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Biblical references used by both sides in the marriage amendment debate


Both sides on the marriage amendment issue are looking to the Bible to support their views on whether the Minnesota Constitution should restrict marriage to solely between one man and one woman.

Gay marriage is already forbidden by state law, but the constitutional amendment is being pushed by those who want to ensure that judges or legislators don’t change the rules.

The Fargo Forum’s Capitol Chatter blog looks at how the religious traditions outlined in the Bible address the matter.

The story says most of the state’s conservative evangelical churches support the amendment, as does the hierarchy of the Catholic Church.

The Rev. Jeff Evans, who is pastor of the evangelical Christ Church Twin Cities in Minnetonka, says it’s God’s will that marriage be reserved solely for a man and a woman, and that the “the Gospels are very, very clear on” it.

But the Rev. Grant Stevensen, pastor at St. Matthew’s, an ELCA church in St. Paul, looks to the Bible’s Golden Rule that says: “Treat other people as we would like to be treated.”

“I am concerned about the state of Minnesota drawing lines between people,” Stevensen said.

Other supporters cited in the story:

  • “God made us male and female in the beginning and they should become one,” said the Rev. James Adams of St. Nicholas Catholic Church in New Market.
  • “Redefining marriage in Minnesota would be a declaration … that the influence of a mom and dad on a child is not important,” said Michael Blissenbach, parish captain for the pro-amendment campaign at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Hastings. “I think children would suffer as a result.”

Opponents say:

  • “The present challenge is not about establishing the right to marry but to allow the dialogue to continue,” said the Rev. Steve Schmit of St. Barthelme’s Episcopal Church in Bemidji, who wants more discussion.
  • The Rev. Linnea Papke-Larson, a Bemidji Lutheran pastor with a lesbian daughter: ““We see marriage as foundational, as part of God’s intention in creating us as people who inherently seek one another out to share our thoughts, our passions, our friendships, our love and our intimacy.”

Comments (5)

  1. Submitted by Barbara Skoglund on 07/18/2012 - 11:50 am.

    Selective Freedom of Religion

    Sadly, those churches who oppose gay marriage believe that freedom of religions means that they are free to practice their religion and make their religious beliefs the law of the land. My church, both nationally and locally, has recognized gay marriage for years. The law does not. When the law in Minnesota changes and recognizes gay marriage it will recognize civil marriage and allow my church to legally practice it’s beliefs. A change in law won’t force churches who don’t believe in gay marriage to marry gay couples. Just like straight marriage laws don’t force churches to marry anyone!

    Freedom of religion doesn’t mean “I’m free to practice my religion and you are free to practice my religion too.”!

    I love the paragraph in the story. “Gay marriage is already forbidden by state law, but the constitutional amendment is being pushed by those who want to ensure that judges or legislators don’t change the rules.”

    People keep forgetting that this is the last stand for gay hatred. Once our kids can vote gay marriage will be legal and welcomed! Those opposed to gay marriage want to postpone that as long as they can. They want to super codify their hate to try to prevent future generations from making social changes.

  2. Submitted by Andrew Kearney on 07/18/2012 - 02:48 pm.

    Cut and Paste ?

    In the blog Evangelical Jeff Evans says that those who cite scripture to oppose the amendment are ‘cutting and pasting.” But the Bible is the original cut and paste. There are three dimensions to this. The first is that for whatever reason (illiteracy?) Jesus never wrote a book or definitive manual. But his followers decades later did-by cutting and pasting from now lost sources, oral traditions and their own understanding of what they think Jesus said if not what they wanted him to say. Likewise and even more so the Hebrews cut and pasted from their traditions-much of the bible was written very, very late-in Babylon during the ‘captivity.”

    The second dimension is that one can not cite singular passages of the bible as authoritative as some do. That’s because some singular passages are factually wrong and if one is wrong so can another be wrong. A good example is Mark 9:1 in which Jesus states as fact that the generation he was part of would not die before the second coming. Didn’t happen. Still hasn’t. Beyond the scope of this commentary is that Jesus likely didn’t say that but there it is-a factual error in an inerrant book.

    The third dimension is related to the second. If one can not rely on the bible’s inerrancy one immediately steps into ‘interpretation”. Evans can not defend mark 9:1 without ‘interpreting’ it. If he can then I and others can interpret the bible to our liking. (doing so without debate and careful scholarship and study is irresponsible)

    Where does this leave us? Inevitably it is looking for the grand themes of a man so close to God and so deeply connected in his divine understanding that he was considered and is the ‘son of God.” Those grand theme’s are found in the golden rule and other beliefs that make up this new way to live out God’s word. Jesus specifically warned about following the letter of the law and missing its spirit. Today’s fundamentalists like Evans are yesterday’s Pharisees-myopic about select passages of the bible and missing the real meaning. Today’s Christian Right are yesterday’s High priests-collaborating with the forces of evil and oppression embodied in our time in the Republican Party as it was back then in the Roman Empire. Like the old prophets I say repent-turn away from this evil and help establish Jesus’ kingdom of God where there is health care and social supports for all-a real Christian nation.

  3. Submitted by Kenneth Kjer on 07/20/2012 - 10:47 am.

    The Bible

    The definition of the bible is: An ancient novel full of murder, corruption, homosexuality, pedophilia, bestiality, incest and cruelty. It is often read to children on Sunday. It should be noted that the bible was not written by God and is not God’s words. It was written by men who believed the world was flat, the earth revolved around the sun, and they regularly burned witches at the stake. They also sat down and decided which writings to leave in and which writings to publish, apparently to serve their own agenda. God does not have to write a book to make his wishes known, and you don’t have be a Christian to obtain God’s love. If God wanted us to believe what was written 2000 years ago, he certainly wouldn’t have allowed the printing press, and certainly wouldn’t haven’t allowed the advances in science and man’s knowledge. No, God gave man the most advanced brain of any animal on the planet, and I truly believe that he expects us to use it to the best of our ability. I truly believe that God wants us to treat all of fellow man with equality and dignity. It was less than a 100 years ago when people here is the US stuffed “crazy people and cripples” in county homes like prison. Now we treat mental disorders and disabilities the way we treat everybody else. God gave us a free will and along with that free will comes common sense, and my common sense tells me those people who wrote the bible 2000 years ago where wrong, and as a result I am going to treat gay people just like everybody else and I don’t care who takes offense at my common sense.

  4. Submitted by Elaine Frankowski on 10/22/2012 - 03:32 pm.

    marriage in the Hebrew Bible

    Abraham had 2 wives; so did Isaac. Jacob went two better and had four. By the time we get to
    Solomon we’re counting wives in the hundreds. Every time a “vote yes” supporter talks about Biblical marriage I want to ask him/her what Bible he/she’s reading. Even Christians use the Hebrew Bible, though they call it the Old Testament.

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