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home : letters : letters May 2, 2016

7/18/2013 1:48:00 PM
Marriages and adultery

Last week, Greg Magnuson wrote to defend his description of same-sex marriage as adultery. He noted that the Old Testament commandment against adultery is a worthy Judeo-Christian moral. Contrary to Mr. Magnuson's suggestion, I agree with him on this point... as I imagine we similarly agree about murder and robbery (though I certainly disagree with his God that robbers or adulterers should be executed). 

But still, what is sensical about describing certain marriages as adultery? Would it be sensical to describe certain marriages as murder or robbery? And what is Christian about taking disparaging ideas and arbitrarily associating them to gay relationships?

Mr. Magnuson concluded, "We need to at least try to follow all 10 of those beliefs if we want to have a life with God." I found this abrupt ending unsatisfying. If a God used his own hand to create a list of moral commandments, why not utilize the ample remaining words to list them? We certainly need to be reminded, since polls show that Americans can remember just four of the Ten Commandments. Shouldn't we all be reminded of what, how, and when we MUST worship (if nothing else, so as to avoid execution)?

These questions might cast doubt upon Mr. Magnuson's presumption about the goodness and relevance of the Ten Commandments. Christians often consider non-exclusive teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, himself, to be a better source for relevant, moral guidance. For example, from Matthew, "Depart from me... For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat..." or "do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth." 

Christians and non-Christians alike often admire the universal ethic of the golden rule (missing from the Ten Commandments, but found similarly in most every religion and ethic). Jesus offered a Christian version later in Luke 6:31, "Do to others as you would have them do to you." This is related to a more pragmatic version, "Don't do unto others what you don't want done unto you." I think the latter would address the morality of using this paper to arbitrarily associate certain marriages to adultery.

Ken Kressin

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