Category Archives: Marriage & the Family

Fourteen Holey Bible arguments against Margaret Court

A Note to Dr Robyn J Whitaker

margaret Robyn J Whitaker

Rev. Dr. Margaret Court (photo courtesy| Dr Robyn J Whitaker (photo

Victory Life International, Perth, WA) | courtesy University of Divinity)

By Spencer D Gear PhD

A shorter edition of this article was published in On Line Opinion, 7 November 2018, Holey Bible arguments against Margaret Court

What would cause many in the tennis community, mass media and social media to get up in arms about world champion tennis player, Margaret Court’s, support for heterosexuality. She has boycotted flying with Qantas because it supports homosexual marriage. Some in the Christian community oppose Dr Court’s stand against homosexual marriage.

This is one example of a Christian who took Dr Margaret Court AO MBE to task. It is my response to ‘Note to Margaret Court: the Bible isn’t meant to be read that literally’, by Robyn J Whitaker, Trinity College, 2 June 2017 (ABC News, Brisbane, Qld)

What are the holes in Whitaker’s arguments against Court and Court’s support for heterosexual marriage over Whitaker’s backing of modern Christian families that include gay couples? Here is what I found (In some places, I’ll address Dr Whitaker as ‘you’ and ‘your’).

Image result for clipart single numbers Hole 1: It starts with Whitaker’s title that the Bible is not meant to be understood as literally as Margaret Court reads it.

Then she does exactly what she told Margaret not to do. She literally accept the fact that there are 66 books in the Bible; Abraham fathered children with his concubine as well as his wife.

Her literal interpretation continued: She accepted that David and Solomon had entire palaces full of wives and concubines and that polygamy was common.  Slaves were used for concubines. There was no hint in her article that these were supposed to be interpreted metaphorically or symbolically.

Whitaker made self-defeating statements with her examples. She failed to meet her own standard of the Bible being read too literally. The article cannot live up to the criteria she set in the title.

So her self-refuting statements are of necessity false. She violated the law of non-contradiction. This states that A and non-A cannot be true at the same time and in the same sense. This promoted a contradiction when she accused Margaret Court of reading the Bible “that literally” when she did exactly the same with your reading of the Bible.

Image result for clipart single numbers Hole 2: What is literal interpretation? She assumed we knew. When I was in high school in Qld, I learned that to understand a document literally meant to accept the plain meaning of the text. This includes the use of figures of speech and symbols.

My seminary text for biblical interpretation was Berkeley Mickelsen’s , Interpreting the Bible. He wrote that “literal” means the customarily acknowledged meaning of an expression in its particular context. For example, when Christ declared that he was the door, the metaphorical meaning of “door” would be obvious. Although metaphorical, this evident meaning is included in the literal interpretation.

Therefore, “by literal meaning the writer refers to the usual or customary sense conveyed by words or expressions” (Mickelsen 1963:17). So when I read Whitaker’s article online, I assumed that figures of speech were included in the literal meaning. That’s how I understood her  statement that David’s and Solomon’s wives and concubines “served as symbols of their power and status”.

The Cambridge Dictionary (2018. s.v. literal) states the adjectival meaning of literal is, ‘having exactly the same meaning as the basic or original meaning of a word or expression’. e.g. a literal interpretation of the Australian Constitution.

Iain Provan summarised his view of ‘literal’. It harmonises with The Cambridge Dictionary definition: Literally means that Scripture is read with “its apparent communicative intentions as a collection of texts from the past, whether in respect to smaller or larger sections of text”.

This means readers “take full account of the nature of the language in which these intentions are embedded and revealed as components of Scripture’s unfolding covenantal Story – doing justice to such realities as literary convention, idiom, metaphor, and typology or figuration”.

To read Scripture (or any literature) literally is to try to understand “what Scripture is saying to us in just the ways in which we seek to understand what other people are saying to us – taking into account … their age, culture, customs, and language, as well as the verbal context within which individuals words and sentences are located. This is what it means to read “literally,” in pursuit of the communicative intent of God – in search of what to believe, how to live, and what to hope for” (Provan 2017:105).

I would be in strife if I didn’t read Whitaker’s “Note to Margaret Court” literally. Or, should I put a postmodern or allegorical spin on it and make it mean whatever I, the reader, determine?

Related image Hole 3: You claim that Margaret Court was wrong in her open letter to Qantas and on Channel Ten’s “The Project” because she stated that the Bible confirms that marriage is a union of a man and a woman.

Which standard did you use to judge that Mrs Court’s analysis was wrong and yours was correct? Your article concluded that the Bible describes family life that is ancient, different, reflecting patriarchal structures or arranged marriages in early Christianity and is not for today.

In addition, you seem to have brought into your new concept of marriage something that you oppose – “culturally bound ideology”. For you, it includes gay couples and “Christian values of love, justice and inclusion found throughout the Bible and is why so many Christians support marriage equality”.

It is you who has promoted that last statement in your politically correct support of homosexual marriage. Again you make a self-defeating statement. You oppose the “culturally bound ideology” of the Bible’s structure of family life, but you promote your own culturally bound contemporary ideology of marriage equality and modern Christian families including gay couples.

If you were to agree with the founder of Christianity, Jesus Christ, you would have the same opinion as he had regarding marriage: “’A man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’. So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate” (Matthew 19:5-6).

Jesus was an enthusiastic supporter of heterosexual marriage. He did not state that a man should leave his parents and be joined with his male partner and become one flesh with him.

Margaret Court’s conclusion agrees with that of Jesus Christ. It doesn’t harmonise with your belief that progressives do not offend contemporary political sensibilities, including sexual orientation.

Therefore, your view is contrary to that of Jesus. Margaret Court’s stance on marriage agrees with that of the Saviour and yours is the one at odds with the Bible and the Master.

Related imageHole 4: You have committed an historian’s fallacy in your claims against Margaret Court. This is how you promoted this fallacy:

1. Mrs Court claimed that in the Bible in the past, marriage was a union between a man and a woman.

2. Mrs Court, who makes this claim, did not take into consideration marriage equality that was not taught in biblical times.

3. Therefore, Margaret Court is wrong to claim that the Bible supports heterosexual marriage.

One of the problems with this erroneous reasoning is that it does not deal with the issues at hand, issues such as these:

  • The foundation of the Judeo-Christian worldview is based on Old and New Testament Scriptures.
  • God decided who should be joined together in the beginning of time: ‘A man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife and they shall become one flesh’ (Genesis 2:24). Heterosexuality was God’s design.
  • Jesus Christ confirmed this position (Matthew 19:5),
  • As did the apostle Paul (Ephesians 5:31).

Your support of marriage equality over heterosexual marriage is a politically correct line of reasoning and is fallacious because it doesn’t deal with a range of issues biblically, including the Scripture’s perspective on homosexuality (Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11) and the Bible’s support of heterosexual marriage in both Old and New Testaments. It also has been called a political correctness fallacy.

Related image Hole 5: Margaret Court “is even more wrong” to suggest she is being persecuted for her views, you stated. The situation is more serious. She has been bullied. To bully is to “use superior strength or influence to intimidate (someone), typically to force them to do something” (Oxford Dictionary online 2017. s v bully). Mrs Court has been bullied and intimidated by the threat of tennis players to boycott Margaret Court Arena at the 2018 Australian Open Grand Slam tournament.

Girls Being Mean ClipartShe has been bullied by the threat that the arena named in her honour at Melbourne Park should be changed for the 2018 Australian Open.

(image courtesy clipartxtras)

Then there was the ridicule by tennis super-brat and now commentator, John McEnroe, after Mrs Court’s statement that “tennis is full of lesbians”. McEnroe fired back, “This is true and who gives a f***? This is not true and who should give a f***? This is half true and should we really give a f***?” (AAP 2017)

Open lesbian and tennis great, Martina Navratilova, engaged in emotional abuse of Mrs Court in her “open letter from Martina Navratilova to Margaret Court Arena” when she stated:

“It is now clear exactly who Court is: an amazing tennis player, and a racist and a homophobe. Her vitriol is not just an opinion. She is actively trying to keep LGBT people from getting equal rights (note to Court: we are human beings, too). She is demonising trans kids and trans adults everywhere.

“And now, linking LGBT to Nazis, communists, the devil? This is not OK. This is in fact sick and it is dangerous. Kids will suffer more because of this continuous bashing and stigmatising of our LGBT community” (Navratilova 2017).

Navratilova supported the change of name of Margaret Court Arena: “I think the Evonne Goolagong Arena has a great ring to it”. Would you endorse this?

Etihad Stadium crop.jpg(photo Etihad Stadium, courtesy Wikipedia)

Does Whitaker consider the former Etihad Stadium, Melbourne, should have had a name change between 2009-2018? It was sponsored by Etihad Airways, the national airline of the Islamic country, the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It is now known as Docklands’ Stadium.

Was she an advocate to change name of Etihad Stadium during its sponsorship of the stadium?

What is the Islamic view on homosexuality? The Muslim commentary on the Quran, Hadith, states in al-Tirmidhi, Sunan 1:152: [Muhammad said] “Whoever is found conducting himself in the manner of the people of Lot, kill the doer and the receiver”. Another statement from the Hadith is: “Narrated Abdullah ibn Abbas: The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: If you find anyone doing as Lot’s people did, kill the one who does it, and the one to whom it is done’ (Sunan Abu Dawud 38:4447).

Thus, Islam requires capital punishment for both the perpetrator and recipient of what the people of Sodom did.

What did the “people of Lot” do? Lot’s (Lut in Arabic) life is explained in Genesis, chapters 11-14, and 19. He lived in Sodom, a city of open homosexuality (see Genesis 19:4-9). What was the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah? Greg Koukl examined the options in depth and concluded:

We know the men of Sodom and Gomorrah were homosexual, “both young and old, all the people from every quarter” (19:4), to the point of disregarding available women (19:5-8). After they were struck sightless they still persisted (19:11). These men were totally given over to an overwhelming passion that did not abate even when they were supernaturally blinded by angels.

Homosexuality fits the biblical details. It was the sin that epitomized the gross wickedness of Sodom and Gomorrah—the “grave,” “ungodly,” “lawless,” “sensual conduct of unprincipled men” that tormented Lot as he “saw and heard” it “day after day,” the “corrupt desire” of those that went after “strange flesh.”

Islam’s punishment for homosexuality is an extreme treatment compared with what Margaret Court advocated.

Homosexuality may be punishable by imprisonment or death in the UAE. Why didn’t Dr Whitaker support the cancellation of the sponsorship of Etihad Stadium for the sake of the LGBTIQ+ community when Islam is opposed to homosexuality?

It seems inconsistent to me that she wanted to downgrade Mrs Court’s persecution and abuse for her statements on homosexuality but avoid dealing with a Muslim country’s airline’s sponsorship of Etihad Stadium in Australia.

Margaret Court has put up with persecution, abuse and ridicule from the tennis community, mass media, and now pro-LGBTIQ+ bias from Dr Whitaker, a woman representing the Christian community.

Related image Hole 6: You cherry pick a Bible verse without bringing contextual understanding to try to oppose Mrs Court’s teaching ministry as a woman at Victory Life Centre, Perth.

You claim that if the literalism that Mrs Court applied to Genesis on marriage were applied to 1 Timothy 2:12, she would be in hot water because it forbids women to teach or have authority over men.

The facts are that “I am not permitting a woman to teach” focussed especially on the church where Timothy was located at Ephesus. However, in other churches women could prophesy (1 Corinthians 11:5), give a teaching on occasions (1 Corinthians 14:26). Women were not excluded from teaching in Colossians 3:16, ‘Let the message about Christ live among you like a rich treasure. Teach and correct one another wisely’ (NIRV), and the older women were to be good teachers of the younger women (Titus 2:3-4). One of the spiritual gifts is that of teachers (Romans 12:7; 1 Corinthians 12:28). Nothing in these verses indicates the teaching gift is exclusively for men to minister to a mixed gathering.

As a female teacher of males in a church college and university at which you work, and your affiliation with the Uniting Church, you should know that literal interpretation includes examining the use of plain language, figures of speech, literary context, and the cultural context. It is hypocritical, in my view, for you to challenge Margaret Court’s teaching as a minister while you are involved in a related kind of ministry as a female teacher.

Therefore, Margaret Court is not out of order by being a Christian teacher. Interpreting the Bible literally and in context does not lead to your conclusion of Mrs Court being in “hot water” as a female teacher. Rather, she is in the hot seat of being one of God’s gifts to the church and stating publicly exactly what Jesus taught in support of heterosexual marriage and thus rejecting homosexual relationships.

God’s grace as a result of Jesus’ death and resurrection extends to all sinners as Paul illustrated, “Some of you used to do those things. But your sins were washed away. You were made holy. You were made right with God. All of this was done in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. It was also done by the Spirit of our God’ (1 Corinthians 6:12). What they “used to do” included those who “practised homosexuality” and other sins.

Through Christ’s salvation there is hope for change among those who used to practise homosexuality and other sins.

Please be consistent with your biblical interpretation. You were the one who quoted Galatians 3:28 to affirm that there is no longer Jew or Greek, slave or free, male and female because “all of you are one in Christ Jesus”. That teaching is profoundly troublesome for your statement against Mrs Court as a Christian teacher.

Related image Hole 7: There are holey Bible arguments in what you excluded as much as what you included. Your claim is that polygamy was common in the Old Testament (which is true) and that you don’t hear anyone advocating this as a “biblical view” of marriage.

That is only partially true. A cult group such as the Mormons historically practised polygamy. You fail to mention that this polygamy in the Old Testament was between a man and women and not male to male. It was heterosexual polygamy.

However, are you not aware of a website such as, http://www.christianpolygamy.com/? Polygamy is not only advocated by the Mormons but also, “Idaho evangelical Christian polygamists use the Internet to meet potential spouses”. Christian polygamy also is promoted in: http://www.truthbearer.org/polygamy/.

It is a significant issue in African churches where polygamists are converted to Christ.

Related image Hole 8: What was God’s view of polygamy? His original plan was one man for one woman from the beginning with Adam and Eve (Genesis 1:27; 2:21-25).

That changed when sin entered the human race (Genesis 3) and Lamech had wives (Genesis 4:23). The Law of Moses was clear for the Israelites: “He must not take many wives, or his heart will be led astray” (Deuteronomy 17:17).

Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines (1 Kings 11:3). In that same chapter, there is a warning of the consequences of polygamy:

The Lord had warned Israel about women from other nations. He had said, ‘You must not marry them. If you do, you can be sure they will turn your hearts toward their gods.’ But Solomon continued to love them anyway. He wouldn’t give them up (1 Kings 11:2).

Related image Hole 9: You declare the traditional nuclear family can be found in the Bible if we look for it, but it’s not the dominant model. The information given above makes it clear that the nuclear family (with aberrations such as polygamy) was found in the Bible in both New and Old Testaments.

You stated that the Bible doesn’t condemn “what we understand to be loving, mutual LGBTQI relationships today”. This is an imposition on the biblical text which states,

Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-10, emphasis added).

Another translation of “men who have sex with men” is “male prostitutes, sodomites”.

Those who practise homosexuality are prevented from entering the kingdom of God – along with wrongdoers, deceivers, the sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, slanderers and swindlers.

The New Testament does not allow or stress homosexual relationships. Its statement is clear nonetheless: “Since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband” (1 Corinthians 7:2). It’s a serious violation of Scripture when you want to harmonise a verse like this with ”loving, mutual LGBTQI relationships today”.

clip_image024 Hole 10: You make a case for faith being what makes a person a Christian and not family structures or sexuality. That is not what Jesus taught: “By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?” (Matthew 7:16). By the fruit of homosexual relationships, will you recognize Christians? The biblical evidence says, “No”.

Yes, faith in Christ alone for salvation is the primary requisite. However, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 declares the people with certain kinds of behaviour will not enter God’s kingdom. Homosexuality is one such activity. Faith needs to be demonstrated through God’s kind of works, not works defined by political correctness (see James 2).

clip_image026 Hole 11: You stated that Mrs Court’s “culturally bound ideology” is rejected by “biblical scholars and mainstream Christian churches”. Here you have committed the Appeal to Common Belief fallacy.

When you claim that a particular group of people – biblical scholars and mainstream Christian churches – accept the anti-literal interpretation as true, you have not presented evidence for the claim. It is erroneous reasoning.

This is careless thinking and is a dangerous way to accept information.

This is your faulty reasoning:

  • Many people (scholars and mainstream Church people) believe in a non-literal interpretation of what Margaret Court accepts literally.
  • Therefore, the non-literal interpretation is correct.

clip_image028 Hole 12: Your statement that “in the New Testament, Jesus said nothing about homosexual relationships or marriage, except that people should not divorce” is a diversion.

There was no need for Jesus to affirm same-sex relationships because his definition of marriage excluded them. He was not silent but defined the marriage union as between a man and a woman (Matthew 19:5).

clip_image030 Hole 13: Your assertion that many Christians are not represented by the views of Margaret Court or the “so-called Australian Christian Lobby”. This commits a Hasty Generalisation fallacy, also known as argument from small numbers. Ask  Australian rugby union star, Israel Folau, about that!

You have drawn a conclusion from a small sample size (your estimate of “many Christians”), rather than examining statistics that are in line with the average situation. Your debunking of Mrs Court’s view and that of the Australian Christian Lobby because they do not line up with your “many Christians” of another view is deceptive reasoning.

AustralianChristianLobbyLogo2011a.jpg(image courtesy wikipedia)

A better solution would be to examine the statistics for the mainline churches versus the evangelical churches, including Pentecostal churches.

USA church growth expert, Ed Stetzer, has a particular interest in what is happening in the Australian church. He has analysed the Australian church scene and reported in the Bible Society Live Light, (12 May 2015) that too many churches are stagnant.

His observation of the Western world, including the Australian outlook, is that “mainline Protestantism” in the USA and its counterparts in the rest of the English speaking world are “rapidly declining”. He used the Uniting Church of Australia as a representative example, but this could be applied to other members of the National Council of Churches in Australia (NCC). He expects this trend of progressive Protestant decline to continue.

By contrast, evangelicalism (represented by Margaret Court and the Australian Christian Lobby) is growing in Australia. His view is that some of this may be partly related to those moving from NCC churches.

Stetzer said that the majority of Protestant Australians who attend church go to a conservative church. It may not call itself evangelical but is influenced by that movement.

A survey of 1,015 adults at Easter 2015 found that “just over half (52%) of Australian’s believe that God exists as the creator of the universe and Supreme Being. These findings have yielded similar results to the same question asked of the Australian public 6 years ago” (McCrindle Research).

According to the 2016 National Church Life Survey, the Pentecostals have overtaken Anglicans as Australia’s second largest religious group by attendance, behind the Catholic Church (https://wwrn.org/articles/46227/).

This should account for Stetzer’s comment that the large numbers of Protestant Australians attending church are conservative. He considered this represented the majority of Australian Protestants. I consider that a better assessment would be to state that a significant number of Protestant Australians attend conservative churches.

Therefore, Dr Whitaker, to dumb down the views of Margaret Court and the Australian Christian Lobby on homosexuality as “not representative” of “many Christians” is to commit the Appeal to Popularity fallacy. This fallacy invokes the popularity of a proposition to provide evidence of its truthfulness.

Here you have committed this fallacy:

  • Many Christians promote modern Christian families that include gay couples and are not represented by Mrs Court’s or the Australian Christian Lobby’s views.
  • Therefore, the truth is that the modern Christian family includes gay couples.

This is invalid reasoning because it does not engage with a contextual interpretation of the biblical texts and the statistical divide between mainline Protestants and evangelical churches.

clip_image032 Hole 14: It is acceptable to send a player of rugby league, rugby union, ice hockey and basketball to the “sin bin” for certain offences against the rules of the games.

One of the largest holes in your agenda, Dr Whitaker, is your avoidance of the key factor – yes, the key factor – that has screwed up our worldviews. This is the problem of sin that has infiltrated every human being and our culture. “God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness” (Romans 1:18).

Image result for christart Sin(image courtesy Clipart Library)

Sin entered the world through Adam (Romans 5:12) but this sin not only screwed up human beings and their relationships, it also contaminated the universe.

God told Adam that because he listened to his wife (not his male partner) and ate from the tree from which God commanded him not to eat, then, “Cursed is the ground because of you” (Genesis 3:17).

However, you have been negligent in eliminating the problem of sin and its influence in Old Testament polygamy and other aberrations of marriage, including homosexual marriage, heterosexual adultery, and promiscuity (sleeping around).

The teaching on sin is central to Christianity. Sin consists of acts of offence against God and breaking his laws. “There is no one on earth who is righteous, no one who does what is right and never sins” (Ecclesiastes 7:20; Romans 3:10-12).

However, the contamination of sin in relationships was missing from your article. There is no point in Jesus’ death and resurrection for redemption if there is no need to be liberated from the guilt of sin. Jesus Christ “gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds” (Titus 2:14).

There was no need to be freed from the sin of homosexuality or polygamy in your presentation. The sin problem left a big hole in your argument.

Conclusion

There’s a huge gap between Dr Margaret Court’s holy Bible and Dr Robyn Whitaker’s holey Bible on the authority of Scripture that contains teaching on homosexuality, gay couples, marriage equality, polygamy, heterosexuality and sexual purity..

I found 14 holes in Dr Whitaker’s case against Dr Court. There are possibly more. It is a serious situation when Whitaker castigates Court’s views when heterosexual and not homosexual relationships are supported by Jesus Himself.

You have bought into the contemporary, pro-homosexual, politically correct agenda that receives vast mass media coverage. Margaret Court and the Australian Christian Lobby have promoted the biblical mandate of heterosexual marriage, which was supported by Jesus, the apostle Paul and has been the norm since the beginning of time.

I recommend that you make an apology to Margaret Court and the Australian Christian Lobby for promoting your own views over those endorsed by Scripture – all in the name of your being a representative of Christianity.

Works consulted

AAP 2017. John McEnroe makes light of Margaret Court same-sex marriage saga. The Sydney Morning Herald (online), 5 June. Available at: https://www.smh.com.au/sport/tennis/john-mcenroe-makes-light-of-margaret-court-samesex-marriage-saga-20170604-gwjyxa.html (Accessed 25 October 2018).

Mickelsen, A B 1963. Interpreting the Bible. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

Navratilova, M 2017. An open letter from Martina Navratilova to Margaret Court Arena. The Sydney Morning Herald, 1 June. Available at: https://www.smh.com.au/sport/tennis/an-open-letter-from-martina-navratilova-to-margaret-court-arena-20170601-gwhuyx.html (Accessed 25 October 2018).

Provan, I 2017. The Reformation and the Right Reading of Scripture. Waco, Texas: Baylor University Press.

 

Copyright © 2018 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 12 November 2018.

Is polygamy promoted in the Bible?

(Courtesy Premier Christian Radio)

By Spencer D Gear PhD

How would you respond to this comment? ‘I’ve never heard of any Christian teacher teaching people it’s just perfectly fine to go on sinning all you want. Everyone teaches repentance. And I’ve never met anyone, much less a Christian, who was a thief or an adulterer and didn’t know it was wrong’.[1]

My comeback was: What about this story from Ohio reported in the Brisbane Courier-Mail (1 December 2015), ‘Pastor, 60, marries his pregnant teenage girlfriend — and his wife doesn’t mind‘? This article told how pastor

Thom Miller, 60, is now building a massive home for his two brides — 44-year-old Belinda Miller and 19-year-old Reba Kerfootruba — in the US state of Ohio.

Thom splits his time between the women, although the trio plans to raise Thom and Reba’s child together as a family.

“I don’t preach about polygamy but I feel it is a very Christian lifestyle,” Thom told Barcroft TV. “I have no problem with homosexuals but I think it’s wrong that their marriage is now recognised by the state, but my second marriage is not. I’m going to try and fight the bigotry of that. This is America and my wives and I have the right to live anyway we please, providing we’re not hurting anybody.”

Bigamy by pastor in Mansfield, Ohio

Another article in the British newspaper, The Independent, stated, ‘Having discussed polygamy after Mrs Miller suggested finding another woman to be part of the family, the pair from Mansfield, Ohio, decided to welcome 19-year-old Reba Kerfootruba into their relationship’ (Henderson 2015).

The Mansfield News Journal in Ohio reported that

Miller is a licensed minister with United Christian Ministries International at 840 Koogle Road in Mansfield, according to records from the Ohio Secretary of State. He also is affiliated with Special Visit Ministry, which lists its address at 287 N. Diamond St. He told the News Journal earlier this year he is affiliated with Hope Ohio, which he called an outreach of the Restoration Network.

Richland County Probate Court records show Thomas Nicholas Miller is married to 44-year-old, Belinda Miller, but the records neither confirm nor disprove his marriage to 19-year-old Reba Kerfoot, who the video states is pregnant with Miller’s child….

Though polygamy is illegal in Ohio and Richland County has not issued a marriage license to Thom Miller and Kerfoot, probate court staff say it is possible the pair were issued a marriage license by another county or in another state.

Miller did not respond to calls from the News Journal Monday and Tuesday (Day 2015).

What kind of denomination is United Christian Ministries International? Premier Christian Radio reported that

the 60-year-old pastor at United Christian Ministries International has married Reba, 19, but he says his congregation do not support his decision.

He runs a ministry which visits prisons and also has his own church in Mansfield.

Revd Miller admits that he does not have the full support of his congregation in Mansfield, but makes no secret of his alternative lifestyle….

The pair married at his church seven years after Thom married Belinda.

The pastor is now fighting for the state to acknowledge his marriage.

The trio have decided to raise the baby as a three (Tooley 2015).

I emailed the Pastor of the United Christian Ministries International, Rev. Kwasi Alex Adu-Boffour, at the email address on the website, message@unitedchristianministries.org, but it timed out over a few days, so I was unable to contact him by email. Since I live overseas I was unable to complete the online form at its website as it would not accept my phone number. Therefore, I was unable to receive an explanation of the acceptance of a bigamist pastor by that denomination. This is what I wrote to Pastor Adu-Boffour:

I’m an Australian living in Brisbane, Qld., and I write to you out of deep concern over what your minister in Mansfield, OH, Thom Miller, has done to darken the name of Jesus and the reputation of Pentecostal-charismatic Christianity with the story that was published in the Brisbane Courier-Mail, ‘Pastor, 60, marries his pregnant teenage girlfriend — and his wife doesn’t mind‘, December 1.
This story has gone around the world. See also:

I have read your Statement of Faith online, with which I agree. I find it impossible to harmonise what Pastor Thom Miller has done in Mansfield OH with orthodox, charismatic Christianity. His witness is a blight on the name of Christ and I’m embarrassed that he is allowed to continue as a bigamist with your denomination.

Would you please let me know what you are doing to deal with the sin of Pastor Thom and what he has done? ‘Alternative lifestyle’ is not an example, in this case, of biblical Christianity.

Sincerely in Christ.

Rev Spencer Gear
Brisbane, Qld.

How is it possible for a man to be married to two women in the USA when none of the 50 USA states allows polygamy/bigamy? Lawyers.com explained:

Polygamy and bigamy are illegal in the US, but as the Utah “sister wives” show, it goes on anyway. Essentially they mean the same thing – someone has more than one spouse. More often than not, it’s when a man has more than one wife. In some states, the law uses the terms interchangeably. There are some legal differences, though:

  • Bigamy is when someone legally marries more than one person. That means they go through the hoops set out by state law, such as getting a marriage license, etc. It may happen on purpose, or by mistake, like not having a proper, legal divorce before getting remarried
  • Polygamy is when someone has one legal spouse and one or more co-spouses he married through some sort of spiritual marriage that’s not legally recognized by the state….

Often, polygamists are left alone by the police, and the few states that have anti-cohabitation laws generally don’t enforce them. There are a few reasons for this, such as the respect for freedom of choice – the freedom to choose your own lifestyle. Freedom of religion also plays a role. Polygamy is acceptable in some religions, from the mainstream, like Islam, to the not-so-mainstream, like certain cults. (‘I do, I do, I do: Is polygamy legal?’ Lawyers.com, 2015, emphasis in original).

Theology of The United Christian Ministries International

The denomination’s headquarters are in Bronx, NY and its Statement of Faith is orthodox Pentecostal-charismatic with a high view of the Trinitarian God and the Scriptures. Its ministries include:

We are the church that thrives to reach out to the dying world with the full gospel of our Lord Jesus to minister to the needs of our community, individuals and the family. Our ministries in the church are tailored to educate our members and the community to develop strong relationships with the Lord Jesus (About Us).

clip_image003The founder and international director of the denomination is Rev. Kwasi Alex Adu-Boffour. In discussing ‘our pastor’, the homepage stated: ‘He has endured many trials in his life and has come out victorious by the power of God. He has an incredible testimony of the dynamic redeeming work of Jesus Christ. He believe and teaches that regardless of a person’s background or past mistakes, God can restore them to the right place and can help and lead them to enjoying every day life’.

What is this denomination going to do to deal with a pastor who commits adultery in his bigamy? It does not matter if he has his wife’s permission. Fornication or adultery is sin. See 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (ESV).

Why didn’t Scripture condemn polygamy/bigamy?

In response to my post with the link to this 60-year-old pastor committing bigamy, there was this comeback on the Christian Forum. Part of it read:

If he is guilty of adultery or bigamy in God’s eyes, why in scripture didn’t God condemn people of the Bible who did the same thing, but in fact supported those people as if they were doing nothing wrong? I know there is a lot of speculation as to why this is true. But what are the cold facts from in context scripture to prove these people of the Bible were committing adultery and/or bigamy?

And just to be clear, I’m not supporting or recommending things like polygamy, but I’m trying to point out how different people from different backgrounds can have different ideas of what scripture says is sin and doesn’t say is sin.[2]

This is a tough issue because there are a number of instances in the OT where leading men of God had multiple marriages and partners/concubines.[3] Was God putting his stamp of approval on polygamy and so endorsing what Pastor Thom Miller has done in Mansfield, Ohio?

There is some clear biblical evidence that we must not ignore.

God did not approve of polygamy

https://i2.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/e6/The_old_wife_and_the_new_one.jpg/330px-The_old_wife_and_the_new_one.jpg?w=625&ssl=1[Azim Azimzade painting criticizing polygyny in Muslim communities. (Old wife and a new one in 1935). Wikipedia 2015. S v Polygyny in Islam]

How do I respond to this challenge? For an excellent exposition, see William Luck Sr’s article, ‘On the Morality of Biblical Polygyny‘.

blue-arrow-small Bigamy refers to having two spouses;

blue-arrow-small polygamy is having multiple marriages;

blue-arrow-small polygny is having multiple wives;

blue-arrow-small polyandry means to have more than one husband;

blue-arrow-small polyamory is the practice where a ‘committed’ couple openly engage in dating and having a sexual relationship with others.

How do we deal with some of these dimensions? Is it a widespread opinion that God approved polygamy in the OT? This is not the case. We know that ‘the Bible does speak strongly against polygamy in both the Old and New Testaments’ (Geisler 1989:281). We know this from direct statements in Scripture and precedent in the OT. These are some examples:[4]

clip_image005 Adam had only one wife, thus this was a pattern for the entire human race (Gen 2:7, 20-24).

clip_image005[1] In the moral law taught in Ex 20:17, we are told, ‘You shall not covet your neighbour’s wife’, where ‘wife’ is singular. This is suggestive of monogamy but not definitive because in context, the verse continues, ‘Or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbour’s’. One could not assume that the neighbour only has one servant, ox, donkey or anything else. One unit is given as an example, but it may not be absolutely one in all of these examples.

clip_image005[2] In the laws concerning each of Israel’s kings, Deut 17:17 states, ‘And he shall not acquire many wives for himself, lest his heart turn away’ (ESV).

clip_image005[3] If we look at the proportion of women vs. men in the world’s population, they are approximately equal in numbers. If polygamy was God’s design for marriage, there should be many more women than men in a population. According to the World Bank figures for 2011-2015, the percentage of females in each of the countries listed hovers around 50% (deviating from, say, 46.3% in Bhutan to 53.5% in Belarus). In my home country of Australia it is 50% female population. Notice the countries with lower female population: (1) Oman 34.2%; (2) United Arab Emirates 26.3%; (3) Saudi Arabia 43.4%; (4) Bahrain 37.9%; (5) Kuwait 43.8%; (6) Qatar 26.8% (World Bank, Population, female (% of total), 2015).

(Prince Manga Bell and favorite wives, courtesy Wikipedia). Prince Manga Bell (1873-1941)was a Duala king and resistance leader in the African nation of Cameroon when it was a German colony. He was hanged for alleged high treason in 1914 (Wikipedia 2015. S v Rudolf Duala Manga Bell).

clip_image005[4] China is a clear example of what happens when a nation tries to manipulate the male vs female balance with its forced one-child policy. In 2015, it was reported that this will change to a 2-child policy from 2016.

The reason China is doing this right now is because they have too many men, too many old people, and too few young people. They have this huge crushing demographic crisis as a result of the one-child policy. And if people don’t start having more children, they’re going to have a vastly diminished workforce to support a huge aging population. Right now the ratio is about five working adults supporting one retiree. That’s why they have ended a policy that should actually never have been started in the first place….

One of the results of the policy is that there is a dramatic gender imbalance with millions of men predicted to never find wives…. The lack of women in rural China resurrected the old, feudal practice of a bride price, or cai li. In the ’90s, cai li prices shot up to the point where it was the equivalent of a decade’s worth of farming income. If a man wanted to marry someone, his whole family had to beg and borrow from all the relatives. And that created a whole scam market (Worrall 2015).

These verses from the Book of Proverbs seem to be driven by a presupposition of monogamy:

clip_image007 Proverbs 5:15-20 (ESV),

Drink water from your own cistern,
flowing water from your own well.
16 Should your springs be scattered abroad,
streams of water in the streets?
17 Let them be for yourself alone,
and not for strangers with you.
18 Let your fountain be blessed,
and rejoice in the wife of your youth,
19  a lovely deer, a graceful doe.
Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight;
be intoxicated[5] always in her love.
20 Why should you be intoxicated, my son, with a forbidden woman
and embrace the bosom of an adulteress?[6]

Here the evidence states she is the wife, singular, of his youth. One should not be ‘intoxicated’ with a forbidden woman or embrace an adulteress. So, the statement is that another woman’s embrace is that of an adulteress.

clip_image007[1] Proverbs 18:22 (ESV), ‘He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favour from the Lord’.

It is important to understand that this teaches that the one (a man) who finds a wife (singular) obtains the Lord’s favour. This is not an endorsement of polygamy or polyandry.

clip_image007[2] Proverbs 31:10-31 (ESV):

An[7] excellent wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.
13 She seeks wool and flax,
and works with willing hands.
14 She is like the ships of the merchant;
she brings her food from afar.
15 She rises while it is yet night
and provides food for her household
and portions for her maidens.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
17 She dresses herself[8] with strength
and makes her arms strong.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
Her lamp does not go out at night.
19 She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her hands hold the spindle.
20 She opens her hand to the poor
and reaches out her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of snow for her household,
for all her household are clothed in scarlet.[9]
22 She makes bed coverings for herself;
her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates
when he sits among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them;
she delivers sashes to the merchant.
25 Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
27 She looks well to the ways of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the gates.

Throughout this proverb, the emphasis is on the one (singular) wife and her one husband (singular). Note especially, ‘Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all’ (v. 29). This one wife is compared to the rest of the excellent women but she goes beyond all of the others. She is a woman, a singular wife, who fears the Lord. There is no hint of polygamy here.

Dr Norman Geisler has provided this summary evidence of God’s view of polygamy:

There is ample evidence, even within the Old Testament, that polygamy was not God’s ideal for man. That monogamy was His ideal for man is obvious from several perspectives.

(1) God made only one wife for Adam, thus setting the ideal precedent for the race.

(2) Polygamy is first mentioned as part of the wicked Cainite civilization (Gen. 4:23).

(3) God clearly forbade the kings of Israel (leaders were the persons who became polygamists) saying, ‘And he shall not multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away again’ (Deut. 17:17).

(4) The saints who became polygamists paid for their sins. 1 Kings 11:1, 3 says, ‘Now King Solomon loved many foreign women . . . and his wives turned away his heart’….

(5) Polygamy is usually situated in the context of sin in the O.T. Abraham’s marriage of Hagar was clearly a carnal act of unbelief (Gen. 16:1-16). David was not at a spiritual peak when he added Abigail and Ahinoam as his wives (1 Sam. 25:42-43), nor was Jacob when he married Leah and Rachel (Gen. 29:23, 28).

(6) The polygamous relation was less than ideal. It was one of jealousy among wives. Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah (Gen. 29:31). Elkanah’s one wife was considered a ‘rival’ or adversary by the other, who ‘used to provoke her sorely, to irritate her….’ (1 Sam. 1:6).

(7) When polygamy is referred to, the conditional, not the imperative, is used. ‘If he takes another wife to himself, he shall not diminish her food, her clothing, or her marital rights’ (Ex. 21:10). ‘Polygamy is not the moral ideal, but the polygamist must be moral’ (Geisler 1971:204-205).?

In another edition of this publication, Geisler gave this perceptive insight: ‘The fact that God permitted polygamy no more proves he prescribed it than the fact God permitted divorce indicates that he desired it. What Jesus said of divorce is true also of polygamy; it was “permitted … because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning”’ (Matt. 19:8)’ (Geisler 1989:281).

Polygamy allowed but within boundaries

While monogamy was God’s best arrangement for marriage and the family, polygamy was permitted as an inferior option in a sinful world. We see this:[10]

1. When men took concubines who had fewer rights than a wife, concubines were treated as little better than slaves. See Exodus 21:7-11.

2. Some of the Hebrew leaders who practised polygamy included: Jacob (Gen 29); David (2 Sam 5:13-16); Solomon (1 Kings 11), and Rehoboam (2 Chron 11:21).

It is of note that some of the above biblical emphases have influenced the contemporary organisation, BiblicalPolygamy.com, which has the slogan: ‘Polygamy really is Biblical’. On this website it provides links to polygamists in the Bible (by direct statement or inference). Copyright restrictions prevent my incorporating the table of biblical polygamists. You can locate the table HERE.

Peter Toon observed that

Deuteronomy 21:10-14[11] protects the rights of a female captive in war who is taken as wife (second wife?), and the inheritance law (vv. 15-17) recognizes that the primary moral criticism of bigamy is that one man cannot love two women equally. Hence this law protects an unloved wife and her son. The story of Elkanah and his wives is a comment on the moral dangers of polygamy (1 Sam. 1) (Toon 1987:314).

Those Mormon promoters of polygamy

clip_image009

(Brigham Young’s 12 widows lament. Caricature in a newspaper about Mormon polygamy. Text:” In memoriam Brigham Young. And the place which knew him once shall know him no more”. It references the apocryphal “long bed” story (and illustration) found in chapter 15 of Mark Twain‘s 1872 book Roughing It, courtesy Wikimedia Commons).

 

John Turner,[12] as Brigham Young’s biographer, discovered that Young, who was Joseph Smith’s successor as president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, had ‘55 well-documented marriages’.

“He married – was sealed to, in Mormon parlance – young (Clarissa Decker, 15) and old (Hannah Tapfield King, 65). He married single women and widows. Perhaps most unusually, he was sealed to his first two mothers-in-law. Perhaps most controversially, he married women who were already married, some to Mormon men in good standing’ (Turner 2012).

Why did Young pursue polygamy? Turner discovered that ‘Young sought a second wife because Joseph Smith instructed him that plural marriage was a divine commandment that would bring a select number of righteous men tremendous blessings for eternity’ (Turner 2012).

However, plural marriages ceased in late nineteenth century Mormonism. lds.org explains that both the Bible and the Book of Mormon teach monogamy as God’s standard, ‘except at specific periods when He has declared otherwise’.[13] This online document affirms that plural marriages came through a revelation to Joseph Smith recorded in Doctrine and Covenants (Section 132) and was instituted among the LDS people in the early 1840s and only the Church President could authorise the performing of new plural marriages.

In 1890, the Lord inspired Church President Wilford Woodruff to issue a statement that led to the end of the practice of plural marriage in the Church. In this statement, known as the Manifesto, President Woodruff declared his intention to abide by U.S. law forbidding plural marriage and to use his influence to convince members of the Church to do likewise.3

After the Manifesto, monogamy was advocated in the Church both over the pulpit and through the press. On an exceptional basis, some new plural marriages were performed between 1890 and 1904, especially in Mexico and Canada, outside the jurisdiction of U.S. law; a small number of plural marriages were performed within the United States during those years. In 1904, the Church strictly prohibited new plural marriages. Today, any person who practices plural marriage cannot become or remain a member of the Church (‘Plural Marriage and Families in Early Utah’, lds.org 2015).

File:Mormon Family (Russell's Polygamy in Low Life).jpg

(Mormon family – Russell’s polygamy in low life, courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Christian missionaries and converted polygamists

What does a church leader or missionary do when a polygamist in a polygamous-friendly nation becomes a Christian? Some of us have read of sad stories like that raised in this Christianity Today article:

Earlier Western missionaries felt a need to confront polygamy at the point of conversion. During colonial days in mission churches, Christians in good standing would give up the status symbol and send away all but one wife…. Such a painful decision often meant that men would choose family or social standing over church. Medical missionary David Livingstone’s single convert abandoned the faith to return to polygamy.

Many African church leaders regret zero-tolerance policies for polygamous families of converts, saying that treating those marriages as invalid raises a number of problems. Besides absolving fathers of their responsibilities and leaving many economically dependent women out in the cold, it’s theologically questionable to force new converts to divorce, said Sunday Agang, an ethics professor at Jos ecwa Theological Seminary in Nigeria and a John Stott Ministries scholar (Wunderink 2009).

It is my considered view that, since polygamy is in a similar league to divorce (Matt 19:8) in terms of biblical understanding (because of the hardness of people’s hearts), it needs to be allowed to continue when a polygamous man or woman comes to know Christ in a polygamous-friendly nation. He should not be forced to renounce polygamy. Instead, he should be supported in maintaining his present situation with husband, wives and family. The husband should not be encouraged to get rid of all his wives except one, as that leaves the other wives with negative consequences financially, socially and in the family.

In a polygamous culture, such as in many nations in Africa, it should be taught that a Christian should not seek to become a polygamist. However, the convert who is already in a polygamous relationship at the time of conversion should choose the lesser evil – continue as a polygamist, supporting the wives, and he should not be sending away the wives and children. Way too much heartache has been caused by well-meaning missionaries with a narrow view of dealing with existing polygamous relationships. It could be that missionaries will be church planting in areas where there will be a number of polygamous families, newly converted, in the congregation.

For church leaders in a polygamous society, the standards are higher than for general membership in a congregation. This is the biblical standard, whether an elder/overseer is in Australia, Kenya, Germany or Qatar : ‘Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife,[14] sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach’ (1 Tim 3:2 ESV, emphasis added). The same standard applies to deacons (see 1 Tim 3:12 ESV).

Which countries accept or have legalised polygamy? Oliver Wheaton for Metro.co.uk, 22 June 2015, ‘Where exactly is polygamy legal?’ has provided a helpful diagram to explain this on an international basis:

Where exactly is polygamy legal?

Conclusion

Pastor Thom Miller’s bigamous situation in Mansfield OH has hit the news headlines around the world. This has caused me to examine the biblical position on polygamy and other multiple marriage situations. I have discovered that:

1. The theology of the denomination of which Thom Miller is a bigamist and pastor does not support polygamy.

2. From the beginning of creation, God’s design has been monogamy. However, with the introduction of sin into the world, there are examples of leaders in the OT who committed the sin of polygamy and concubinage . God had stated that he did not approve of polygamy and there were dangers inherent in this sinful practice. For those OT leaders, their wives sometimes turned their hearts away from following the Lord.

3. God did place parameters around the practice of polygamy for the protection of the polygamists, particularly the wives. It was suggested that polygamy is like divorce; God permitted it because of the hardness of people’s hearts.

4. One unashamed example of the promotion of polygamy was the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons), that originated through a ‘revelation’ to Joseph Smith in the early 1940s. It was practised by Brigham Young and others until the Manifesto to cease it in 1890. Mormons today forbid the practice of polygamy.

5. Some recent and contemporary Christian missionaries have created additional problems on the mission fields when they have required polygamists who became Christians to put away all wives except one. It was suggested by me that this is an unwise strategy and that polygamist relationships should be allowed to continue in the church – but not in leadership positions as elders and deacons.

6. How is a person like Thom Miller and his two wives allowed to practise bigamy in the USA which forbids polygamy? Lawyers have indicated that this is allowed because legal authorities turn a blind eye to it.

7. To answer the question posed at the beginning of this article: Is polygamy promoted by the Bible? No, it isn’t. Examples are given of its practice, even by leaders of Israel and Judah, but God’s design is monogamy. Polygamy is an example of sinful practice which God allowed and did not promote. Because of the hardness of people’s hearts, God permitted it, but did not endorse or promote it.

Works consulted

Day, C 2015. Reports: Mansfield pastor claims he’s polygamous. Mansfield News Journal (online), 1 December. Available at: http://www.mansfieldnewsjournal.com/story/news/local/2015/12/01/media-outlets-mansfield-pastor-polygamous/76620202/ (Accessed 3 December 2015).

Geisler, N L 1971. Ethics: Alternatives and Issues. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House.

Geisler, N L 1989. Christian Ethics: Options and Issues. Leicester, England: Apollos (an imprint of Inter-Varsity Press).

Henderson, E 2015. Thom Miller: Pastor marries pregnant girlfriend with consent of his wife. The Independent (online), 2 December. Available at: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/thom-miller-the-man-who-married-his-pregnant-girlfriend-with-the-consent-of-his-wife-ohio-america-a6755536.html (Accessed 3 December 2015).

Tooley, H 2015. Former mafia pastor marries girlfriend with blessing of wife. Premier Christian Radio, 2 December. Available at: https://www.premierchristianradio.com/News/World/Former-mafia-pastor-marries-girlfriend-with-blessing-of-wife (Accessed 3 December 2015).

Toon, P 1987. Polygamy. In R K Harrison (gen ed), Encyclopedia of Biblical and Christian Ethics, 314. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Turner, J G 2012. Polygamy, Brigham Young and His 55 Wives. Huffington Post Australia (online), 27 August. Available at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-g-turner/brigham-young-and-polygamy_b_1792555.html?ir=Australia (Accessed 4 December 2015).

Worrall, S 2015. How China’s One-Child Policy Backfired Disastrously. National Geographic (online), 30 October. Available at: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/10/151030-china-one-child-policy-mei-fong/ (Accessed 4 December 2015).

Wunderink, S 2009. What to Do about Unbiblical Unions. Christianity Today (online), 25 June. Available at: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2009/july/12.17.html (Accessed 4 December 2015).

Notes


[1] Christian Forums.net, Christian Talk & Advice, ‘Can a homosexual go to heaven?’, Obadiah#114. Available at: http://christianforums.net/Fellowship/index.php?threads/can-a-homosexual-go-to-heaven.62014/page-6http://christianforums.net/Fellowship/index.php?threads/can-a-homosexual-go-to-heaven.62014/page-6 (Accessed 3 December 2015).

[2] Christian Forums.net, ibid., Obadiah#163.

[3] Concubinage is ‘the enduring state or practice of sexual intercourse between a man and a woman not bound to each other by legitimate marriage’ (encyclopedia.com 2015. S v concubinage). There are many examples of concubinage in the OT Scriptures.

[4] The following dot points were suggested by Geisler (1989:281).

[5] Here the ESV footnote stated, ‘Hebrew be led astray; also verse 20’.

[6] The ESV footnote at this point stated, ‘Hebrew a foreign woman’.

[7] The ESV footnote here was, ‘Verses 10-31 are an acrostic poem, each verse beginning with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet’.

[8] The ESV footnote is, ‘Hebrew She girds her loins’.

[9] The ESV footnote stated, ‘Or in double thickness’.

[10] Some of these emphases were suggested by Toon (1987:314).

[11] For an Islamic response to Deut 21:10-14, see the article, ‘Biblical Law Permits Rape of Female Captives’, Answering-Christianity. Available at: http://www.answering-christianity.com/karim/Karim_-_articles_islamic_answers_-_part_3/Biblical%20law%20permits%20rape%20of%20female%20captives.pdf (Accessed 4 December 2015).

[12] John G Turner is the author of Brigham Young: Pioneer Prophet. Cambridge, MA / London: Harvard University Press, 2012.

[13] The footnote at this point was, ‘Jacob 2:27, 30. For instances of plural marriage in the Bible, see Genesis 16:3; 25:1; 29:21-30; 30:3-4, 9. See also D&C 132:34-35’.

[14] The NIV UK version translates this phrase as ‘faithful to his wife’ (1 Tim 3:2 NIVUK, and NLT). The NRSV translates it as ‘married only once’.

 

Copyright © 2015 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 7 December 2015.

clip_image013

Please do not support same-sex marriage

Close Up Of Happy Lesbian Coup...
(courtesy dreamstime)
Young Couple In The Park
(courtesy PublicDomainPictures.net)

By Spencer D Gear PhD

In 2014-2015, Senator David Leyonhjelm in the Australian federal Senate has been promoting a Bill to legalise same-sex marriage (with support from other politicians). It was reported: ‘Liberal Democrat David Leyonhjelm introduces same-sex marriage bill’ (The Sydney Morning Herald, November 26, 2014). The Sydney Morning Herald also provided information on ‘the surprise visitor [Senator Cory Bernardi] at David Leyonhjelm’s gay marriage press conference’ (SMH March 19, 2015). What has happened to the Bill? Leyonhjelm told Sky News that he expected the Bill to be debated in federal parliament in 2016. See, ‘Gay marriage vote in 2016 says Leyonhjelm’ (Sky News, 2 June 2015).

I wrote to the Queensland Senators to provide evidence why they should not support homosexual marriage. I wrote as a Queensland elector, one who has been a counsellor and/or counselling manager for 34 years, and someone who is not a homophobe.

Reasons not to support homosexual marriage

I urged the Senators not to support or promote this legislation for these reasons:

1. While there have been widows and single parents since the beginning of time, the marriage of a man and woman has been the norm to have the potential to produce children naturally. To change this is to change a necessary fundamental of society.

2. To go down the road of same-sex marriage would be a potentially dangerous social experiment in Australia for the following reasons:

One of those is the impact on children born to surrogates and then parented by a same-sex couple. Too often, the man who donated the sperm or the woman who donated the ovum is not known to the child. Article 7 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child states: ‘The child shall be registered immediately after birth and shall have the right from birth to a name, the right to acquire a nationality and. as far as possible, the right to know and be cared for by his or her parents’. All children, wherever possible, have the right to know and they need both mother and father. Such is not possible with many homosexual couples where there are children.

3. All is not well with children from some homosexual parents. On 19 March 2015, The Courier-Mail published the article, ‘Heather Barwick, the daughter of lesbians, against gay marriage, defends Dolce & Gabbana’. Part of what she wrote was:

“I’m writing to you because I’m letting myself out of the closet: I don’t support gay marriage. But it might not be for the reasons that you think. It’s not because you’re gay. I love you, so much. It’s because of the nature of the same-sex relationship itself,” she said. “Same-sex marriage and parenting withholds either a mother or father from a child while telling him or her that it doesn’t matter. That it’s all the same. But it’s not. A lot of us, a lot of your kids, are hurting. My father’s absence created a huge hole in me, and I ached every day for a dad. I loved my mum’s partner, but another mum could never have replaced the father I lost.”

‘Growing up, and even into my 20s, I supported and advocated for gay marriage. It’s only with some time and distance from my childhood that I’m able to reflect on my experiences and recognise the long-term consequences that same-sex parenting had on me,” she said. “It’s only now, as I watch my children loving and being loved by their father each day, that I can see the beauty and wisdom in traditional marriage and parenting”.

(Male same-sex couple with a child, courtesy Wikipedia)

A new study of children raised by homosexual parents by sociologist Mark Regnerus of the University of Texas at Austin reverses the conventional academic understanding that such children are not at a disadvantage when compared to children raised by a married mother and father. The article in the journal, Social Science Research, has found that ‘the children of homosexuals did worse (or, in the case of their own sexual orientation, were more likely to deviate from the societal norm) on 77 out of 80 outcome measures. (The only exceptions: children of “gay fathers” were more likely to vote; children of lesbians used alcohol less frequently; and children of “gay fathers” used alcohol at the same rate as those in intact biological families)’.[1]

This newer study contradicts earlier research which was reported in, ‘Children of same-sex couples thriving: study’ (The Sydney Morning Herald, April 6, 2013).

Therefore, the same-sex relationship, even in marriage, does not have the same dynamics as those for the man-woman relationship and may have detrimental consequences on children and our society as the following points illustrate.

4. The rectum is not designed for sexual penetration; the vagina is. Anal sex is a high risk sexual activity. One of the many hazards is the vulnerability of the tissues to tearing and bleeding. Damage can be done to the sphincter muscles that may lead to incontinence and rectal prolapse. There is a high level of organisms that may cause disease in the rectum. Do you want these medical issues to be added to the already overloaded Medicare system?

5. Some research has shown that the risk for transmission of HIV is higher for anal sex than for vaginal sex. This report from 2008, “Inequitable Impact: The HIV/AIDS epidemic among gay and bisexual men and other men who have sex with men in Massachusetts“, demonstrates the increased HIV rate among MSM (men having sex with men) in Massachusetts

6. Please read this assessment by Brian Camenker in 2008 of “What same-sex marriage has done to Massachusetts: It’s far worse than most people realize“. Examine the impact in Massachusetts on education in schools right down to the primary school level. Observe how it influences public health, increased domestic violence, business, the legal profession, adoption of children, Government mandates, the public square and the mass media.

Diagram showing stage 1 anal cancer CRUK 189.svg(diagram anal cancer, stage 1, courtesy Wikipedia)

7. The anal cancer problem. ‘For HIV-positive Gay Men, the risk is even further elevated. In a recent meta-analysis of all studies describing anal cancer incidence in Gay Men living with HIV, it was reported that anal cancer incidence increased to 78-100 per 100,000 per year in reports published after 1996. These data demonstrate that the incidence of anal cancer is increasing in HIV-positive men, despite the improved general health associated with effective HIV therapies.

The incidence of anal cancer in men and women who identify as heterosexual and have HIV is about 20 per 100,000’ (Submission, June 2014, ‘Anal Cancer-Diagnosis, Monitoring and Management in Sydney and South East Sydney Local Health Districts’, Positive Life NSW).

So, the occurrence in anal cancer for homosexual men is 4-5 times higher than for heterosexual men and women. Marriage is not likely to stop this incidence in the homosexual population, but Senators should be promoting the message in Parliament and to the mass media that the homosexual lifestyle has some deleterious medical consequences.

Another report on anal cancer indicated that ‘in the general population, anal cancer is a rare disease…. Among men who have sex with men (MSM), the incidence of anal cancer is significantly more prevalent and increasing annually’ (National lgbt Cancer Network, ‘Anal Cancer, HIV and Gay/Bisexual Men’, 2013).

8. The foundation of Australia’s healthy democracy and laws has been built on a Christian world view that promotes heterosexual marriage for the health of the nation, which states that ‘a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh’ (Genesis 2:24). Jesus Christ affirmed heterosexuality for the norm of society when he repeated the Genesis mandate, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’ (Matthew 19:5). Paul promoted it in Ephesians 5:31. If Australia moves away from this foundational law for a just and fair family, it will be violating a fundamental of Australia’s national cultural health.

In light of these details, I urge all politicians not to vote for any Bill that legalises homosexual marriage.

Notes:


[1] Mark Regnerus 2012, ‘How different are the adult children of parents who have same-sex relationships? Findings from the New Family Structures Study’, Social Science Research Vol 41, Issue 4, July, pp. 752-770. Available at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0049089X12000610 (Accessed 21 March 2015, emphasis in original).

Copyright © 2015 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 2 December 2015.

Traditional marriage = anti-marriage equality

Wedding Rings

(courtesy ChristArt)

By Spencer D Gear

I was alerted to what SBS television had done with censoring heterosexual marriage by an item on news.com.au. The heading of the article was, ‘Anti-marriage equality ad pulled from SBS TV’ (March 09, 2015).

AN ADVERTISEMENT critical of same-sex marriage was pulled by SBS management ahead of their telecast of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras on Sunday night, the ad’s sponsors say.

The Australian Marriage Forum said in a statement that the ad was booked and scheduled for broadcast during a Sunday night Mardi Gras special.

Dr van Gend says the ad was booked and paid for before he received an email on Friday to inform him it had been pulled from the Sunday night schedule. “I’ve unfortunately been instructed to advise you that we choose not to run this TVC for the Marriage Forum during the Mardi Gras telecast,” the email from SBS sales manager for Queensland, Nick Belof, said….

Dr van Gend said: “It is outrageous for a taxpayer funded broadcaster like SBS to apply censorship to one side of the debate on same-sex marriage.”

“SBS is funded by taxpayers on both sides of the same-sex ‘marriage’ debate”, Dr van Gend said.

Dr van Gend called the cancellation of the ad a “suppression of free speech on a matter of public importance”.

An SBS spokesperson told Fairfax Media that it reserved the right “to determine what advertisements it broadcasts” (emphasis in original).

My complaint about this censorship

Image result for clip art marriage public domain

(courtesy clker)

SBS TV is an Australian public broadcaster. It receives government funds to the tune of approximately $275,000 a year (see below) from the Australian taxpayer. So, on 11 March 2015, I sent this email:

The manager,
SBS television comments@sbs.com.au

Dear manager,
I object strongly to what SBS, a publicly funded broadcaster, did to an advertisement by the Australian Marriage Forum (AMF) on SBS on Saturday evening, 7 March, when SBS was telecasting the Gay Mardi Gras.

Here is a link to the advertisement that your network censored: youtu.be/s80wL5al5NA.

The AMF advertisement was booked and paid for to be shown on Saturday night, 7 March, during the SBS delayed broadcast of the Parade – but only on Friday 6 March did the AMF agent receive this message from SBS management: ‘We choose not to run this TVC for the Marriage Forum during the Mardi Gras telecast’.[1]

No explanation was given. This is disgusting discrimination against the heterosexual community and traditional marriage. It is censorship to be condemned.

Please advise me why your publicly funded network engaged in this kind of discriminatory censorship of an advt that had been paid for and scheduled to be telecast?

Yours sincerely,
Mr S Gear

SBS reply

On 11 March 2015, SBS replied:

Dear Spencer,

Thank you for contacting SBS.

SBS reserves the right to determine what advertisements it broadcasts.

Regardless, I have passed on your comments to our relevant departments as viewer feedback.

Regards,

SBS Audience Relations

In other words, SBS continues to promote its censorship with ‘SBS reserves the right to determine what advertisements it broadcasts’. That’s not how Sam McLean of The Drum saw it.

‘SBS should have run this offensive ad’

Sam McLean of ABC’s, The Drum, even though he objected to the content of the advertisement, complained that SBS should have telecast the ad:

I was offended by the Australian Marriage Forum’s new anti marriage equality TV ad, but we shouldn’t censor any one side of a political debate, writes Sam McLean.

A lot of people have been in uproar over the Australian Marriage Forum’s new anti marriage equality TV advertisement – chief among them, my fellow progressives.

The ad, which the AMF pitched for a provocative first run on the night of Sydney Mardi Gras, implies same-sex marriage poses a danger to children. I was offended by the ad, but frankly, so too by SBS refusing to run it.

Yes, the ad is incendiary. Yes, it is wrong. But yes, the AMF has absolutely every right to run it – and no broadcaster should be able to deny them that. An email from SBS sales manager for Queensland, Nick Belof, reads:

Our review board has instructed that SBS has the right to choose what ads we run, and I’ve unfortunately been instructed to advise you that we choose not to run this TVC for the Marriage Forum during the Mardi Gras telecast (Mclean 2015, emphasis in original).

The following represents a summary of the ABC and SBS funding from the Australian government over the next 5 years (Turnbull 2014):

clip_image001

Therefore, for the 2014-2015 financial year, $287,023 was funded from government proceeds to run this operation. The conclusion is that ‘80 per cent of funding for the SBS Corporation is derived from the Australian Government through triennial funding arrangements. Funding is legislated annually through the Budget Appropriation Bills…. The remainder of SBS revenue is derived from independent sources. These include advertising and sponsorship, production services and sale of programs and merchandise’ (Jolly 2007).

Conclusion

Image result for clip art marriage public domain

ringsview.com

Several issues are playing out in our Australian culture and the promotion of homosexual marriage:

6pointblue-small The promotion of heterosexual marriage in the language of anti-marriage equality, is deconstructing language to make heterosexual marriage mean something else.

6pointblue-small SBS has censored one side of the debate, the discussion that supports traditional marriage. That is abhorrent for a public broadcaster that receives 80% of its funding from the Australian government. It is supposed to represent ALL Australians and not just the homosexual community and its supporters.

6pointblue-small Those who support ‘marriage equality’ are ‘fellow progressives’ (Sam McLean). This again is deconstructing language. In an era of political correctness, to be conservative and supporting traditional marriage is to be radical in a mass media environment that wants to silence the traditional marriage voice.

6pointblue-small Sam McLean rightly concluded, ‘The anti marriage equality lobbyists said it was unfair for SBS to apply censorship to one side of the debate on same-sex marriage, and I agree’ (McLean 2015). I would have stated it this way: Those promoting traditional marriage consider the censorship of their advertisement was unfair for SBS to withdraw the advertising.

6pointblue-small It’s impossible or extremely difficult to get through to public mass media with an alternate message to their allegedly progressive, anti-conservative views. Penetrating the barrier is like pounding a brick wall with a foam hammer.

Image result for hammer brick wall public domain

hanglogic

Works consulted

Jolly, R 2007. Special Broadcasting Service (SBS): Operations and funding. Parliament of Australia: House of Representatives, 28 March. Available at: http://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/Publications_Archive/archive/SBS (Accessed 10 August 2015).

McLean, S 2015. SBS should have run this offensive ad. The Drum (ABC), 13 March. Available at: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-03-13/mclean-sbs-shouldnt-censor-anti-gay-marriage-ad/6314748 (Accessed 10 August 2015).

Turnbull, M 2014. Communications and Broadband: FAQs on the ABC and SBS, How much do the national broadcasters receive from taxpayers in the budget each year? (online) Malcolm Turnbull MP, Minister for Communications, 19 December. Available at: http://www.malcolmturnbull.com.au/communications-broadband/faqs-on-the-abc-and-sbs#budget (Accessed 10 August 2015).

Notes:


[1] Included in McLean (2015).

 

Copyright © 2015 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 21 November 2015.

Cakes, lesbians and Christianity

Image result for wedding cake public domain

(courtesy public domain)

By Spencer D Gear

This article has nothing to do with the constitutional rights of USA citizens but is to address whether the ‘Sweet Cakes’ case presents the only Christian response.

The battle over cakes for lesbian weddings

There has been a long running battle in Gresham, Oregon (with implications across the USA) over a cake shop that refused to make a wedding cake for a lesbian wedding. The couple who own ‘Sweet Cakes by Melissa’, Aaron & Melissa Klein, are Christians and cited their Christian convictions to support what they did in refusing to make thecake.

This is the outcome, as reported in The Oregonian, July 02, 2015:

The owners of a shuttered Gresham bakery must pay $135,000 in damages to a lesbian couple for refusing to make them a wedding cake, the state’s top labor official said Thursday.

State Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian ordered Aaron and Melissa Klein to pay the women for emotional and mental suffering that resulted from the denial of service. The Kleins had cited their Christian beliefs against same-sex marriage in refusing to make the cake.

Avakian’s ruling upheld a preliminary finding earlier this year that the Kleins, owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, had discriminated against the Portland couple on the basis of their sexual orientation.

The case ignited a long-running skirmish in the nation’s culture wars, pitting civil rights advocates against religious freedom proponents who argued business owners should have the right to refuse services for gay and lesbian weddings.

Avakian’s final order makes clear that serving potential customers equally trumps the Kleins’ religious beliefs. Under Oregon law, businesses cannot discriminate or refuse service based on sexual orientation, just as they cannot turn customers away because of race, sex, disability, age or religion, the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries said in a news release.

“This case is not about a wedding cake or a marriage,” Avakian wrote. “It is about a business’s refusal to serve someone because of their sexual orientation. Under Oregon law, that is illegal.

“Within Oregon’s public accommodations law is the basic principle of human decency that every person, regardless of their sexual orientation, has the freedom to fully participate in society. The ability to enter public places, to shop, to dine, to move about unfettered by bigotry” (Rede 2015).

This article, ‘Sweet Cakes owners respond to firestorm over wedding cake decision’ (Kopta 2013), indicated that the Klein’s business, ‘Sweet cakes by Melissa’, has closed its shop in Gresham OR and is operating from the couple’s house. The website indicates it is now called, ‘Sweet Cakes’.

Image result for wedding public domain

(public domain)

A different Christian approach

I am sympathetic to the stand that the Kleins have taken, based on the media evidence available to me. I think I understand why they did it (even though I’m an Aussie, my family and I have lived for 7 years in the USA and Canada). I take a different perspective to that of the Kleins of ‘Sweet Cakes’ in my response. Here is my thinking.

If I were running an automotive and industrial spare parts’ business and a lesbian couple came in and wanted parts for their motor vehicle, I would be faced with a normal sales pitch. I would sell them the parts. Before I sold them, I would not ask about their sexual relationship because helping with the fixing of the vehicle is not an endorsement of the homosexual relationship. To be honest, my asking about the sexuality of the relationship is irrelevant when selling car parts to them. I would not be checking if the car was being used for their lesbian wedding. Even if I knew that were the case, I would still sell them the spare parts because that would be a business decision that had nothing to do with sexual behaviour.

The cake shop, just like a florist business, that sells all kinds of items to all kinds of people for a wedding should not be dealing with the sexual relationship. The cake shop is selling cakes to whomever – all people in the community – including homosexuals, adulterers, promiscuous sex addicts, murderers, thieves, good living people, etc. The cake shop’s business is to sell cakes, without asking about their morality. That’s a non-issue when selling cakes, is my view.

Marrying them is another issue

When it comes to marrying the couple, we are in a different league as homosexual marriage is clearly endorsing homosexuality if the celebrant marries such people. It then does become a moral issue. As a marriage celebrant, I would refuse to marry them because of my being convinced from Scripture that homosexuality is wrong and I should not be sanctioning it through celebrating a homosexual marriage.

I see a difference between doing business with homosexuals – which all businesses should want to do – and advocating for homosexuality through a church minister or civil celebrant conducting a homosexual marriage.

Biblical reasons against homosexual marriage

Image result for wedding public domain

(public domain)

These are the biblical reasons against homosexuality that flow on to homosexual marriage:

blue-corrosion-arrow-small Take a read of Leviticus 18:22 (NLT): ‘Do not practice homosexuality, having sex with another man as with a woman. It is a detestable sin’. So the Old Testament law identifies the practice of homosexuality as committing a detestable sin. No genuine Christian should want to promote such a view.

blue-corrosion-arrow-small Romans 1:26-27 (NLT) puts homosexual actions into the category of shameful desires and those who practised them suffered the penalty before God that they deserved. They were the actions of men and women who burned with lustful desires: ‘That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. 27 And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved’.

blue-corrosion-arrow-small Where will these unrighteous sinners be with God at death? The sin of homosexuality is among a list of other sins. First Corinthians 6:9-10 (NLT) is very clear: ‘Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God’. Those who practice homosexuality and these other sins will not inherit God’s kingdom. By inference, they will go to the other kingdom – of darkness and of Satan.

So the Bible is crystal clear that those who have homosexual, lustful desires and who practise homosexual acts, practise detestable sin, have shameful desires, and will not inherit God’s kingdom. There does not have to be a statement in the Bible, ‘Thou shalt not practise homosexual marriage’, because Scripture is clear that homosexual desires and practice involve practising sin that, if not forgiven, prevent one from entering God’s kingdom. Thus, homosexual marriage is always against God’s will because it involves sinful thoughts and actions of homosexual sin.

There’s a further reason: God’s view of marriage

God’s view is in support of heterosexual relationships that lead to marriage. This is seen in the ‘one flesh’ heterosexual relationship that is stated in the Old and New Testaments:

designBlue-small Genesis 2:24 (NLT): ‘This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one’. Thus, the one flesh relationship (probably referring to sexual intercourse) is between a man and his wife, i.e. between a man and a woman. Heterosexuality is God’s order and not homosexuality or bisexuality.

designBlue-small Jesus repeated the same teaching in Matthew 19:5 (NLT), ‘And he said, “This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one”’.

designBlue-small The apostle Paul affirmed the same message in Ephesians 5:31 (NLT, ‘As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one”’.

I recommend the article from the Got Questions? site, What is a Christian definition of when marriage begins?

See my articles:

Conclusion

Image result for wedding public domain

(public domain)

These are just some thoughts from a Christian who is in the process of growing in Christ and who does not endorse the Christian view taken by the ‘Sweet Cakes’ owners.

The view adopted here is that Christians in business sell to whoever wants to purchase their products. No business that seeks to make a profit from sales needs to ask questions such as: Are you an adulterer, paedophile, homosexual, prostitute or promiscuous sexual addict? That question does not relate to selling car parts, burgers, furniture or cakes.

However, it does become an issue when a marriage celebrant or Christian minister is required to perform weddings of homosexuals. That would be endorsing sinful homosexual behaviour (from a biblical perspective) and should not be promoted – as I, a Christian, understand the Christian view from Scripture and conscience. It would be a matter of conscience and Christian conviction at that point and I would refuse to conduct a marriage ceremony for homosexual marriage.

Works consulted

Kopta, C 2013. Sweet Cakes owners respond to firestorm over wedding cake decision. Investigators 2, KATU News, September 2. Available at: http://www.katu.com/news/investigators/Sweet-Cakes-responds-to–222094901.html (Accessed 9 July 2015).

Rede, G 2015. Sweet Cakes: State orders Oregon bakery owners to pay $135,000 for denying service to same-sex couple. The Oregonian (OregonLive), 02 July. Available at: http://www.oregonlive.com/business/index.ssf/2015/07/sweet_cakes_state_orders_orego.html#comments (Accessed 9 July 2015).

 

Copyright © 2015 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 21 November 2015.

Stay-at-home mothers given the SHAFT by Australian government

Image result for mother and baby public domain

(courtesy publicdomainpictures.net)

By Spencer D Gear

The stay-at-home mothers get the SHAFT from journalists and MPs too often. These are but a few examples of the discrimination now plaguing some parents (mostly mothers) in Australia.

Australia’s Prime Minister strutting his stuff

Flower12 ‘”Paid parental leave is an important economic reform, very important economic reform, that will boost participation and productivity,” Abbott said this week on ABC’s AM program’.[1]

Flower12 Tony Abbott: ‘If female participation in Australia were 6 per cent higher, at Canada’s level, GDP would be higher by $25 billion a year”. Imagine how much richer we’d be if we climbed 16 per cent higher to reach Iceland’s level’.[2]

Writers who give stay-at-home mothers the SHAFT

cream-arrow-small ‘The happy wife is a full-time domestic goddess ministering to the every need of her perfect (and good job-holding) husband and her brood of adorable kids’.[3]

cream-arrow-small ‘Currently 58.4% of all adult women participate in the labour force (ie. as workers, or looking for work); compared with 70.9% of adult men. The reason for the gap is because of the decline in participation of women aged 25-34 compared to men’.[4]

cream-arrow-small ‘52.2% OF VOTERS IN AUSTRALIA ARE WOMEN!’[5]

cream-arrow-small ‘International research confirms that 80 per cent of a child’s development happens in the first three years of life. By the age of four, 92 per cent of the brain is formed. If children aren’t being spoken to enough, are not being exposed to different types of stimulus or if they’re spending too much time in front of a television screen, their long term educational outcomes are compromised’.[6]

cream-arrow-small ‘In this country, more than most others in the advanced world, caring for the home and for children is still considered a predominantly female occupation’.[7]

Discrimination against single income families

These are some of the issues relating to how stay-at-home mothers in households are being discriminated against:

Image result for tax public domain(public domain)

cubed-iron-smSingle income families get only one tax-free threshold whereas dual income families get two tax-free earnings of $18,000 for each partner’.[8]

cubed-iron-sm Another discriminatory policy is Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s Paid Parent Leave which offers mothers in the paid workforce their full salary for six months of maternity leave up to a total of $75,000. The money is to be obtained by a l.5% levy on big companies. Single-income families are discriminated against not only because they do not get the maternity leave payments but also because the tax cuts to big companies to cover the cost of the PPL levy will come out of the pockets of taxpayers’.[9]

cubed-iron-sm ‘Mr. Abbott and Mr. Hockey, stop discriminating against mothers and their children on the basis of the mother’s paid-workforce status. Government payments should be focused on the well-being of children and not on preferential treatment for career women. And if there are any disgruntled feminists who object to such equitable policies, just offer them the title of “Duchess” or “Countess”. This should keep them happy for a while’.[10]

Stay-at-home mothers out of fashion

Annabel Crabb wrote for the ABC,

The stay-at-home mum had quite the heyday for a while, but Tony Abbott has turned his back on the band of women his party once championed…. She is the Australian stay-at-home mum.

Of all the fascinating reinventions Tony Abbott has undergone over the years, nothing is quite so intriguing as the way his legislative taste in women has changed. When he was sworn in, pledging to assist “women struggling to balance work and family”, it confirmed what his epiphany on paid parental leave had already suggested; the model Abbott mum is now an employee, not a homemaker.[11]

The Australian Centre for Leadership for Women wrote to the Prime Minister of Australia:

Australia’s employment rate for mothers is the lowest of all the countries in the OECD at 62%. Universal paid parental leave is a critical strategy in encouraging new parents to stay in the workforce and achieving the G20 goal of increasing women’s labour force participation by 25% by 2025.[12]

What pressure is being placed on mothers to get back into the workforce! But at least this group of women was prepared to admit in this letter to the PM:

There is compelling evidence of health and welfare benefits for mothers and babies from a period of postnatal absence from work for the primary caregiver of around six months.

Australian guidelines and the World Health Organisation recommend that infants are fed nothing but breast milk for their first six months of life and continue to be breastfed into their second year. Exclusive breastfeeding ensures that babies receive the full nutritional and development benefits as well as protection against infection and some chronic disease.[13]

Because of this push by government and other interest groups for paid parental leave and the government’s wanting women to get back into the workforce as soon as possible after the birth of a child, I sought guidance from the Scriptures and sent this email to Queensland senators. This is what I wrote:

My letter to Senator about stay-at-home parents

(Senator Barry O’Sullivan, public domain)

 

I’m concerned over the downgrade given to women (and some men) who choose to remain at home to raise their children. So, I wrote this email letter to Queensland Senator Barry O’Sullivan on 15 May 2015.

I have become disillusioned by what the Coalition federal budgets for 2014 and 2015 are doing to mothers who are not in the out-of-home workforce. You are talking up the need for mothers to get back to work. I’m a long-term family counsellor and I’ve seen the many deleterious consequences of what this does to families.

Do you realise how many stay-at-home mothers there are who could swing an election, especially when the Coalition gives them the SHAFT like it has in the last 2 budgets?

How many stay-at-home mothers are there? I only have access to statistics from the Australian Bureau of Statistics 2009-10. This is what I found in a section (chart) on the ‘Employment Status of Women‘:

clip_image001

Notice the second last line where for 2009-10 it indicates that ’employed mothers in couple families with children’ were 66% of mothers. That means that the remainder – 34% of unemployed mothers with children, i.e. stay-at-home mothers – are the ones who have been forgotten. They have been given a kick in the guts by the Abbott-Hockey government.

They could swing an election result.

One-third of mothers are stay-at-home people. But your Coalition government have not been fair with them. They have not been treated with justice in the 2014 and 2015 Coalition budgets.
I urge you to quit this inequity by:

  1. Increasing the Family Tax Benefit to single income families with stay-at-home mothers, and
  2. Making the single-income household equitable. At the moment a single-income family with $120,000 income pays approx. $10,000 more tax than a two-income family what has a joint income of exactly the same amount – $120,000. This could be repeated across various levels of income. THIS IS UNFAIR AND SINGLE INCOME FAMILIES ARE OR SHOULD BE EXASPERATED  by what the Coalition is doing to them. THIS VIOLATES FAIRNESS AND JUSTICE. All Aussie families deserve to be treated with equity.
  3. What would be a fairer way? Bring in legislation for income splitting so that, based on this example, the two adults in the household would earn $60,000 each and EACH would benefit from the tax free threshold.
  4. My understanding is that this would provide tax relief for about 800,000 families at a cost of $1.5 billion per year. However, the BIG issue is fairness. Then add,
  5. I urge you to read the research on the impact of a mother’s love on a child. See, ‘How a Mother’s Love Changes a Child’s Brain‘ (Live Science, January 30, 2012). This research found that ‘Nurturing a child early in life may help him or her develop a larger hippocampus, the brain region important for learning, memory and stress responses’.
  6. When will you as a Coalition acknowledge that the uniquely close relationship between a mother and her baby is critical for the baby’s development?

Please tell me what you will do to bring equity into families with a taxation system of fairness to stay-at-home mothers, starting from this budget?

The Senator’s profound response

I was not expecting the kind of solid – even profound – response from Senator O’Sullivan. His email to me on 17 June 2015 from his Toowoomba office stated:

Thank you for seeking my views on same-gender marriage.

As you would be aware, our party has a long standing party position on this issue and we have consistently shared this position with voters.  My party’s position is completely in accord with my own personal position.

Keeping in line with LNP policy, I have staunchly told my parliamentary colleagues, fellow party members, media and the public that I will oppose any measures by parliament to alter the timeless definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman.

I believe the strength or weakness of marriage as a social institution profoundly affects the well-being of everyone in society, especially children.

The state should protect and promote marriage—notably the family unit, which is marriage in its fullest fruition—because it is a distinct and irreplaceable way that men, women, and children can flourish.

The union of husband and wife is, on the whole, the most appropriate environment for rearing children. This is an ideal that is supported by the best available social science.

Recognising same-gender relationships as marriages would legally abolish that ideal.

It would remove the notion that men and women typically have different strengths as parents; that boys and girls tend to benefit from fathers and mothers in different ways.

I also do not support a conscience vote on the issue of same-gender marriage. A conscience vote should only be reserved for matters of life, which this issue is not.

As I travel across the state I do not experience the apparent voter interest in the same-gender marriage debate that is claimed in some sections of the media.

Voters are instead focussed on the day-to-day issues such as the economy, cost of living, access to quality education, drought and infrastructure delivery.

I strongly believe marriage between one man and one woman is critical to making a positive contribution to maintaining social stability.

Society as a whole pays a high price when marriage is devalued.

Thank you for taking the time to write to me on this very important issue.

I was not expecting such a concise and profoundly thought out response. May the Lord bless and encourage Senator O’Sullivan who is standing up for God’s view of heterosexual marriage.

God’s view is heterosexual marriage

Image result for clipart marriage public domainclker.com (public domain)

No matter the voice of the naysayers who are ruining marriage, I have tried to be faithful to God’s view in support of heterosexual marriage in these articles:

Notes


[1] Anne Summers, ‘Abbott’s baby bonus in disguise’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 18 May 2013. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/abbotts-baby-bonus-in-disguise-20130517-2jrmf.html (Accessed 23 June 2015).

[2] In Emma Alberici, ‘Female workforce participation: key is childcare, not babysitting’, The Canberra Times, 18 April 2015. Available at: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/female-workforce-participation-key-is-childcare-not-babysitting-20150418-1mn86z.html (Accessed 23 June 2015).

[3] Anne Summers, ‘The tyranny of the white picket fence: Abbott government can’t be serious about encouraging women in the workforce’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 12 June 2015. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/the-tyranny-of-the-white-picket-fence-abbott-government-cant-be-serious-about-encouraging-women-in-the-workforce-20150612-ghlpop.html (Accessed 23 June 2015).

[4] Greg Jericho, ‘Abbott’s paid parental leave will do little to bring women to the workforce’, The Guardian, 10 March 2014. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/business/grogonomics/2014/mar/10/abbotts-paid-parental-leave-will-do-little-to-bring-women-to-the-workforce (Accessed 23 June 2015).

[5] Sarah, ‘Dear Tony: The power of Australian women’, 13 May 2015. Available at: http://sarahsheartwrites.com/2015/05/13/dear-tony-abbott-the-power-of-the-australian-woman/ (Accessed 23 June 2015).

[6] Emma Alberici, op cit.

[7] Emma Alberici, op cit.

[8] Babette Francis, ‘An open letter to the Prime Minister and Treasurer’, OnLine Opinion, 15 April 2014. Available at: http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=16215 (Accessed 23 June 2015).

[9] Ibid.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Annabel Crabb, ‘Abbott’s message to mothers: get to work’, ABC opinion, The Drum, 16 May 2015. Available at: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-05-14/crabb-so-long-howards-cherished-stay-at-home-mum/5452004 (Accessed 23 June 2015, emphasis in original).

[12] ACLW, ‘Statement sent to PM Abbott on support for the current Paid Parental Leave scheme’, 22 May 2015. Available at: http://leadershipforwomen.com.au/transform/statement-sent-to-pm-abbott-on-support-for-the-current-paid-parental-leave-scheme (Accessed 23 June 2015).

[13] Ibid.

 

Copyright © 2015 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 21 November 2015.

Why politicians should not support ‘marriage equality’[1]

clip_image001

Former lesbian, Jeanette Howard (photo courtesy vimeo)

By Spencer D Gear

Australia’s politicians are being asked to vote on same-sex marriage in parliament in a Marriage Equality Bill sponsored by the Labor Party.

The Labor Party Bill

According to the Brisbane Times, this is how Bill Shorten’s Bill will change the definition of marriage in Australia to allow for homosexual as well as heterosexual marriage unions:

The words “man and woman” and “husband and wife” will be replaced by “two people” in the Marriage Act under Bill Shorten’s proposal to redefine marriage in Australia.

Under the changes gay couples who have already married overseas would have their unions recognised under Australian law, with the repeal of section 88EA of the Act….

And, as flagged by Mr Shorten earlier this week, ministers of religion will not be required to solemnise a marriage where the parties to the marriage are of the same sex.

The Labor leader’s bill to legalise same-sex marriage in Australia, which will be introduced to Federal Parliament on Monday, defines marriage as  “the union of two people to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life”.

The current definition in the Marriage Act, which would be replaced, states it is “the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life”.

The repeal of section 88EA and the redefinition of marriage as between two people would reverse former prime minister John Howard’s 2004 amendments to the Act.

The same-sex marriage bill, Marriage Amendment (Marriage Equality) Bill 2015, allows a union between two people regardless of their sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or intersex status (Massola 2015).

However, the Labor Party is joined by some in the Liberal Party government to support same-sex marriage: ‘Communications minister Malcolm Turnbull says he expects parliament will legalise same-sex marriage before the end of the year…. Mr Turnbull says rapidly changing community attitudes to same-sex marriage are likely to ensure the move will ultimately succeed’.[3]

Reasons for rejecting this Bill

A Channel 9 news report for 27 May 2015 stated:

Australians who support gay marriage are being urged to contact their local MP or Senator to voice their opinions, with marriage equality campaigners saying the country is now within “striking distance” of legalising same-sex marriages.

Australian Marriage Equality’s deputy director Ivan Hinton-Teoh today praised federal opposition leader Bill Shorten’s announcement Labor would move a bill in the House of Representatives on Monday to legalise gay marriage.

But he’s urged everyday Australians to keep the pressure up on politicians to ensure the bill passes.

“It’s important our elected officials understand the strength of support (for gay marriage),” Mr Hinton-Teoh told the TODAY Show.

“The most important thing people can do is share their stories, get in contact with their MPs and Senators.”

Mr Shorten yesterday gave formal notice of the bill, which will be seconded by his deputy Tanya Plibersek, stating he will present a bill “for an Act to amend the Marriage Act 1961 to establish marriage equality”.

“Our current law excludes some individuals – and to me, that is unacceptable,” Mr Shorten said.

“I believe the time has well and truly come for the Parliament to debate marriage equality.”

While support for marriage equality seems strong among many parliamentarians, the Abbott government could simply use its numbers in the Lower House to send the bill to a committee.

Some recent polls have put Australia’s support for gay marriage at an all-time high of 72 percent.[4]

We wouldn’t be caused to wonder which view Channel 9 is pushing. We get a similar emphasis from Australia’s ABC News:

In a statement, Mr Shorten said the time had come for Parliament to debate marriage equality and that he found it unacceptable current laws excluded some individuals.

The bill will come before the House of Representatives on Monday.

“I know this private members bill will not have the universal support of my colleagues,” Mr Shorten said.

“It will challenge the deeply held personal beliefs of MPs and senators on both sides of politics.

“This is why Labor members have the freedom to vote their conscience, a freedom Tony Abbott is currently denying his party.”

Even with a conscience vote in the Labor Party, Mr Shorten does not have the numbers to pass his bill.

Rather he is using it to urge the Prime Minister to grant a conscience vote to his MPs, something the Coalition already appears to be edging towards.

In recent days, Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull described Australia as the “odd one out” on same-sex marriage among Commonwealth nations including the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Canada.

Renewed debate in Australia has been triggered by Ireland’s vote in favour of marriage equality in a referendum at the weekend.

“The world isn’t waiting for Tony Abbott and our Parliament shouldn’t have to,” Mr Shorten said.

“I know there are Coalition MPs who’d support marriage equality if Tony Abbott granted them a free vote.”

Liberal senator Arthur Sinodinos said the Coalition had been waiting to see how the Labor Party would move on the matter.

“I know some of my colleagues, like Warren Entsch and others, want to raise the issue and have talked about having game plans on this,” he said.

“So we’ll wait until next week, but certainly I would support a conscience vote on this.”[5]

AustralianChristianLobbyLogo2011a.jpg

(logo courtesy Wikipedia)

How does the Australian Christian Lobby respond to this proposed legislation? On 26 May 2015, it had this article on its website: ‘Shorten fails to consider the consequences of changing marriage’. Here it stated that,

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten’s same-sex marriage bill fails to consider the consequences of changing the definition of marriage in law, according the Australian Christian Lobby.

“It is disappointing that Australia’s alternative prime minister is legislating a family structure which requires a child to miss out on their mum or dad.

“Many Australians are watching with great concern as florists, photographers and cake makers in other countries are being legally punished simply because they prefer not to participate in a same-sex wedding.

“I wonder if Mr Shorten has considered the consequences of changing the definition of marriage,” Mr Shelton said.

“We urge parliamentarians to vote against the bill.”

In another article, ‘Why Australia should not rush to follow Ireland’ (ACL 26 May 2015), ACL stated:

So militant have they [homosexual marriage activists] become that we are beginning to see glimpses of what life might be like for dissenters in a post gay marriage future.

Senior Labor MP Jenny Macklin gave some insights in an interview with Chris Uhlmann on ABC1’s Insiders recently.

Supporting Labor’s deputy leader Tanya Plibersek’s push to expel parliamentarians from the party who don’t toe the line on changing marriage,  Macklin equated discrimination on the basis of ‘sexual preference’ with racial and gender discrimination.

Uhlmann had the presence of mind to pick her up on this and make the obvious follow-up point.

Uhlmann – “You are arguing that a person who disagrees with you on this is the same as a racist, that they are a bigot.”

Macklin – “I am not calling anybody names.”

Uhlmann – “But that is the natural extension of what you are saying.”[6]

Of course Uhlmann is right. Whether she wants to admit it or not, what Macklin is saying is that millions of Australians who will never support redefining marriage are the moral equivalents of racists or misogynists. Nice.

With attitudes towards dissent like this, it is no wonder 28 per cent of traditional marriage supporters in Ireland told pollsters they were too afraid to express their views openly.

Email to politicians

Thumbtack note email by zeimusuThe following is what I wrote to my local federal MP and some Queensland Senators.[7]

1. Parliament does not determine the nature of marriage. Since the beginning of time that was determined by God: ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh’ (Genesis 2:24), affirmed by Jesus (Matthew 19:5), and confirmed by the apostle Paul (Ephesians 5:31). This Australian nation has its foundation in Christian principles. Please do not go down the route of populist parliamentary and community appeal.

2. It is only the union of a man-woman that has the potential to produce children naturally. Even for artificial insemination or IVF, there is need for the ‘seed’ of male AND female. Male-male or female-female will not do it. Surely this should scream at politicians, GAY MARRIAGE GOES AGAINST A FOUNDATION PILLAR OF AUSTRALIAN SOCIETY!

3. Are you prepared to throw caution to the wind and change the meaning of marriage in a very risky social and political experiment? Heather Barwick is the daughter of lesbians. In an article in the Courier-Mail (March 20, 2015, ‘Heather Barwick, the daughter of lesbians, against gay marriage….), she said: ‘Growing up, and even into my 20s, I supported and advocated for gay marriage. It’s only with some time and distance from my childhood that I’m able to reflect on my experiences and recognise the long-term consequences that same-sex parenting had on me. It’s only now, as I watch my children loving and being loved by their father each day, that I can see the beauty and wisdom in traditional marriage and parenting’.

4. Do you understand the positive impact of children being raised by a mother and father? It was reported by statistician, Graeme Archer, in The Telegraph (UK) that ‘the evidence that children raised in standard two-parent families fare, on average, better in life than their peers – and that boys in particular benefit from the presence of a father – is so strong that it takes a wilful perversion to ignore it’ (04 May 2012, ‘The village can help, but children raised by a mum and dad do best‘).

5. Part of that is because children need role models from both Mum and Dad to have a balanced development in life. The information led to Texas A&M University preparing the following material, based on research: ‘20 Reasons Why Your Child Needs You to Be an Active Father‘. A lesbian couple cannot provide this input. That’s the evidence! Do you understand the damage that will be done in legislating homosexual marriage?

6. The language of ‘marriage equality’ does not provide ‘parenting equality’ for children raised in homosexual marriages. The nature of the man-woman relationship in marriage is radically different from that of a same-sex couple. Therefore, to talk of ‘marriage equality’ is inappropriate labelling.

7. Of course two women can love each other and two men can love each other, but common sense leads to the conclusion that the nature of the loving, sexual relationship between a man and a woman is very different to that happening in same-sex relationships.

8. Do you understand how promiscuous same-sex relationships can be? Do you want children exposed to any number of different men or women in the house who are engaged in ‘bed sex’? ‘In one recent study of gay male couples, 41.3% had open sexual agreements with some conditions or restrictions, and 10% had open sexual agreements with no restrictions on sex with outside partners. One-fifth of participants (21.9%) reported breaking their agreement in the preceding 12 months, and 13.2% of the sample reported having unprotected anal intercourse in the preceding three months with an outside partner of unknown or discordant HIV-status’ (Lelands et al in Nicolosi 2009, ‘An open secret: The truth about gay male couples‘).

9. Does Australia want to be in agreement with Article 7 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child or not?  Part 1 of this article states: ‘The child shall be registered immediately after birth and shall have the right from birth to a name, the right to acquire a nationality and, as far as possible, the right to know and be cared for by his or her parents’. The last portion of this statement is shot to bits in homosexual marriage.

10. This is such a fundamental issue for the health of Australia. Politicians need to know that how they vote on this legislation will determine how I vote in the next election – and I’ll be telling my friends of their voting record on this issue.

Please consider these matters in regard to the Bill for Marriage Equality, which would be better called the Bill for Marriage Distortion for couples and children.

What is God’s view on marriage and homosexuality?

Purple Scripture ButtonSuch a question doesn’t seem to enter the minds of many Aussie politicians. However, my local MP has told me he will be supporting marriage to continue to be between a male and a female.

God’s design from the beginning of time was for marriage of a man and a woman. See Genesis 2:24-25, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed’ (ESV).

Jesus Christ affirmed this passage according to 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. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate’ (ESV).

(3)   The apostle Paul also affirmed this emphasis in Ephesians 5:31, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’ (ESV).

(4) Then add this factor from the apostle Paul who wrote of ‘men who practice homosexuality’ as being among those who were among ‘such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God’ (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). In this list, homosexuals were placed among the sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, thieves, greedy, drunkards, revilers who were the ‘unrighteous’ who would not inherit God’s kingdom. But Jesus changes all of these people – even homosexuals.

A redeemed and changed lesbian speaks

If you don’t believe me, read my interview with a redeemed lesbian, Jeanette Howard, ‘One woman’s journey out of lesbianism: An interview with Jeanette Howard’. I recommend her book, Out of Egypt: Leaving lesbianism behind.

clip_image003

(courtesy Kregel Publications)

For some further information see my articles:

clip_image005 Spencer Gear’s submission against homosexual marriage to the Australian House of Representatives

clip_image005[1] Loree Rudd (Kevin Rudd’s sister): Support for homosexual marriage caused a Labor Party member to quit the Party

clip_image005[2] Homosexual unions, homosexual marriage, mass media & politicians

clip_image005[3] Why should we oppose homosexual marriage?

clip_image005[4] Reasons to oppose homosexual marriage.

clip_image005[5] Is homosexual life expectancy lower than for heterosexuals?

clip_image005[6] Kevin Rudd MP’s changed position on same sex marriage is self-refuting

clip_image005[7] Queen Elizabeth II and Jesus silent on homosexuality

clip_image005[8] Religious marriage with a different twist: My response to Spencer Howson

clip_image005[9] Queensland government passed civil homosexual union Bill

Works consulted

Massola, James 2015. Bill Shorten releases details of Labor’s same-sex marriage bill, 29 May. Brisbane Times (online). Available at: http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/bill-shorten-releases-details-of-labors-samesex-marriage-bill-20150529-ghcinb.html (Accessed 30 May 2015).

Notes


[1] I sent the points, ‘Email to my politicians’ (see below) to my local member of federal parliament and some Queensland Senators in Australia on 27 May 2015.

[2] Reference deleted when edited.

[3] Amanda Cavill, SBS News, 27 May 2015, ‘Communications minister Malcolm Turnbull says he expects parliament will legalise same-sex marriage before the end of the year’. Available at: http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2015/05/26/hopes-grow-same-sex-marriage-reform (Accessed 28 May 2015).

[4] 9news.com.au, 27 May 2015, ‘Australia now within “striking distance” of marriage equality say same-sex campaigners’, available at: http://www.9news.com.au/national/2015/05/26/02/09/greens-speed-up-marriage-equality-debate (Accessed 27 May 2015).

[5] ‘Bill Shorten to introduce private members bill to legalise same-sex marriage’, ABC News, 27 May 2015. Available at: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-05-26/shorten-to-introduce-bill-legalising-same-sex-marriage/6499124 (Accessed 27 May 2015).

[6] The footnote was: http://www.jennymacklin.net.au/transcript_insiders_3_may_2015.

[7] I sent the email on Wednesday, 27 May 2015.

 

Copyright © 2015 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 21 June 2016.

Spencer Gear’s submission against homosexual marriage to the Australian House of Representatives

Submission: Inquiry into the Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2012 and the Marriage Amendment Bill 2012

House of Representatives:

House Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs

Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600

E-mail: The Secretary of the Committee, SPLAmarriagebills@aph.gov.au

 

Prepared by:

Spencer Gear MA (couns. psych.)

Address, phone number & email withheld

13 March 2012

Submission was available formerly as submission no. 87 Mr Spencer Gear (PDF 344KB)

It is no longer available online.

Marriage cover photo

Courtesy Salt Shakers (Christian ministry)

Please note: My ‘Submission: Inquiry into the Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2012 and the Marriage  Amendment Bill 2012’ to the Australian House of Representatives Legal and Constitutional Committee, Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600, was previously located at, ‘Senate Committees, Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2010, Submissions received by the Committee’ but is no longer available online.

 

Copyright © 2014 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 1 March 2017.

What is a Christian definition of when marriage begins?

Marriage cover photo

Courtesy Salt Shakers (Christian ministry)

By Spencer D Gear

 A person wrote to me with a pertinent and relevant question about the nature of Christian marriage:

If my significant other and I treat our relationship as a marriage (following the guidelines found in the Bible for a marriage) are we not “married” in God’s eyes? I just fail to see where the Bible says you MUST get a marriage license or have a ceremony in order to be “married” in God’s eyes.

This article by Mary Fairchild, ‘What is the biblical definition of marriage?‘ provides a brief overview of a biblical approach to marriage. See also, ‘What constitutes marriage according to the Bible?‘ I consider that the ‘covenant of marriage‘ is the biblical way of explaining the foundation of marriage.

So what are the elements in a New Testament understanding of the requirements for Christian marriage? L I Granberg provides this definition:

When is a couple married? Of what does marriage ultimately consist? Some, arguing from I Cor. 6:16, maintain that marriage is effected through sexual intercourse. A person is considered in the eyes of God to be married to that member of the opposite sex with whom he or she first had sex relations. The sex act is viewed as the agent through which God effects marriage in a manner apparently analogous to the way in which adherents of the doctrine of baptismal regeneration see him make the sacrament of baptism the agent in effecting regeneration.

Others consider marriage to be brought about as the result of a declaration of desire to be married, accompanied by the expression of mutual intentions of sole and enduring fidelity and responsibility toward the other, preferably undergirded by self-giving love, in the presence of accredited witnesses. This view does not undercut the validity of marriages in which the couple cannot bring about physical consummation. It underscores the fact that marriage never has been regarded as solely the concern of the individual couple. This may be seen, for example, in the prevalence of community laws forbidding incest and regulating the degree of consanguinity permissible for marriage. Since the home is the proper medium for the procreation and nurturing of children, church and community have an important stake in the stability and success of the marriages taking place among their constituents.

Marriage relegates other human ties to a secondary role.  Spiritual and emotional satisfactions formerly drawn from the parental relationship the marriage partners are now to find in one another.  To sunder one’s parental relationships and join oneself in intimate, lifelong union with a person who hitherto has been a stranger demands a considerable degree of maturity – as expressed in a capacity for self-giving love, emotional stability, and the capacity to understand what is involved in committing one’s life to another in marriage.  Marriage is for those who have grown up.  This appears to exclude children, the mentally impaired, and those who are psychotic or psychopathic at the time of entering into marriage (Granberg 1984:694).

Granberg provides these dimensions of understanding ‘marriage and the NT’:

The chief contributions of the NT to the biblical view of marriage were to underscore the original principles of the indissolubility of marriage and the equal dignity of women (Gal. 3:28; 1 Cor. 7:4; 11:11-12).  By raising women to a position of equal personal dignity with men, marriage was made truly, “one flesh,” for the unity implied in this expression necessarily presupposes that each person be given opportunity to develop his or her full potentialities.  This is not possible in a social system in which either men or women are not accorded full human dignity.

Does not this raise difficulties with the biblical doctrine of subordination of married women (Eph. 5:22-23)?  Not at all, for this doctrine refers to a hierarchy of function, not of dignity or value.  There is no inferiority of person implicit in the doctrine.  God has designated a hierarchy of responsibility, hence authority, within the family, and He has done so according to the order of creation. But woman’s dignity is preserved not only in the fact that she has equal standing in Christ, but also in that the command to submit to her husband’s headship is addressed to her. She is told to do this willingly as an act of spiritual devotion (Eph. 5:22) and not in response to external coercion. She is to do this because God rests primary responsibility upon her husband for the welfare of the marriage relationship and for the family as a whole. He, in fact, qualifies for leadership in the church in part through the skill he demonstrates in “pastoring” his family (1 Tim. 3:4-5) [Granberg 1984:694-695].

We do know that Jesus attended a wedding (was it a ceremony or feast?) in Cana in Galilee (John 2:1-11). So wedding ceremonies were part of Jewish culture in Jesus’ day.

References

Granberg, L I 1984. Marriage, Theology of. In  W A Elwell (ed), Evangelical dictionary of theology. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 693-695.

 

Copyright © 2012 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 29 October 2015.

Blue Greek Key With Lines Border by GR8DAN - A blue greek key based border.

Religious marriage with a different twist: My response to Spencer Howson

Marriage is from God

ChristArt

By Spencer D Gear

bmag is a Brisbane freebie newspaper-magazine style publication delivered to Brisbane households once a month. It can be accessed online HERE.

Spencer Howson is a breakfast presenter on radio, ABC 612 Brisbane. He used to write a regular column for bmag. Since my email letter of 11 July 2012 to Spencer Howson, a bmag contributor, was not published on 24 July 2012, p. 16, ‘Your say on marriage’, here I publish what I wrote to him on 11 July 2012 (his email was, spencer@bmag.com.au):

Your ‘Marriage shake-up‘ article (bmag, 10 July 2012) was your secular, religious, relativistic, politically correct (PC) promotion to accommodate the homosexual community. Yours is as religious a perspective as any in Australia. There is no philosophy, religion or worldview that is not devoted to some divinity – the object of its highest desire and deepest commitment. You may not call it ‘divinity’ but this pinnacle of desire and depth of commitment is the essence of the ‘divine’ (even though you define it differently).

Your use of projection triggers gives away your presuppositions (bold emphasis ahead). These projection triggers included,

(1) ‘I’ve never considered our marriage has anything to do with God’.

(2) Your marriage to Nikki was ‘a religion-free declaration of love and commitment’.

(3) ‘Nikki and I would have chosen a Civil Marriage’.

(4) ‘What do you think of my idea of having Church Marriage and Civil Marriage?’

Yours is a religion of autonomous reason – but it is as religious as any Christian’s view in Australia. [Here I add dot points that I did not include in the letter.] His presuppositions include:

  • Marriage has nothing to do with God.
  • A God-less marriage is religion-free.
  • Marriage is a declaration of love and commitment with no reference to God.
  • A Civil Marriage is preferred if you want it to be religion-free.

This is a pluralistic, relativistic religion that has considerable negative ramifications. How come? When the polyamory, polyandry, polygamy and marriage to children PC groups come along promoting their views, you have no rational basis to reject such religious perspectives. Yours is a slippery slope argument, Spencer, and you are standing at its pinnacle.

You are conning yourself by claiming yours is a non-religious perspective and your PC view should be considered or promoted. Having Church Marriage and Civil Marriage – your religious perspective – is a BIG compromise of the integrity of marriage.

By the way, your view of the church as ‘membership of a club – and that’s what church is’, is a country mile from the reality of the church being and functioning as the body of Christ (Romans 12:5; 1 Corinthians 12:27). If your knowledge of marriage is as far-off as your understanding of the church, our society is in deep trouble if it pursues your religious views.

Why is the church so adamant about marriage being between a man and a woman? In spite of your alternate religious values, from the beginning of time the Judeo-Christian Almighty God has declared that this is the foundation of marriage: ‘That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh’ (Genesis 2:24). The foundation of a stable and just society is marriage of a man and a woman. [The following was not in my email to Spencer Howson.]

Jesus Christ supported the Genesis 2:24 passage when he was teaching about divorce:

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. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matt 19:4-6 ESV)

I add Karl Barth’s comment:

There is no man who does not have his own god or gods as the object of his highest desire and trust, or as the basis of his deepest loyalty and commitment. There is no one who is not to this extent also a theologian. There is, moreover, no religion, no philosophy, no world view that is not dedicated to some such divinity. Every world view … presupposes a divinity interpreted in one way or another and worshiped to some degree, whether wholeheartedly or superficially. There is no philosophy that is not to some extent also theology. Not only does this fact apply to philosophers who desire to affirm—or who, at least, are ready to admit—that divinity, in a positive sense, is the essence of truth and power of some kind of highest principle; but the same truth is valid even for thinkers denying such a divinity, for such a denial would in practice merely consist in transferring an identical dignity and function to another object. Such an alternative object might be “nature,” creativity, or an unconscious and amorphous will to life. It might be “reason,” progress, or even a redeeming nothingness into which man would be destined to disappear. Even such apparently “godless” ideologies are theologies (Barth 1963:3-4).

Reference:

Barth, K 1963.  Evangelical Theology: An Introduction. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson.

 

Copyright © 2012 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 29 October 2015.

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