What Fresh Hell Is This?

September 8, 2013

An Election In Australia and Jerry Bowyer Makes A Silly

In contrasting the incumbent Kevin Rudd and the winner, Tony Abbot, Jerry Bowyer makes a number of points in this piece at Forbes.com.  Among them this one:
Social policy: Abbott, a practicing Roman Catholic (and former seminarian), opposed calls for same sex marriage, while Rudd argued for it, with awkward attempts to link the Bible’s opposition to homosexuality with its alleged support for slavery.
Alleged, Jerry?  We need to take a look at that.

But first let's take a step back.  What Jerry's referring to is this Q and A with Rudd a week or so ago:

From the Australian Broadcasting Corporation:
The pastor in the Brisbane audience asked the Prime Minister how he could support gay marriage "if you call yourself a Christian".

The Prime Minister responded by suggesting that line of thinking would also make slavery an acceptable proposition.

The pastor asked Mr Rudd: "Jesus said a man shall leave his father and mother and be married ... Kevin, if you call yourself a Christian, why don't you believe the words of Jesus in the Bible?"

"Well, mate if I was going to have that view, the Bible also says that slavery is a natural condition," Mr Rudd responded.

Mr Rudd's response received loud appaluse (sic) from the audience.

"Saint Paul said in the New Testament, 'slaves be obedient to your masters'," the Prime Minister continued.
I guess that's the part where Jerry Bowyer and Australia's ex-Prime Minister differ, hence the former's use of the adverb "allegedly."   But does Saint Paul actually say that?

Why, yes.  Yes, he does.  Ephesians 6:5-9:
5 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. 6 Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. 7 Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, 8 because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free.

9 And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.
He says almost exactly the same thing is said in Colossians 3:22-4:
22 Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
But he's also not alone in The Good Book in allowing slavery.  It's also OK'ed in the Old Testament. As in Leviticus 25:44-46:
44 “‘Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. 45 You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property. 46 You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.
So, slaves obey your masters as you would obey The Lord, masters don't threaten your slaves as The Lord won't like it.  Israelites can own slaves, just as long as the other Israelites they own (temporarily) are not treated "ruthlessly."

I'm thinking we're way past "allegedly" on this one, aren't we Jerry?

I mean, correct me if I am wrong, please.  How do these texts say anything otherwise?  Show me the "allegedly."


Mike Bull said...

The answers to your questions are easily found online, including the recent comments by the Archbishop of Sydney in response to the ignorance of Kevin Rudd and the Q&A audience.
For a start, ancient slavery was more like "the nanny state." Society was based around "households." It wasn't the kind of slavery that Wilberforce worked to end. You didn't just head out and find a job.
The Bible never proposes revolution as an answer but gradual change. Paul not only tells Christians who are slaves to obey their masters as they would obey God, but tells the Christians who are masters to look after their slaves. In other words, whatever station you find yourself in, be faithful and cultural change will come.
The arrogance, ignorance and sanctimony of those ignorant of ancient culture and the historical and Covenantal context of the Scriptures is disheartening. The push in the national curriculum to leave out the incredible influence of the Bible on our culture and our freedoms is tragic, and will only lead to more ignorance.

Dayvoe said...

Sorry - this feels like a rationalization for me as it seems to separate the "acceptable" slaveries from the "unacceptable" ones.

Zeus0209 said...

It's as difficult for me to be accommodating to belief in a sky fairy as it is to be accommodating of the mentally ill. The actions and/or intentions of either winds up being directly threatening to everyone else's liberties. The priorities of illiterate desert goat herders from 3,000 years ago (plug for Bill Maher) are constantly and consistently suggested to be adopted as law of the land, while in the case of the mentally ill, warped defense of their second amendment rights ends with the violated liberty of those in Newtown, Ct.
The mentally ill have excuse for their delusions, but the rest of us have science. So my question is then, with science offering to explain so much about us and our world, why is it then still so difficult to abandon childlike beliefs in the Santa Claus which the bible, the torah, the quran, etc. pose?
Yes Dave, sounds an awful lot like a rationalization to me, too.

SamStone said...

I am impressed with a politician who was not only willing to admit that he changed his view, but that you need to read a rather long essay to see why. Americans are stuck on the 5 second sound bite, which will never lead to this kind of intelligent approach dealing with complex ideas.