Adventist Media Response and Conversation

Friday, October 10, 2008

Same sex marriage and the Roman Empire record

The Spectrum Magazine website has been giving a lot of attention to the upcoming same sex proposition in California. For some reason they think it is a religious liberty issue. It is something we learn to expect from the political left which operates that site.


I was reading an article in my local newspaper entitled: Milestones in GLBT history


The author states:

“While Massachusetts and California have recently legalized same-sex marriage, it is hardly anything new. In fact, the earliest recorded same-sex marriages occurred during the Roman Empire. A number of same-sex unions took place during that time — almost 2,000 years ago.”


Wow that is amazing 2000 years ago there were same sex marriages, does that mean that if one wants to promote same sex marriage they are promoting a Pagan religious ceremony since that seems to be the argument often used against those who oppose same sex marriages, separation of church and state etc.


Thanks to Wikipedia footnote 12 we find the reference to this precedent setting Roman Empire Same Sex Marriage. Since that footnote does not link to the reference and inquiring minds will want to know here is the source of growing in popularity Roman Empire and the first record of same sex marriage.


Suetonius, The Lives of the Caesars The Life of Nero


28 Besides abusing freeborn boys and seducing married women, he debauched the vestal virgin Rubria. The freedwoman Acte he all but made his lawful wife, after bribing some ex-consuls to perjure themselves by swearing that she was of royal birth. He castrated the boy Sporus and actually tried to make a woman of him; and he married him with all the usual ceremonies, including a dowry and a bridal veil, took him to his house attended by a great throng, and treated him as his wife. And the witty jest that someone made is still current, that it would have been well for the world if Nero's father Domitius had had that kind of wife. 2 This Sporus, decked out with the finery of the empresses and riding in a litter, he took with him to the assizes and marts of Greece, and later at Rome through the Street of the Images, 84 fondly kissing him from time to time. That he even desired illicit relations with his own mother, and was kept from it by her enemies, who feared that such a help might give the reckless and insolent woman too great influence, was notorious, especially after he added to his concubines a courtesan who was said to look very like Agrippina. Even before that, so they say, whenever he rode in a litter with his mother, he had incestuous relations with her, which were betrayed by the stains on his clothing.


29 He so prostituted his own chastity that after defiling almost every part of his body, he at last devised a kind of game, in which, covered with the skin of some wild animal, he was let loose from a cage and attacked the private parts of men and women, who were bound to stakes, and when he had sated his mad lust, was dispatched 85 by his freedman Doryphorus; for he was even married to this man in the same way that he himself had married Sporus, going so far as to imitate the cries and lamentations of a maiden being deflowered. I have heard from some men that it was his unshaken conviction that no man was chaste or pure in any part of his body, but that most of them concealed their vices and cleverly drew a veil over them; and that therefore he pardoned all other faults in those who confessed to him their lewdness.


A heartwarming account, one I am sure many proponents of same sex marriage can point to proudly…or maybe just point to. As Paul Harvey says; now you know the rest of the story.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Have you seen all of the respected Adventists who are also saying Prop 8 is a religious liberty issue? This is hardly just a "left" issue. See all of the endorsers here:
http://adventistsagainstprop8.org/

Anonymous said...

I would leave a more substantive comment if any of this made sense.

Ron Corson said...

So let's see a group of political left leaning Adventists sign on to the Adventists against prop 8 website and that somehow makes it hardly a left issue.

I don't really buy it. Reading the website I get nothing of substance that it has anything to do with religious liberty. It amounts to allowing the same old let's redefine what the word marriage means argument to prevail. Their argument is:
"By supporting this Proposition to define marriage from a religious perspective, many, including the Church State Council, are in danger of imposing their particular religious, theological convictions upon the general public."

But of course it always becomes easier to redefine a word if that words meaning only has a few years of meaning behind it. So after marriage means man and man or woman and woman what will stop marriage from being man and man and man. Man and woman and woman etc. Nothing! we can find those ideas present in history as well so just as Nero gave us the first man and man marriage he also gave us the first man and man and man and woman marriage.

Government does have a role to play in the maintenance of an orderly society which is the reason any of this is important. But it is not a religious liberty issue. The traditional meaning of marriage is so broad and held through so much of history and by so many religions and cultures and countries. To claim it is a religious liberty issue is sheer folly.

Anonymous said...

RE:

Wow that is amazing 2000 years ago there were same sex marriages, does that mean that if one wants to promote same sex marriage they are promoting a Pagan religious ceremony since that seems to be the argument often used against those who oppose same sex marriages, separation of church and state etc."

Do you not realize the stupidity of this alleged reasoning?

Alexander Carpenter said...

1) Claiming that Spectrum is "operated by the political left" is a pretty weirdly false statement, especially with that conspiracy theory verb.

2) Drawing an analogy between a practice during the Greek and Roman period and noting the similarity to today and then claiming a pagan link is pretty dull when you realize that "paganism" wasn't much more than inspiration of the arts during the time of gay marriage. Following this simple analogy apparently museums are "pagan" temples and whenever Adventists appreciate the Dying Niobid they are being all pagan and stuff. And let's definitely stop those pagan Olympic games. . . This has to be one of the emptiest analogies ever attempted in the Adventist blogosphere.

3) You haven't actually unpacked the reasoning that Adventist religious liberty scholars have laid out against prop. 8. So before dismissing it without critical engagement and slapping on some wikipedia, try to engage the actual separation issue.

al said...

This issue is an attack on God. God created man and woman and ordained their union. Since God is no longer the authority figure for so many it is up to their own pronouncements as to what is right or wrong. I'd have to say this is a fundamental religious issue.

Ron Corson said...

Well lets look at some of Alex's statements:

"1) Claiming that Spectrum is "operated by the political left" is a pretty weirdly false statement, especially with that conspiracy theory verb.

Here is what I wrote:

"It is something we learn to expect from the political left which operates that site."

Now I certainly am not alone in thinking that Spectrum website is politically leftwing. There is very little doubt in my mind but just to give Alex the opportunity to clear things up he could give us the names of the political conservatives that are involved with the publication of the spectrum website.

It is very interesting that this denial of political liberalism is one of the prominent characteristics of political liberals.


Point two:
"2) Drawing an analogy between a practice during the Greek and Roman period and noting the similarity to today and then claiming a pagan link is pretty dull when you realize that "paganism" wasn't much more than inspiration of the arts during the time of gay marriage."

Ok I snipped that one because it makes practically no sense at all. The material on Nero and his perversion was in reference to the article by the writer who pointed out that same sex marriage went clear back to the Roman empire. So I gave the quotes from the sources which told us of this first same sex marriage. It was not thought of well at the time and even today his actions are perverse.

Now is paganism merely art appreciation? Not according to any responsible Dictionary: As the American Heritage dictionary says:
"One who is not a Christian, Muslim, or Jew, especially an adherent of a polytheistic religion in antiquity."

Those ancient religions however are still religions and thus my statement was accurate.One could argue that practicing an idea from a pagan religion is just as much a violation of church and state as practicing Christian practices would be a violation of church and state. Why is one argument better then the other. They are not in fact, just selective application used to support their preconceived point of view. In this case there was nothing in either that makes them religious based, though that is the argument that Alex and his band are making. Thereby claiming it is a religious liberty issue.

"3) You haven't actually unpacked the reasoning that Adventist religious liberty scholars have laid out against prop. 8. So before dismissing it without critical engagement and slapping on some wikipedia, try to engage the actual separation issue."

I did not really try to in the blog article. If I had I would have quoted from it. The quote I used from the anti 8 website was in a comment area. If there is some sort of scholarly reason's laid out I have not seen them yet. There is no actual church state separation issues involved. There is fear monger by both sides but certainly no scholarly material.

For the reading impaired you will notice that contrary to Alex's assertion that I engaged in "slapping on some wikipedia" that I did not even quote the wikipedia. I mentioned that they supplied the reference for the statement about ancient Rome and same sex marriage. That they in fact did not even link to the readily available text. I posted the text not wikipedia.

But it is pretty clear how poorly the reasoning goes by some of these people. What bothers me most is how on these political issues logic falls away. That happens so often in the religious areas also. They become ruled by their emotions and that is not a good way to run a society, either politically or religiously.

Anonymous said...

Ron, I can see what you were doing and you did it very well. The people who champion same sex marriage try to grant it legitimacy by demonstrating that this practice goes back thousands of years. Yet when you actually do the research (thank you), it demonstrates that the argument made to grant legitimacy to same sex marriage actually mocks it.

Bruce