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Mike Huckabee Hasn't Been Paying Attention to His Bible:

From a Beliefnet interview:

And the same thing would be true of marriage. Marriage has historically, as long as there's been human history, meant a man and a woman in a relationship for life. Once we change that definition, then where does it go from there?

Christians and modern Jews do not approve of polygamy, but surely anyone who believes in the Bible has to acknowledge that it attests to the widespread existence of marriage between a man and multiple women. (Nor is Huckabee just saying "a man and a woman" as a slip for "heterosexual"; immediately after this, he goes on to distinguish "a man and three women.")

Now of course we see polygamy in plenty of cultures in recent human history as well — Islamic cultures, some American Indian cultures, and many more. And of course we have lots of historical evidence of men and women in a relationship that is not for life; consider ancient Rome, or for that matter the growing tolerance for divorce in Western Christian cultures over what is now centuries (remember Henry VIII?). But it's striking that here Huckabee is forgetting what is described in the Bible itself.

I should stress that none of this responds to the traditionalist case built on longstanding American or Christian traditions of heterosexual monogamy, or for that matter to a traditionalist case built on longstanding broad traditions of not treating homosexual unions as marriages. But Huckabee seems to be deliberately trying to make an appeal to supposedly universal (at least nearly universal) traditions that go beyond just rejection of same-sex marriage. And that appeal is just factually unfounded, as his own religious histories and his own profession (as minister) should teach him.

UPDATE: I had thought I'd made this clear in the original post, but let me repeat it: I'm objecting to Huckabee's "historical[]" claims, and saying they're inconsistent with the Bible's own account of history. I am not responding to Huckabee's moral claims; I am criticizing his attempt to buttress his moral claims with what strike me as factually unsound (and Biblically contradicted) assertions about what has been the case throughout "human history."

FURTHER UPDATE: My colleague Stephen Bainbridge (who's considerably more conservative on social issues than I am) agrees.

Jim Anderson (www):
You can bet a traditional polygamist predicted this slippery slope eons ago.
1.17.2008 1:24am
Cornellian (mail):
Marriage has historically, as long as there’s been human history, meant a man and a woman in a relationship for life.

The Bible itself provides for divorce, and it's not like other cultures and religions have never heard of divorce. But then, one should never let the facts get in the way of a good round of pandering.

Once we change that definition, then where does it go from there?

I look forward to his proposal to make divorce illegal. Of course, that will never happen because there are enough divorced voters out there to make Huckabee conveniently forget about that particular tradition.
1.17.2008 1:40am
Bill Poser (mail) (www):
To be fair to Huckabee, his error is by no means unusual. The claims of fundamentalist Christians that they simply follow the Bible is patent nonsense. They frequently prohibit practices that area clearly endorsed in the Bible, such as polygamy, dancing, and drinking, and they pick and choose the prohibitions that they wish to enforce. There is no basis for prohibiting homosexuality but not executing disobedient children and idolators. Fundamentalists may know their Bible in the sense of being able to quote it, but there is no principled relationship between what the Bible says and their view of morality.
1.17.2008 2:19am
Eugene Volokh (www):
Bill Poser: There's much to what you say about the degree to which even though who claim the Bible is literally true actually depart from its literal words (and a good thing they do!). But my point here is that Huckabee is actually getting the Bible wrong, in the sense of not paying attention to history as reported by the Bible -- not just not following the Bible's instructions.
1.17.2008 2:34am
spectator:
I think his claim might be defensible. A man with three wives does not have one marriage contract with three wives, forming a sort of corporation; he has three contracts, one with each wife, so that each contract remains between one husband and one wife.
1.17.2008 2:50am
Jagermeister:
Remind me of the compelling government interest in recognizing and regulating marriage.

Wouldn't this all go away if marriage were strictly a religious affair (of whatever type is endorsed by the participants) and a civil contractual affair (of whatever type of contract they chose to execute)?
1.17.2008 3:15am
Bill Poser (mail) (www):
Eugene,


my point here is that Huckabee is actually getting the Bible wrong, in the sense of not paying attention to history as reported by the Bible


Point taken. I do, however, think that this is part of a larger phenomenon, in which fundamentalists construct a mythical history on which to base their beliefs. Consider, for example, the frequent claim that the Ten Commandments form the basis for our legal system. Even without knowing anything of the history of law, one can see that this is false, since almost all of them would clearly be unconstitutional and/or contrary in other ways to our legal tradition, e.g. by creating thought crimes. And of course they say nothing about such critical aspects of our legal system as the right to due process.
1.17.2008 3:29am
Bill Poser (mail) (www):
Spectator,

I think that there may actually be forms of polygamy that are corporate. If my understanding is correct (and it may not be), in Tibetan polyandry, in which the usual case is that several brothers marry one woman (the economic effect of which is to reduce the division of land into ridiculously small plots), the marriage is corporate rather than a set of pairings of the woman with the individual men.
1.17.2008 3:34am
Alex R:
Of course, possibly the "man and three women" comment was simply meant to subtly remind his audience that *another* candidate belongs to a religion that supported such marriages much more *recently* than mainstream Christianity or Judaism...
1.17.2008 5:26am
Bottomfish (mail):
Polygyny (multiple women married to one man) is in conflict with a central political principle in the US, women's equality. Yes, polygyny occurs in the Bible but the result is that sometimes one wife is childless and ends up with a status inferior to that another wife who has children.
1.17.2008 6:35am
Hoosier:
>> The claims of fundamentalist Christians that they simply follow the Bible is patent nonsense. They frequently prohibit practices that area clearly endorsed in the Bible, such as polygamy, dancing, and drinking, and they pick and choose the prohibitions that they wish to enforce.

But then so is the doctrine of 'sola scriptura.' Texts never interpret themselves.

>>There's much to what you say about the degree to which even though who claim the Bible is literally true actually depart from its literal words . . .

Why do Baptists oppose premarital sex?--They're afraid it will lead to dancing. (Old one. Sorry.)

I've never gotten a good answer to this one: Why do Biblical literalists believe that Christ can teach with parables, yet the Bible cannot? I mean, what is the /doctrinal/ reason. Since the /practical/ reason is that this would force an admission that understanding the Bible requires the reader to come to the text with an interpretive framework. And once one admits that, "sola scriptura" is out the window: Any method of interpreting a text has to come from outside that text itself.
1.17.2008 6:44am
dearieme:
Do remember that Henry VIII didn't start off seeking a divorce. It was an annullment he was after - he was still a Roman Catholic.
1.17.2008 7:12am
Some_3L (mail):
1 Corinthians 7:1-2:

Now for the matters you wrote about: It is good for a man not to marry. But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband.


With this teaching from Paul, polygamy in the new and growing Christian community was extinguished. That would be a little less than 2000 years ago.

While the Old Testament details the existence of polygamy, it is never condoned. And everyone who engaged in it suffered for it in the form of family strife. Abraham (Sarah sent Hagar and Ishmael away); Jacob (the sons of Leah mistreated the favored son, Joseph, of the favored wife, Rachel); David (there was rape, incest, and murder between his children)

I suppose Huckabee should have said "as long as there’s been a Christian history."
1.17.2008 7:53am
lurker:
"And everyone who engaged in [polygamy] suffered for it in the form of family strife."

Also, everyone in the Jewish Bible that walked on two feet suffered from family strife. Perhaps a biblical regression analysis could isolate the true cause of family strife.
1.17.2008 8:06am
Al Maviva (mail):
Remind me of the compelling government interest in recognizing and regulating marriage.

Right on, brother. We all know that government can't regulate anything unless the government has a compelling interest in doing so.

Some would argue first of all that the government actually is supposed to generally do what 'the people' tell it to do; second, that social institutions and culture are important things in the life of a nation or a community; and third that that in a representational democracy, 'the people' have some inherent right to determine the general shape of the community in which they live, expressing their individual desires collectively through government actions that help to shape those social institutions and the culture.

But all of us who are enlightened know that they have no right to tell us to do anything unless the government can show a compelling interest to do so. Reactionaries...
1.17.2008 8:29am
Lior:
@Some_3L: While Judaism had a long tradition of monogamy in practice, the first actual prohibition on multiple wives is only about 1000 years old. That prohibition (initially temporary and local to Germany) later became almost universal, though some Jewish communities, especially the Yemenites, did not accept it (even though they are subject to it in practice since almost all modern governments enforce such a prohibition). The bible has specific rules on forced marriages with war-captured women (you must give them a year to mourn their dead husbands first); the Talmud has discussions of inheritance rules in a marriage with several women.

Regarding strife, nearly all marriages (and individuals) in the bible suffer from much strife. Very few individuals in the bible live happily ever after. I thus wouldn't draw the conclusions you do.

first actual prohibition on multiple wives is only about 1000 years old. That prohibition (initially temporary and local to Germany) later became almost universal, though some Jewish communities, especially the Yemenites, did not accept it (even though they are subject to it in practice since almost all modern governments enforce such a prohibition). The bible has specific rules on forced marriages with war-captured women (you must give them a year to mourn their dead husbands first). The Talmud discusses divorce and inheritance in polygamous households.
1.17.2008 9:02am
Aultimer:

meant a man and a woman in a relationship for life

I read Huck as being lawyerly/Clintonesque on this one.

The language doesn't clearly exclude poly-marriage ("a man and a woman" can be properly read to include "1 man and 2 women" but not "1 man and 1 man"), nor does it close the door on "early outs" ("for life" just precludes "for a term certain").

Of course, that's slimy in a Beliefnet interview as opposed to a VC one.
1.17.2008 9:05am
SeaDrive:
Jagermeister: You must have a strange view of government if you don't see the importance of clear definitions of the family unit. It is the government's job to resolve conflicts, including those concerting extension of one person's rights and obligations to other family members, rights of inheritance, etc.
1.17.2008 9:17am
Tom952 (mail):
Religious fundamentalists should only be taken seriously when they are committing crimes.
1.17.2008 9:19am
Jimmy S.:
SeaDrive, anyone familiar with Reynolds and its background should know that government's intervention in polygamy goes far beyond determining rights and resolving obscure legal conflicts.
1.17.2008 9:41am
alias:
The language doesn't clearly exclude poly-marriage ("a man and a woman" can be properly read to include "1 man and 2 women" but not "1 man and 1 man"), nor does it close the door on "early outs" ("for life" just precludes "for a term certain").

I don't think Huckabee was speaking to the Patent Office. I doubt he'd support that interpretation if asked a follow-up question.
1.17.2008 9:42am
Alan Gunn (mail):
Tom 952 said,

Religious fundamentalists should only be taken seriously when they are committing crimes.

Or when a lot of people think one of them ought to be president. Huckabee's observations on anything are worth considering only because they tell us something frightening about democracy. After all, this is the guy who said that most of the people who signed the Declaration of Independence were clergy (right answer: one of them). Not that many of the other candidates are any better when they discuss things like free trade. I can't manage to care much about which of these people wins the election, but the quality of the pool as a whole is worth worrying about.
1.17.2008 9:47am
Aultimer:

I don't think Huckabee was speaking to the Patent Office. I doubt he'd support that interpretation if asked a follow-up question.

I think he very well might have being weasel-y - why else would he have avoided the cliched "ONE man and ONE woman" construction? Is that really less likely than an fairly intelligent preacher/politician forgetting about poly marriage in the bible?
1.17.2008 9:50am
Carolina:
I am not a Huckabee fan at all, but I agree with the others who have defended this comment that "a man" and "a woman" could include polygamy if there are multiple such contracts.

I have not read the interview, but I'll give 20:1 odds Huckabee was speaking about gay marriage and not polygamy.

Whatever else you can say about Huckabee (and I don't say many nice things), he does know his Bible and playing grammarian "gotcha" seems a bit silly to me.
1.17.2008 9:52am
Elliot Reed (mail):
Aultimer, if he was being weasely, why did he immediately go on to distinguish "a man and three women" in response to the follow-up question?
1.17.2008 9:53am
Elliot Reed (mail):
You might as well say that talking about marriage between "one man and one woman" includes forms of polygamy that consist of multiple one-man-one-woman contracts. What's so different about "a man" and "a woman"?
1.17.2008 9:57am
Thales (mail) (www):
Huckabee probably thinks the King James Bible is the original . . . as one legislator who was part of the English as a national language movement some years back put it (something to this effect anyway), "If English was good enough for Jesus Christ, it's good enough for America."

And let's not forget the death-punishable biblical prohibition on shrimp.
1.17.2008 10:02am
Lee2 (mail):
Sorry, but Huckabee is Baptist. Shrimp, and the delicacy that is bacon-wrapped scallops, are perfectly ok to Christians. See, e.g., Matthew 15:17-20.

17. Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught?

18. But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.

19. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:

20. these are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.
1.17.2008 10:10am
Pensans:
I have never seen Prof. Volokh read anyone else as uncharitably. If this is how far he has to go to criticize Huckabee, then Huckabee must be pretty worthy of a vote.

First, the issue being addressed in the interview is whether the definition of marriage should be expanded to include homosexuals or protected from such by a constitutional amendment. Huckabee's remark is addressed to the heterosexuality of marriage not to its being between a single man and a single woman.

Second, Huckabee is clearly speaking of norms, not practices. If Huckabee had claimed that there was a historical defintion of murder as the intentional taking of life with malice aforethought, would Prof. Volokh claim that Huckabee was ignorant of the Bible's account of Cain and Able and the Roman practice of assasination?

Finally, Jesus provides a normative Christian interpretation of the history of marriage in Mt 19, where he teaches that the nature of marriage as a unity between a man and a woman was established in creation and provides the guiding framework for understanding marriage against contrary practices and even contrary permissive principles of the Mosaic law:

"Haven't you read," he replied, "that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,' and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'?

Prof. Volokh doesn't have to recognize this norm, but he ought to know that Huckabee does.
1.17.2008 10:19am
Gulf Coast Bandit (mail):
Thales: An older colleague of my father's was just getting started in the ministry way back in the day. He had a radio show and made the mistake of quoting from the Revised Standard Version instead of the KJV. An elderly man approached him on the street after his show and said, "Son, if the King James was good enough for Paul and Silas, it's good enough for you." Unfortunately, I think such idiocy misunderstanding is common throughout the South.
Huckabee truly believes what he said. He's not being slimy, at least not intentionally. He's just spouting off at the mouth.
1.17.2008 10:21am
blcjr (mail):
To add to what Some_3L said, there's a rough consensus among modern NT scholars that in Mk 10 Jesus abrogates the Mosaic concession permitting divorce, and prohibits all divorce, going back to Gen 2.24 as the true or authentic Biblical doctrine about marriage. And that can rightly be read -- can only be read -- as defining marriage between a man and a woman. So Huckabee's statement is not inconsistent with Christian theology.

A mistake made by many of the posters, especially those citing to OT examples of polygamy and divorce, is to confuse the historical with the ethical or moral. There's a lot of history in the Bible that is not recorded with approval. So the Jews of Moses time practice polygamy. They also practiced idolatry. No one confuses that historical reality with "biblical truth."

FWIW, I'm not a Huckabee supporter. But I think on this one, he knew more about what the Bible -- at least from the Christian perspective -- teaches than those who have criticized him. This wasn't one of Eugene's finer moments.
1.17.2008 10:24am
Observer:
"A mistake made by many of the posters, especially those citing to OT examples of polygamy and divorce, is to confuse the historical with the ethical or moral."

blcjr, You are absolutely correct, but I believe Professor Volokh's point is that Huckabee specifically made a historical point, not an ethical or moral one ("As long as there's been human history".
1.17.2008 10:29am
Zacharias (mail):
Religion poisons everything, and in particular the brains of believers. For years I have asked Roman Catholics to explain their church's doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. I haven't found one among dozens who could.

If a fundamentalist like Huckabee were to preach a sermon on Biblical Marriage as a model for today, he wouldn't find a single text to base his sermon on. The closest would be the hectoring Job suffered at the hands of his wife! There simply is no marriage recounted in the Bible that could serve as a model for what Huckabee's "ideal" American marriage.

The real relationship model is that of Jesus and Paul, who of course were single, the latter damning marriage with the faint praise of being better than burning in Hell.
1.17.2008 10:30am
Chris Bell (mail) (www):
I know the Conspirators hate it when people say this, but I'm surprised that this blog hasn't mentioned Huckabee's call to amend the Constitution:

I have opponents in this race who do not want to change the Constitution, but I believe it's a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living god. And that's what we need to do -- to amend the Constitution so it's in God's standards rather than try to change God's standards so it lines up with some contemporary view.
1.17.2008 10:30am
Elliot Reed (mail):
Pensans, how does this interpretation square with what Huckabee actually said, which was (emphasis added):
Marriage has historically, as long as there’s been human history, meant a man and a woman in a relationship for life. Once we change that definition, then where does it go from there?
How can that make any sense as a "normative" claim when he makes it so clear that it's a historical claim? And the language about us changing the definition doesn't make any sense either if he's talking normatively in the sense of God's (unchanging) definition of marriage, since we have no more power to change God's definition of marriage than did the ancient Hebrews. If you mean "normatively" in the sense of the actual norms of a society, that's blatantly false historically too, though I suppose I can't think of anywhere in the Bible where one guy berates another for not having enough wives.
1.17.2008 10:33am
kderosa (www):
I don't think Huckabee was speaking to the Patent Office.

In the PTO the phrase "a man and a woman," assuming the standard preamble, "A marital unit comprising:" would typically be interpreted as "at least one man and at least one woman" unless, of course, the applicant clearly provided another definition for either "a man" or "a woman" in the application.

Just sayin'.
1.17.2008 10:35am
Eugene Volokh (www):
Pensans: As I mentioned, Huckabee immediately afterwards says, "I think the radical view is to say that we’re going to change the definition of marriage so that it can mean two men, two women, a man and three women, a man and a child, a man and animal" (emphasis added). He's clearly distinguishing the supposed universal historical practice of "a man and a woman" (monogamy) from, among other things, "a man and three women" (polygamy).

blcjr: Huckabee was not, in the passage I quote, making simply a moral claim. He was making precisely a historical assertion, trying to use supposedly universal tradition as a guide for what we should continue to do: "Marriage has historically, as long as there’s been human history, meant a man and a woman in a relationship for life." But that historical claim is simply wrong; regardless of whether heterosexual monogamy is the only morally sound form of marriage (or for that matter the only socially constructive one), it is not the only historically recognized one.
1.17.2008 10:37am
Elliot Reed (mail):
Or, under Vehicular Tech Corp. and SciMed, if the applicant had specifically pointed out and disclaimed polygamous marriages in the specification. Which Huckabee did.
1.17.2008 10:40am
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
1. As I recall, monogamy comes into Christianity from the Roman law, not from Jewish law. Romans were monogamists, tempered by divorce at the drop of a hat. The husband's hat, anyway.

2. I think that Paul in Timothy says something to the effect that deacons &bishops should be men with one wife, suggesting that he regarded polygamy as acceptable in the ordinary believer. Clergy didn't have to be celibate, quite, just stop at one.

3. I was told by a Mormon that in the days of polygamy the first wife had rank on the others, and the husband was expected to get her consent before marry others, so there was something of a corporate nature to it.

4. G B Shaw had an interesting point, that in any society that is somewhat democratic, polygamy will be outlawed, because for every man with four wives there will be three men condemned to involuntary celibacy. They will outlaw the idea so as to force a more equitable (to them) division of wives. I think early Utah was an exception, because women outnumbered men.

5. I read somewhere that in certain areas of Germany, after the 30 years war which brutally impacted the areas and drastically reduced the number of surviving young men relative to that of surviving young women, the (R. Catholic) bishops gave a dispensation for polygamy, Monogamy was a command of the church, not of God, and thus could be dispensed with, and in this extreme was outranked by the direct divine order to "be fruitful and multiply."
Certain American areas could have used this in 1865. As I recall there were some counties in the Carolinas where 90% of the men of military age were killed off, with the result that 90% of the women would never marry.
1.17.2008 10:43am
Alan K. Henderson (mail) (www):
A constitution exists to define a government's powers and limits to power. If it consistently refrains from empowering government to violate the universal law against theft, it will be godly by default.
1.17.2008 10:45am
sbrt (mail):
Despite the title of this post, Huckabee has indeed been paying attention to his Bible. Jesus banned divorce (although in one version of the saying it was permitted if the wife was unfaithful) and he and other NT writers made it clear that marriage was one man and one woman. Perhaps the proper response to Huckabee's quote should not have been a tsk-tsk as if Huckabee's reading fails on its own terms. It doesn't.
1.17.2008 10:46am
SeaDrive:

SeaDrive, anyone familiar with Reynolds and its background should know that government's intervention in polygamy goes far beyond determining rights and resolving obscure legal conflicts.


True, but the comment I was responding to took a broad view including the accepted and mundane. The division of the estate of a person who dies intestate is hardly obscure.

I tend to think that it's a benefit to the public when any group of people define themselves as a family and pledge themselves to each others welfare and to pay each others debts. Sexual relations within the group (abuse excluded) are not so relevant. It's difficult, however, since the conventional view of marriage and family is assumed in quite a lot of law, e.g. labor law, property rights, privacy rights, etc.

Due to high profile cases, there is currently a view that sexual abuse of children is more common in polygamous families. I don't know if that would stand up to close scrutiny, but as a society we prevent many things that are not harmful in themselves but which are perceived to foster trouble. Many of these are controversial to some degree, e.g. gun control.
1.17.2008 10:46am
J. F. Thomas (mail):
Huckabee also doesn't believe in evolution and is apparently a young earth creationist. His extremely wrongheaded and ahistorical concept of marriage is supposed to surprise us?
1.17.2008 10:48am
Elliot Reed (mail):
Dave—re your point number 4, I am always astounded by the failure of imagination exhibited in such arguments. Polygamy has historically meant polygyny almost exclusively, because of sexism and the degraded status of women, but after the women's rights movement and the sexual revolution, why would a hypothetical future form of polygamy in a society like ours be so limited? What about polyandry, group marriages, or pairwise marriages unrestricted as to number of partners (allowing for line marriages, n-gons, and other complex structures)?
1.17.2008 10:55am
Eugene Volokh (www):
sbrt: But wasn't Huckabee making a historical argument about what the practice has always been? That's the argument that I think is inconsistent with the historical assertions in the Bible (as well as with other historical evidence) -- as I think I expressly argued.
1.17.2008 11:05am
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
I think that Dave Hardy was talking about this from 1st Timothy 3:2:
A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;
Not quite sure how the Roman Catholics reconcile this with clerical celibacy.
1.17.2008 11:13am
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
Let me add the last, that Paul in this letter to Timothy in this same chapter extends this requirement to deacons (3:12) and requires that Bishops have children (3:4-5)
One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;(For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)
1.17.2008 11:17am
justwonderingby:
EV: I think there's lots of reasons not to like Huck, but this is not a very good one. Sure, Huck overstates his position from a historical point, but that's what all politicians do after all. But there's no question that marriage between one man and one woman has been the American and Christian tradition for a very long time. I think the point he's making is that we should think carefully before tossing overboard such an entrenched norm -- especially given the fact that most Americans do not favor a change with this norm. Yeah, from a libertarian perspective, marriage should be whatever anyone wants it to be, but don't you think there's something to be said about changing the traditional practice of marriage in a country based on democratic principles for the few when so many are against that change?
1.17.2008 11:19am
Gov 98 (mail):
Ugh.

If you actually read the Bible, we see that Genesis 2:24 states: "For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh."

If you're reading "historically" we see that from the very beginning...well okay the 6th day into the beginning the desired situation was monogamous marriage. So the historical claim is correct. That men went ahead and did their own thing is no new news...it is no surprise, and it does not undermine the claim.

There is a difference in scripture between prescriptive and descriptive truth. The Bible tells us what actually happened, and also what we should actually do. These are not always the same. Polygomy in the Bible begins with the story of Lamech, which granted was early in human history, but we also see Lamech is hardly a man worth emulating as he sings of his killing a "boy." It should not be forgotten that for such wickedness the world was destroyed. "Now the Earth was corrupt in the sight of God, and the Earth was filled with violence."

Polygomy was practiced by as we see many of the patriarchs and powerful people, that norm is somewhat common throughout history, although it does not justify or excuse it. If we look to actual middle class life, we see, for example in the story of Ruth, in the story of Uriah the Hittite we see that he has but one wife. Even in Proverbs it's fairly apparent that the "wise" model is to have one wife...even if Solomon did not follow that wisdom himself. Noting however that as the proverbs state that lapse in judgment led to even greater problems.

And quite frankly Huckabee's reading of Scripture is absolutley correct "Marriage has historically, as long as there’s been human history, meant a man and a woman in a relationship for life." The beginning of human history was that 6th day, and we see in Scripture that from that 6th day the meaning of marriage has been one man one woman.
1.17.2008 11:21am
eddie (mail):
As you all focus on this bit of interesting trivia, the larger context of what Huckabee is suggesting, viz. fixing the Constitution to conform it to Christian values, is all but lost in such "interesting" noise. For anyone interested in constitutional law and concerned about our liberties, that this attitude is being espoused by a "serious" presidential candidate, should be truly appalling. We all need to be forceful and loud in our rejection of the "religification" of our laws.
1.17.2008 11:24am
Mark Buehner (mail):
Never underestimate Christianity's perchant for interpretting universal laws of god as time sensitive.

King David had 8 wives and he seemed to get on fairly well with the Lord.
1.17.2008 11:32am
Thales (mail) (www):
"[B]ut to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man." Gee, maybe not morally speaking, but I like to wash up before dinner just the same.
1.17.2008 11:33am
Sean O'Hara (mail) (www):

While the Old Testament details the existence of polygamy, it is never condoned. And everyone who engaged in it suffered for it in the form of family strife

If it was good enough for Solomon, it's good enough for me. I think Huckabee should move on to things expressly prohibited by Mosaic Law -- like cheeseburgers, and pepperoni pizza.
1.17.2008 11:36am
Bob Up North (mail):
Here is a response to an earlier post on Biblical interpretetion.

Hoosier asks the question “I've never gotten a good answer to this one: Why do Biblical literalists believe that Christ can teach with parables, yet the Bible cannot? I mean, what is the /doctrinal/ reason.”

I have an answer to Hoosier’s question. There are no Biblical literalists as he defines them. Baptists speak loosely about the literal truth of the Bible – but as a matter of religious discipline believe only that the book of Genesis need be interpreted literally. Any other Book can be interpreted in any other way that is not inconsistent with Baptist tradition.

The requirement that Genesis be interpreted literally is in the foundational document of the Baptist church, the Baptist Confession of 1904. It was added to confront Darwin’s theory of evolution.
1.17.2008 11:40am
J. F. Thomas (mail):
like cheeseburgers, and pepperoni pizza.

Don't forget cotton/poly blend shirts.
1.17.2008 11:43am
Rock Chocklett:
as his own religious histories and his own profession (as minister) should teach him.

Let's be honest. EV's post is a criticism, not of Huckabee's knowledge of history, but of the religious values underpinning the governor's support of "one man, one woman" marriage. The point is: "Even the Bible, which you claim to rely on, doesn't support your vision of marriage." And that point is not fair when the Bible's teaching on marriage is considered in its entirety, as other commenters have noted.

Unfortunately, I think such idiocy misunderstanding is common throughout the South.

Are you serious in saying that it's common for Southerners not to understand that the original manuscripts of Scripture weren't in English? I would accuse you of prejudice, but I guess we fundamentalist hicks are the only ones capable of that.
1.17.2008 11:43am
Just a thought:

Religion poisons everything, and in particular the brains of believers. For years I have asked Roman Catholics to explain their church's doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. I haven't found one among dozens who could.

Zacharias,
Here are a couple of good explanations: http://www.ewtn.com/faith/Teachings/marya2.htm
http://www.catholicapologetics.org/ap080400.htm
1.17.2008 11:49am
Rock Chocklett:
We all need to be forceful and loud in our rejection of the "religification" of our laws.

That statement could just as well have come from an opponent of the abolitionist movement in 19th century America. Are we prepared to say that all laws motivated in part by religious sentiment are unconstitutional? I guess when it comes to civic participation, only secularists need apply.
1.17.2008 11:50am
Mark Buehner (mail):

The point is: "Even the Bible, which you claim to rely on, doesn't support your vision of marriage." And that point is not fair when the Bible's teaching on marriage is considered in its entirety, as other commenters have noted.


Why not take Huckabee's words literally (ahem) "Marriage has historically, as long as there’s been human history, meant a man and a woman in a relationship for life." That is clearly factually inaccurate, even in the context of the bible. You can read into it all you want, of course, but EVs point is pretty obvious- Huckabee is picking and choosing his biblical frameworks. Hardly unusual, but that doesnt mean it should pass unremarked. Huck needs to choose his words more judiciously.
1.17.2008 11:51am
Elliot Reed (mail):
The Mosaic law (which, according to Christians, at least used to be God's law), provides for polygamy in regulations like Deut. 17:17 (king should not have too many wives). And of course the (wise) Solomon, who got along very well with God, had 700 wives and another 300 concubines (1 Kings 11:3). And what Huckabee said is that marriage has been a man and a woman "as long as there's been human history," and the Hebrew Bible he believes in makes it quite clear that that's not true, neither in the sense that (what he believes to be) God's law has forbidden it continuously, nor in the sense that it's been a continuous historical practice.
1.17.2008 12:03pm
DangerMouse:
Here we go. Another thread of pseudointellectual revolutionaries ready to overthrow thousands of years of western morality, because they don't like the Bible's teachings on sexual practices. These threads write themselves.

The claims of fundamentalist Christians that they simply follow the Bible is patent nonsense. They frequently prohibit practices that area clearly endorsed in the Bible, such as polygamy, dancing, and drinking, and they pick and choose the prohibitions that they wish to enforce.

But then so is the doctrine of 'sola scriptura.' Texts never interpret themselves.


That's why I like being a Catholic. We have the history, the scripture, and the right method of interpretation and balance between each.
1.17.2008 12:05pm
Just a thought:
I have to echo the commenters asserting that Prof. Volokh is off on this point. In the context of Christian and Bible teaching in its entirety, the ideal of marriage has been a man and a woman for life, and this ideal was first established in Genesis at the creation of man and woman by God. The fact that humanity later strayed from this idea doesn't negate the existence of the ideal at the beginning of history. (A clear example is Christ's words on divorce: divorce was permitted in the time of Moses because of hardness of hearts, but Christ says that "in the beginning, it was not so," that is, divorce was not intended in the beginning. Matt 19:8.)

The late Pope John Paul II expounded on this point in great detail, in a teaching which is popularly called "The Theology of the Body."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theology_of_the_Body
1.17.2008 12:12pm
Ben P (mail):

But then so is the doctrine of 'sola scriptura.' Texts never interpret themselves.


To be fair (that's been said a lot in this thread it seems)

The original doctrine of sola scriptura (at least as I know of it from Martin Luther) didn't foreclose interpretations, it foreclosed what Luther saw as entirely extra-biblical practices in the catholic church of the time. Most notably thing such as the sale of indulgences.


The sola scriptura of modern evangelicals is similar in some ways but quite different in others, at least in results.
1.17.2008 12:14pm
Rock Chocklett:
You can read into it all you want, of course, but EVs point is pretty obvious- Huckabee is picking and choosing his biblical frameworks.

But to take Huckabee's comment literally would attribute to him an error that no one honestly thinks he is making. Do we truly understand Huckabee to say that forms of marriage other than heterosexual monogamy have never existed? Do we really believe he is unaware that some people in the Bible had multiple wives? To criticize the literal import of his statment is to make him either appallingly ignorant or shamelessly dishonest, and that's simply not fair in this context. He's clearly making a statement that since creation, marriage was meant to be between one man and one woman. That it was not always practiced as such does not change its normative meaning. The fact that Huckabee isn't being given the benefit of the doubt on this shows that the commenters are driven, not by indignation over a mistaken history, but over a disagreement with his religious values. And I think it reveals the bias of many who insist religion shouldn't count, except to disqualify those silly evangelicals.
1.17.2008 12:15pm
Bob Montgomery (mail):
Why not take Huckabee's words literally (ahem) "Marriage has historically, as long as there’s been human history, meant a man and a woman in a relationship for life." That is clearly factually inaccurate, even in the context of the bible. You can read into it all you want, of course, but EVs point is pretty obvious- Huckabee is picking and choosing his biblical frameworks. Hardly unusual, but that doesnt mean it should pass unremarked. Huck needs to choose his words more judiciously.

I think his words are, perhaps, poorly chosen but, accepting the bible as true, he is factually correct.

Genesis 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
Genesis 2: 24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
Matthew 19:4-6 He answered, "Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, 'Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? So they are no longer two but one flesh.

So, according to the bible, God established marriage at the beginning of creation as a covenant between one man and one woman.
1.17.2008 12:19pm
Elliot Reed (mail):
Another thread of pseudointellectual revolutionaries ready to overthrow thousands of years of western morality
Hell yes (except for the "pseudointellectual" bit). Your "thousands of years of Western morality" used to condone the mass slaughter of heretics and unbelievers (see Josh., especially Chapter 10, in which Joshua engages in a genocidal campaign of ethnic cleansing at God's command, the Crusades, various religious wars among the Europeans, the persecution of heretics in Geneva and Massachusetts, the genocide of the American Indians by the British and the United States), the oppression and denial of all sorts of legal rights to women (see all of Western history until the past two centuries or so), slavery (see Exodus and the history of the Americas), etc. The glory of the modern West is that we have rejected all that stuff. But some practice being regarded as appropriate by "thousands of years of Western morality" is no defense of it.

I suppose you will come back by redefining "thousands of years of Western morality" to mean only the bits of Western morality you personally happen to agree with. Sorry, but no.
1.17.2008 12:22pm
Mark Buehner (mail):

But to take Huckabee's comment literally would attribute to him an error that no one honestly thinks he is making.


Thats if you assume it was a mistake instead of an intentional attempt to spin the subject. I assume he knows the facts. I assume he knows them well enough and is smart enough to say "the ideal marriage is between a man and a woman" instead of insinuating, no stating, that the practice has always been so.

Huckabee is getting the brunt of this, but this is an issue many of us have had with evangelicals for years. There is a decided strategy of 'interpretting' biblical sources and portraying the result as simple fact. If you are going to take liberties you better explain why and how. Explain the reasoning, dont just make arguments of authority.
1.17.2008 12:26pm
sbrt (mail):

sbrt: But wasn't Huckabee making a historical argument about what the practice has always been? That's the argument that I think is inconsistent with the historical assertions in the Bible (as well as with other historical evidence) -- as I think I expressly argued.



Mike Huckabee Hasn't Been Paying Attention to His Bible:




But it's striking that here Huckabee is forgetting what is described in the Bible itself.



Huckabee's language is a little loose. In parts of your post, you read it as making an empircal claim about marriage practices around the world over the ages and about the content of stories in the Bible.

I read his claim as being about the meaning of marriage. Huckabee himself says "meant." The context of the interview and his words suggest that he's making an interpretive or normative claim about what marriage "means."

But in any case the assertions that he's "forgotten" what's in the Bible and hasn't "paid attention" to it strike me as stretching the meaning beyond what it will support. Imagine for example, how he would respond to this question, "Hey, haven't you forgotten that there was polygamy in the Bible? Haven't you failed to pay attention to the Bible?" It's pretty clear from the interview how he'd respond to that.
1.17.2008 12:26pm
newscaper (mail):
I quite dislike Huckabee, but I agree this is pretty weak tea as far as 'gotchas' go, for the same reasons as many (though not all) of the above posters.

I also think the poster who mentioned the relationship between monogamy and women's right was dead on. Polygamy (polygyny) most definitely has a tendency in practice to make women spoils for powerful/wealthier men, to make them more passive participants bordering on mere possessions. Doesn't sound like much of the vaunted free "contract" the libertarian purists support (which BTW I am not 100% opposed to).

Again, in practice, monogamy raised the value (and therefore power)of an individual woman.

Once overtly arranged marriages began giving way to to the selection of a spouse based on romantic love (which also arose out of the Christian notions of chivalry and spillover effects of the respect for Mary), the power of the woman was further increased because her real consent became more important, compared to the old deals between her father and prospective husband.

Feminists actually owe a great deal to the traditions they normally spit on.
1.17.2008 12:27pm
frankcross (mail):
Do we truly understand Huckabee to say that forms of marriage other than heterosexual monogamy have never existed?

That is what he said.

Do we really believe he is unaware that some people in the Bible had multiple wives? To criticize the literal import of his statment is to make him either appallingly ignorant or shamelessly dishonest, and that's simply not fair in this context.

I think I would give the alternative explanation of pandering to the ignorant, of whom there are many.

I believe the wise response to EV on Huckabee is simply to say that one could cherrypick this stuff from every candidate, including his favored one. And this is a lot less descriptively objectionable than other stuff like rejecting evolution.

I believe the unwise response is to try to defend the substance of the comments as being accurate.
1.17.2008 12:28pm
Pol Mordreth (mail):
Bruce Hayden:
For a Catholic, the Pope is infallible when deciding matters about the church. Therefore, any Papal decrees effectively amend the Bible, as they are God's instructions as passed thru the Pope. IIRC, it was Siricius that essentially banned Catholic priests to marry, although the Nicene and Elviran Councils had laid the groundwork for it. All appeals to theologians aside, as far as I was taught (I am a lapsed Catholic) the main ideal behind the ban was to prevent dynastic succession throughout the Church, and therefore to reduce the incidence of corruption.

R/
Pol
1.17.2008 12:30pm
Mark Buehner (mail):
So, according to the bible, God established marriage at the beginning of creation as a covenant between one man and one woman.


But Huckabee said "as long as there’s been human history". That assumedly doesnt simply include Genesis to Deuteronomy, and then New Testament to the present. There was undeniably a period in human history (well documented in the bible) where the practice of polygamy was accepted. Hence Huck is simply factually wrong.

And lets step back for a minute- Huckabee obviously knows this. He is intentionally ignoring that period because it doesnt suit his argument. Its beneath him. He could easily have made a more factual (and i think more persuasive) argument by saying something like "since the Garden of Eden, humanity has held the ideal of marriage to be one man and one woman, as per the Lord". Obviously he preferred to make a more sweeping and less accurate generalization to support his argument, but in doing so he was just plain wrong.
1.17.2008 12:33pm
sbrt (mail):
Pol,

You say, "Therefore, any Papal decrees effectively amend the Bible . . . ." Is the doctrine of infallibility that broad? I thought it's only when the Pope speaks ex cathedra and not for "any decree." Also, haven't the number of expressly infallible pronouncements been very small?
1.17.2008 12:34pm
Hoosier:
Pol Mordreth:
Right on the second point, but not on the first. On this miscopnception, one needs to read the parts of "Brideshead Revisited" in which Rex is taking instruction in the Faith. Rather funny, since he is trying to tell his instructor what he THINKS the Church wants to hear from an initiate. I don't have the text with me. But something like this:

Priest: "So if the Pope says something is true does that mean that it is true?"
Rex: "Absolutley, father!"
P: "Anything he says?"
R: "That's right."
P: "Well, what if he says it will rain tomorrow?"
R: "Then it will rain."
P: But what if it DOESN'T?"
R: (Pause)"Well then it is raining in some spiritual way, but we are too sinful to see it."

As to amending the Bible, the Catholic Church has no means of doing so, ever.

But celirical celibacy WAS introduced in the Middle Ages in an attempt to prevent clerics from passing waelth on to their children. The idea was that they'd then be less likely to seek out wealth in the first place. It worked well in Ireland. Better in Germany than in France or Italy.
1.17.2008 12:39pm
hmmmmm:
Eugene:

1. Huckabee used the phrase: "Marriage has historically, as long as there’s been human history, meant a man and a woman in a relationship for life." Doesn't the word "meant" require interpretation? To me, that word could have referred to either historical practice (as you suggest) or an ethical aspiration. So I think there are at least two valid interpretations of what he said. I don't mean to be cavalier about it, but anyone interpreting that sentence has to decide what "meant" meant. And is there a word in the English language more indeterminate than "meaning"?

2. If you have not already, can you please do a post on the use of "a historical" versus "an historical"? That one drove us nuts on law review. There was some stuff on google about it, but not super-reliable. The Supreme Court seems to prefer "a historical" at a 2-1 rate, but counting up hits on Westlaw isn't conclusive because sometimes a case will quote a book title that uses the opposite of what the opinion author prefers.
1.17.2008 12:42pm
Thales (mail) (www):
"Here we go. Another thread of pseudointellectual revolutionaries ready to overthrow thousands of years of western morality, because they don't like the Bible's teachings on sexual practices."

Actually there's another strand of Western morality that has nothing to do with the Bible and in part predates it (or parts of it), which holds that one ought to leave other people to their own devices in matters of consensual sexual relations and allow equal liberty for all. Some people would like to overthrow that strand because they think gay people are icky and threatening.

"That's why I like being a Catholic. We have the history, the scripture, and the right method of interpretation and balance between each."

Well I'm glad that's settled. I was wondering which approach was right.
1.17.2008 12:46pm
Buckland (mail):
Peronally I think polygamy is an interesting economic force, and it's value is forgotten in today's world.

One thing to remember -- economically polygamy always favors high class men and low class women at the expense of low class men and high class women. High class men get access to more women and low class women become competitive to getting a share of the high class man. High class women find new competition for the good guys, and low class men find a drastic reduction in the number of possible mates.

I read a paper once [title long forgotten] that this may have been a part of the success of Islamic armies in the 700-1400 timeframe. Since multiple wives was specifically permitted in the Quran it was hard to turn if off when it came time to establish a stable civilization. In most places multiple wives were great when conquering an area, but gradually gave way to monogamy after the conquest was done (the Saxon conquest of Briton is a good example). Moslem societies were rarely able make this transistion. Their societies always had lots of young, low class men with no prospect of getting a woman at home. That demographic combination is always trouble. However if they could just crush the infidels down the road there would be plenty of women to go around.

The corollary to that may be that that's also why Islamic societies have so much trouble becoming stable democracies, even today. That group of lower class males with no prospect of marriage still looks to destabilize their society, and are willing to risk life and limb to do it. The 19 9/11 hijackers were SINGLE moslem men, most from Saudi Arabia, one country where polygamy still takes a good number of women out of the marriage pool.
1.17.2008 12:47pm
Ben P (mail):

Peronally I think polygamy is an interesting economic force, and it's value is forgotten in today's world


That's an interesting theory, I'd never thought of that before.
1.17.2008 1:15pm
Mad Jurist (mail):
Just a note: In the Catholic Church, the proscription against clerical marriage is based in canon law, but is not scriptural. That's why, for example, certain Eastern Rite priests within the Roman Catholic Church are allowed to marry.
1.17.2008 1:15pm
dew:
It has been a while since I have been to a church but:

For a Catholic, the Pope is infallible when deciding matters about the church.
This does not sound quite right. I think it is “faith and morals” not “about the church”. Catholics are free to ignore him if he declares “St. Peter’s Basilica” is now “St. Peter’s Pogo Stick”, even if it is technically about the church (although the Brideshead Revisited example is cute too).

Therefore, any Papal decrees effectively amend the Bible, as they are God's instructions as passed thru the Pope.
To second/third it, this this also does not seem quite right. The church at least used to teach that Catholic doctrine could maybe clarify or expand on the bible, not contradict or change what it says.

IIRC, it was Siricius that essentially banned Catholic priests to marry, although the Nicene and Elviran Councils had laid the groundwork for it.

Only as an administrative rule in the Western (Latin) church. Eastern (or uniate churches), that is, those eastern orthodox churches (or parts of churches) that did not break away from Rome, still have more-or-less the same marriage/celibacy rules as regular Eastern Orthodox churches. I lived in Pittsburgh years ago, which has both a latin bishop/diocese and an eastern rite (Carpatho-Ruthenian) Catholic archbishop/archdiocese, and read there about the stink the eastern rite clergy made when the American latin Catholic hierarchy got Rome to require that all new catholic clergy in the new world had to follow western celibacy rules, regardless of rite. And even in the latin rite, married clergy from certain denominations (e.g. Anglican and high Lutheran) can convert to be Catholic priests, at least according to a (single) converted Anglican-to-Catholic priest I knew, also in Pittsburgh.

…the main ideal behind the ban was to prevent dynastic succession throughout the Church, and therefore to reduce the incidence of corruption.

That is exactly what I remember reading also.
1.17.2008 1:25pm
dew:
Sorry, reply collision with "Mad Jurist", who managed to make my longest point quite well using a lot fewer words...
1.17.2008 1:29pm
Just a thought:
Suppose I said "Democracy has historically, as long as there’s been human history, meant a government where the power was wholly vested in the people." Suppose that since democracy was first defined or explained by Aristotle, there have been very few governments that lived up to the ideal of a true democracy. Suppose that during the course of history, most governments called democracies had elements of corruption, of nepotism, of oligarchy, or of tyranny. Would my statement be wrong?
1.17.2008 1:32pm
Cornellian (mail):
Just a note: In the Catholic Church, the proscription against clerical marriage is based in canon law, but is not scriptural. That's why, for example, certain Eastern Rite priests within the Roman Catholic Church are allowed to marry.

You can also start out as an Anglican priest, get married, then convert to Roman Catholicism and be a married Roman Catholic priest. It seems like a giant loophole but apparently the Vatican regards it as totally legitimate.
1.17.2008 1:34pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
Zacharias asserts that he cannot find a Catholic who can expxlain the Immaculate Conception.

Well, I can explain the doctrine, but then I'm an ex-Catholic, so maybe that doesn't count.

However, since this is a thread about marriage, it would have been more cogent to have asked a Cathoic to explain the Catholic doctrine of marriage.

I can remmeber that one, too. Marriage is rated a sacrament not because Jesus said anything much about it (it's pretty clear he wasn't much on heterosexual sex) but because his attendance at the marriage at Cana showed he approved of it.

Pretty thin as an endorsement.

Anyhow, when it comes to Southern Baptists, practice and public declamation diverge about 180 degrees. I dunno where country music (a heavily Baptist art form) would be without divorce.
1.17.2008 1:35pm
Malvolio:
That's why I like being a Catholic. We have the history, the scripture, and the right method of interpretation and balance between each.
vs.
The original doctrine of sola scriptura (at least as I know of it from Martin Luther) didn't foreclose interpretations, it foreclosed what Luther saw as entirely extra-biblical practices in the catholic church of the time. Most notably thing such as the sale of indulgences.
I assume I am not the only person on this thread seeing a resemblance between this argument and "originalism"/"living Constitution" arguments.

If not, am I the only one noting the irony that most participants seem to lean towards originalism in the Constitution but believe in (or at least believe Christians should believe in) a "living Bible", wherein we can wear poly blends and not stone adulterers?

And while I am myself a Constitutional originalist, a Biblical originalist (a "fundamentalist") could claim (ad argumentum) that his source document is divinely inspired if not dictated. I have no such defense.
1.17.2008 1:42pm
Bad (mail) (www):
King Solomon certainly seemed to be the "ideal" with his collection of wives.
1.17.2008 2:01pm
Jagermeister:

Some would argue first of all that the government actually is supposed to generally do what 'the people' tell it to do; second, that social institutions and culture are important things in the life of a nation or a community; and third that that in a representational democracy, 'the people' have some inherent right to determine the general shape of the community in which they live


Government that does what the people "tell it to do" is simply mob rule and the tyranny of the majority. If the majority prefer vanilla, and ban chocolate, government sets up conditions for conflict and strife.

It is because I agree that "social institutions and culture are important things in the life of a nation or a community" that I think that need to be taken out of the realm of government. To avoid being tyrannical, government must be inclusive as possible, which opens any government endorsement open to the challenges of the smallest of fringe groups. If government restricts its endorsement to the obvious and necessary, the people are free to use the power of moral suasion and association to protect their society.

And while I agree that the people have the "inherent right to determine the general shape of the community in which they live", I deny them the right to use the exclusive, coercive and putative powers of government to enforce their preferences. They must depend upon their protected rights of free association, approbation, and moral suasion for enforcement.


It is the government's job to resolve conflicts, including those concerting extension of one person's rights and obligations to other family members, rights of inheritance, etc.


I agree completely. Which is why I think that the issue of "marriage" relationships can be dealt with in an inclusive manner in civil law, protecting the rights of the participants, without needlessly dictating the exclusive form of those relationships.

It is my observation that most people could care less what type of contractual relationships gay people enter into. Those defending "marriage" do so because they (a) (properly) resent people not of their faith defining the sacraments of their religion, and (b) (improperly) resent people obtaining special benefits granted by the government to certain classes of relationships.

By taking government out of the business of endorsing religious concepts, and ceasing to grant special rights to certain classes, government takes away the spoils that are being fought over. The result would be to allow religious people the dignity of their definitions of marriage without them being forced to redefine them to suit non-practitioners, and to allow people who wish to form non-traditional relationships the right to do so without forcing their views on the rest of us.

If government has an interest in protecting the rights of minor children and dependent "spouses", let it define those protections more exactly without the umbrella of the definition of "marriage".

I am actually a traditionalist, who sees value in the institution of marriage, but thinks it is going to be destroyed by the current conflict.
1.17.2008 2:10pm
pete (mail) (www):

Zacharias asserts that he cannot find a Catholic who can expxlain the Immaculate Conception.

Well, I can explain the doctrine, but then I'm an ex-Catholic, so maybe that doesn't count.


I can explain the doctrine as well and I am a Lutheran who grew up Episcopal and who used to attend an independent Evangelical chuech. It is not that hard of a doctrine to explain even though most, if not all, prostetants reject it once they hear about it. For those not familiar it says that when was Mary conceived she was without original sin and always lived in a state of grace.

To those who keep commentating on why it is funny that fundamentalist Christians reject the ritual purity laws of the bible you really have to ingnore large parts of the New Testament, which revolves around the idea that when Jesus came a new covenant was established and a lot of the old rules no longer apply. There is the part in Acts where Peter is ordered to eat unclean animals, Collosians 2 with the law being nailed to the cross, the discussions and church councils about gentiles not being circumcised, and the aforementioned passage by Jesus about handwashing. Those are just the first ones off the top of my head, but there are probably more.

There are still some Christians that practice polygamy, but they are not mainstream. Then there is Mormonism, which some consider Christian and which only gave up polygamy because the US government required it for Utah to become a state. Of course some Mormon sects still practice polygamy.
1.17.2008 2:12pm
DangerMouse:
The glory of the modern West is that we have rejected all that stuff.

Glory? Do you not see the fruits of your labor? European secularists are dying out. They aren't reproducing at replacement levels. Muslims will soon be the majority. In America, Mormons and Catholic hispanics who believe in family and are against abortion are out-reproducing you. The secular, post-Christian, post-traditional marriage populace is aborting itself into extinction. Where's the glory of empty towns scantily laced with nothing but aging hipsters?
1.17.2008 2:16pm
TCD (mail) (www):
And the same thing would be true of marriage. Marriage has historically, as long as there’s been human history, meant a man and a woman in a relationship for life. Once we change that definition, then where does it go from there?


I don't see how Huckabee's comments are contradicted by polygamy. A man marries one woman, and their marriage is for life. He then marries another woman and their marriage is for life. But his two wives are not married to each other. Each marriage is between one man and one woman, it just wasn't exclusive. I'm not carrying water for Huckabee, but I think that's an important clarification.
1.17.2008 2:23pm
BLACKMINORCA (mail) (www):
"the Bible...attests to ...widespread...marriage between a man and multiple women."

No.

What Bible are you reading from and what marriages heve you been to?

The only widespread marriages are between one man and one woman - and the New Testament trumps whatever transpired prior.
1.17.2008 2:33pm
blcjr (mail):
I stand corrected, sort of. With his elaboration, I see EV's point, though I suspect that as others have noted, it was probably a poor choice of words on Huckabee's part (nothing new there) and that he was thinking of "history" in a Biblical/Fundamentals perspective, that when you go back to Genesis, and the beginning of time (from that perspective) marriage is between one man and one woman for life. I.e., that is the Christian interpretation after Jesus in Mk 10.

Certainly, the Bible attests to other historical forms or norms for marriage, i.e. polygamy, and if Huckabee did mean to make a categorical historical statement that marriage has always and only been between one man and one woman throughout history, then he was obviously wrong, and even the Bible demonstrates that. But is Huckabee really that stupid, to be making such an obviously wrong statement, or is it more likely he meant something else, even if he didn't do a good job of articulating what he meant?
1.17.2008 2:48pm
Citizen Grim (mail) (www):
Huckabee's favorite Bible verse:

"This is what the [President] who will reign over you will do: He will take your sons and make them serve with his [limos] and [helicopters], and they will run in front of his [tanks]. Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his [tanks]. He will take your daughters to be [social workers] and [lobbyists] and [tax collectors]. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. Your menservants and maidservants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use. He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, and the LORD will not answer you in that day."
- 1 Samuel 8:11-18
1.17.2008 2:51pm
Xanthippas (mail) (www):

I am criticizing his attempt to buttress his moral claims with what strike me as factually unsound (and Biblically contradicted) assertions about what has been the case throughout "human history."


Or in other words, Christian "traditionalist" moralizers who-as is typical-display astonishing ignorance about what is actually in the Bible. Why is that exactly? Could it have something to do with the fact that much of Christian moralizing on issues like gay marriage has everything to do with their cultural beliefs and biases, and less to do with the actual Bible itself?
1.17.2008 3:05pm
M. Simon (mail) (www):
What I don't get is this:

If Christians are supposed to be followers of Jesus why don't they celebrate Passover the way Jesus and the Apostles did?

Seems like a serious oversight to me.

And how about the calendar. Jesus never followed the Roman calendar. Or did he?

And lots of other stuff.
1.17.2008 3:06pm
Bob Montgomery (mail):
Re-reading the initial post, with it's update, I just can't square what you wrote about Huckabee with your posts on and against the many misleading, dishonest, and just plain stupid "Bushisms."

How is your nitpicking interpretation, giving no benefit of the doubt, of an oral statement - which, as you have pointed out several times, are easy to mangle and should be given leeway - any different from Weisberg's many Bushisms that had all the same faults and which you rightly railed against?

I mean, come on - people are getting married in Massachusetts today! How can you claim with a straight face that Huckabee meant that marriage has always been solely between a man and a woman and all other definitions have always been roundly rejected - when alternate definitions are sanctioned by law in our country, right now, today? Do you think he has never heard of Massachusetts? Do you think he doesn't believe in the gay marriages there; they are just a fiction of the MSM(tm)? How could you assume that he meant that?
1.17.2008 3:07pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Eugene Volohk
RE: Say Again, Professor

"UPDATE: I had thought I'd made this clear in the original post, but let me repeat it: I'm objecting to Huckabee's "historical[]" claims, and saying they're inconsistent with the Bible's own account of history. I am not responding to Huckabee's moral claims; I am criticizing his attempt to buttress his moral claims with what strike me as factually unsound (and Biblically contradicted) assertions about what has been the case throughout "human history."" -- Eugene Volohk

No offense intended, but, as we say in the Army, "You're coming through garbled and stupid."

I'm no big fan of Huckabee, but I'm rather familiar with that old Book. And I'm not quite catching your drift here.

Sure, there have been a LOT of instance of polygamy in the Bible. Even Kings David, Solomon, etc., etc., etc.

However, from the Christian perspective, they don't matter.

The example of leadership amongst us mere mortals of the Christian persuasion is written where the leaders of the church must be a man of ONE wife.

Whether this is what you were addressing, I cannot tell for certain as even your 'UPDATE' leaves me confused as to your central premise.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Where there's marriage without love, there will be love without marriage. -- Benjamin Franklin]
1.17.2008 3:10pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: M. Simon
RE: Ignorance, Again?

"If Christians are supposed to be followers of Jesus why don't they celebrate Passover the way Jesus and the Apostles did?

Seems like a serious oversight to me." -- M. Simon

Maybe you should read that old Book a bit more closely.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Know your enemy and know yourself and you shall never be defeated. -- Sun Tzu, The Art of War]
1.17.2008 3:14pm
Andy S. (mail):
If Christians are supposed to be followers of Jesus why don't they celebrate Passover the way Jesus and the Apostles did?


Technically, Jesus fulfilled the Passover requirement, but the tradition lives on through the Christian holiday known today as "Easter."

i.e. the blood of a spotless Lamb is shed for the remission of sins
1.17.2008 3:14pm
Don Miller (mail) (www):
I'm Mormon and I am getting a kick out of this thread

/descended from Mormom Polygamists
1.17.2008 3:20pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Don Miller
RE: Well....

"/descended from Mormom Polygamists" -- Don Miller

....we all have our cross to bear.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Are we learning, yet? -- Young John Conner, Terminator 2]
1.17.2008 3:23pm
Hoosier:
M Simon--

>>If Christians are supposed to be followers of Jesus why don't they celebrate Passover the way Jesus and the Apostles did?

I'll take this one. Jesus celebrates the Passover in the synoptic Gospels, and then comes the Passion and Crucifixion. But in John, he is killed and his blood is shed, and then he is taken from the cross prior to the Passover. John is making the point that Jesus now *is* the Paschal Sacrifice; the "Lamb of God." Thus John has Jesus say "It is finished," before he dies. That is, the messianic mission of the Incarnation is now complete.

I don't know how "Biblical literalists" deal with the two different chronologies for the most significant events in the history of Christianity. But I hope some VCer has the answer.
1.17.2008 3:24pm
M. Simon (mail) (www):
Andy, Chuckles,

That seems like a neat dodge.

What else is optional because Jesus fulfilled the reqmt?

BTW when did Jesus say he had fulfilled the reqmt? I didn't recall that in the bible between the Last Supper and the Resurrection.

But I spend more time studying electronics than the Bible. At least for the last 40 years.

BTW some Christian sects do celebrate Passover. In the original Hebrew. Way cool.
1.17.2008 3:24pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: M. Simon
RE: Yeah....Right....

"That seems like a neat dodge." -- M. Simon

We know our Christianity better than you do and when we point that out to you, you claim we're 'dodging'.

I think you're 'projecting' here, compadre.

Maybe, as I suggested, you should do a bit more reading.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[There is nothing to which [most] men will not stoop in order to avoid having to think.]
1.17.2008 3:27pm
M. Simon (mail) (www):
But we know that for quite a while after Jesus was gone Christians were a Jewish sect.

Who gave Christians permission to change that? Or is this another one of those interpretation deals.

So Jesus says it is finished. Which it was he referring to? Seems like that is open to as much interpretation as "is".
1.17.2008 3:29pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
To those who keep commentating on why it is funny that fundamentalist Christians reject the ritual purity laws of the bible you really have to ingnore large parts of the New Testament, which revolves around the idea that when Jesus came a new covenant was established and a lot of the old rules no longer apply.

The reason we keep commenting on this is that fundamentalist Christians always rely on the Mosaic prohibitions against homosexuality, while conveniently ignoring the laundry list of other prohibitions, to justify their rejection of gay rights. Granted, Paul wasn't too keen on gay sex either (although he only mentions it twice--and even then it is unclear whether he is referring to all homosexuality or the practice of pederasty), but for something that is barely mentioned in the Bible, and certainly never by Jesus, homosexuality sure ties the fundies in knots.
1.17.2008 3:30pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: J.F. Thomas
RE: Another Case of Ignorance....To Go

"The reason we keep commenting on this is that fundamentalist Christians always rely on the Mosaic prohibitions against homosexuality..." -- J.F. Thomas

Better re-read Romans 1 and 2, compadre.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Contrary to popular opinion, ignorance is NOT 'bliss'.]
1.17.2008 3:33pm
M. Simon (mail) (www):
Chuckles,

I have no doubt you know Christian theology better than me.

But would Jesus agree with Christian theology? Or is that just an assumption.

A number of early Christian sects considered Jesus a Prophet. Could they have been right? I mean after all it was a government commission that settled the issue. And you know how those work.
1.17.2008 3:35pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: M. Simon
RE: Perhaps....

"So Jesus says it is finished. Which it was he referring to?" -- M. Simon

....He was referring to His task in that venue.

RE: The 'Jewish' Sect

"But we know that for quite a while after Jesus was gone Christians were a Jewish sect." -- M. Simon

Yeah?

When's the last time you read Acts?

"Who gave Christians permission to change that? Or is this another one of those interpretation deals." -- M. Simon

Again....when was the last time you read Acts?


Your ignorance is showing.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
P.S. I notice you did not respond to my comment about needing to read that old Book a tad better. I'll accept that as acceptance. And your latest post as more evidence that you are, indeed, VERY ignorant. And, unfortunately, I suspect you are proud of it.
1.17.2008 3:39pm
Paul A'Barge (mail):
I keep re-reading his quote that you provide and I just don't see where he mentions the Bible. You immediately jump on "the Bible".

How do you reconcile this? He sounds like he's using "history" to justify his position, not the Bible.
1.17.2008 3:41pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: M. Simon
RE: Theology? Moi???!?!?

"I have no doubt you know Christian theology better than me." -- M. Simon

I don't know theology.

I know Christ.

There is something of a difference. Don't yout think?

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[God builds His temples in the hearts of men, on the ruins of religion and theology.]
1.17.2008 3:41pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
What gets me about Christianity is not that its beliefs are kooky; after all, every religion's beliefs are kooky to outsiders, and they're all unprovable. What gets me about Christianity is that it claims to be descended from Judaism, when anybody can objectively see that Christianity shares nothing in common with it, and is completely unfaithful to the Bible (i.e., Old Testament) in every respect. I mean, Jesus has about as much in common with the Bible's description of the messiah as the Wizard of Oz does. But anyway, all that's tangential to the point.
1.17.2008 3:51pm
Um Yeah:
From an earlier poster: "While the Old Testament details the existence of polygamy, it is never condoned."

You should be more careful in use of the word "never," consider 2 Samuel 12.

vs 1 - "And the LORD sent Nathan unto David"

The prophet Nathan tells a story of a rich man taking from a poor man and then asks King David's opinion of the situation. Nathan condemns David saying he is that rich man and follows by saying: (vs 7 and 8.)

"And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul;

And I gave thee thy master’s house, and thy master’s wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things."

Here we have a prophet of God, sent by the Lord, to condemn David because he didn't appreciate the gifts of the Lord. These gifts included "thy Master's wives into thy bosom" and if it he needed more, the Lord would "have given unto thee" even more.

I don't support polygamy but it does seem condoned, even a gift from the Lord in this instance.
1.17.2008 4:07pm
Serendipity:
Though it had nothing to do with religion, every time I read a debate about traditions and codes that were set down millenia ago, I can't help but think of Mahler's famous quote, "tradition is sloppiness." Enough said.
1.17.2008 4:09pm
Randy R. (mail):
Rock: "Are you serious in saying that it's common for Southerners not to understand that the original manuscripts of Scripture weren't in English? I would accuse you of prejudice, but I guess we fundamentalist hicks are the only ones capable of that."

I think what the original commentator was trying to convey is that we all know that the Bible was written originally in old Greek. Then it was translated several times before it got to the KJV. Then, we have to consider the fact that almost every time the Bible was copied before printing, errors were introduced which were lated copied. So the KJV is very far from the original Greek in many instances.

Therefore, anyone who adheres to a literal interpretation of the Bible is basically an idiot. The only possible way you could defend such an interpretation would be to read the original texts in old Greek. Which don't survive, of course.

It's as silly as taking a play by Shakespeare, translating it to old french, then to russian, then greek, then to modern English, making lots of mistakes along the way, and then proclaming that you have the 'authentic' and one true Shakespeare.
1.17.2008 4:20pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
Better re-read Romans 1 and 2, compadre.

Better re-read my post, compadre as I mentioned Paul's discomfort with homosexuality. And I bet you always cite the Mosaic laws (along with Paul) when you are making a point about evils of the homosexual lifestyle.
1.17.2008 4:20pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"In the context of Christian and Bible teaching in its entirety, the ideal of marriage has been a man and a woman for life, and this ideal was first established in Genesis at the creation of man and woman by God."

That may be true. However, Huckabee was specifically addressing all of human history. I'd refer a president who knew the difference between the Christian tradition and all of human history.
1.17.2008 4:35pm
Randy R. (mail):
As Bark Ehrman demonstrates (he's a biblical scholar), not only were mistakes made throughout the centuries, but there were deliberate attempts to 'clean up' inconsistencies and even whole parables were added in later. Some things were taken out that a certain monk didn't like, other things were added to 'correct' the text. Since we don't have the originals, nor copies of the originals, not copies of those copies, but rather several generations later, it's impossible to know what exactly should be there and should not be.

That doesn't even address the issue of which chapters that were decided early on not to be included in The Bible, for various reasons.

Even if we could, there is the matter of interpretation. We would need a thorough understanding of life and literary traditions that existed when the bibles were written. We have a difficult enough time understanding everything written by Chaucer or Shakespeare, let alone anonymous authors of 2 or 3 thousand years ago.

Then, there is always context. The bible includes letters. Well, where the letters intended to address specific or general concerns? What was the reason they were written? Letters were not likely written by the authors, but more likely scribes, who themselves can make mistakes in understanding what they are supposed to write.

I have a Bible that dates to the 1850s, and the ten commandments clearly talk about slaves. Yet, in today's versions, we see the words changed to servants. Additionally, the word and concept of homosexuality didn't even exist until the mid-1800s, yet we have bibles today that use a word that simply didn't exist 2000 years ago! So this process of changing the very meaning of the bible continues today.

If the Bible were so clear, as many make it out to be, then there truely would be only one religion. But the various religions is proof that the Bible can be interpreted to mean just about anything you like.

So when people parse certain language, or seek to find rules to live by today, it's a fools' errend. I'm still waiting for someone to explain to me why the commandment against graven images must be displayed in all our courthouses or else our society will collapse. What's so immoral about photos?
1.17.2008 4:36pm
JoshL (mail):


"But we know that for quite a while after Jesus was gone Christians were a Jewish sect." -- M. Simon

Yeah?

When's the last time you read Acts?



Acts was probably written by the author of Luke (at least, that's what the author implies). Based on a close reading of Mark, it's doubtful that Mark could have come before 60CE (possibly as late as 80, depending on how you interpret the verses about the Temple). Luke clearly draws on Mark, so an early date of 75CE is not unreasonable. We're talking a good 40 or so years after the death of Jesus.

More to the point, we can see in Paul that there are Jewish Christians still out there when he's writing. He discusses his discussions and rivalries with James. I'd say it's far easier to read the death of the Jewish Christians as 1) Due to the eventual ascendency of Paul and 2) The destruction of Jerusalem breaking the back of the Jerusalem church.
1.17.2008 4:38pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: JoshL
RE: And....

....your point here is.....what?

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[If you can't convince them....confuse them?]
1.17.2008 4:40pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
P.S. My point, to M. Simon was not time-lines. It had to do with when Christianity went outside of Jewish community. See Acts 10 for details on how and by what authority.....
1.17.2008 4:42pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: J.F. Thomas
RE: Re-Reading v. Understanding

"Better re-read my post, compadre as I mentioned Paul's discomfort with homosexuality." -- J.F. Thomas

But you don't seem to 'appreciate' it.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[For additional information, please re-read this message.]
1.17.2008 4:44pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
P.S. When you wish to get back on-topic, I'm certain that most of the people here will appreciate it.
1.17.2008 4:44pm
galeH (mail):
I do not discount the value of faith having a beneficial effect on the daily lives of those who believe in a power greater than themselves. My own faith has stumbled and fumbled along ever since I became able to think for myself instead of relying on the assertions of authority, whether biblical, parental, or academic.

But, faith is a private matter. Some faiths would kill me for not having a belief in their particular truth. And have done so in the past, and continue to do so in the present.

Some faiths ignore scientific findings because they are contradicted by the founding documents and teachings of their scholars. I have great difficulty, for example, instilling guilt in children for disobeying the God of their fathers. Or teaching them that science is "just a theory." To me, this just another form of child abuse. To be fair, we do celebrate the usual customs of our family: Santa Claus, the Easter bunny and the tooth fairy. Consistent? No. Harmless? I don't know. I do think my nine year old son will have ample opportunity to chose for himself when he comes to his own age of reason. Until then, we allow him to be a child and teach him morality by example and familiarity with the laws of our country.

That is, provided our elected representatives keep their personal faith out of the public square.

Thanks for the opportunity to comment.
1.17.2008 4:48pm
Fub:
Serendipity wrote at 1.17.2008 4:09pm:
Though it had nothing to do with religion, every time I read a debate about traditions and codes that were set down millenia ago, I can't help but think of Mahler's famous quote, "tradition is sloppiness." Enough said.
Heh. After reading this entire thread, I now understand why in his 1950 Nobel acceptance speech William Faulkner felt it necessary to expressly repudiate the easy reason not to accept "the end of man":
I decline to accept the end of man. It is easy enough to say that man is immortal simply because he will endure: that when the last dingdong of doom has clanged and faded from the last worthless rock hanging tideless in the last red and dying evening, that even then there will still be one more sound: that of his puny inexhaustible voice, still talking. I refuse to accept this. I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance. The poet's, the writer's, duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past. The poet's voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail.
1.17.2008 4:57pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Eugene Volokh
RE: Third- [or is it Fourth-] Party Information

"I am, of course, pro-life and fairly conservative. I agree entirely with those who insist that religious faith has a role to play in politics and policy. I don’t see “theocracy” looming behind efforts to, say, protect unborn children from partial-birth abortions. But...." -- Vox Nova, cited by Stephen Bainbridge, cited by Eugene Volohk

Sheesh. This IS getting 'complex'.

However, I'm reminded of a phrase I've heard from decades ago....and heard again last Monday night in City Council Chambers.....

I'm a supporter of.....BUT....


I'll admit I wouldn't know Vox Nova from YOU, on a bump in a crowd. But this phrasiology always catches my attention as being akin to "I say one thing, but believe another".

In reality, I've seen, these last 57 years, that they believe more in the 'BUT' than in the preceding 'disclaimer'. I saw the same think last Monday night in City Council during a hearing, "I'm a supporter/believer in _______________ (fill-in-the-blank) but I don't agree with it this time." [Note: Nor most any other time, if you're keeping track of things.]

Just an observation.....

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[The more he protested his integrity, the faster we counted our spoons. -- Ralph Waldo Emerson]
1.17.2008 5:01pm
hmmmmm:
Professor Volokh:

I'm confused by your update. I re-read Huckabee's sentence, and I see the word "historical[]" and the phrase "human history," but I don't see any "factual[]" "assertions" about actual practice.

I think you are interpreting the word "meant" to mean something like "meant de facto" rather than "meant by law" (to analogize to a con law concept). I guess I don't see why you're interpreting the word "meant" to be the former rather than the latter. And if Huckabee could respond, wouldn't he agree with you that, de facto, we have had polygamy in human history? Wouldn't he also say that that's not what he meant, and what he meant was that, historically, we have frowned upon polygamy? I really think that's what he was saying. After all, he's talking in the context of whether we should change the definition of marriage, which suggests to me that his comment refers not to de facto marriage but to de jure marriage.

To me, he's saying "We've always frowned upon polygamy, and we should continue to frown upon polygamy."

He may be wrong that we have indeed always frowned upon polygamy (as some commenters have argued), but I don't see why you interpret him as denying the "existence" of polygamy.

Does my de jure/de facto idea make sense? I apologize if I misunderstand you.
1.17.2008 5:05pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: galeH
RE: Welcome....

"My own faith has stumbled and fumbled along ever since I became able to think for myself instead of relying on the assertions of authority, whether biblical, parental, or academic." -- galeH

....to the party!

Regards,

Chuck(le)
P.S. There is a way out of the dilemma you find yourself in, vis-a-vis 'faith'. But it takes a form of 'courage'.
1.17.2008 5:07pm
Spitzer:
To add to the historical discussion, such as it is, we should note that a fundamental article of the Protestant Reformation was removing the sacramental force from marriage and promoting a culture of "marriages of love" (which, even among the earliest reformers, went hand in hand with more liberal divorce laws).

Thus, Huckabee, a protestant minister, is essentially denouncing one of the precepts of the protestant faith.
1.17.2008 5:13pm
c.gray (mail):

Not quite sure how the Roman Catholics reconcile this with clerical celibacy.


They don't bother. Priestly celibacy is a matter of church policy and discipline, not scripture. And it applies primarily to the Latin Rite anyway. Latin Rite diocese admittedly make up 90% of the Catholic Church, but other rites also exist within the church. And some of the minority rites, such as the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Rite, permit priests to marry.
1.17.2008 5:14pm
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
Dave—re your point number 4, I am always astounded by the failure of imagination exhibited in such arguments. Polygamy has historically meant polygyny almost exclusively, because of sexism and the degraded status of women, but after the women's rights movement and the sexual revolution, why would a hypothetical future form of polygamy in a society like ours be so limited? What about polyandry, group marriages, or pairwise marriages unrestricted as to number of partners (allowing for line marriages, n-gons, and other complex structures)?

That was Mark Twain's point. Given man's limited orgasmic capabilities, polygyny was precisely the opposite of human nature. Solomon could not have kept his 300 wives fully satisifed if he'd had a dozen young assistants to help out. The Polynesian practices were far better suited to human biology.

And of course we do have polygamy. Quite easy to have several spouses. You just can't have two in overlapping time frames.

Interesting quirk: Arizona's Enabling Act forbade it to ever legalize polygamy. Congress was scared that its Mormon population, doubtless aided by a lot of cross-over votes, might do just that.

The state responded with a constitution that requires that illegitimate children be treated the same as legitimate ones (which required amendment to the Uniform Probate Code when adopted here). That way a fellow could marry one wife before a judge, and marry the others in a purely church ceremony, and the kids would be taken care of if he died, etc.

I know the fellow who was AG of Ariz. back when there was a big outcry and push for prosecutions of some variant-mormons (split off from main church). He responded that they had only one legal marriage, so any prosecution would have to be for fornication. Did those pushing the idea REALLY want him to enforce the fornication statutes? He won the point.
1.17.2008 5:19pm
Mark Buehner (mail):
Uh-oh. Once the Gnostics enter the conversation, its effectively over. Christian dogma emerged complete and perfect approximately 36 A.D. and has never been altered a hair since. Anything else you hear is heresy.
1.17.2008 5:21pm
The Grich (mail):
I've seen a little talk in here about how Christians follow the Bible, and how that plays out in their daily lives and in their politics. Understandably there's a lot of disdain for the hypocrisy that many see in the actions of Christians, saying one thing (often backing it up well Biblically) and doing another.
On one level, that's what you see when you read about the Hebrews of the Old Testament and the early Christians of the new testament. They didn't often do what the Bible, or God, told them to do. Sometimes it's because the way that the Bible flows isn't like a rule book, but a story with rules spread out inside the tales, which are often difficult to discern. Other times we don't follow because our hearts desire things that are not of God and we'd much rather do that and so we justify it despite clear edicts saying otherwise.

So the issue of David's harem (or any other for that matter) is put into that light, and we read that David and Solomon and Abraham and others had multiple wives. God allowed this for some reason, but there's nowhere in the Bible where it says that God sanctioned it (prophetic chastisement listing wives as assets non-withstanding). And indeed, besides patriarchs of any given nation or people, polygamy wasn't all that common. Recall that wives were often traded by heads of state for foreign policy reasons, not religious ones.

As unhelpful to Huckabee's own campaign as it was, I don't think that it's helpful for Eugene or anyone else to go off about what's in or not in the Bible without considering how difficult it is to understand history from such a document (for the same reason Huckabee has to be careful here). Thus we start the firestorm that is this comment thread. However, I think that Huck's statement has a basis in fact, that the vast majority of peoples stretching out through written history were monogamous.
1.17.2008 5:24pm
Elliot Reed (mail):
The glory of the modern West is that we have rejected all that stuff.

Glory? Do you not see the fruits of your labor? European secularists are dying out. They aren't reproducing at replacement levels. Muslims will soon be the majority. In America, Mormons and Catholic hispanics who believe in family and are against abortion are out-reproducing you. The secular, post-Christian, post-traditional marriage populace is aborting itself into extinction. Where's the glory of empty towns scantily laced with nothing but aging hipsters?
Irrelevant because unresponsive to the objection. The original claim was that there's something wrong with rejecting millennia of traditional Western morality. I retorted that those same millennia of Western morality involved (until very recently) condoning or advocating all sorts of practices we now condemn as grossly immoral. So millennia of Western morality are a very poor guide to actual morality, which requires rejecting racism, sexism, slavery, the slaughter of heretics and/or infidels, genocide, etc. Your claims have nothing to do with any of that.
1.17.2008 5:34pm
Um Yeah:
"(prophetic chastisement listing wives as assets non-withstanding)"

Prophetic chastisement listing wives as [God given] assets.

A prophet of God on errand from God chastising David on his misuse of a gift from God. While I agree that it isn't a "Thou shalt marry more than one wife" 11 commandment, it is a strong statement. Would God not sanction a gift He gave?
1.17.2008 5:37pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: All
RE: Another Case of Ignorance....To Go, Please

"Christian dogma emerged complete and perfect approximately 36 A.D. and has never been altered a hair since." -- Mark Buehner

'nuff said.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
P.S. I am always amused by how frequently the ignorant expound so 'effectively' on what they have no idea about.
1.17.2008 5:40pm
Elliot Reed (mail):
However, I think that Huck's statement has a basis in fact, that the vast majority of peoples stretching out through written history were monogamous.
Cite? I have no idea if this is true, or (if it is) to what extent it's related to the Europeans destroying the written histories of the peoples they conquered.
1.17.2008 5:42pm
Mark Buehner (mail):
In exodus and deuteronomy provisions were made in the law for polygamy. In such hyper-judicious books its unthinkable that this was some kind of oversight. This was some strict law without much in the way of wiggle room. Does Deuteronomy really seem like the kind of book to say, 'Dont marry multiple wives... but if you do...'. This is the book that commands you to stone disobedient children mind you.

Moreover some of Gods favorite people had multiple wives- Abraham, Jacob, David, etc. Now the Old Testament God wasn't what we might call the live and let live type, right? I mean, failure of obedience in some fairly 'trivial' matters could get you turned into a pillar of salt right? And marriage is hardly a trivial matter in any era. The idea that God just kinda tsk tsked the corruption of this vital institution is hard to swallow.

Wasnt there also a provision in Deuteronomy compelling you to marry your brothers widow? Didnt that compel polygamy?

Anyway- point being, I dont buy the argument the Huckabee either didnt think about the history or was speaking of the idealized marriage. I think he was taking a swipe and running fast and loose with the facts. Hardly a big deal, but he seems like that kind of guy in general, which i dont like.
1.17.2008 5:58pm
Randy R. (mail):
Chuck: "But you don't seem to 'appreciate' it. "

Most Christians don't 'appreciate' the laws against masturbation either. And that doesn't seem to worry them too much.
1.17.2008 6:11pm
AST (mail):
American society practices polygamy, but the laws don't recognize it, except in a serial context. We outlaw bigamy, but tolerate adultery and wide-spread promiscuity. A man or woman can have 10 "mates" as long as divorce occurs between each one. Many men and women have multiple sex partners, which is the literal meaning of polygamy.

As for the government's compelling interest in regulating marriage, I'd say it lies in society's interest in replacing its members with good citizens. Families have performed an essential function not only in producing children, but also in bringing them up, civilizing them, teaching them the values essential to the society such as a work ethic, self-reliance, respect for law and the rights of others, etc. Judeo-Christian religions traditionally have reinforced these functions of marriage and provided valuable service in stabilizing and promoting society.

One of our biggest problems today is the number of women left to raise families on their own when the fathers of their children move on to greener pastures. We impose a duty of support on such men, but that hardly makes up for the terrible example they set for their children, or the gap this absence leaves in their emotional development.

The Mormons who practiced plural marriage were Victorians. They were hardly the libertines they were depicted to be. They took their obligations to support and rear their big families seriously. Indeed they saw the institution as a means for raising more posterity, the family being seen as an eternal institution. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob all had multiple wives and bore children with them, which was seen as a means for fulfilling God's promise to Abraham that he would be the father of nations.

This aspect of marriage is absent in same sex marriages, except through adoption, in vitro fertilization or impregnation of one of the partners by a third party. Our laws aren't equipped to deal with these situations, and treating marriage as a right between same sex couples is hardly a sound way for setting policy. The common law recognized impotence or failure to cohabit as grounds for annulment.

The real crisis with marriage is in the ease with which we allow couples with children to break up their families. Part of that is the fault of our popular culture, the sexual revolution, feminism, and our increasing focus on and expansion of rights without acknowledging the responsibilities that citizenship in a free society entails.
1.17.2008 6:14pm
Randy R. (mail):
"The real crisis with marriage is in the ease with which we allow couples with children to break up their families."

And thank God for it. The real marriages break up is because they were bad marriages to begin with. If one spouse is an emotional or physical abuser, or a substance abuser, better for everyone, including the children, to divorce and get away from that.

Recently, referendums were held in Ireland and Peru to allow for divorce, and they passed overwhelmingly, despite strong opposition from the Catholic church.

The real cause for the rise in divorce rates is that women no longer need a husband to live. Years ago, their options were highly limited, but today, a woman can earn as much as a man. Therefore, fewer people are stuck in bad marriages. Studies show that whenever a society has strong economic opportunities for women, divorce increases. This is a good thing.

I agree divorce is bad -- in general -- if children are involved. There are no easy answers, of course, but to assume that all divorce is bad simply isn't true.

"This aspect of marriage is absent in same sex marriages, except through adoption, in vitro fertilization or impregnation of one of the partners by a third party. Our laws aren't equipped to deal with these situations."

But of course, they are. Same sex marriages who adopt children are no less a family than others, and are just as capable of " bringing them up, civilizing them, teaching them the values essential to the society such as a work ethic, self-reliance, respect for law and the rights of others, etc."
1.17.2008 6:41pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
Randy R. sez ' it's impossible to know what exactly should be there and should not be.'

C'mon, Randy, this is a democracy. We vote. The Jesus Seminar has put it on an assembly line basis. See their 'The Five Gospels' for the results, although possibly some upstate precincts and Chuck are yet to be heard from.

More seriously, thanks for the remark about the age of the word 'homosexuality.' I'd have bet next week's pay you were wrong, but I looked in the Oxford English Dictionary and you're right, it's not there.

Doesn't show up until the Supplement, with a first reference in English in 1892.

Of course, the word 'prehistoric' is of similar vintage, but that doesn't mean there weren't cavemen.
1.17.2008 6:54pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Mark Buehner
RE: Citation, Please

"This is the book that commands you to stone disobedient children mind you." -- Mark Buehner

Book...Chapter....and Verse....if you will.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Don't you just 'love' out-of-context citation?]
1.17.2008 7:06pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Mark R.
RE: Once More....with 'Feeling'

"Most Christians don't 'appreciate' the laws against masturbation either. And that doesn't seem to worry them too much." -- Mark R.

What was the 'context'? Please cite, Book/Chapter/Verse, in your reply.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
1.17.2008 7:08pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Randy/Mark/Whomever R.
RE: 'Apologies'

You guys all sound [ignorantly/obtusely] alike to me.

I apologize for confusing your monikers here.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[So many opportunities.....so little time. Lord! Please help me to do what is right.]
1.17.2008 7:10pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Eager Harry
RE: The 'What'??!?!? Seminar???!?!?!

"The Jesus Seminar has put it on an assembly line basis. See their 'The Five Gospels' for the results...." -- Harry Eager[ly]

Never heard of em. What's their take on it, as you seem to know more about them than I do.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
P.S. Contrary to common misconception, I am not, repeat NOT, my 'brothers' keeper. However. If I see him I may counsel him on a think or two.
1.17.2008 7:15pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Randy/Mark/Whomever R.
RE: An Additional Thought

"Most Christians don't 'appreciate' the laws against masturbation either. And that doesn't seem to worry them too much." -- Randy/Mark/Whomever R.

Why the change of subject? Inability to address the comment under consideration directly/effectively?

Regards,

Chuck(le)
P.S. Or something to do with schitzophrenic-subject-matter-jumps?
1.17.2008 7:17pm
Kent G. Budge (mail) (www):
A nit:

"even without knowing anything of the history of law, one can see that this is false, since almost all of them would clearly be unconstitutional and/or contrary in other ways to our legal tradition, e.g. by creating thought crimes."

I don't really disagree with your point, that some people overestimate the influence of the Old Testament on law. However, at least four of the Ten Commandments:

Thou shalt not steal.
Thou shalt not kill.
Thou shalt not commit adultery.
Thou shalt not bear false witness against tht neighbor.

... seem to me to be compatible with both the Constitution and our legal traditions. That leaves 60% incompatible with one or the other. I thing 60% is a bit shy of "almost all."

Like I said, it's picking a nit.

More seriously:

"'The real crisis with marriage is in the ease with which we allow couples with children to break up their families.'

And thank God for it. The real marriages break up is because they were bad marriages to begin with. If one spouse is an emotional or physical abuser, or a substance abuser, better for everyone, including the children, to divorce and get away from that."

There's a big gap between allowing divorce in cases of genuine abuse -- which I'm all for -- and making divorces easy. So I think there's a fallacy of the excluded middle creeping in here.

I don't want to see divorce so difficult that the law ends up enabling abusers. But I have a problem with making divorce easy for a parent who is bored with his marriage and attracted to his intern.
1.17.2008 7:19pm
Pluribus (mail):

Treating marriage as a right between same sex couples is hardly a sound way for setting policy. The common law recognized impotence or failure to cohabit as grounds for annulment.


This is transparently conclusory. Who says that same sex couples must stay together in cases of impotence or failure to cohabit? I don't mind preachers except when they get preachy, and this is waaaaay too preachy.

NB. If you don't approve of same sex marriage, don't marry somebody of the same sex, OK?
1.17.2008 7:26pm
Colin (mail):
This aspect of marriage is absent in same sex marriages, except through adoption, in vitro fertilization or impregnation of one of the partners by a third party. Our laws aren't equipped to deal with these situations...

I think you'll find that our laws are, in fact, "equipped to deal with these situations." See, i.e., the laws governing adoption, in vitro fertilization, and third-party impregnation. Where novel issues arise, as with the support duties of sperm donors, courts and legislatures seem to be handling the legal developments with their usual competence. The issues are often substantively the same for same- and different-sex marriages, as well; see, again, the support duties of sperm donors.

Kent, I appreciate your point that some commandments are consistent with modern law. It's worth pointing out that (A) the consistent modern laws aren't based on the pertinent commandments, and (B) two of those four commandments are only partially compatible with modern law. Bearing false witness (assuming the commandment refers to more than just sworn testimony in a court of law) is only a legally cognizable wrong under certain circumstances, and adultery is generally just a ground for divorce--essentially a contractual violation.

Can we say the commandments are 70 or 80 percent incompatible? Or we can just all agree, as you say, "that some people overestimate the influence of the Old Testament on law." Seems like a fair and accurate summary.
1.17.2008 7:35pm
alias:
In the PTO the phrase "a man and a woman," assuming the standard preamble, "A marital unit comprising:" would typically be interpreted as "at least one man and at least one woman" unless, of course, the applicant clearly provided another definition for either "a man" or "a woman" in the application.

Right. I meant that I didn't think Huckabee had a broad definition in mind.

Also, more specifically, I meant that there's a presumption that "a" means "one or more" (see KCJ, AbTox, and another case decided this week)
1.17.2008 7:39pm
Randy R. (mail):
Chuck: "Why the change of subject? Inability to address the comment under consideration directly/effectively? "

My point is that Christians will enthusiastically point to passages in the Bible that condemn gays, such as you did with Romans 1 and 2, but are strangely silent about laws that might actually apply to themselves, such as masturbation. The Bible clearly prohibits masturbation, but I have yet to hear of a case where an employee seeks to fire an employee for engaging in such behavior.
1.17.2008 7:58pm
Randy R. (mail):
Kent: "But I have a problem with making divorce easy for a parent who is bored with his marriage and attracted to his intern."

Why not? IF there are no children involved, then it's really not your issue to decide. If someone is bored with his or her marriage so easily, perhaps he or she is not the marrying type. Forcing them to stay in a marriage isn't going to make the situation any better.

If there are children involved, then the problem is a little more serious, I agree. Perhaps therapy should be a requirement before divorce is granted in such cases to see if the marriage can be saved. But even then, if it can't save the marriage, then perhaps the childen and other spouse would be better off apart, rather than living with a spouse who will only become more angry and resentful as time goes on.
1.17.2008 8:03pm
Hiscross (mail):
As a Christian and a follower of Jesus I won't try to defend what the Bible teaches. That is not my job. What is my job is to provide the whole Word to the whole World. GOD does allow for us sinners to do things wrong. When a believer errors GOD corrects, but when a non-believer errors he judged (condemned). I would hope people would actually study the Word of GOD before rejecting it. It sure would make us better people. That said, I suggest study, not read the Bible. If you have a true interest in the nature of GOD, when I know his blessing will be given to you.
1.17.2008 8:22pm
Elliot Reed (mail):
It's worth pointing out that (A) the consistent modern laws aren't based on the pertinent commandments, and (B) two of those four commandments are only partially compatible with modern law. Bearing false witness (assuming the commandment refers to more than just sworn testimony in a court of law) is only a legally cognizable wrong under certain circumstances, and adultery is generally just a ground for divorce--essentially a contractual violation.
I completely agree. I'd like to add that criminal prohibitions of adultery (which I think are still on the books in some places) are also constitutionally dubious after Lawrence, which makes the adultery commandment look even less like our legal and Constitutional system.
1.17.2008 8:34pm
Joe Jackson:
this is part of a larger phenomenon, in which fundamentalists construct a mythical history on which to base their beliefs. Consider, for example, the frequent claim that the Ten Commandments form the basis for our legal system. Even without knowing anything of the history of law, one can see that this is false

That is an awfully strong statement to make "without knowing anything of the history of law." For better or worse, your assumptions about history are incorrect and your analysis is no better than the "mythical history" that you attribute to fundamentalists. Twelve of the thirteen colonies adopted all ten of the Commandments as law. Even the Commandments that are purely religious (as opposed to those that outlaw crimes against other persons, such as stealing or murder) formed a significant part of our legal system. The northeastern states still enforce "Blue Laws" originally designed to honor the Sabbath. There were prosecutions for the crime of blasphemy well into the 19th century. When you testify, you still swear an oath invoking God, because the law's presumption is that you will neither bear false witness nor take the Lord's name in vain.

Before you attack people for "construct[ing] a mythical history," you should be a little more careful not to do the same thing yourself in your very next sentence.
1.17.2008 8:39pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Randy R.
RE: Actually....

"My point is that Christians will enthusiastically point to passages in the Bible that condemn gays, such as you did with Romans 1 and 2, but are strangely silent about laws that might actually apply to themselves, such as masturbation. The Bible clearly prohibits masturbation, but I have yet to hear of a case where an employee seeks to fire an employee for engaging in such behavior." -- Randy R.

...your point is only to change the subject because you realized that the initial point, vis-a-vis homosexuality was about to be hammered.

So you decided to try to obfuscate.

But, as I'm sure you are aware, your schitzie subject-matter jump can be equally well hammered.

I repeat my question.....

Please cite Book/Chapter/Verse regarding 'masturbation'. Something to do with some character named 'Onan'?

And what was he doing?

Regards,

Chuck(le)
P.S. If you understand what's in that old Book, you'll also understand, and be able to cite, the passages from the new part of that old Book that relate to what you're actually thinking.

Please demonstrate your understanding of your 'enemy' by describing what I'm alluding to.....
1.17.2008 8:48pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
P.P.S. If you can't, please permit me to invite you to join my Friday Morning Mens' Bible Study group and we can explain it to you....simply for your edification......if you will....or if you won't.....
1.17.2008 8:49pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
P.P.P.S. We've just started an up-to-your-eyeballs pass through the New Part. We're coming up on the Beatitudes; you know—blessed are you when people revile you and accuse you of all kinds of evil for My name's sake. But I'm sure we can accommodate a brief diversion to help someone better understand their 'enemy'.
1.17.2008 8:57pm
Milton (mail):
I'll take Matthew 5, 27-30 as a pretty good condemnation of masturbation. After all, it's difficult to masturbate without lustful thoughts. Unless Jesus was talking about something else. That reference to cutting of the right hand, though, is pretty telling.

What do you think, Chuck? Does Matthew 5, 27-30 condem masturbation?
1.17.2008 8:58pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Milton
RE: Matt 5

"I'll take Matthew 5, 27-30 as a pretty good condemnation of masturbation." -- Milton

On the nosey.

The question is....did Randy/Mark/Whatever R. know that?

Regards,

Chuck(le)
1.17.2008 9:14pm
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
The Mormons who practiced plural marriage were Victorians. They were hardly the libertines they were depicted to be.

Someone once told me that Brigham Young married his wives (widows or singles who couldn't find a husband) to give them a household.

I rather doubted it until I saw photos of them. Out the 15-20, there was one who was rather cute. The rest were in the "we can get married, so long as you don't mind me staying in my bedroom and reading a good book" category. I suspect the pillar of the community and leader of the religion could have done better had he been out to do so.
1.17.2008 9:16pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
P.S. By-the-by....

....nobody's perfect. We mere mortals all have our personal problems to deal with.

Indeed. The only Guy I know of who was 'perfect', got nailed to a tree for His efforts.

But just because we aren't perfect—even I have my problems—doesn't mean we're worthless.

The real difference between Christians and everyone else is best described in a song by the Newsboys....Shine.


The Truth is in;
The Proof is when;
Your heart starts asking;
"What's my motivation?"


Hope that helps....you and Randy/Mark/Whomever....reads this.
1.17.2008 9:17pm
Milton (mail):
"On the nosey.

The question is....did Randy/Mark/Whatever R. know that?"

Does it matter if they didn't? Is their point less valid?
1.17.2008 9:21pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
[The REAL challenge is not to be better than other people. It's to be better than yourself.]
1.17.2008 9:21pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Milton
RE: Does It Matter?

"Does it matter if they didn't? Is their point less valid?" -- Milton

In a manner of speaking.....YES!

After all, all he was doing was trying to change the subject.

RE: Back on the Original Sub-Tread

What do you have to offer regarding new part condemnation of homosexuality?

Regards,

Chuck(le)
1.17.2008 9:23pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
P.S. Doesn't Matt 5:27-30 apply to that as well?
1.17.2008 9:23pm
pchas (mail):
Marriage wasn't made a sacrament in the Church until the Council of Trent in 1545-63. The Reformers held a different view. Calvin wrote in "Institutions", IV, xix, 34:

Lastly, there is matrimony, which all admit was instituted by God, though no one before the time of Gregory regarded it as a sacrament. What man in his sober senses could so regard it? God's ordinance is good and holy; so also are agriculture, architecture, shoemaking, hair-cutting legitimate ordinances of God, but they are not sacraments.


And as Luther wrote in "Von den Ehesachen" (1530):
No one indeed can deny that marriage is an external worldly thing, like clothes and food, house and home, subject to worldly authority, as shown by so many imperial laws governing it.
In an earlier work (the original edition of "De captivitate Babylonica") he writes:
Not only is the sacramental character of matrimony without foundation in Scripture; but the very traditions, which claim such sacredness for it, are a mere jest;
and two pages further on:
Marriage may therefore be a figure of Christ and the Church; it is, however, no Divinely instituted sacrament, but the invention of men in the Church, arising from ignorance of the subject.


There is something very refreshing about thinking of marriage in the same vein as agriculture, architecture, shoemaking and hair-cutting. Makes you wonder what all the fuss is about.
1.17.2008 9:40pm
Milton (mail):
"P.S. Doesn't Matt 5:27-30 apply to that as well?:

Regarding Matthew 5:27-30, in the Good News Version, at least the one I have, that passage states "anyone who looks at a woman..." so, no it wouldn't apply to man-man homosexual marriage. Or man-man lust. Literally, it would apply to man-woman lust or woman-woman lust. No same sex lesbian marriage, I guess. Oddly, women can lust men, according to that passage. Lusty harlots.

And, no I don't think the passage has anything to do with homosexual marriage.
1.17.2008 9:42pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"I would hope people would actually study the Word of GOD before rejecting it."

Does that include the Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, Taoist, Shinto, Wiccan, and Zoroastrian words of god? I hope none are rejected without actual study.
1.17.2008 9:43pm
Hoosier:
"Marriage wasn't made a sacrament in the Church until the Council of Trent in 1545-63. The Reformers held a different view."

Yep. Odd. The use of the Bride/Bridegroom image to represent the Church/Christ is easy to find in the NT. Matthew, Corinthians, Ephesians, Revelation all contain variations on this theme. But perhaps the Reformers didn't consider Christ's relatonship to His Church to be a sign of God's grace.
1.17.2008 9:53pm
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
There is something very refreshing about thinking of marriage in the same vein as agriculture, architecture, shoemaking and hair-cutting. Makes you wonder what all the fuss is about.

Because nobody ever had to be miserable for a year and spend thousands of dollars to get out of a haircut, or return a pair of shoes? (grim grin).
1.17.2008 10:22pm
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
Read a book on the history of marriage, rather interesting.

Earliest view: it was a contract, and like most others could be made verbally with no official intervention. Problems: teenagers making pledges to each other, and questions as to whether marriage existed when one swore the words had been exchanged and another denied it.

One church council decided to make it official: the vows had to be exchanged in front of a priest.

Teenagers found a way around. Just walk up to a priest and say they agreed to be married. Parents were MOST upset.

I think it was Trent that finally decreed it had to be a formal ceremony, with three weekly announcements (the "bans") beforehand, just so it was on record, and everybody knew.

Christopher Columbus' grandson had a few problems here. He exchanged verbal vows with one lady (while they were on opposite sides of a locked iron gate, that was enough). The families hushed it up. Then he formally married a second lady.

He later had his eyes on a third. Decided to get his second annulled on grounds he was already married to the first (and he had separate grounds to annul the first... who was in any event formally married to someone else).

[It didn't work out and he got convicted of bigamy into the bargain].

But while he had the annullment action underway, putative wife #1 visited his jurisdiction on vacation with family -- and he had her arrested as a material witness! Her angry husband had a jab back (and understand that in Spanish, cuckhold is about the foulest of insults): "Just think,sir, if you win, I will be able to say that I not only slept with your wife for many years, but sired five children by her,"
1.17.2008 10:33pm
Randy R. (mail):
Chuck: "After all, all he was doing was trying to change the subject. "

As I said, I was not. But believe as you wish.

"RE: Back on the Original Sub-Tread
What do you have to offer regarding new part condemnation of homosexuality? "

Very simple. I deal with it the same way I deal with anything that the Bible gets wrong. such as evolution. The ancients had no concept of homosexuality, and certainly no concept that being gay is something that is innate to a certain percentage of the population. To take the Bible as the literal truth on any thing is, as I've explained, just silly.

Re: Masturbation. No, I had NO idea! I just pulled that out of my hat and crossed my fingers I would be right.

(sarcasm off).
1.17.2008 10:47pm
Randy R. (mail):
Joe: "Even the Commandments that are purely religious (as opposed to those that outlaw crimes against other persons, such as stealing or murder) formed a significant part of our legal system."

Still waiting to hear how the commandment against graven images is folded into the basis of our law. Any takers?
1.17.2008 10:51pm
Randy R. (mail):
Chuck: "We're coming up on the Beatitudes; you know—blessed are you when people revile you and accuse you of all kinds of evil for My name's sake."

That's actually quite comforting. As a gay man, I often see people condemn us in all sorts of ways in Jesus's name. We are certainly reviled and accused of all kinds of evil -- basically the downfall of all civilization!

Thanks!
1.17.2008 11:04pm
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
The ancients had no concept of homosexuality, and certainly no concept that being gay is something that is innate to a certain percentage of the population.

The Greeks and Persians would differ. Xenophon drew the line when it to interfere with good military order, when the Greeks began to confuse prisoners of love with Prisoners of War, and when he had to order his men to leave their lovers of both genders behind because they were encumbering the army on its march.
1.17.2008 11:14pm
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
Still waiting to hear how the commandment against graven images is folded into the basis of our law. Any takers?

Easy. I don't have the statute at hand, but it is a federal offense to wear a Smokey the Bear or a Woodsy the Owl suit. I am not kidding. It is still legal to use their name in vain, however. And I suspect you could make a statue of them, so it's not quite the same, but the core concept is there.
1.17.2008 11:19pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
Chuck, I am surprised you don't know the Jesus Seminar, although I did not expect many of the antiliteralists here to have encountered it.

It is a seminar including many (most?) of the NT theologians at the trendier N. American universities (including some some from frankly biblical colleges, but mostly at secular schools).

They view the Four Gospels and Acts (thus, 5 gospels) as containing authentic sayings of a prophet, Jesus, overlain with lots of accretions. They voted on the authenticity of each saying.

The results are ranked according to whether a large majority thought the saying was from Jesus, a smaller majority did, or whether a majority thought it were spurious. (Ecumenists may see a parallel here with the way Muslims separate the sheep hadiths from the goat hadiths.)

They then published the 5 gospels, with each saying separable into the three categories by color of type. (Unfortunately, for me, the positive votes are in shades of red or pink and I am red-orange color blind so I can't tell them apart.)

With each saying, there is extensive commentary about why the saying was judged the way it was.

I would not expect you to accept any of this. (Nor do I, I don't believe in no kind of spook.) But I would have thought that a vigorous gospeleer such as yourself would have made the Seminar's acquaintance as an opponent to be forearmed against.
1.17.2008 11:30pm
Joe Jackson:
Still waiting to hear how the commandment against graven images is folded into the basis of our law. Any takers?

Well, since you quoted my comment, I can only assume that you also read the following sentence: "Twelve of the thirteen colonies adopted all ten of the Commandments as law." I would say that this alone is sufficient for the relatively modest point I was making. While we are on the subject, though, it bears noting that the Commandment against worshipping idols was offered in the Revolutionary era -- in Thomas Paine's "Common Sense," no less -- as a reason for fighting the British monarchy.

Let's keep this in perspective, too. I am not saying that each Commandment was one of the top ten greatest influences on U.S. law. I was merely responding to the incorrect assertion that the Commandments (taken together) were not a significant part of our law's development.
1.17.2008 11:45pm
justwonderingby:
jezz, Eugene, what's the record for most comments on a post?
1.18.2008 12:14am
Randy R. (mail):
Dave Hardy: The concept of homosexuality in ancient Greece and Rome was quite different. In the case of Greece, all adult men were expected to take a youthful male and make him a mentor, and that included sexual activities. The adult was expected to be the top, or penetrating partner. The relationship was continued until the youth came of age, when if would be his turn to take a younger lover.

However, even in Greece, it was not common at all for two men of adult ages to be together in a relationship, and in fact was often frowned upon. Additionally, an adult man who was a bottom was scorned by general society. Persia was similiar, but a bit different as well. Rome, again, different but similiar.

This is all very different from the concept of homosexuality that we have today, that a certain percentage of men and women are attracted only to their own sex for both sexual and romantic reasons, that the attraction is innate and doesn't change within a person.
1.18.2008 12:31am
Randy R. (mail):
Joe Jackson: Thanks for the clarification. I do agree that the 10 had an influence of varying desgrees upon our law. However, most legal experts agree that our law derived directly from English common law, and even after our Revolution, we still followed same. So yes, we outlawed theft and murder, but the traditions followed from English common law, with all their exceptions, burdens of proof and so on.

Now, perhaps English law was based in part on the 10, although I haven't seen any real arguments for it, but again, I'm sure there was some influence, but not a whole heck of a lot that endured.

There have been several posts that have exceeded 200 posts, but I can't say by how much more.
1.18.2008 12:37am
Harry Eagar (mail):
When the Congregationalists persuaded the Hawaiian chiefs to pass written laws for the first time, they enacted 5 of the 10 commandments.

It might be an interesting parlor game for Christian lawyers to figure out which 5.
1.18.2008 12:38am
Jamesaust (mail):
'I suppose Huckabee should have said "as long as there’s been a Christian history."'

I find that a shockingly uninformed distortion of the topic of marriage and Christian history.

First, with the institutionalization of Christianity displacing traditional (pagan) religion in Rome (Rome equating to the relevant portion of civilization at the time), marriage laws were amended to undermine marriage due to (early) Christian emphasis on chastity and abstinence. Traditional marriage law and mores in Rome - and in Israel, and even in ("gay") Greece - penalized and stigmatized the unmarried and non-reproductive.

Second, the Christian church (or the State for that matter) had little role or interest in marriage until the 12th century. The (Catholic) Church did not make marriage a sacrament until the 13th century. That is, for the majority of Christian history the Church's role in marriage rarely exceed the theoretical (with a certain Pauline distaste for the whole enterprise). These changes were primarily the result of secular needs to document and regulate the people using the only persons likely to have even a minimal literacy sufficient to record marriages ... the village priest. (A little ink, a blessing, and after a few generations, voila, a "church wedding" tradition is created where none existed before.)

Third, marriage for the vast majority of these 20 Christian centuries was as marriage had always been: a mechanism of alliance between two families characterized by one family giving or selling their minor(!) child to another family. Notions of love and individualism that pervade the modern understanding of the institution of marriage only begin with the Age of Chivalry and only become predominant in very recent times. So much for "no change" marriage.

Finally, Christian history and the history of the Western State have never been the same thing and the distinction between the two has been growing steadily since the Middle Ages (not just since "the '60s"). Huckabee basically wants to not only conflate the two subjects but make the State subservient to Christianity, at least as it involves certain topics of his own idiosyncratic choosing. Marriage as a legal status in these United States is, and always has been, defined as a civil matter separate and independent from ecclesiastical law (cf. civil divorce law versus Catholic divorce law).

"Once we change that definition, then where does it go from there?" asks the Governor. Apparently back to the 13th-17th century European model the Founding Fathers thought they had rid themselves of, where dissenters and non-believers nevertheless MUST marry within the strictures of an Established, State-imposed Church.
1.18.2008 2:01am
Milhouse (www):

Don't forget cotton/poly blend shirts

Um, can we please put a lid on at least one myth. Nowhere in the Bible are cotton or polyester, either alone or in combination, forbidden. What is forbidden is clothing made of linsey-woolsey, a blend of wool and linen. Orthodox Jews do keep this law, and don't find it at all funny.
1.18.2008 2:54am
Milhouse (www):

The Mosaic law (which, according to Christians, at least used to be God's law), provides for polygamy in regulations like Deut. 17:17 (king should not have too many wives). And of course the (wise) Solomon, who got along very well with God, had 700 wives and another 300 concubines (1 Kings 11:3).

Actually, Jewish tradition defines "too many" in this case as "more than 18", which ought to be enough even for a king, so Solomon was not within the law. He also broke the law against a king having "too many horses", and "too much gold and silver".
1.18.2008 3:07am
Rich G (mail):

Religious fundamentalists should only be taken seriously when they are committing crimes.


That's exactly what I'm afraid of when I walk down a dark street alone at night...a religious fundementalist.

/sarcasm
1.18.2008 5:03am
Milhouse (www):

I think what the original commentator was trying to convey is that we all know that the Bible was written originally in old Greek.
Ahem. Parts of it.
Then it was translated several times before it got to the KJV. Then, we have to consider the fact that almost every time the Bible was copied before printing, errors were introduced which were later copied. So the KJV is very far from the original Greek in many instances. Therefore, anyone who adheres to a literal interpretation of the Bible is basically an idiot. The only possible way you could defend such an interpretation would be to read the original texts in old Greek. Which don't survive, of course.
Maybe so for the parts that were in Greek to start with. Not with the original Bible, the part that was originally - and still is - in Hebrew and Aramaic. Scribes were very careful not to introduce errors into those parts, and constantly compared copies to each other to eliminate errors. We can be pretty sure that our current text, at least for the first five books, is word-perfect, and reasonably close to letter-perfect. And we don't need no steekin' translations either. None of this is particularly relevant to Huckabee's religion, though.

Wasnt there also a provision in Deuteronomy compelling you to marry your brothers widow?
Not compelling. He can get out of it by going through a public ritual of humiliation. He declares publicly that he refuses to marry her, she takes off his shoe and spits in front of him, and declares what a mean person he is and from then on he's to be known as "that guy who refused to marry his sister-in-law". Nowadays actually marrying the widow is frowned on, so this is usually what happens when a Jewish man dies without living descendants, but with a living wife and brother. Which doesn't happen all that often; I've never seen this ritual, and barely know anyone who's seen it. And since it's now expected nobody thinks worse of the guy for it, so it's not really a humiliation, but it's still done because that's the law.
One of our biggest problems today is the number of women left to raise families on their own when the fathers of their children move on to greener pastures.
The majority of divorces in the USA are initiated by the wife, not the husband. For the ones that are initiated by the husband, it's often because they want to marry someone else (e.g. John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, Newt Gingrich); allowing polygamy would solve that problem - they could marry their new sweethearts without abandoning their first wives, if the first wives wanted to stay.
1.18.2008 5:28am
Milhouse (www):

I think what the original commentator was trying to convey is that we all know that the Bible was written originally in old Greek.
Ahem. Parts of it.
Then it was translated several times before it got to the KJV. Then, we have to consider the fact that almost every time the Bible was copied before printing, errors were introduced which were later copied. So the KJV is very far from the original Greek in many instances. Therefore, anyone who adheres to a literal interpretation of the Bible is basically an idiot. The only possible way you could defend such an interpretation would be to read the original texts in old Greek. Which don't survive, of course.
Maybe so for the parts that were in Greek to start with. Not with the original Bible, the part that was originally - and still is - in Hebrew and Aramaic. Scribes were very careful not to introduce errors into those parts, and constantly compared copies to each other to eliminate errors. We can be pretty sure that our current text, at least for the first five books, is word-perfect, and reasonably close to letter-perfect. And we don't need no steekin' translations either. None of this is particularly relevant to Huckabee's religion, though.

Wasnt there also a provision in Deuteronomy compelling you to marry your brothers widow?
Not compelling. He can get out of it by going through a public ritual of humiliation. He declares publicly that he refuses to marry her, she takes off his shoe and spits in front of him, and declares what a mean person he is and from then on he's to be known as "that guy who refused to marry his sister-in-law". Nowadays actually marrying the widow is frowned on, so this is usually what happens when a Jewish man dies without living descendants, but with a living wife and brother. Which doesn't happen all that often; I've never seen this ritual, and barely know anyone who's seen it. And since it's now expected nobody thinks worse of the guy for it, so it's not really a humiliation, but it's still done because that's the law.
One of our biggest problems today is the number of women left to raise families on their own when the fathers of their children move on to greener pastures.
The majority of divorces in the USA are initiated by the wife, not the husband. For the ones that are initiated by the husband, it's often because they want to marry someone else (e.g. John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, Newt Gingrich); allowing polygamy would solve that problem - they could marry their new girlfriends without abandoning their first wives, if the first wives wanted to stay.
1.18.2008 5:28am
Milhouse (www):
Oops. Sorry 'bout the double post.
1.18.2008 5:28am
Hoosier:
>>Maybe so for the parts that were in Greek to start with. Not with the original Bible, the part that was originally - and still is - in Hebrew and Aramaic. Scribes were very careful not to introduce errors into those parts, and constantly compared copies to each other to eliminate errors. We can be pretty sure that our current text, at least for the first five books, is word-perfect, and reasonably close to letter-perfect.

Well . . . this is my wife's area of research. She doesn't think that this represents anything like a scholalry consensus. The discovery of the Qumran Scrolls--which are her sub, sub, subspecialty (gotta love academia)--have introduced a number of questions about the "originals" of the Hebrew Bible manuscripts. Even the Pentateuch. There appears to have been a considerable amount of "Mosaic" writing floating around, and debates get nasty about when something can accutaelty be labelled "Pseudo-Moses."

The Qumran Scrolls have helped scholars determine which versions of some books of the Bible are /older/. (Eugene Ulrich, for example, has found that Hebrew texts used by the Protestant Reformers were not as old as the texts of the Vulgate that they rejected as containing too many later interpolations.)

But to speak of the original manuscripts is dicey for Hebrew and Greek Bible alike.
1.18.2008 9:32am
Milhouse (www):
The Qumran scrolls don't mean much, for two reasons: They could be poor copies that were hidden away for precisely that reason. And they could be the deliberately distorted works of a heretical sect. The traditional text, OTOH, was widely distributed and read, including public readings four times a week, and if any significant change were introduced in a particular copy — a change that affected the meaning or significantly affected the pronunciation — it would be quickly noticed, compared to other scrolls, and corrected.

The sort of error that could and did creep in over time is the sort that wouldn't be caught by this process: variant spellings that don't affect the meaning or pronunciation. It's easy to miss those, not just on one reading but even on multiple readings. To catch them you really have to unroll two scrolls side by side and compare them, and that's hard work that not a lot of people would do without a good reason to suspect something was wrong. Over the course of time that sort of error multiplied, until the Masoretes undertook the project of comparing hundreds of scrolls and producing what is probably very close to the original spelling of each word, though we can't be sure of it.
1.18.2008 9:57am
J. F. Thomas (mail):
Um, can we please put a lid on at least one myth. Nowhere in the Bible are cotton or polyester, either alone or in combination, forbidden. What is forbidden is clothing made of linsey-woolsey, a blend of wool and linen. Orthodox Jews do keep this law, and don't find it at all funny.

The point is that the prohibitions against homosexual acts in the old testament are in a laundry list of restrictions that we, and even but the most orthodox Jews, do not follow. If you are going to point to that one prohibition as absolute, then why not the rest (like not wearing blends of cloths)? Regardless, I doubt God was really concerned whether or not his chosen people wore linen/wool blends--but I'm just a damned Presbyterian.
1.18.2008 10:07am
Milhouse (www):

The point is that the prohibitions against homosexual acts in the old testament are in a laundry list of restrictions that we, and even but the most orthodox Jews, do not follow.

When such criticisms are directed at those who don't follow all those laws, they may have a point. It's not for me to say. But when they're directed at all religious people, and the speaker assumes (or actually says) that nobody follows these laws any more, and that it's ridiculous to even suppose otherwise, then they fall flat. Even more so when they're directed at observant Jews (such as Dr Laura was at the time that the famous letter to her was circulated), who do keep the laws. All of them.

Regardless, I doubt God was really concerned whether or not his chosen people wore linen/wool blends--but I'm just a damned Presbyterian.

Yes.
1.18.2008 10:47am
Milhouse (www):
PS: I'm not sure what you meant by "even but the most orthodox Jews". There's a typo in there somewhere. But if you meant to imply that this is some obscure law that most otherwise-observant Jews ignore, and only "the most orthodox" bother with, you're mistaken. Any observant Jew would no more wear a wool/linen blend than eat shellfish.
1.18.2008 10:51am
Randy R. (mail):
you mean Dr. Laura stoned her kids when they disobeyed her?
1.18.2008 10:53am
J. F. Thomas (mail):
Any observant Jew would no more wear a wool/linen blend than eat shellfish.

Well then you must hang out with different Jews than I do.
1.18.2008 11:02am
Milhouse (www):

you mean Dr. Laura stoned her kids when they disobeyed her?

No. Any more than you go out and shoot murderers, or kidnap them and keep them in your cellar for the rest of their lives.
1.18.2008 11:14am
Milhouse (www):

Well then you must hang out with different Jews than I do.

I'm quite sure I do.
1.18.2008 11:15am
Harry Eagar (mail):
Avoiding linsey-woolsey must be the easiest injunction De Lawd ever handed down.

On the other hand, taking De Lawd as a serious person becomes difficult with rules like that.
1.18.2008 11:23am
Randy R. (mail):
Milhouse: "you mean Dr. Laura stoned her kids when they disobeyed her?

No."

Then she isn't keeping to the law, is she?
1.18.2008 12:25pm
Hoosier:
Milhouse: "The Qumran scrolls don't mean much"

Thanks for the info, bro! The next time my wife is leaving for campus, I'm gonna be all like: "Hey, wife! The Dead Sea Scrolls don't mean much. Now get back in here and make me some damn WAFFLES!"
1.18.2008 2:07pm
Jimmy S.:
Then there is Mormonism, which some consider Christian and which only gave up polygamy because the US government required it for Utah to become a state. Of course some Mormon sects still practice polygamy.

While we're doing away with popular misconceptions, can we also tackle this one? The abandonment of polygamy had nothing to do with any desire for statehood. The federal government had recently:

a) imprisoned many of the church's leaders (forcing wives and children to testify against their husbands and fathers, which is why Utah evidence law now grants such a broad marital privilege) and forced the rest into hiding;
b) confiscated many Mormon churches, temples, agricultural cooperatives, and other church-owned property (and was initiating processes to confiscate the rest);
c) In Idaho specifically denied Mormons the right to vote, and in Utah revoked women's sufferage (after it had been granted by the territorial legislature) because it knew Utah women generally favored polygamy; and
d) passed legislation basically prohibiting Mormons from entering the country.

Mormon abandonment of polygamy was an issue of survival, not statehood.
1.18.2008 2:32pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
Milhouse: "you mean Dr. Laura stoned her kids when they disobeyed her?
No."


Then she isn't keeping to the law, is she?
Sure she is. (Or, rather, that isn't evidence she isn't.) You might want to actually read the Talmud.
1.18.2008 2:50pm
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
"Mormon abandonment of polygamy was an issue of survival, not statehood."

And the Utah War (a/k/a Second Mormon War) showed how messy things might be....
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utah_War

One of towns near here, St. David, AZ, was founded around the time of the Reynolds decision -- the object being to establish small towns on the path between Utah and Mexico, in so there would be headquarters and supplies ready in case the Mormons had to flee en masse to Mexico. The Mexican gov't had, as I recall, suggested that while polygamy was unlawful there, if they got thousands of hard working settlers and taxpayers nobody would get picky about their marital status.
1.18.2008 3:01pm
Milhouse (www):

Milhouse: "you mean Dr. Laura stoned her kids when they disobeyed her?

No."

Then she isn't keeping to the law, is she?

Of course she is (or was). (Even assuming that any of her kids ever gave her cause to bring charges against them, for which you have no evidence.) Just as you are keeping the law when you fail to go out shooting murderers (if your state has the death penalty) or kidnapping them and keeping them locked up for life (if that is your state's penalty for murder). Or do you think by failing to do so you are in fact breaking your state's laws?
1.18.2008 3:40pm
Elliot123 (mail):
Did any human societies figure out that it was in their interests to prohibit murder and theft without benefit of the Ten Commandments? How long did it take for the TC to reach China, Japan, North America, South America, Australia, Northern Europe. Were all these people too stupid to figure out that societies worked better when murder and theft were outlawed?

I'd suggest nobody with half a brain needs the TC to figure this out. Advocates of the TC are trying to take credit for the work of every human society for thousands of years. they all did it without the TC.

In terms of our own law, did our history start with the TC? Did the Greeks have law? Romans? Were those folks gobsmacked when the first Jew wandered through and said the TC said no killing or stealing? "MY GOD!!! What a great idea. Thank you wandering Jew for pointing this out to us. We had no idea. We sure are stupid! Now Plato will have to stop filching my stuff."

Perhaps it's more reasonable to say that both our laws and the TC are based on a universal human behavior that that owes nothing to Genesis.
1.18.2008 4:06pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
A good point that, but it did take the TC to alert the Amerindians to the sinfulness of coveting oxen.
1.18.2008 4:41pm
Fub:
Dave Hardy wrote at 1.17.2008 11:19pm:
[quoting Randy R. at 1.17.2008 10:51pm]:
Still waiting to hear how the commandment against graven images is folded into the basis of our law. Any takers?
Easy. I don't have the statute at hand, but it is a federal offense to wear a Smokey the Bear or a Woodsy the Owl suit. I am not kidding. It is still legal to use their name in vain, however. And I suspect you could make a statue of them, so it's not quite the same, but the core concept is there.
I, for one, welcome our new furry, feathered, omnipotent and omniscient overlords.
1.18.2008 4:52pm
Hoosier:
Exodus 20:4 "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth."

Exodus 25:18 "And thou shalt make two cherubims of gold, of beaten work shalt thou make them."

(Tricky stuff, this "keeping the commandments.")
1.18.2008 5:02pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Randy R.
RE: Beggers, Wishes, Horses and Such

"Chuck: "After all, all he was doing was trying to change the subject. "

As I said, I was not. But believe as you wish." -- Randy R.

No wish about it, compadre. I've seen the pattern before. I've learned to recognize it.

You can protest your 'innocence' all you like, but the proof of it is there in black and white (see above).

RE: The Proof

"Very simple. I deal with it the same way I deal with anything that the Bible gets wrong. such as evolution. The ancients had no concept of homosexuality...." -- Randy R.

You even prove the point by doing a bit of disinformation...in TWO areas (1) evolutionary theory v. what is written in Genesis and (2) that there was not such thing as homosexuality as known by 'the ancients'.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
1.18.2008 5:14pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
[Evil has many tools, but a lie is the handle that fits them all.]
1.18.2008 5:15pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Randy R.
RE: Comforting Thoughts

"That's actually quite comforting. As a gay man, I often see people condemn us in all sorts of ways in Jesus's name." -- Randy R.

Let me help you in dealing with these 'people' you are referring to.

Next time they 'condemn' you remind them that Christ did not condemn that adultress.

All He did was (1) save her life from immediate destruction at the hands of the Pharisees/Sadduces and (2) tell her to go and "sin no more". Whether she followed the good advice is unknown. But we Christians have hope for her.

As I've been telling others who hate christians, "Know your 'enemy'...."

You, obviously have a LOT to learn.

RE: Revilings

"We are certainly reviled and accused of all kinds of evil -- basically the downfall of all civilization!" -- Randy R.

I neither hate nor condemn you. Not my 'job'. It's His to 'judge'. And He WILL do that, in due time.

As for your evil conduct....well....that's your personal choice. [Note: There has not been sufficient evidence that it is NOT a 'choice'.]

Keep learning about your 'enemy'. And use that information to (1) defend yourself from people who call themselves christians, but don't act like it and (2) educate yourself.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[If the Truth be known — Everybody gets their shot; it'll cost you everything you've got. -- Newsboys]
1.18.2008 5:23pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Harry Eager
RE: Jesus Seminar

"Chuck, I am surprised you don't know the Jesus Seminar, although I did not expect many of the antiliteralists here to have encountered it.

It is a seminar including many (most?) of the NT theologians at the trendier N. American universities (including some some from frankly biblical colleges, but mostly at secular schools). " -- Harry Eager

I'm not into 'trendier' thinks. Maybe you didn't quite catch onto that. Hope this clarifies thinks for you.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[If the Truth be know — Truth is more than "To each his own". -- Newsboys]
1.18.2008 5:33pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Harry Eager
RE: Tell Me If....

"The results are ranked according to whether a large majority thought the saying was from Jesus, a smaller majority did, or whether a majority thought it were spurious. (Ecumenists may see a parallel here with the way Muslims separate the sheep hadiths from the goat hadiths.) " -- Harry Eager

...heard this one before....

Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:

Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.


Get the drift?

Regards,

Chuck(le
[If the Truth be known — ignorance here is less than bliss. -- Newsboys]
1.18.2008 5:38pm
Randy R. (mail):
Chuck: "As for your evil conduct....well....that's your personal choice. [Note: There has not been sufficient evidence that it is NOT a 'choice'."

Gee. thanks for, um, not condemning me by calling me evil.... and I'm so glad that you know me better I do myself. Glad you have everything figured out!
1.18.2008 6:06pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Randy R.
RE: As I Said (Above)....

"Gee. thanks for, um, not condemning me by calling me evil.... and I'm so glad that you know me better I do myself. Glad you have everything figured out!" -- Randy R.

...you've got a LOT to learn.

I didn't call YOU evil. I said your CONDUCT was evil, if you're telling me the truth about your homosexuality.

There's something of a difference. Don't you think?

If you want to identify yourself as BEING 'evil', that's strictly up to you....and Him.

Hope that helps....but I have my doubts.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[You can lead a whore to culture, but you can't make her think.]
1.18.2008 6:12pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
P.S. Allow me to put my opinion of you into perspective using a very well-done movie.

Ever see the movie Ghost, with Demi Moore, Whoopi Goldberg and Patrick Swayze?

My feelings for you are akin to the way Patrick looks on his just-deceased associate.

In other words, I don't hate you....
1.18.2008 6:24pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
Well, yeah, I get your drift, Chuck. You not only want me to believe the nonsense in your book, you want me to behave as if I did, even if I don't.

Sorry, I grew up surrounded by tyrants like you in East Tennessee, who didn't want me to play basketball on Sunday because it was unbiblical.

To a greater degree than I liked at the time, we Catholics (as I then was) had to put up with people like you because in a democracy a sufficient concentration of bigots can control the civil power.

Game over. We're playin' basketball now.
1.18.2008 7:18pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Harry Eager
RE: What I Want....

"Well, yeah, I get your drift, Chuck. You not only want me to believe the nonsense in your book, you want me to behave as if I did, even if I don't. " -- Harry Eager


....has nothing to do with what you 'believe'.

What I want is to tell the truth as best as I understand it.

Whether or not you, or anybody else, picks up on it is totally secondary.

I don't get 'points' for gathering converts. Indeed. It is IMPOSSIBLE for me to do so. Something you don't seem to be able to 'grasp'.

After all, isn't telling the Truth, what is important in Life? Or do you think otherwise?

"Game over. We're playin' basketball now." -- Harry Eagar

You play whatever game you like. It's not important to me....except if I catch you playing a game of 'Lies'.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
P.S. About some forms of 'games'....

"....people like you because in a democracy a sufficient concentration of bigots can control the civil power." -- Harry Eager

I do believe that you are describing what you'd like to do. And, in the not-too-distant-future, I'm sure you'll get what you REALLY want.

However, I do believe you'll be thoroughly dissatisified with the final outcome.....
1.18.2008 7:38pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
P.P.S. Your 'projection' is showing.

"Sorry, I grew up surrounded by tyrants like you in East Tennessee, who didn't want me to play basketball on Sunday because it was unbiblical." -- Harry Eager

I really don't care what you do on Sunday. Or any other day, for that matter. As it is written, it doesn't matter what people do on any given day, as long as they believe they are doing it for God.

That applies to playing basketball on Sunday as well.

Indeed. I don't 'work' on Sunday, unless there is some compelling reason, e.g., figthing a forest fire threatening the town.

You play all the games you like, but, I counsel you to stop playing the 'bozo', as you've done with that preceeding post.
1.18.2008 7:43pm
Milton (mail):
Remember Matthew 5:22 before you call another a bozo. It's not the Christian thing to be doing.
1.18.2008 8:34pm
Milton (mail):
And remember Romans 4:20-27. A faithful homosexual has, according to the bible, just as much of a chance at heaven as the rest of us sinners, so long as that homosexual believes in Jesus. It's not about laws. It's about faith.

We all sin. A sin is a sin. We are all forgiven. That's the beauty of grace. Just as the person who lies or swears or drinks too much or doesn't give enough to the poor or sometimes lashes out in anger... It doesn't mean they are condemed for their "evil" acts, as long as they accept the Big Guy. Same with the homosexual.
1.18.2008 8:42pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Milton
RE: Good Point

"Remember Matthew 5:22 before you call another a bozo. It's not the Christian thing to be doing." -- Milton

I should have couched that as "....please don't play the 'bozo'."

See! Nobody's 'perfect'. Not even me.

Thanks,

Chuck(le)
1.18.2008 9:10pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Milton
RE: Faithful Sinner?

"And remember Romans 4:20-27. A faithful homosexual has, according to the bible, just as much of a chance at heaven as the rest of us sinners, so long as that homosexual believes in Jesus. It's not about laws. It's about faith." -- Milton

Please explain to me how being someone who practices something that Christ says we shouldn't do is being 'faithful'?

If I claim to be a follower of Christ and despise my neighbor, for whatever reason, how am I being faithful to Christ?

I seem to recall something from Matthew about Christ, in the Judgement, says....

21 ¶ Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.


Regards,

Chuck(le)
1.18.2008 9:14pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Milton
RE: Additionally

"It doesn't mean they are condemed for their "evil" acts, as long as they accept the Big Guy. Same with the homosexual." -- Milton

But, as I pointed out (above), if they don't do what He requires, how are they 'acceptable'?

I think Matt 7 addresses that quite well.

Sure. I sin. You even pointed that out above. But, I am trying to do better and not commit the same sin over again.

How is the unrepentant homosexual doing that? Repenting, I mean.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[The REAL challenge is to be better than yourself.]
1.18.2008 9:19pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
P.S. You can't follow/believe in 'The Big Guy', if you don't do as He says.
1.18.2008 9:20pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
P.P.S. On further research of the previous posts....

....it seems that I stated....

I counsel you to stop playing the 'bozo'


This is not calling someone a 'bozo', or as is written in Matt, 'Raca'.

So...maybe I'm doing better than you thought.
1.18.2008 9:23pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
P.P.P.S. So....on another think....maybe you're playing some interesting mind-game here?
1.18.2008 9:26pm
Randy R. (mail):
Wondering if the unreptantant masturbator will ever get into heaven. Oh yeah, you just confess it on Sunday, and keep doing it the rest of the week.
Lather, rinse, repeat as necessary.
I'm so glad that I'm evil. Well, not "evil-evil" -- just an evil-doer. It makes me all the more scary at Halloween!
1.18.2008 9:37pm
Randy R. (mail):
Just got a phone call from my boyfriend. I told him that tonight, I want to do some 'evil' on him. Boy, did he get excited!
He suggested we violate a few biblical chapters. I suggested role play -- maybe we should really go biblical and make it a threesome, you know, all that polygamy and stuff. Time to spread some evil! Woo hoo!
1.18.2008 9:44pm
Milton (mail):
"Please explain to me how being someone who practices something that Christ says we shouldn't do is being 'faithful'?"

None of us can ever do all that "He" requires.

That's the point. According to Christ, we all sin! We all sin like a mo-fo, brother. We sin every day. We do the best we can and ask forgivness along the way.

By condeming the homosexual, you are doing exactaly what Jesus warned in Matthew 7:2. Specks and logs, my friend. Such talk does more to turn people away from Jesus than towards him.

Same with telling people they are bozo's, but then claiming it's all right because you were really calling their behavior bozoish. Specks and logs, man.
1.18.2008 10:33pm
Hoosier:
"According to Christ, we all sin! We all sin like a mo-fo"

Must be the NRSV-translation.
1.18.2008 11:34pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
Well, Chuck, if you don't get points from the Big Spook for bothering me, you do get points from me for not bothering me.

So by leaving me alone, you come out a clear winner.
1.19.2008 1:45am
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Milton
RE: Self-Defeating Philosophy

"None of us can ever do all that "He" requires." -- Milton

On the contrary.

What is it He requires?

And why is it you can't do it?

Regards,

Chuck(le)
1.19.2008 12:03pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Randy R.
RE: If....

"Wondering if the unreptantant masturbator will ever get into heaven. Oh yeah, you just confess it on Sunday, and keep doing it the rest of the week.
Lather, rinse, repeat as necessary. " -- Randy R.

....you keep doing it and you're not trying to stop, are you REALLY 'repentant'?

Most reasonably prudent individuals would suggest you aren't.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
1.19.2008 12:05pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
P.S. The same applies to any form of sin. Including homosexuality.
1.19.2008 12:05pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Milton
RE: Oh Bother....

"Well, Chuck, if you don't get points from the Big Spook for bothering me, you do get points from me for not bothering me." -- Milton

You DO have a serious problem with English and cognition.

What did I say (above) about what I'm supposed to do? Go on. Re-read it. See if you can begin to comprehend.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[For additional information, re-read this message.]
1.19.2008 12:08pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
I'm not Milton. I think someone else has the reading comprehension problem.
1.19.2008 12:10pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Milton
RE: Once Again

"Same with telling people they are bozo's...." -- Milton

....you demonstrate a lack of skill in understanding English.

Where did I call someone a 'bozo'? I didn't. I said not to act like one, or words to that effect. If you want to consider yourself a 'bozo', that's your prerogative. Just like Randy R's problem with misunderstanding English vis-a-vis evil behavior and evil person.

You guys 'buddies' or something? Perhaps you just drink the same brand of chardonnay?

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[As great minds think alike....so do the not-so-great.]
1.19.2008 12:12pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Harry Eagar
RE: Comprehension

"I'm not Milton. I think someone else has the reading comprehension problem." -- Harry Eagar


True. I've not had my morning coffee yet. My apologies to you and Milton for mis-representation.

RE: Speaking of 'Bother'

Seems like the only people around here who are getting 'hot and bothered' are you guys.

I'm just doing what is 'expected' of me; 'Testify, brother!'

You guys are the ones taking umbrage.

In the military, we refer to that as something of an 'indicator'.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[You know you're getting close to the target, because they start throwing more flak at you. USAF Axiom]
1.19.2008 12:19pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Randy, Milton and Harry
RE: Guys!

Here I am trying to give good advice on how to deal with 'Christians', vis-a-vis "Know your 'enemy'...." and all you can do is rebuke me?

Interesting.

I just realized the Truth about what He said, around 2000 years ago regarding providing wisdom ['pearls'] to some four-legged form of omnivore ['swine'].

And it appears to be true, when you consider how you've comported yourself when all I've done was tell you how to use your 'enemies' own Book against them.

How VERY 'interesting'. I'll have to share this revelation with my mens' Friday morning Bible study group. I think they'll find my experience here very educational for their efforts.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Cast not your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under foot and turn and attack you.]

P.S. And before you accuse me of calling you 'pigs', I'm not. I'm saying you're behavior resembles—closely—that which He warned us about.
1.19.2008 1:35pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
I don't need any advice about how to deal with Christians.

It's the evangelicals who need advice about how to deal with me.

Down in the old home state, South Carolina, they tell a story about Bob Jones University. There was a fine home on a hill near the school, and one day Bob Sr. knocked on the door and informed the lady of the house that God had divulged or decreed or whatever that that fine house had been chosen to be the home of the president of Bob Jones University.

'Well, he didn't tell me!' said the lady, slamming the door.

I don't know if the story is true, but you get my drift.
1.19.2008 2:37pm
Milton (mail):
""None of us can ever do all that "He" requires." -- Milton

On the contrary.

What is it He requires?

And why is it you can't do it?"

Your point is valid, but is only so based on my poor sentence structure and your intrepretation of my meaning.

Perhaps I should rephrase. None of us can ever do ALL that is suggested in the bible. New Testament or Old. None of us can live a perfect life, despite the clear instruction to do so in Matthew 5:48.

And you are fooling yourself if you didn't mean to insult when you made the "bozo" comment. Couch it in grammatical semantics all you wish, but it was insulting. And what was the mention of me and Randy as being 'buddies'? My interpretation of that comment leads me to believe you are stating that I am gay, which would indicate another attempt at insult. Jesus would never behave in such a way.
1.19.2008 4:18pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Harry Eagar
RE: Yeah....Right....

"I don't need any advice about how to deal with Christians." -- Harry Eagar

You're doing such a FINE job of it. Our discussion here is a prime example of that.


RE: Going the 'Other' Way

"It's the evangelicals who need advice about how to deal with me." -- Harry Eagar

And, for the sake of MY 'edification', what do you suggest?

Got any 'good Book' you can recommend? Such as I recommended to you (above)?

RE: Parables, Anyone?

"I don't know if the story is true, but you get my drift." -- Harry Eagar

No. I don't. What's your point? Even Christ, with His parables, is easier to discern than you are here.

You WERE talking about how Christians need advice on how to deal with YOU. Then you go into some story about someone slamming a door in a Christian's face.

Are you suggesting that the Bob Jones types should kick in your door? [Note: Believe me, I know HOW to do that. Indeed. I'm well-versed in Military Operations in Urbanized Terrain (MOUT). Call it a 'forte' that comes with three tours in combat units; two with the 82d Airborne and one with 4th Infantry (Mechanized).]

Or do you really mean something else that you just can't quite articulate very well?

Regards,

Chuck(le)
P.S. Personally? My understanding of Christ's instructions to the disciples was in such a situation, not to kick down the door.
1.19.2008 4:25pm
Milton (mail):
And seeing as how we are whipping out Matthew 7:6, check up on Matthew 7:1-5, then take a quick peak at Matthew 7:13. Great book, Matthew. Lots of pearls of wisdom. That is, if you are willing to walk the narrow path. Are you? Or are your insults more of a representation of your character?

The line between implication and insult isn't quite as vast as you seem to thik. But, then again, you didn't mean to really call me a pig or dog. You were just commenting that my "behavior closely resembles", which makes it OK.
1.19.2008 4:31pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Milton
RE: Misunderstandings?

"Your point is valid, but is only so based on my poor sentence structure and your intrepretation of my meaning." -- Milton

I don't think so.

I think I understand where you're trying to go with this. Rather, I think you're misunderstanding where I'M trying to go with what you gave me.

RE: No One is Worthy!

"None of us can ever do ALL that is suggested in the bible. New Testament or Old. None of us can live a perfect life, despite the clear instruction to do so in Matthew 5:48. " -- Milton

That's different from what you said initially.....

"None of us can ever do all that "He" requires." -- Milton


He, as I understand it being Christ....

...what does He require? And what of that can you NOT do?

I like the way he put it when talking with one person who came to ask Him a question.

The question asked was.....

28 ¶ And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all?


The answer given was.....

30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.


So. What's so hard here? So hard that it is impossible to do?

Regards,

Chuck(le)
1.19.2008 4:38pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
P.S. I'm often reminded of Ambrose Beirce at this point. I love the way he puts things in his famous syndicated column form the 19th Century; The Devil's Dictionary.

In this instance, it is 'neighbor'....


Neighbor, n., One we are required to love, but does his utmost to make us disobedient.


By the way....did you know that Mr. Beirce was a regimental and Army staff officer for the Union during the Civil War?

Just discovered that reading Catton's Never Call Retreat.....no wonder he had such a sardonic wit.
1.19.2008 4:40pm
Randy R. (mail):
Chuck:"....you keep doing it and you're not trying to stop, are you REALLY 'repentant'?

Most reasonably prudent individuals would suggest you aren't. "

For once you are correct! I have no desire to stop being a gay person, even if I could. Even better, I don't consider it a sin. Even if it were a sin, I wouldn't care. I think God has other things to worry about than whether I screw a woman or a man. Even better, I have no concern about other people's sex lives, unlike Chuck, and I certainly don't care what the Bible says about anything at all.

Oh, sure, it has it's value. Just as the Koran has a value, and the Bhagavad-Gita, the Lan-yu, the Talmud, the Hadith, the I Ching, the Book of Morman, and so on. All sacred scriptural writings, all worth reading and gleaning lessons. And of course, there is a corrollary that there might be new sacred writings. Even better, perhaps revelation of God directly to people?

What exactly IS it about Christians that they have to meddle in other people's lives so much, especially when it comes to sex? My experience is that people who have good and satisfactory sex lives really don't care about other peoples'. In fact, they encourage other's to have the best sex that they can have, whether the person is gay or straight.
1.19.2008 4:56pm
Milton (mail):
"So. What's so hard here? So hard that it is impossible to do? "

What about Matthew 5:48? Perfect life?

What about selling your posessions and giving everyting to the poor (since we are in Matthew, I'll take Matthew 19:23, but it's there in Luke and John too).

There is much, much more. Divorce, taxes, being good.

And, yes, no one is worthy in the eyes of man. Worth is decided by God, assuming your meaning of worth is eternal salvation.
1.19.2008 5:02pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Milton
RE: We're All Screwed Up

“None of us can ever do ALL that is suggested in the bible. New Testament or Old. None of us can live a perfect life, despite the clear instruction to do so in Matthew 5:48." -- Milton

“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” -- Matthew 5:48

An interesting point. To examine it, let me ask you a question....

How is God ‘perfect’? [Note: I know He is, but I want to understand how YOU recognize His perfection.]

Have patience with this one....it IS leading somewhere you might find useful. And if not you....maybe someone else who reads this.

RE: Fooling Around

"And you are fooling yourself if you didn't mean to insult when you made the "bozo" comment." -- Milton

It is wrong to call someone ‘Bozo’. It is not wrong to counsel someone not to behave like a ‘bozo.

“Couch it in grammatical semantics all you wish, but it was insulting.” -- Milton

I’d suggest that to take umbrage at good advice is to recognize that the behavior is as described.

“And what was the mention of me and Randy as being 'buddies'? My interpretation of that comment leads me to believe you are stating that I am gay, which would indicate another attempt at insult.” -- Milton

Again....taking umbrage at a simple question. If you’re a homosexual, are you proud or ashamed of it?

And please don’t worry about trying to pique my conscience with the idea that I’m insulting you by asking a simple question or alluding to such. I know how to discern.

RE: What Would Jesus Do

“Jesus would never behave in such a way." -- Milton

Really?

I do recall that Christ made a whip of a set of knotted cords and drove people before Him, in order to clear out the Temple courtyard.

All I’m doing here is bantering words with you. I have no ‘whip’ other than what you perceive in your own mind, based on so much black-and-white on your monitor.

Furthermore, He used the Socratic method and REALLY ticked-off the Pharisees and Sadduces, on more than one occasion. Did it so well that they conspired to get Him killed. And all He did to them was ‘talk’.

Howenver, He even went so far as to say...

“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.” -- Matthew 23:27

That’s a lot farther than I have gone here, with you and Randy and Harry.

But He has the authority to condemn; ‘hypocrites’. I do not. All I do is point out some similarities.

You, and others here, seem to be reacting to me in the same manner that they did, so long ago.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[History doesn't repeat itself. It has a speech impediment....it stutters.]
1.19.2008 5:19pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Randy R.
RE: Correctness, Political or Not

“For once you are correct!" -- Randy R.

Actually....I’m more oft correct than you care to recognize. But that’s another story.

“I have no desire to stop being a gay person, even if I could." -- Randy R.

You make my case.

“Even better, I don't consider it a sin. Even if it were a sin, I wouldn't care." -- Randy R.

Well. On the one hand; it is. In the other hand; I’m not surprised. On the third hand; you will be sadly disappointed....in the fullness of time.

“I think God has other things to worry about than whether I screw a woman or a man. Even better, I have no concern about other people's sex lives...." -- Randy R.

Randy....

....you are so sadly mistaken. It’s not so much about ‘sex’ as it is about ‘love’. And I think your use of the term ‘screw’, as in screwing other people, is very apt.

Can you even BEGIN to grasp the inference?

"What exactly IS it about Christians that they have to meddle in other people's lives so much....especially when it comes to sex?" -- Randy R.

I suspect it has more to do with ‘love’ than it does with ‘sex’.

If you saw someone who was, in effect, killing themselves. What would YOU do?

Ever have, or miss, the opportunity to save a life? What would you do for a friend? A drunk one in a bar who was reaching for his car keys?

Would you stop him? Before he went out the door and killed himself....and possibly some others as well?
If not....what kind of a ‘friend’ are you?

If you were thoroughly convinced of something, something that was good for other people. Would you keep it to yourself?

Take, for example the knowledge of resveratrol or flavanol. They appear to prolong life, cure and/or prevent disease.

If you knew that and were certain in your heart-of-hearts that it would help other people to know that sort of thing....

....would you keep it as a secret to yourself? Or would you proclaim it to everyone you knew?

It’s the same with Christians.

And yet the world rejects it. Just as modern scientists, up until Shoemaker-Levi 9 slammed into Jupiter in 1996, refused to accept the idea that big rocks can fall out of the sky and wipe out most life on Earth.

Such is the nature of ‘pride’.

And, beleive me, Randy....you got ‘pride’. And of a very unfortunate form.

“My experience is that people who have good and satisfactory sex lives really don't care about other peoples'. In fact, they encourage other's to have the best sex that they can have, whether the person is gay or straight." -- Randy R.

On the nosey. They don’t CARE about “other people”. They ususally seem to care only about themselves. Hence the spread of STDs.

How do YOU recognize the sort of love that Christ was talking about when He said....

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man should lay down his life for a friend.”

Regards,

Chuck(le)
1.19.2008 5:48pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Milton
RE: The 'Perfect' Life

“What about Matthew 5:48? Perfect life?" --Milton

See one of my previous posts from today.

RE: Possessions? Moi???!?!?

"What about selling your posessions and giving everyting to the poor (since we are in Matthew, I'll take Matthew 19:23, but it's there in Luke and John too)." --Milton

I own nothing. He owns it all.

I manage it and use it for His purposes.

Are we learning yet?

By the way. It’s not “give everything to the poor”, it’s “give to the poor”.

There is something of a difference.

After all....

....I doubt if Christ would have approved me giving ten bucks to a guy on the streets of Denver who had just thrown a smallish brown back with what sounded like a pint-sized bottle into the gutter...where it smashed, when he asked me for a hand-out.

Or should I go out and buy a pound of coke and give it out on the streets so people could commit suicide with it?

It think it has something to do with discernment.

What do YOU think?

RE: Other Stuff

"There is much, much more. Divorce, taxes, being good." --Milton

It all boils down to the two commandements I mentioned earlier today.

The challenges come in with the interaction with people who don’t believe in loving other people at least as much as they love themselves. You know. You encounter them every day. They are the people who are selfish.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Selfish: Devoid of consideration for the selfishness of others. -- Ambrose Beirce, The Devil’s Dictionary]
1.19.2008 6:01pm
Milton (mail):
"But He has the authority to condemn; ‘hypocrites’. I do not. All I do is point out some similarities.

You, and others here, seem to be reacting to me in the same manner that they did, so long ago. "

Very telling.

But when the prostitute was about to be stoned, did Jesus chastise the prostitute, or did he chastise those who were going to judge her? After the crowd dispersed, did Jesus stop to have a little chat with the whore about her dangerous lifestyle? No, he simply said "sin no more"?

So, say "sin no more" to others, but realize that in doing so you are the hypocrite. Just as me to tell you to "sin no more" makes me one. Just as the Pharisees were hypocrites. Jesus can say it because he is perfect. You cannot. That is the lesson. To even imply hypocracy makes both of us sinners and judgers. It is not our job to "point out similaraties".

And, truth be told, regardint Randy, either you see him as a pig or dog not worthy of the pearl of wisdom, or you see him as a sinner, in which case you are looking in the mirror, for you are a sinner as well. Telling you so much does not make me a hypocrite as I am one too.
1.19.2008 6:07pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
P.S. More on 'worth' later. Now it is time to start working on making supper......
1.19.2008 6:07pm
Milton (mail):
"By the way. It’s not “give everything to the poor”, it’s “give to the poor”. "

Check the good book again, sir.

Jesus said to him "If you want to be perfect, go and sell all you have and give the money to the poor..."
1.19.2008 6:10pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Milton
RE: Checking

"Mr 10:21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor....." -- Jesus the Christ

Where do you see "all"?

Which version are you using?

I use King James as it has been proven to be the most accurate.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
1.19.2008 6:20pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Milton
RE: Observations

Down in the kitchen now. Things are 'heating up'.

Just reviewing some of our discussion over the last 24 hours.

I notice that you like to ask a lot of questions. But, for SOME reason, you don't answer questions asked of you.

Why is that?

Regards,

Chuck(le)
P.S. More later. Time to stir the 'pot'.
1.19.2008 6:40pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
The problem with evangelicals is that they imagine that the Big Spook told them to go out and hector everybody else about their delusions.

They never stop to consider that everybody else may already be all set up with his own god (or none) and not need any of their advice.

As we can see from your incomprehension about my little story of Bob Jones, Chuck, evangelicals just don't get it. We want to be left alone. We don't want our doors kicked in. We don't even want them knocked on. We want to play basketball when we want to play basketball.

It's a free country, of course, but why cannot evangelicals be courteous, too?
1.19.2008 7:02pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Harry Eagar
RE: Courtesy, Please

"It's a free country, of course, but why cannot evangelicals be courteous, too?" -- Harry Eagar

So....

....you say that knocking on the door is 'discourteous'?

Interesting.

When are you going to invoke a make-my-day law on anyone knocking at your door?

Regards,

Chuck(le)
1.19.2008 7:15pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
P.S. If you REALLY didn't give a s--- about this sort of think....

....you'd have stopped posting here 72 hours ago.


But....for some 'strange' reason....you continue to 'engage'.

Why is that?
1.19.2008 7:17pm
Milton (mail):
I have the Good News Bible c 1976 (unclear on edition). It doesn't matter. In the context of the quote it is clear that Jesus was telling the man to give everything away, as his diciples had done.

You ask me quesions, and I guess it's tough to figure out where they are...

Oh. Am I gay? No. Do I drink the same chardonay as Randy? Was that a serious question? I don't know the guy and I have never had a drink of alcohol.

And what about this? Earlier you mentioned...

"The answer given was.....


30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these."

If that's it, they what's wrong with homosexuality? As long as you love god with all your heart and love thy neighbour.
1.19.2008 8:22pm
Hoosier:
Chuck(les)--
1)"I use King James as it has been proven to be the most accurate. "

Wrong. The Qumran Scrolls have disproved that theory, if by "accurate" you mean "older." If by "accurate" you mean "fit with what I already think," then by all means.

2)>>sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor....." -- Jesus the Christ
Where do you see "all"?

What does "whatsoever" mean to you, Chuck?

3)>>NO ONE is worthy!

I am. I invented a really good sandwich.
1.19.2008 10:49pm
Rabbi popping in:
Very late to the commenting party, but one could defend his statement by saying that in a polygamous society each individual wife had to have a marriage ceremony with the husband, and that marriage would only pertain to a man and a woman. No homosexual polygamous relationships allowed. But that would be too Talmudic for a political interview.
1.19.2008 11:04pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
But I do care. I want to be left alone.

Anyhow, Chuck, you are the only one here proposing military raids, make-my-day laws, bragging about your manly militariness etc.

I suggest you meditate on the 'blessed are the peacemakers' verse and withdraw your nose from other folks' moral concerns. They're none of yours.
1.19.2008 11:48pm
Elliot123 (mail):
Let's not forget god is made in the image of man, and some men are more deserving of being models for god. Religion is based on some men's desire to reflect themselves back onto other men. Do as I say because I say god wants you to do as I say.
1.20.2008 12:52am
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Milton
RE: Actually....

"I have the Good News Bible c 1976 (unclear on edition). It doesn't matter." -- Milton

It DOES matter. As our discussion on this particular indicates. All because of a sloppy translation. Or worse, a political agenda driving an improper translation.

In this case, the inclusion of the word "all", where it ought not be.

I've talked this over with other members of my Friday morning mens' Bible study group and we've discovered a lot of significant differences in the various versions.

RE: You and Randy and What You Drink

"Oh. Am I gay? No." -- Milton

Good on you.

"Do I drink the same chardonay as Randy? Was that a serious question?" -- Milton

Somewhat....

I've noticed that either the same air or same water seem to have the same effect on some people. Not all, mind you, but some. Maybe it has something to do with genotypes.

I see my City Council acting 'oddly' on occasion and I wonder what drinking fountain they got their water from before they began a hearing that went rather 'oddly'.

Sort of like asking what color crayon someone was smoking. [Note: A question I used to ask of staffers at echelons higher than my own before I retired.]

RE: What's Wrong With Homosexuality

"If that's it, they what's wrong with homosexuality? As long as you love god with all your heart and love thy neighbour." -- Milton

On one hand, it is explicitly against God's will; old and new parts of that old Book.

On the second hand, it is fornication.

On the third, the vast majority of them, as with all fornicators, don't really love their partner(s). They are only in it for their own self-gratification.

Oh. There might be one or two in a hundred that would lay down their life for their partner. But I've never seen a study done on that.

Maybe some APA aspirant could do a study.....

But, as for them, it is still in violation of items 1 and 2 (above).

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me the Truth. -- Thoreau]
1.20.2008 9:35am
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Elliot123
RE: Perhaps....

"Do as I say because I say god wants you to do as I say." -- Elliot123

....amongst those who put themselves forward as God. But, from my understanding, there was only ONE would could really say such. And He got nailed to a tree for it by the jealous others.

Rather, it is more like....

I reommend you do as I suggest because this is how I understand what has been given to me.


There IS something of a difference. Don't you think?

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Don't mince words. Especially God's.]
1.20.2008 9:39am
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Hossier
RE: Really?

"Wrong. The Qumran Scrolls have disproved that theory, if by "accurate" you mean "older." If by "accurate" you mean "fit with what I already think," then by all means." -- Hoosier

And on what do you base your understanding of the Qumran/Dead Sea Scrolls?

I base mine on a study of the Book of Daniel performed, as I understand it by a group of scholars from England and Israel. Something I saw on PBS around 20 years ago.

Please give me a citation of the sourcr of your understanding.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
1.20.2008 9:42am
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Harry Eagar
RE: You Clever Liar, You

"But I do care. I want to be left alone." -- Harry Eagar

If that statement of yours were true, you wouldn't be here....out in the public venue.

As it is, you're so much road-kill on the information super-highway.

If you were REALLY like the little-old-lady you mention in your anecdote (above), you'd not be out here where us 'evil' Christians were able to confront your ignorance/disinformation. You'd be cowering behind your door, reading a book.

Hope that helps....but...I doubt it.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
P.S. As for 'bragging' on my 'manliness', the only reason I brought it up was to show you that I know how to 'kick-in' a door that has been slammed in my face. That and so much more.

You want to go there? Fine with me. I enjoy reminiscing on those heady days. But I can assure you....YOU won't.

Bring it on, buckie. I got a million of em.....and I've had LOTS of practice throwing people like you. Indeed. I think others here will find the experience very 'educational'.
1.20.2008 9:49am
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
[Every man thinks meanly of himself for never having been a soldier, or a sailor with hard duty at sea.]
1.20.2008 9:51am
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Harry Eagar
RE: Making Peace

"I suggest you meditate on the 'blessed are the peacemakers' verse..." -- Harry Eagar

How many ways are there of 'making peace'?

How did Abraham Lincoln 'make peace' in the 1860s?

RE: Withdrawal Syndrome

"...and withdraw your nose from other folks' moral concerns. They're none of yours." -- Harry Eagar

You don't quite 'get it'.

We, as christians are not required to 'withdraw'. Rather, we're required to 'engage'.

The only people who want us to withdraw are people like yourself. Not God.

Hope that helps....but, as I've said earlier (above)....I have my doubts.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[No one lights a candle and puts it under a bushel. -- Some Wag, around 2000 years ago]
1.20.2008 9:57am
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
P.S. We'll be discussing that business about "Blessed are the peacemakers" this or next Friday. It depends on how long we tarry over

6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

Care to join us?
1.20.2008 10:03am
Milton (mail):
"On the third, the vast majority of them, as with all fornicators, don't really love their partner(s). They are only in it for their own self-gratification.

Oh. There might be one or two in a hundred that would lay down their life for their partner. But I've never seen a study done on that."

I've seen far more selfishness in hetrosexual relationships than homosexual ones.


"On one hand, it is explicitly against God's will; old and new parts of that old Book.

On the second hand, it is fornication."

There is a bunch of stuff that is specifically against god's will, especially if you lump in the old parts of the book.

So homosexuality and fornication it is sin. Right? I mentionted that we all sin. I even mentioned that there is no way to do everything commanded in the bible. You mentioned that all we need do is what He requires, which is to love god and your neighbor.

Why the double standard?

My point is this. Until you sell everything, give it to the poor and live a life as Jesus and his diciples have as a quest for perfection (basically become a monk), then you are picking and choosing parts of the bible that you follow, while ignoring specific other parts, and judging your fellow man in the process.
1.20.2008 11:23am
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Milton
RE: And....

"I've seen far more selfishness in hetrosexual relationships than homosexual ones." -- Milton

....how does that contradict what I said?

Regards,

Chuck(le)
P.S. Working in the kitchen on brunch, I'll be in and out while preparing it.
1.20.2008 11:52am
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Milton
RE: The Old stuff

"There is a bunch of stuff that is specifically against god's will, especially if you lump in the old parts of the book." -- Milton

Sure is. But Christians tend to focus more on the New Stuff.

What's your point?

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Jesus astonishes and overpowers sensual people. They cannot unite him to history, or reconcile him with themselves. -- Ralph Waldo Emerson]
1.20.2008 11:56am
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Milton
RE: Self-Defeating Obstacles

"So homosexuality and fornication it is sin. Right? I mentionted that we all sin. I even mentioned that there is no way to do everything commanded in the bible. You mentioned that all we need do is what He requires, which is to love god and your neighbor." -- Milton

As I said earlier, but you apparently have chosen to ignore or forget, you're defeating yourself.

"Why the double standard?" -- Milton

Where's the double-standard in loving God and loving your neighbor as yourself?

You seem to be TRULY 'confused'. Whether that is deliberate or not is another matter.

RE: Your Point

"My point is this. Until you sell everything, give it to the poor and live a life as Jesus and his diciples have as a quest for perfection (basically become a monk), then you are picking and choosing parts of the bible that you follow, while ignoring specific other parts, and judging your fellow man in the process." -- Milton

[1] About your misunderstanding of Scripture is based on your use of a bad translation of that old Book. What you do about that is your problem. Not mine.

Action on YOUR part is required.

[2] As for 'picking and choosing', I'm not the one doing that. I think you're projecting on this one.

[3] And as far as 'judging my fellow man', you are misrepresenting me. And I don't recommend you do that. The testimony (above) will prove me right and you in error.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Evil has many tools, but a lie is the handle that fits them all.]
1.20.2008 12:02pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
P.S. Just to keep a close eye on myself, I've invited some of my comrades-in-Christ to monitor my comments here. Whether or not they decide to engage you and Harry and Randy is up to them. However, I do hope to hear from them on whether or not I'm on-track/on-target with my comments.

If I slip up, I'm confident they'll tell me about it...one way or another.

After all, I'm only human and prone to making mistakes. Criticism from reliable sources is good for the soul. Don't you think?
1.20.2008 12:18pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
P.P.S. On that business about how everyone 'sins'.

It's true. We all 'sin'.

The difference between Christians and disbelievers is that the former recognize it and ask forgiveness from God. The latter, who don't recognize Him, don't do either.

[The first step in solving a problem is recognizing that it exists.]
1.20.2008 12:39pm
Milton (mail):
"As I said earlier, but you apparently have chosen to ignore or forget, you're defeating yourself. "

There is no defeat or victory in these discussions. If further understanding is the goal, then, at this point, I don't really know what you are talking about. Unless you are hear to win an argument, and we all know that it is useless to argue on the internet.

I'll frame my position. You can tell me where I am wrong.

1) Homosexuality is a sin according to the bible.

2) A bunch of stuff is a sin according to the bible.

3) We all sin everyday.

4) We are imperfect.

5) To judge the homosexual is just as wrong as to judge the prostitute, liar, thief, person with lust in their heart, or anyone else.

6) To make such judgements, in the name of the Bible or Jesus, turns people away from faith, instead of bringing people to Him.

7) And, I'll throw this in for good measure; to judge by implication is worse than judging outright in that it allows the individual doing the judging to hide behind clever word play, claiming innocent the entire time.

But, then again, you don't judge. You just use judgmental and arrogant words like "you are confused" or "people like yourself" or "you are in error" or "I've had plenty of practice throwing around people like you" or... Well, se most of your above posts for statements that are pretty rude.
1.20.2008 12:57pm
Milton (mail):
And, not to argue but to present a point, many scholars feel the King James bible is a poor translation, specifically that it sacraficed meaning for poetry and prose.

Either way, if you think Jesus was telling the rich man (in Luke 18:18, in Matthew 19:16 and in Mark 10:17) to give SOME of his possessions to the poor, not EVERYTHING, well then we have to disagree.

To me, the story is pretty clear.

"did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith?"
1.20.2008 1:03pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Milton
RE: Again....

"There is no defeat or victory in these discussions." -- Milton

You're lack of perception and/or openness limits your horizon and therefore your 'vision'. And you cannot grasp what is being communicated to you.

You've built yourself a box, much like Harry's, and you cannot escape from it. Probably due to an over-weened sense of pride. [Heaven forefend that I'm WRONG!]

However. The eggs are done as well as the french toast. It is now time to enjoy the Sunday morning feast.

More later...

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Not the brightest crayon in the box, now are we?]
1.20.2008 1:08pm
Hoosier:
TO: Chuck(les)
RE: Sources

You might start with this: Eugene Ulrich, 'The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Origins of the Bible' (Eerdmans, 1999)

You might also try my sandwich.
1.20.2008 1:38pm
Milton (mail):
"It's true. We all 'sin'.

The difference between Christians and disbelievers is that the former recognize it and ask forgiveness from God. The latter, who don't recognize Him, don't do either. "

I made this point earlier. We sin everyday and do the best we can, through Jesus, to make it through life and to Him.

Either way, I don't feel like discussing this further and, according to your standard, I'm in a box of somekind, incapable of grasping what is communicated, apparently. And I'm the one with "pride", even though I've been pretty respectful and I have avoided judgements or arrogant language.

Enjoy your eggs, and french toast, and ask yourself if, through your discussion, you are bringing people closer to Jesus or further from Him. He mentioned to not judge others, but you can certianly look in the mirror.

Either way, I'm out of here. Go Pack.
1.20.2008 1:45pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Hoosier
RE: Readings

"You might start with this: Eugene Ulrich, 'The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Origins of the Bible'" -- Hoosier

Generally speaking, most books of this sort seem to be written by people like Randy, Harry or Milton. In other words, words of people who do not, in my personal opinion, have much credibility, i.e., a hidden agenda.

However, I'll try to keep an open mind and see what I can determine of Mr. Ulrich; as I'd not heard of him before.

Additionally....being a single person, does he have the gravitas of a commission? Like that gathered to do the KJV? I kind of doubt it.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
1.20.2008 2:45pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
P.S. Of sandwiches and Kings

"You might also try my sandwich." -- Hoosier

Perhaps.

Would you care to try my recipe for Grand Marnier?
1.20.2008 2:46pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Milton
RE: Last Thinks First

"And, not to argue but to present a point, many scholars feel the King James bible is a poor translation, specifically that it sacraficed meaning for poetry and prose." -- Milton

As I mentioned (above) many learned and respected scientists refused the theory of Catastrophism....until Shoemaker-Levi 9 slammed into Jupiter.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Learned men are the cisterns of knowledge. Not the fountainheads.]
1.20.2008 2:50pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
P.S. What does it take to make 'learned men' actually think? Something along the lines of being hammered over the head with a BFR?

Based on recent-past experience....it would seem that way.
1.20.2008 2:52pm
Roger Sweeny (mail):
Rock Chocklett,

If I understand you correctly, you are saying that Huckabee meant, "Since the 6th day of creation, God has established marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Our laws shouldn't try to change that."

I think he may well have meant that. It is an honest and honorable position, Of course, if he had actually said that, the secular media, which is to say most of the media, would have jumped all over him for making an overtly religious argument. I'm sure this is extraordinarily frustrating to him and many of his followers.

So he instead made a dishonest argument based on a secular "history." Huckabee may be no more dishonest than anyone else running for president. However, when you are not completely truthful, you open yourself up to people's pointing out your inaccuacies.

But it sure is a b*tch that some dishonesties are more socially acceptable than others.
1.20.2008 2:58pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"'I reommend you do as I suggest because this is how I understand what has been given to me.'

There IS something of a difference. Don't you think?"


Not at all. The godmakers create god and decide he has given them what they say he should give them. The god reflects the godmakers, and the godmakers then tell us what god says. Has anyone been given the word of god by anyone other than another man?
1.20.2008 3:01pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Milton
RE: By the Numbers

“There is no defeat or victory in these discussions.” -- Milton

It all depends....on what one thinks of as “Victory Conditions”. Maybe if you were more familiar with that old Book I keep referring you too, you might actually understand where I’m coming from.

But, if you insist on remaining ignorant, that’s hardly MY problem now....is it.

“If further understanding is the goal, then, at this point, I don't really know what you are talking about. Unless you are hear to win an argument, and we all know that it is useless to argue on the internet.” -- Milton

Furthermore, it doesn’t matter to me if you understand or not.

I do believe that I pointed out (above) that all I’m required to do is tell the Truth, as best as I can. [Note: This relates to the item immediately above, vis-a-vis ‘victory conditions’.

Are we learning yet?

“I'll frame my position. You can tell me where I am wrong.” -- Milton

As if you REALLY ‘cared’.....

Homosexuality is a sin according to the bible.” -- Milton

True.

A bunch of stuff is a sin according to the bible.” -- Milton

True.

We all sin everyday.” -- Milton

True.

“4) We are imperfect.” -- Milton

True.

“5) To judge the homosexual is just as wrong as to judge the prostitute, liar, thief, person with lust in their heart, or anyone else.” -- Milton

Where am I ‘judging’, when I point out something is wrong?

Judgement is the Lord’s. It is condemnation. It is, literally, DEATH; the Second (eternal) Death. Where am I killing anyone?

This relates back to my analogy about seeing a friend drunk in a bar, reaching for his car keys and heading for the door.

If you were to stop them and take their car keys away from them....is that ‘judgement’? Condemnation?

Neither you nor anyone else here answered that when first I proposed it.

Why is that?

“6) To make such judgements, in the name of the Bible or Jesus, turns people away from faith, instead of bringing people to Him.” -- Milton

See explanation in item #5 (above).

“7) And, I'll throw this in for good measure; to judge by implication is worse than judging outright in that it allows the individual doing the judging to hide behind clever word play, claiming innocent the entire time.” -- Milton

Explain yourself.

“But, then again, you don't judge. You just use judgmental and arrogant words like "you are confused" or "people like yourself" or "you are in error" or "I've had plenty of practice throwing around people like you" or... Well, se most of your above posts for statements that are pretty rude.” -- Milton

You’re right. I don’t ‘judge’.

Nor, contrary to your comment. I’m not ‘arrogant’. [Note: I imagine that if you took the car keys from your drunken friend, he’d call you ‘arrogant’ and ‘judgemental’ as well. But...would you be saving lives?

But, what you don’t seem to apprehend is that I can ‘discern’.

There is a ‘right’ and a ‘wrong’. Whether you accept that is another matter.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
1.20.2008 3:04pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Elliot123
RE: Making God In Our Image[ination]

"The godmakers create god and decide he has given them what they say he should give them." -- Elliot123

Your ignorance is showing.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Ignorance here is less than bliss. -- Newsboys, Truth Be Known]
1.20.2008 3:07pm
Roger Sweeny (mail):
Just a thought,

Suppose I said "Democracy has historically, as long as there’s been human history, meant a government where the power was wholly vested in the people."

Then I would say you are wrong. I would agree if you had said, "Democracy has historically, as long as there's been human history, meant a government that in some sense represents the people."

I would agree even more if you added, "Just how the people are said to be represented has differed tremendously across countries and across time."

And why stop there? "Many people consider many so-called democracies to be anything but."
1.20.2008 3:09pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Milton
RE: Eggs &Toast &Brining People to Christ

"Enjoy your eggs, and french toast, and ask yourself if, through your discussion, you are bringing people closer to Jesus or further from Him. He mentioned to not judge others, but you can certianly look in the mirror." -- Milton

Once again....

....you don't 'get it'.

I'm not here to bring people to Christ. I can no more convert YOU or ANYONE to Christ than I can spin straw into gold.

Only He can do that.

You see? You don't understand. And, furthermore, you seem to be adamantly opposed to understanding.

In other words...based on past performance here....

....you'll never learn. Unless you change....

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Wise men learn from other peoples' mistakes. Most people learn from their own mistakes. Fools never learn.]

P.S. I'm not calling you a 'fool'. I'm just pointing out a truism. Whether you think the proverbial 'shoe fits' is up to you.
1.20.2008 3:15pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
I never sin. That would mean doing something I believe is the wrong thing to do. Why would I do that?

Chuck, if you sin, as you say, that just means you don't really believe that the things you say are wrong to do really are wrong to do.
1.20.2008 3:25pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Harry Eagar
RE: The Epitome of Ignorance

"I never sin. That would mean doing something I believe is the wrong thing to do. Why would I do that?" -- Harry Eagar

'nuff said, here.

RE: My Sin

"Chuck, if you sin, as you say, that just means you don't really believe that the things you say are wrong to do really are wrong to do." -- Harry Eagar

You've got serious problems with English AND logic.

I recommend remedial training.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[3 ¶ Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.]
1.20.2008 3:36pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
P.S. Additionally....

"I never sin. That would mean doing something I believe is the wrong thing to do. Why would I do that?" -- Harry Eagar

I can understand your perspective. How can a god 'sin', if it doesn't think it is 'sinful'. Sort of like the 'divine right of kings' business, when you think about it.

It's also in keeping with the typical atheist approach to Life.

They have their own set of commandments, don't you know. The first of which is....

I am the lord my god. Thou shalt have no other god before ME!

The REAL problems start when you consider that all the other atheists consider themselves gods as well.

[Who's in charge here?]
1.20.2008 6:00pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"'The godmakers create god and decide he has given them what they say he should give them."
' -- Elliot123

Your ignorance is showing."


Well, help us out a bit. Who has been given the word by anyone other than another man?
1.20.2008 9:48pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
Oh, OK, I give up, Chuck. I've seen the light. See you at the snake-handling next Sunday.

You go first, though.
1.20.2008 11:29pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Harry Eagar
RE: Yeah....Right....

"Oh, OK, I give up, Chuck. I've seen the light. See you at the snake-handling next Sunday." -- Harry Eagar

Stop me if you've heard this one before...

Thou shalt not put the Lord thy God to the test....Get thee behind me Satan. -- Some Wag, around 2000 years ago.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
1.21.2008 2:16pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Elliot123
RE: Who?

"Well, help us out a bit. Who has been given the word by anyone other than another man?" -- Elliot123

Those fortunate few who hear it directly from God. And, God willing, they pass it on to the rest of us; unaltered and unmitigated.

For example...Moses, the prophets, Christ, the Apostles, Paul and other saints...here and there.

Whether or not you 'appreciate' it is not my particular problem. It's more likely yours.

Hope that helps....but.....

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Believing is seeing. -- Some waggish atheist friend of mine, after a discussion like that above.]
1.21.2008 2:20pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
P.S. And lest I forget....

....I've heard directly from Him, or at least from one of his agents over the last 57 years.

If I had not, I wouldn't be here having this charming discussion with you, as I'd be dead, instead.

Go fig.....
1.21.2008 2:22pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
P.P.S....

It had something to do with (1) plummeting out of the merciless darkness with a malfunctioning parachute and (2) having a 'snit' with an 18-wheeler on I25 one dark wintery night.

And, being told in the last moments of my life, EXACTLY what I should do in order to survive the next minute....and beyond.

Oddly enough....I did as I was instructed....and I'm here to testify to it.
1.21.2008 2:25pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
[You haven't lived....until you've almost died.]
1.21.2008 2:26pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"Those fortunate few who hear it directly from God. And, God willing, they pass it on to the rest of us; unaltered and unmitigated."

Did a man tell you they hear it directly from god? The godmakers write the story and tell the rest of us it is true. There's nothing wrong with that; people have found comfort in many stories over the years. However, when the godmakers tell the rest of what to do based on their story, it's time to pull back the curtain.
1.21.2008 4:44pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Elliot123
RE: Being....

"Did a man tell you they hear it directly from god?" -- Elliot123

....a bit obtuse, are we?

"The godmakers write the story and tell the rest of us it is true." -- Elliot123

There's a tad more to it than you, in your simple-minded methodology, would care to admit.

One of the aspects being the presence of 'prophecy'.

Or, could you please explain how a man from the First Century can describe a runaway nuclear reactor, in terms his contemporaries would understand, AND name the place of the event?

I eagerly await your reply.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
1.21.2008 6:19pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
P.S. You, in your obtuse fashion, overlook my own experience.

Why is that?
1.21.2008 6:21pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
Stop the presses! Chuck hears voices!

I am pleased you have come to terms with your inner demons. I an not pleased you have not learned to keep them to yourself.
1.21.2008 7:09pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"There's a tad more to it than you, in your simple-minded methodology, would care to admit.

One of the aspects being the presence of 'prophecy'."


Is prophecy when a godmaker says god told him so?

"Or, could you please explain how a man from the First Century can describe a runaway nuclear reactor, in terms his contemporaries would understand, AND name the place of the event?"

I have no idea. How?
1.21.2008 8:29pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"P.S. You, in your obtuse fashion, overlook my own experience."

OK. What has your own experience been, and why shouldn't we overlook it?
1.21.2008 9:30pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Harry Eagar
RE: Hmmmm

"Stop the presses! Chuck hears voices! " -- Harry Eagar

And you said you give up.

You're some kinda liar, buckie.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
1.21.2008 10:00pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Elliot123....
RE: ....the Clueless

"I have no idea."-- Elliot123

Typical. All too typical.

"How?" -- Elliot123

Not that you really care. If you did, you've have done some reading and googling.

Here's a clue for you.

Revelation 8:10-11.

Then see if you can translate the name of some village in Ukraine—we heard about in the mid-80s—into English.

Good hunting and good luck....

Regards,

Chuck(le)
1.21.2008 10:04pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Harry Eagar
RE: And YES....

...I do hear voices. And on the occasions when I hear them they've saved my life.

But that's just one aspect.

You don't like it? Tough noogies....

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[You're just jealous because the voices don't talk to you.]
1.21.2008 10:06pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Elliot123
RE: Oh....Yeah....

....before I forget....

....Remember what I was saying (above) about "Know your 'enemy'"? By reading their books?

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Are we learning, yet?]
1.21.2008 10:09pm
Elliot123 (mail):

I'm afraid I'm not up to doing the translation on the Ukrainian village, but I'd be very interested in hearing about "how a man from the First Century can describe a runaway nuclear reactor, in terms his contemporaries would understand, AND name the place of the event?"

Is it a secret, or is it something to be shared with all of humanity?

"You're just jealous because the voices don't talk to you."

You're right. They don't. Do they talk to you? What do they say? Who are they? Is there more than one speaker? What language? Do they speak Ukrainian?
1.22.2008 12:24am