Thursday, December 11, 2008

Newsweek and Gay Marriage

Newsweek makes "The Religious Case for Gay Marriage" with its cover story this week. In it, Lisa Miller argues that the Bible is ambiguous on the subject and that the Bible was intended for a different time, so it doesn't really apply today anyway. It hypothesizes that David and Jonathan were lovers, yet conveniently overlooks Ephesians 5 and Romans 1:26-27. 

It's not a big surprise that Newsweek would advance a liberal position on its cover without including any space for the other point of view. However, Newsweek's editor, Jon Meacham's response is noteworthy. Meacham argues in his "the Editor's Desk" column that resorting to "biblical authority is the worst kind of fundamentalism" and "to argue that something is so because it is in the Bible is more than intellectually bankrupt - it is unserious, and unworthy of the great Judeo-Christian tradition." He writes that people used to use the Bible to defend slavery, yet fails to note that abolitionists also used the Bible to rid the western world of slavery. 

Meacham says the religious case for gay marriage "begins with the recognition that sexual orientation is not a choice - a matter of behavior - but is as intrinsic to a person's makeup as skin color." Sexual orientation may not be something you choose, but it is certainly not a behavior. Sexual activity is a behavior and a choice. People who are attracted to their own gender can choose celibacy over a lifestyle prohibited by scripture. 

Meacham's comments are more offensive than the story. He makes it clear that Newsweek has a political and theological agenda on the issue of gay marriage and that alternate opinions are invalid and unworthy of discussion in the magazine. Meacham openly admits to promoting gay marriage without apology or seeing the need to include the other side of the story.

In related news, Newsweek is laying off a bunch of people and reducing the number of copies it guarantees to advertisers by over half. I am contemplating canceling my subscription. 


Rudi said...

You have hit the nail on the head when it comes to the gay "nature vs. nurture" argument.

I think that the problem is that Christians have (at least in the public's perspective) been grouped in the "you aren't born gay- you choose to be gay" movement. I've never bought this. With such a difficult life-altering (many times family breaking) decision, I doubt that there are many people that CHOOSE this lifestyle.

But the real heart of the issue is that the Bible condemns homosexuality as an action, not as genetic make-up. In other words, it's not a sin to "be gay," but it is sinful to have sexual relationships with members of your own gender.

I've been burned in the past by this argument, but I really think that it holds true: it's not a sin to be born with genetics that increase the likelihood of your being an alcoholic. It IS sinful to be "drunk on wine, which leads to much debauchery." The genetics that increase the temptation and likelihood of an alcholic lifestyle tempting are not sinful. ACTING on this temptation IS sinful.

The same holds true for homosexuals. I'm sure that it is extremely difficult living a celebate gay lifestyle... just like I'm sure that it's difficult to live a celebate straight lifestyle. But this is what the Bible calls these groups to, and THIS is the proper perspective that Christians should take. This would present a welcoming, open Christian faith instead of the IDIOTS with just about the most hurtful signs that I can imagine ("God Hates F**S)... and they always get the press- this is the public perception of Christianity's response to homosexuality- and that's something that needs to change.

Jon Vander Plas said...

Right on about nature/nurture and the need to change the perception of the Biblical perspective on homosexuality.

I realize there are people who feel differently, and I have no problem with Newswee giving them a voice. I have a big problem with Newsweek taking a stance on this issue and choosing to promote an agenda. Based on the editor's comments and the fact that no rebuttal was allowed in this week's issue also tells me that Newsweek feels that what I believe is a proper Biblical perspective is not only wrong, but unworthy of discussion. This is supposed to be a news magazine, but instead it's a promoter of the progressive movement.

Bobby said...

Nothing to do with this post because I've heard very convincing and compassionate answers on both sides of issue, but more importantly...

Did you seriously give the new Indiana Jones 4.5 stars?!? I barely made it through that movie without vomiting out the tripe they were feeding me from the screen.Better than Batman according to your ratings! This concerns me much more than you're political leanings. I used to trust you movie opinions. Next you'll tell me that Varsity Blues is your favorite movie of all time. For shame.

Jon Vander Plas said...

Keep in mind that the stars rankings only describe my enjoyment of the movie/book/album. I grew up loving Last Crusade and Raiders so I went in expecting to be disappointed but I felt like the new one was everything you want an Indiana Jones movie to be. I really liked it. After watching it a second time on DVD, perhaps the 4.5* is a little high and Batman was probably better. However, I do not apologize for the ranking and am offended that you compared me to you know who.