Fundy Invasion
March 11, 2004 1:31 PM   Subscribe

"There is no separation of church and state," she said. The Boston Statehouse and surrounding area is crawling with fundamentalist Christians who have come from all over the country to push for a constitutional amendment in our state. You can read minute-by-minute updates on the debate in the Statehouse at
posted by alms (65 comments total)

Can you people stop referring to anyone who defends or even mentions Christianity as 'Christian fundamentalists'?

I mean, please.
posted by xmutex at 1:37 PM on March 11, 2004

The Boston Phoenix has some entertaining hour-by-hour anecdotes from today's convention here.
posted by Tin Man at 1:44 PM on March 11, 2004

Okay, I'll call them Taliban.
posted by wendell at 1:44 PM on March 11, 2004

Guess it's back to "American Taliban", then.

"There is no separation of church and state," she said.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 1:45 PM on March 11, 2004

I agree with you, xmutex, but I'd be hard pressed to make that argument while we're discussing people who hold up signs with versus from Leviticus and decry separation of church and state.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 1:51 PM on March 11, 2004

Y'know, pardon me, but what the fuck does a woman from Ohio care about what they do in Massachusetts, huh? She's driving hundreds of miles just to make sure some people in some other community don't dare to do what might be palatable in that community, not her own?
posted by kgasmart at 1:54 PM on March 11, 2004

"I'm representing Jesus and to let homosexuals know that Jesus loves them, but hates their sin"

In other news:
Maine lawmakers condemn Christian Civic League's attempt to gather "tips, rumors, speculation and facts" about the sexual orientation of state officials via their website.

Its been an interesting week here in New England, let me tell you....
posted by anastasiav at 1:55 PM on March 11, 2004


Keep your religon out of my government, and I'll keep my government out of your religon.
posted by bshort at 1:56 PM on March 11, 2004

Xmutex - alms' other comments at mefi nonwithstanding, some of the people outside the statehouse certainly seem to fit the fundie bill.
posted by kahboom at 1:59 PM on March 11, 2004

similar goings on in San Jose and Santa Cruz (minus the protesters in Santa Cruz) in the past few days.
posted by badstone at 2:00 PM on March 11, 2004

Can you people stop referring to anyone who defends or even mentions Christianity as 'Christian fundamentalists'?

My phrasing of the FPP was very intentional. The scene on the Boston Common is downright scary. These aren't people holding up signs saying "preserve traditional marriage". These are people carrying large hateful banners that talk about Jesus hating fags and God wanting gay people to get AIDS. And there are hundreds of them. They are very organized, even to the point of wearing bright orange scarves with black crosses on them. And they are organized around religious beliefs that center on selective literal interpretations of portions of the Christian Bible. Oh, and it seems that many if not most of them are from out of state.

So what should I call them besides Christian Fundamentalists? I've got nothing against Christians in general. Hey, I'm a Quaker. But there's something going on here that needs a name and needs to be stopped.
posted by alms at 2:03 PM on March 11, 2004

xmutex: it's one thing to gratuitously attack Christianity or Christians. It's equally stupid and unfair however to not take to task someone making a baldly stupid and incorrect statement like: ""There is no separation of church and state," simply because they are Christian.

Not to mention:

a group of teenagers from the Amazing Grace Christian School in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Boston chanted, "One man. One Woman. God's Plan"

Wouldn't it rhyme better if you reversed the first two phrases? If you can't take the time to make your slogans euphonious than I just can't take you seriously.
posted by jonmc at 2:04 PM on March 11, 2004

It's purposeful, jon. The more it grates on your ear, the more likely you are to recall it later. Cacophony = remembrance.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 2:09 PM on March 11, 2004

Keep your religon out of my government, and I'll keep my government out of your religon.

Actor #1: "Oh -- you got your religion in my government!"

Actor #2: "Oops -- you've got your government in my religion!"

Announcer: "It's Fundamentalist Peanut Butter Cups!"

Actually, I can sort of see where xmutex is coming from (even though his complaint is a non sequitur). I'm tired of seeing all supporters of gay marriage referred to as "gay activists," like there's some Gay Hive Mind or something. (No reference to queen bees intended.) Gay marriage supporters are not all gay, and the word "activist" -- to me it just connotes someone who screams and shouts and is rude. It's simplistic. Both sides need to stop caricaturing each other.
posted by Tin Man at 2:10 PM on March 11, 2004

I heard some crazy quote from either a mass. legislator or from one of these Christians - I'm not sure which - to the effect that if the constitutional amendment were not passed in mass., people would be marrying dogs, their cousins, or something else equally awful ( same sex partners? inanimate objects? Sorry, I was paying attention to something else at the time ).

And I don't believe it was Rick Santorum
posted by troutfishing at 2:12 PM on March 11, 2004

jonmc, that was exactly what I thought when I read this. I mean, whatever happened to pride of craftsmanship when rendering hateful slogans?

Tin Man, once again, I agree with the sentiment, but I don't think that's necessarily applicable here.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 2:12 PM on March 11, 2004

So what should I call them besides Christian Fundamentalists? I've got nothing against Christians in general. Hey, I'm a Quaker. But there's something going on here that needs a name and needs to be stopped.

"The Boston Statehouse and surrounding area is crawling with homophobic Christian bigots who have come from all over..."
posted by rajbot at 2:13 PM on March 11, 2004

Tin Man, once again, I agree with the sentiment, but I don't think that's necessarily applicable here.

Agreed, LittleMissCranky. I did say that I think xmutex's comment was a non sequitur.
posted by Tin Man at 2:17 PM on March 11, 2004

    "Two things made this country great: White men & Christianity. The degree these two have diminished is in direct proportion to the corruption and fall of the nation. Every problem that has arisen (sic) can be directly traced back to our departure from God's Law and the disenfranchisement of White men."

     - State Rep. Don Davis (R-NC), emailed to every member of the North Carolina House and Senate, reported by the Fayetteville Observer, 08-22-01

     "Why is this man in the White House? The majority of Americans did not vote for him. Why is he there? And I tell you this morning that he's in the White House because God put him there for a time such as this."

     - Lt. General William G. Boykin, Deputy Undersecretary of Defense, New York Times, 10-17-03

  "Homosexuals want to come into churches and disrupt church services and throw blood all around and try to give people AIDS and spit in the face of ministers."

     - Pat Robertson again, The 700 Club, 01-18-95

  "If the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual gay sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything. All of those things are antithetical to a healthy, stable, traditional family and that's sort of where we are in today's world, unfortunately. It all comes from, I would argue, the right to privacy that doesn't exist, in my opinion, in the United States Constitution."

     - Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA), Associated Press, 04-22-03

[ From Take them at their Words by Bruce Miller ( brother to Mark Crispin Miller ) and Diana Maio ]

For more background to Rick Santorum's "no right to privacy" quote, see here on the potential legal implications of the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment.
posted by troutfishing at 2:21 PM on March 11, 2004

Xmutex, what should one call these people?

"Crazy people who don't understand the basic principles of the U. S. Constitution?"

"Hypocrites who think that the Christian Bible should be the basis of public policy as long as it doesn't apply to them (note: there are a lot more discussions of how Divorce Is Wrong--including comments by Jesus himself--in the Christian Bible than there are of homosexuality)?"

I am proud to be a Christian; however, I don't believe that I have the right to impose my spiritual tradition upon others through legislation. Michigan State Representative Lorence Wenke, a conservative Republican evangelical Christian, feels the same way.

To describe these people as "Christians" is an insult to all true followers of Jesus's philosophy. If you find "fundy" or "fundamentalist" to be an inaccurate or slighting description, Xmutex, perhaps you could supply us with a better word.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:30 PM on March 11, 2004

troutfishing, that would be Cal Thomas, in the Washington Times:

THOMAS: If same-sex marriage is allowed, it is going to be nearly impossible to prohibit the sanctioning of any other kind of human "relationship"—from close relatives of different sexes who wish to marry (that has been outlawed because of biological and incest considerations) and polygamists to adult-child "marriage."

(I found the quote at Long Story, Short Pier.)
posted by lumpley at 2:30 PM on March 11, 2004

a group of teenagers from the Amazing Grace Christian School in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Boston chanted, "One man. One Woman. God's Plan"

Wouldn't it rhyme better if you reversed the first two phrases? If you can't take the time to make your slogans euphonious than I just can't take you seriously.

What, are you kidding? Put the woman first?
posted by uosuaq at 2:31 PM on March 11, 2004

Cal Thomas also said that "the idea of marriage comes from the book of Genesis".

Apparently, Mr. Thomas missed all the ancient Egyptian marriage contracts from Middle Kingdom days--1000 years before the book of Genesis was written!
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:35 PM on March 11, 2004

"what the fuck does a woman from Ohio care about what they do in Massachusetts"

This is one of those people who think big government should stay out of our lives, unless that big government is ramming christianity down our throats and marginalizing the heathen non-believers. You weren't actually expecting an answer that made sense, were you?
posted by 2sheets at 2:35 PM on March 11, 2004

Dang it, they're on to my plan to marry my dead grandmother! Foiled again.
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 2:39 PM on March 11, 2004

Don't these people know that only left wing people are supposed to take the to streets to protest.....
posted by Durwood at 2:41 PM on March 11, 2004

It appears that the California Supreme Court has blocked any more gay marriages in the state until it hears the case in May or June.

Also, according to this, the Mass. legislature has passed a constitutional amendment that would establish gay civil unions (the first one that is listed here). I don't see this yet on any other news source though.
posted by Tin Man at 2:58 PM on March 11, 2004

This Just In

5:42 p.m.
Travaglini-Finneran amendment passes

On a roll call vote, the amendment easily passes 129 to 69.

from The Phoenix
(Travaglini-Finneran bans same-sex marriage but allows for civil unions.)


California Supreme Court blocks San Francisco gay marriages
posted by anastasiav at 2:58 PM on March 11, 2004

Yes, Durwood, and only lefties comment on MetaFilter, too ... jerk.
posted by Wulfgar! at 2:59 PM on March 11, 2004

"So what should i call them besides christian fundamentalists?"

How about Leviticans?
posted by tdismukes at 3:01 PM on March 11, 2004

I could be wrong, but I think that the statement "there is no separation of church and state" is a minority viewpoint even among fundamentalists. The statement only makes theological sense under a "postmillenial" interpretation of the book of Revalation, which requires the church to basically take over the world in order to trigger the Second Coming. My understanding is that most fundamentalist Christians are of the "premillenial" persuasion, which holds that things are going to get worse and worse for the church prior to the Second Coming. (just fyi, "mainline" churches like mine generally adopt yet a third interpretation: "amillenialism," which reads Revelation somewhat less literally than either of the other positions.)

These folks might be outraged at how "separation of church and state" is applied in practice these days (heavy on preventing the establishment of religion and light on ensuring free exercise of religion), but I don't think theocracy is actually their end goal. They would view allowing gay marriage as state endorsement of homosexuality, rather than state neutrality on the question.

I don't claim to be an expert in this though, so I'd welcome corrections from anyone that understands fundamentalist theology better than I.
posted by boltman at 3:03 PM on March 11, 2004

It's ironic that homosexuals are fighting for their right to marry in an age that has absolutely no social structure to support marriage whatsoever.
posted by SpaceCadet at 3:07 PM on March 11, 2004

It's ironic that homosexuals are fighting for their right to marry in an age that has absolutely no social structure to support marriage whatsoever.
posted by SpaceCadet at 5:07 PM CST on March 11

A always condidered the irony to be Christians against abortion yet at the same time against any sort of mother welfare programs.
posted by the fire you left me at 3:09 PM on March 11, 2004

What's the justification of saying the bible condemns gay marriages? Is it because homosexuality is a sin? So sinful people can't get married? Is that the argument? Because the bible also says everybody is a sinner.

Help me out here.

The apostle Paul said that nobody SHOULD get married, by the way, unless they were functionally immoral and marriage was the only way to curb their sexual appetite.

And as for the fucking HYPOCRISY of saying that Jesus would support a ban on gay marriage because of something said in Leviticus, if I remember my fucking gospels correctly, Jesus didn't give a shit about what it said in the Old Testament. He worked on the sabbath, he didn't keep kosher, he said the Mosaic law was unnecessary.
And he loved sinners.

Jesus would not have driven across the state to protest gay marriage, but he might very well have beaten some of the asses of these Pharisaical bible-thumping fuckheads if he happened to be in town.

... pant pant...

And Paul, who wrote a sizeable chunk of the New Testament, and set out a disproportionate share of Christian theology, also said that the Mosaic laws (the laws these assholes are quoting) were unnecessary. He said they were a curse. I'm speaking of Romans and Galatians. He agreed with Jesus that all that was important was how you treated one another. It's the only beautiful part about the bible.

So these fuckers have to go ruin it. Naturally.

With no basis that I can see to back it up. But maybe I'm wrong. I don't go to church.
posted by Hildago at 3:48 PM on March 11, 2004

There would have been a good place to set up a shrimp barbeque.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 3:59 PM on March 11, 2004

Wow. If Jesus could have been there, He'd have recognized the Pharisees, no doubt.

This kind of stuff has my pastor and me rolling our eyes in disbelief.
posted by alumshubby at 4:48 PM on March 11, 2004

There would have been a good place to set up a shrimp barbeque.

posted by majcher at 5:14 PM on March 11, 2004

I'd have to agree with the characterization of the FPP. There are certainly Christians who support amending the Massachusetts constitution who aren't fundamentalist, but the contingent outside the Statehouse today was a lot uglier than I've seen it before. GOD HATES FAGS and GOD ABHORS YOU signs were around, as were banners which described AIDS as God's punishment levied against gays. At one point there were people chanting "You are an abomination!"

I really, really hope the local press covers some of the rhetoric I heard today.

There were many others with less offensive signs, and who were demonstrating peacefully, but the balance is definitely different than it was in February (the last time the state called the constitutional convention).

As a note, the amendment didn't "pass." Assuming the vote in favor of the amendment is final, it would have to be voted on by the legislature again in a year. If it passes a second time, it would be put before the voters in November 2006. Only then would the state constitution be amended. There are suggestions that a parliamentary maneuver could still kill the amendment, but the tea leaves are suggesting the final outcome will be in favor of the anti-gay-marriage amendment.
posted by Chanther at 5:25 PM on March 11, 2004

boltman - that sounds more or less correct by my equally fuzzy understanding, and it's a very good distinction to make. My suspicion - purely a hunch - that there are lots of post-millenial evangelical leaders out there who are trying to herd an essentially pre-millenial flock. Where are our resident theological xperts?
posted by troutfishing at 5:26 PM on March 11, 2004

I'm just wondering at what point Jesus encouraged his followers to lobby for changes to Roman law to reflect his teachings (or wider Jewish teachings), exactly?

Surely, the point of moral values within a religion is that they are rules that you choose to follow as part of your faith. Demanding they are imposed at a governmental level is, in fact, debasing them. People would no longer be compelled to follow that moral code by the promise of heaven - they would be compelled by the promise of jail time! Indeed, forcing the wider community to conform to Christian morals is pointless in that, according to pretty basic doctrine, it's your acceptance of Jesus as your "saviour" that gets you into heaven - not following rules. Even if people forced by religion-sanctioned legislation to "not sin", they're still going to hell if they haven't "accepted Jesus", right?

So why do fundamentalist sects even demand state adoption of religious laws? Jesus didn't support it. It won't make more people into Christians. I won't assist existing Christians. Any ideas?
posted by Jimbob at 5:33 PM on March 11, 2004

Where are our resident theological xperts?

I'm sorry, but commenting on an abomination only to condemn it is a sin.

(That would be the false prophets in Mass. who claim to know and follow God's will, not the post ... in case you were wondering.)
posted by Wulfgar! at 5:37 PM on March 11, 2004

Dunno about theological expertise, but it sounds like Jimbob is essentially saying Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's and unto God the things that are God's.
posted by alumshubby at 5:49 PM on March 11, 2004

Exactly what I was saying, alumshubby. I just didn't feel like quoting that in case I got the quote wrong :)
posted by Jimbob at 5:52 PM on March 11, 2004

Hildago, Paul did condemn homosexuality (along with drunkenness and adultery and lots of other things that are perfectly legal).

However, the New Testament--or any other religious document--should not be the basis for civil law.

And, if it is, then we should first take care of the evil scourge of divorce, which was far more clearly condemned by both Paul and Jesus himself.

There are waaaayyyyyyy more divorces in the US than there would ever be gay marriages, so clearly that is a much more serious threat to our society, yes?
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:16 PM on March 11, 2004

what the fuck does a woman from Ohio care about what they do in Massachusetts

"Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State."

-- Article IV, Section 1 of the US Constitution

This means that a marriage recognized in Massachusetts must be recognized in Ohio, doesn't it? I think that's the allure of the constitutional ban on same-sex marriage -- if it's left up to the individual states, it only takes one of them to recognize the marriage and all of them have to follow suit.
posted by joaquim at 6:38 PM on March 11, 2004

The image of the woman on the main page at CNN right now (sorry, not good at HTML, don't know how to put the image here) summarizes the issue to me. Essentially the so-called "moral" stance on the whole thing seems to be that only specified human relationships are worth validating. Apparently it's moral now to deny people a means of expressing their love and creating a personal bond. As in so many things, we really need to get a grip as a species.
posted by tetsuo at 6:51 PM on March 11, 2004

Jimbob: that's kind of what I was getting at in my last post. There's a certain brand of Christian eschatology which holds that the Christian Church has to basically take over the world to bring about the Second Coming. There are passages in Revalation that support this view, although plenty that go against it as well. But, if you do hold this view, I think you have a strong interest in mixing church and state because, unlike the other views where humans have no control over the second coming, this (post-millenial) view makes the second coming contingent upon the church's domination over the world.

joaquim: Full Faith and Credit does not states to recognize marriages in other states if the marriage violates the state's "public policy." This is a longstanding exception that was codified in federal law by the passage of the Defense of Marriage Act by Clinton in the mid-90s. Some think that DOMA could be found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. I personally think this is extremely unlikely, given the long history of the public policy exception.
posted by boltman at 7:02 PM on March 11, 2004

Re: Full Faith and Credit. The short answer is "no." The long answer follows.

Full Faith and Credit


Wall Street Journal, March 9, 2004

Last Wednesday's hearing before the Senate's "Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Property Rights" was billed as the occasion for a serious discussion on the need for a constitutional amendment to limit the interstate effects of Goodridge, the Massachusetts court decision recognizing a state constitutional right to same-sex marriage. Why else would the hearing's organizers invite me, a professor with no particular published opinion on gay rights but dozens of technical publications on interstate jurisdiction? Prepared to do battle over the correct interpretation of the Constitution's Full Faith and Credit Clause, I found myself instead in the middle of a debate about whether marriage is a good thing, and who really loves America's kids the most -- Republicans or Democrats.

Like many political debates, the discussion was framed in absolutist terms. Conservatives say that without a constitutional amendment, Goodridge goes national. Gays will travel to Massachusetts to get married and then their home states will be forced (under the Full Faith and Credit Clause) to recognize their marriages. Traditional marriage (apparently a frailer institution than I'd realized) will be fatally undermined unless we act now to prevent the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court from imposing its will upon the whole nation. Either amend the Constitution to adopt a national, and traditional, definition of marriage (they say) or there will soon be gay and lesbian married couples living in your own neighborhood. Either it's their nationwide standard -- anyone can marry -- or it's ours.

The fly in the ointment was that nobody bothered to check whether the Full Faith and Credit Clause had actually ever been read to require one state to recognize another state's marriages. It hasn't. Longstanding precedent from around the country holds that a state need not recognize a marriage entered into in another state with different marriage laws if those laws are contrary to strongly held local public policy. The "public policy doctrine," almost as old as this country's legal system, has been applied to foreign marriages between first cousins, persons too recently divorced, persons of different races, and persons under the age of consent. The granting of a marriage license has always been treated differently than a court award, which is indeed entitled to full interstate recognition. Court judgments are entitled to full faith and credit but historically very little interstate recognition has been given to licenses.

From a technical legal point of view, the debate at last week's hearing was entirely unnecessary. But inciting a divisive and diversionary debate over whether America's children will only thrive in traditional marriages (on the one hand) or whether people who oppose gay marriage are bigots (on the other) was probably a central objective in certain quarters. Social conservatives, in particular, have a vested interest in overstating the "domino effect" of Goodridge. This is particularly true in an election year. Only an ivory tower academic carrying a text full of footnotes would notice anything odd.

The assumption that there must be a single national definition of marriage -- traditional or open-ended -- is mistaken and pernicious. It is mistaken because the existing constitutional framework has long accommodated differing marriage laws. This is an area where the slogan "states rights" not only works relatively well, but also has traditionally been left to do its job. We are familiar with the problems of integrating different marriage laws because for the last 200 years the issue has been left, fairly successfully, to the states. The assumption is pernicious because the winner-takes-all attitude that it engenders now has social conservatives pushing us down the constitutional-amendment path. For those who see the matter in terms of gay rights, this would be a tragedy. But it would also be a tragedy for those who genuinely favor local autonomy, or even those of us who genuinely favor keeping the constitutional text uncluttered by unnecessary amendments.

If today's proponents of a marriage amendment are motivated by the fear of some full faith and credit chain-reaction set off in other states by Massachusetts, they needn't be. If they are motivated by the desire to assert political control over what happens inside Massachusetts, they shouldn't be. In our 200-year constitutional history, there has never yet been a federal constitutional amendment designed specifically to reverse a state's interpretation of its own laws. Goodridge, whether decided rightly or wrongly, was decided according to Massachusetts' highest court's view of Massachusetts law. People in other states have no legitimate interest in forcing Massachusetts to reverse itself -- Massachusetts will do that itself, if and when it wants to -- and those who want to try should certainly not cite the Full Faith and Credit clause in rationalizing their attempts.

Unlike most other hotly contested social issues, the current constitutional marriage debate actually has a perfectly good technical solution. We should just keep doing what we've been doing for the last 200 years.

Ms. Brilmayer is the Howard M. Holtzmann professor of international law at Yale Law School.

Updated March 9, 2004
posted by alms at 7:16 PM on March 11, 2004

Re: Full Faith and Credit. The short answer is "no."

Er, the short answer might be "maybe". A different long answer (or opinion, actually). (Disclaimer: I don't support Mr. Kurtz' opinion, but only offer it in counterpoint.)
posted by joaquim at 7:38 PM on March 11, 2004

Hildago, Paul did condemn homosexuality (along with drunkenness and adultery and lots of other things that are perfectly legal).

I didn't say he didn't condemn homosexuality, I only said that he thought that the mosaic laws of the old testament were irrelevant. His argument goes back and forth, but that is the gist of it. It's the Leviticus = Jesus hates gays argument that bothers me, as there's no connection between that and Jesus, except maybe that Jesus thought it was bullshit too.

I don't expect Paul to like gay people. He was chaste anyway.
posted by Hildago at 8:21 PM on March 11, 2004

I really want to just say that Stanley Kurtz is a National Review Columnist and Lea Brilmayer is a Professor at Yale Law School.

But having read Stanley Kurtz's column, I don't think he contradicts Brilmayer at all. He doesn't say that the FFC clause will require every state to require marriages performed in any other state. He only says that some states, based on their public policies (e.g. no DOMA) will have to recognize other states' marriages. Sounds like gay marriage will only be spreading to those states that want it.

Until, of course, the SCOTUS picks up the arguments of the Mass SJC. But that also has nothing to do with FFC.
posted by alms at 8:21 PM on March 11, 2004

Kurtz's "sky is falling" rhetoric is a bit odd, given that he himself admits that state legislatures can rather easily solve the problem of overzealous courts applying equal protection arguments to the public policy exception by passing a mini-DOMA (as 38 states already have). If the legislature can't muster the votes to pass a mini-DOMA (or to amend the state constitution if a court strikes down the mini-DOMA as unconstitutional), it's pretty hard to say that the Full Faith and Credit clause is "forcing" the state to recognize gay marriage.

on preview: alms said it more succienctly, but I might as well join the party.
posted by boltman at 8:29 PM on March 11, 2004

To describe these people as "Christians" is an insult to all true followers of Jesus's philosophy.

If nothing else, I think its time we downgraded "fundamentalist evangelical Christians" to "American Taliban". I'm tired of Jesus's good name getting dragged through the mud every time a bunch of twits with no bible scholarship and no college education get together a bunch of magic markers and some butcher paper.
posted by ewkpates at 4:02 AM on March 12, 2004

I'd like to step waaay out on a limb here and assert through my very spotty Bible study that Paul condemned any sexual practice that wasn't for the sake of procreation, along with lotsa other stuff that was basically detracting from a faithful relationship to God. Now, if that means that gay is not good, it also means that even in stable hetero marriages, there shouldn't be any sex going on most of the time. In short, I think, Paul was a very instructive on how to be in a right relationship with God, but in the two thousand years since, you now find Christian clergy occasionally talking about how sex is one of God's gifts to be enjoyed maturely and responsibly.

Aaaaaaand, what Sidhedevil said about the scourge of divorce, in 84-pt bold italic all caps. I'd like to see a fundamentalist say something about divorce for once instead of focusing on homosexuality.
posted by alumshubby at 5:15 AM on March 12, 2004

Offering my two cents as a college educated Humanities major with a Theology minor, I can tell you that Paul really didn't believe in sex of any kind, because he believed in the imminent return of Christ. Sex was ok...if you positively HAD to...but it was more spiritually correct to be chaste.

That also seems anti-Judaic, as Jesus was a practicing Jew until the day he died. And if Paul was a follower of Jesus, it stands to reason that he would believe what Jesus believed. To work all that out, however, you've got to get into the controversy of the Pauline Church and the Jerusalem Church (which was a Christian sect led by Jesus' brother James).

Again, just my (somewhat) educated opinion.
posted by Beansidhe at 5:39 AM on March 12, 2004

Clearly, we need God's direct input to sort these issues out.
posted by SpaceCadet at 5:49 AM on March 12, 2004

Anecdote from the streets:

I live in the neighborhood that is the center of Boston's gay community (which is also a 15-minute walk from the statehouse). Last night I saw three obvious out-of-towners who had mistakenly wandered in to the neighborhood, probably trying to find their way back to one of the nearby Copley hotels. One had a "Jesus saves from HELL!" sign tucked under her arm and the man and woman next to her were wearing blue sweatshirts from some Baptist church in Pennsylavania. As they fumbled with a map, they walked past two middle-aged men who were standing outside the Fritz Loung smoking. I heard the following exchange, reproduced here verbatim:

gay guy: "Go home!"

Pennsylvania Baptist Man: "Go suck a cock!"

gay guy: "Why do you think I'm trying to do? [turns to friend] He wished me luck!"
posted by Mayor Curley at 5:56 AM on March 12, 2004

From what I can remember st. Paul disliked even himself, based on this I feel any advice given should be taken with the proverbial (biblical) pinch (pillar) of salt.
posted by johnnyboy at 6:02 AM on March 12, 2004

There is no God but Allah!

Meanwhile - on Biblical morality (of the Old Testament kind) - "It is one of the conceits of the religious right, of course, that American law is based on "Biblical law."....The body of American law is decidedly secular in nature, and is driven almost purely by logic and ethics, rather than religious morality.
This basic confusion on the part of fundamentalists leads them to believe that if the Bible forbids it, it oughta be against the law too....Problem is, if that were to happen ... it wouldn't be America anymore. But then, they seem to know that."

Here is an indication of where a Biblically based legal system, one based on Biblical sexual mores, would send us : Sexual mores and the Bible : "Biblical sexual mores were centered around two concerns: preserving the property rights and honor of men with respect to the women in the household; and avoiding tebel, the improper mixing, that could threaten the order that God had imposed upon chaos.

The status of women and children in biblical times throughout the Ancient Near East was little above that of chattel. In Judges 19, the old Ephraimite man could offer his virgin daughter to satisfy gang rapists without even asking for her consent. Sexual behavior was prohibited only when it interfered with another male's property rights or honor. "Adultery" was defined as sleeping with another's wife. Sexual relations with prostitutes was not prohibited. Sleeping with a step-mother, mother-in-law or daughter-in-law was punishable by death. On the other hand, there was no explicit prohibition against a father having sex with his daughter. "Rape" was sleeping with a unmarried woman without her father's permission. If she was betrothed to another man, the victim died along with the rapist unless she "cried out" in protest. If she was not betrothed, her father received a bride-price for her from the rapist and she had to marry the man.

The laws against homosexuality and bestiality that are found in chapters 18 and 20 of Leviticus derive from the taboo against tebel rather than a concern for male property rights. Sexual acts between males--there is no biblical prohibition against lesbian sex--or sexual interaction between humans and animals constituted an "improper mixing" could lead to cosmic collapse just as mixing two kinds of crops in a field or two kinds of material in clothing.

What is missing in the biblical regulation of sexuality that we now consider of utmost importance? Consent, particularly consent on the part of women and children. "

posted by troutfishing at 7:33 AM on March 12, 2004

That also seems anti-Judaic, as Jesus was a practicing Jew until the day he died.

I'm interested. What did Jesus do that made him a practicing Jew? Because he certainly did a lot of things that practicing Jews, at least of the time, wouldn't have done.
posted by Hildago at 10:07 AM on March 12, 2004

"A marriage shall be considered valid only if the wife is a virgin. If the wife is not a virgin, she shall be stoned to death." (Deut 22:13-21)
posted by five fresh fish at 10:19 AM on March 12, 2004

What did Jesus do that made him a practicing Jew?

He celebrated Passover with his peeps, for one thing.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:22 AM on March 12, 2004

It's also mentioned in the Gospels that he was presented to the Temple priests when he was a baby. He made the Jerusalem pilgrimage with his family (this was when he got lost). I'm sure there's more, but I'm at work, and I don't have a Bible to check out certain things.

Also, after one of his healings, he specifically said (according to the Gospels) that he man healed should go and present himself to the priests, according to the laws of Moses. How much more Hebraic can you get?
posted by Beansidhe at 11:46 AM on March 12, 2004

My list of 10 things he did that tend to place him outside the notion of a practicing Jew:

1. Worked on the sabbath, urged his apostles to
2. Ate unclean animals, urged others to
3. Said that his 1 commandment was more important than Moses' 10.
4. Insulted the Temple
5. Insulted the priests, urged others to
6. Insisted that the Mosaic idea of divorce and remarriage was a sin
7. Said that the kingdom would be in heaven, not on earth, that the redeemer wouldn't be an offspring of David in the literal sense
8. Preached faith over obedience
9. Insisted that the punishment for adultery was unjust (let him who is without sin..)
10. Apparently pissed off the orthodoxy enough to be betrayed.

It's not that he was the OPPOSITE of Jewish, it's that he set himself up in direct contrast to the Mosaic laws -- the laws of the prophets were "unnecessary" after him. And for god's sake, he was enough of a threat to the priestly status quo for them to denounce him.. doesn't that indicate that maybe he wasn't a practicing Jew?

If I wasn't at work, I'd look up quotes for all these things. As it is, they shouldn't be hard to find if you want them.
posted by Hildago at 12:50 PM on March 12, 2004

I should say "he wasn't a practicing Jew in the normal sense" -- I realize that you may be referring to the fact that he kept certain traditional Jewish practices, which is true, but I insist that he was by no means a rank and file member in good standing. I don't think he cared one way or the other what the traditional laws dictated, since he thought of himself as a higher law.

According to the bible, anyway.
posted by Hildago at 12:52 PM on March 12, 2004

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