The ongoing gay marriage debate and a nod to Wink
So much happening on the gay rights and religion front.
There was, of course, the North Carolina vote on the constitutional amendment driven by passionate Christians, including Billy Graham, who oppose gay marriage.
Then Obama’s declaration. (For the record, I’m glad he put a rest to that “evolving” nonsense, but I still think gay Democrats should be furious he didn’t do this sooner.) As expected, the president’s support of gay marriage rights lands him in hot water with some black churches. (But, as my fellow religion writer Joshunda Sanders noted, perhaps we need to revisit the notion that there is a unified black church that opposes gay marriage.)
Then progressive Christian scholar Walter Wink died like a tree falling in a forest (more on that in a minute).
And THEN — here’s another moment I desperately wish I were still the local religion writer — the Episcopal Diocese of Texas announced two churches, including one here in Austin, will be allowed to bless same-sex unions (pending a vote by the national church).
That’s a lot of fodder for religion reporters. Sexuality has been and will continue to be one of the key dividing issues among Christians for years. Here’s another piece on Catholic theologians’ views on gay marriage (apparently not all agree with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops — gasp!).
Back to Wink, who died last week in my native Berkshire County and whose death did not receive any media attention to speak of. I’d interviewed the author and theologian a couple of times on Christianity and homosexuality. This 2005 story I did on a constitutional marriage amendment in Texas has always remained with me. Wink was one of four scholars I interviewed for the Austin American-Statesman piece on what the Bible says about homosexuality. We chose several biblical passages for the scholars to analyze. Here’s one:
Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13
‘Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.
‘If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.’
… For Wink, these passages are plainly anti-homosexual, but readers [he said] must summon the “courage to . . . say on certain things the biblical commands have to be understood in a new light. The most extreme form of saying this is to say the Bible is wrong on some issues, including slavery . . . the treatment of women and the whole sacrificial cult.”