Sunday | December 17, 2017
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Your Views for October 31

History of marriage

The folks who are opposing same-sex marriage have been bewailing a repetitive mantra to preserve the “tradition” of limiting marriage to one man and one woman. It would therefore seem appropriate to take a cursory look at the history of marriage to discover the origins of this tradition that they are so adamantly trying to preserve.

In prehistoric times, most people lived in matriarchal tribes similar to the mother-bonded groups of elephants, and some other mammals. This lifestyle was the precursor of cooperative groups, all of which laid the foundation for civilization development. Men were not aware of their role as fathers, but all knew they were born and raised by the mother. Men did not claim a relationship with children. Studies of this history suggest that women ran the show, owning the cave and its land, provided food and clothing and built housing with men’s help.

In contrast, the biblical God promised his male followers large numbers of descendants. Genesis 17:6 begins a long list of “begats” that gave importance to crediting fathers with procreation. The Bible gives us the “patriarchized” idea that the wife is the husband’s property. Biblical rules prohibited the wife from divorcing her husband, but a husband could get rid of an unwanted wife simply by writing her a “bill of endorsement” and ousting her from the house. A bride found not to be a virgin must be stoned to death at her father’s door. Under biblical patriarchy, widows and divorced women were considered damaged goods. Biblical laws of inheritance leave the widows destitute. St. Paul said that women must not to speak in churches.

The early church authorities rejected marriage as God-less. Since they believed the world was to end at any moment, according to Jesus’ promise, they saw no need to continue another generation (Luke 9:27). Paul stated that the head of every man is Christ and the head of the woman is man (I Corinthians 11:3). Biblical kings David and Solomon could have many wives and concubines and their warriors were free to take captive women as sex-slaves. St. Augustine declared marriage to be a sin.

For many centuries marriage was consummated outside of the church and was subject to common law. It was later accepted by religious authorities only after new laws restricted a wife’s rights of ownership, and inheritance and her independence. So the obvious question to same-sex marriage opponents is: Which of these historical “traditions” are you fighting to preserve?

Don Bremer


He meant it

I love that Hawaii (one of only four states) bans roadside billboards. But all the anti-gay news, especially from church groups, makes me want to see some of the billboards I’ve seen in other parts of the country that simply say: “That ‘Love thy neighbor’ thing … I meant that.” — God

I can’t imagine Jesus standing along the roadside holding a sign implying that he thinks some groups of people should have less worth and rights. No, he’d likely be washing their feet.

Marie Haindel



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