General Discussions > Spirituality

Religion and Same sex marriage

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Susan:
We must constantly question any actions which seek to make one class of citizens different than another. Only by joining together instead of dividing do we allow the end of hate, bigotry, and distrust of our fellow citizens. Abraham Lincoln said it best. "Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves; and, under a just God, can not long retain it."

This is the issue our country is now facing with the issue of gay marriage. Some people are seeking to use religious doctrines in order to prevent society from allowing the marriage of a person one gender to another person of the same gender. In fact that doctrine is not as firm as we are led to believe. Only in somewhat recent times has same-sex marriages become anathema to society. There are multiple religious ceremonies recorded in the historical record for the joining of same-sex couples in some of our most mainstream religions. For example the Catholic faith has some of the following:

"Office of Same Sex Union" (10th and 11th century Greek)
"Order for Uniting Two Men" (11th and 12th century)
"Order for Solemnisation of Same Sex Union" (13 century)
"Office of Same Sex Union" (14th Serbian)

"These ceremonies had all the contemporary symbols of a marriage: a community gathered in a church, a blessing of the couple before the altar, their right hands joined as at heterosexual marriages, the participation of a priest, the taking of the Eucharist, a wedding banquet afterwords. All of which are shown in contemporary drawings of the same sex union of Byzantine Emperor Basil I (867-886) and his companion John."

These ceremonies took place all across the Christian world, ranging from France, Turkey, Ireland, Rome, Russia, and in the Sinai ranging in date from the 8th to the 18th century over 1,000 years.

Our country is lagging behind the rest of the civilized world in recognizing the civil rights for gay, lesbian, and <transgender> individuals. We generally pride ourselves on leading the world in civil rights well here we are trying our best to not to even run in the race.

Our current president said "After more than two centuries of American jurisprudence and millennia of human experience, a few judges and local authorities are presuming to change the most fundamental institution of civilization." but as I have shown for millennia people around the world recognized that marriage is between consenting parties who share a love and commitment between themselves. This was recognized by both God and men.

He also said that, "The union of a man and woman is the most enduring human institution, honored and encouraged in all cultures and by every religious faith. Ages of experience have taught humanity that the commitment of a husband and wife to love and to serve one another promotes the welfare of children and the stability of society." This will not change with same-sex marriages but it will expand and rebound as the commitment these couples make to themselves, to God, and to society make America a much better place.

And perhaps the only thing George W. Bush Jr. got right in his entire statement was "Government, by recognizing and protecting marriage, serves the interests of all."

From "Same Sex Unions in Premodern Europe," by John Boswell, Appendix of Translations.
Quoted verbatim from http://www.lgac.org/marriage/unions.html

3. Grottaferrata Gamma Beta VII [tenth century] [Greek]
Office of Same-Sex Union

Prayer for union

O Lord our God, who made humankind in thine image and likeness and gave it power of all flesh everlasting, and who now hast approved thy saints and apostles Philip and Bartholomew becoming partners, not bound together by nature, but in the unity of holy spirit and in the the mode of faith, thou who didst consider thy saints and martyrs Serge an Bacchus worthy to be united, bless thy servants, N. and N., [...and grant them] to love each other and to remain unhated and without scandal all the days of their lives [...].

A further prayer for union

Splendid to us and much sought after is the sweet smell of love, established in the time of the patriarchs, guided by the voices of the prophets, and sanctified by the preaching of the apostles: because of all beautiful things of the earth love is the most excellent. [...]

It is through love that we glorify God, [...] who has gathered us together from different places to come and see the treasury of love, which all the saints have desired and embraced as an unfading crown, and brought to God as a worthy gift. Yearning for this love Abel brought to God the firstborn of his lambs; yearning for this love Enoch the scribe pleased God with his justice; love strengthened the faith of Abraham so that he could prepare a welcome for the angels; [...] love rescued Daniel from the lion's den; love caused Elijah to be taken up to heaven in a chariot of fire; and love saved Elishah on the mountain. Yearning for this love the three holy children were preserved from the fire in the furnace and offered a hymn of praise to God. And it is through love that we all come to know Thee as God of all; servants the master, the mortal the immortal, those in time the eternal, those on earth the celestial. [...] Thou hast said, Lord, "Ask and it shall be given unto you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened onto you. [...]"

We, therefore, kind Lord, mindful of the holy commands of thine awesome and glorious covenant, knock on earth: open to us in heaven. [...] For where there is love hatred does not rule, demons have no power, there is not sin. For there are these three things--faith, hope, and the greatest of all, love.

Wonderful and much longed for is the sweet smell of love. On earth, it sows the seeds of piety and in heaven it gathers the sheaves of justice.

4. Grottaferrata Gamma Beta II [eleventh centry] [Greek]
Office of Same-Sex Union

Forasmuch as Thou, O Lord and Ruler, art merciful and loving, who didst establish humankind after thine image and likeness, who didst deem it meet that thy holy apostles Philip and Bartholomew be united, bound one unto the other not by nature buy by faith and the spirit. As thou didst find thy holy martyrs Serve and Bacchus worthy to be united together, bless also these thy servants, N. and N., joined together not by the bond of nature but by faith and in the mode of the spirit, granting unto them peace and love and oneness of mind. [...]

Another Prayer for Same-Sex Union

O Lord Our God, who didst grant unto us all those things necessary for salvation and didst bid us to love one another and forgive each other our failings, bless and consecrate, kind Lord and lover of good, these thy servants who love each other with a love of the spirit and have come into this thy holy church to be blessed and consecrated. Grant unto them unashamed fidelity and sincere love, as Thou didst vouchsafe unto thy holy disciples and apostles thy peace and love, bestow also on these [servants], O Christ our God, affording to them all those things needed for salvation and life eternal. For Thou art the light and the truth and thine is the glory.

Ecclesiastical Canon of Marriage of the Patriarch Methodius

O Lord our God, the designer of love and author of peace and disposer of thine own providence, who didst make two into one and hast given us one to another, who has [seen fit] to bless all things pure and timeless, send Thou now down from heaven thy right hand full of grace and lovingkindness over these thy servants who have come before Thee and given their right hands as a lawful token of union and the bond of marriage. Sanctify and fill them with thy mercies. And wrapping the pair in every grace and in divine and spiritual radiance, gladden them in the expectations of thy mercies. Perfect their union by bestowing upon them peace and love and harmony, and deem them worthy of the imposition and consecration of the crowns, through the prayers of her that conceived Thee in power and truth, and those of all thy saints, now and forever.

14. Instanbul: Holy Sepulcher 615 [1522] [Greek]

O Lord our God, who didst grant us all things for salvation, and didst command us to love one another and to forgive one other our failings, do Thou now, Ruler, Lord, lover of good and of humankind, these thy servants N. and N., who love each other with a love of the spirit and have come into thy holy church to be blessed by Thee. Grant them unashamed fidelity, true love, and as Thou gavest to thy holy disciples and apostles thy peace and love, grant also to these, Christ our Lord, bestowing on them all things needed for salvation and eternal life.

O Lord our God and Ruler, who madest heaven and earth, and who didst establish and fashion humankind in thine image and likeness, who didst deign to grant unto them authority over life eternal, who didst approve it when thy holy disciples and apostles Philip and Bartholomew were joined together, not by nature but by faith, who didst sanctify the union of thy holy martyrs, Serge and Bacchus, bless these thy servants, N. and N., not bound by nature but [a holy spirit and] by faith. Vouchsafe unto them that they may love one other and unhated and blameless, so that all the days of their lives they may glorify thy holy name [...].

15. Belgrade [date uncertain; before the eighteeneth century] [Serbian Slavonic]

Lord God almighty, who didst fashion humankind after thine image and likeness and bestow upon us eternal life, Thou thoughtest it right that thy holy and glorious apostles [...] Philip and Bartholomew, should be joined together in perfect love, faith and love of the heart. Thou also didst deem it proper for the holy martyrs Serge and Bacchus to be united. Bless though these thy servants. Grant unto them grace and prosperity, and faith and love; let them love each other without envy and without temptation all the days of their lives [...].

[...] Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.

[...] We pray further for these servants, N. and N., for their life, their health, their salvation and forgiveness of their sins. May they continue in union without blame and without temptation. Let us all say: Lord have mercy.
 
*Permission is granted to reproduce and republish this essay provided the signature line below is kept intact. If you do republish this I would appreciate an email letting me know simply for curiosity sake.

stephanie:
Verey interesting to read that a Christian faith had allowed and performed same-sex unions for centuries, whereas now the very same faith is being used as a weapon against the very same ideals.

As I always say, homophobia is the "last great racism."

Lisbeth:

--- Quote from: stephanie on August 08, 2005, 11:38:47 pm ---As I always say, homophobia is the "last great racism."

--- End quote ---
If you listen to some, racism is the great problem of the world.  Others say the same about sexism.  And, or course, there's homophobia.  It seems to me the problem is bigger than any of these.  If you take the long historical view, the last 4,000 years has been the story of the Indo-European conquest of the world. 

Out of the Caususes region came waves of blond-haired, blue-eyed people.  They brought their language. (English is decended from it.)  They brought their religion. (The paternalistic Sky Father replaced Mother Earth.)  They brought their culture. (The guitar is descended from their musical instruments.  So are the bag pipes and the accordian.)

For hundreds of years they were restricted to Europe, the Mediteranian, the Middle East, and India.  Then about the 15th century they exploded out of Europe into the rest of the world.  The conquest is still continuing.  They take what they want and sell it back to the rest of the world.  (Coka Cola and Camels already control the globe.)

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