Hey you guys, I know it’s been a while. I have been… busy.
Okay, I haven’t been that busy. I’ve really been lazy.
But today, something big is happening in Virginia. Have you seen it?
Yup, the time has come, Commonwealth of Virginia. Let’s mark the first steps for equality for all people in our state. It is that easy, isn’t it?
What do you mean it’s more complicated than that? Why can’t men love other men, and women love other women? OH! Because you claim that marriage is between a man and woman. Who told you that?
Oh. The Bible?
Hm…. Okay. As a God-fearing woman, I believe that we should use the Bible as our life guide, our encourager, our advice-giver…. but as a book of rules in a court of law? I’m not so sure about that.
Let’s speculate for a moment, shall we?
For sake of accuracy, suppose I’m a wealthy man. I also have a fifteen year old daughter who is very naughty, not very pretty, and just a pain to have around. I decide the best solution is to sell my daughter as a slave to my friend to whom I owe a favor. I see nothing wrong with this scenario – I get out of my favor, make a little money, and she’s out of my hair. I know that her new master won’t kill her, because the Bible forbids it. I’m not worried about her welfare – I’ve given her to another man who is just as wealthy as I am. In six years she’ll (likely, I’m not real sure about this) be set free. By then, she’ll be grown and we’re all winners.
The next day, the FBI shows up at my door and arrests me. “On what charge?!” I scream, not really understanding why they are taking me away in cuffs.
“You sold your daughter into slavery and she turned you in!” the officer replies with disgust in his voice. “Get in the car.”
In court, I somehow talk my lawyer into using the Bible in my defense. I’ve interpreted the Bible in a way that convinced me that selling my daughter was the right (and legal) thing to do. He agrees and reads this passage out loud in the court:
When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are. If she does not please the man who bought her, he may allow her to be bought back again. But he is not allowed to sell her to foreigners, since he is the one who broke the contract with her. And if the slave girl’s owner arranges for her to marry his son, he may no longer treat her as a slave girl, but he must treat her as his daughter. If he himself marries her and then takes another wife, he may not reduce her food or clothing or fail to sleep with her as his wife. If he fails in any of these three ways, she may leave as a free woman without making any payment. ” (Exodus 21:7-11 NLT)
What do you suppose the verdict of the jury is when the trial is over?
Yup. You guessed it. Guilty. The judge throws me into federal prison and I’m a goner. My daughter is set free and placed into foster care, where she’ll be a Ward of The Court until she’s 18.
Why didn’t my Bible defense hold up in court? Because I’ve committed a crime – a horrible, senseless crime. I hurt the welfare of another person. I’ve infringed on the rights and happiness of my daughter.
I am an 18-year-old girl who just graduated high school. I’ve been begging my parents for a tattoo for a year and they keep telling me when I graduate, I can get one. I’m so totally stoked.
My best friend and I go into a tattoo parlor the weekend after graduation. In my hand, I’m clutching a picture of an orange kitten with angel wings on it. Under the kitten reads “RLS” with a little heart under the initials. They are my grandmother’s initials. She died a month ago and she loved orange cats.
The tattoo artist finishes my brand new tattoo on my ankle and I’m moved to tears when I see it. My grandmother will always be a part of me now. I love it so much.
In church the next morning, I’m so excited to show my Sunday School class my new tattoo. Our teacher sees it and gets a twisted look on her face. When I ask her what is wrong, she leans down and gently says to me:
“God says tattoos are a sin. And now you can never take it off. You can never repent from that.”
My heart sinks. I ask her to show me where God says that and she opens her Bible to Leviticus. Not only does it confirm what she’s said, but it even specifically says I can’t “cut” my body for the dead, not even my own grandmother! (It also says that men can’t trim their beards, which I find really funny.)
26 Do not eat meat that has not been drained of its blood. “Do not practice fortune-telling or witchcraft. 27 “Do not trim off the hair on your temples or trim your beards. 28 Do not cut your bodies for the dead, and do not mark your skin with tattoos. I am the Lord.
So why can’t we look at gay marriage the same way? Why should we take the Bible’s affirmations on gay marriage (which are only indirect) so seriously and not the subject of selling (or owning) slaves, which the Bible says is perfectly acceptable? Will an excited 18-year-old girl go to hell for getting a memorial tattoo for her grandma on her ankle?
If I sell my daughter, I’m stealing her happiness. If we say a man can’t marry a man, or a woman can’t marry a woman, we are stealing their happiness. If we tell people they can’t get tattoos, we are stealing their happiness. If I sell my daughter, I’m infringing on her freedom to do as she wishes. If we ban gay marriage, we are infringing on their freedom to do as they wish. If we ban tattooing, we are stealing away those peoples’ freedom.
I’m failing to see a difference here.
As a dedicated Christian woman, I struggle with taking the Bible literally. I’m sure most of you do, too, but I’m also sure most of you aren’t willing to go out into the streets screaming your struggles. I know how God wants me to treat other people. I know how God wants me to raise my child and be faithful to my husband and love my enemies and do good works.
I don’t know how God wants me to interpret the Book – none of us do. I’m certain when the book was written, no one imagined technology and society would evolve to the place it is today. So I’m choosing to be a good, Godly person over taking the words literally.
I support gay marriage. I have no tangible reason not to. I love my gay friends (and I have quite a few) enough to stand up and say: “Yes. I support you. God commands that we love one another, and this is how I choose to love you.”
I support tattoos. Although I don’t have any of them, I think they are cool and I know they make people happy who have them. Rock on, tattooed folks.
I do not support slavery or selling our children. I have every tangible reason to feel this way – because it’s morally and ethically wrong. And it makes you a bad person.
Does supporting tattoos make you a bad person?
How about trimming your beard?
Does supporting gay marriage make you a bad person?
It’s truly a big a day in Virginia… but I can only hope that someone out there is thinking about it a little differently now.