Friday, May 4, 2007

How to Throw a Bible Bending Wedding

The aroma of freshly picked honeysuckle wafts through the air, trumpets blast, and the golden glint of the sun warms the skin of the many attendants as they watch with batted breath the betrothal of radiant princess bride to her chivalrous prince charming. After an exchange of rings and fifty sheckles of silver to the father of the bride, the blushing maiden and her gallant knight kiss... for the first time.

This is a scene described not in a Nora Roberts novel, but on the homepage of Biblical Betrothal, a site dedicated to promoting the Bible's ideal wedding. Captain Bret, the site's founder, provides biblical instructions for how God intended a couple to meet and wed, and includes a step by step guide for fathers whose role it is to facilitate the courtship.

As with most Bible Benders, the quotes from the Bible are extrapolated without context or analysis. Moreover, the wisdom that Captain Bret manages to squeeze from the verses to paint a picture of the ideal courtship not only has no basis in biblical times, but has dubious basis in modern times. It is a conglomeration of the myth of 16th century chivalry and the undemonstrative marital negotiations of Victorian times. But while Captain Bret's painting is neither original or compelling, it represents two pervasive ideas within the Christian community: 1.) that marital happiness is based on the rigid control of sexual encounters, and 2.) the secular society is systematically attacking the Christian community by freeing unmarried persons of this control.

"If you have ever read the Bible, then you know that it has quite a lot to say about this process called betrothal," says Captain Bret. "Have you ever wondered why your church elders have never taught their flock about this important practice? Have you noticed how vehemently Hollywood attacks the smallest notion of parents having any part in helping their children find a mate? Other than the decision to accept Christ’s offer of betrothal, the most important decision you will ever make is whom you will marry. This is why the enemy of God has gone to so much trouble to make it difficult for you to learn how to successfully follow the biblical pattern of betrothal, even to the point of convincing the overwhelming majority of church leaders that the world’s way of finding a mate is better than God’s way" (emphasis mine).

Let the wedding season begin...

Thursday, May 3, 2007

The Bible Bending Diaspora: Airports, classrooms, and movie theatres

NBC6 (FL): A gay couple is calling for an investigation of what they describe as threatening messages broadcast over the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International airport. While waiting for their luggage, the couple heard a voice over the intercom repeat the verse: "'A man who lies with a man as if he were lying with a woman shall be subject to death.'"
Airport officials said that any staff member could use the paging system at that early hour.

Gospel Herald (CHINA):
Christians need to spend as much time hating the sins of heterosexuality as the they do hating the sins of homosexuality, according to Phil Morgan, founder of the Biblical Family Advocates. "Until we show as much hatred for our own sin in our churches and demand repentance we will continue to destroy the sanctity of marriage, even more than same-sex marriage proponents."

Christian Post: A television special will air this Sunday as part of a campaign aimed at dismantling the "rigid secularism of public schools." Coral Ridge Ministries, an evangelical Christian media franchise, has launched an effort to encourage Christian parents to ensure that their children have a biblically-based education. Part of that effort includes a petition to state governors urging them to take measures that would allow parents to receive vouchers to send their children to their school of choice. Coral Ridge recently published The Bible and the Blackboard: Biblical Solutions for Failing Schools, a pamphlet that warns:

"The secularization of America's public school system has led to disturbing consequences. Suicide, drug abuse, promiscuity, teenage pregnancies, and abortion are all linked to the morally bankrupt public education philosophy that prevails in our nation's schools."

As is often the case in discussions about the U.S. pedagogical system, Bob Knight, director of the Culture and Family Institute, promotes the biblically-based system of education as American values:

"A major story the media are missing is the transformation of most public schools into indoctrination centers for a number of things anti-American content and promiscuous sexuality, including homosexuality, and this is a concerted effort . . . orchestrated by the National Education Association (the nation's largest teachers' union)."

The Japan Times
(JAPAN): A review in Japan of the box office flop "The Reaping" offer
this insight into why tired biblically-based horror stories are here to stay:
"Watching movies like "The Reaping," you can't help wondering why heaven-sent calamities and acts of Satanic evil always seem to befall obscure, backwater towns in the United States which, in ordinary circumstances, seem like oases of peace and camaraderie. It all has to do with box -office politics; in America, small towns are populated by fervent Christian communities and biblical stories appreciated — or so deemed by marketing statistics. Which is why stories like 'The Reaping' will always be around, a solid rock of lackluster familiarity in an ever-changing world."