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Views & Voices

What the Bible says — and doesn’t say — about marriage

Sunday, July 29, 2012

There’s a lot of talk about the biblical definition of marriage and the family; however, I can’t find where those terms are explained anywhere in the bible.

Nonetheless, a careful reading of the Good Book provides some basic guidelines that clearly warrant some discussion.

In both Genesis I and II we see a unique parenting by the Ultimate Unwed Single Parent: God. In this model there is no marriage, and apparently no sex either, as God performs like a sponge, an entity capable of sexual and asexual reproduction.

In Genesis, God is the perfect model for a petulant asexual parent arrogant enough to think children don’t need two parents. In this model we have a celibate male cloning children in any image he prefers, setting them up for failure and callously blaming them when they screw up. We can see in God’s actions many universal parental statements such as “you didn’t get THAT trait from ME… it must have come from your Uncle Beelzebub…”

Genesis also provides a family model, although not one I’d recommend since it begins with an excess of incest and a dose of fratricide – and your local state’s attorney won’t be too keen about either (just as a heads up, OK?).

Erring on the side of charity, however, which by the way is also biblical in case you forgot, we should forgive Adam and Eve and their progeny for complicating our lives since they were obviously abandoned by an asexual emotionally distant single parent who failed at home schooling and had the bad judgment to try to control their behavior by tempting them with a talking snake and a piece of fruit: definitely not the best way to shape the morality of children in their most tender years.

Such training can produce extreme phobias, paranoia and even eating disorders.

As we progress through the bible we encounter more marriage models – many of which begin at the birth of the child or shortly thereafter when the child’s father or other male owner decides to cement the bonds of kinship (again, more incest), close a business deal (when dad would rather not part with a camel), or rather capriciously just wants to screw with the kid’s life (“I’ll have no 9-year-old daughter of mine refuse to marry a 68-year-old goat herder! Keep it up and I’ll sell you into real slavery!”).

Then of course there’s the ever-entertaining form of marriage that begins with the hunt, capture and rape of young virgins such as we are given to study in the Book of Judges (21:19).

The problem with this, however, is it can definitely get you 5 to 20 in most states. However, as we move ever forward to a theocratic model of government I suspect this kind of courtship might once again be in vogue. Won’t that be fun?

No study of biblical marriage is complete without a look at Levirate marriage wherein the brother of a deceased man is obligated to marry his brother’s widow. Clearly, this can get dicey for a number of obvious reasons but the most obvious one may be the question about what happens if the surviving brother is already married.

Luckily, the bible has an answer for nearly every contingency which brings us to polygamy and the circle is now complete: we’ve gone from unwed Divine fatherhood to the ultimate human, albeit male, form of biblical marriage – an old fart with a stable of wives.

Mormons tried to reintroduce polygamy into modern western civilization in the 1800s but Americans rejected the idea (although there are Mormons who still practice polygamy and we all know about it and just try to pretend we don’t). Perhaps we should just make polygamy legal. Think about the social and economic advantages of making each millionaire take responsibility for a minimum of 20 unwed, unemployed mothers. Well, just think about it OK? We don’t need to make a decision about that today.

Finally, we have the open, progressive marriage modeled by Sarah (Gen 16) who arranged for her husband, Abraham, to fornicate with her maid, Hagar. Of course, she later handled it rather badly but nonetheless it seems her original intentions were quite… shall I say “biblical”?

Unfortunately, such largesse is not accorded women by their husbands. Women who take lovers tend to be stoned to death. What can I say except once again we might want to consider the benefits of stoning because, as barbaric as it may be, it has the immediate benefit of reducing the backlog in our divorce courts, will solidify us as a true theocracy and hey, what the hell, if we’re really lucky we can even blame it on Obama.

Clearly, gay marriage is not covered in the bible, but why would it be? Marriage in the bible doesn’t emphasize the most basic human need of all: love.

Gee, who’d a thunk?

© Maureen Gill.
For more by Maureen Gill, click here, and visit her blog Windy City Author.
Opinions and advice expressed in our Views & Voices columns represent the author's own views and not necessarily those of LGBTQ Nation. We welcome opposing views and diverse perspectives. To submit a article, column or video, contact us here. Due to the volume of submissions received, we cannot guarantee publication.

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35 more reader comments:

  1. Who cares? Any and all religious times have been edited countless times over the centuries to accomodate personal prejudices.

    Posted on Sunday, July 29, 2012 at 10:21am
  2. Some people do care, and I was going to read it, but then I just barely skimmed and stopped because I’m tired of it. People should just get along.

    Posted on Sunday, July 29, 2012 at 10:22am
  3. Great Article! Maureen McDermott Gill points out an unspoken truth. One that is certainly NEVER admitted by religious leaders or teachers.

    Posted on Sunday, July 29, 2012 at 10:24am
  4. Who cares what the Bible says! Not all of us believe it so who cares!

    Posted on Sunday, July 29, 2012 at 10:24am
  5. the bible was written by a bunch of bigots, I am still waiting people to give actual facts that back up anything that happened in the mythological book. If that is the case, I’ll wait up on Christmas eve to see if Santa Claus is real too.

    Posted on Sunday, July 29, 2012 at 10:26am
  6. I loved this. Anything satirical but with a great point is always a good read to me. An awesome example of tongue in cheek.

    Posted on Sunday, July 29, 2012 at 10:32am
  7. People seem to forget that the Bible is a history told through stories and myths…I loved the way the author of this article pointed out all the disfunction of the” Biblical Relationships”

    Posted on Sunday, July 29, 2012 at 10:34am
  8. This is what I have been saying for years. Christians and their so called “traditional” marriage begins with incest. Such ignorance.

    Posted on Sunday, July 29, 2012 at 10:35am
  9. isn’t it sad that these same “christians” brain wash their children into thinking mythical creatures are real?

    Posted on Sunday, July 29, 2012 at 10:36am
  10. God Made us ALL Gay & Str8 & he love’s us !!! Curtis & Pat Partners for 28 years. Live in Birmingham AL.

    Posted on Sunday, July 29, 2012 at 10:44am
  11. Thanks People how is every one ??

    Posted on Sunday, July 29, 2012 at 10:49am
  12. good article

    Posted on Sunday, July 29, 2012 at 10:49am
  13. The bible contradicts itself so much about everything, it’s really sad that people buy into it so much. Like supposedly jealousy is a sin, but God is a jealous God….. boo hiss

    Posted on Sunday, July 29, 2012 at 10:49am
  14. well if marriage begins with incest and by all technicalities we are all brothers and sisters then so be it the planet is full of incest when you think of it thay way

    Posted on Sunday, July 29, 2012 at 10:50am
  15. Christianty never appealed to me. Its boosters always, in my life, seemed so full hate, and I was raised atheist. Much later I became a Buddhist. Through it all, I have been an American. Please stop all this bible thumping. Its the Constitution, stupid. The Constitution is for all of us. Your bible is not.

    Posted on Sunday, July 29, 2012 at 10:55am
  16. As t former ‘pastors wife’ of a gay pastor, I can only say that I am thankful of having my blinds drawn back on the hypocrisy of religion in general. Any religion. I understand that some desire or need that in their life. And I fully support them. But I refuse to be a sheep any longer. Excellent article! Sharing on all of my networks.

    Posted on Sunday, July 29, 2012 at 10:55am
  17. The only passage that even remotely addresses the one man and one woman “traditional marriage,” is in Paul’s letter to Timothy (and one to Titus) wherein he writes something about a church leader being the husband of one wife. Implying that there were other acceptable arrangements even in the early church. But I’m with others above. The bible is irrelevant in any meaningful way in addressing social issues.

    Posted on Sunday, July 29, 2012 at 10:58am
  18. This is my opinion, I believe that the Bible fully contradicts itself, and not to mention, people that still believe the Bible was written by God himself need a wake up call, it wasn’t directly written by God, it was written by Men… if it was written by God, why would he write about his own death?

    Posted on Sunday, July 29, 2012 at 11:00am
  19. Hmm…. well, the Bible does have some pointed things to say about homosexuality itself, but with that in mind – who the fuck cares? Not everyone believes the same thing others do – and not everybody buys into Christianity.
    I’m a Christian, but not a homophobe. I think LGBTQ people are pretty legit. I AM one. If I don’t force my religion down other people’s throats, it’d be nice if the Christians who did would get the idea.

    Posted on Sunday, July 29, 2012 at 11:08am
  20. Adam they don’t and they won’t. The Southern Baptist’s purport that if you die and you’re NOT a Southern Baptist, you will perish to Hell…

    Posted on Sunday, July 29, 2012 at 11:12am
  21. I would choose hell if I had a choice between hell with my gay friends and heaven with a group of Southern Baptist bigots!

    Posted on Sunday, July 29, 2012 at 11:24am
  22. I wouldn’t say they wouldn’t.Why do tolerance groups exist to counteract homophobia, racism, sexism, xenophobia, all of that? To support those who are affected by it, of course, but also to show the people responsible for those horrible institutions that what they’re doing is wrong. It’s not just gay marriage we’re fighting for, it’s the promotion of tolerance. Everyone can change for the better, and that includes people who use religion to repress others.
    I was one of them, once upon a time. Look at me now. =D

    Posted on Sunday, July 29, 2012 at 11:28am
  23. Love is love. God is love. I think he evaluates your heart and soul rather than sexual reference when marrying.
    -Lezzy hippie

    Posted on Sunday, July 29, 2012 at 11:29am
  24. God loves all of his children. So should we.

    Posted on Sunday, July 29, 2012 at 11:47am
  25. I thought tongue and cheek was supposed to be a lot more subtle… this just sounds bitter.

    Posted on Sunday, July 29, 2012 at 11:48am
  26. With all due respect of the context here, I belong to those who don’t ascribe to the biblical definition of anything…marriage or otherwise. As I’ve said before, these are not the United States of christ or the christian States of America.

    Posted on Sunday, July 29, 2012 at 12:03pm
  27. Believing the bible is like believing Grimms Fairy Tales!!!

    Posted on Sunday, July 29, 2012 at 12:08pm
  28. I believe the Bible. I just don’t agree with some people’s interpretation of it. Some people make it agree with their way of thinking.

    Posted on Sunday, July 29, 2012 at 12:23pm
  29. The problem is that people pick and choose what they want to follow or believe from the bible …. if people actually took the bible as “gospel” so to speak, then they couldn’t eat shellfish, or wear cotton/poly blends or plant different crops side by side without being stoned to death. Soooo what they do is pick one statement to support their bigotry and leave the parts that they don’t want to follow by the wayside. So either it is meant to be strictly followed (which means all of it) or it isn’t. If it isn’t then using one statement out of a complete section and forgetting the rest is hypocritical.

    Posted on Sunday, July 29, 2012 at 12:42pm
  30. Woke up early got a good workout, went to church, and now visiting my parents :) Good Sunday!

    Posted on Sunday, July 29, 2012 at 1:06pm
  31. What the bible says or doesn’t say is as important as what Harry Potter says or doesn’t say. All fictions written by mankind.

    Posted on Sunday, July 29, 2012 at 1:14pm
  32. Who the hell cares what an ancient book cobbled together by the Catholic Church over 1500 years to cement its power, says about anything?

    Posted on Sunday, July 29, 2012 at 2:38pm
  33. I should have said religious tomes in my post…someday I’ll pay attention to spell check.

    Posted on Sunday, July 29, 2012 at 3:12pm
  34. I have looked and never found anything either. I think these fundamentalist churches made it up and added it to their Bible’s.

    Posted on Sunday, July 29, 2012 at 3:52pm
  35. ahhh interpetition

    Posted on Sunday, July 29, 2012 at 4:55pm