UPDATE: Mr. Spackman contacted me and assures me he did not create the image referred to in this post.  My arguments against the image remain the same, even if not created by Mr. Spackman.

I’m writing about marriage today.  You know, the kind of marriage between a man and woman and practiced and dreamed of by more than 99% of the earth’s population?

Yeah, that kind.  The only kind really.

Gay marriage is a farce.  It is against the laws of nature, common sense, historical practice, and the sensibilities of probably 98% of the planet.

A number of people I am Facebook Friends with shared an image [edit based on new information] mistakenly [end of edit ] attributed to Travis Spackman.

This image has chosen to make fun of people (like me) who believe in marriage by pointing out Old Testament scriptures related to marriage laws and treatment of women.

By pointing out some of these harsh by modern standards rules from the Law of Moses, it is intended to show that holding on to the definition of marriage and insisting that marriage should not be expanded to gay couples is a stupid and outdated idea.

My biggest problem with this kind of argument is that it ignores the rest of human history where marriage has always been between a man and a woman (or women).  Polyandry is also practiced where one woman has more than one husband.  The entire knowable history of the world has always and forever defined marriage as a union between man and woman.  The Law of Moses is only a very small part of human history.

So why single out the Old Testament to make fun of people who support Marriage?  It is intellectually lazy and certainly [edited in light of the above update] will not help win any people over to that side of the argument.  [end of this edit].  It alienates his supposed opposition and is a way for people who already agree with him to virtually high-five each other over the internet.

Here is some historical context that actually shows the Law of Moses had some common sense to it [whether you believe it was God’s law or not], in spite of [edit again] this images’ [end of edit] wagging finger of shame.

4,000 years ago, women were not as empowered [or protected] as they are today.  Marriage was a safe haven of sorts that placed women in at least some kind of protected status.  Unmarried women were often taken advantage of and victimized in countless ways.  Marriage was a blessing to these women who needed the legal protections and recognition of marriage.  Men would often die young, were involved in armed conflict and died leaving widows and children.  Non-virgins were often considered “damaged goods” as well.  It was just part of the greater cultural norms and attitudes of the time.  The Law of Moses was not binding or applied to gentiles in these matters and marriages were most often arranged for the young men and women in that day.

Leverite marriages were a benefit to the woman who would be without the protection of a marriage if she were only a widow.  Also, non-virgins were considered “damaged goods” in the greater cultural norms and the obligation on the brother was a way of dealing with the shame/difficulty for finding a new husband.

Concubines were under the protection of the man although not of the same status as a wife.  So, technically not part of the marriage.

Virgins have to marry their rapist?  That one was news to me, so I looked up the scripture to see what it said.  The determinative term was not virgin, but on the marital status of the woman.  If a married woman is raped, the rapist gets killed.  If a woman is betrothed and is raped, the rapist is killed.  If the woman is not betrothed and is raped, then the rapist is ordered to marry the girl and cannot ever divorce her.  Hmmm.  To borrow a phrase from Whoopi Goldberg, the scriptures do not clarify whether the crime is like statutory rape or “rape-rape”.  It is entirely possible that if the rape of a non-betrothed was forced, there would be no marriage but frontier justice instead.  If it was more of a consensual thing, then it is probably not a big deal and would be a underhanded way of gaining approval to get married if the parents did not approve of the pairing already.  It might also be a tactic if the marriage agreement negotiation was not going well.  The penalty was marriage without the possibility of divorce.  [Some of the unhappily married folk out there would consider this prison without the possibility of parole.]

Women as spoils of war?  Apparently they only kept the virgin females from the otherwise wholesale slaughter of the Midianites from a war.  The virgin females were to be integrated into society and eligible for marriage.  There was a huge bias against marrying a non-virgin.  Back in that day, people who were captured were often abused, the women were raped, then the captives were sold into slavery.  There was to be no profiting from the trafficking of women as the spoils of war under the Law of Moses.  It sort of makes sense.  Would a marriage and children be better than rape, slavery, or death?  It was comparatively humane for the time.

In a larger context, these rules also reduced the incidence of premarital sex, STD’s and a whole host of other societal problems when sex is undervalued and carries no legal consequence or penalty.

Marriage and married life leads to happier and healthier people with lower incidence of violence and abuse.  Most domestic abuse is found with live-in partners, not married couples.

The sexual revolution of the 1960’s and modern day feminism has not helped women or men to be happier or more secure.  If anything, the ongoing neuroses, insecurity, depression, suicide, illegitimacy, and many other problems we have today go straight back to the “empowered woman” who “does not need a man”.  By cutting her ties to a husband and family, she has been uprooted and is drifting in the metaphorical sea of society without an anchor to keep her planted and secure.

The real answer to these problems is a culture that values family relationships and marriage.

Comments Welcome