Jesus' Defense of Marriage

Jack Miles in an LA Times piece, points out the log in the eye of Evangelical Christians as they oppose gay marriage.

Divorce. Something, as Miles points out, Jesus had "zero tolerance" for. And something Evangelical Christians do more than the general population in the US.

Miles goes on to say about Jesus: "Divorce, not homosexuality, was obviously the threat to marriage that most preoccupied him."

Meanwhile, Nicholas Kristoff of the New York Times points out that the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act was "written by the thrice-married Representative Bob Barr and signed by the philandering Bill Clinton. " Kristoff also recalls an proposed ammendment from 1912 to bar interracial marriage--as some states were allowing--proposed by then Representative Seaborn Roddenberry of Georgia: "Intermarriage between Negroes or persons of color and Caucasians . . . is forever prohibited."

He took this action, he said, because some states were permitting marriages that were "abhorrent and repugnant," and he aimed to "exterminate now this debasing, ultrademoralizing, un-American and inhuman leprosy."

Krisoff's point: "best way to preserve the sanctity of Americanmarriage is for us all to spend less time fretting about other people's marriages — and more time improving our own."

"If anyone has ears to hear," as Jesus was prone to say, "let him hear."

But enough pontificating already.

There are two religion stories in the Sacramento Bees from this week worth reading. The first is about Dr. John Dorsey, a psychiatrist who's practice is in an Episcopal church bell tower.

While the church bell doesn't ring during office hours, you've got to go up a wooden attic staircase to get there. And the story's got the best line I've seen this week.

The good doctor is dusting minds in God's own attic.

The second story is about Sihks who want to join the US Army. Since their faith forbids them cutting their hair and shaving--the crew cut, clean shaven GI look is out.

The story leads with Bikram Sign of suburban Sacramento, who belongs to a faith made up of "holy warriors."

When the U.S. Army called Singh to recruit him two
years ago, he didn't hesitate. If the Army wanted
him, he wanted the Army.

The army wouldn't take him, though, unless he shed
his turban and shaved his beard. Singh believes,
however, that God made him perfect as-is. Like
other Sikhs, he believes that to cut his hair -
"shave and serve" - would undermine his faith, and
he would be seen as less of a Sikh.

It's a balanced look at the complex ways religion, culture, and the real world intersect. And it ends with the story of Uday Singh of Lake Forest, Illinois who became a "sehaj-dhari" Sikh, by cutting his hair when he joined the army. He was killed in action in Iraq on December 1.

"Death is a matter of pride for the Sikh," his father told the Bee. "We do have our condolences for the family, but we do not have lamentations. He has proven to be a hero."


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