Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Musings on the election

First, congratulations are due to the new President-elect of the United States, Barack Obama.

Second, while it is right to rejoice at the election of an African-American man as President, one must remember that the road ahead in terms of human rights is long. I'm not sure what the record is for racial minority leaders, but a number of countries have already elected female heads of state, so the US lags terribly in that regard. Also, as we saw during the campaign, racism, sexism and other forms of prejudice are far from dead. John McCain admitted as much in his very gracious concession speech.

Third, it looks like Proposition 8 is likely to pass in California. It would overturn the California Supreme Court's ruling that the California Constitution allows same sex couples to marry. This is very unfortunate.

Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church, a prominent moderate Evangelical pastor, endorsed Prop 8 recently. He argued that the Bible mandates the traditional definition of marriage. He reckons that no more than 2% of the population is gay or lesbian and that we shouldn't change the definition of marriage for 2%.

The Bible never condemned the practice of polygyny, where one man marries more than one woman. How many wives did David have?

Next, his 2% figure is probably low. As many as 5-10% of the population may have some degree of same-sex attraction.

Finally, God, in a conversation with Lot, said that S/He wouldn't destroy the city of Sodom if as few as ten righteous people lived there. I infer from this and God's other acts that injustice is injustice whether it is against half the population (as with women), 10-15% of the population (as with African American slaves), or 2-10% of the population (as with LGBT people today). Given the very real inequities that same sex couples face (in taxation, immigration rights for partners, inheritance, custody, powers of attorney, etc), it is right to change the secular definition of marriage to accommodate them. Furthermore, changing the definition of marriage does nothing to harm the ability of heterosexual people to get and stay married (or not). Any harm they suffer is self-inflicted.

It is worth questioning whether US politicians who claim to oppose marriage but support civil unions are treating LGBT people as second class citizens. Any arrangement that claims to be separate but equal deserves strict scrutiny.

The sin of Sodom, by the way, was attempted rape. Not homosexuality.

1 comment:

The Pharisee said...

Specifically, homosexual gang rape. Your observations however, are very close to the mark.

This same scenario is repeated not far geographically from Sodom and Gomorrah, later in the history of Israel at Gibeah. See Judges 19. In that case though the men accept the offer of the Levites concubine, and murder her via the agency of gang rape.

The whole story doesn't leave an encouraging impression of the Levite in question.