jennifer hanigan

a pinch of this and a dollop of that

Patterns, Part 2

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playdough heartIn Part 1, I wrote about the parallels between the “Christian” application of Biblical patterns (real or imagined) to support slavery, segregation, and white supremacy, and the “Christian” application of such patterns to support an anti-LGBTQ agenda. I also mentioned logic issues with such applications, and that’s what I’d like to expand on here in Part 2.

Nothing so trite as “Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve!” has been said to me, but again and again I’ve been told that God’s plan is for men and women to marry each other and have children. You can see this in the creation of man and woman. You can see this in the (highly unimaginative) act of insert-tab-A-into-slot-B sex. Homosexuality can’t be legitimate because it doesn’t involve this type of fitting together, and because it can never result in children.

Okay…shall we follow this line of thought and see where it leads? By this logic, what else might we consider a corruption of God’s pattern?

The most obvious would be celibacy. Genesis 2 clearly states “It is not good that man should be alone.” 1 Corinthians states, “because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband.” 1 Timothy warns us that demonic teachings will lead to celibacy. “Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.” Celibacy and dieting…now that can only come from demonic teachings!

Where are all the sermons railing against singleness? Where are the “Adam and Eve, not Eve with a good book and a hot cup of tea!” picket signs? Most people recognize that remaining single is both a legitimate choice and a possible outcome even for those who wish to marry. The Apostle Paul even recommends it! And those anti-gay Christians who recognize that gayness can’t be cured believe celibacy to be the right answer to homosexuality. So, in this case at least, the pattern doesn’t seem to hold.

Now, how about procreation? After all, the rightness of heterosexual relations is all wrapped up in how that makes babies but gay sex does not. Do we then condemn those married couples who remain childless by choice? What about being fruitful and multiplying? Are they not failing to follow God’s pattern for the world by refusing to do this? What about couples who have one or two or three or four children, and then prevent additional kids? If you read your Bible, the pattern laid out seems to have been having as many kids as possible…and definitely at least more than your husband’s other wives and concubines.

Of course, that does bring up the sticky issue of infertility. Is the couple who wants children but cannot have them failing God, being punished, or what? I mean…they don’t adhere to the pattern! But the Bible dealt with that issue, did it not?

And then there’s *cough* sexually pleasurable activities other than the tab-A-slot-B variety. They do not result in pregnancy, after all. I’d be willing to bet that the Christians who would preach against these activities are quite small in number. Many believe the imagery in Song of Solomon points to erotic activities, as well. (Also, I hate to break this to you, but every last item on that list is practiced by homosexual couples.) No one is preaching against sex outside of fertility windows, either near monthly ovulation, or confined to a woman’s fertile years. And pastors gave up preaching against masturbation decades ago. So it seems procreation is not actually a guiding principle after all, biblical pattern be damned.

Another interesting consequence of this line of thought is that it becomes sinful for adult children to remain at home. Back to Genesis 2 again, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Living with your parents is quite obviously not following this pattern. Nor, it seems, is moving out before you get married. I feel like this leaves many people in rather an impossible situation! Clearly we need to go back to arranged marriages…which, if you think about it, follows the biblical pattern to a T, since God Himself arranged that first marriage!

It’s increasingly clear that The Pattern so many folks see in their Bibles cannot be applied to every individual and situation. This leaves one asking why they think it ought to be applied so strenuously to the subject of homosexuality. Could it be that they see in the situations above something of themselves and their own life, but they simply have no empathy or understanding for homosexual people, and thus apply that lens to their understanding?

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