An infographic purporting to show the bible's actual nightmarish definition of marriage in the years when people still thought the sun was either the poison bump on the back of an enormous gila monster or an egg yolk that could end famine has been steadily canvassing the internet, yet has somehow failed to dissuade the National Organization for Marriage that maybe the whole "one man, one woman" note has been struck a little too often. The infographic shows how biblical definitions of marriage include, though are not limited to, the following perversities: man + woman + concubines; man + woman + slaves; man + oodles of wives; and rapist + victim. All of that sounds like pretty damning evidence — straight from the most important textbook ever, no less — that perhaps the conservative case that marriage is strictly between a man and woman because, like, the bible is a thing has some holes.
Aha! exclaimed NOM's Ruth Institute on its blog — the infographic only proves that conservative worries about same-sex marriage are well-founded, because...
Look carefully at the image and you will see that in ALL of the examples, both genders are represented. This image reinforces the conservative position about needing a gender requirement, it does not undermine our position. And here is why: marriage has always been understood primarily as the means to bearing and raising children. Yes marriage provides companionship to the married partners, but that has never been the reason we needed marriage as a society.
Of course, the Ruth Institute doesn't explicitly defend any of the more, um, passé iterations of biblical marriage (despite what Think Progress' headline insinuates), but the organization does try really, really hard to work with pretty bleak material. A selective reading of the bible will yield pretty much whatever its peruser is looking for — that's sort of the point. The bible is really just a comprehensive reference book for moral dilemmas spiced up with a few beheadings, monsters and wars. It'd be almost impossible to show someone biblical evidence of anything because the bible is like a cloud — where one person sees a deity trying to test a person's faith, someone else sees an asshole trying to prove to his cosmic adversary that he can literally shit all over some sap named Job and the guy will still be super devoted to him. Like a dog.
Image via MNStudio/Shutterstock.