Blame Canada

So I’m checking my Facebook account this morning when there are at least seventeen dozen other, more productive things I ought to be doing.  And I’m surprised to find an advertisement about Canada there on the right side of my screen. 

I’ve learned to tune out adverts online.  One of the benefits of having first gone online in the pre-graphical, text-based days of the Internet (anyone remember Elm?), is that I learned to tune out everything except exactly what I’m looking for.  And trust me, advertisements are *never* what I’m looking for.  However every now and then one of them catches my eye.  Like this morning. 

Being denied your rights?  Consider Canada.  We help gay singles and couples immigrate.  Complete our free online assessment.

I’m unclear initially as to whether their assessment verifies whether I’m gay or not, or somehow contributes to the immigration issue.  In either event, I’m quite certain I don’t qualify.  But the ad is amusing and disturbing all the same.

It assumes that you can be denied a right you’ve never had, and that no one has never existed , anywhere, at any time, in all of human history.  It assumes that you have the right to redefine the institution of marriage for all of a nation, even though the number of people who would benefit from this change is well under 5% of the population.  It assumes that whether dictated by God or selected by nature, marriage is ultimately an arbitrary institution that can and should be defined (and of course redefined) to suit whomever has the most initiative and money (since it’s clearly not a majority rules sort of thing).  It assumes that if you don’t personally get what you want, then the logical course of action is to immigrate.  And perhaps it is.  And there are people who are happy to help you, for a small fee, I’m sure. 

It’s ironic that the people who bill themselves as being the most open minded and tolerant, are somehow understood by certain other people to be the least open minded and tolerant.  I would think that would be incredibly insulting.  Perhaps it is. 

7 Responses to “Blame Canada”

  1. Ged Says:

    While I agree that gay marriage is not a right, I believe the idea of marriage has changed through the years. This is just the latest change. Other Biblical scenes of marriage: http://www.bostonphoenix.com/boston/news_features/this_just_in/documents/03356537.asp

  2. Paul Says:

    Hey you! Glad you responded. The article you linked to was interesting, and a fairly common defense for allowing changes to the concept of what ‘marriage’ means. I understand that you may not support gay marriage personally, but I find your decision to link to the article interesting. I’ll point out first of all that I didn’t offer the Bible as the defining authority on what marriage ought to be (though I certainly *do* believe this to be the case). It has been a common tactic by proponents of gay marriage to frame the issue as one of Christian suppression of a human right – but this is wildly inaccurate. First off, Christianity is certainly not the only religion that does not condone homosexuality or homosexual marriage. I’m not aware of any major religion that condones or acknowledges gay marriage – including Hinduism, which provides a variety of definitions of appropriate marital arrangements -none of which acknowledge homosexual marriages. If we want to make it a Christian issue, it would be more accurate to frame it as a religious issue instead. However, even this effort is flawed, since religion (and Christianity in particular), while having much to say of import on the topic, is by no means the only basis for rejecting a redefinition of marriage. Even by the standards of natural selection, we ought to reject the idea of homosexual marriage. I’ll continue with responses to the article itself in another comment, since I’m apparently limited in space for responses to comments. Kind of annoying, since this is *my* blog!!

  3. Paul Says:

    As to the article’s analysis of Biblical comments on marriage.First off, as I’m sure you’ll agree, we have to distinguish between when the Bible *describes* an action, and when the Bible *approves* or *endorses* an action. A great deal of the Bible – particularly the Old Testament – consists of historical and family narrative. It describes things that happened. As such, it describes *some* things that happened, without providing an endorsement of them. This addresses items 1, 3, and 7. Each is a description of an event or a state of affairs, not an endorsement of the event or state of affairs as the way God wants things to work. In fact, in each of these situations or events, it’s clear that the event or situation is *contrary* to how things ought to be. Note that the Ammonites and Moabites are not exactly beloved groups of people in the Bible, and this is traced to their origins in the incestuous acts of Lot’s daughters. David and Solomon both struggled with the influence their wives had over them, as well as their concubines. While the practice of polygyny and the having of concubines was an accepted practice of kings of the time and area, nowhere does the Bible say that this was the right thing to do. On that matter, we ought to rather look at Genesis 1&2 for the definitive Biblical assertion about the nature of male/female sexual/marital relationships. One man. One woman. Lifelong. Period.Items 2, 4, and 6 pertain to the directions given to the people of Israel, and are not dictates for how marriage is to be conducted generally or today. They have to do with the separation of Israel from surrounding nations not just geographically and politically, but also culturally. And the conclusion for item 5 is probably very close to accurate, even if the evidence is incorrectly applied. Look at Matthew 5:31=32. On this occasion, Jesus indicates that there *is* a legitimate grounds for divorce – when a spouse violates the trust of the relationship through sexual infidelity. The rules for divorce should undoubtedly be tightened up considerably if we were basing them on Biblical precepts (not that I’m implying that we do base our divorce laws on the Bible). But it is inaccurate to say that the Bible does not permit (as opposed to encourage) divorce for *any* reason.Thoughts? Comments?The Bible has much to say about marriage, and at times it may appear contradictory. But I don’t think it is, if viewed contextually and holistically. Again, trying to make out opposition to same-sex marriage as strictly a religious or Christian issue is a red herring to begin with. But there is a Biblical basis for rejecting same-sex marriage, and Christians should be aware of this as well.

  4. Jeffrey Henning Says:

    Well, I have always found the original article to be humorous, which is why I linked to it. To me, marriage is a social institution that has changed over time, and the article demonstrates that. I have two acquaintances (immigrants to the U.S.) in arranged marriages, which is certainly at odds with the mainstream. I have a female friend who is legally married to a woman. To me, this simply represents a secular evolution of the social construct of marriage, and one that provides important secular benefits. I’m happy with it as a secular benefit (benefit, not right) and am fine with the fact that most states reject it while a few accept it. That said, there is no Biblical basis for recognizing or forming such unions in any Christian church. So, I’m fine with it a secular construct, against it as a sacrament.

  5. Paul Says:

    The article would be humorous, if they were joking. But I don’t think they are, and therefore, it’s not all that funny, personally. By ‘social institution’, what do you mean? Did man create/invent marriage, or did God? As a Biblical Christian, I confess that marriage is something created by God – Genesis 1 & 2. God’s ordering of things predates any of our own ideas on the topic.  Marriage is intended as a monogamous, lifelong relationship between one man and one woman. Of course, marriage does exist as a formalized social contract as well, and the state has had quite an interest in that arrangement for a long time. That interest stems from many sources, I’m sure. Property rights and economic issues, as well as basic peace and harmony within a socio-political entity – both on it’s own, and as a neighbor to other kingdoms or countries. Marriage has had different implementations – monogamy and polygyny being the most common. I’m not aware of cultures that have legally recognized marriage of one woman to multiple men. And I’m not aware of cultures that accepted homosexual unions as ‘marriage’, however else they might have dealt with them.   I’m not sure what sort of changes you’re thinking of in respect to the social institution. So if we’re talking about the evolution of the social custom side of things, homosexual marriage would be a massive and unprecedented change in how humans have understood marriage from a social perspective (distinct from a religious aspect). And I personally find it very bizarre that an institution that has been understood to be basically exclusively heterosexual for all of human history should be arbitrarily redefined by judicial decree on behalf of a tiny percentage of the population. Just doesn’t make sense to me. If homosexuality were rampant, I could at least see the social argument for legalizing homosexual marriages. You’re right, the secular understanding of marriage might be subject (imperfectly) to changes over time – but it would be interesting to research what changes have evolved and why, and how this latest effort to redefine marriage compares. I suspect it doesn’t really compare at all, which just makes it more suspect to me. Marriage doesn’t fit the definition of a sacrament, since it’s not commanded by God and is not the basis for a promise of forgiveness. However, I think it’s not wise to simply way that what the secular world chooses to do is not related in any way to how God intended things to be.

  6. Ged Says:

    Polyandry has been legal in certain cultures, where fraternal polyandry (brothers sharing a wife) was used instead of primogeniture. I don’t think polyandry was ever as popular in Polynesia as Melville and other European writers imagined, but it was practiced among Polynesian noblewomen. Since we do not live in a theocracy, I was simply commenting on the secular realm of this particular social contract. As for me, I think promiscuity is a greater sin than homosexuality; at least this practice curtails that.

  7. Paul Says:

    Thanks for pushing me to research polyandry a bit. Seems to be more misunderstood than understood at this point, but it doesn’t change the basic parameters of the discussion here. It’s an aberration of heterosexual marriage, like polygyny. As such, it is not equivalent to homosexual marriage.Thanks for the clarification. I tend to think that even within the secular realm, there is no justification for the equivocation of homosexual marriages with heterosexual marriage. Homosexual unions could be (and already are in places) granted specific legal rights that are currently enjoyed by officially ‘married’ couples, without equating homosexual unions to heterosexual marriage.We would probably agree that there is no ‘greater’ sin theologically/Biblically speaking, so I’m assuming you’re talking about the secular realm again in terms of homosexual promiscuity vs. homosexual marriage.It would seem to me that two wrongs don’t make a right. Redefining marriage as an arbitrary institution as far as the individual members of it go probably would not eliminate promiscuity, since (and I don’t have any sort of firm numbers to back this us) my assumption is that a small percentage of practicing homosexuals actually seek to be ‘married’. Those that do seek this are likely already in monogamous relationships. Thus, no real change in promiscuity. Seeking to curtail promiscuity by further confusing and clouding issues of identity and gender and sexuality vis a vis how we define marriage seems problematic in the extreme to me.

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