MSNBC's Martin Bashir -- who attends a New York City church pastored by a conservative minister who signed the pro-traditional marriage Manhattan Declaration -- yesterday maligned the Holy Bible in an attempt to defend President Obama from the charge that his support of same-sex marriage contradicts biblical teaching on matrimony.
The incident came in an interview with Dr. Robert Jeffress after the Dallas-area Baptist minister affirmed that he "absolutely" agreed that defending same-sex marriage "contradicts" the teaching of Scripture. "I think the president is violating the very teaching and words of the Jesus he says he follows," Jeffress noted. That's when Bashir sprung his "have you stopped beating your wife, yet"-style gotcha question:
Okay, so what, then, sir, is your view of slavery, because Ephesians 6, verse 5 says "Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear." Colossians 3:22 says "Slaves, obey your earthly masters with sincerity of heart." And as you know, many Christians have historically claimed that Scripture supports slavery. Do you?
Jeffress answered Bashir's question and added that he wasn't sure what slavery had to do with the same-sex marriage issue, to which Bashir answered:
Here's what's interesting about what the president said yesterday. He used exactly the same biblical justification that William Wilberforce used to condemn slavery in 1807, when he wrote, and I'm quoting Wilberforce, that slavery is "contrary to that religion which commands us to love our neighbor as ourselves, to do to others as we would have them do to us."
Again, the president, like Wilberforce, was using the Golden Rule to justify equal rights regardless of sexual orientation. If it applied to slavery, why can't it apply to same-sex marriage?
Of course, as Jeffress noted, Jesus himself affirmed that "from the beginning," marriage was designed by God to be an institution joining one man and one woman for life. Marriage was God's idea (Gen. 2:24), Jesus affirmed that (Matt. 19:4-6; Mark 10:6-9), and it was instituted before man fell into sin in Genesis 3.
What's more, and practicing Christian Bashir most certainly should know this, the Bible, far from giving a moral green light to polygamy or slavery, presents a warts-and-all picture of the devastation and pain that those evils caused. And an honest review of the form of slavery permitted under the Mosaic Law in the Old Testament shows a picture much more akin to indentured servitude than transgenerational, inescapable slavery that existed in pre-Civil War America.
Additionally, and again, Martin Bashir should know this, the very same St. Paul he considers a supporter of slavery actually authored a letter in the New Testament in which he urges a fellow Christian to welcome home his runaway slave Onesimus, who has become a Christian, as a brother in Christ, not as a slave.
"[I]f you consider me your partner, receive him as you would receive me. If he has wronged you at all, or owes you anything, charge that to my account," Paul wrote Philemon, adding, "I will repay it" and "Confident of your obedience [emphasis mine], I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say" (Philemon 17-21).
As I've noted previously, however, Bashir has a penchant for taking Scripture out of context to serve his liberal politics. So perhaps it's not so surprising he attempted to throw the Bible under the bus in order to boost Obama.