Pharisees tinkering with time stamps

It's been quite a week for Republicans, both in nationally and in our own dear state of Texas. They waved the banner for the rule of law, which is very important to Republicans. The rule of law is essential to America and to Christianity itself. It’s at the heart of the Old Testament.

This is why the Republicans have been so keen to keep those indiscriminate, wanton fraudulent voters from the polls. You know, the poor blacks without drivers licenses who can't get off work and can't afford to pay for transportation to get to the polls anyway. And in Texas they were most incensed when Democrats skirted the rules of filibuster by trying to help Ft. Worth Senator Wendy Davis adjust her back brace during an abortion bill debate. They were so incensed that they started a ruckus that caused the session to run into overtime and cause their precious abortion bill to expire.

No problem. The Texas Republicans decided to pass the abortion bill and change the time stamp to show it was passed before midnight. Not illegal at all. Just a technicality. After all, they were Republicans and they could make the rules since they were the majority. Even after the game was over and they lost. So they changed the time stamp and declared victory.

It wasn't the first time they changed the rules during the game. The abortion bill had been defeated during the regular session because the Democrats managed to get enough Republicans to vote against the bill to keep it from coming to the floor. It seems the rule required a majority vote within the Senate. So the Republicans brought it up again during the special session, which isn't supposed to happen. The special session is supposed to be limited to bills the Governor calls for consideration. But they added it to the roster anyway.

Then the Republicans changed the rules of the Senate to allow the abortion bill to come to a vote if a majority of Republicans supported it. And it still went down in flames. Only to be resurrected by the miracle of a time stamp. Proving Jesus is on their side.

Except that those sneaky Democrats took photos of the bill with the original time stamp showing that it expired. So now the Republicans are relying on the miracle of Rick Perry who has called another special session, making sure the Republicans have an entire month to pass the abortion legislation that was tacked on as an afterthought and rammed through in violation of every procedural rule of the Texas Senate. And he rubbed it in at a pro-life rally by gleefully telling Senator Davis that she should be glad that her own mother, who struggled financially, didn’t abort her.

I can't help but feel a calculated heartlessness in these moves, no less calculated or cynical than the Roberts court, who cited the fact that the advances in minority access to the polls under the Voting Rights act prove it was never necessary and was unconstitutional. Even as the very states that the Civil Rights Act singled out are openly preparing to limit minority access to polls with voter i.d. challenges, redistricting, gerrymandering and probably changing polling locations, the Roberts court claims that the success of laws to stop these practices proves they will do no harm.

Clearly the Republicans believe the rule of law is for others and not for them. Should the rules prove an inconvenience for their agenda, they simply move them. Should the rules prove inadequate to stop behaviors they disapprove of, they move to make them harsher than ever.

They remind me of the Pharisees in Luke 11, who “make clean the outside of the cup and the platter; but (whose) inward part is full of ravening and wickedness,” (39) and the lawyers who “lade men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers” (41). No, they don’t remind me. They are no different. This is not acceptable, and whether they wrap themselves in the rhetoric of law or Jesus they should be called for their hypocrisy.

On the other hand, the Roberts Court upheld some of the rights of same sex couples in marriage, probably because those rights involve white men. It was a 5-4 decision. You have to ask, and if you don't, I do. Is someone on the Republican side of the bench just the tiniest bit bicurious?

 

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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.