholics and liberal evangelicals demolishing the faux/blinkered sociology that the marriage-equality-opponents have already let in the door.

    •  They're retreating from the battlefield (7+ / 0-)

      at the first shot!  This is a big deal.  If Ralph Reed is abandoning "formulaic, scriptural literalism," they are giving up the only argument they ever had!

      You're right.  Once it's a debate about the pragmatic issues, we win.

      Kingman, Barstow, San Bernardino!

      by jem6x on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 07:56:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  you can bet they had an army out (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      snafubar, FishBiscuit, 1BQ, mellowwild

      to write nasty comments after this article.
      Of COURSE they are mad.  

      The problem these haters have is they have used Christianity to support their own outlook and in the end it doesn't work because the teachings of Jesus, at their core, are never at odds with social justice.  It is why abolitionism took off in the church in spite of those who insisted slavery was God's plan.  It is why the women's movement grew in the church in spite of those who insisted women should be submissive and quiet.

      Hate that promotes putting others down is simply at odds with Christ's teachings.  It worked before people had access to his words and life.  It has worked for a time when they did but sooner or later the hypocrisy and wrongness of it all gets to people.  

      this is a powerful article. It should be promoted because it really uses strong arguments that are based on the faith.

    •  I'm actually surprised he said that. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tdub

      That is a huge paradigm shift. There whole argument heretofore has been that without "formulaic, scriptural literalism" we would all be rudderless and lawless.  We need the Word of Gawd as a foundation to live! No extra-biblical reasoning wanted.  Looks like he's slipping on the job.

      President Barack Obama. 11.04.08.

      by PoliticalJunkessa on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 11:39:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Have a cartoon (10+ / 0-)

    Done with politics for the night? Have a nice glass of wine with Two Days per Bottle.

    by dhonig on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 07:47:06 AM PST

  •  "Bible" is fiction. Irrelevant to CIVIL rights. (4+ / 0-)

    Using the fictional Christian bible (same for Koran, Old Testament) as justification for or against civil rights issues (should homosexuals be denied equal rights) is wrong.

    If "all men are created equal" then homosexuals should get equal rights regarding civil rights we provide to "married" people on taxes, property, inheritance, health care, etc.  They also cannot be discriminated against on housing, jobs etc.

    •  You are not all voters (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dirkster42, mellowwild

      I wish someo f you here would not make it about your issues with religion. I don't care about religion either, but in talking to voters I do care that we do no ignore any aspect of the debate simiply because some of you want to remain pure. Go be pure on your own time. As for the rights of my friends- i say by any means necessary. including discussing the truth of the religion.

      •  Religion has no place in CIVIL RIGHTS. (5+ / 0-)

        We are a secular society and the point that has to be made is that we decide civil rights based upon our Constitution which is based on EQUAL RIGHTS.  

        Debating civil rights based on various religious texts is wrong.

        If people of various religious sects wish to debate what various writings say, that's fine but that is why they are guaranteed freedom of religion so they can pick whatever belief system they choose and practice it privately as opposed to in government.

        Government should not harass religion and religion should not harass government.

        "truth of the religion"

        There is no truth in religion. It is called faith for a reason. People choose to believe it even though it has no basis in fact.

      •  Some means work better than others (0+ / 0-)

        Despite what you may think I mainly agree with you on this issue. The confusion may well be due to framing.

        However, it is important to note that some are susceptible to logical argumentation (regardless of the foundations of their positions) while others are simply not interested in having their minds changed. It makes more sense to identify those who are open to a rational discussion, and then to use all the available means to sway them, than it does to waste time trying to engage those who have no interest in changing their opinions.

  •  on this same subject... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dirkster42, mellowwild, terabthia2

    • I heard Huckabee last night on Jon Stewart giving all the usual rationalizations and did a little research.


    In ancient Sparta,
    • homosexuality was seen as a virtue. Many religions are tolerant to homosexuality; Christianity has been always seen as highly intolerant to this. And this shaped the attitude of the European and Western civilization towards this phenomenon.

    Still, a new investigation shows that civil unions between male couples existed six centuries ago in medieval Europe. Moreover, gay marriages were not taboo in a "Dark Age" Europe. "Historical evidence, including legal documents and gravesites, can be interpreted as supporting the prevalence of homosexual relationships hundreds of years ago," said Allan Tulchin of Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania. "Western family structures have been much more varied than many people today seem to realize. And Western legal systems have in the past made provisions for a variety of household structures." signals Tulchin.

    Legal contracts in France in the 14th century referred to the same sex marriages as "affr�rement" ("fr�re" is French for brother). "Similar contracts existed elsewhere in Mediterranean Europe. In the contract, the "brothers" pledged to live together sharing "un pain, un vin, et une bourse," (in French "one bread, one wine and one purse"). The "one purse" referred to the idea that all of the couple's goods became joint property. Like marriage contracts, the "brotherments" had to be sworn before a notary and witnesses," explained Tulchin.

    "The same type of legal contract of the time also could provide the foundation for a variety of non-nuclear households, including arrangements in which two or more biological brothers inherited the family home from their parents and would continue to live together".

    But non-related males also made "affr�rement" contracts that could formalize homosexual relationships. "I suspect that some of these relationships were sexual, while others may not have been. It is impossible to prove either way and probably also somewhat irrelevant to understanding their way of thinking. They loved each other, and the community accepted that.", Tulchin said.

    • Affrerements – frère = brother in French
    This is a biblical custom that is rarely mentioned but which was very important to those ancient tribes; if you loved polygamy, this will really thrill you.

    • The levirate is a widespread institution, which requires that a man becomes the husband of a deceased brother's widow. In the biblical text this imposition is seemingly restricted to a situation in which both brothers reside in the same household and where the deceased has no son to succeed him. It is justified in terms of the need for him to have an heir so that "his name may not be blotted out of Israel(Deuteronomy 25:5)". In this regard, the dead brother rather than the living biological parent becomes the acknowledged or "sociological father" of the child, especially in regard to the establishment of an official genealogical line. (See the story of Judah and Tamara (Genesis 38).

  •  My neighbor is a very sweet woman (0+ / 0-)

    who is a staunch Christian Republican who loved Sara Palin.  We were over at her house one evening and I brought up various scripture from "Leviticus"
    and asked why some thing were no longer considered an abomination while others were?  She then went on to explain to me that she was just starting a Bible study and couldn't answer my question yet.  So what is amazing to me is that they believe what they are being told unconditionally, their minds will not be changed by mere facts.  It’s an interesting dilemma; there really isn’t any way to fight against unconditional belief because facts are irrelevant to the argument.

    The first thing lost in war is truth.

    by KatHart on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 09:03:48 AM PST

    •  I think she was very fair... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dwayne, mellowwild

      ...in saying that she wasn't completely sure, and would study more to find the answer, rather than making something up on the spot.

      I would expect the same from any scholar who didn't know the answer. I think a fair judgement of her that you could make is she was being honest with you.

      You can't explain to me exactly how quantum physics works, nor would I expect you to. I would, however, be fine with you believing in the theorems, and getting back to me with the answer once you have studied more. A similar example could be applied to studying Shakespeare.

      I think it would be fair for you to cut the lady some grace.

    •  Crazy. The OT is really the history of a people (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      terabthia2

      the Hebrew people. The New Testament is the relevent scripture for Christians.

      Repbulicans prefer the vengeful punishing God of the OT and DEMS prefer the Sermon on the Mount god of the NT. Simple.

      Of course, the fact that there are two gods seems to be lost on them all.

    •  I'd be interested (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      KatHart, dwayne

      in hearing what she has to say when she gets back to you. I've long forgotten the convoluted answer that my church leaders used to give me when I asked similar questions!

  •  We have to care about the Biblical arguments (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FishBiscuit

    because that is what opponents use to hang their objections on.

    Huckster on the Daily Show claimed that it wasn't from the Bible, but tradition. Stewart mentioned the traditions from the OT. he really gave it to him!!

  •  I hope the fundies keep hammering on this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FishBiscuit, PoliticalJunkessa

    because they are doing such a viscious disservice to their religion that the prospect of a secular society is about one more election cycle away. Sarah Palin inspired the fundies to throw victory parties only to find out that the people they sent invitations to had sworn off their faith out of disgust for what the followers had become.

    I usually put myself to sleep with the comforting thought that somewhere in the Bible "G"od probably dropped a few hints about hypocrisy, and that means that their turn to be judged comes up, the crowd who has voted Republican since 1980 will be falling downward fast and getting warmer just when they expected to be hearing harps and angels singing.

    George Orwell is banging on the lid of his coffin and screaming, "1984 was a cautionary tale, you dolts, not a motivational speech!"

    by snafubar on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 09:37:23 AM PST

  •  the core issue is this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    1BQ, terabthia2
    Are they Christians or are they Biblicans?

    Do they claim to be Christians, but put other teachings in the Bible above what Christ taught?

    Note that Christ said that He came to replace the teachings of the Old testament, beginning with "There are two commandments above all others: Love God with all your heart and love your neighbor as you would your self."

    Do they know the teachings of Christ, but refuse to act on them? That makes them the textbook definition of anti Christ.

    Note that Christ warned about those who would claim to be Christian but refuse to follow his teaching.

    So, to sum, Dobson, ad nauseum, are the anti Christ. They know and refuse what Christ told us to do.

    OK, Obama's President. NOW can we fix New Orleans?

    by azureblue on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 09:38:27 AM PST

  •  This is the same Lisa Miller (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dwayne

    who wrote the article, "Is Obama the Antichrist?"

    My thinking is, she has influence with people that would never listen to the likes of us.

    I don't have time to read her other articles now, but she seems like she actually is being fair, as fair as someone who takes the bible seriously, can be. (I'm assuming she believes in it.)

    "The company of those seeking the truth is infinitely to be preferred to the company of those who think they've found it." - Terry Pratchett

    by christineNYC on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 09:47:33 AM PST

  •  the "gay agenda" on "gay marriage". (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rieux, jem6x, lirtydies, beneldon, sfbob, dwayne

    MrMagpie, at the "Readback" link says it better than I could:

    Posted By: MrMagpie (December 10, 2008 at 11:46 AM)

    I won't even try to debate "gay" marriage with the religious zealots who refuse to accept it- I'm too busy being married. It's not a "gay" marriage, it's just a marriage. Legally speaking, my husband and I have no legal rights to be married,  but in every other sense we are. We live together, we love each other, we share our lives, money and time. We go out to dinner with friends, visit our families on holidays, and go to work every day. We argue, clean house, feed our dogs, mow the grass and occasionally entertain friends. After 13 years, 6 house renovations, countless hours of college classes and too many cars to count- we are still "married". I won't say I don't care about getting legally married- I do, and someday I will- but until then I have an actual marriage to attend to, one that no law and no religion can keep from me. So for all of you anti-gay-marriage proponents out there- you've lost the war! No matter what laws you pass against me, I am still going to be married, and someday we'll make it a "legal" marriage.

    Touche'!

    "A time comes when silence is betrayal." ~ MLK, Jr.

    by liberaldemdave on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 09:53:01 AM PST

  •  Here's my rant of late: SOAP. God left out SOAP. (5+ / 0-)

    Someone who hates gays gave me Leviticus as a place to start so I would believe that God really did not want homosexuality on Earth. So like the sincere investigator I am (being of scientific mindset, I often investigate things I am told) and I found out that the book of Leviticus also has lots of references to things that make people "unclean".

    now the rememdy for these "unclean" acts was usually some form of isolation (quarrantine) for some period of days, or some other pennance that could even be violent.

    If God really wanted people to be "clean" (think of the 'sores' passages) why did he simply not tell them how to make soap?

    We had to wait until Lois Pasteur looked through his microscope and discovered "animacules"; and he was shunned and ridiculed for his efforts. Out of this came the germ theory of disease.

    Then we had to wait further still until Joseph Lister first discovered that carbonic acid put the little animacules to death and people stopped getting sick. Out of this we developed sterile surgical techniques and later even discovered antibiotics to save lives.

    As a 41 year old who survived septicemia at the age of 8 months during surgery, I'm grateful my family and doctors were not rifling through the books of the Bible looking for answers, but instead gave me the then recently discovered Tetracyclene which saved my life.

    I also live with a shunt implanted in my brain, which is a little tube that goes all the way from my skull to my heart. Imagine the prohibition on foreign bodies in my body that would have made this a forbidden practice if the Bible were the medical reference used to treat hydrocephalus.

    So - if "G"od really wanted mankind to know how to be clean, and his Bible was the only set of rules "H"e gave us to accomplish this task,

    WHY IN THE HELL DID GOD INSTEAD JUST GIVE US THE RECIPE TO MAKE SOAP? Maybe even antibiotics would have helped.

    I'm sorry - i'm not deliberately trying to offend Christians by being dismissive to their faith, but since they are so unapologetically dismissive to my lack of one, and even overtly hostile, I have overcome my reservations.

    Someone else threw the first stone, and ever since it clocked me in the head, I've been less hesitant to throw them back.

    George Orwell is banging on the lid of his coffin and screaming, "1984 was a cautionary tale, you dolts, not a motivational speech!"

    by snafubar on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 10:09:52 AM PST

  •  Obviously a positive development (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dwayne

    Any article that continues to push this issue into the faces of voters is beneficial to the cause. One reason we can never come to conclusions on equal marriage rights in America is the issue is only brought to the general population's consciousness during election season as the proverbial carrot on a stick.

    The passages in Leviticus and elsewhere are more complex than many people on both sides of the issue give them credit for. How I tend to interpret them is that they describe a particular act of dominance usually found on the battlefield: the victor raping the loser.

    Also, as I'm sure is mentioned elsewhere in these comments, "homosexual" as a term is a recent (ca. 1940s/50s) inclusion into Biblical translations... and necessarily suspect because of that.

    Finally, while Lisa Miller deserves kudos for writing the article, this is still the woman who insinuated Obama was the Antichrist, which is still--no matter her views on this issue--not cool.

  •  The sad I have noticed is that the magazine racks (6+ / 0-)

    in the checkout lanes at grocery stores that once held Newsweek, Time, The Economist, etc... now how Soap Opera Digest, Woman's World, People, US, OK!,  Redbook, Cosmo, Martha Stewart Living, etc.

    I've only found ONE space that had a news magazine, Time, on the bottom with a display for the farmers almanac in front of it.

    No wonder people spend more time on Britney Spears and Paris Hilton than what's happening in their world, in their country, in their government.

    So this report, like last weeks on our health care problems and where we actually rank in accordance with other western nations NEVER is seen by those who should actually read up about these issues .. at the very least to have a different perspective or understand a perspective that is not their own.

    Maybe it's just here in MA, but I doubt it.

    Power concedes nothing- F.D. * Find out what any people will quietly submit to and you'll know the exact measure of injustice which will be imposed upon them.

    by Clytemnestra on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 10:12:50 AM PST

    •  You've got a good selection (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Clytemnestra

      At least if you are getting Redbook, People, US, etc. Our check out stands have National Enquirier and it's competitors; and a handful of "Crockpot Cooking" or "Christmas Cookies with Class", or "Heavenly Hamburger Dinners" or some such.

      (BTW - I don't get that with the recipe mags at check out. By that point I already know what I'm going to do with my ingredients. They should put those things over in the section where flour and sugar are sold, or the hamburger, or whatever. Then someone might pick up the book, get inspired by a recipe, and buy the rest of the ingredients they need)

      •  Oh we get those too (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Catte Nappe

        I just forgot to name them... and we both forgot the little Horoscope books and the Bible prophecy books, etc.

        Power concedes nothing- F.D. * Find out what any people will quietly submit to and you'll know the exact measure of injustice which will be imposed upon them.

        by Clytemnestra on Thu Dec 11, 2008 at 06:08:16 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks to your links, I went to the AFA (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jem6x, lirtydies, FishBiscuit, 1BQ, dwayne

    "protest page", obtained Newsweek's CEO's email address, and using the AFA's language as a starting point, wrote this email (from my own account, not their filthy website):

    BRAVO FOR NEWSWEEK!
    Dear Mr. Ascheim:

    I am very pleased that Newsweek ran this excellent interpretation of scripture within the gay marriage article in this week's edition.

    I am gratified to know where Newsweek now stands on the issue.  I ask for continued accuracy and fairness in your reporting on homosexual marriage in the future.  Considering your support for equal rights in America, you are surely on the right side of history.

    It is time the so-called "conservative" troglodytes were left in the dust.  They fight against all progress, light and knowledge.  "Religious conservatives" are actively anti-science and, beyond covering the tangled web of their activities, do not deserve the time of day.  They hold back our entire society.

    Again, I want to THANK Newsweek for the excellent article, revealing the true issues about "The Bible" and "Gay Marriage" = there are few to none.

    Thank you!

    Very truly yours,

    (Me)at(my real address)

    Here is his address, if more want to write:

    tom.ascheim@newsweek.com

    For Grins, here is the original AFA "Action Alert" Language:

    Dear CEO Ascheim:

    I am very disappointed that Newsweek would run such a distorted interpretation of scripture as you did with the homosexual marriage article in this week's edition.

    At least I know where Newsweek now stands on the issue.  I ask for accuracy and fairness in your reporting on homosexual marriage in the future.  Considering your strong support for homosexual marriage, I very much doubt your ability to be fair and accurate.

    droogie6655321 lives!

    by YucatanMan on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 10:20:21 AM PST

    •  Well, good news and bad news: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FishBiscuit

      Good News:  It appears that the AFA's address for Tom Ascheim does not work. Or has been shut down. So, all their protest letters are not being accepted.

      Bad News:  My message praising Newsweek was not delivered.  Everyone should know better than to trust the AFA on anything. They cannot even get Email addresses right, let alone evolution and creation!  ;-)

      You can try this one:  Letters@newsweek.com

      droogie6655321 lives!

      by YucatanMan on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 10:26:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The only reason why the bible speaks (6+ / 0-)

    negatively about homosexuality is because it seemed they always have in context of where people were in orgies, and in general any excess is bad because it detracts away from selfless focus.

    In other words, love between two people is not wrong, but when it degenerates into excess for either porn, adultery or in the extreme orgies, it becomes something more selfish and is more about gluttony which is not good for anyone.

    It takes away from fellowship of caring for one another and for God.

    So in my mind, anyone with any excessive obsession whether it's for golf and not spending time with kids, or whether it's gambling, or adultery, it's a slide into selfishness and darkness.

    God never intended in my opinion to stifle and prevent two people who love each other from being together. Love is to be celebrated, because from love, generous and selfless acts abound.

    So in my opinion God would celebrate two people who genuinely love and care for one another, regardless of whether or not they were straight. But that's just my opinion as a Christian.

    "Lead, follow, or get out of the way" - Thomas Paine

    by pinkbunny on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 10:33:54 AM PST

  •  Thanks (0+ / 0-)

    Whereas I personally could give a rats ass about what the bible says re: marriage (or anything else for that matter)I know it helps to have this information when discussing this issue with the 'righteous' members of my family and others who cling to the 'biblical' belief when it comes to marriage but not much else.  Thanks for an excellent diary.

  •  So I went to the reaction page... (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jem6x, lirtydies, Catte Nappe, sfbob, 1BQ, dwayne

    scrolled down, and saw a truly hilarious comment by gina123!!

    Her [Miller's] article was ridiculous - she picked and chose random verses to fit her point of view and didn't look at the Bible in its entirety.

    LOL (truly, I did lol)

    •  Uh... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jamesia, 1BQ

      Have you never noticed that that's what any fan of the Bible, conservative or liberal, will put up as his/her Ultimate Clincher Argument?

      Liberals think "the Bible in its entirety" has a liberal message, and they're willing to overlook any illiberal passage or story in the book on that basis. Conservatives think "the Bible in its entirety" has a conservative message, and they're willing to overlook any unconservative passage or story in the book on that basis. In both cases, it's just an excuse for a thoroughgoing confirmation bias.

      Why either flavor of Bible fan thinks they're so clearly superior to their opponents on this issue escapes me.

  •  This should at least take the purely religious (0+ / 0-)

    argument OFF the table.

    Then we have "tradition" which has a checkered past as well!

  •  great article, except (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catte Nappe, CajunBoyLgb, dwayne

    The author states:

    So the frustrating, semantic question remains: should gay people be married in the same, sacramental sense that straight people are? I would argue that they should.

    The "sacramental sense" is irrelevant, and it clouds the issue stirring up religious ire. I think articles like these, while good and informative, hurt the cause of pro-same-sex marriage people.

    The issue is not and should not be about whether same-sex marriage should be recognized by religions. Religions are free and always should be free to define sacraments for themselves. For example, the Catholic Church does not recognize divorce (unless of course you have enough money for the bogus Catholic version called an annulment), nor are priests required to marry anyone who has been divorced. No church will ever be forced by any law to recognize same-sex marriage. And that is what some are afraid of. They are afraid of exactly what this article is espousing, that same-sex marriage should be allowed in a "sacramental sense".

    The issue is about the "legal sense" and only the "legal sense". Religion has no place in this issue except to make sure every religious institution knows they will not be forced to change their "sacramental sense" on the issue. This article doesn't make that reassurance, it's just the opposite.

    "Every Pootie is a masterpiece." - Da Vinci

    by mdsiamese on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 12:27:46 PM PST

  •  traditional marriage wilts before competition? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jem6x, Catte Nappe, terabthia2

    I've been reading Garry Wills' discussion in "American Christianities" of James Madison's "Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments", in which Madison argues against the role of the state in enforcing religious policies. One bit that's always struck me, and that Madison addresses, is the idea promulgated by the evangelical anti-gay activists that if the state doesn't step in and "protect" us from that which they abhor, we will all go to hell. Is what they advocate so fragile that it can only be sustained by intervention of the state and all that implies -- courts and police force and mandated school curricula? Madison contended that if religion was so weak that it required the intervention of the state to sustain itself then it is best rejected rather than made more suspect via state dictate. Surely, says Madison, the right religion's "innate excellence and the patronage of its Author [God]" is adequate to sustain it. If it needs the state then this need serves only "to foster in those who still reject it a suspicion that its friends are too conscious of its fallacies to trust it to its own merits."

    Is "traditional marriage" itself not strong enough to withstand sharing the world with "same sex marriage"?

    [I left the above comment at Newsweek's site.]

  •  the article was fantastic (0+ / 0-)

    I've often used the argument, "If you really believe in traditional marriage then I should be able to trade your daughter for some livestock and marry three other women." Thats pretty much how it went during the Old Testament days. It usually leaves the Bible-thumpers stammering for a response.

    However, this article is a much longer and well-crafted version of the same argument of how much do we take literally of the outdated medieval and pre-medieval morality of the Bible. If we are going to ban homosexuality are we then also going to ban divorce, start putting adulterers to death and bring back the barbaric practice of slavery?

    The modern concept of marriage is two people who are in love and are equal partners in life and family. There really is no good argument that people who are attracted to the same sex have relationships that are any less deep or committed and should be excluded from the institution. This concept of equal partnership really only goes back a few decades and is a radical departure from most of the history of Western culture and Christianity.

    If anything, our modern concept of heterosexual marriage should be just as offensive to religious fundamentalists as gay marriage because traditional Biblical marriage was an institution where the man had all the power and the woman had no rights and was basically considered property. In addition, our modern concept that a women deserves part of the communal property of the marriage would be considered anathema by religious scholars of the past. At some point, we just have to take an honest look at which morals in the Bible are still applicable and which are just silly.

  •  Jon Stewart defending gay marraige against (0+ / 0-)

    Huckabee

    It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it. --Upton Sinclair

    by DJH NY on Wed Dec 10, 2008 at 03:41:49 PM PST

  •  I just emailed my thanks to Newsweek (0+ / 0-)

    Here's an address for those of you who want to do the same:
    webeditors@newsweek.com

    They can definitely use, and do definitely deserve, the support.  The other side is certainly giving them an inbox full of it.

  •  Yeah, right. (0+ / 0-)

    "and this article can help persuade many, many of those voters that they have been hoodwinked"

    LOL. Those that look to the Bible as the "inspired" word of god are not at all likely to be persuaded by something like this. I speak from experience here, having been a youth pastor in my distant past.

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