This will probably make you retch if you are a thinking person, so if you happen to be eating lunch right now, I am sorry. But PZ and several others found this letter from a devout Reformed Baptist man, describing his marriage to his wife, and let’s just say that if this is what anti-gay bigots are talking about when they extol “traditional marriage,” well, then, there’s a reason divorce rates are so high in more fundamentalist states and communities.
Disclaimer: yes, we know, this is not what all Christians are like. Indeed, these are Reformed Baptists, which, as a recovered Reformed Presbyterian (they’re not that far apart), I happen to know something about. It’s a strange theology, and a cruel one, wherein humans have no say in whether or not they were created in order to be sent to paradise or a fiery hell by their benevolent god. Thanks, John Calvin! As many of the most vehemently anti-gay bigots out there are Calvinists of some stripe or another, I find this relevant.
So anyway, this seems to be a note from a Reformed Baptist man to the guests of his wedding feast to the wife he has procured [you will need to click to embiggen it, probably]:
Okay! So let’s break this down a bit, so we can learn about the qualities of, apparently, some Reformed marriages, which are viewed by these people as The Real Thing, whereas same sex marriage is “an abomination.”
As Bible-believing Baptists who hold to reformed theology, X and I believe that God is sovereign in choosing who will or will not believe in him, having chosen his people before the foundation of the world (see Ephesians 1), and that his selection is unbreakable and irresistible. If marriage is to mirror this principle, we believe that a woman has no right to select a husband for herself, but that she is to be chosen by a man and marriage is to be an unbreakable arrangement between the man and her father. Based on this reasoning, we have shunned a standard proposal and wedding ceremony, because if I had asked her to marry me (which I did not) then I would have given her the decision to marry me rather than selecting her and taking her myself. Furthermore, if we had exchanged conventional marriage vows, our union would have been based on X’s will and consent, which are not Biblical factors for marriage or salvation. Instead, I asked X’s father for his blessing in taking her hand in marriage. When he gave his blessing, X and I considered ourselves to be unbreakably betrothed in the sight of God. While we had initially intended to consummate our marriage after today’s symbolic ceremony, we instead did so secretly after private scripture reading, prayer, and mutual foot-washing.
Yes, in Reformed theology, humans have no say in the matter. Therefore, as a logical extension, since “marriage” is a picture of the relationship between Christ and his church, it would follow that that sort of marriage would be essentially a transaction between a man and his new chattel’s daddy. And really, she’s just a woman. It’s not like she’s a person or anything! This is, of course, a rather childish understanding of Reformed Theology, not that I expect any more from its typical adherents. In point of fact, if this devout Reformed Baptist man had a wedding and marriage that really went according to the Calvinist “plan of salvation,” there are few details missing. Yes, they believe that their god chooses who will and will not be saved and that humans have no say in the matter. However, they also believe that, by the very act of being called upon by their god, humans come to “salvation” irresistibly. In other words, only those who are chosen are called, and by their god “changing their hearts,” they are impelled, but happily, to freely come to a “saving faith.” Those who are not chosen are simply not called and thus remain hardened or deaf or whatever the hell they’re calling it these days.
So for Reformed Baptist Dude to really make his wedding a mirror of his understanding of the relationship between Christ and the Church, he needs to have coerced her in some way into believing that she has no other choice but to do what he commands, which in this case is marrying him. She must first be bamboozled into believing on her own that she has literally no choice in the matter. I assume that the wife’s father probably helped with that.
Moving, on, his words about how his god hates gays. This, in a letter about his own marriage, again, presumably to his wedding feast guests:
X and I have obtained a marriage license in Hall County, GA to gain recognition from the state, but their recognition does not make us married. The recognition of a civil government cannot marry any two people in the sight of God, and this should be obvious from the state’s recent confusion in “marrying” same-sex couples engaged in the sin of sodomy.
Uh. Yeah, millions upon millions of people know differently. But of course, his statement is essentially arguing with itself, as wingnuts so often do. OF COURSE they want the civil benefits of being “married in the eyes of god!” They want the goodies, because they were chosen, you see! This dude and his chattel’s father were chosen together to trade a particular member of the wimminfolk race from one generation to another, and they’ll be damned (well no, they won’t, as they are chosen) if you’re going to keep gubmint benefits from them. But they want the secular civil government to conform its idea of marriage to their weird notion of matrimony. By this definition, of course, most other Christian couples aren’t really married, and neither are Jews or Muslims or atheists, even if they all have penis-vagina marriages! But you’ll never see this breed of wingnut argue to take marriage rights away from straight couples who don’t believe in the medieval crap they espouse. Something in them knows that’s just a bridge too far. But, you know, gays are bad.
The rest of his letter, as you can see, is about how she’s wearing white and he’s wearing a red shirt, representing blood, or something. Sounds like the wedding party looked like hell.
Anyway. So there is a portrait of one kind of biblical marriage. To most sentient beings, it’s pretty disgusting. But that is what at least some of the bigots are defending from the marauding hordes of evil gays.