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On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in favor of same-sex marriage in the landmark case: Obergefell v. Hodges. Same-sex couples and their supporters across the country celebrated what they considered to be a humane and just progression of domestic policy. However, a significant number of Americans protested the verdict and viewed it as an attack on accepted morality and even a suppression of religious liberty. Enter Kim Davis.
Nearly two months later, in Rowan County, Kentucky, a county clerk named Kim Davis makes national news for refusing to issue marriages licenses to anyone in protest of the legalization of same-sex marriage. She is arrested for not upholding the law, but is quickly touted as a martyr for religious liberty by many evangelical conservatives. Former Governor of Arkansas, presidential candidate, and champion of evangelicals, Mike Huckabee, even made a trip to Rowan County to meet Mrs. Davis, and publicly voiced his support for her actions, saying that her imprisonment was a “criminalization of Christianity.”
As we all know, two years later, the issue would ultimately be all but abandoned by the Republican party and progressivism would be the victor. When Donald Trump made his infamous proposal in his 2016 presidential campaign, calling for a “ban of all Muslims entering the country,” many evangelical conservatives supported the notion, even using the suppression of gay rights by Islam as a bullet point. This was a not-so-subtle acknowledgment that their issue with gay rights had been abandoned, and basically “washed their hands” of the entire matter, possibly even hoping that people would forget that they were on the wrong side of history.
Progressives, however, have not forgotten about Mrs. Davis, Governor Huckabee, the protests and claims of persecution by the religious right, nor have they forgotten the decades-long battle against them on this very issue of civil rights.
Not only is it easy to see the glaring bigotry in Mrs. Davis’ stance on the issue, but there is also an element of hypocrisy that those familiar with the Holy Bible can easily point out. For example, there is Titus 2:5, which reads that a woman should be “discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.” Now, I don’t know if Mrs. Davis is obedient to her husband, but she doesn’t appear to be much of a keeper at home, seeing as how she has a job; and she is certainly not discreet.
It should be noted the aforementioned verse has been used by the very same group of people, in the past, to suppress the rights of women, but more on that shortly. For now, let’s take a look at another verse, Deuteronomy 17:12, which reads:
And the man that will do presumptuously, and will not hearken unto the priest that standeth to minister there before the LORD thy God, or unto the judge, even that man shall die: and thou shalt put away the evil from Israel.
Did you catch that? The Christian God just basically said that it was evil and presumptuous to not hearken to a priest OR JUDGE! Now, what was Mrs. Davis doing when she went against the ruling of the judges and took the law into her own hands?
Now, in case you think that this only applied in the Old Testament, or that it only applied when a judge ruled righteously, let’s have a look at Romans 13:1-6:
1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.
3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:
4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.
5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.
6 For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing
How about that? There is no ambiguity here. It does not say that rulers “should be” ministers of God, or ordained of God, or that the Christian should only be subject to the higher powers if they are ruling righteously, no, it says that they are ordained of God and the Christian is to be subject to them, period.
So, what are the evangelicals left with here? The laws of the Bible, especially in the New Testament, are much more explicit about Christians following the law of the land than they are about what to do about gay marriage, are they not? Yet, Mrs. Davis still enjoyed the support of the vast majority of evangelicals, although Mrs. Davis was not acting in accordance with the principles that the Bible spells out for a woman, and her entire premise can be cut down with their very own holy book.
Look back, if you will, at all of the verses I have referenced so far. What do you notice? Look at the nouns and pronouns: “Man, he, him, etc.” This makes no room at all for a woman to even be a ruler or have any sort of power, does it? Yes, I know, newer versions of the Bible use gender-neutral nouns and pronouns, but that was only after women had fought to gain equality, was it not? I don’t think that any reasonable person can deny that the Bible has been used very effectively to cut down equal rights for women throughout the history of our own country and elsewhere.
In case the passage in Romans and the verse in Titus aren’t enough to convince you, let’s look at some more verses, which are a bit more direct about how much value the Bible puts on women and what their role is supposed to be:
Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
2 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a woman have conceived seed, and born a man child: then she shall be unclean seven days; according to the days of the separation for her infirmity shall she be unclean.
3 And in the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised.
4 And she shall then continue in the blood of her purifying three and thirty days; she shall touch no hallowed thing, nor come into the sanctuary, until the days of her purifying be fulfilled.
5 But if she bear a maid child, then she shall be unclean two weeks, as in her separation: and she shall continue in the blood of her purifying threescore and six days.
Deuteronomy 22:28, 29
28 If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found;
29 Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel's father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days.
I Corinthians 11:3-9
3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.
4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head.
5 But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.
6 For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered.
7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.
8 For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man.
9 Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.
I Corinthians 14:34, 35
34 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.
35 And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.
22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.
29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:
30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.
31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.
Now, am I crazy, or could this be a factor in why we needed Women’s Suffrage in the first place? Why couldn’t women vote until 1920? Well, if they can’t even run their own house, how can they choose the leader of a nation? Why are women still generally paid less than men in America to do the same job? Well, to answer that, what were the evangelicals doing only a few decades ago? You guessed it, fighting against the women’s rights movement. How about some eighty years before that? Fighting Women’s Suffrage of course! What did they use to justify your position? The Bible, namely, the passages I just shared with you, among others.
Well, as history records, with the exception of a few issues that still need to be addressed, women were mostly successful in gaining equal rights in America, and they fought conservatives, namely evangelicals the every step of the way. Fast forward a few decades, and we find them even massively supporting politicians such as Governor Sarah Palin, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, and Governor Nikki Haley. We should also note that the evangelicals regularly criticize Islam due to their suppression of women’s rights. Does anyone else see a pattern here?
Let’s go back even further in history to the American Civil War. Both the North and the South had Christians using their interpretations of the Bible to oppose slavery, and defend it, respectively; but don’t let this fool you, the Northern Christians were from that time period were not what would be considered conservative evangelicals today, but were more the equivalent of what would be some of the more moderate, tolerant, non-literalist Christians today. It is well documented that some of the staunchest defenders of slavery were the conservative, evangelical Christians of the South. You may be wondering how one could possibly defend slavery by using the “good book,” so let me show you some more passages, and then I promise, no more Bible for the remainder of this article!
44 Both thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you; of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids.
45 Moreover of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land: and they shall be your possession.
46 And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them for a possession; they shall be your bondmen for ever: but over your brethren the children of Israel, ye shall not rule one over another with rigour.
1 Now these are the judgments which thou shalt set before them.
2 If thou buy an Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve: and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing.
3 If he came in by himself, he shall go out by himself: if he were married, then his wife shall go out with him.
4 If his master have given him a wife, and she have born him sons or daughters; the wife and her children shall be her master's, and he shall go out by himself.
5 And if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free:
6 Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an aul; and he shall serve him for ever.
7 And if a man sell his daughter to be a maidservant, she shall not go out as the menservants do.
8 If she please not her master, who hath betrothed her to himself, then shall he let her be redeemed: to sell her unto a strange nation he shall have no power, seeing he hath dealt deceitfully with her.
9 And if he have betrothed her unto his son, he shall deal with her after the manner of daughters.
10 If he take him another wife; her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish.
11 And if he do not these three unto her, then shall she go out free without money.
Exodus 21:20, 21
20 And if a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he die under his hand; he shall be surely punished.
21 Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished: for he is his money.
Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ;
I Timothy 6:1, 2
1 Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed.
2 And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort
Does the Bible command slavery? No, but it very clearly is ok with it, seeing as how it gives guidelines on how to own slaves and how to treat them, and commands slaves and servants to be obedient to their masters!
Now, do evangelicals today condone slavery? Of course not! In fact, they even go as far as to condemn Islam for allowing slavery! Déjà vu anyone?
I get asked often why I have such a problem with the prospect of ourcountry being governed by the Bible. “What’s wrong with loving your neighbor,” they’ll ask; or “What about Jesus teaching us to feed the poor and heal the sick?” Well, nothing, but my question would be, why does this group never support any measure that would do any of those things? They always claim that the teachings of Christ are the center of their beliefs, so why do they not support food stamps (feeding the poor) or universal healthcare (healing the sick)? If they had pursued these things as fervently as they opposed same-sex marriage, we would have eliminated poverty and had everyone insured by now!
The fact is, we see in them what a country ruled by the Bible would look like. Every time we have seen evangelicals unify to influence domestic policy, it has always been only to suppress the rights of others, whether it be to keep same-sex marriage illegal; to keep women at home; to defend segregation; to condemn mixed marriages; to keep atheists from being able to adopt children; to defend slavery; etc. It always follows the same pattern, too: A new progressive ideal will surface that conflicts with their beliefs; they use the Bible to oppose it; over time, the majority of Americans support the progressive movement; the evangelicals lose because people see that their argument was rooted in bigotry and closed-mindedness and can even be dismantled by other parts of the Bible that they ignore; they claim they are being persecuted; over time, they realize that the evangelicals before them were on the wrong side of history; they condemn other groups for not being as “tolerant” as they are; then they fight against a newer, similar progression for the same reasons that their predecessors did.
So, what is their message if they don’t follow the teachings of Christ, their beliefs can be opposed by other parts of their own holy book, and history proves them wrong every time? Family values? Please…they abandoned that last year when they rallied behind Donald “Grab ‘em by the p---y” Trump! So much for Bill Clinton being a degenerate, huh?
So, my fellow progressives, hang in there! If history repeats itself, I fully expect that in the next thirty years, we’ll see our evangelical neighbors condemning Islam for not accepting the Theory of Evolution and denying Climate Change. Until then, keep fighting the good fight!