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Old 10-28-2006, 05:49 PM   #271
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I got one from the Human Rights Campaign...but I have since got a new car and haven't ordered one.

http://hrccornerstore.myimagefirst.c...8ALM74XNJXFWVF
I was hoping to find one with the words as well. I live in a rather, um, conservative neighborhood. They'll need the words, too.
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Old 10-28-2006, 10:52 PM   #272
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Well, it has also been argued that non-white people aren't part of "God's original plan." And that different languages aren't part of "God's original plan." And that anyone who isn't Judeo-Christian aren't part of "God's original plan."

Never mind the anthropological evidence to the contrary on all three accounts.

But, basically, that means that 7/8+ of the world isn't part of "God's original plan," one way or another.


Melon
I know, I know. I've been thinking about that last post for awhile and wondered if I should have even gone there. I mean, what real point did it serve. (Other than to prove to AEON that I too, can take an unpopular stand. How shameful. Supposedly, I dont' care what other people think and just post my convictions) I should probably just withdraw the post and leave it at that. But no. . .I'm going to dig my hole a little deeper first.

You know I might be willing to accept that non-white people aren't a part of God's original plan--provided that one accept that white people weren't part of God's original plan either. Who knows what "race" Adam and Eve were (or, if you believe in evolution, what race the first humans were)? I don't know that they were black. I'm certain they weren't white.

We're now wandering into different territory, where we would defintely take different points of view--the nature of man, the origins of man, etc.

To be fair, I don't think that the "way I am" is part of God's original plan either. I believe that I--and all of us--were born "broken" so to speak. So that means not just 7/8 but 8/8 f the world. None of us fit what God's "original plan" was before sin entered the picture. For one thing, none of us live forever, and Iknow that's what God originally intended for us. I don't feel awful about that. I don't go around thinking "I'm broken, I'm not like what God originally intended, I suck, man it's a good thing Jesus decided to take pity on me." Not anymore than I go around beating myself up because I weigh only 126 lbs and am not the greatest looking guy to ever walk the earth.

And more to the point, I'm not so sure that the way heterosexuals marry and give in marriage is according to God's original plan either. I know it sure wasn't during Biblical times and it may not be today. This is what I think Jesus may have been referring to in the text I asked Aeon about.

I know we differ on this perspective, but hope you can at least see that in my offense I am an equal opportunity offender.
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Old 10-28-2006, 10:58 PM   #273
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Hmm...I don't know if I agree. I believe that if God created people to be born of different sexual orientations, then that shows it is indeed part of God's plan. Sexual orientation is just what it is, orientation. People are born that way. It's not a disease, abnormality, or a choice. It is something people are born into.

I respect your opinion, I just think differently about it in terms of being God's plan and all.
Yeah, and as I said before, there was really no point in me bringing it up, because really, what does it matter? The issue of whether God "created us" a certain way or we are born a certain way "because of the impact of sin", is at least for me, moot. We come to the same conclusions. That homosexuals are children of God just as much as anyone else, and that they should have the same rights as anyone else.
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Old 10-28-2006, 11:01 PM   #274
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We come to the same conclusions. That homosexuals are children of God just as much as anyone else, and that they should have the same rights as anyone else.
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Old 10-29-2006, 01:38 AM   #275
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You know I might be willing to accept that non-white people aren't a part of God's original plan--provided that one accept that white people weren't part of God's original plan either. Who knows what "race" Adam and Eve were (or, if you believe in evolution, what race the first humans were)? I don't know that they were black. I'm certain they weren't white.
Evolutionary theory says that humans were once all black--at least twice over. 80,000 years ago, there was a supervolcanic eruption (rare, but periodic eruptions that are so large as to be able to cover an entire continent in lava and most certainly block the entire atmosphere with ash) in Indonesia that killed every human except around 10,000 or so in Africa, who then repopulated the entire world that we know today. It is presumed that we'd have had races the first time around too, but skeletal remains don't reveal racial identities.

Races are meaningless, to me. The purpose they serve is solely related to UV protection and Vitamin D, which is a necessary human nutrient, but toxic in fatal amounts and lethal in a deficiency. Dark skin, as such, serves to protect against skin cancer and block excess Vitamin D production in sunny tropical areas. White skin is an adaptation to allow humans to live in colder climates, which have indirect sunlight, and, as such, make for optimal Vitamin D production in lower, indirect sunlight and covered skin (since you need to wear lots of warm clothes with little exposed skin when it's cold).

Races are simultaneously meaningless, but vital for the survival of the human race. They're certainly part of God's plan, no matter what the Bible says or doesn't say.

Quote:
And more to the point, I'm not so sure that the way heterosexuals marry and give in marriage is according to God's original plan either. I know it sure wasn't during Biblical times and it may not be today. This is what I think Jesus may have been referring to in the text I asked Aeon about.

I know we differ on this perspective, but hope you can at least see that in my offense I am an equal opportunity offender.
Understood. It's my own personal philosophy that science and reason are instruments of "God's will," which hearkens back to medieval Christian philosophy. Sure, they were then of the perspective that science could correspond to the Bible, and they came up with a whole bunch of wacky hypotheses, as a result (including my "favorite" where they believed that all fetuses were inherently male, and that female fetuses were a result of Satan's interference in the womb [ironically, science has revealed that all fetuses are actually inherently female]).

That aside, science, over the last couple of hundred years, has revealed some breathtaking beauty about us, as a species, and I've come to appreciate the beauty of mankind, "flaws" and all. I'm increasingly of the view that what humans define as "perfection" and what God would define as "perfection" are clearly two different definitions.

Melon
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Old 10-29-2006, 05:34 AM   #276
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Evolutionary theory says that humans were once all black--at least twice over. 80,000 years ago, there was a supervolcanic eruption (rare, but periodic eruptions that are so large as to be able to cover an entire continent in lava and most certainly block the entire atmosphere with ash) in Indonesia that killed every human except around 10,000 or so in Africa, who then repopulated the entire world that we know today. It is presumed that we'd have had races the first time around too, but skeletal remains don't reveal racial identities.

Races are meaningless, to me. The purpose they serve is solely related to UV protection and Vitamin D, which is a necessary human nutrient, but toxic in fatal amounts and lethal in a deficiency. Dark skin, as such, serves to protect against skin cancer and block excess Vitamin D production in sunny tropical areas. White skin is an adaptation to allow humans to live in colder climates, which have indirect sunlight, and, as such, make for optimal Vitamin D production in lower, indirect sunlight and covered skin (since you need to wear lots of warm clothes with little exposed skin when it's cold).
Very interesting stuff. All new to me.

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Originally posted by melon
Races are simultaneously meaningless, but vital for the survival of the human race. They're certainly part of God's plan, no matter what the Bible says or doesn't say.
To be honest, I'm just guessing on the issue of race. As far as I know the Bible doesn't say anything one way or the other.



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I've come to appreciate the beauty of mankind, "flaws" and all.
Me too.

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Originally posted by melon
I'm increasingly of the view that what humans define as "perfection" and what God would define as "perfection" are clearly two different definitions.

Melon
I'd have to agree with you on that.

By the way, I wanted to say one more thing squarely on subject. . .since I know we've wandered a bit.

Even if I did feel, as I once did, that homosexual marriage was Biblically wrong, I still would not argue that there should be any legislation against it. Marriage, as recognized by the state, is a secular institiution, should remain a secular institution, and religious considerations should not be involved.

But that's just me.
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Old 10-29-2006, 09:29 AM   #277
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Marriage, as recognized by the state, is a secular institiution, should remain a secular institution, and religious considerations should not be involved.
Now here's where I totally got confused. Until these debates about Gay Marriage and Marriage Amendments came up, I had absolutely NO IDEA that marriage was a non-religious institution. My understanding was that marriage was religious and civil unions were not.

And coming from that perspective, my stance on the issue was that I didn't want any legislation whatsoever on it, and I wanted it left up to the churches to decide. I've always seen marriage as a divine sacrament shared by two people who loved one another (and those two people can be anybody). Civil Unions I saw as the same special commitment between 2 people in love, but without the whole church thing.

I was angered when I realized that there are laws, and the gov't can create even more of them. I personally want to marry someone because I am called to them by God, not b/c some gov't run by some dude who already thinks he is god says it is okay according to his laws.

But...now that I realized there are laws, my world has been turned upside down. I don't know who I am and what to think anymore.




j/k

But seriously, can someone help me to understand the difference between civil unions and non-religious marriages? I'm sorry it is a dumb question, but I could use some understanding of this, because I've been way wrong in my thinking.

Last year my students brought in 2 public officials and had a gay marriage debate on campus, and I was getting angry with the pro guy. He kept talking about separation of church and state. It frustrated me because I don't think homosexual couples should be denied the opportunity to have a religious marriage. They are just as capable of receiving God's love and experiencing God's sacraments as I am.

Also, it worries me that laws CAN be passed on sacraments. What next? Is this country going to pass laws on who can be baptized?

It scares me that the gov't has that much control over our private lives. But then again, I have been coming from a VERY skewed perspective. Someone please help me out here so I can get my facts straight
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Old 10-29-2006, 10:00 AM   #278
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Evolutionary theory says that humans were once all black--at least twice over. 80,000 years ago, there was a supervolcanic eruption (rare, but periodic eruptions that are so large as to be able to cover an entire continent in lava and most certainly block the entire atmosphere with ash) in Indonesia that killed every human except around 10,000 or so in Africa, who then repopulated the entire world that we know today. It is presumed that we'd have had races the first time around too, but skeletal remains don't reveal racial identities.

Races are meaningless, to me. The purpose they serve is solely related to UV protection and Vitamin D, which is a necessary human nutrient, but toxic in fatal amounts and lethal in a deficiency. Dark skin, as such, serves to protect against skin cancer and block excess Vitamin D production in sunny tropical areas. White skin is an adaptation to allow humans to live in colder climates, which have indirect sunlight, and, as such, make for optimal Vitamin D production in lower, indirect sunlight and covered skin (since you need to wear lots of warm clothes with little exposed skin when it's cold).

Races are simultaneously meaningless, but vital for the survival of the human race. They're certainly part of God's plan, no matter what the Bible says or doesn't say.

Not all Orthodox Christians believe that the earth is only 6,000 years old that the universe was created in seven 24 hour periods of time. I am one of them.

I have posted on this before, but I see no incompatibly with modern astrophysics and Genesis. The Big Bang fits in quite nicely with an idea of a single moment that the universe came into being. There are also several passages about God stretching out the heavens – which would fit with this idea of an expanding universe.

God has a design and a plan for us humans. In my opinion, 80,000 years of change is nothing but a blink of an eye to God. To me, this is even more evidence of a Designer.



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Originally posted by melon


Understood. It's my own personal philosophy that science and reason are instruments of "God's will," which hearkens back to medieval Christian philosophy. Sure, they were then of the perspective that science could correspond to the Bible, and they came up with a whole bunch of wacky hypotheses, as a result (including my "favorite" where they believed that all fetuses were inherently male, and that female fetuses were a result of Satan's interference in the womb [ironically, science has revealed that all fetuses are actually inherently female]).

That aside, science, over the last couple of hundred years, has revealed some breathtaking beauty about us, as a species, and I've come to appreciate the beauty of mankind, "flaws" and all. I'm increasingly of the view that what humans define as "perfection" and what God would define as "perfection" are clearly two different definitions.

Melon
I am actually in complete agreement with this part of your post. Yet, somehow, I still think you place most Orthodox Christians into the same box. This is understandable, since many of the Orthodox Christians that still insist on making science the enemy also happen to be the most vocal.
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Old 10-29-2006, 01:53 PM   #279
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It seems the main reason why some feel that a redefinition of marriage is necessary is based on a desire to receive the “benefits” bestowed on traditionally married couples. If this is the reason on which to refine marriage – then I see no “reason” to open the floodgates all together. Why not? What reason do we have to limit these benefits to anyone? Please offer an answer not based on personal preference (most here are sickened by incest, but there are a few souls out there that really enjoy it – what are your reasons for denying them the benefits of marriage?)

For me, all of this is dealt with quite nicely by my faith. I have a source for my definition. What is the “source” for the definition for gay marriage other than feeling, societal trend, secular humanism, or moral relativism? I am not willing to put my faith in man or manmade ethics. Because you are Jewish – we share some scriptural foundations for values – and one of them comes from Proverbs 3:5 “5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”
It's not just the benefits, it's also the responsibilities, before the state and (in the case of religious "redefinition") before God and one's faith community. I don't myself see it as "redefinition" really, any more than I'd see the transition from arranged marriages to freely chosen ones as "redefinition"--the rights and responsibilities of spouses do not change.

As far as incestuous marriages go, Irvine already mentioned the major "secular" objection--the dramatically increased risk of birth defects, or more technically, creating an inbreeding depression, with resulting steep increases in infant and child mortality, stunted growth and development, severe immunodeficiencies, and incidence of congenital disorders. In addition, there is the problem that sexual relationships between close relatives are likely to be of dubious consensuality, which in a culture like ours (unlike, say, that reflected in the Bible, where marriages were arranged) presents an additional ethical reason not to sanction them. Incidentally, according to the Bible it is perfectly fine for you to marry your niece (though not for a woman to marry her nephew), yet all 50 states forbid this as incest. Do you then object to this prohibition?

As far as polygamy, I don't myself in principle object to legalizing it, so long as such marriages would be consensual and the right to take multiple spouses allowed to women as well as men. However, what relatively little is known about the practices of the several thousand American fundamentalist Mormons living in polygamous households is not encouraging in this respect: check the "Polygamy" archives of the Salt Lake Tribune, for example, if you have the access--a disturbingly long list of legal cases involving marriages which violated US or state laws pertaining to incest, age of consent, and educational neglect (with girls invariably being the victims). Although these marriages are themselves, of course, not legal either (i.e., sanctioned by religious authorities only) they are in fact seldom if ever prosecuted on those grounds.

Besides, I'm still unconvinced that a decisive Biblical case can be made for criminalizing polygamy. It's true that it was never permitted to Roman citizens, as it was forbidden by Roman law (and the imperial Greeks before them forbade it to their citizens also), but up until the 6th century, the Romans generally allowed subject peoples the option of following their own customs in such matters. So for example, in Jesus' day, Jews in Judaea had the option of securing either a religious-court marriage contract (which *could* be for a polygamous marriage, as Jewish law permitted that) or a state one--with the caveat that any spouses after the first would not be considered spouses in the eyes of Roman authorities, though since women had no legal standing anyway, the impact of this would've been simply to further a cultural preference for monogamy already begun under Greek influence (if not before). And there were rabbis at the time who wanted polygamy made illegal under Jewish law as well--the Hillelite Pharisees, who as I've mentioned before Jesus seemed to share much common ground with philosophically, argued that it should be forbidden as a khillul ha-Shem ("it disfavors God's name"), since it was not a command anyway, rather a custom (minagim) and one which made the Jews seem morally inferior to neighboring people, to whom they ought rather seek to exemplify good moral behavior. (Unfortunately, the School of Hillel did not carry the day on this issue, and it was not until the 10th century that Gershom of Germany, chief rabbi of the Ashkenazim, managed to get this by-then-rather-moot reform enacted; the Sephardim though, living primarily in the Muslim world where polygamy was quite acceptable, did not accept the ban until the 20th century.) However, neither Jesus nor Paul explicitly stated a blanket opposition to polygamy, as Hillel had. The passages from Matthew and Mark you quoted--which pertain to a dispute over terms for divorce ongoing amongst the various rabbinic factions at the time--do not present themselves as authoritative legal definitions of the form a marriage may take, nor does the Genesis passage Jesus cites in them; men with multiple wives would've been subject to any relevant limitations on when they might divorce one of them, just like anyone else. The Ephesians passage invokes the image of the loving husband and wife as a metaphor for the relationship between Jesus and his followers; it does not say that one cannot have such a relationship with more than one wife. I'm not sure where the list of requirements for deacons you refer to is and can't find it at the moment (something in my memory says Timothy? but I'm not certain), however, I would think the fact that monogamous marriage is stipulated as a requirement for deacons if anything tends to give the impression that some ordinary church members did indeed have polygamous marriages, in which case why not explicitly forbid it if that's the idea.

Also, so far as I can tell, you have not indicated any position as to what a Biblical basis for age of consent laws might look like. Do you think it should be legal for 12 year old girls and 13 year old boys to marry? If not, then by what authority do you declare it wrong (and therefore demanding of being forbidden), since this was standard in Biblical times and nothing in the Bible forbids it? My own reasoning would be that while there's nothing particularly problematic about such a custom in the context of a society where people do not choose their own professions or determine their own destinies through education--what's the point in waiting until 18 if your future as a homemaker or farmer is already written in stone anyway?--it is indeed problematic in a society like ours, where men and women alike are free to choose these things, and required to undergo many years of schooling to prepare them for that. But of course this line of thinking would've struck most Jews and Christians of 2000 years ago as self-indulgent nonsense, just as would our ideas of romantic love and one's "right" to choose one's own spouse. And if you're not willing to put any faith whatsoever in "manmade ethics," why then forbid what the Bible permits?

As for the place of human "understanding" in Jewish law, the most succinct explanation I can think of is that we view it as a necessary complement to observance--not a substitute for it. Interpretation and application of law through debate among the learned is central to Jewish life. And the oral law does give our religious leaders the authority to abrogate the law, under certain circumstances and in accord with the principles of legal hermeneutics supplied in the oral law. While this authority isn't exercised often, it is an ancient one, and several abrogations had already occurred before (e.g., overturning the Deuteronomic injunction against killing a rebellious son) and during (e.g., overturning oral law prohibitions against healing the sick, or sharing food with the poor, on Sabbath) Jesus' lifetime. Ensuring that the interpretation of the letter of the law does not contradict that of its spirit, so to speak. My own determination (Conservative) will be voting in December (the rabbinical assembly, that is) on whether to permit gay marriages and the ordination of gay rabbis.

Finally, unlike yours, our religion is not a universalizing one--we do not believe that the practices we structure our lives by are the only legitimate way to honor God. Even if I did believe that gay marriage was terminally irreconcilable with an observant Jewish life, I would see no reason to oppose the state approving it, unless I believed that the resulting marriages would not be consensual or would otherwise cause harm in some quanitifiable way.
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Old 10-29-2006, 02:03 PM   #280
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unless I believed that the resulting marriages would not be consensual or would otherwise cause harm in some quanitifiable way.

And aren't these two reasons the only real reasons for denying any kind of legislative approval?
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Old 10-29-2006, 02:45 PM   #281
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But seriously, can someone help me to understand the difference between civil unions and non-religious marriages?
.......................
Also, it worries me that laws CAN be passed on sacraments.
I'm not sure I fully understand your question. A civil union, in the couple of US states which permit it, is meant to give gay and lesbian couples the same legal privileges married couples are entitled to, without extending the actual legal status of marriage to them. However, as these unions are only recognized within said states, federal rights relating to married couples (federal taxation, visas/citizenship status of foreign-born partners, etc.) are not included.

Getting married through a civil ceremony, however, is something entirely different. The US, like many other countries, has a setup where (heterosexual) marriages performed in churches, synagogues, etc. are accorded legal status; when the ceremony is over, your rabbi, priest, etc., acting as an agent of the state--as the law empowers them to in this instance--will sign a legal document which you then file with your local government. One doesn't have to get married in a religious institution, however; you can have a justice of the peace do it instead, which is what a civil ceremony is. Either way, you are then married in the eyes of the state. It's not the "sacrament" itself which has legal status, though--that document must be filled out, or else the state recognizes nothing, whether a ceremony was held or not.

I think maycocksean's point was more that while it's ultimately the right of churches, as religious institutions in a state where freedom of religion is allowed, to refuse to marry gay couples themselves, that's an entirely separate matter from whether the government (through the usual means--a civil marriage ceremony) can be compelled to do it.
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Old 10-29-2006, 02:54 PM   #282
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Yolland, as always, you bring up many great points. Your knowledge and understanding is amazing. You bring up several thought provoking questions, and I’ll do my best to reply.

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It's not just the benefits, it's also the responsibilities, before the state and (in the case of religious "redefinition") before God and one's faith community. I don't myself see it as "redefinition" really, any more than I'd see the transition from arranged marriages to freely chosen ones as "redefinition"--the rights and responsibilities of spouses do not change.
I agree, that many things about marriage have changed over the years, and will undoubtedly continue to change. But it always seem to have a basic foundation of 1 man and 1 woman. Who and what age these men and women should be in marriage changes from civilization to civilization. Under what circumstances these men and women mare changes (can rich marry poor? Black marry white? Christian marry non-Christian?). But the “idea” of marriage, or as Plato would say, the “form” of marriage – is 1 man and 1 woman.

I can understand why Irvine and Melon want to legalize gay marriage. I think they’ve made some compelling arguments. I also think Maycocksean has come to some prayerful, heartfelt conclusions on the matter. Yet, I am still not convinced that legalizing gay marriage is a path I want our society to go down, nor is it a course God wants humanity to pursue. It is a combination of factors for me, not only Scriptural, that have led to me my conclusion.

And I know that many feel it is selfish for me to want to deny marriage to anyone who wants to marry, gay or straight. However, like I posted several times before, we all vote our moral views (or lack thereof). When we vote to ban an adult movie store being placed right next to a Kindercare – we are voting our moral view. When we vote to keep child predators out of teaching jobs – we are voting moral views. Irvine is in favor of gay marriage, but thinks incest is wrong – these are moral views that he holds. He is in favor of making one marriage legal and would prefer the later to remain illegal. And he will probably vote that way. I simply disagree with him on the first issues, and I will vote differently.

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As far as incestuous marriages go, Irvine already mentioned the major "secular" objection--the dramatically increased risk of birth defects, or more technically, creating an inbreeding depression, with resulting steep increases in infant and child mortality, stunted growth and development, severe immunodeficiencies, and incidence of congenital disorders. In addition, there is the problem that sexual relationships between close relatives are likely to be of dubious consensuality, which in a culture like ours (unlike, say, that reflected in the Bible, where marriages were arranged) presents an additional ethical reason not to sanction them. Incidentally, according to the Bible it is perfectly fine for you to marry your niece (though not for a woman to marry her nephew), yet all 50 states forbid this as incest. Do you then object to this prohibition?
I think I answered this in my first paragraph. Marriage changes from culture to culture. However, the very foundation, one man and one woman, is fairly universal. Polygamy and incest are exceptions, and for the most part, led to problems for the Biblical characters that engage in these activities. The Bible, as far as I know, does not offer an example of a homosexual marriage. I think this is because until recently, the terms homosexual and marriage simply cancelled each other out.


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Originally posted by yolland


As far as polygamy, I don't myself in principle object to legalizing it, so long as such marriages would be consensual and the right to take multiple spouses allowed to women as well as men. However, what relatively little is known about the practices of the several thousand American fundamentalist Mormons living in polygamous households is not encouraging in this respect: check the "Polygamy" archives of the Salt Lake Tribune, for example, if you have the access--a disturbingly long list of legal cases involving marriages which violated US or state laws pertaining to incest, age of consent, and educational neglect (with girls invariably being the victims). Although these marriages are themselves, of course, not legal either (i.e., sanctioned by religious authorities only) they are in fact seldom if ever prosecuted on those grounds.

Besides, I'm still unconvinced that a decisive Biblical case can be made for criminalizing polygamy. It's true that it was never permitted to Roman citizens, as it was forbidden by Roman law (and the imperial Greeks before them forbade it to their citizens also), but up until the 6th century, the Romans generally allowed subject peoples the option of following their own customs in such matters. So for example, in Jesus' day, Jews in Judaea had the option of securing either a religious-court marriage contract (which *could* be for a polygamous marriage, as Jewish law permitted that) or a state one--with the caveat that any spouses after the first would not be considered spouses in the eyes of Roman authorities, though since women had no legal standing anyway, the impact of this would've been simply to further a cultural preference for monogamy already begun under Greek influence (if not before). And there were rabbis at the time who wanted polygamy made illegal under Jewish law as well--the Hillelite Pharisees, who as I've mentioned before Jesus seemed to share much common ground with philosophically, argued that it should be forbidden as a khillul ha-Shem ("it disfavors God's name"), since it was not a command anyway, rather a custom (minagim) and one which made the Jews seem morally inferior to neighboring people, to whom they ought rather seek to exemplify good moral behavior. (Unfortunately, the School of Hillel did not carry the day on this issue, and it was not until the 10th century that Gershom of Germany, chief rabbi of the Ashkenazim, managed to get this by-then-rather-moot reform enacted; the Sephardim though, living primarily in the Muslim world where polygamy was quite acceptable, did not accept the ban until the 20th century.) However, neither Jesus nor Paul explicitly stated a blanket opposition to polygamy, as Hillel had. The passages from Matthew and Mark you quoted--which pertain to a dispute over terms for divorce ongoing amongst the various rabbinic factions at the time--do not present themselves as authoritative legal definitions of the form a marriage may take, nor does the Genesis passage Jesus cites in them; men with multiple wives would've been subject to any relevant limitations on when they might divorce one of them, just like anyone else. The Ephesians passage invokes the image of the loving husband and wife as a metaphor for the relationship between Jesus and his followers; it does not say that one cannot have such a relationship with more than one wife.
There’s a ton of good information here. It is apparent you’ve done your research. I especially found the part about the option for a State or Church marriage interesting, because think it is obvious this where we are heading as a society.

I have to disagree with you a bit on the Ephesians allusion. Yes, it is a comparison between Christ/Church and Bride/Groom. But you are missing the point if you do not see that there is a reason he chose a bride and groom as the very example of how beautiful and interlocking this relationship can/will be. If he wanted to say brides and groom, he certainly could have done so. Instead, he chooses the wonderful, mysterious, and beautiful picture of one man and one woman.




Quote:
Originally posted by yolland

I'm not sure where the list of requirements for deacons you refer to is and can't find it at the moment (something in my memory says Timothy? but I'm not certain), however, I would think the fact that monogamous marriage is stipulated as a requirement for deacons if anything tends to give the impression that some ordinary church members did indeed have polygamous marriages, in which case why not explicitly forbid it if that's the idea.
You are right, it is 1 Timothy 3:12 “ A deacon must be the husband of but one wife and must manage his children and his household well.” Again, I think this reasserts the “ideal.”

Quote:
Originally posted by yolland


Also, so far as I can tell, you have not indicated any position as to what a Biblical basis for age of consent laws might look like. Do you think it should be legal for 12 year old girls and 13 year old boys to marry? If not, then by what authority do you declare it wrong (and therefore demanding of being forbidden), since this was standard in Biblical times and nothing in the Bible forbids it? My own reasoning would be that while there's nothing particularly problematic about such a custom in the context of a society where people do not choose their own professions or determine their own destinies through education--what's the point in waiting until 18 if your future as a homemaker or farmer is already written in stone anyway?--it is indeed problematic in a society like ours, where men and women alike are free to choose these things, and required to undergo many years of schooling to prepare them for that. But of course this line of thinking would've struck most Jews and Christians of 2000 years ago as self-indulgent nonsense, just as would our ideas of romantic love and one's "right" to choose one's own spouse. And if you're not willing to put any faith whatsoever in "manmade ethics," why then forbid what the Bible permits?
As you mentioned, there are cultural laws and eternal moral laws. The eternal moral law is essentially “no adultery.” What is adultery? sex or lust outside of marriage. What is a marriage? A union between a man and a woman. The age, race, class issues change with the times – not the genders.

Quote:
Originally posted by yolland

As for the place of human "understanding" in Jewish law, the most succinct explanation I can think of is that we view it as a necessary complement to observance--not a substitute for it. Interpretation and application of law through debate among the learned is central to Jewish life. And the oral law does give our religious leaders the authority to abrogate the law, under certain circumstances and in accord with the principles of legal hermeneutics supplied in the oral law. While this authority isn't exercised often, it is an ancient one, and several abrogations had already occurred before (e.g., overturning the Deuteronomic injunction against killing a rebellious son) and during (e.g., overturning oral law prohibitions against healing the sick, or sharing food with the poor, on Sabbath) Jesus' lifetime. Ensuring that the interpretation of the letter of the law does not contradict that of its spirit, so to speak. My own determination (Conservative) will be voting in December (the rabbinical assembly, that is) on whether to permit gay marriages and the ordination of gay rabbis.

Finally, unlike yours, our religion is not a universalizing one--we do not believe that the practices we structure our lives by are the only legitimate way to honor God. Even if I did believe that gay marriage was terminally irreconcilable with an observant Jewish life, I would see no reason to oppose the state approving it, unless I believed that the resulting marriages would not be consensual or would otherwise cause harm in some quanitifiable way.
I understand and accept your reasoning here. However, I respectfully and prayerfully disagree. Not all harm is obvious or quantifiable. Sometimes we don’t see the harm until later. I have learned to trust God, even when I can think of a thousand justifications not to. His reasons may not be my reasons, but I think His reasons are clear on this subject.
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Old 10-29-2006, 03:33 PM   #283
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Quote:
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Not all harm is obvious or quantifiable.
In that case, you're the one who gets to decide whether the harm is being done or not?

I've personally seen some great, subtle, non-quantifiable harm done to children in the name of God.

Do I get to step in, even though those parents (and others) think that the child is thriving? Am I the one who gets to decide?
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Old 10-29-2006, 03:34 PM   #284
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but I think His reasons are clear on this subject.
And, once again, "His reasons" are not enough to deny rights to people. They just aren't.
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Old 10-29-2006, 03:37 PM   #285
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Something I've been wondering...

Many times here, it's been mentioned that people vote based on their values so it's legitimate to vote against the sanctioning of gay marriage.

But why is it impossible for some people to see beyond their values and to the greater good? I have certainly voted against my own self-interest, and more than once. For example, I could have voted for a party which would have cut my taxes, and I definitely would have benefitted from that, but I did not because I judged the overall social value of the programs supported by those taxes to be more important than the extra $800 I could get in April. It's just one example.

This is an issue of human rights and constitutional law for me. And it's why a constitutional amendment is being pushed - because as things stand now this is nothing short of discrimination. The greater social good is to remove discriminatory practices which infringe on the rights of minorities in our society. This is a greater good than your individual value. Why is it impossible to see that? If you wish never to get married to another man, then don't. If you want your children to be taught that your religion doesn't sanction gay marriage, by all means, teach them that, or send them to Sunday school. If you don't want your Church to forcibly perform gay marriage, have no worries, they have a constitutional right not to do so. Nothing about your individual life changes. Extend not only a courtesy but a constitutional right to those whose lives could be altered.
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