he just can't stop

"Credulity, Superstition and Fanaticism"

Remember the three other nutty proposals?

In the White House our First Constitutional Scholar and Pontifex Maximus is reported today to be proposing an alteration to our fundamental law, but only oh, so reluctantly.

The NYTimes today reports, without comment, "In his remarks on Tuesday, [Bush] emphasized that 'an amendment to the Constitution is never to be undertaken lightly. . . .'"

It doesn't take much of a memory to recall the three other pressing purposes for which this preacher has already proposed dividing the nation and rewriting a Constitution which he would be unable to actually read himself: sanctifying the flag, declaring every fetus sacred and keeping god in our national oath.

The latest purpose, embodied in the proposed "marriage amendment" is described by its sponsors as necessary for essentially the same reason, to keep [one particular interpretation of*] religion a part of what is in this case fundamentally just a legal contract.

Bush is talking about his god, or at least the god of his constituency. There's always been an obvious pattern here, and it's one not generally described by the media, even this morning.

A secular state must not define sacred flags, oaths, wombs or marriages, but instead it should be very concerned when its head insists on doing so - whether he does so out of superstition or for political advantage.

Atrios recently reminded us just how much the Judeo/Christian idea of marriage has itself evolved - quite a bit, it turns out:

1. Marriage should consist of a union between one man and one or more women.
Gen 29:17-28. II Samuel 3:2-5

2. Marriage shall not impede a man's right to take concubines in addition to
his wife or wives.
II Samuel 5:13; I Kings 11:3; II Chronicles 11:21

3. Marriage will be considered valid only if the wife is a virgin. If she is
not a virgin, she shall be executed.
Deut. 22:13-21

4. Marriage to a non believer shall be strictly forbidden
Gen 24:3; Num 25:1-9, Ezra 9:12; Neh 10:30

5. Marriage is for life and no law shall permit any form of divorce.
Deut 22:19; Mark 10-9-12.

6. If a married man dies without children. His brother must marry the widow.
If the brother refuses to marry the widow or deliberately does not give her
children, he shall pay a fine of one shoe and be otherwise punished in a
manner to be determined by law.
Gen 38:6-10; Deut 25:5-10

7. In lieu of marriage (if there is no acceptable man to be found) a woman
shall get her father drunk and have sex with him in order to have children.
Gen 19:31-36

But then, today thoughtful people know that scriptures have always been social and political tools, designed to get other people to do what you want them to do

[image, a 1762 William Hogarth engraving belonging to Oxford's Ashmoleon Museum, from The Victorian Web]

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Published on February 25, 2004 2:22 PM.

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