Greetings all. I'm Peter. Saint Peter if you prefer. But we are all saints, of course, as you Evangelicals know. You are all here to explain to the Almighty why you have opposed same sex marriages before you go to your eternal, um, reward.
We don't normally do pre-Judgment briefings here. But it's a sensitive subject. The Almighty is expecting an I-told-you-so from Bishop Gene Robinson, which he is not looking forward to. Most of you will understand.
Anyway, to business. First thing you will need to explain is what part of 'There is neither Jew nor Gentile, slave nor free, nor is there male and female' you do not understand. We kind of thought that made things clear. The Almighty cares nothing about gender differentiation on anything.
ANYTHING! Your teachers can be men or women. So can your butchers, bakers and candlestick makers. Your elders, pastors and deacons can be either. Your bishops and arches, if you insist on such bizarre personages, can be either. Your marriage partner can be either. There is no distinction. Are you popes up the back paying attention?
Now, a tip for those of you depending on the Genesis creation story. You have no idea how that gets our quince up here. You think you are so funny – yes, I am looking at you Baptists – repeating 'God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve'. Hoho, very clever. But what about King David and all his wives? He has a fair bit of street cred here. Did it occur to you that this shatters your puny little one-man-one-woman joke? Except it isn't a joke it if means that people you should have welcomed have … Okay, we'll deal with that later.
Oh, and, by the way, if the Adam and Eve story allows no variation, why did you not preach damnation to singles? A man with a man is a lot closer to a man with a woman than a man who chooses no partner at all. So have your answer to that one ready also, please.
Now, for those of you who, like me, try to use specific texts to justify your position, good luck. When I tried that at Caesarea, I found … hey, you know about that already.
Now, where was I? Yes, specific verses. I have fifteen here not worth trying. Waste of time. Forget Deuteronomy 23:17. Relates to ritual sex in temples. No use quoting 1 Kings 14:24, 1 Kings 15:12, 1 Kings 22:46 or 2 Kings 23:7 unless you want to look like a Shittite. They all relate to same-sex prostitution.
Whatever you do, don't mention Sodom and Gomorrah. That story was about gang rape, not loving unions. But actually, even that wasn't the real problem. Sodom and Gomorrah were whacked for neglecting the poor, as Ezekiel 16 makes perfectly clear. So best keep quiet about Genesis 19, especially those of you from rich countries.
Now, Leviticus. Hands up all those with a finger holding their bibles open at Leviticus? Thought so. Well, I hope you have all faithfully stoned rude children to death, and have never eaten shellfish, rabbit or pork. Or worn clothing made from more than one material. I trust you have excommunicated any couple who has had sex during the wife's period. If not, best keep Leviticus shut.
Surely Jesus made it abundantly clear those old laws were for an old world long gone. If you have ever quoted Leviticus, then I hope you used a hefty whack of scholarship. And had a pretty good grasp of pagan idolatry in general and the god Molech in particular. Personally I couldn't be bothered myself. I only ever quoted one passage from Leviticus. And it certainly wasn't a rule restricting behaviour.
Alan Austin is an Australian freelance journalist currently based in NÓmes in the South of France. His special interests are overseas development, Indigenous affairs and the interface between the religious communities and secular government. As a freelance writer, Alan has worked for many media outlets over the years and been published in most Australian newspapers. He worked for eight years with ABC Radio and Televisionís religious broadcasts unit and seven years with World Vision. His most recent part-time appointment was with the Uniting Church magazine Crosslight.