This pastor, Rev. Edward James of Mississippi’s Bertha Chapel Missionary Baptist Church, thinks biblical marriage is a perversion and he’s got himself a horse in a wedding gown to prove it:
His signs say it all:
The next unnatural law. Do you take this horse to be your unnatural wedded spouse, to have and to hold? This might even be possible if the band (sic) on same sex marriage is lifted. Where do we draw the line? Marriage is one man and one woman. Anything else is a perversion.
He is not alone, of course. Michele Bachmann has said the same thing:
You see if we retreat from our values and fail to make the case on issues like marriage – because it is one man, one woman – because God said it is. Not because it’s poll tested – because God said it is.
But Bachmann is hardly a recommendation for an argument. After all, she just got both the Bible and the Constitution wrong in her final speech in Congress.
“Traditional marriage” is a myth. And apparently, as I’ve said before, people don’t read their Bibles. This is a particularly egregious failing in a pastor, who is supposed, after all, to have gone to seminary. Where, you know, they teach the Bible and stuff.
The trouble is, of course, that nowhere in the Law of Moses does God say marriage is between one man and one woman. Nowhere. Not once. Anywhere. Search the Bible for all references to the Law of Moses all day long – and all night too, if you wish – but you won’t find anywhere God saying that marriage is between one man and one woman.
No matter how long or how often you look.
This pastor’s animus is even directed at the Bible’s polygamy, which – far from being forbidden – is governed by the Law of Moses. Yes, there are rules governing polygamy because polygamy is perfectly legal in the Bible:
- Exodus 21:10: “If he takes another wife to himself, he shall not diminish the food, clothing, or marital rights of the first wife.”
- 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.”
- Deuteronomy 25:5-10: “When brothers reside together, and one of them dies and has no son, the wife of the deceased shall not be married outside the family to a stranger. Her husband’s brother shall go in to her, taking her in marriage, and performing the duty of a husband’s brother to her.” According to verse 7, far from being a perversion, it is his “duty” to take this second wife, and if he refuses, the elders will “summon him and speak to him.” If he still refuses, the brother’s wife “shall go up to him in the presence of the elders, pull his sandal off his foot, spit in his face, and declare, “This is what is done to the man who does not build up his brother’s house.” And yes, public shaming then ensues, as verse 11 tells us that, “Throughout Israel (not just his fricking town) his family shall be known as “the house of him whose sandal was pulled off.” The perversion then is refusing to do your duty and take a second wife when the law demands it.
On the other hand, while the Bible actually sanctifies polygamy, it does condemn bestiality:
Deuteronomy 27:21: “Cursed be anyone who lies with any animal.” All the people shall say, “Amen!”
So this pastor is saying that if you obey the Law of Moses with regard to taking multiple wives, including refusing to take a second wife when required, you will end up marrying animals somewhere down the road. Maybe even a horse in a wedding gown.
Polygamy was taking place during Jesus’ lifetime. Jesus does not even once mention it. But this pastor apparently knows something Jesus did not, because though according to the Law of Moses a man may have multiple wives, this man says it is a perversion.
I think I know which source to believe. And not because I think God wrote the Bible, but because the Bible was written by men. By the same men who had those multiple wives. I think it’s pretty clear they would know what their laws permitted and what their laws did not.
And they were all in for multiple wives. And other forms of marriage as well. Sure, none of them included 1 man + 1 man, but few of them were was simple as the 1 man + 1 woman formula being pushed by the Religious Right and the GOP.
Here is a quick rundown of forms biblical marriage took:
We have man + woman where bride proves her virginity or is stoned to death (Genesis 2:24); we have man + woman + concubines (Judges 19:1-30); we have man + woman + woman (the most common form of biblical marriage – polygyny); we have rapist + victim (Deuteronomy 22:28-29); we have son-less widow + closest male relative (Gen. 38:6-10); we have male soldier + prisoner of war (Numbers 31:1-18, Dueteronomy 21:11-14; we even have male slave + female slave (Exodus 21:4) and man + woman + woman’s female slave (Gen. 16:1-6, Gen. 30:4-5).
Oh dear. All perversions, apparently. None of them condemned in the Law of Moses. Where will all this perversion lead?
Only one place: Theocracy. Now defined as a form of government based on a book nobody has read.
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.