Saturday, June 9, 2012

Rev.Chalker: Setting the Biblical record straight

I shouldn't let the day pass without  saying something nice about the Rev. Kenneth W. Chalker, the senior pastor of University Circle United Methodist Church in Cleveland.  Chalker plowed into the briar patch of the Bible-quoting opponents of same-sex marriage in a blistering column in today's Plain Dealer with a biblical challenge of his own that pretty much left the other side in tatters.

Defending  President Obama's support of the maligned union, Chalker took up his own evidence of  Biblical malfunction by the other side.
"Ordained pastors thundering their opposition based on their view that God, through the Bible, teaches that marriage is between one man and one woman are just wrong," he wrote. "Such a view is at best shoddy, biblical scholarship.  At worst, it is a very cruel lie."
Chalker  reaches into ancient practices and beliefs to refer to the basis of Bible stories, describing biblical references as
 "remembered stories, teachings, written memories of historical events and settings which - in some places in the text - had their origin in traditions that were over 4,000 years old by the time of Jesus' birth... So, to assert that the Bible reveals an unchanging and unchanged definition and practice of marriage is a monstrous fabrication.   Then, to go on and claim in the very same breath that the Bible advocates the civil marriage as understood and defined by Western culture in the 21st Century is just plain holy smoke."
The other side will be outraged by Chalker's blunt dismissal of their argument.  But he isn't the first to question the authenticity  of  every word set forth in the Good Book.  (For further reading to substantiate his views, I would recommend Sir James Frazer's  The Golden Bough, his exhaustive study of primitive beliefs and traditions that produced offspring in later  Christian thought.)

Chalker will doubtless hear about this.  His words will not convince the fierce opponents of same-sex marriage that he may be on to something.  Still, his piece in the Plain Dealer needed to be said, especially from a brave man of the pulpit.  

1 comment:

David Hess said...

Sadly, the 'Good Book' is over-used to justify the biases of those who claim to be holier-than-thou; indeed, it has often been misused to start wars, subjugate minorities and the helpless, and mete out rough "justice" to the defenseless. Though it contains compassionate lessons for personal and group conduct, it also is rife with fantastic myths that reflect the ignorance and superstitions of ancient writers and their culture. My own take, for what it's worth, is that if one is to praise the many good things that God has done, one must also hold Him/Her accountable for the bad things He (or She) has allowed. One who is believed to be Omnipotent must not also go unquestioned.