Sunday, April 19, 2015

@Mandate_2015 and Bad #MarRef Arguments of Biblical Proportions

Mandrake and Lothar. For Marriage?
When deciding which Irish citizens should be permitted marriage it is wise of us to consider outside the naturalistic realm. Today I found myself concerned with Mandrakes.

For those whose Harry Potter knowledge falters, Mandrakes are magical plants with humanoid tubers. Their cry when young grates on the ears. When older their shriek can prove fatal.

It brought me pleasure to discover the group Mandrake for Marriage. Come May 23rd, should the referendum pass, their whoops of delight will likely kill us all.

But this was not the Mandrake I sought. Rather I wished to find the view of the dapper Mandrake the Magician (pictured right) and his burly companion Lothar. Regrettably, despite considerable research, I was unable to determine which way these 1930's comic book stars swung.

During this research I made a rare typo and found myself on I assumed it was a singles site for marriage inclined men, but having probed the jumbled mess of their hilariously misnamed site further I discovered that the site actually calls for a No vote.

My desire for knowledge of Lothar and Mandrake unquenched I moved to return to Bing. But then I noticed the trio of Burkes who produced the site share my concern for the supernatural realm. Indeed in one of their recent posts they claim to be able to correctly arbitrate Biblical scripture's messages on civil marriage matters.

The remainder of this post will evaluate their efforts with said scriptures. As the discussion will involve the Old Testament it will have to include discussion of rape. Please consider this a content warning. I'll include a picture of Mandrake and Lothar wearing matching rings to space the text a little:

Sodom, Begorrah

The Burke's open their argument against marriage equality by taking us to the village of Sodom. A brace of angels are visiting Lot, and, as you likely remember from our mandatory two and a half hours a week of religion classes, the menfolk of the village in their entirety arrives at Lot's doorstep determined to rape the androgynous, celestial beings.

Lot, being a righteous man of God, offers his virgin daughters to the crowd of men instead.

Objection: This will require unpacking, and it's clear the Burkes are operating under some misinterpretations. The referendum on May 22nd will affect civil marriage rights. I have studied the text of the amendment thoroughly and can find no loophole that would allow a village full of men to force themselves sexually on otherworldly messengers of God. In fact, as asexual beings, the winged messengers of the Almighty will be unable to marry either each other or humans under the constitution. I feel the Burke's concerns are unwarranted here.

The Burkes further cite an intervention from He who caused the Universe to Exist: a raining of fire and brimstone on Sodom and Gemorrah.

Objection: Supernatural destruction is something we should seek to avoid for environmental, economic, and tourism reasons. That said, given the legalisation of same sex marriage in many nations worldwide and the thankfully low rate of annihilation by fire, brimstone and associated phenomena observed I feel their worries are misplaced.


The Burkes move to newer (yet still ancient) territory and ask us to consider a document that contains nice instructions about leaving some of your crops unharvested so that the poor and the traveller might eat. It encourages using all leftover meats within three days. I do not object. There is a brief list of approved haircuts and beard styles to which I am certain the menfolk of the Burke household adhere. Doubtless the Burkes, despite their selective editing of their chosen quotes, are aware of the transgressions deserving of death from this document. They include:
  • Cursing your parents
  • Adultery
  • Men having sex with men
The law's a funny thing. Say you want children killed for their potty mouths and you'll find yourself arrested, yet declare that your God wants it and you'll likely get a tax break to better spread your sincerely held belief.

Leviticus goes on to recommend expulsion for any couple who has sex during the woman's period. It would be indelicate of me to ask the Burke patriarch how closely he cleaves to this rule. That said, perhaps he has not always been a native of Galway?

Objection: Allowing same sex couples to marry will not materially affect the rate at which men have sex with men. Despite the Burke's favouring of the text, a no vote will not introduce compulsory expulsion for married couples who have sex during the woman's period.


The Burkes bolster their case by citing New Testament verses indicating Paul, Jesus and Jude were familiar with the Old Testament.

Objection: A casual glance through the New Testament will reveal the person of Jesus who came to free people from the rules of the Old Testament. He offered his life willingly as perfect sacrifice for our sins, should we be willing to accept it.

The New Testament is available online, in libraries and in many hotels. I do recommend the Burkes seek out a copy.

Some New Testament Commentary

"For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another..." Romans 1 26:27

Here the Burkes cite Paul's discussion of a group who made and worshipped idols. God was displeased, so he forced them to rape each other.

I call this the "what the thundering fuck?" verse.

Objection: The proposed amendment is bereft of mention of idols, worshiped or otherwise. Indeed idol worship is currently legal. The amendment governs same sex couples who wish to marry the right to do so, if they both consent. It remains silent on gods who use rape as a tool to show their anger.

The Burkes proceed to pluck from the Bible in a fashion more commonly seen when my fellow atheists first discover its text is searchable, and give us a quote from 1 Corinthians 6.

But what if we skip to 1 Corinthians 7?
"I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I. But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn." 1 Cor 7, 8-9

Paul would rather opposite sex couples not get married. Marriage, to him, is worse than the single life of evangelisation, but better than burning in hellfire. And it's Burke's right to disagree with Paul on this, but if they do, they stand on poor foundations to force their reading of the text into civil law.

My Theology is unlikely to win any awards, but when I read the New Testament I see a profound disinterest in regulating non Christian civil marriages. Despite the Burkes' best efforts, they've been unable to force the text to say what they want it to.

My vote stays with the Mandrakes.


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