Sunday, November 29, 2009

When a stupid argument is handed to me

I'm happy to pick apart stupid arguments. In the December issue of Michigan Christian Advocate a Fundie wrote an opinion piece saying that churches should not call themselves Reconciling Congregations because, well the real reason is such churches welcome gays into their midst. But to say it he has to justify it.

The first try was to say the word "reconcile" is used in the bible only four ways so we can't use it with gay people. Television isn't mentioned in the bible at all so you had better turn yours off.

The second try was to claim that we must follow the Genesis model of marriage. This comes from Genesis, Chapter 2 (the second version of the Creation story) verse 24: "A man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one." It is used to imply this definition of marriage is so old we just have to follow it.

A little biblical story popped into my head and it didn't take me long to track it down. Abraham, the Hebrew Patriarch had a son Isaac, who had a son Jacob. Genesis, chapters 29 and 30 tell the story. This young man visited his uncle Laban and was smitten with his daughter Rachel, Jacob's first cousin. Jacob agreed to work for Laban for seven years so he could marry Rachel. Yup, that means she's property that he must earn. When the wedding night came seven years later the bride came to Jacob's tent all wrapped up. After he had his way with her and could see her in the light of day he found he had married older sister Leah. Laban said I marry them off in order of age. Want the other? Jacob did and agreed to stick around for another seven years. So the following weekend Jacob married Rachel, much to Leah's annoyance.

Now God noticed that Jacob preferred Rachel, so closed her womb and opened Leah's, who promptly started popping out sons. Rachel was annoyed that she was barren and offered her handmaiden Bilhah to Jacob. She began popping out sons. Leah didn't produce sons for a while and thought something wrong, so offered her handmaiden Zilpah, who popped out a few more sons. Leah had another couple sons before God remembered Rachel and allowed her to produce a daughter and son.

That last son was Joseph, who had that Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and whose many brothers connived to sell him into slavery.

Let's review:
* Jacob had two wives, both of them were his first cousins.
* Jacob bought them through his labor.
* Jacob also bedded both handmaidens.
* Laban was not honorable in his agreement.
* Leah felt Jacob was playing favorites.
* Rachel's worth was in her ability to produce children, sons in particular.
* God didn't smite any of them.

This is a marriage described in Genesis, meaning it's quite old. What do you mean this isn't the Genesis model?

Letters to the MCA are restricted to length and there were several other annoying points to combat, so my recounting of Jacob and his wives was quite brief.

1 comment:

  1. I'm reminded of this Betty Bowers video: