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When Same-Sex Marriage Was a Christian Rite 
11th-Dec-2009 10:47 am
Psyche
Contrary to myth, Christianity's concept of marriage has not been set in stone since the days of Christ, but has constantly evolved as a concept and ritual. Prof. John Boswell, the late Chairman of Yale University’s history department, discovered that in addition to heterosexual marriage ceremonies in ancient Christian church liturgical documents, there were also ceremonies called the "Office of Same-Sex Union" (10th and 11th century), and the "Order for Uniting Two Men" (11th and 12th century).

These church rites had all the symbols of a heterosexual marriage: the whole community gathered in a church, a blessing of the couple before the altar was conducted with their right hands joined, holy vows were exchanged, a priest officiatied in the taking of the Eucharist and a wedding feast for the guests was celebrated afterwards. These elements all appear in contemporary illustrations of the holy union of the Byzantine Warrior-Emperor, Basil the First (867-886 CE) and his companion John.

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Comments 
11th-May-2012 12:27 am (UTC)
Who are you all to judge? God is the only one who will judge. This country was founded on religious freedom......ALL RELIGIONS......not just yours. And you and the government need to keep your beliefs to yourself, and you noses out of everyone elses business.
11th-May-2012 02:12 am (UTC)
This country was founded on religious freedom......ALL RELIGIONS......not just yours…

I agree with this. Ramming the tenets of one religion down someone's throat in the guise of upholding values is nothing but sanctioned (ahha, irony) discrimination.
11th-May-2012 01:56 am (UTC)
My friend, Jim Duffy, in Ireland, wrote that article for the Irish Times a decade ago. He asks, "Where did they get it????"
11th-May-2012 02:13 am (UTC)
Also, priests were allowed to be married until the 11th century, when the Catholic Church decided to acquire more land on the backs of their priests. If a priest could no longer pass his land to his offspring, the land and holdings went to the Church.

Read the letters of William Rufus, the second son of William the Conqueror, to St Anselm. William Rufus was suspected of being/known as a flamboyant homosexual by most chroniclers of this period. In one letter, Rufus beseeches Anselm to join him in a relationship similar to that of his father and LanFranc. These were love letters more than professions of professional desire or religious fervor...

There is much we take for granted when looking at history through the eyes of modern beliefs and prejudice but in the Yale English Monarch series the homosexual tendencies of warriôrs and kings is well documented.
11th-May-2012 02:46 am (UTC)
That's really interesting. Thanks for sharing it.
11th-May-2012 02:52 am (UTC)
I am so glad I've read this! I'm stuck in a town full of bigots and it's difficult to be a Liberal, let alone Bi, in the deep South. This article makes everything worth it.
11th-May-2012 03:11 am (UTC)
Well.....some people certainly woke up in a foul mood today--on both sides of this argument.

Now, if you don't mind reading what will likely be a long and (hopefully) good rant, I have some things that have been on my mind for quite some time, and would like to speak on them:

Firstly, People: All my fellow humans beings, mah Peeps: Every single human soul has worth. If you believe that there is a God, as I do, or some other supreme being, as many others do on this globe we share, or even if you believe in nothing at all--everyone should at least have some decency and respect for their fellow man, regardless of how they may disagree with them. I have my own personal beliefs about God, and what "truth" is, but that in no way gives me the right to determine that for anyone else. Can I inform others of what I personally believe, should I feel like it? Of course! Are they obligated to listen? Should I tell them that because "This is what I believe," that "You're wrong?" No, of course not. Beliefs are not something that can be defined as right or wrong--however, certain actions, can be.

Acting hatefully towards someone? I think we can agree that that is wrong, no matter what the circumstance--even if it's hard not to, even when they're the ones who initiated it, it's still on your head if you continue the cycle by acting hatefully back. And of the really unforgivable things--what of murdering someone? Murder, as defined by the intentional taking of a life, when not in self-defense or in defense of country--Wrong. Rape? Wrong. Child Abuse? WRONG. But homosexuality? How can one possibly define that, or even equate that, to the aforementioned wrongdoings?

America was founded on the principles of freedom, including freedom of choice--and as long as that choice isn't taking away the choice, freedom, or property of another human being, how can one justify, legally, what basically boils down to an act between two, consenting adults in the privacy of their own homes? One or two religious groups should not be able to dictate what constitutes as a legal marriage for an entire system of government, full of many different races, religions, beliefs, ect. Likewise, a government cannot, in turn, force a religious group to marry two people of the same gender, and it is perfectly within their freedom to not do so. So what's the hold up? As it is, the only "legal" argument I've seen, and I use this term loosely, is that "Marriage has always, historically, been defined as a union between a man and a woman."

Which is absolutely not true, as this article demonstrates.

And even if, as some of you have pointed out, this article is a bunch of fabrications written by "A professor with an agenda", this is not the only example. What of polygamy? What of child marriages in India? (Though now illegal, it was in practice for hundreds of years.) Of course, this last example brings me to my next point--there have also been, historically, and still are, in some countries, arranged marriages, where one or both parties did not choose their partner or even agree to the arrangement, but were made to go through with it anyhow. That is "between a man and a woman", but yet the freedom of one or more people has been taken away. Should that then be legal?

And, as some have so crassly lumped together with homosexuality,--bestiality. I've heard people worry that "If we allow gays to marry, who says people won't start marrying animals??" And to that, my friends, all I can say is LOL. Oh dear..... so, a person is free to do what they want, yes, but that does not include animal abuse, I am sure.
11th-May-2012 03:12 am (UTC)
Now, as far as legality goes, the only debate there should be is over the exact definition of marriage, as recognized by the government. It obviously can't be too loose, as in, "the union of two organisms"--that would just lead to all sorts of problems. But a clearly defined "The consenting union of two legal, unrelated adults" doesn't seem to be that far away from the current one...

Okay, I think i've made my point clear on the legal side of this--what this is really about, though, is the religious side. Now: as I said before, I AM a christian. In my religion, you are not supposed to have sex with a person of the same gender. You are also not supposed to have sex outside of marriage, gamble, drink alcohol, smoke, and various other things. And so far, I have stuck to that. But that's in my religion. There are many, many, religions in which it is acceptable to do some, if not all, of those things--some religions are stricter than others, and nothing i've mentioned, as long as you're an adult (or 21, as the case may be) is "illegal" Which means that it's up to the person to decide, based upon their own moral compass, and perhaps the teachings of their church, what to do. Just because I don't think that god wants me to have sex outside of marriage, doesn't mean I condemn those that do, and it doesn't mean that they're going to hell. If everyone who did something that God didn't want them to do went to hell, well, I think Heaven would look pretty empty, don't you?

(I think I better wrap this up now--before it gets too long for anyone to bother reading it)

To the Christians, and everyone who believe homosexuality is a sin: Please, learn some tolerance. You really do a disservice to God by acting so hatefully "in his name". Ranting and raving about one "sin" that you are so against will not redeem you from your own. Please, worry about your own soul only, and let the rest of us do the same ;)

To everyone else: The same can go to you. It's wrong for people to try and beat you over the head with anti-gay rhetoric--insulting them back by condemning Christianity in general isn't much better. How can you be mad at them for condemning an entire group of people, if you do the same? Not all Christians are good people, but neither are they all bad--they ARE all human, though, just like you....and every human being deserves respect.

Well, that's enough for now--I expect i'll be getting a few angry messages here in a moment, riddled with bad grammar and a general ignoring of anything I just said, but for those of you who want to discuss this like rational people, I'll be waiting for a response ;)
11th-May-2012 03:39 am (UTC)
No angry messages here. I am an atheist, but I have no quarrel with what Christ actually taught, which was NOT to hate and judge and punish each other! I see so few Christians who actually live by his command to love each other as we love ourselves. Thank you for reminding me that the "oral minority" I see on TV and in news headlines is not representative of all Christians, and that it is possible for people of different beliefs to have a conversation that doesn't devolve into name-calling.
11th-May-2012 03:13 am (UTC)
Look we all know what this is actually about. It's not the Bible, or religion, it's about human nature and the fact that our worst natural instinct is to HATE! People have used the BIBLE for centuries as a resaon why people should be abused and just shit upon. The christians which once used that same book to justify slavery, of all kinds, world wide, now have decided to bring the gays to the public eye because hating based on race is no longer generally accepted.

If it's not race it's nationality, if not that then sexuality. PEOPLE LOVE TO HATE! THIS IS JUST THE LATEST TRENDY THING TO HATE AND OPPOSE!

Truth: That book was written, rewritten, burned, buried, intentionally lost and forgotten, translated, transliterated, and deemed important by the victors of Earth. That book has no more truth than the MORTAL MEN and WOMEN who wrote these verses.

Truth: Marriage is both a religious and legal ceremony. If churches don't want gays in thier midst, ok, but you do not just get married in a church when you get married you go and register with the government. People of all sex preferences should be legally allowed to be married. The church, who cares. People don't need to go to church to have a relationship with GOD or whoever people think is out there.

The SAD Truth is humans are the worst creatures on this planet. We have hurt this plant in so many ways, and religion has been one of the major contributers to this as well.

Agree or disagree, it's not a matter of a book but a question about the very nature of the ANIMALS KNOWN AS HOMO SAPIEN SAPIEN OR MORE SIMPLY AS HUMANS...
11th-May-2012 03:20 am (UTC)
"but you do not just get married in a church when you get married you go and register with the government."

If the government where you live allows you to do this ... :\
11th-May-2012 03:19 am (UTC)
So where did it all go wrong?

This is one of the main things that makes me hate Christianity, if they would revise their traditions about hating everyone, I'd be much more inclined to like the religion...
15th-May-2012 12:01 am (UTC)
It all started to "go wrong" when it was decided / taught that GOD NEEDED US to be a certain way. In fact, God is the Ultimate, the All-In-All, the Supreme Being, the Alpha and the Omega. God doesn't NEED anything from us -- He's complete in the way He is. When humans try to tell other humans that GOD NEEDS them to be a certain way, War ensues.
11th-May-2012 03:21 am (UTC)
People who call themselves Christians but who do not follow the teachings of the Bible cannot truly be Christians. A Christian is, by definition, someone who follows the teachings of Christ. Just as someone who goes around killing people in the name of Buddha cannot truly be a follower as this is not what was taught by Buddha. So if the above is completely accurate, which I doubt, it is irrelevant what the so called church does if they are not adhering to what the Bible teaches. Start your "church" and have your Gay clergy and Gay members but don't call it Christian. As Christians we should be living out what the Scripture teaches not ebbing and flowing with the culture or whatever is acceptable at our point in history. Anyone can make excuses for embracing the error of their ways.

I have several friends that practice same sex relationships. I love them all dearly. I'm not afraid of them and certainly do not hate them. As a person who has needed much grace in my own life, I cannot point fingers at others in condemnation. Truth is truth and I will not water down the message of the Bible to avoid offending someone.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 "Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God. Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God."

Romans 1:24-32: "So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved. Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done. Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They invent new ways of sinning, and they disobey their parents. They refuse to understand, break their promises, are heartless, and have no mercy. They know God’s justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too."
11th-May-2012 03:25 am (UTC)
**Please stop using the man-made bible and scripture to hide behind to disguise your hatred. Not only is is unbecoming of all you, it's not very Christian-like either.

The bible is not God. The bible was written by mortals.
For that matter, the church is also run by mortals.

The church excommunicated Galileo for saying the Earth was NOT the center of the universe, and it took them 600 years to apologize and restract that statement... and put Galileo back in GOOD GRACES AGAIN. *Raises arched eyebrow* as IF the Church could dictate to GOD who was in His good graces, and who was not.

Likewise, *anyone* who thumps their thumb to a man-made book, and DEMANDS that the scripture IS God, also is delusional to think that THEY TOO can dictate to GOD who should be in his good graces and who is not.

Edited at 2012-05-11 03:34 am (UTC)
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11th-May-2012 03:36 am (UTC)
That's really interesting stuff, thanks a lot! Our mainstream history tends to be written by the victors, doesn't it?

I see lesbians weren't really considered real. Oh well. Times changed and they're changing again.
11th-May-2012 03:39 am (UTC)
Thanks for more anti-semitic and Anti - Muslim fodder. Because neither of those religions are Homosexual tolerant although as a Jew I am. I feel you have just created another stick to beat us. The old testament categorically proscribes Homosexual sex acts could it not be that these Lovers were only so in the Agape sense and not the Erotic ?
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4th-Jan-2013 04:44 am (UTC)
This article as well as the evidence it is based on is false... Here is a link explaining everything. Please take a minute to read and watch the video.

http://www.ncregister.com/blog/jimmy-akin/was-same-sex-marriage-a-christian-rite
11th-May-2012 04:13 am (UTC)
Wow! Thanks for the article. Tho am sure that someone will have something negative to say about it.
11th-May-2012 04:28 am (UTC)
Very interesting.

But this creates another question: if Christianity had been supportive of same-sex marriages, where did the homophobia we see today come from?
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