Pixel Tracker

Sunday, December 16 , 2018, 7:02 pm | Fair 57º


Scott Harris: Prop 8 and the Church

It's not a condemnation of the Bible, any more than acknowledging mistakes in the Constitution would be seen as an attack on democracy.

Since the release of my “No on 8” column, I have been inundated with e-mails questioning my belief in God, my sanity and my commitment to marriage and children. My oft-stated opinion is that the state should be in the civil-union business and churches should handle marriages.

With Proposition 8, churches throughout California have turned a civil issue into a religious one and are working tirelessly and passionately to codify their religious beliefs into civil law. For those who stand on the street corners or behind the pulpit with a Bible in one hand and a “Yes on 8” placard in the other, I raise the following three issues:

Article Image
Scott Harris
» Leviticus 20:13 says, “If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them.” For those who prefer the New Testament, Romans 1:26-27: “For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence [sic] of their error which was meet.”

As we have been told over and over in the past few weeks, the Bible clearly states that homosexuality is wrong and, as a result, our society cannot condone the lifestyle. We are admonished that we can’t allow gays to marry without expecting catastrophic effects on marriage and family.

The Bible is an amazing work, and I would argue that, along with the U.S. Constitution, it is one of the two most important written documents in the history of mankind. However, brilliant but flawed men wrote them, though it should be noted that many believe the Bible to be divinely inspired. Both documents made women second-class citizens and slaves weren’t citizens at all. Both have portions that have had to be reinterpreted over time to reflect societal progress. Without the 14th Amendment, our constitution still might recognize slavery, and without the 19th Amendment, women in this country still would not be allowed to vote.

The Bible doesn’t have amendments, so churches simply choose to ignore those passages that time and progress have rendered antiquated. Do those who insist we follow a literal interpretation of the Bible really want to enforce the following?

“Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ,” Ephesians 6:5.

“Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection,” I Timothy 2:11.

This is not a condemnation of the Bible, any more than acknowledging mistakes in the Constitution should be seen as an attack on democracy. However, blindly following passages written thousands of years ago without acknowledging that time has passed and people have changed is dangerous. One only has to look to the Middle East to see the dangers of unquestioned, unchallenged religious fanaticism.

» Theocracy: a government ruled by or subject to religious authority.

The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

Since millions of Californians are secular and millions more (both religious and secular) do not share your beliefs regarding gay marriage, how is the effort to codify denominational beliefs into a constitutional amendment not a step toward theocracy? Isn’t forcing religious beliefs on those who do not share them a violation of the First Amendment?

» Why not the Quran?

We are a country built on Judeo-Christian beliefs, balanced with religious freedoms — including freedom from religion. However, if we are going to codify religion into law, whose religion and whose interpretation? Why the Christian interpretation of the New Testament? Why not a Jewish interpretation of the Old Testament? Why not the Quran? And if Christian, then which interpretation are we to use?

Within the Christian community, different churches and clergy have taken differing public opinions on this (and many other) issues. Who gets to decide which passages we ignore, which we take seriously and how we interpret the intent of any of them?

Proposition 8 is a difficult issue, made all the more challenging by the involvement of our religious institutions and leaders. We are asked to believe that beyond the Bible, the real issue is the family and, more directly, the children. Are we to believe that — in a nation filled with divorce, adultery and simply bad parenting — a few thousand homosexuals who want nothing more than for the state to acknowledge their commitments are going to destroy marriage and family?

Perhaps an institution that historically has accepted slavery, subjugated women and until recently refused to perform interracial marriages should take another look at itself and question whether it is on the wrong side of the issue — again.

Scott Harris is a political commentator. Read his columns and contact him through his Web site, www.scottharris.biz, or e-mail him at [email protected]

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.