Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The Bible and Marriage

Perhaps you have had this story circulating on the Internet forwarded to you:

On Wednesday, March 1st, 2006, in Annapolis (MARYLAND) at a hearing on the proposed Constitutional Amendment to prohibit gay marriage, Jamie Raskin, professor of law at AU, was requested to testify. At the end of his testimony, Republican Senator Nancy Jacobs said: "Mr. Raskin, my Bible says marriage is only between a man and a woman. What do you have to say about that?" Raskin replied: "Senator, when you took your oath of office, you placed your hand on the Bible and swore to uphold the Constitution. You did not place your hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible." The room erupted into applause.

I applaud Professor Raskin's turn of a phrase. But, he also could have challenged her notion of what her Bible says about marriage. He could have asked her "What about Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar? Or Isaac, Rachel, Leah, Bilhah, and Zilpah? Or Solomon and his hundreds of wives of concubines? Or New Testament prohibitions against divorce or advice to wives to be subservient to their husbands?"

The fact is that although Scripture offers many biblical models for blessed relationships, we cannot rely exclusively on Scripture for understanding marriage today. Indeed, Scripture neither commends a single marriage model nor commands all to marry, but rather calls for love and justice in all relationships.

For a theological framework for marriage equality, visit www.religiousinstitute.org and view the Open Letter to Religious Leaders on Marriage Equality.

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