Tim Huelskamp, our favorite batsh*t crazy Republican Representative from Kansas, is sponsoring an amendment (the Federal Marriage Amendment) to the Constitution that would define marriage as one man and one woman. The American Family Association, home to such crazies as Bryan Fischer, is all for it.
Undeterred by studies showing millennials leaving organized religion, that “young adults perceive evangelical Christianity to be too political, too exclusive, old-fashioned, unconcerned with social justice and hostile to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people,” Huelskamp had promised such an amendment and he delivered on June 30 of this year. The last such attempt to force a religion down Americans’ throats failed in July 2006.
Just as a refresher, this is the wording of the proposed amendment:
Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution, nor the constitution of any State, shall be construed to require that marriage or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon any union other than the union of a man and a woman.
Huffington Post reported at the time that its sponsors included a bunch of people who have, apparently, never read the Bible:
Its cosponsors include Republican Reps. Joe Barton (Texas), Jim Bridenstine (Okla.), Mo Brooks (Ala.), Paul Broun (Ga.), Jeff Duncan (S.C.), John Fleming (La.), Trent Franks (Ariz.), Louie Gohmert (Texas), Ralph Hall (Texas), Andy Harris (Md.), Randy Hultgren (Ill.), Sam Johnson (Texas), Walter Jones (N.C.), Jim Jordan (Ohio), James Lankford (Okla.), Mark Meadows (N.C.), Randy Neugebauer (Texas), Steven Palazzo (Miss.), Stevan Pearce (N.M.), Robert Pittenger (N.C.), Joe Pitts (Pa.), David Schweikert (Ariz.), Bill Shuster (Pa.), Chris Smith (N.J.), Steve Stockman (Texas), Tim Walberg (Mich.), Lynn Westmoreland (Ga.) and Frank Wolf (Va.)
(Someone, please send them each a copy – probably best to highlight the relevant passages for them. We’ll get to those in a moment).
The AFA’s president, Tim Wildmon, says, “We have a reached a frightening impasse, I fear the day just years from now when marriage has absolutely no definition at all.”
Funny thing that. Marriage has no definition in the Law of Moses Republicans love to point to as the basis for the Constitution. It is hardly surprising then – this is their own logic now – that if the Bible lacks such a definition the Constitution should lack one as well.
Just the other day, Ted Cruz told CBN that,
“On marriage there is no issue in which we need to be more on our knees because the momentum is with the opponents of traditional marriage. We’re facing an assault on marriage.
He wants to pray to stop Marriage Equality. This, apparently, is his platform as would-be president of the United States. You can see right off that he has a lot to offer America. Not.
Wildmon worries obsessively that marriage will be so watered down it will become “meaningless.” Eventually, he says, “marriage won’t be anything but a freewill agreement between any two people, or more than two people.”
Guess what? That’s all marriage was for most of human history. Not a religious institution at all but a social convention to recognize alliances between families.
In other words, it is these Christian extremists who are trying to make marriage something it is not. This traditional marriage paradigm is an aberration – an anomaly.
Yet we find people like Bob Unruh and Joseph Farah of World Net Daily insisting that for all of history – all 6,000 years of it – marriage has been between one man and one woman:
So why is one ‘lifestyle’ affirmed by the popular culture, the political class and the judiciary and the other is ignored – even to the point of jailing those who dare to practice it? This is not a rhetorical question. I really want an answer from someone who believes the right, just, moral course of action is to redefine marriage as an institution between any two people, regardless of their sex. It’s a question that deserves an answer as we march, without thought, into a brave new world of sexual revolution, casting aside 6,000 years of human tradition inspired by God’s law and an institution that has formed the cornerstone of civilization.
The trouble for Unruh and Farah is that the world isn’t 6,000 years old and human tradition goes back for as long as humans have been on the planet – about 250,000 years for homo sapiens. People were getting married long before the Bible says there were even people. And you can bet your bottom dollar they weren’t engaged only in “traditional” marriage.
And they are not defending their right to be married according to their biblical 6,000-year paradigm; they are demanding that the rest of us, Christian and non-Christian alike, abide with their religion-based bigotry.
In other words, they want to violate the First Amendment of the Constitution by making laws establishing religion.
Which shows you where their loyalties lie.
It is amusing to watch religious extremists like Wildmon and Huelskamp and Farah scramble to make marriage something that exists between one man and one woman. They cite biblical precedents but the Bible does not actually define marriage in that way. In fact, the Law of Moses allows for the marriage of one man to many women. Some folks don’t like that, but not liking a fact doesn’t make it untrue.
The Bible literally abounds with examples of polygamy practiced by its Jewish heroes, kings, and patriarchs and the Law of Moses in fact recognized and regulated it. For example, we find in Exodus 21:10 – you know, the part where God gives the Jews their laws – the very same laws Huelskamp and others pretend they are giving to us,
If he takes another wife to himself, he shall not diminish the food, clothing, or marital rights of the first wife.
And in Leviticus – again, a listing of the laws, we find (18:18),
And you shall not take a woman as a rival to her sister, uncovering her nakedness while her sister is still alive.
In other words, there is nothing wrong with marrying another woman while already married. Just not the sister of your wife.
On the other hand, God’s law demands that a man marry his deceased brother’s wife – even if he already has a wife of his own (Deuteronomy 25:5-6).
And most telling of all, Deuteronomy 21:15-17:
If a man has two wives, one of them loved and the other disliked, and if both the loved and the disliked have borne him sons, the firstborn being the son of the one who is disliked, then on the day when he wills his possessions to his sons, he is not permitted to treat the son of the loved as the firstborn in preference to the son of the disliked, who is the firstborn.
In other words, it isn’t a problem that the guy has two wives and sons by multiple wives; the problem is in how he treats his offspring.
Jesus, it might be observed, never condemned polygamy. It was being practiced while he was alive. He could have mentioned it; would have if he didn’t approve, presumably. But he didn’t.
If you thought these people were batsh*t crazy before, you were wrong. The Supreme Court’s DOMA ruling really put them around the bend. They are more determined than ever to shove their faux-reality down the throats of their fellow citizens. Their battle cry seems to be “Reality be damned! This is what God wants even if God never actually said he wants this!”
They have no written evidence of course, since the Bible (meaning God) says something very different. But it’s what they say God wants, which isn’t the same thing at all, is it?
The amendment will never be passed. It isn’t even popular in Kansas. The American people don’t want it. Republicans know that. Huelskamp himself has said he recognizes that. There is no good explanation for wasting our time and our tax dollars on this nonsense when there are serious problems to be solved. The Republican Party did not get the message in 2008 and they did not get it in 2012. There is no good reason to suspect they will finally get it in 2016.
Instead, they think if they get “hipper worship bands” in church the young people will come back and if they get handsome guys and gals with great smiles to deliver their message of hate we will vote for them. Lacking the means of enrolling them all in a 12-step program, there isn’t much we can do to help them. We can only help ourselves by sending them repeated messages that their message is not wanted.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.