Elder Bruce D. Porter in Newsweek: No Case in Bible for Homosexuality

Editor’s Note: In the Dec. 6 issue of Newsweek, Lisa Miller wrote a cover story called “Our Mutual Joy” claiming that the Bible argues for the side of same-sex marriage Elder Bruce D. Porter of the First Quorum of Seventy joined Joseph Bottum, editor of First Things: A Journal of Religion, Culture and Public Life and John Mark Reynolds, an evangelical who is associate professor of philosophy at Biola University to write this response:

In the latest issue of Newsweek, editor Jon Meacham explains: “To argue that something is so because it is in the Bible is more than intellectually bankrupt-it is unserious, and unworthy of the great Judeo-Christian tradition.” Indeed, he continues, “this conservative resort to biblical authority is the worst kind of fundamentalism.” Curiously, he intends this as a defense of Lisa Miller’s cover story which announced that we should approve homosexual marriage because the Bible tells that Jesus would want us to.

On any plane of argument, the contradiction would appear stunning, but, then, neither Jon Meacham nor Lisa Miller are engaged in argument. They’re speaking, instead, familiar tropes and fused-phrases aned easy clichs. They’re trying to convey a feeling, really, rather than an argument: Jesus loves us, love is good, homosexuals love one another, marriage is love, love is loving-a sort of warm bath of words, their meanings dissolved into a gentle goo. In their eyes, all nice things must be nice together, and Jesus comes to seem (as J.D. Salinger once mocked) something like St. Francis of Assisi and “Heidi’s grandfather” all in one.

In truth, of course, Meacham and Miller actually know what everyone else knows: The Bible offers no support for homosexual marriage. Christianity teaches love, mercy, and forgiveness for those who do bad things, true enough. Look, for example, at the story in the Gospel of John where Jesus offers his divine love, mercy, and forgiveness to a woman guilty of adultery. He shamed those who would stone her. He taught us all that we are sinners and often hypocrites. And then he told her, “Go and sin no more.” He did not reinterpret the Old Testament to proclaim adultery another life-style choice.