Stop sex: Defending marriage for real

Gay marriage? Three weeks in a row?

I can hear the complaining now. But the Christian right has latched onto same sex marriage like a dog with a bone, so I might as well throw them another bone.

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that the verse in the Gospels most often used to justify banning same sex marriage is, in fact, a verse saying that God does not permit divorce. (Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate. Mat 19:6). It has nothing to do with gay marriage except by extreme extrapolation.

(By my own extrapolation, however, since the verse talks about “man and wife” without specifically saying “female wife”—because females are only mentioned in an earlier verse—the verse accepts same sex male marriages but not same sex female marriages. If this seems bizarre, it’s only because that’s where extreme extrapolations lead you.)

But I was reading further and discovered that the Gospels go on to say: “It is better not to marry.” So there you have it. In a true defense of marriage act, no one would be allowed to get married.

Some might argue that Jesus doesn’t say this, the pharisees do. But that doesn’t matter if you believe every single word in the Bible is true. If the phrase makes it in the Bible we have to accept it. But, you know what? Jesus agrees with them. He says in response that some people can’t deal with that truth but it remains the truth.

In fact, he goes onto say that those who choose to be eunuchs for the sake of heaven are better off than people who marry. So double there you have it. In a true defense of marriage act, not only would marriage be banned, but we would all castrate ourselves.

But let’s back up. When questioned about divorce Jesus says laws permitting divorce are only a convenience for sinners (you know, gay people and liberals). But once people marry they are always married in heaven. So if you’re divorced and remarry, you commit adultery, which, in Paul’s book (and the OT), is just as bad as homosexuality.

But wait. Why does God consider a couple married forever? Because they cleaved to each other. Which means they had sex. So when you get right down to it, once you have sex, you’re married to that person for life. Even if your first sexual experience was with someone of the same sex and you later repented and became a Bible believing heterosexual Christian.

That’s right. If your first sexual experience is a same sex experience, according to the Bible, you are already married to your same sex partner. Male or female. So the defense of marriage act is actually calling the Bible a lie. Don’t take my word for it.

You can laugh, but I was raised Baptist Preacher’s Kid (BPK), and trust me, this was exactly what I heard every time a Baptist, Pentecostal or otherwise evangelical minister preached about marriage. And that would be up until 1972 when I decided to pass on the Baptist thing for good.

Jesus clearly sets out two different standards. Legal marriage and God’s marriage. As far as God is concerned, legal marriage is a technicality because it allows for divorce. So if legal marriage is a technicality for sinners like us, then defending legal marriage with a defense of marriage act is pointless because God doesn’t honor it.

In heaven, you’re either married or you aren’t, and you just get one shot at it. So the only marriage that matters is marriage in heaven, it doesn’t matter about marriage down here because it’s just a meaningless legal civil paperwork bone he threw us anyway. So let gays marry. It’s not God, it’s just the Constitution.

But if you’re still determined to have a defense of (US civil law) marriage act, here’s what it should say based on what we’ve learned over the last few weeks. Marriage is defined as a union between two people who:

  • Are virgins
  • Not divorced (i.e., virgins)
  • Not adulterers (i.e., virgins)
  • Not witches (and still virgins)
  • Never wished their parents were dead when they were children (and virgins)

This should come as no surprise. When I was raised BPK there were only two kinds of people God approved of, virgins and married people. And Paul, as you recall, preferred virgins.

So the real defense of marriage act should read: “In order to keep marriage sacrosanct, no one will marry and they won’t have sex either.”

With the resulting population decline we won’t even need a defense of marriage act.

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Kill them. Then let them marry.

So we’re back on the gay marriage thing again.

It’s tough to ignore when Christians across America decide Carrie Underwood albums are no longer fit to sit next to their stereos. Apparently the Holy Spirit can’t bless the songs of gospel singers when enemies of Christ cross the same laser beam.

I’m assuming .mp3s are even worse, because all those secular bytes might get scrambled in RAM with the God-fearing ones.

And, of course, now that she’s fallen so far from the grace of God, her music might well create Satanic ear worms that cause good Christians to want to run out and sin. Or marry a someone gay.

What did Carrie do? If the lead didn’t tip you off, Carrie confessed that she supports the rights of same sex couples to marry, and, even worse, she worships at a gay friendly church. Which means no church at all, by the way, but rather a coven of Satanists disguised as angels of light.

To be honest, I’ve never been a fan of Carrie Underwood. Not because she isn’t a tremendous talent, but because I can’t warm up to contemporary country. And if I did like country, I would listen to Taylor Swift (but I don’t because I don’t like country).

I would also bet Taylor Swift supports same sex marriage too. She did date Jake Gyllenhaal.

Gay marriage took a hit from another front. According to a study by the University of Texas (funded by a conservative think tank and conducted by a marketing research group), gay parents are really bad for kids. According to Mark Regnerus in his Slate Magazine article (which reports the results of—get this—his study), children of gay parents:

were more apt to report being unemployed, less healthy, more depressed, more likely to have cheated on a spouse or partner, smoke more pot, had trouble with the law, report more male and female sex partners, more sexual victimization, and were more likely to reflect negatively on their childhood family life, among other things.

I really love the “among other things” part. As if it could get worse. He went on to say that these children fared almost as poorly as children in single parent homes. This is an important comparison because, in fact, the children of gay parents studied were, in fact, children of divorce. Just children of divorce (or separation) with one gay parent.

I read the study, went through page after page of boring methodological description and even read the entire survey with programming instructions directing respondents to different areas of the survey. The study only focused on children with parents who split up, in other words, children with one gay parent. Not children adopted by gay couples.

Nor does the study, as best I can tell, distinguish between children who lived with the gay parent or the straight parent. The survey confuses the real question. Do children adopted by gay parents in a stable relationship fare worse than children of straight parents in a stable relationship?

Of course, Christians against same sex marriage also confuse politics with the Bible. The Bible makes it very clear that gay men are to be killed (Lev. 20:13). We are also supposed to kill adulterers (20:10) and, get this, kids who curse their parents (20:9).

That’s right. If you kid ever tells you to go to hell or that they hope you die (even if it’s behind your back), you’re required by the Old Testament to kill them. In fact, kids who curse their parents are considered a higher priority on the death list than adulterers who are a higher priority than same sex couples.

The Bible doesn’t say anything about stopping them from getting married.

So there we have it. If we really want to do the Lord’s will we have to kill same sex couples, adulterers and uppity kids. And if we deny same sex couples the right to marry we have to extend the Defense of Marriage Act to adulterers and uppity kids as well.

Or maybe the Christian right is overreacting. I don’t know. What do you think?

In the meantime, if you like Carrie Underwood you might as well keep listening. After all, supporting same sex marriage is better than voting Democrat.

Parallel universes and angels on pins

Readers of this week’s Onion were shocked to discover our universe is the backstory for a detective series called Hard Case in a parallel universe.When the series is cancelled, we will simply snap out of existence.

I know this isn’t pleasant news, and many readers will be in denial since we know that the end of the universe depends on Jesus finally deciding to show up again and tell all the unbelievers, “You’re screwed; we were right.”

The article may seem preposterous to some, but it is well-grounded in modern cosmology which suggests that ours is only one of many parallel universes, which may or may not connect. The most extreme versions (and most popular with the general public) suggest that whenever an event with more than one possible outcome occurs, the universe splits to pursue each outcome.

Readers versed in the literature of modern cosmology (which is considered a branch of science) generally have no problem processing this information, even if they balk at the most extreme possibilities. The theories are, after all, science and science is proved rather than something we take on faith.

Many Christians, however, find such ideas bizarre to the extreme. The idea of many universes spinning infinitely more universes seems outrageous. Much the way early rationalists found the idea of a universe filling with an infinite number of souls prior to life and in the afterlife outrageous.

The Onion article got me to thinking, however. As a writer I realize that the problem of infinite universes is compounded by the existence of art, music and fiction (whether it be novels, plays or film). At almost every stage in a musical score, a painting. every word of a poem and every plot twist in fiction, the author could in fact have created a different work.

Since we now know that thoughts are inevitably linked to brain states and structures (although we aren’t even close to knowing how) every artistic decision corresponds to a change in the physical world. Even if we don’t want to spin a new universe for fictional plot twists, we have to spin a new universe for corresponding brain states.

As a consequence we end up with infinite universes within infinite universes, or the equivalent of an open loop in computer code. Or perhaps Plato’s third man gone viral.1 Sooner or later the sequences can’t be stopped from proliferating forever.

Wow, you might say. What’s the point of this? The point is that scientists tend to reduce the choice between science and faith to a single logical proposition, a proposition known as Occam’s Razor. Basically the argument suggests that given a choice between two explanations, the simplest is preferable.

To scientists a big bang and subsequent evolution through random change and mutation seems like a much more simple explanation than a divine being who guides the universe. The problem is, simple to whom? To many religious thinkers, one cause (God) is a simpler explanation than a complex chain of random events. It’s simple math.

The problem with Occam’s Razor is that it is merely a window into the mind of the thinker. “Simple” is a relative value. There are too many ways to define it, and yet it seems, on the surface, to be a clear cut principle.

Invoking Occam’s Razor creates a number of additional problems for science. It isn’t empirical. There is no way to create a test to prove or disprove the fact that the simplest explanation is the best. Many would suggest that science is filled with explanations that are far from the simplest, including relativity, string theory, variable speeds of light and quantum mechanics.

Nor is it science. It is a philosophical principle first adopted by Ptolemy who also came up with the idea that everything in the universe revolved around the earth (which is, admittedly, the simplest explanation if not completely wrong). It takes it’s name from a Franciscan monk to suggest that miracles are best explained by the fact that they please God.

It doesn’t get more scientific than that. 2

I have no problem with science. I think science has a legitimate claim to explaining the workings of the universe. But I think scientists and philosophers make a strategic mistake when they try to claim that science has exclusive privileges to providing those explanations. By trying to make people choose between God and science, they make it more difficult for politicians and school boards to side with science when the electorate is hostile.

It’s easy to claim the electorate is composed of morons, but they’re still morons that science has to answer to when seeking public funds for science education, stem cell research, climate change legislation or anything the Christian right believes stands in the way of faith in the public sector.

Oh, and they’re not all morons. Many are quite bright. But when told they should reject their faith or be labelled stupid, it’s only natural to get their defenses up. I certainly do.

To deny that science has any role in explaining the universe, however, does appear to be moronic. Especially when the same deniers run to the pharmacy for aspirin or climb in their cars or buckle into an airplane and trust that it stays aloft. Or wear eyeglasses, check in for heart surgery, accept pacemakers or even take antibiotics.

To acknowledge the earth circles the sun when the Bible says the sun stood still is to side with science over the Bible, but it is something Christians do every day.

As the early church never seemed to learn, in a war of ideas everybody loses. We mistakenly assume ideas are real things with a truth all their own (we can thank Plato for this). In fact ideas, theories and even beliefs are glimpses of a universe too large to comprehend, not just the laws that drive it but any divine presence behind it.

Scientists need to remember that few theories remain intact longer than than three or four centuries, and many have to be revised or even discarded in less than a generation as new information comes to our attention. Christians need to remember that Jesus claimed he was the truth, not the Bible or any of the beliefs his followers held (which almost always proved to be misguided in some way).


1The third man argument was Aristotle’s jab at Plato, who believed that things we encounter are reflections of a very real ideal (perfect form). Each of us, for example, is a reflection of the perfect human that gives meaning to us all. The third man argument suggests that if this is true, there must be a third higher form of human and individual by which both might be compared. For that higher form there must be an additional higher form. If this seems tedious to you, it’s not to people who love Plato anymore than parallel universes are tedious to scientists, or angels are tedious to many Christians.
This may be why people tend to avoid conversations with philosophers, scientists and Christians. If you don’t know what they talk about they all seem tiresome, and if you do understand you forget how tiresome you can be.back
2Before you leap to the conclusion that I have resorted to argument by slander, a strategy I often (correctly) attribute to Republicans and the Christian right, let me point out that my real argument is this: Occam’s razor can and has been used to justify a number of very unscientific conclusions. And not because it was used incorrectly.back

Damned Democrats. Literally.

Growing up Baptist I heard a lot of crazy things. I didn’t even have to be a Baptist Preacher’s Kid (BPK), even though I was. All I had to do was listen. And I heard some doozies. I heard:

  • “Back in the USSR” was a secret homage to Soviet Communism.
  • The apostle Paul carried the King James Bible on his missionary journals.
  • Jesus turned water into grape juice but they didn’t have a name for it so they called it “wine.”
  • The Bible forbids boys and girls from swimming in the same pool.
  • Everything in the Bible is literal but the bit about communion being Jesus’ body and blood is only symbolic.
  • The Bible forbids negroes from marrying white people. 1

I never heard anything as weird as the one Carol sent me from Dennis Marcellino on conservativebyte.com. Get this: “The BIBLE SAYS if you vote for a democrat and were to die thereafter you would go to hell.” In fact, his message is so important, the entire sentence is the address of the post.

The “die thereafter” part is superfluous since it’s pretty much a given that anyone who votes Democratic or Republican or doesn’t vote at all will die thereafter. But it sure makes the warning even more dire. And he doesn’t warn about a lifetime of voting Democratic, we’re damned if we vote just once. Their is no scale for more acceptable Democratic candidates and the really evil Moslem Democrats who lied about their birth certificates. All Democrats are 11 on a scale of 10.

Marcellino is fairly apologetic about delivering the news. He says, “This is not meant to be emotional or inflammatory, it is simply stating a fact and to warn.” Too late for me, mind you. I was damned when I voted for McGovern in 1972 and have sealed my fate in every election since.

Even worse, I served as Democratic Precinct Chairman and was elected delegate to the state convention in 2000. To throw more fuel on the fire, I voted with La Raza Unida whenever they ran a candidate, volunteered for the Rainbow Coalition both times Jackson ran and I worked with ACORN for several years. I joined the Wobblies and if Eugene Debbs were still around, he would get my vote.

But Marcellino is simply stating facts and who am I to argue with facts, especially knowing that my fate is forever sealed? It’s too late for me, but perhaps I can help Marcellino reach my readers before they cast that fatal vote.

If only I had known in time to warn you for the primaries. But since the primaries don’t actually elect anyone, maybe there’s hope if you vote right in the fall.

You see, Marcellino qualifies his warning little. You can repent (and presumably vote the Tea Party line from here on). But here’s a little more to chew on:

  • “The Bible does say that if a person votes for a democrat (the promoters and supporters of sin) and were to die without repenting of that, he or she is going to hell.”
  • “I think this is an important message for blacks and hispanics who think they are Christians and who don’t want to offend God but who vote lock step for democrats.”
  • “2Thess. 2:12, says that if a pro-gay marriage person were to die today with that stance, they would not go to Heaven. ‘Then everyone who did not believe the truth, but was delighted with what God disapproves of, will be condemned.’ And one way that a person expresses that delight is: how they vote … especially if it’s for a candidate who supports gay marriage or any other sin.”

Or, perhaps, Marcellino misread the scriptures. The key phrase in this verse, at least so far as the English translation, is “delighted.” I don’t think “delight” describes the feeling Christians, or even liberals, feel when we take a political stance that the Constitution was intended to protect the rights of the disenfranchised. We don’t delight in homosexuality any more than we delight when an unborn child is terminated. We don’t dance in the street and shout giddily: “Hooray, another baby died and two more deviants tied the knot.” We don’t put on party music and silly hats or celebrate in any way

Unless, perhaps, we’re invited to the wedding. But the celebration would be for the happy couple, not the fact that we participated in an institution offensive to God.

In fact, I don’t know any woman who had an abortion who took delight in it. Women are usually emotionally devastated by the act. And the gays I know only delight in being gay as a challenge to those who hate them. It’s there way of saying, “If you’re going to get in my face, then I’m going to rub my gayness in yours.” I don’t know a single person who said, “I’m going to be gay and put up with crap from my co-workers, family and gay bashing Christians because it’s so delightful.”

Okay, maybe we take a little delight when certain folks write ignorant comments like, “The BIBLE SAYS if you vote for a democrat and were to die thereafter you would go to hell.” In fact, it’s really hard not to laugh out loud. But that delight quickly fades when we remember how crazy some Christians can be when they start torching abortion clinics and beating gays to death.

Let’s see what else Marcellino wrote. “Romans 1:32, ‘Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things* deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.’ And one way we approve is by how we vote. (* “such things” are in the rest of Romans 1:18-31 – e.g. homosexuality, lesbianism, strife, deceit, slander [political sound bites], gossips, idol worshippers, God-haters, atheists – all primarily attributes of liberals.)”

His conclusion? “Many who think they are Christian aren’t going to Heaven.”

How nice of him to let us know who made it into God’s Book of Life before it’s official.

There’s a problem with using that passage in Romans, however, because the Christian right gets caught in their own blowback. For instance, strife. Who causes the most strife in today’s Church? The Christian right, who is willing to accept homicide as a solution to abortion (not all of them, but some of the most outspoken). Liberal Christians tend to prefer pacifism, which is the opposite of strife. We don’t provoke or encourage others to decide as they do, we accept them regardless. As did Jesus, who thought hookers and drunks were a lot more fun to hang with than stuffy old rabbis and self-righteous.

Tea Party members have even been known to physically assault opponents and the Christian right has made it clear that they will not compromise otherness, nor will they accept them as believers. They even make provocative statements such as “unrepentant Democrats will go to hell.” Which would be unrepentant Democratic voters like me. 2

This is the opposite of the apostle Paul who made a practice of honoring the practice of the local churches he visited, even if he didn’t accept them himself. In the Jerusalem church he kept Kosher. He did not deride Peter and James for advocating circumcision even though he didn’t see it as God’s command (and even though he was under constant fire from the Jerusalem Church). Many Christians felt is was impossible for Christians who ate meat sacrificed to idols to be saved (including the author of Revelations). Even though Paul disagreed, he refused to eat sacrificed meat in the company of kosher believers.

How about gossip and slander, which includes (at least according to Marcellino) political sound bytes. I went to the web site that featured his column (which is ironically called conservativebyte.com) and found:

  • No mistake! Obama backs Muslim Brotherhood again
  • Obama Politicizes Memorial Day: No More Wars Unless ‘Absolutely Necessary’
  • Planned Parenthood Encourages Woman to Get Sex-Selection Abortion
  • Obama’s Secret ‘Kill List’
  • Obama Twice in 2 Days Mentions ‘My Sons’ — even with Teleprompter (!!! Now that’s a byte worthy scandal)
  • Obama Expanding His Enemies List
  • What Unemployment?: Obama To Attend 6 Fundraisers Today (next to a picture of Obama playing golf and ignoring the fact that Romney held a number of fundraisers too)
  • Muslim Brotherhood infiltrates U.S. public schools?
  • Obama Flies Special Barber To WH Every Two Weeks
  • It’s the Little Things: Obama Insults Poland, Awards Medal of Freedom to Socialist Icons
  • Reprehensible Holder Scares Black Voters
  • Businessman Faces Backlash After Appearing on Obama’s Enemies List
  • Obama Insults Poland with Crass and Ignorant ‘Polish Death Camp’ Remark
  • Somebody (Obama) Watched Too Many Episodes of ‘The West Wing’

Not only do all of these headlines qualify as political sound bytes, they sound like gossip and border on slander. I especially like the headline about Obama mentioning his sons. I heard gossip like this constantly as a BPK. “Did you hear what Jennifer said? She said there’s nothing better than drinking on a hot summer day.”

The real message of the passage in Romans is that God finds gossip as heinous as he finds adultery and gay cruising. No one gets to claim the high ground because no sin is worse than another. You can’t grade sin, it’s all 11 on a scale of 10.

So I would like to remind Marcellino of a couple of other scriptures:

  • Don’t judge lest you be judged.
  • Don’t resist evil people. In fact, help them on their way.
  • Don’t point out the speck in other’s eyes when you have a beam in yours.

In other words, worry about your own sins and not the sins of others. In the New Testament depictions of judgment, no one is called to answer for what other people did.

I think we can safely say that most Democrats, and Christians who support the party’s candidates aren’t pro-abortion, or promoting homosexuality. We simply think government should keep out of people’s lives the way Republicans want to keep government out of their gun cabinets.

I’ve generally found that Christians have one of two views of God’s realm. Some want it to be bigger and others want to keep it tiny and exclusive. Too often we say that’s God’s decision but we project our own desires onto the realm we envision. Jesus preached generosity of spirit above most other virtues. And part of that generosity is to stop volunteering to help with God’s plan for others. We have enough time following that plan ourselves.


1Sound familiar? Too bad they didn’t think of a defense of marriage act in the sixties.back
2Technically I’m independent because I will vote for third parties and even candidates I know will piss the party off. (For instance I voted for Al Sharpton in the 2004 primary.) But I will accept the label of Democrat because I have yet to meet a Republican who deserved my vote. Whenever the Democratic party dumped such colossal turds such as Dolph Brisco onto the ballet, the Republicans made sure to counter with a candidate that made him look good. So I voted for the La Raza candidate Ramsey Muñiz. In other elections I simply wrote in “none of the above,” which so pissed off one precinct chair that she posted a sign in later elections warning “No voting ‘none of the above.'” It didn’t stop me.back