scotus rainbow

Why Does the Supreme Court Get to Define Marriage?

I wasn’t going to write about the recent Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage nationally, but I read something on Facebook that changed my mind.

Actually, it was something I wrote in response to another person’s post, plus a few other comments I’ve seen crop up in the religious blogosphere that prompted this particular “meditation.”

What is marriage?

Oh gee, is that all. How do we define marriage?

Rather than go into a complex set of situational, societal, moral, and religious variables, let’s stick with whatever it is that gives SCOTUS the right to define same-sex marriage as a right.

After all, there seems to be some online conservative push back that wants “the State” to keep out of our marriages. What gives the State the right to poke their noses into the state of matrimony?

At the level of two individuals committing their lives to one another, the answer is “nothing.” Any two people can approach the clergy-person of their choice and ask to be married. The kicker comes in when you include a marriage license.

Why does something sanctioned by God need to be licensed by the State?

So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.

Matthew 19:6 (NASB)

Taking that quote in isolation, it seems to send a pretty clear message. The “institution” of marriage is sanctioned by God. Couples, in the context of the Bible in general and Matthew 19 specifically,  are made up of one man and one woman, are joined together by God and no person (or presumably human institution) should separate that union.

supreme court
The Supreme Court Justices

So if God joins two people together, why does anyone need a marriage license issued by the state where they are to be married?

So that the state, and the nation (and really, the world) will legally recognize that marriage.

Why do we need that?

Well, for tax reasons for one thing. Haven’t you made decisions about tax exemptions based on whether or not you’re married and how many kids you have?

What about making someone who was once a stranger legally into a family member. This has terrific advantages if you get into an accident and are hospitalized, since your legal spouse, but not someone you’re just living with, has rights as far as visiting you in such a medical setting.

And if, heaven forbid, the marriage doesn’t work out and you two don’t see eye-to-eye about things like alimony or child support payments, the fact that you were in a legal marital relationship allows the court to administer said-relationship’s dissolution and issue orders for the caretaking and well-being of the financially disadvantaged spouse (if necessary) and any dependent children.

If you remove the state from all that, then you may have a marriage sanctioned by God, but you’ll have a heck of a time managing or even acquiring anything close to the legal rights you have relative to each other as a married couple as well as those to your children (although, even if you aren’t married to your partner, if you have biologically created a child with that person, you automatically have parental rights to said-child under most circumstances).

gay marriageAnd so we come to the matter of opposite-sex marriage vs. same-sex marriage as a legal entity.

This really has nothing to do with how God sees things and what combination of human beings He sanctions to be joined within marriage. SCOTUS doesn’t get to say “boo” about what God desires and what He allows. A select group of five lawyers (the five Supreme Court Justices who voted to legalize marriage equality) are only empowered to decide how marriage is legally defined in the United States. It doesn’t determine how marriage is defined morally or religiously to the slightest degree.

So in reality, Gay and Lesbian couples could have gotten married in an emotional and relational sense (and even a religious sense given the number of liberal churches and synagogues available) for years or even decades (or longer) in this country (or anywhere).

It’s only the matter of the State (big “S”) granting gay couples the same legal rights that opposite-sex married couples often tend to take for granted that is the issue.

The United States of America has become the 21st nation on the planet to legalize same-sex marriage with no variation within its individual states, provinces, or territories. If we want to determine the social consequences of legalizing marriage equality, including the long-term results of same-sex parenting, we might want to see if any of those other nations can be compared to us.

I am more than aware there is what amounts to a collective panic attack within various religious spheres relative to “Sodom and Gomorrah” being legalized (and just exactly what the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was that deserved a divine death penalty isn’t, at least Rabbinically, as straightforward as you might have been led to believe).

I’m also aware that of all the things Paul the Apostle addressed in his epistles, he never directly complained that idolatry and homosexuality were sanctioned within the Roman Empire.

He did preach against sexual immorality among the body of believers, but he never tried to change the laws of the prevailing society and culture in which these disciples lived.

Of course, there was no such a thing as “loving same-sex couples” or “marriage equality” in the Empire. To the best of my understanding, a Roman citizen could have a same-sex slave or non-citizen as a sexual partner as long (forgive me for being blunt) as the citizen was the “penetrator” and never the “penetratee”. Turns out these “relationships” were more about dominance and power and less (if at all) about love and affection, at least as far as the historical record is concerned.

Apostle Paul preachingSo if the matter of homosexuality was ever on the Apostle’s radar, it was only in terms of those individuals making up the ekklesia of Messiah. For the Jewish members, it probably was already a well-known norm and Torah commandment. Paul most likely only had to deal with those non-Jews coming out of paganism whereby same-sex sex may have been involved as part of the local cultic temple practices or some such thing.

Given Paul’s example, do we need to start a revolution and overthrow our government in order to stop the national “sin” of marriage equality? Rome fell (and if homosexual practices were part of the Empire’s downfall, I have no way of telling), and no doubt at some point, so will the United States. I don’t think we can stop it.

As much as that might be a heartbreaker for you or for me, the only nation that really matters to God as far as being eternal is Israel.

SCOTUS has made a ruling involving the legal definition of marriage for our nation as related to the rights and responsibilities of married and divorced (or divorcing) couples in terms of each other and their children.

Anyone who desires to become legally married is really wanting to enter into a contractual relationship with another human being to gain certain financial advantages and other rights. In that sense, any two reasonable human beings should have that right, since it primarily is a right they acquire relative to each other and to the government (remember tax exemptions). It’s also a legal entity that is designed, however imperfectly, to protect children should one or both parents decide they don’t want to behave responsibly.

I am aware that are a lot of other collateral issues that legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide brings up, but I’m not going to address any of them. Plenty of other bloggers, news writers, and social and religious pundits can, will, and probably have already done so.

I just thought the little but important detail of what marriage is legally as separated from its relational, romantic, moral, and religious reality needed to be teased out and brought to the forefront for a little bit, just so we could take a look at what SCOTUS did in context.

Jay Michaelson
Jay Michaelson

I’ve reviewed such books as God and the Gay Christian and God Vs. Gay: The Religious Case for Equality, and while I had to agree, based on what I read, that the “anti-Gay” message of the Bible isn’t nearly as definitive as Evangelical Christianity seems to believe, I also found no presumption for God’s sanctioning the marriage of “loving same-sex couples” within either the covenant people of Israel or the ekklesia of Messiah (body of Christ).

If two secular same-sex people want to get married, legally, in any state of the union, there’s nothing to stop them, and in most circumstances I can imagine, it has very little to do with we religious folk on a day-to-day basis.

On the other hand, if two same-sex people claim to be Christian or Torah-observant Jews and desire to become legally and God-sanctioned married, I still think there’s a problem, at least based on how I read the Bible.

Married same-sex couples are not represented or even presupposed in the Bible. I won’t speak to all of those secular gays who are married or who are going to become married. There are plenty of other laws in the U.S. I chafe against for various reasons, and some of them have more to do with my life as a believer and just plain human being than marriage equality.

All I will say, is that if you are Christian or a (an Orthodox) religious Jew, you’re gay, and you want your religious institution to sanction your marriage (believing God is sanctioning it, too), then I just don’t see a Biblical case for it. That’s out of the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction. God will have to make that judgment.

Oh, and if you haven’t figured it out already, then prepare to be inundated with all things rainbow in celebration of the SCOTUS decision. And I promise you that those rainbows have absolutely nothing to do with God’s covenant promise to all living things never again to flood the Earth.

115 thoughts on “Why Does the Supreme Court Get to Define Marriage?”

  1. I understand, that in Israel, many secular Jews do not want to allow the Orthodox rabbinate authority in their lives. But there, domestic partners have the same rights as married couples pretty much. So, they draft their own agreement and have whatever ceremony they wish.

    In the US, the tax laws would need to change. In any case, it would make sense, although seemingly unromantic and at cross-purposes for a lifetime commitment, for each couple to draft their own legal agreement with assistance of counsel and update that agreement as needed. In ancient Judaism, marriage was a legal contract, not a sacrament.

  2. In the U.S., marriage is a legal contract as well, which is really what marriage equality is all about…the right to enter into the same contractual agreement for same-sex couples that opposite-sex couples have been allowed since the establishment of our nation.

    1. Thanks, Kari. But please keep in mind that how I see things legally and how I view them theologically aren’t always the same. You may want to click on the links to the two book reviews I cited in the body of this blog post or just search my blog for the word “gay” to see multiple commentaries on whether or not the Bible supports God-sanctioned same-sex marriages.

      It’s complicated.

  3. I’d like to add, that if true separation of church and state were being practiced in the USA, same-sex marriage would have never been illegal in the first place, yes? It’s becoming more and more apparent that some traditional values just don’t work in today’s society. I’m sure that same-sex couples have been living a “married” life for a long time, just without the legal documents you’ve mentioned. For tax reasons, personally I got totally screwed when I married my husband. My $4500 dollar refund as a single, full time student and working parent, got cut in more than half. He and I often joke that maybe it would be beneficial financially to get divorced and each claim one kid 😉
    My humble opinion is that I am happy for same-sex couples and all people that choose love over hate. This has been a great example of what it should be like to live in the USA. The people have spoken, and the leaders we chose have listened. I think that act alone, not the issue at hand, is one to be optimistic about.

  4. Theologically, this is pretty cut-and-dried.


    See, this is where I skew very libertarian. Marriage licensing and taxation (either in the form of penalties or breaks) shouldn’t exist. The government shouldn’t make money off of marriage that way. In terms of other things, like the release of medical information or the assigning of insurance benefits, I honestly think that that should come down to the individual. You want to allow your next-door neighbor to know the details about your knee surgery? Go ahead. What do pay for your boyfriend’s kid to go to the dentist? I don’t care. Want to leave retirement monies to your dog? Go for it.

    I will be interested to see how this plays out in the coming years. I can’t quote sources at the moment, but I’m pretty sure more than one study has been done showing that children need the influence of both mother and father. It won’t surprise me if churches start to see lawsuits and there’s already an article in “Time” calling for the removal of tax-exempt status. This thing is far from over.

  5. One element you didn’t note, that once was a primary justification for the State to license marriage and sanction it with various legal and financial protections, was that the one-man-one-woman relationship produced stable self-sustaining families that lessened the likelihood that the state would need to expend resources dealing with societal instabilities and uncared-for children and the crimes that would increase as a result. However, that was a justification to favor traditional biblical marriage rather than to undermine it. In recent times, family instabilities have increased as selfishness has increased, and the state has not enjoyed the benefits of stability that existed formerly. The present SCOTUS decision is unlikely to improve the situation, and some of the values it thus supports and encourages will likely lead to still greater unrest and instability, possibly even to infringements of first-amendment constitutional rights.

  6. @Minimalist: The separation of church and state is somewhat misunderstood in that the intent of the law was to prohibit the Government from establishing a state religion that citizens then *must* join in order to do commerce and gain certain benefits.

    As far as same-sex marriage never being illegal, the original framers of the U.S. Constitution never would have presupposed same-sex marriage because of the social and moral norms of that day.

    Also, religion, as an entity one could separate out from the other factors of one’s life, has existed conceptually for a relatively brief period of history. 200+ years ago, the idea of “God” was so integrated into personal, social, and cultural life, that no one could think of a world, culture, or nation without God. Hence we have “In God We Trust” on our money and depictions of Moses on the Supreme Court building.

    All I’m saying is that marriage as a legal entity has only a passing relationship with marriage as a religious institution.

    @Marie: One of the functions of marriage as a legal institution is protective. Although one doesn’t have to be married to the other person who helped create and parent your child, marriage legally allows the court system to issue binding orders upon, for example, Fathers who are not paying support for their children being primarily raised by the other parent in circumstances of separation or divorce.

    Without such protections, women, at least historically, could be hurt badly by a husband abandoning her and her children. She would have no recourse if marriage were solely a religious and relational entity.

    @PL: As far as the legal entity of marriage being a protector of the family and particularly children, I feel that it has been failing in that area for quite some time. I think marriage used to work that way, but that was in the day when people didn’t simply have children or even live together without first getting married.

    I think the state of the American family has been steadily deteriorating, along with many other moral and ethical structures in our society. Even the various religious institutions have been “watered down” for the sake of societal relevancy and relatability. Maybe the most recent SCOTUS ruling is the icing on the cake, so to speak, but we’ve been baking that cake for decades.

    How many children are being raised in single-parent homes now vs two, three, or six decades ago? How many are being raised in foster care?

  7. I veer libertarian on this also. It is very hard to make an argument AGAINST liberty if there is no physical harm involved or loss of property. ‘Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.’ If you want to win this, make cogent arguments in the social sphere; don’t invite the government to take away liberty. They are always VERY eager to do this anyway.

  8. Wow! I love seeing some other religious Libertarian-leaning folks!

    @James – I feel ya! And I agree. I also don’t see a same-sex sexual union as permitted by Torah, but I make the same division between theological conclusions and secular law. Things work best when they are not conflated, IMO.

  9. The only thing that makes me a tad uncomfortable about all this is something Rabbi Michael Schiffman wrote about the other day. When the right of same-sex couples to marry requires that religious clergy be compelling to perform wedding ceremonies that violate their theological beliefs or risk breaking the law, that right becomes a form of tyranny.

    Now having said that, we’re not there yet, but the potential exists.

  10. @James – This is why we need to get government out of marriage altogether. If marrying two people did not involve “powers of the state,” then there would be no conflict. It may be that clergy will have to forego those “powers invested in them,” and religious people will have to resort to two ceremonies: religious and civil (for the tax and legal benefits). I do think there are ways to preserve rights for everyone – including those clergy who would refuse based on conscience. We just have our religious institutions too far in bed with the government right now.

    1. The point is probably overstated on my part, since there are plenty of socially liberal churches and synagogues which have no problem marrying same-sex couples.

      Last night, my wife brought up another “slippery-slope” concern, based on defining marriage primarily as a legal entity: polygamy. It’s already unofficially permitted in some corners of Utah, though not formally sanctioned.

      If three or more adult people in our country want to enter into a contractual relationship that we call “marriage,” is there any reason to stop them? I’m not sure our court system will ever get that crazy or if some polygamy group will ever sue the Government for the “right” of a man to marry multiple women, or conversely, for a group of men and women to marry each other in some sort of extension of The Harrad Experiment, but then again, I’ve been wrong before.

  11. @ James – This is where my Libertarianism may be hard for more Conservative folks to follow: I don’t think polygamy should be illegal. If for purposes of tax and legal benefits the government wants to limit how many people can be officially recognized in a union, so be it. But I don’t think there should be a problem with consenting adults marrying each other.

    That being said, my husband is crystal clear that I am not personally amenable to that set-up. 😉

  12. Naturally, I would be. 😉

    But I can’t imagine a man in his right mind *choosing* to manage the feelings, expectations, disappointments and complaints of more than one woman.

    And having more than one husband would be even worse . . .

    1. There are so many inappropriate jokes about a man being married to multiple women, and I’m not going to mention any of them.

  13. Yes, and I realize this strikes at every junior high boy’s fantasy, but how many men fantasize about having:
    More responsibility!
    More long talks about disappointed expectations and bottomless wells of feeling!
    More financial pressures!
    More complaints, directed at YOU (because now you get to disappoint multiple people)!
    Fantasy, meet Reality.

    1. Actually, it was the “reality” as you define it that I was thinking about. Like the old joke, “If a man is alone in the woods, is he still wrong?” 😉

  14. Back to the topic at hand. I just read an article written by Dennis Prager about the SCOTUS marriage equality decision, and he says this is the death knell of Judeo-Christian America.

    In my mind, the term “Judeo-Christian” is typically misused since it implies a “likeness” between the two that doesn’t really exist. Also, there never was such a thing as a “Christian America.” The Founding Fathers were generally “Deists,” believing in a single God but not necessarily Christianity.

    Prager states that our laws and social mores were originally based on Biblical principles, and I tend to agree, at least historically. But with the steady decline of religious affiliation in this country (and in most western nations) and the rise of atheism and politically correct values among the majority of our citizens (or so it seems), ethical and moral decisions are more likely to be made based on emotions or some other subjective criteria than on an outside set of standards.

    Actually, Political Correctness or Progressivism is becoming the new “Bible” or “god”, so to speak, and has evolved into that “outside set of standards” many people think is good, right, and appropriate for our post-modern world.

    More’s the pity.

  15. James,

    There are even Christian groups who are accepting of homosexuality, as they believe none of those laws apply to them.

    Based on how you would view a random gentile’s relationship to the Laws of God, what part of God’s laws are gentiles breaking by doing this? Please verify how you come to that conclusion based on scripture, thanks!

  16. America is not a theocracy, nor should it be. It is a representative republic. I don’t think we should use the force of government against people with a different worldview unless it causes physical harm to a person or their property. You can see what happens when the collective worldview changes. How long before the force we are willing to use against others is turned on us.

    Measure for measure.

  17. I don’t relish being the bringer of bad news, but what pretty much everyone agrees to in America now is libertarianism. The god is money. You get to do whatever you want if you have money. Underneath conservatism currently (and really always outside of a sweet spot short while here) is the chauvinism (not exclusively male but tending to favoring those historical advantages) of power via money and other strengths that can make one autonomous.

    The co fusing problem has been the superposition of social rules on top of the bankruptcy of the worship of male values. We have gotten what we aimed at without knowing it was what we were aiming at. Women, if they are smart, mostly have to wait until their thirties to have children because they have to establish careers as there is very little respect for their roles AS women. Even if you Mary a “conservative” (whatever the beck that means these days), you are a utility.

  18. Let me clarify: I don’t think we should use the force of government against people with a different worldview unless it [i.e., that worldview] causes physical harm to a person or their property.

  19. Sorry, probably didn’t make myself clear. I have left libertarianism (while I haven’t seen any problems with the so-related arguments in this thread). After I tell a new friend that I have left the mixed up conservative background my mother handed to me, she invites me to go hang out with people in libertarian discussion groups. Well, I will have discussions with her and her atheism. But the crazy logic of Ayn Rand is poison. (And no, I hadn’t known people were into this.)

  20. Zion said:

    Based on how you would view a random gentile’s relationship to the Laws of God, what part of God’s laws are gentiles breaking by doing this? Please verify how you come to that conclusion based on scripture, thanks!

    You may not be aware of how demanding your request sounds and when did I become your personal flying monkey?

    Yes, I am aware that there are liberal churches and synagogues that have no problems whatsoever in performing same-sex marriages, and I believe I said that in some comment above.

    Now as far as your actual question:

    Based on how you would view a random gentile’s relationship to the Laws of God, what part of God’s laws are gentiles breaking by doing this?

    I must be missing the context of your question because I have no idea what you’re asking let alone how to respond. Can you restate please?

    @Steve: The flip side of the coin, at least potentially, is as progressive values become increasingly prevalent, just when will laws be made that first marginalize and then censure people for being religious (at least Jewish and Christian, since progressivism would consider it “racist” to oppose Islam)?

    Maybe I’m just being paranoid, but I think there are a lot of scared Christians out there right now waiting for the other shoe to drop.

    @Marlene: If Libertarianism were the prevailing philosophy or political stream in America today, we’d see a lot less “nanny Government” regulations in place. Unfortunately, we’ve taken Capitalism to a point where a very few individuals control most of the wealth. I don’t favor a system that takes wealth away from those who have earned it and distributes it evenly to everyone who didn’t, but I do feel that we could open up more opportunities for people to achieve, which is the old school American ideal.

    Right now, personal greed is running out of control. Those with wealth should reinvest in their companies, which includes their employees rather than hoard a wildly disproportionate amount of their company’s wealth for strictly personal use.

    I’ve read a number of Rand’s tomes, most recently “Atlas Shrugged,” and while I can agree that she goes way overboard with her philosophy, she also makes a few good points that are well applied to the current administration in this country.

    1. @James — “Flying monkey???” (I wonder if an elision of that is the source for the slang term “flunky”?)

      I think Zion was asking how the Torah’s definition of proper human sexuality could be applied to criticize non-Jews, since they are not legally bound by the standards of Torah. The answer I think he needs is similar to Rav Yeshua’s explanation for decrying divorce — that in the beginning HaShem created one man and then one woman, who would join as “one flesh”, and declared the result “very good”. Further, His first commandment to them was to be fruitful and multiply in order to continue to replenish the earth. The inference that this is the standard for human sexuality thus applies to all humanity and not merely to the Jewish ones under covenantal strictures. Same-sex relationships cannot meet this standard, hence they are illicit for all humanity including gentiles as well as Jews. For Jews, of course, the Torah imposes strict penalties explicitly against male homosexual behavior; but that does not limit or eliminate the more generic opprobrium against refusal to conform with the fundamental bi-gendered definition of the human species and the requirements that enable its continuing survival.

      1. Actually, I was quoting from the first “Avengers” movie. I think Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) delivered the line.

      2. @James — Don’t know that I ever saw that movie, but I presume it is a literary reference to “The Wizard of Oz”, wherein flying monkeys were subservient to the commands and demands, indeed every slightest whim, of the “Wicked Witch of the West”, no matter how outrageous or unexplained. Since the term “flunky” appears as Scottish dialect in literature as far back as 1782, I guess we can’t really connect it with “flying monkey”, unless perhaps the author of the “Oz” stories was freely associating upon the notion of a “flunky” as a virtually sub-human servant and somehow expanded it to envision a flying monkey.

  21. So, bottom line, my mother was pretty much an Ayn Rand type conservative (but I didn’t know this, and I actually doubt she was familiar with her writings, just a bird of the feather). But she pretended to be an upstanding Christian conservative (pretty much just like the founders of the John Birch Society). That’s more useful for trying to control her daughter so her daughter won’t be like her and potentially complicate the world she’s composed for herself in having a career; no room for an accidental grandbaby.

    1. Christianity and strict Libertarianism are mutually exclusive. Rand was a rabid atheist. Faith in the God of Israel is giving and generous to the poor, the downtrodden, and the unwanted. Rand only thought charity was a good idea if the person was giving to it voluntarily, but she really had no use for people who couldn’t “pull their own weight”.

  22. No, there was no accidental grandbaby. And no abortion that she probably would have pushed on me (but which, as a true believer, I would have refused) had there been (as she favored for my cousin at a later point when I was living out of town and didn’t know this was happening to my cousin). James, I’m talking about the basis of morality.

    Don’t tell me what to do. I have money, it’s my life.

    Says also the supporter in a relationship where one of the people is the bearer of children and nurturer. Usually a man.

    Isn’t my philandering just so cute?
    I’m too sexy to say to be true.
    Don’t worry, there’s no fruit of it.
    [That bitch has no problem with abortion
    if there was; I don’t know. Who cares; whatever.]

  23. The Republican party is populated with people like this. And what would be the good if the libertarian monstrosity prevailed?


    We don’t have to pick from the crap set before us.

    Except those without power DO have to,
    that is if they get to pick anything at all.

  24. Somehow, this is what most Christian-right-wing-“conservative”-libertarians are up to. They love her stuff.

  25. Oh, and my mother had no reason to actually fear there was likely to be that accidental grandbaby either. I was such a naive, cooperative daughter. But she… no, not naive…cynical. PROUD

  26. By the way, James, lol, I liked your opening write-up.

    I will say this. I agree Judaism pro ably can’t make room.
    I do think non-Jew (and maybe even diaspora Jew, especially as pertains to the law of the land/not Land) people of faith can.

  27. In April 2015, Malta became the first country to outlaw non-consensual medical interventions to modify sex anatomy, including that of intersex people.[10][11]

    Reuters (1 April 2015). “Surgery and Sterilization Scrapped in Malta’s Benchmark LGBTI Law”. The New York Times.
    Star Observer (2 April 2015). “Malta passes law outlawing forced surgical intervention on intersex minors”. Star Observer.

  28. Ah, I just noticed the “I” at the end of LGBTI (I mean, I intended to bring forth the “I” topic, intersex, but had not seen the letters in the title of the one article). please take note that this “I” person is in all seriousness born that way. And there are others who don’t know they were born that way and feel confused.

  29. @James

    Mothers who actually spend all their time mothering are not pulling “their weight.” There’s no money to call their own.

  30. When gentiles want to sojourn or visit (I mean literally in person for both of these) with Jews, then those rules that are put forth are what matter (including the expansions, as people define their own space).

    But when gentiles are on their own (and probably when diaspora Jews go out into the world), there is a way not to make cripples of this sort or hurting or confused or threatened people throwaways.

  31. So, a couple or few years ago, there was a couple who said they weren’t announcing what sex their new baby was. And people were like, “what kind of sense does that make?” It’s possible they were just being goofy. And I don’t agree with weirdos who might ask, if your son picks up a Barbie, if your child is transgender. It’s okay for a boy to pick up or even own a Barbie. But, back to the couple I mentioned, maybe they knew something the rest of us don’t about their DNA (or presentation, for which they didn’t want to choose surgery and possible sterilization). There are children who don’t match Adam or Eve. There are also people who develop unexpectedly in adolescence.

  32. Okay, it wasn’t messed up — I did mean to say that this story happened a couple (2) or few (3) years or so ago.

  33. Chaya,

    I think it is best for women who want to have children and raise them well to make well-reasoned contracts for marriage. State laws are very rough efforts (the best they can probably do). And people do tend to think that legal matter is romantic and religious. Little do they know. It’s not bad for governments to give it a try. But if you are serious about a family, you better protect yourself and your kids.

  34. I’ve been reeling somewhat inside from the SCOTUS decision. Not for the legal aspect of it all, but for the fact that we’re now rewriting what it means to be human and subverting an ancient world order with institutionalizations even the Greeks never attempted.

    But some good has come out of this. There’s a friend of mine, a single gal in her early 30s who works as an editor. She is Jewish, but very secular, often bragging herself as a Deist although she was a fellow conservative. Aloof on the sidelines for the longest time of these issues, the shock of the SCOTUS fiat jarred her deeply. She confided in me that she had been letting her Judaism lapse even though deep down her soul was Jewish. Her last relationship ending and recent news was a wakeup call. For her, this brave new sexual world fad just lost its luster and she became appalled at how much it really is bent on subversion and speech control. She had harbored deep doubts about the gay movement, but kept quiet for fear of reprisal from her friends. That, until she realized the world is going utterly insane.

    She told me that she’s started keeping kosher again and had begun her teshuva back into Jewish spirituality. I was ecstatically supportive, and she was very grateful that I was so encouraging.

    If she ever gets married, I like to think that in 1,000 years, this fad of non-marriage we’re all celebrating will be in the dustbin of history while her progeny are keeping Torah. Her confession to me made my day. For social conservatives, not all is lost. We have are secrets. We have our songs. We have our Ark. The things the culture values are fleeting, but what we value truly lasts.

  35. @ProclaimLiberty

    Exactly, I was asking James how he upholds his argument from his perspective, if he had to defend himself. While I don’t always agree with your arguments, you offer rational arguments for how you come to your conclusion. I was hoping to see how James comes to his.

    As for what you shared, I fully agree, however it is not explicit, where some could easily argue in favor. The explicit verses against homosexuality, are specifically found in Leviticus.

  36. @Chaya — Marleen raises an interesting notion about “well-reasoned contracts for marriage”, in light of the unreliable views and protections afforded by the current state, or virtually any state except perhaps the Jewish one. So we see justification for the Jewish requirement of “ketuba”, now more than ever; and perhaps we should be adding some endorsements to expand and clarify how the traditional ketuba is intended to apply in modern circumstances, or perhaps, how the traditional language becomes a coded cover sheet for a modern contract addressing modern problems like power-of-attorney in financial and medical decisions, as well as for childcare and education responsibilities and rights, and transfer of rights in the event of decease or divorce.

  37. This is an interesting and (I think) very balanced way to look at this issue. I think that for a lot of people, the big issue is that we think we’re supposed to have all the answers, and we jump to conclusions without well-thought out “arguments” like this one. (Arguments isn’t the word I wanted, but I can’t think of a better one right now.) I like how you can separate your “legal” thinking and your “religious” thinking. Thanks for this thought provoking article.

  38. I would add, for women in a traditional marriage… if your husband “cheats” (and guess what, the Bible isn’t against that, so hold onto your hats, that’s a protection of the modern state), before you forgive him (which just means he got away with it and you’re a sucker) and try to go on and make something worthwhile out of the mess it’s probably a good time to stop with the Christian romantic brainwashing and get a good contract if you didn’t before. If he won’t agree to it, you will already know where his heart is, how “sorry” he isn’t, how little real value he sees in your part of the so-called life you have together. Dense as hell.

    1. @Marleen — You seem to be expressing a very cynical view of the notion of “forgiveness”. All who turn to HaShem must acknowledge that they have fallen short of His righteous standards, men and women alike, even if each tends to fall short in different ways. His forgiveness might be construed as letting us “get away” with our wrongdoings, but if that makes Him a “sucker”, then it might behoove all of us to emulate that same behavior, pejorative labels notwithstanding. Forgiveness may require a degree of dying to self and some setting aside of prior expectations, but the alternative to forgiveness is utter destruction.

      That’s not an endorsement of “cheap grace”, which is decried as a slander in Rom.3:8 while the discussion about grace continues in chapters 5 through 7. There are limits to the amount of “protection” that even the best of contracts can provide in the event that one of the contracting parties defaults; and contracts are really intended to assist those who are expecting to conduct themselves in accord with their stipulations.

  39. I agree that the wording is cynical, but the wording reflects the reality of the person forgiven because the point of what was understood stupidly as forgiveness by the forgivER was not in truth forgiveness but advantage and disdain. What I mean is not that the forgiveR couldn’t forgive or chose not to forgive but that the jerk is still a jerk. Not only that, after you’ve “forgiven” (joke’s on you), he has the license to actually become worse (even if not in terms of cheating, though maybe that too, but just not respecting or caring for someone so low as to “forgive” what he did, someone who he imagines condoned his behavior on some level because the goal of life is to get what you can get, be it girlfriends or boyfriends or cheap philandering or “freedom” or whatever, and he still gets to be in the “relationship” called marriage). You know the saying about insanity, right?

  40. The most “insane” people in current society (other than the truly insane) are those who spend their time raising children, and who have been lied to that anyone with responsibility to them actually cares. In a way, women most fit the apostolic statement about “fools” today.


    For all the medieval texts that have been “queered” by modern literary critics, for all the tales of cross-dressing, and for all the claims of a type of same-sex ritual that has some resemblances to marriage, medieval writers rarely raised the possibility that two men or two women could marry, even to reject it. When they did mention it, it was only for the sake of a very medieval systematic completeness, not because they were really considering it. Jean Gerson, the fifteenth-century Paris theologian, wrote that the argument that there could be a marriage between two men or two women was merely a frivolous objection to the (by his time universally accepted) theory that marriage was created by the consent of the parties. ….

    The sources are nearly silent on same-sex unions, but they are not much better on the women involved in opposite-sex unions. It is much easier to know what these unions meant for the men and their families than for their female partners. Throughout this book are scattered portraits that explore individual cases of women involved in various kinds of domestic partnerships, some well-known historical figures, some fictional, some real but no more than a name to us. These portraits, while based, like the rest of the book, on available sources, are set apart because they are slightly more speculative: determining what women may have been thinking or feeling in different situations can be a chancy task, given the level of information we have. Through the portraits, I hope to balance somewhat the masculine-inflected provenance of the sources. Nevertheless, some aspects are simply unrecoverable. …..

  42. I’m trying to find a recording I listened to a month or so ago and ran across the above unofficial intro to a book in the process.

  43. So, women who don’t have a protective contract that lets them out with some kind of support when things are bad are poor unless their husbands deem it desirable to be proper husbands (such that there is no need for a contract anyway) even if they eat every day in this bad situation. And they are threatened at all times because he might want to end it (with no support for themselves and the children) or to stay in it (with other kinds of threats and realities).

    And consider that this puts them in a weak position [even if it might be preferred and leg up to think of women as weak in other ways, like weak minded and men wise, and it has clearly been enjoyed over the millennia that they are on average weaker physically for lack of testosterone] weakened further by way of being impregnated and occupied with such practicalities or impracticalities as the cases may be both before and after the fruit of such conditions are born.

    1. Marleen –

      Life in this world involves risk. No one is “safe” when it comes to intertwining a life with another life. Men aren’t the only ones who stray or abuse, and they can be victims, too. If a woman decides to end a marriage, a man is on the hook to hand over a huge chunk of his earnings to support any children between them. He could end up in poverty this way. This is saying nothing of the emotional consequences. There is risk in either direction.

      Personally, I am willing to take this risk to protect an even more vulnerable population – children. When we only consider protecting ourselves from potential damage or abuse, who suffers the most? Always the most vulnerable. The conclusion shouldn’t be “stop having children” or “hand them off to other people so you’re never vulnerable” as radical feminism would conclude, but rather “choose wisely and accept the risk with your eyes open.” I happen to think some risks are very worth taking.

  44. I found it, the Oct. ’95 one. The other one wasn’t available when I came across this one before. There’s something he says on the other one that bothers me. Although I can understand the point (and he adds that the man is stupid or an animal), to state as a maxim the idea as if this is always the fault is mistaken and destructive. Maybe its not the way he meant it, but too often that is how it’s carried out into culture where people live. In actuality, sometimes the only thing the wife of a cheater is doing “wrong” is she is not being twelve or five or two (years old). Or she is not being fifty or infinite people or she is his wife (no hunt or feeling of nastiness for him). Or she is not a boy or man. You know, think about it.
    Came across this in the process too.

  45. Kari, you are probably in a lovely situation. Or at least think you are or have the reserves to weather some things. Understand, I am concerned about the children. Did you skip the part where I said that? We have to be concerned about the women, too. In fact that is part of caring about the children. Don’t sell half the population short.

    I never said women don’t ever cheat or hurt men. I’m talking about a decent woman who finds herself in a bad situation. Who cares, right? It’s always been all about the men. It still is because they have the income — except now, as I said somewhere, women can be cheuvenists too (have the upper hand or at least enough of a hand at all and be jerks about it whether to a man or to a female partner). The culture is still wrapped around mammon.

    I have a cousin who’s mother pushed her to have an abortion. For years after she cried and wanted a child. She finally got over it by comforting herself with teachings of that woman I told you I don’t like. She took a different tack and realized she should just make herself happy the best way she knows how. Get herself a relationship and know she can do whatever she wants because she has an income.

    Well, yes, she can do what she wants and forget about the remaining issues for women who don’t have an income (or could work McDonalds because the skills are all about loving her family and not much sellable). But let’s have Christians and messianic continue in the money love. As for me, I’m not promoting the feminist.

  46. Was Paul cynical? I don’t think so, but he spoke cynical words. Why? Because he just felt like it or wanted to hate the Corinthians? No, at least I don’t think so. But be wanted them to change and stop being arrogant — which isn’t just about words or feelings but action too. It was the Corinthians who were cynical, he put words on it.

    1. Marleen –
      I’m not even sure what we’re talking about anymore. Lol

      We need a whole lot more wisdom in forming and sustaining marriages, for one. We also need a whole lot more support for people who find themselves in crisis.

      I personally don’t believe the reasons matter when a woman and/or children find themselves in a dangerous relationship (be it physical, emotional, mental, sexual, etc). The only thing that matters at that point is getting her and her child/ren safe. And it *should* be the faith community that gets her there.

      Crap happens. Good men die. Good men make bad choices. Good women marry bad men. Broken people marry foolishly. Lots of things can happen. The background is supremely unimportant when someone is facing a crisis. We should step in and help in any and every way possible.

      But hands down, the best way to keep those situations to a minimum is not by cynically expecting horrible things to happen and insulating ourselves from vulnerability, but by educating young people on how to filter their lives, relationships, education, career, future desires, etc through a matrix of wisdom and common sense. Teach them to evaluate people and to look up and see where the staircase leads if they keep climbing it.

      But if you don’t apply the wisdom or someone else decides to go off the deep end and life catches up with you, no questions or guilt or blame. We should help because that’s our job.

      I’m supremely thankful for the good man I married, but I have no delusions of being completely secure. No one is. The risk is worth it for me. But I’ve also got my education, family and friends, stubbornness and life insurance in my back pocket in case something falls out from under me. I’m lucky. We should rally around women who aren’t as lucky.

      So my basic point was that it’s a risk worth taking *with your eyes open.*

  47. A reminder: men can’t get pregnant.

    Another: not all states (based on the state law alone and not a contract) let a woman out (or either one of them for that matter) or allow any support without the man (or other) agreeing in the moment. Your statement assumed some things. There is a state near me where the wife had to pay her ex husband support (her only way out when he quit his job and became a gambler when they got married). As a rabbi on another site said (I think Chabad and not about that woman), he has everything to gain and she has everything to lose.

  48. Forgot to mention, the cousin’s partner is a woman. The cousin, like Christians, finds strength in Atlas Shrugs and that kind of tripe. And she’s not a jerk in her relationship, but her wife works too. No children.

    1. @Marleen — I was recently re-reading CS Lewis’ book “The Great Divorce”, and, as I look over a number of your recent posts, I find that they remind me of the plaints expressed by a couple of the characters from the gray town. It seems to me that you’ve ceased trying to hold a discussion on the original topic and that you’ve fallen into a litany about this or that situation in which you find some injustice or unfairness, particularly skewed against women. I suppose it might have begun with the notion that the Supreme Court has again acted in a manner that does not respect the moral constraints which define justice for those who fear G-d, but it has devolved into an ongoing stream to the effect that “men aren’t fair”, “marriage isn’t fair”, “childbearing isn’t fair”, “life isn’t fair” (well, maybe that one was supplied by Kari), “divorce courts aren’t fair” (or, perhaps, “divorce laws aren’t fair”), even “the job market isn’t fair”. I’m expecting at any moment to read something to the effect that “G-d isn’t fair”. It’s true that He isn’t “fair”, but rather that He executes the ultimate degree of Justice (with a capital “J”), which is often quite inscrutable to mere mortals due to its timing and its frequent inclusion of certain elements of “training”.

      I get the impression that you’ve experienced some personal unfairness or at least something emotionally wrenching, and have become sensitized in a manner such that you notice all around you cases of seemingly similar unfairness. In doing so, you seem to have lost sight of the trials and tribulations suffered also by “men”, who are usually told to just “suck it up” and “take your lumps like a man”, without complaining or crying or breaking down or responding with anything but a “stiff upper lip” (as the British are credited with putting it) and slaving away to pay for whatever demands are laid upon them. I don’t know quite what may be required to restore your sense of balance and equanimity, but it doesn’t seem that “blowing off steam”, with repeated one-sided posts in this blog, is helping you to do so.

  49. When our daughters complain “It isn’t faaaaaair!” my husband and I are fond of replying: “Life isn’t fair. Sometimes that works in your favor.” Though I don’t recall actually saying life isn’t fair, it’s definitely true! We try to steer our children away from expecting everything to be fair (by which they usually mean things aren’t the same between them and their other sisters), because life simply isn’t built that way. G-d is just and good, but not everything is *fair*, and that often works for us. The challenge, of course, is trusting G-d with the times when it doesn’t.

  50. Not sure why I have to defend the idea of a contract. I thought ketubas were a good thing. Follow the logic. There is no point in telling women to think things through and make good decisions and walk with your eyes open if you then say it’s time to shut them now. You can talk about being smart and wise all day, but then you have to act on it.

    PL, if someone makes a statement that isn’t based in fact, I happen to think correcting it is worthwhile when the alternative is some serious ignorance (in the sense of not knowing, not in the sense of saying someone is stupid) that has a lot of young women in the dark.

  51. “….we have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men. 10We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are prudent in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are distinguished, but we are without honor.” That’s in case the link wasn’t used.

    Think, now. If you go on in a traditional marriage without some understandings for what was happening not being okay, and since everyone already knew it wasn’t okay (except there is apparently an underground of men ho think otherwise) then you have to do more than know like you knew because obviously that didn’t count.

    And if you go on, you’re going to be having more children. And you’re going to get the “insanity” statements and the “made your own bed” evaluations. And they’d all be right, because Ayn Rand is our prophet.

  52. I missed somewhere that your main thesis was “have a marriage contract.” If that’s your main point, I agree with that! I didn’t catch that your use of “traditional marriage” was being juxtaposed with “marriage based on contract.” It’s not hard to defend that, but your point got lost amid all the other things you brought up, which weren’t very clearly tied to your main point. I can very easily see setting up a contract or a ketubah as a practical application of wisdom. Nothing I said contradicts that principle, now that I understand what your point was.

  53. I’m glad we got that sorted out to some extent. I’m not sure I was juxtaposing traditional with based on contract, although many — really most — traditional people sure are aghast at the thought of a contract and don’t want to think one through. Traditional marriage without a contract (especially after there is grave reason not to trust)… I was recommending a contract. You can do that from the very start, you can also do that as part of trying to move forward together. I think of a traditional marriage as one in which the wife is having children (and in my case, though many disagree, is the primary care for those children). And the husband is her husband and no one else’s keeper or whatever the terminology would be, and no one else’s “lover”or whatever, and is dedicated to the family in fuller ways yet than simply not frittering attention on other interests.

    I think I will draw out this piece from an earlier post:
    “… [a] Paris theologian, wrote that the argument that there could be a marriage between two men or two women was merely a frivolous objection to the (by his time universally accepted) theory that marriage was created by the consent of the parties.”

    1. Marleen said:
      I think of a traditional marriage as one in which the wife is having children (and in my case, though many disagree, is the primary care for those children).

      And what’s your commentary on this set-up exactly? Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether you’re criticizing the detractors of this life choice, or agreeing with them.

      Is your whole point that you think wisdom dictates a marriage contract, especially in a traditional set-up, or that the traditional set-up is in itself foolish and to be avoided?

  54. “…State laws are very rough efforts (the best they can probably do). … It’s not bad for governments to give it a try. But…”

    They vary from state to state, and if you move your agreement has changed (without most people knowing this). That’s only the beginning of why they are not good enough.

    But are better than nothing.

  55. I had to chuckle at the first half of your definition, by the way. I’m pretty sure it *has* to be the woman having the children, but if it were possible for the man to do it, I’d definitely support sharing that duty! Lol

  56. Though I suppose you’re actually contrasting that with the non-traditional childless union or ones in which the children are adopted, or conceived through a surrogate, etc . . .

  57. My commentary is that I raised five children with home education. They are all successful in relating to others and supporting themselves (although the youngest one just graduated from high school and is in boot camp, while people ask him why he joined since he’s so smart, then plans to be in ROTC and go to college). The next to youngest just graduated from college and bought his own home in a choice area, only a few minutes away, at the age of twenty-one.The oldest one is twenty-nine. Raising them was great, other than the superb immaturity of their dad. He was gone a lot, which would be hard and was except that’s how they had a lot of peaceful days without him ranting.

    But I don’t have a college degree, so the fact I could educate thoughtful and smart people isn’t a job skill. The person I married had no problem, so he said, with me not getting a paying job. But he treated me like I was stupid and a burden (and everything about home, which was sparse even though there was plenty of money, was some kind of favor to me like it’s not our home and his kids), that he could have done more without a wife. Mind you, I wasn’t the gal running around try in to snag a husband. HE was the one itching to get married. This is a pattern for him, head somewhere and then not be about it.

    And now, libertarian he is, I should feel lucky that I eat because I don’t have an income (thus am not fully human apparently because the bizarre con… excuse me, non-conversations he thinks I should put up with are… dead ends). And that’s supposed to be endearing. I don’t think Rand should be our prophet, but she is an American prophet.

  58. I think it’s interesting the rabbi I linked to was especially concerned about Jews coming from Russia and what their relationships would be like to deal with, but we have taken this Russian woman and her sick attitudes to heart. He later States that no one from anywhere can claim that since they were from… wherever, everything was pure there. But we should be able to get past (should never have fallen for) this direction where we collectively have followed.

  59. I don’t know, maybe I shouldn’t figure quoting Paul means anything. Somebody should have told him life isn’t fair and shut up.

  60. Oh my; I used the name Rand in one post and then Paul in another. Someone’s going to think I’m talking about Rand Paul…

    …well, he’s not a she. Hopefully that will help.

  61. Anyway, I guess we could all conclude the apostle Paul was a whiner. That he wasn’t trying to get points across that meant anything.

  62. Wow, Marleen! You achieved a great success in life despite really hard circumstances. I am homeschooling my children as well, currently getting ready to welcome baby number five. And I say unequivocally that I could not do what I do were it not for a supportive husband who treats me with dignity and respect, who puts my needs above his, and who is my partner in parenting and life. He’s my greatest support. Literally my labor coach, my midnight duty man, my confidant and best friend.

    You are a much stronger woman than I am to do what you did with a man who treated you the way you’ve described. You should be respected and applauded for what you’ve accomplished! I’m sorry you haven’t been by the primary person whose responsibility it was to do just that.

    I can understand your perspective given your circumstances.

  63. Maybe this is PL (and others) reading Paul as a grey person:

    …we have become a speeectacllllllle to the wooorlllllld, bOth to aaaangels aaaand to meeennnnn. WE are fOoollls for-Christ’s-sake, but yOooU are pruUdent in Christ; wE are weeeeak, but youUU are strOonng; yOou are dis-tINg-uished, but we are without honoorrrrrrr.

    1. Sorry to find myself clueless, Marleen, but you’ll have to explain to me exactly what you meant to say with that last post. Who are “gray persons”? I cited CS Lewis and his grey town inhabitants, who actually turned out to be mere insubstantial ghosts, but none of them spoke like your characterization (not even the Tragedian puppet/alter-ego). And what implication are you drawing from 1Cor.4:9b-10? I recognize a bit of sarcasm in Rav Shaul’s expression in this chapter, regarding the Corinthian self-image, or perhaps, their embarrassment to acknowledge the role he had played for them; but I’m just not seeing the connection that you seem to perceive regarding this blog article. Care to fill me in???

  64. Oh, I haven’t read the grey town C.S. Lewis thing you referred to.* I thought it was why Kari talked that way. I think Ayn Rand’s stuff goes together. You don’t get really to love her for the parts you love (not that I recall you saying you like or love anything about her, PL). So things like stingy hateful attitudes and abortion (and outcomes of homosexuality, for instance in your daughter whose unborn child apparently wasn’t lovable) are of a same worldview. Sometimes it has a different configuration, hateful greed and sexual attitudes, outcome dead people from rape. (See genesis 19 and judges 19.) Greed and selfishness and rape, maybe without death but killing the soul. Ah, but I can see a Caesar puppet, stroking his chin, “Rape, what IS rape,” like a hurt person is a philosophical question and maybe a joke, not real. My cousin’s mother wanted to pick and choose the sins from this genre she thought useful [not to mention my own mother again, but like I said, I never got pregnant or had an abortion, yet she meddled in my life]. Others choose the ones they find pleasurable. Still others think they can pluck out the supposedly awesome economic attitude and still distance themselves from the ugly parts. And then there are the sounds of how that turns out. We can’t afford it, makes sense. Get on the table. Or I don’t want to be embarrassed, it’s not good for our future, so how about this other terrible way to go that I feel better about (such as the virgin girls in place of the male-like or male friends or the violent disregard of how your daughter felt about a baby, so she won’t show). Wait, wait, now, you don’t get to pick things about your own life, daughter even though your choice isn’t violent. Your choice is embarrassing again, and not the future I had in mind with the well-off husband.

    * I’ve read quite a few things by and about him, but pretty much stopped (although I have a few more in my possession to read sometime). I read a remake of some strange “classical” story. I really think it was a mistake on his part to write that one. Can’t remember the name of it right now, something about faces maybe. I have a friend who was enjoying reading his writings until he got to some other strange example, maybe the “Screwtape Letters.” He stopped. No more. He didn’t say a lot about it except he decided it was enough. I think its good to be spiritually sensitive like that and careful.

    1. Marleen:
      Oh, I haven’t read the grey town C.S. Lewis thing you referred to.* I thought it was why Kari talked that way.

      You thought what was why I talked which way?

      I do hope you understand there was no sarcasm in my comments to you . . .

    2. Marleen –
      I think you misunderstood my point about the fairness line and kind of ran wild with it. First of all, I wrote that in response to PL, who said I supplied the idea that life isn’t fair in one of my comments. And in the context I presented, that statement is aimed at shifting my children’s focus away from comparing their lot and portion to that of their sisters’. “The fact that your sister’s scoop of ice cream is bigger by 3 micrograms is not a measure of our love or your value.” That sort of thing.

      When it comes to actual injustice, our philosophy is much different. It starts with compassion, involves setting things back to right (if possible) and mending relationship. Our message would never be “just suck it up” or “don’t make me look bad,” which seems to be the approach in the examples you gave. Completely NOT what I was saying.

      As for the Paul passage, I think you’ve misapplied it, not that he’s cynical or a whiner. If we follow the point of the passage over to your example of women in traditional marriages, then the actual takeaway is closer to “they are actually the wise ones.” Paul’s whole point is not that those who follow G-d’s wisdom are actually fools, but that those who regard themselves as wise may judge them to be fools because they fundamentally misunderstand true wisdom. Paul’s point is that the Corinthians have found true wisdom, and must solace themselves with that truth when those around them *judge* them as fools by an inferior standard. So if you apply that verse’s message to women, you are actually saying they are among the wisest in society who sacrifice what the world at-large says makes a person meaningful and wise in favor of what *actually* does (in this parallel it would be rearing children at the expense of marketable skills, as you put it). But if that was indeed your point, you didn’t make it clearly.

      And I’m not sure why you keep talking about Ayn Rand. If she’s a voice within Libertarianism, she isn’t the only one. There’s a broad spectrum of beliefs within Libertarianism, and some of them represent ideas that are mutually exclusive. It’s too broad of a label, and no one person is the spokesman (or woman). I’ve never read her stuff, but you definitely seem to be in a rage about her. It’s certainly not safe or right to assume that because someone agrees with certain Libertarian principles, that you can peg their attitudes toward human suffering and injustice. I’m truly sorry you’ve encountered so many sub-human responses to people in crisis and need. But please don’t insinuate anyone in this thread into those molds based on one word with a diversity of meanings and applications (Libertarian).

  65. Well PL, I’ve looked at a summary and bit of explanation. I’m not sure what you were trying to say about the story. I can guess or figure. But I ended up reading about FOG and the various “kinds” of emotional manipulators (actually blackmailers is how they put it) there are — he is all of them. And I don’t play into it, so he has gone on to the threats of leaving or accusations of the other being a home wrecker. In fact he has a constant habit of accusing the other of whatever thing he does with no basis for doing so except his projection of himself. I would say my mother is one or two of the four, and she picked him.

    Anyway, I’m trying to convey what I just said earlier. Basically, the bastardization of faith with this economic fetish does no good for anyone except in the attachment to prosperity “gospel.” Such beliefs can be fun for people who have things going well.

  66. Kari. Understand I was never whining or thinking Paul was whining. But I did say that he said cynical words because he was describing what he saw, not what he thought or believed. I’m glad my putting his words into whining helped you see this after all.

    1. Marleen,
      You putting Paul’s words into whining left me with the impression that you thought I was judging the suffering of real people as “whining.” Was that your point?

  67. The 12:40 was to you, PL. I wonder if reading his fictionalization of someone like her helped me not be trapped by it in by thought patterns, but rather to see it for the manipulation and unfairness it is. I’m pretty sure that is so. I think, the green room or something like that.

    1. OK, Marleen — I do think it was precisely Lewis’ purpose to illustrate certain human foibles in a manner that could help his readers to recognize and avoid doing them. While he might have exaggerated slightly for effect, it’s not unlikely that he drew upon real-life experiences that he thought his readers of the period would recognize.

      And thank you, Kari, for clarifying that Marleen was trying to simulate a whining tone for Rav Shaul’s observation to the Corinthians.

  68. Not to neglect to notice he threatened to leave way back after our first child was born. He apparently wouldn’t have done it before the child was born; now he had an extra chip to play or count on. Although I hadn’t threatened him with divorce when he had an affair with a woman who can do what she wants and if she wants an abortion well she knows she’s an autonomous working person (lechering on someone else’s husband), the notion of us stopping at two places out on an errand run instead of one was just too much for him to bear.

  69. AFTER we had five children and I wasn’t having more he told me he doesn’t think fetuses are human.

    He’s had at least one abortion (paid because that’s what he chose in an ultimatum as to the extent of his responsibility).

    He is interested in sex with and nakedness with lots of people, including men. Oh, and robots would be fine too. Talk about dehumanizing.

  70. Thank you for reminding me of that aspect of C.S. Louis’ life and writing, Proclaim Liberty. Although going to counseling with him was fruitless because he’s a liar and manipulator, having specific psychological terminology and related aspects like border personality and narcissism and paranoia might help in some way. Not sure how yet.

  71. Libertarianism, without that woman, tends to be based on an unrecognized feeling of a utopian possibility that is sort of the opposite of communism utopia — that is Christians have such a tendency. So, they aren’t aware or are in denial of the impossibility of that on which they insist. Those who aren’t subconsciously connected to such an idealism are just harsh.

    Those harsh Christians are readily observable in the culture as are harsh non-Christians and specifically atheists.

    The effects are harsh in any case, if not the recognized goal.

    Certainly, also, some may not be subconscious about it. They would be those who somehow think in a form of new-ageism that really, really, it’s our duty to aim for it.

    1. And then there are those who are drawn to some Libertarian principles because they recognize both reality *and* the ideal.

      For example, the reality that a powerful, centralized government never bodes well for freedom in the long-haul, so they are motivated to keep it from swelling. And the ideal that it should be people with G-d-consciousness who care for the poor and oppressed, not a secular government. I personally wouldn’t advocate for removing social programs UNLESS and UNTIL the faith community became so effective at their job that the government programs were rendered useless. Unfortunately, it’s just the opposite, so the government stepped in to do what we failed to do. But recognizing that it shouldn’t be this way isn’t the same as advocating for its reversal without compensating for the provision (which would be heartless).

      Your assessment of people who espouse Libertarian principles is jaded and one-sided. It would be much better to clarify where people are coming from than to make assumptions. Again, there’s a broad spectrum with Libertarianism, and people can fall anywhere along it.

  72. Marleen,

    I walked with a family I care deeply about through circumstances that are strikingly similar to what you’re describing. No one deserves to be treated that way.

    Unfortunately, I don’t think much can be done when narcissism and manipulation are present. People like that take no responsibility and completely wreck everyone around them, all while making everyone slightly outside of their inner circle believe the victims are the ones with the problem. I’ve yet to see a situation like that end happily.

    I sincerely hope you can find your way to wholeness and health, as I don’t doubt living like that for 3+ decades has taken a huge toll.

  73. I’m observing how it effects society. A few people having a view that they call libertarian isn’t about the effect of the whole aggregate in real time. Plus, some of the leaders (I mean people doing things and having a large following whether any particular person follows them or not) have a different agenda than people might think. They just have a different government in mind, and it wouldn’t actually lead to smaller government in the sense of freedom from tyranny and all that. They just might “accomplish” their aims too, if the momentum continues. I have to to restrain myself from saying because I have some views of allowance that I’m libertarian just because there’s not a better word in the political world or I like it better than liberal. I know I am not liberal or libertarian or the current kind of conservative if any “kind,” but I agree with this:

    And the ideal that it should be people with G-d-consciousness who care for the poor and oppressed, not a secular government. I personally wouldn’t advocate for removing social programs UNLESS and UNTIL the faith community became so effective at their job that the government programs were rendered useless. Unfortunately, it’s just the opposite, so the government stepped in to do what we failed to do. But recognizing that it shouldn’t be this way isn’t the same as advocating for its reversal without compensating for the provision (which would be heartless).

  74. Oh, looking back through things… a straggling point:
    I wasn’t the one who gave him such an “ultimatum.”
    I had nothing to do with that situation or perspective.

  75. I hope whining hasn’t been retracted and replaced with “raging.”

    Let’s see, how do we simulate a raging Paul with the same words?

    : ) I’m not going to try. I don’t think that would be helpful or fun. Do you see? He spoke cynical words, not beliefs. As did I. A person can be trying to convey experience as Paul did and as C.S. Lewis did. I’m just not writing fiction or theology that can seem so distant.

    I think it’s sad enough that people need contracts, but they do. And you don’t disagree, nor does Judaism. It’s worth saying that you can make it a prerequisite, before moving forward, to get a contract if you didn’t. The old loves of power and money and games and dominance aren’t gone. People haven’t grown up as much as one might think. Some have, but ones life or rest of their life isn’t worth the naivete

  76. In fact, I don’t think Paul was writing “theology” there but experience. But people often take it as lofty for whatever reason, out of now.

  77. I Corinthians, chapters 1-4 (edited significantly shorter, with notes):

    From Paulos — called through the will of God to be an ambassador of Yeshua the Messiah — and our brother Sosthenes: To the community of God which is at Corinth. Your are those who are sanctified in Messiah Yeshua, called to belong to God with everyone in every place who calls on the name of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah, theirs and ours. Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Yeshua the Messiah.

    I always thank my God concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you in Messiah Yeshua — that you were enriched in him in everything, in all speech and all knowledge. In this way, what bears witness to the Messiah was confirmed in you…..through whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Yeshua the Messiah, our Lord.

    Now I exhort you, brethren, through the name of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah, that you all communicate the same things and that there are no divisions among you, but that you be restored in the same mind and in the same purpose. For concerning you my brethren, it has been made known to me by those who are from Chloe’s household that there is strife among you. I mean……

    I thank God that I immersed none of you except [a few]…. Besides them, I do not know whether I immersed any other. For Messiah did not send me to immerse, but to proclaim the good news — not in wisdom of words, so that Messiah’s tree of death would not be nullified.

    ….. Where is the wise man? Where is the man of letters? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made the wisdom of this world foolish?

    For seeing that in the wisdom of God, the world through its wisdom did not know God, it was God’s good pleasure… [because]
    ….the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

    But God has chosen the foolish things of the world so that He might put to shame* those that are [“]wise[“…] chosen the weak things… that He might put to shame* those that are strong. And …the despised, and the things that are not, so that He might make useless* the things that are. In this way, no flesh will boast before God. ….Yeshua… was made wisdom from God, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption [to us].

    When I came to you… I decided not to know anything among you other than Yeshua the Messiah, and him put to death… I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. My speech and my proclamation were not in persuasive words [designed for the affirmation] of human wisdom [even inadvertently], but in demonstration of the Spirit

    We {Paul and his companion or fellow ambassador[(s) or apostles with him or not with him]} do… speak wisdom among those who are fully mature, but a wisdom not of this age… [and had the rulers of this age (the age of strength and winning and glory in one’s position or place of power or ability to dominate), who are becoming useless, known, it, they would not have put the Lord of glory to death… {but they did put him to death because they could show their strength of superiority so perceived (including, in the case of some, their sense of righteousness) and retain their personal glory and ability or able-ness (for a time) based in strength and resources at their command, superior in this age}].

    ….Now we {Paul and Appolos or Sosthenes and so on} did not receive the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is from God, so that we might know the things that were freely given to us by God. We also do not speak {generally among the truly wise, outside the context of those who are not able or are not truly wise rather than “wise” such as with the Corinthians’ “wisdom” so-called} these things in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual things.

    Brethren, I could not speak to you as to spiritual+ men, but as to men living in response to your physical senses, as to infants in Messiah. I gave you milk to drink, not solid food, because you were not yet able. But you are still not able.

    {Then Paul speaks of building (actively choosing) what is worthwhile — and on the proper, only, foundation (Yeshua) — God giving the growth (both in the beginning of the Corinthians’ involvement in the Spirit of God and going forward).}

    Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool, so that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, “He has taken the wise in their craftiness.” [Job 5:13] And again, “The Ever-present Lord knows the reasoning of the wise, that it is worthless.” [Ps. 94:11] ….

    Therefore let a man think of us as servants of Messiah, and managers of God’s mysteries {rather than the world’s “mysteries” or those of Rome or of commonly understood strength, and rather than servants of any purveyor of advantage or of advantage itself}. Moreover, it is required of managers that they be found faithful. But with me it is a very small thing that I should be subjected to a judicial inquiry by you or by the day of Man. Yes, I do not subject my own self to a judicial inquiry, for I am conscious of nothing against myself. Yet I am not declared righteous by this, but the one who subjects me to a judicial inquiry is the Lord. Therefore judge nothing {in a final* sense} before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and reveal the counsels of hearts. Then each man will have his praise…

    [Paul isn’t looking for praise, exactly, as if he had “arrived” (in our vernacular as a figure of speech), but he is also not saying attitudes, and behaviors based on attitudes, are pointless to evaluate in the interim as we wait.]

    {Note from “The Messianic Writings” translated and annotated by Daniel Gruber for 4:3-5: “the day of Man” is used to describe the judgments of this age, in contrast to ”the day of the Everpresent Lord,” the time when God judges. [As when I would use any other translation, don’t blame this translator for whatever might be found objectionable about my point of view on these chapters in this thread or my emphases or notes or annotations (like asterisks) within the text. I don’t say that to anyone in particular, it’s a general statement of clarity.]}

    Now brethren, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your sakes, so that through us you might learn not to think beyond* what has been written, so that none of you be conceited against one another. For who makes you different? And …if you did receive [whatever you have], why boast as if not received?

    You are already filled. You have already become rich. You have come to reign without us. Yes, and I wish that you did reign, so that we also might reign with you. {Those who are truly of the Spirit will not be left seen and treated as low or last or “not” when those of faith (including all, as in, including Paul and Apollos) reign with the Messiah.} For I think that God has exhibited us, the ambassadors, last of all, like men sentenced to death. For we {not the Corinthians} are made a spectacle to the world, both to angels and men. We {not the Corinthians} are fools for the sake of Messiah, but you are [“]wise[”] in Messiah. We are weak, but you are strong. You have honor, but we have dishonor. Even to the present hour, we hunger and thirst; we are naked, beaten, and homeless. {The “we” here is not the Corinthians [because they are “wise” and “strong” in their imaginations, as if in Christ]. What follows these thoughts is that Paul isn’t hoping the Corinthians will continue toward shame or final uselessness.}

    We toil… being reviled, we bless. Being persecuted, we endure. Being defamed, we entreat. We have become as filth in the world, the dirt wiped off by all, even to this moment. I do not write these things to shame* you, but to admonish you as my beloved children. For though you have ten thousand childhood guardians in Messiah, yet not many fathers. ….

    What do you want? Shall I come to you with a rod, or in love and a spirit of gentleness?

    +Now the man of the soul does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, because they are foolishness to him and he cannot know them, since they are spiritually discerned. [4Mac. 1:32] But the one who is spiritual discerns… we {Paul, et al., and potentially the Corinthians} have Messiah’s understanding.

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