Newsweek's Miller Plays Armchair Theologian to Defend Same-sex Marriage

December 8th, 2008 12:10 PM

Newsweek still shot from Dec. 8, 2008Shortly after dismissing the Bible as archaic and "lukewarm" on marriage, Newsweek's Lisa Miller waxed poetic about it as a "powerful" "living document", essentially suggesting that religious conservatives who consider Scripture to be the inerrant, eternally true decrees of God Himself have a lower view of the Bible than religious liberals:

Biblical literalists will disagree, but the Bible is a living document, powerful for more than 2,000 years because its truths speak to us even as we change through history. In that light, Scripture gives us no good reason why gays and lesbians should not be (civilly and religiously) married—and a number of excellent reasons why they should.

Perhaps ignorant of the biblical warning against double-mindedness (James 1:5-8) four paragraphs earlier Miller began her treatise by misrepresenting and then scoffing at the Bible's teachings on sex and marriage, confusing human sinfulness for biblical teaching and Jesus and the Apostle Paul's teachings for a virtual loathing of marriage:

Let's try for a minute to take the religious conservatives at their word and define marriage as the Bible does. Shall we look to Abraham, the great patriarch, who slept with his servant when he discovered his beloved wife Sarah was infertile? Or to Jacob, who fathered children with four different women (two sisters and their servants)? Abraham, Jacob, David, Solomon and the kings of Judah and Israel—all these fathers and heroes were polygamists. The New Testament model of marriage is hardly better. Jesus himself was single and preached an indifference to earthly attachments—especially family. The apostle Paul (also single) regarded marriage as an act of last resort for those unable to contain their animal lust. "It is better to marry than to burn with passion," says the apostle, in one of the most lukewarm endorsements of a treasured institution ever uttered. Would any contemporary heterosexual married couple—who likely woke up on their wedding day harboring some optimistic and newfangled ideas about gender equality and romantic love—turn to the Bible as a how-to script?

Alas, Ms. Miller, "you are wrong because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God," those pesky "literalists" might retort. At any rate it appears Ms. Miller is insistent on eisegeting holy writ to declare ex cathedra from her perch at Newsweek that the Bible can be used to defend gay marriage.

Indeed, the Bible is clear in numerous passages that human sexuality has been plagued by sexual sin, lust, betrayal, and adultery since sin entered the world in the Garden of Eden. Yet Miller fires her first shot by holding up biblical patriarchs as though they are the Christian model for marriage, not flawed sinners in need of a savior.

Miller then went on to insist that "no sensible modern person wants marriage... to look in its particulars anything like what the Bible describes." Perhaps Ms. Miller is unaware that it very sensible, modern, Bible-believing Christians see marriage as the Bible describes it: a mystery that displays in the covenant between a man and woman in marriage the love of Jesus Christ for his church.:

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

Of course, it is just as likely that Ms. Miller understands that's the Christian view of marriage, and thinks anyone who believes that cannot possibly be modern or sensible, which illustrates more about her prejudices than those of the alleged religious bigots she claims to trump with her knowledge of Scripture.