A Biblical Guide to Marriage Licenses


Author:Valerie Tarico

Emphasis Mine

Goats? Zombies? Your mother’s uncle’s wife? Test your knowledge of 19 Iron Age do’s and don’ts.

Some folks believe that America should be subject to biblical law rather than constitutional law, that public servants— like Kentucky clerk Kim Davis—owe their highest allegiance to the Bible, which means they shouldn’t be forced to give out unbiblical marriage licenses—like to gay couples.

The issue, obviously, is contested by a host of liberals, secularists, Satanists and moderate Christians. But assuming that Bible believers and religious freedom advocates carry the day, public servants will need to know their Good Book. I have written elsewhere about biblical justice (If the Bible were Law Would You Qualify for the Death Penalty? and Bible vs Quran—Test Your Knowledge of Who Deserves Death in Which Religion), and readers found those lists illuminating. So, I thought folks might appreciate the following 19 item quiz, which can be used to screen applicants for county clerk positions or as a guide for those already working the job.

If Kentucky issues only biblical marriage licenses, to which of the following couples should a county clerk grant a license?

  1. A man with a consenting woman, but without her father’s permission.
    No. Numbers 30:1-16 teaches that a single woman’s father has final authority over legal contracts she may enter.
  2. A man, a nonconsenting woman, and her father.
    Yes. According to the Law of Moses a female is male property, as are slaves, livestock, and children. (See Exodus 20:17, Exodus 21:7). Her father can give her in marriage or sell her to a slave master. Female consent in the Bible is not a prerequisite for marriage or sex.
  3. A married man and three other women.
    Yes. The Old Testament endorses polygamy, and the New Testament does not reverse this—except for church elders (1 Timothy 3:2). (See Biblicalpolygamy.com)
  4. A childless widow and her husband’s reluctant brother.
    Yes. Genesis 38:8-10 makes it clear that a man has a responsibility to seed children for his deceased brother. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus doesn’t alter the tradition but does say it will no longer apply in heaven. (Matthew 22:24-28)
  5. Two men.
    No. Leviticus is clear. Two men having sex is an abomination, just like eating shellfish, getting tattoos, shaving your beard, or wearing blend fabrics. (Leviticus 18:22, 20:13, 11:9-12, 19:28, 19:27)
  6. Two women.
    No, not even with their fathers’ permission. Paul’s epistle to the Romans (1:26) says that this is degrading and unnatural.
  7. A man and a divorced woman.
    No. Unless her husband divorced her because he found out that she wasn’t a virgin when they married, anyone who marries a divorced woman is committing adultery. A marriage license in this case would be an adultery license. (Matthew 5:32, Matthew 19:9)
  8. A woman and a divorced man.
    No. A man who divorces his wife and remarries is committing adultery. (Luke 16:18)
  9. A Christian and a Hindu.
    No. The Apostle Paul calls this being unequally yoked (2 Corinthians 6:14). If the applicants balk at your refusal, you might respond gently with Paul’s own words: “What fellowship has righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion has light with darkness?”
  10. A soldier and a virgin prisoner of war.
    Yes, but you should provide written instructions on the purification ritual required before bedding her. The soldier must shave her head and trim her nails and give her a month to mourn her parents before the first sex act. Also, remind him that if she fails to ‘delight’, he must set her free rather than selling her. (Deuteronomy 21:10-14)
  11. A rapist and his victim.
    Yes, with qualifiers. The woman’s consent is not an issue, but her father should be present as he is owed 50 shekels (approximately $580) for the damage to his daughter. Also, the contract should have an addendum stating clearly that no divorce will be allowed. The rapist must keep her for life since, obviously, no one else will want the damaged goods. (Deuteronomy 22:28-29)
  12. A man and his wife’s indentured/undocumented servant.
    Yes, although you might remind the man that in this case a marriage license is not a prerequisite to sex, since community property laws apply. However, should God bless this union with babies, any offspring will belong to the man and his wife, not the indentured woman. (Genesis 30:1-22)
  13. A man and his mother, sister, half-sister, mother-in-law, grandchild, or uncle’s wife.
    Probably not. Although God’s law is timeless and unchanging, He does seem to shift on this one. In the book of Genesis, God rewards marriages between siblings—for example, the Patriarch Abraham and his half-sister Sarah. But later texts specifically prohibit a variety of incestuous relationships. (e.g. Lev. 18:7-8; Lev. 18:10; Lev. 20:11; Deut. 22:30; Deut. 27:20; Deut. 27:23)
  14. A black woman and a white man, or vice versa.
    Absolutely not. Scripture is full of verses prohibiting interracial marriage. (Gen. 28:6; Exod. 34:15-16; Num. 25:6-11; Deut. 7:1-3; Josh. 23:12-13; Judges 3:5-8; 1 Kings 11:1-2; Ezra 9:1-2, 12; Ezra 10:2-3, 10-11; Neh. 10:30; Neh. 13:25-27)
  15. A gentile and a Jew.
    No. If the Jew should appeal to the Anti-Defamation League, remind them of how dangerous such a union could be: “Thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son. For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly.” (Deuteronomy 7:3-4)
  16. A man and a pregnant woman who claims to be a virgin.
    Yes. You may feel personal misgivings about a marriage that is based in deception from the get-go, but judge not that ye be not judged. One in 200 American women who give birth say they have never had sex. Rather plaguing this young couple with your corrosive doubt, you can encourage them with the biblical virgin birth story, while taking care to avoid any sex-negative implications that might harm their marriage.
  17. A man and a goat.
    Don’t be ridiculous. Can a goat sign a marriage license?
  18. A man and a sex-trafficked teen he bought from a gangster.
    Yes, but not until Kentucky legalizes sex trafficking. Sexual slavery is quite common in the Bible, well regulated (For example, Judges 21 ), and frequently sanctioned or blessed by God. However, the New Testament teaches that we should pay our taxes and be law abiding, even under a secular/pagan government. (Titus 3:1; 1 Peter 2:13-17)
  19. Two zombies.
    Only if they are not Christians. Jesus states clearly that there will be no marriage for Christians in the afterlife (Matthew 22:24-28). Otherwise, marriage between the dead or undead is not addressed in the Bible, and you should default to whatever the Supreme Court may have ruled on this matter.

Note: Some liberal Christian license seekers may complain to you or your supervisor that these guidelines come mostly from the Old Testament, which has been replaced by a New Covenant under Jesus. Ask them if the Old Testament is still part of their Bible. Remind them that the Ten Commandments are in the Old Testament—all three versions. Lastly, quote the words of Jesus:

Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5: 17-19).

Stand firm. If the Bible is the perfect Word of the living God, your detractors are up against the Almighty himself. And, as the spiritual warfare hymn reminds us, the hordes of (liberal, gay, atheist, feminist) darkness cannot quench your light.

Valerie Tarico is a psychologist and writer in Seattle, Washington. She is the author of Trusting Doubt: A Former Evangelical Looks at Old Beliefs in a New Light and Deas and Other Imaginings, and the founder of www.WisdomCommons.org.  Her articles about religion, reproductive health, and the role of women in society have been featured at sites including AlterNet, Salon, the Huffington Post, Grist, and Jezebel.  Subscribe at ValerieTarico.com.

See: http://valerietarico.com/2015/09/14/a-biblical-guide-to-marriage-licenses/

How the Right Wing Has Been Wrong on the Question of Virginity

Source: AlterNet

Author: Amanda Marcotte

In the past couple of decades, the Christian right has aggressively championed the idea that “virginity”–an abstract concept that usually means someone has never had sexual intercourse before–should be elevated to an aspirational, even holy status. The argument is that being a virgin, at least for women, somehow makes you “pure” and that you should wait until your wedding night to have sex in order to give your husband the “gift” of your virginity, as if your vagina is a piñata that gets busted open once and releases the candy, never to be the same again.

This notion that non-virgins are tawdry and unworthy was pushed by the Bush administration, which manipulated federal funding to try to get “abstinence-only” programs teaching this view of sexuality into every public school in the country. It also surged within Christian right circles with the rise of virginity pledges, purity rings and even purity balls aimed mostly or exclusively at girls to send the message that you somehow become dirty or impure if you have sex without being married.

Well, new evidence has emerged showing that this effort to turn virginity into the measure of a young woman’s worth has been a big, fat failure. New research published in the Journal of Sex Research shows that, for women over the past three decades, feelings of guilt over losing virginity have been in decline. Women who lost their virginity in the years 1980-1991 rated their feelings of guilt as an average 4 on a scale from 1-7, but women who lost their virginity between 2002-2012 rated their feelings of guilt at 3.5.

More interestingly, taking pleasure in their first intercourse, which stayed at a steady 4.9 average rating for men over the decades, went up even more dramatically for women than feelings of guilt went down. The 1980-1991 cohort reported a low average 2.75 score on a scale of 7 when it came to enjoying their first sexual intercourse, but had gone up to 3.3 for the 2002-2012 cohort. Still too low, but the number is moving in a promising direction.

All of this increase in pleasure and decrease in guilt has occured despite the dramatic uptick in Christian right guilt-tripping over sex and pushing the idea that virginity equals purity. Even as Britney Spears and Jessica Simpson were making big public fusses over how they were supposedly virgins, ordinary young women were refusing to feel guilty about sex. The Bush administration tied sex education funding from the federal government to the requirement that schools shun contraception education to push the silly idea that everyone should wait to have sex until marriage, but young women bucked that pressure by having better, less guilty first times at sexual intercourse.

Now, it is possible that all the virginity pressure slowed down the rates of improvement. After all, having to take off that virginity ring in order to have sex was bound to invoke some guilt in women who otherwise wouldn’t have felt bad about sex. (What the virginity rings didn’t do, however, was actually cause young women to wait until marriage. A few did, but by and large , most virginity pledgers also have premarital sex, just like their non-pledger peers.) The most all this guilt-tripping about sex did was slow down a general trend. Overall, the numbers show that women are rejecting the idea that they should want to be virgins and that they should hang onto that status out of fear that they’re somehow spoiled if they have sex.

That’s good, because it just so happens to be true: There’s nothing wrong with not being a virgin. After all, 95 percent of Americans have had premarital sex, and the world has not stopped spinning on its axis. In fact, the truly harmful behavior may actually be putting a premium on virginity. The myth that virgins are somehow “pure” and that a man takes something from a woman by having sex with her can do immense damage to women’s self-esteem, even if they do follow all the arbitrary rules and wait until marriage to have sex.

Earlier this month, the writer Samantha Pugsley, writing for XO Jane, described the serious damage done to her life and her marriage by her “choice,” made when she was a mere 10 years old, to take a virginity pledge, a pledge she actually kept by waiting until her wedding night to have sex. Despite Christian propaganda pushing the idea that waiting until marriage leads to better sex, Pugsley found that her feelings of awkwardness and guilt about sex persisted even after the ring on her finger supposedly made sex okay. “Everyone knew my virginity was gone. My parents, my church, my friends, my co-workers,” she writes, adding that she felt “soiled.” “My virginity had become such an essential part of my personality that I didn’t know who I was without it.”

Eventually, her misery around sex caused Pugsley to get help and eventually come around to seeing that “the entire concept of virginity is used to control female sexuality.” But the concept of virginity and the idea that women who “lose” it are somehow spoiled and should be ashamed has ramifications beyond just the individual damage done to women’s psyches and relationships.

It’s not a stretch to say that much of the Christian right’s current activism is built around the idea that women–at least single women–should remain virgins. The relentless attacks on abortion access, the fight to remove contraception from the list of mandatory services covered by insurance, and the increasing attacks on family planning clinics all go back to this idea that women who choose to have sex outside of the narrow parameters set by the religious right are bad girls who need to be punished. (Yes, married women use contraception and abortion services, but that just goes to show how much the guilt-tripping about sex hurts even women who supposedly have permission from the Christian God to have sex.) Even the right-wing obsession with women who have children “out of wedlock” goes back to the idea that a woman who has sex is used up and worth less than a woman who hasn’t had sex.

So it’s a good thing, for women’s individual lives and for society as a whole, if women are shrugging off efforts to make them feel bad for having sex. There’s still a lot more work to be done, but this new research shows that the trends are heading in the right direction.

Emphasis Mine

See: http://www.alternet.org/sex-amp-relationships/how-right-wing-has-been-wrong-question-virginity?akid=12124.123424.Rr3VND&rd=1&src=newsletter1015426&t=5