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The ongoing gay marriage debate and a nod to Wink

May 15, 2012

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.”

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. May 15, 2012 8:11 pm

    great post !

  2. Jack Wirtz permalink
    May 17, 2012 2:08 pm

    Sexuality has never been a dividing point for the disciples of Christ, first called Christians at Antioch (Acts 11:26); but has always, and will always remain a major division between the denominations and their various doctrines.

    Leviticus 18:22 & 20:13’s “abomination” to the LORD is emphasized in the destruction of Sodom (guess why it is called sodomy) in Genesis 19:

    Genesis 19:4-5 (NASB) Before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, surrounded the house, both young and old, all the people from every quarter; and they called to Lot and said to him, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may have intercourse with them.” (See Genesis 13:13; 18:20)

    And Peter reminds his readers, 2 Peter 2:6-7 (NASB)
    .. and if HE condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly lives thereafter; and if HE rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men.

    And Paul too emphasizes the abomination of GOD speaking of both sexes, Romans 1:26-27 (NASB)
    For this reason GOD gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural,
    and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.

    Why?

    Homosexual behavior is an abomination to GOD.
    Genesis 2:22-24 (NASB) The LORD GOD fashioned into a woman the rib which HE had taken from the man, and brought her to the man.
    The man said, “This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.”
    For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.

    Homosexual behavior is a denial of the authority of GOD.
    Romans 1:18-20 (NASB)
    For the wrath of GOD is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about GOD is evident within them; for GOD made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world HIS invisible attributes, HIS eternal power and Divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

    Now, read on, it is not just about homosexual behavior.

    Galatians 5:19-24 (NASB)
    Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of GOD.

    But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

    If every governmental level in the country should enact and enforce every dot and title of Christian ethos, as Darwin’s bulldog, Sir Julian Huxley said the world would be a better place to live, but it would not make a single new Christian.

    Christianity is not about government or laws or other peoples behavior, but it is all about fallen man’s restored relationship with GOD thru Christ and always being ready to share the eternal hope we have with respect. (1 Peter 3:15)

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