Bring Back the A-Word

Why conservatives shouldn't be shy about citing the 'abomination' Bible verse when objecting to gay marriage.

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The message is clear: If the Bible possesses any real authority as a communication of God's thoughts about man, then a country's safety and stability are related to the kinds of sexual relationships it endorses.

This doesn't mean we have to stone gays or carry out any of the other penalties for misbehavior outlined in the Hebrew Bible. These are meant to be applied only in a Jewish commonwealth, and then only under very special conditions. (There needs to be a Temple in Jerusalem with a high-court, or Sanhedrin, sitting in judgment there on capital trials. Look for these when the Messiah comes, ushering in a new world full of the knowledge of God where the need for harsh justice will thus be exceedingly rare.)

There is no turning back the clock to biblical times. But conservatives have gotten into the habit of explaining our doubts about homosexual marriage in highly pragmatic, rationalistic terms having nothing to do with religion. Conservative pundits say you

have to

keep your arguments secular to reach the ideological middle.

To them, citing Leviticus would seem the grossest violation of good manners. But the advance of sanctioned gay marriage, creeping like ivy across the face of the American legal system, shows the futility of this strategy.

Let us consider telling the truth about what underlies the case against homosexual matrimony. After all, many Americans look to the Bible for their values. We live in a culture imbued, from the Pilgrims onward, with Old Testament values. That's who we are.

Any Bible-believer must agree that it's God's will, not man's intellect, which decides profound moral questions. If conservatives started talking biblically about homosexual marriage, we would stand to energize those of our fellow citizens who share our traditional values.

After all, we are talking about laws of nature as God made it. An ancient rabbinic teaching says that in creating the world, He first looked in the Torah, Scripture's first five books and their explanatory traditions. In other words, the Bible is not a set of arbitrarily imposed rules. It's a blueprint of how the world works.

We Americans don't live in a society governed by Mosaic law. However, neither did the Canaanites. When the Bible speaks of their moral failings in very specific ethical areas, and the consequent downfall of their civilization, there is a lesson not just for a Jewish society but for everyone. The way God sets things up, a society that institutionalizes same-sex unions will ultimately suffer tragic consequences--"disgorgement" from its place in the world. What, in very concrete terms, would that mean? Let's hope we don't have to find out.

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