29 August, 2009

Why Jesus Would Support Same Sex Marriage

Gay marriage was back in the news again this week because former Bush administration solicitor general, Theodore "Ted" Olsen, filed suit in federal court seeking to overturn California's Proposition 8 and re-establish the right of same-sex couples to marry.

Conservative talk show hosts know that few things rile up their listeners like gay marraige so they took to the airwaves this week and asked their callers what they think of gay marriage with predictable results: call after call citing the Bible's condemnation of homosexuality.

If America were a conservative, evangelical theocracy with the Bible as its constitution, Bible verses against homosexuality might be the debate enders these conservative callers want them to be, but America is not a conservative evangelical theocracy. Had the founders wanted America to be a theocracy based on the Bible, all they had to do was adopt the BIble as the constitution of our new nation. The kind of Bible-quoters who find it inconvenient that the founders didn't adopt the Bible as the our nation's constitution are the same ones who find it inconvenient that the "City On A Hill" theocrats who landed at Massachusetts in the early 1600s were long in their graves before our post-Renaissance founders, many of them skeptics or deists, established this nation in the late 1700s. Yes, it's true that Puritans and Anabaptists first came to this land to freely express their religious convictions but it was not Puritans or Anabaptists who founded this nation. This nation was, in fact, founded by the likes of Thomas Jefferson who actually excised from the gospels the parts he didn't believe and published what came to be known as The Jefferson Bible.

When people say I should oppose gay marriage because the Bible condemns homosexuality, I ask them if they think the Jesus of the Bible would be against theft. When they say, yes, of course he would, I tell them that I don't think the Jesus of the Bible would condone theft either and that our government is committing theft anytime it collects taxes from citizens who are denied the freedoms and justice paid for by taxes. I tell them that whatever Jesus may or may not think of same sex marriage, we can all agree that injustices angered Jesus and that they should anger us too.

But there is a way for Bible-quoting evangelicals who think the US should be a Christian theocracy to have their justice and their theocracy, too, though I note with fascination that they never suggest it. If conservatives had the courage of their convictions, they would move to stop taxing gay people, to repay all taxes paid by gay people, revoke the citizenship of gay people and declare gay people to be aliens or visitors who are not entitled to the same freedoms enjoyed by straight people and not subject to the taxation of our great, straight nation.

Former Bush lawyer, Ted Olsen, is right when he says ""It is our position in this case that Proposition 8, as upheld by the California Supreme Court, denies federal constitutional rights under the equal protection and due process clauses of the constitution,. The constitution protects individuals' basic rights that cannot be taken away by a vote. If the people of California had voted to ban interracial marriage, it would have been the responsibility of the courts to say that they cannot do that under the constitution. We believe that denying individuals in this category the right to lasting, loving relationships through marriage is a denial to them, on an impermissible basis, of the rights that the rest of us enjoy…I also personally believe that it is wrong for us to continue to deny rights to individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation."

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