“Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:5, KJV)
Speaking on the conservative Christian US radio show, Faith and Liberty, Republican Party Congresswoman for Minnesota, Michele Bachmann, accused the LGBT community of attempting to invoke an age of tyranny in the USA by stifling “diversity in speech”, of wanting to legalise polygamous marriage and, worst of all, wanting to abolish the age of consent.
Bachmann claimed she believed the LGBT community wanted to, quote, “abolish age of consent laws, which means we will do away with statutory rape laws so that adults will be able to freely prey on little children sexually. That’s the deviance that we’re seeing embraced in our culture today.”
Because of course, the countries which have embraced same sex marriage and greater liberty for their LGBT citizens have all legalised polygamy and abandoned age of consent laws, haven’t they? Except they have not. Not one of them. Here in Scotland we have just recently adopted same sex marriage by the Marriages and Civil Partnerships (Scotland) Act; the greatest ever law in Scots history to define marriage. That Act makes it perfectly clear what the restrictions are concerning polygamy, age of consent and incest. In fact, the new Act has reinforced those laws.
Bachmann’s bigoted views are obviously based in the claims that gay people are perverts and, to use her own words, deviants. Now let’s look at the actual facts. The vast majority of paedophiles are heterosexual men, and yes, that includes those who prey upon little boys. Most children who are abused are victims of either family members or friends of the families, and most victims – of both sexes – are abused by their own fathers.
Makes one wonder about the conservative Christian claim about the sanctity of marriage and the family being the cornerstone of society, doesn’t it?
Then one has to consider the vast number of children, again of both sexes, who are abused by deviant Christian clergy. And again, the vast majority of these clergy are not gay. The largest group among such clergy are of course Roman Catholic priests (whom the RC Church still shamefully protect too much), and some will claim that because they are celibate, they must be gay. Not so. Being celibate is a lifestyle choice, born sexuality is not. And while RC priests may mainly abuse little boys, that is purely due to the misogynistic nature of the RC church, the clergy have much more access to them than little girls. Although the incidence is much lesser, there are indeed little girls who are sexually abused by RC priests. Just as there are clergy of many other churches (and other religions) who equally abuse both little boys and little girls.
And while their incidence is much, much lesser than that of men, there are indeed women paedophiles. The vast majority of female paedophiles prey upon little boys, and just like abusive fathers, they usually abuse their own sons. It is equally not unknown however for paedophile women to sexually abuse little girls, and following exactly the same pattern, the abusers are usually heterosexual, close family members or trusted friends of the family, including Christian clergy.
It is rather hypocritical for a Christian to point the finger and make accusations concerning the age of consent, when one considers what the Bible has to say. Isaac was 37 years old at the “Binding”, when God asked his father, Abraham, to offer his son as a sacrifice. Abraham was told of the birth of Rebecca just after this event. Isaac took Rebecca as his bride when he was 40, which would make her only 3 years old. This is the traditional counting given in the Jewish Midrash, which is the widely accepted age. Mary was betrothed to Joseph, which in the Jewish custom of the time would have happened when she was 12 years old.
Likewise one would have thought Ms Bachmann, who portrays herself as the true blue all-American girl, and who (erroneously) believes the USA to be a Christian country, would prefer to keep a little more circumspect when it comes to the age of consent in her homeland, particularly among those states who share her views. Traditionally states in the deep south ‘Bible Belt’ of the USA were known for their rather loose views on consent laws. Probably the most high profile case was that of the marriage of rock musician Jerry Lee Lewis to Myra Gale Brown in Tennessee, who was not only 13 years old at the time of the marriage, she was Jerry’s first cousin once removed. Ah, but you say, that was in the past, and the USA has since ratified the age of consent to either 16 (same as Scotland) or 18, across all states. Wanna bet? As recently as 1999, a mere 15 years ago, one state ratified that consent at the tender age of 14 years old. That state is one of the most conservative Christian states in the Union, a state whose boundary signs claim “When Jesus returns, he’s coming here” (as if crucifying the poor man wasn’t enough), South Carolina;
SC CONSTITUTION SECTION 33. Age of consent. — No unmarried woman shall legally consent to sexual intercourse who shall not have attained the age of fourteen years. (1999 Act No. 3, Section 1, eff February 16, 1999)
The fact is, and this is what Michele Bachmann and those who think like her will never comprehend, the sexuality of any paedophile has nothing to do with their urges to abuse children. This is because the true motive behind paedophilia is in fact not at all sexual. The abuse of children is carried out by inadequate individuals seeking power over those weaker than them. Just like any abuse, be it sexual, physical, verbal or psychological, it is a form of bullying, carried out by cowards. That Bachmann is apparently ignorant of this fact makes her unfit to hold her Congressional post or to speak for the people she was elected to represent.
When it comes to polygamous marriage, there is not one LGBT community on the face of the planet which recognises this, nor has ever even called for it. And the majority of countries frown upon polygamy. Yet again, when one looks to the faith Michele Bachmann claims to follow so fervently, and is so self-righteous about, one finds polygamy being quite commonly practised, as it was among Jewish society of Biblical times.
There are two Biblical verses Christians opposed to homosexuality commonly fall back upon and both are in the Book of Leviticus;
“Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.” (Leviticus 18:22, KJV)
“If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.” (Leviticus 20:13, KJV)
The author of the Book of Leviticus was of course Moses – whom the Bible states had at least three wives; Zipporah is mentioned in Exodus 2:21, the unnamed Ethiopian woman (yep, Moses had an interracial marriage – take that Tea Party) appears in Numbers 12:1, while Judges 4:11 states that Hobab, the Kenite was the father of Moses’ third wife. And these are the three wives we know of. Moses (assuming he existed) as a wealthy and important man more than likely had a great many more wives. King Solomon is stated in the Bible as having 700 wives and 300 concubines.
Nor will the New Covenant argument wash on this one, for Jesus never condemned polygamy. In fact, Jesus states that the Levirate Law, that is the law given to Moses, would always endure (it doesn’t – because it is in fact diametrically opposed to the message of love which Jesus taught). Indeed, we find the following;
“If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger: her husband’s brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of an husband’s brother unto her.” (Deuteronomy 25:5, KJV)
Notice here that at no time does this stipulate that the brother-in-law of the woman should be unmarried, and in fact it would be rather unusual in Jewish society if he was. One can only assume therefore that Jesus, as an upholder of the Levirate Law, was fully in favour of polygamous marriage. Yet Michele Bachmann would have you believe it is a ‘deviancy’ which the LGBT community are attempting to enforce upon all.
Bachmann, playing the great American patriot, is as much on shaky ground on this one as she is on the age of consent. Some Scots-Irish (Ulster Scots) and Welsh settlers in America, both before and after the founding of the USA, either brought multiple-partner relationships. Polygamy was common among many Native American tribes and some settlers adopted this practice. Then of course there are the early polygamous practices of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. No doubt Bachmann would counter that these people were not Christians. Well, in the case of Native Americans she may be correct. However, those who adopted their practices would indeed have been Christians. Anyone with a basic knowledge of the Celtic peoples of the British Isles will soon tell you just how strictly Presbyterian they, particularly those of Scots and Irish background were, and to a great deal remain. And if Bachmann wants to argue that Mormons are not true Christians, one can only wonder if she would say that in public, or to the face of the Governor of Massachusetts and 2012 Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, an active Mormon.
The point is that whichever way one looks at it, the USA, just like the Bible, actually has a history of polygamous marriage which no-one, not even Michelle Bachmann, can get away from. And that polygamy was never introduced by the LGBT community, but rather in many cases by Bible-believing Christians.
Everyone has the right to freedom of religion, thought and conscience. Michele Bachmann however is not practising that right. Just like so many ignorant bigots of her ilk today, she is attempting to cherry pick Bible verses to hide behind to support her own homophobia. This is clearly evidenced by her stating that any crackdown on hate speech is bringing in tyranny by “government controlled enforced speech and behaviour”. Basically, Bachmann is trying to argue for the right to go around spouting hate speech against those her limited intelligence chooses to be intolerant towards.
Even as an atheist, I would never seek to refuse anyone their right to their faith, so long as that faith is all-inclusive (as Jesus taught), evolves along with society and does not impinge upon the rights of others. If Michele Bachmann, however, is adamant to be a fundamentalist Christian, believing that the teachings of the Bible are not only true but should never change with the times, then I would suggest that she stops being such a hypocrite and leads by example, by stepping down from her governmental post, and remaining silent and subservient to her husband;
“But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.” (Timothy 2:12, KJV)