08/03/2012 05:40 pm ET Updated Feb 02, 2016

Chick-Fil-A, the Bible, and Gay Marriage

I don't really like using the Bible to argue with fundamentalists, because it presupposes that the Good Book is somehow indeed sacredly inspired, i.e. the "Word of God." The entire notion is silly on its face. Let's start with Genesis. Adam and Eve had three sons, Cain, Abel and Seth. Cain killed Abel, and then Cain and Seth "knew" their wives. Where did the wives come from? And while we're at it, if God is so pro-marriage, where's his wife?

The Bible was clearly written by tribal men who needed to justify a lot of their bad acts. This is the only explanation for such a nasty God: "Then I heard the LORD say to the other men, 'Follow him through the city and kill everyone whose forehead is not marked.  Show no mercy; have no pity!  Kill them all - old and young, girls and women and little children....Fill its courtyards with the bodies of those you kill!  Go!'  So they went throughout the city and did as they were told."  (Ezekiel 9:5-7)

And considering the teen pregnancy rate is highest in Mississippi--the buckle of the Bible Belt--this passage is especially ironic: "But if this charge is true and evidence of the girl's virginity is not found, they shall bring the girl to the entrance of her father's house and there her townsman shall stone her to death, because she committed a crime against Israel by her unchasteness in her father's house.  Thus shall you purge the evil from your midst."  (Deuteronomy  22:20-21) Wow Bristol Palin, are you in trouble when your mother reads this.

Especially ludicrous is the claim the Bible conceives of marriage as between one man and a woman. Moses had two wives: Zipporah: (Exodus 2:15-16, 21) and an Ethiopian Woman (Numbers 12:1-15). Solomon (1 Kings) had 700 wives and 300 concubines. (Yes, God was supposedly displeased with the way these foreign wives led King Solomon toward idolatry, but never is the fact of his taking more than one wife in itself condemned.)

Bottom line: if you believe Leviticus condemns homosexuality, then you have to believe unmarried pregnant women should be stoned. But if you get to cherry-pick, so do we. And so: "When David had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was bound to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. Saul took him that day and would not let him return to his father's house. Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul. Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that he was wearing, and gave it to David, and his armor, and even his sword and his bow and his belt." (1 Samuel 18:1-4) I highlighted that word "covenant" because it's very big in evangelical circles these days. It's used to describe the kind of marriage that doesn't lead to divorce. Mmh.

The Bible-thumping Chick-Fellatiers would insist that there is no proof that the intense friendship between David and Jonathan was sexual, and I would have to agree. There is no proof that their love was sexual. The only thing that is crystal clear is that their love was committed.

Which brings us to the marriage vows that have been used for centuries by most heterosexual Christians. You know the ones I mean, you've heard them a thousand times, but I'll paraphrase: "...for richer, for poorer; in sickness and in health; forsaking all others; till death us do part." The vows that stress commitment, but never actually mention sex. The vows, incidentally, that are nowhere to be found in the Bible. Interestingly though, one finds this in the Bible: "Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery." (Luke 16:18)

The truth is that the Bible can be used to justify or delegitimize almost anything. I assume Chick-fil-A's Dan Cathy doesn't believe pregnant teens should be stoned, nor that Newt and Calista Gingrich are living in sin. But the idea of two men having sex is icky to Dan, and like many of his co-Christianists, he thinks that means he should have an opinion about it. Let me tell you something Mr. Cathy, I think a man and a woman having sex is a little bit icky. I think sex between two men with bad teeth is a bit icky. Most sex between most people, whatever their gender, is a bit icky to me. So I usually stick to imagining sex between people I find attractive. You might try the same thing.

I've been married twice, by the way. Once I needed the health insurance, once she needed it. (This is entirely legal.) We never had sex. I assume this falls under the rubric of marriage between one man and one woman, and therefore meets with the approval of Mr Cathy. My present partner is a man, and we have our own health insurance, so we see no reason to get married. We also don't have sex with each other but are deeply committed. (Death will us do part, not another man.)

So a suggestion, Mr. Cathy. Imagine that gay people who get married aren't actually having sex with each other--there's no proof that they are, anyway. Just think of us biblically, like Jonathan and David. Or like most of the couples in America, straight or gay, who've been together for a while, and know that sex is the one aspect of the relationship that ends up defining it the least.

Surely you can handle the "ick" of one kiss at the altar, and perhaps some hand-holding. We'll even exchange bow, belt and sword in private. Promise.