And So He Said

While I’ve already written about “the marriage thing”, given the fever pitch that the discourse has reached, it’d be pertinent from an engagement and web stats perspective to add a little more to the debate.

I enjoyed reading rabbi  Moshe Gutnick’s article on why he’s voting no but doesn’t hate gays. I’m confident he doesn’t. One of his his broader points is actually quite close to what I was saying earlier. Why would anyone who hasn’t subscribed to the Judao-Christian myth want to lend validity to their system by choosing to be involved in their rituals? As long as there is fiscal and legal equality available through some other type of union, there is no reason to be married. But his assertion that “Belief in a creator is the root of all human rights and democracy in Western society.” is a big call. He also trots out the tired argument that godlessness leads to Hitler, Stalin and Mao. Apart from being a red herring it shows how out of touch clergy are with people in the 21st century. I don’t think Tweens are particularly worried about reds under the bed. Overall his op ed was entirely unconvincing.

What the article highlights is less about homosexual relationships and more about the fallacy of there being “one true word of God”. Those who follow the Torah struggle with this more than the subsequent new-wave Jesus hipsters who’s convoluted exegesis can explain away any notions of discriminatory and violent behaviours prescribed in the testaments. There are piles and piles of articles on this subject and I’m not going to spend much time re-covering old ground. You can google it. It boils down to having your cake and eating it too. 

Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error. Romans 1:26-28

We know that the the first few books of the bible are brutal, condone violence and patriarchy. We know, as evidenced by the ongoing and seemingly intractable conflict in “The Holy Land”, that who’s large and in charge is not clear at all. Which is odd, given the alleged definitive nature of the manuals they follow. The differing opinions show quite quickly that the plebiscite on marriage equality here in Australia is an opportunity for theologies to vie for control which they realise, quite accurately, is slipping away. It is an opportunity to herd the flock.

I had thought to provide a counterweight to the narrative I’m pushing here, given the fantastic complexity that language affords its users. I’m not saying that one has to make the choice to take all of the holy books either literally or figuratively. This is because I know a huge amount of English literature, and ideas borne from it, rely on insinuation, parable and innuendo. For example, take the book of Samuel (my namesake). There’s a section in that book that that anti-religious commentators use to show that god condones genocide. I don’t think it does. When I read it for the first time I took it more of a parable than a literal account of history:

The Amalakites, not on the best of terms with the Israelis, are attacked and annihilated by Saul at the direction by god. God’s direction was that everyone and everything must be destroyed. The problem was that after the slaughter Saul’s forces kept some sheep and oxen because they thought they’d sacrifice them to god after the battle – at the time it seems like great way to value-add to the proceedings. So when he’s condemned for his actions, Saul is surprised and struggles to comprehend how exercising some latitude in direction has lead to his fall from grace. The point is do exactly what god says. The point isn’t that genocide is good.

Currently there is a bit of a hubbub in the Catholic version of the faith. A number of senior characters in the hierarchy aren’t happy with the current pope’s relatively laid back view on what marriage and adultery means. 

“The signers of the filial correction ask the pope to uphold what they say are the true teachings of Christ and the Church. They maintain that every part of the Catholic faith has been communicated by God and that, in faith: “God is believed when he says something.” It follows that a Catholic believer has no rational ground for disbelieving a Church teaching.”

Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable. Leviticus 18:22

The debate in Australia over same sex marriage isn’t about politics. It’s about whether or not archaic ideas about social norms are applicable in the 21st century. But there are plenty of people that consider this vote to be a veiled shot in “The Culture Wars”. Early indications are that the vote will be “Yes” by a significant margin. Does this mean the insidious groupthink of ‘The Liberal Elite’ has permeated the Australian social fabric to the point where the bulk of the population is taking commands from the ivory tower? It’s a pretty condescending view of things. You’d have to sit down with a friend or colleague and tell them that they’ve been had, the wool has been pulled over their eyes and that they’re nothing but a puppet of the progressive socialist agenda. Or, have these people have had it drummed into them that marriage is the apex of familiar relationships and realise that their friends and family, gay though they may be, should be allowed to join in?