Saint Paul And Marriage Equality

Andrew Sullivan —  Jun 5 2012 @ 10:52am


He’d have been for it, says Jon Rauch, as he was in favor of many profound social reforms and changes in his day. What about the Letters To The Romans?

Context is all. No one in Paul’s day had any inkling of a loving, consensual homosexual relationship. “There were no gay households; there were in fact no gay institutions or gay culture at all,” writes Ruden. “The only satisfying use of an adult passive homosexual was alleged to be oral or anal rape — the satisfaction needed to be violent, not erotic.” Roman mores of Paul’s day regarded male-male intercourse as an act not of love but of domination. The passive partner was contemptible; the active one was triumphant, proving his virility. But “partner” hardly seems the right word. “Target” or “victim” is more apt.

Of course a Christian would be opposed to that kind of abuse. But a consensual loving relationship between equals? Sister Farley is a brave enough Catholic to ask the right question. The Vatican, terrified of its own vast closet, wants to shut all the questions down. That’s how so many of these gay hierarchs cope with themselves. It’s just natural of them to project it all on to others.

(Painting: St Paul by Valentin de Boulogne 1591–1632.)