Here’s myth No.6 in our top 10 myths about gay marriage.
Myth: The Bible says marriage is between a man and a woman.
Bust: The Bible which was written over 2000 years ago and was passed orally before that. Although for many it is a source of hope, inspiration and comfort, it has also been used by people to justify inequality, oppression and even murder. Even today a minority of religious people continue to interpret the Bible through the filters of their personal and cultural prejudices.
David Lammy compared the fight for gay marriage to the battle to end slavery and was subsequently accused of “playing the race card” by Conservative MP David Burrowes. Yet throughout our history people have opposed moves towards equality with arguments which essentially centre on the position ‘they’re not like us’ and ‘the bible says…’
Pro-slavery supporters used the bible to suggest that the Slave Trade was tolerated and even approved of by God. Henry Brinton, author of ‘Balancing Acts: Obligation, Liberation and Contemporary Christian Conflicts’, says
‘They asked who could question the Word of God when it said, “slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling” (Ephesians 6:5), or “tell slaves to be submissive to their masters and to give satisfaction in every respect” (Titus 2:9).’
In the Bible Noah put a curse on Ham’s son, declaring that Canaan “shall be a slave to his brothers”. Many Americans, Europeans and South Africans considered Africans the children of Canaan and used Genesis 9:20-27 to justify the enslavement of Africans for centuries.
Others used scriptures from the Song of Solomon 1:6 which says:
“Do not stare at me because I am dark, because I am darkened by the sun. My mother’s sons were angry with me and made me take care of the vineyards; my own vineyard I had to neglect.”
It’s a historical fact that some of the major sources of female oppression were drawn from references of women’s treatment in the Bible. People argued that God created all animals male and female but he produced man in the image of god so he was alone; he then took Adam’s ribs and make Eve in the image of man, as opposed to God. She is called woman, because she is made from man, and this, was the basis of oppression of women for centuries.
Genesis 3:16 reads: To the woman he said, “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labour you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”
1 Corinthians 11 reads: “Christ is the head of every man, and a husband the head of his wife, and the head of Christ is God.”
Britain is a still a majority ‘Christian’ country and many of its laws has their root in the teachings of Christianity. The teachings of Jesus were about love, peace and equality but people have always used God and tradition to defend exclusivity and, therefore, exclusion.
Religion tradition rather, than vast tomes of explicit scripture, is still the principal argument against gay marriage, and religious people following traditional doctrine are still those most likely to oppose it.