Thursday, February 14, 2013

An interesting conversation

I had an interesting conversation the other day. I got chatting to a woman in a shop, and the conversation ranged over a number of topics, until it settled on same-sex marriage.

So this woman had loads of gay friends (so she said), and she was OK with civil partnerships, and yet she was opposed to same-sex marriage. Her reason was "but it says in the Bible..."

So I said, "But what about David and Jonathan? The Bible says that David's love for Jonathan surpassed his love for women". Oh yes, said the woman.

Then I said, "And what about Ruth and Naomi? The vow that Ruth made to Naomi is used in wedding ceremonies." And I talked about how amazing Ruth's love for Naomi was, that she was prepared to go to another country and risk being sold into slavery because she loved her so much. (Thanks to Kittredge Cherry for wising me up to the story of Ruth and Naomi.)

And then I said, "God is Love, right? And LGBT people love each other, so that must be godly."

And it seemed that I had succeeded in changing her mind.

Now, if I had called her a "bigot" at the outset of the conversation, that would have been it - end of conversation. And I don't think she was a bigot; she wanted to understand, and she seemed genuinely pleased to be offered a different interpretation of the Bible.

So, be careful before you jump to calling someone a bigot before you have found out what their real views are, under a possibly very thin veneer of religious conformity.

Also, it helps if you know how to do liberal Biblical interpretation.