December 10, 2008 8:21 AM
It's 'call-in-gay' day - and Newsweek says the bible isn't hostile to gay marriage
The idea for the protest started in California with Sean Hetherington, a West Hollywood comedian and personal trainer. He dreamed up the idea with his boyfriend, Aaron Hartzler, after reading that gay-rights activists were calling for a daylong strike to protest California's passage of Proposition 8. That ballot measure reversed a state Supreme Court decision allowing gay marriage.
The couple thought it would be more effective and less divisive if people were asked to perform community service instead of staying home with their wallets shut.
Not everyone is keen on the idea.
"It's extra-challenging for people to think about taking off work as a form of protest, given that we are talking about people who may not be out (as gay) at work, and given the current economic situation and job market," said Jules Graves, 38, coordinator of the Colorado Queer Straight Alliance. "There is really not any assurance employers would appreciate it for what it is."
Graves' group nonetheless is arranging for interested participants to volunteer at the local African Community Center in Denver. The agency said it could find projects to keep 20 people busy, but so far only 10 have pledged to show up, Graves said.
Meanwhile, Newsweek's Lisa Miller writes that a careful reading of the Bible doesn't support those who cite divine inspiration for opposing gay 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?
Of course not, yet the religious opponents of gay marriage would have it be so.
The battle over gay marriage has been waged for more than a decade, but within the last six months--since California legalized gay marriage and then, with a ballot initiative in November, amended its Constitution to prohibit it--the debate has grown into a full-scale war, with religious-rhetoric slinging to match. Not since 1860, when the country's pulpits were full of preachers pronouncing on slavery, pro and con, has one of our basic social (and economic) institutions been so subject to biblical scrutiny. But whereas in the Civil War the traditionalists had their James Henley Thornwell--and the advocates for change, their Henry Ward Beecher--this time the sides are unevenly matched. All the religious rhetoric, it seems, has been on the side of the gay-marriage opponents, who use Scripture as the foundation for their objections.