Friday, 21 February 2014

Back Into The Swamp

Erick Erickson - AKA the world's most cowardly Viking - has a new screed up at RedState (I'm not linking to RedState, but it has the characteristically subtle title of "Shibboleths of the Damned") that's an almost perfect example of violating SpaceSquid's Sin Standard.  He starts off making what is genuinely a reasonable point (made in a thoroughly unreasonable way, natch); there's little point in haranguing homophobic Christians over their dislike of homosexuality by quoting Leviticus at them.  These people are hiding behind the New Testament as cover for their prejudices, hitting them with the Old Testament isn't going to get the job done.

With this small victory won, Erickson proceeds to entirely fall apart, by insisting Christian supporters who believe gay marriage is acceptable are deliberately ignoring Matthew 19:4-5.
"Haven't you read, he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'. 
(It's always "ignoring" with these people, isn't it? Never disagreeing. Never realising words offer themselves up to multiple interpretations.  I wonder what it's like to live in so wretchedly simple a world).

Notice anything strange about that extract? Seems to be a missing quotation mark, doesn't there? That's because Matthew 19:4-6 says

"Haven't you read, he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” 
Erickson is quoting a passage on the Bible banning divorce to prove Christianity defines marriage as between a man and a woman.

I don't even want to bother with arguing as to whether that quote actually justifies refusing to accept that marriage need not be between a man and a woman.  I mean, you'd think if Jesus had a strong position on the matter he might have wanted to explain a bit better; "No backsies on them nuptials, pal, and while I'm on the subject; gay sex is totes icky." (I may not have gotten a handle on Biblical dialogue.) Because it doesn't matter here. Erickson's hilarious attempts at truncation aside (well done trying to FOX News Jesus, dickhead), Jesus clearly considers gay marriage as a less pressing issue than divorce.  Jesus says, right there; no divorce.

So if divorce is more clearly wrong than gay marriage, and given that divorce is clearly more common than gay marriage is ever likely to be (though doubtless the intersection that is gay divorces must give Erickson the chills), and given that gay marriage is being talked about at the secular level when divorce is already permitted by the vast majority of churches, why in God's name (quite literally) would you conclude the most important use of your time is speaking out against gay marriage rather than divorce?

Because you're a coward and a bigot, is why.  Because this battle looks like an easier battle than the other one.  Because this is the always the first impulse of men who refuse to understand what Jesus tried to explain to them again and again: you never punch down,

I've said before that the "God of the gaps" idea is a truly awful one; a shrinking cloud of proofs by contradiction that squeezes an Almighty being into an ever-smaller space as we learn more about the universe.  What, we're supposed to believe God wants us to find our own way to faith unless we happen to look at a particularly complicated shrimp-tail? Please.

What's even worse, though, is the God of the society gaps approach bullies like Erickson cling to. This is the idea that says anything society has agreed on for sufficiently long - e.g. divorce, but also for example bombing the shit out of innocent people because we don't like their leader, or insisting there is something noble in pulling in dollars faster than a singularity inside Scrooge McDuck's money-bin - must be something God wants, or it wouldn't have happened, and anything that hasn't happened yet must be against God's will.  There are many ways to do Christianity wrong, but working from the principle that the machineries of humanity derive divinity simply through success  must surely be one of the worst.


darkman said...

SpaceSquid said...

Absolutely. TL;DR, what that says - except for that bit about punishing Bush's wife and daughter. I'm sure we can come up with enough creative language for the inglourious basterd his own self.