Saturday, March 21, 2009
Marriage And Homosexuality: A Christian Response Part 1
This is going to be a long one. So long, in fact, that I've decided to split it into four parts. The book itself, published by familyfacts.ca, an initiative of Focus On The Family Canada, contains eight sections, two of which I'll deal with in each post. Part 1 will focus on the Introduction and Chapter 1.
Marriage And Homosexuality was written to help Christians "counter the carefully crafted arguments of same-sex marriage advocates" so they can "confidently respond in a Christ-like manner." The Introduction talks of "having to defend marriage," an institution that "has changed little over the centuries." In fact, "Christians are rightfully alarmed" now that same-sex couples are can marry in Canada. Scary stuff, huh? But "what is so important about marriage that it is worth protecting?"
CHAPTER 1: MARRIAGE
The writers of this book (who aren't credited) let the reader know early on that they believe the Bible is the literal Word of God. They call marriage "the foundation for every civilized society" since "time immemorial", and state that "marriage is God's creation." They say the Bible "describes various harmonious relationships within nature - night and day, land and sea, male and female," as if the issue at hand were really that simple.
When Adam and Eve got the boot from Eden over the whole tree of knowledge thing, "evil entered the world" and "marriage moved away from its ideal". God had to give humankind "specific laws to provide parameters for appropriate expressions of sexuality and marriage." The no-nos? "Adultery, incest, homosexual intercourse and intercourse with animals." Nice company for gay people to be in, huh? These condemned acts "provide a definition of the form of marriage that cannot be put aside." This kind of reasoning only holds up if readers believe the Bible really is The Truth, and the authors assume they do.
After all, if you believe as they do, the authors can get away with all kinds of sweeping generalizations and statements of supposed 'truth' without having to back them up with anything resembling hard evidence. Marriage, they say, "is essentially a part of natural law" and that "marriage has changed very little over the years." Which years are they talking about? And which culture? I don't remember getting a dowry when I married my wife, nor did I solidify any business dealings or gain vast tracts of land. Arranged marriages still take place in some countries, but if anything that shows the diversity still present in the institution.
The authors aren't above using a 12-year-old's words to further their agenda, either. "I want a mom and a dad," an orphaned child named Shelby told reporters at the public launch of a website designed to help children like him find adoptive parents. The authors claim that the kid's words point out how universal a male-and-female marriage is. After all, Shelby said "what every child instinctively longs for." Was that really what the kid was saying, or is that merely the authors' conclusion?
The book goes on to point out the benefits of marriage, and makes more sweeping statements. They also talk about marriage in history, and seem to say that since marriage "has changed very little" there's no reason to change it now. It's not as if anything else has changed on this flat world of ours.
That's it for Part 1. Join me next time for Chapter 2, where the authors display their 'knowledge' about homosexuality.