Tuesday, May 06, 2014

N.T. Wright on Gay Marriage

And here is from Relevant Magazine's interview with N.T. Wright et. al.

Wright says:

I think the question then is twofold; one is a matter of public policy, and the other is a matter of
Christian teaching. In my country [England], in public policy within my
lifetime, 60 years ago there were people who were put in prison for homosexual
behavior, and today that has [turned] totally around and now anyone who speaks
out against homosexual behavior is likely to have a visit from the police for
offensive behavior. We have undergone a huge change in public policy, and I
think that kind of swing, whatever the issue, is dangerous and potentially
unhealthy; it may seem liberating to some, but it creates enormous confusion in
a society. And then there’s this sort of fear of raising issues and discussing
them. I think at the level of public policy we need a better-informed debate
without the sheer rhetoric that’s going on, without the sort of threat or “You
must conform to our way of thinking or we will throw the law at you.” I think a
cooling-off period of public policy wouldn’t be a bad thing, instead of this
frantic race on the one hand to say, “We must have gay marriages,” and on the
other hand to say, “We must ban any such thing.”
The second is a matter of the Christian teaching. Again, there is an awful lot of misunderstanding about it. The Bible is actually quite clear on the subject. And the texts which
speak of homosexual behavior and which rule it out for Christians, are not, as
people often say, confusing or ill-informed or whatever; in fact, St. Paul, for
instance, in the first century knew just as much about the actual practices of
homosexuality as we do; if you read the ancient literature you’ll find that
there’s an enormous amount, in the ancient Greek and Roman world, about a wide
variety of homosexual inclinations, practices, etc. Paul was widely traveled in
the Greco-Roman world and would have known all about that. So the idea that he
was only referring to a small scale of something different from anything than
what we know now I think simply won’t stand up historically. But it is also a
problem in the Church, because again we have got so much rhetoric flying to and
fro and we lack a sustained, careful discussion, which we really need to have.
That’s actually an underlying theme of so many issues today, that we have
forgotten how to do reasoned, wise discourse. And I bet some people will write
me messages after what I’ve just said, telling me that I’m wicked and
ill-informed and stupid. But we have to create a space for that wise discourse
to happen, both in the public world and in the Church.