In its cover story for next week, Newsweek magazine declares “religious conservatives” have been wrong all along – because the Bible supports same-sex marriage.

The cover of the Dec. 15 issue features a large black Bible with a silver cross on the front. A rainbow ribbon – a popular symbol for homosexual pride – bookmarks its pages.

Newsweek’s Dec. 15, 2008, issue

Richard Land, head of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, told Politico Newsweek’s story is no shocking eye-opener.

“It doesn’t surprise me,” he said. “Newsweek has been so far in the tank on the homosexual issue, for so long, they need scuba gear and breathing apparatus. I don’t think it’s going to change the minds of anyone who takes biblical teachings seriously.”

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Editor Jon Meacham expected a backlash from the article, so he released a note on one of the magazine’s front pages. It states:

Religious conservatives will say that the liberal media are once again seeking to impose their values (or their “agenda,” a favorite term to describe the views of those who disagree with you) on a God-fearing nation. Let the letters and emails come. History and demographics are on the side of those who favor inclusion over exclusion.

The piece, written by senior editor and religion columnist Lisa Miller is titled “Our Mutual Joy.” It declares “Opponents of gay marriage often cite Scripture. But what the Bible teaches about love argues for the other side.”

To support her claims, Miller provides the following arguments

  • Abraham slept with his servant when he discovered his wife was infertile
  • Jacob fathered children with four different women
  • Abraham, Jacob, David, Solomon and the kings of Judah and Israel were polygamists
  • Jesus was single – and “preached an indifference to earthly attachments”
  • The apostle Paul considered marriage to be an option of last resort “for those unable to control their animal lust”

She references the above examples and declares, “[N]o sensible modern person wants marriage – theirs or anyone else’s – to look in its particulars anything like what the Bible describes.”

The piece calls California’s passage of a ban on same-sex marriage “full-scale war, with religious-rhetoric slinging to match” and claims the Bible and Jesus never “explicitly defines marriage as between a man and a woman.” Furthermore, it states, “Jesus never mentions homosexuality, but he roundly condemns divorce.”

Miller describes the Bible’s condemnation of homosexual sex in Leviticus as “throwaway lines in a peculiar text given over to codes for living in the ancient Jewish world …”

After the scriptural references, Miller states, “Religious objections to gay marriage are rooted not in the Bible at all, then, but in custom and tradition (and, to talk turkey for a minute, a personal discomfort with gay sex that transcends theological argument).”

She continues, “We cannot look at the Bible as a marriage manual, but we can read it for universal truths as we struggle toward a more just future.”

Miller claims the Bible’s emphasis of “inclusion, even in defiance of social convention, the reaching out to outcasts, the emphasis on togetherness and community over and against chaos, depravity, indifference” are biblical values that argue for same-sex marriage.

Finally, Miller cites King David’s declaration of love for Jonathan, in which he states:

I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother;
You were very dear to me.
Your love for me was wonderful,

More wonderful than that of women.

“What Jonathan and David did or did not do in privacy is perhaps best left to history and our own imaginations,” she wrote.

In a radio interview posted on the Newsweek website, Miller said the dispute between religious conservatives and same-sex marriage advocates lies in how people choose to interpret scripture.

“The split is in how you read the Bible,” she said. “Do you read the Bible as the inerrant, handed-down word of God at a certain time? Or do you look at the Bible as living history inspired, perhaps by God, but changeable, open to interpretation?”

Editor’s note: Concerned individuals may contact Newsweek.


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