When President Obama endorsed same-sex marriage this week, he cited his faith, and this highlighted the fact that different Christians read the same Bible differently and see different implications. The Rev. Canon Susan Russel talked about this on NPR's Morning Edition today.
Barbara Bradley Haggerty contrasted two advocates for full-inclusion and marriage equality. One, Carmen Fowler LaBerge, who concedes the Bible to her opponents saying that only the Scriptures endorses only marriage between one man and one woman. The other, Susan Russell, doesn't give on the Scriptures and calls for the faithful to read them more closely and carefully.
It's true, says Carmen Fowler LaBerge: You can be a Christian and support same-sex marriage, but, she says, "nobody can say gay marriage is biblical. That's just foolishness."
LaBerge resigned her post as minister in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) after the denomination voted last year to ordain noncelibate gay clergy. She says the Bible is clear.
"From the Old Testament and throughout the New Testament, the only sexual relationships that are affirmed in scripture are those in the context of marriage between one man and one woman," she says.
Actually, the Old Testament does condone polygamy. Still, LaBerge says, from Leviticus to Paul's writings in Romans and First Corinthians, homosexual acts are called vile and detestable, and legalizing same-sex relationships does not change the sin.
Not so fast, says Rev. Susan Russell, an Episcopal priest at All Saints Church in Pasadena, Calif. She takes her cues from Jesus.
"Jesus never said a single word about anything even remotely connected to homosexuality," she says.
Jesus does say the most important commandments are "Love God" and "Love your neighbor as yourself." Given that, Russell believes if Jesus were here today, he would celebrate committed, same-sex relationships.