uno itinere non potest perveniri ad tam grande secretum -- Q. Aurelius Symmachus, 384 C.E.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Christians and Marriage: From Disease to Divine Design

Paul and Thecla, 6th century fresco,
in the Cave of St. Paul near Ephesus
“The hilt of a sword is smooth and handy, and polished and glittering outside; it seems to grow to the outline of the hand; but the other part is steel and the instrument of death, formidable to look at, more formidable still to come across. Such a thing is marriage.”

The above quote is not from some godless, 21st century culture warrior trying to “undermine the institution of marriage.” No, it’s by Gregory of Nyssa, a fourth century bishop and saint.

Indeed, for anyone familiar with the early history of Christianity, there is perhaps nothing more dissonant than hearing modern Christian leaders talk about marriage as the central, lofty institution they believe it to be, most especially when they view it as under attack merely by its extension to same-sex couples.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Math Proving Same-Sex Marriage ≠ Polygamy

Barely a day goes by when I don't hear otherwise intelligent people invoke polygamy when discussing possible objections to same-sex marriage. How one can equate extending the benefits of a legally recognized, monogamous relationship to that of a polygamous relationship is beyond me, but it should be addressed nonetheless.

The recognition of same-sex marriage is, of course, the next natural step in the evolution of marriage into what it is today -- a legally recognized status of companionship between two people. The mere fact that we, unlike in the vast majority of premodern societies, each choose our own spouses is case enough for same-sex marriage. Marriage is now a relationship one can enter with anyone one chooses, regardless of class or race, yet this was of course not always the case. Removing sex as an exclusionary category would merely reflect what marriage has already become.