Selective amnesia

27 June, 2015
Rat Fink

Hey, remember that one time, back in 1920…?

Of course we don’t. But it’s all there, plain as day, in writing. Call it selective amnesia, willlfull blindness, cherry-picking “sins.” I don’t value my powers of persuasion so highly as to think that I might change any minds here, but today I shall endeavor to remind some folks of the painfully obvious. As it is not my intent to turn this blog post into a documented research paper (though if only I had the time, I would have loved to), the following statements are fully vetted.

In comparatively recent history, people have used scripture to:

  1. defend slavery. “[Slavery] was established by decree of Almighty God. It is sanctioned in the Bible, in both Testaments, from Genesis to Revelation. It has existed in all ages, has been found among the people of the highest civilization, and in nations of the highest proficiency in the arts.” –Jefferson Davis, president, the Confederate States of America
  2. deny women the right to vote. (The “psychological” reasoning used at the time is so consummately daft, you really should check it out, just for the laughs.)
  3. condemn interracial marriage.

As you know, numbers 1 and 2 resulted in Constitutional amendments, in effect reversing what some hailed as unimpeachable Biblical law. Now think about the people you know (maybe you are included on the list) who have ranted about the blasphemous nature of the Supreme Court’s decision on marriage equality, and ask them this: Would you also subscribe as vehemently to the concepts of disallowing women and blacks to vote, and of owning another person?

Yes, it’s a melodramatic and overused line of reasoning. The truth is that these issues caused a flap in their time, but were soon ingrained in the American system to the degree that eventually, everyone saw them as business as usual — Christians and non-Christians alike. So there; you’re guilty, too, no matter who you are or whom you worship.

Again with the cherry-picking. It’s the Bible, luv. You’re either all in, or you recognize that maybe, just maybe, there are differences in cultural specifics, translation problems over the centuries, and other sinewy details that can actually prevent people from gleaning the spirit of the Word of God because they’re too focused on the letter of it. But back to the three points.

Over the years, I bet I’ve heard a hundred thousand sermons from various pulpits. As a child and young teenager, I was basically told that the Bible is the inerrant, absolute word of God. You either take every letter as gospel, or take none and be damned. If you try to change even one word, or twist its meaning, you will be thrown into the lake of fire. Even as a 13-year-old, I saw the holes in that credo. (Although I won’t go into it this morning, believe me, there are many.)

So if you’re diametrically opposed to homosexuals having the same rights as straight people in marriage as a civil state of being (sorry, Franklin, but God didn’t “create” marriage; He may “define” it for many Christians around the world, but marriage itself predates the Bible), why not, in addition to threatening to move to Canada (haha), threaten also to move to Mauritania, or to Saudi Arabia, where at least your views on women in society are more succinctly aligned? Heck, wanna put a snarky face on this issue? Let the LGBT citizens find out how difficult marriage is, and how easy it is to fail at it, and how in a divorce, there is absolutely no winning, but rather just different levels of losing? At least then, your sniping about them will make you look less like a jackass when it’s revealed that your self-righteous secret closet holds more than a few bones.

OK, I’m snarking now. I apologize. This landmark decision is too big to minimize with sarcastic remarks and tee-heeism. But know this from my shriveled, blackened heart: Those who interpret the love of God to be all-encompassing to those who love and serve Him are no more condemned to hell than those who spend far too much time and energy trying to remove that enormous tree trunk from another’s eye.

It’s the law. Move along, just as people did in 1865 and 1920. You’ll be fine, just as you are when that interracial couple shows up at your Sunday school class’s progressive dinner and you have a great time with them, or when you vote for Carly Fiorina, or slap your knee in total agreement with something Ben Carson said.

12 Comments

  1. Thank you for this snarky post, Bird. Amen. I am the PROUD mother of a wonderful gay son. He is everything a mother could want in a son. He deserves to be equal to everyone else. I love him dearly and am thrilled that love finally won!

  2. PREACH, my sister! :-) AMEN! It dawned on me 2 weeks ago as we waited for the SCOTUS decision: My work colleague sitting next to me was married in April…here in TX. Her marriage is legally valid in the state of TX, and in every other state in the union. We were married in February 2014 – but had to fly to CA to have our ceremony. Sadly, as a tax-paying citizen of the US, my marriage (until yesterday) was not recognized as valid in 13 states of our union. Yet we both live & work for the same company, in the same city, and pay the same taxes, etc. Why is one US citizen’s marriage considered valid & yet not the other’s?

    You might get a kick out of listening to one of the leaders of the largest churches in the Southern Baptist Convention – Dr. Robert Jeffress from Dallas First Baptist Church, as he tries to have an intelligent and informed discussion with Dr. Neil Cazares-Thomas (paster of Cathedral of Hope-UCC, the world’s largest GLBT church).
    http://www.wfaa.com/media/cinematic/video/29368057/roundtable-local-church-leaders-on-gay-marriage-ruling/

    I’m just dumbfounded at some of the stuff coming out of his mouth. Things like:

    –“marriage has been ordained by God from the very beginning as one man & one woman” – Dr. J must have missed those class days in his doctoral program about the multiple wives of Abraham, Jacob, David, Solomon, etc. How can a self-claimed man of God sit there and lie by omission on this issue? Talk about cherry-picking the Bible. Oh, but that’s not a sin….

    –Citing something called, “biblical divorce” – what?? In my Bible, Mark 10:11-12 gives zero wiggle room on divorce: “He answered, “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. 12 And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.” And so does Matthew 19:6 “So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” If the Bible is the inerrant & literal word of God, then how do we have definitive statements banning divorce (with no exception) along side other commands that give us some “wiggle room”? I’m assuming that it’s the Matthew chapters 5 & 19 passages that Dr. J is **conveniently** citing as HIS truth, allowing for “Biblical Divorce.”
    –and then there’s this whole sensationalized issue of a bakery that had to close it’s doors because they refused to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian couple. Newsflash, Dr. J – Business 101 – if you choose to start a business that is open to the public, you are obligated to serve ALL members of that public. For the tax dollars of every single GLBT person in that community go to help pave the roads in/out of your business, pay for police and fire protection for your business, pay for other “commons” like water, sewer, etc. If your religious believes are so delicate that it offends you to serve paying customers and, in turn generate revenue for your business, then maybe you SHOULD get out of the business of running a business. Personally, I think this was very much the “free market” in action.

    Churches are empowered to marry couples at the leisure of, and on behalf of the government. Churches do not have exclusive rights to marriage. Holy matrimony? YES. Marriage – absolutely not. Do you go to a church to get a marriage license? No – you go to a government agency. Without that piece of paper, a couple is not legally bound in marriage. It’s the civil and legal rights, protections, and privileges that are baked into all the laws of our land that the GLBT community has been aching for and fighting for all this time.

    /dismount soapbox

    • You bring up several points I didn’t include — the most important being the last paragraph. Bottom line: of course if you’re committed to the “one man, one woman” construct of marriage, go for it. But recognize that it is a *secular* institution with regard to tax structure and civil rights, which have absolutely nothing to do with religion, and for which gay couples started this whole thing to win in the first place.

      Gay couples, to my knowledge, were not and are not asking for any church’s stamp of approval. Rather, they are asking to be treated like every other married couple in America, with the same CIVIL rights as legitimate, law-abiding taxpayers.

      Regarding divorce: Remember when we went to that American Artists thing in the Rockies at Estes Park, and heard a huge then-“star” of Christian music tell a crowd of 3,000 people how God had “blessed” her during her divorce? What about Amy Grant and Sandi Patty? Adulteresses? Surely not! But hey, the Bible says, unequivocally…

      I will watch the roundtable link tonight! LUV U

      • I think churches/leaders/members suffer from this delusion perpetrated by the right-wing spin machine that they are going to be “forced” into solemnizing/consecrating the relationships of same-sex couples, much the same way that legal action was brought to bear against the bakery who refused to bake the cake. That is the premise that Dr. Jeffress makes, as well as the themes of the dissenting opinions by the SCOTUS (and those SCOTUS justices should be ASHAMED of themselves for believing so). That’s the farthest thing from the truth. It’s apples (churches) and oranges (businesses), and are 2 completely different types of entities that must abide by different laws/regulations.

        To be honest, I wish we would adopt the model of many other prosperous industrialized countries around the world: If you want to get married, go have a proper civil ceremony so that you can enjoy all the rights, benefits, and legal protections under the law of the land. THEN, if you want to have your union consecrated & recognized by the God of your faith and the church, then GO to a church and have that 2nd ceremony.

        Marriage is not about Christianity/religion; atheists can and do get married, as well as people of other faiths all over the world. Marriage is not about procreation; couples who do not want children (or are beyond child-bearing years) get married every day. Marriage is not about making sure children are raised with a father & a mother; there are numerous studies from reputable and scholarly organizations that show that children raised by same-sex couples are as well-adjusted (if not more so) as those raised by opposite-sex couples, or single parent households. THESE are the reasons that the SCOTUS has made the decisions they have made regarding marriage equality over the years. And it’s high time that evangelical “christians” STOP believing and acting like they are the sole proprietors of “marriage.”

  3. I have more than a few opinions on the SCOTUS ruling making marriage “legal” for people of the same sex but I will spare your readers. Plain an simply the ruling ended a very prevalent form of discrimination in this Country which needed to end. We are, I thought the “land of the free and home of the brave.” When I called my baby sister yesterday to let her know that I rejoice with her on the ruling, she wept. I cried with her as finally her Country, the Country I fought for, is going to allow her the right to love & marry the woman she loves. The absurdity of this backlash from Christians is baffling to me. My heart simply breaks…
    I have, in my lifetime, had my faith called into question because of something I did or thought by well meaning people of faith. That makes it a difference of opinion and interpretation. I think I recall some warnings about judging but I won’t go into that lest I muddy the water too much. You are so spot on Ms Fink, as I too have heard Scripture used as a weapon for far too many years to the point of nausea.
    I love the post! You are lovely when you get snarky! Peace!

    • Ah, yes…we both know how the “faith being called into question” feels, ja? I’m glad those days are over for both of us, with regard to subjecting ourselves to it on a daily basis. And your sis — I didn’t know! How wonderful for her, and what a great moment for the both of you. Hugs to her — and to you, dear friend!

  4. Sweetie, there has been cherry-picking in Christianity ever since the council of Nicea in the 4th century AD. Did you know Mary Magdalene wrote a gospel? Sorry – didn’t make the cut.
    Don’t get me started.
    P.S. I’m not afraid of hell – I’ve lived in Hackensack.

    PK
    Snarking Partner to the Stars

    • Totally agree about the Nicene stuff, and I had heard that MM wrote a gospel, but I’ve never read it. I now have it bookmarked (beginning with Chapter 4, as I just learned the first three are lost… :-( ) and will read it tonight.

      I always love it when you drop by…hugs to you, partner in snark!

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