Just as Dan Brown capitalized on ignorance and prejudice to sell copies of his bestselling The Da Vinci Code novel, some historians have tried to sell gay marriage by claiming that the early Christian martyrs Sergius and Bacchus are an example of Church-sponsored same-sex marriage.
“Many of the world’s religions — including Christianity — supported same-sex unions, a reality obscured by modern-day shrill, conservative commentary.
“Christian Right Bigots Are Hiding the Truth — Early Christians Condoned Gay Marriage”
Consider this article and headline by Daniel Maguire on AlterNet:
With Judge Walker’s recent decision to declare same-sex marriage a “constitutional right”, gay-marriage proponents are in overdrive trying desperately to convince people on the fence that gay-marriage is the wave of the future – as well as the suppressed reality of the past.
Oh my. It seems that this particular twisting of Christian history surfaced in 1994:
The claim that Saints Sergius and Bacchus represent an example of Church-sponsored same-sex marriage was first put forward in 1994 by John Boswell in his book Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe. Boswell’s claims have been completely debunked by David Woods, Robin Young, and Brent Shaw (to name the first three authors I found during a simple internet search).
In his post, Thomas Peters, cites three real historians who tear this alternative history to shreds. Robert Darling Young, does a particularly effective job. Boswell claims that there was an early Christian rite to bind two people of the same sex. Ms. Young says that may be true. Not only does such a rite exist in the Syrian Church, she participated in one! But it was not a marriage.
“This is a subject about which I have the good fortune to speak not merely as a scholar or an observer, but as a participant. Nine years ago I was joined in devout sisterhood to another woman, apparently in just such a ceremony as Boswell claims to elucidate in his book. The ceremony took place during a journey to some of the Syrian Christian communities of Turkey and the Middle East, and the other member of this same-sex union was my colleague Professor Susan Ashbrook Harvey of Brown University.”
The blessing of the Syrian Orthodox Church was a precious instance of our participation in the life of an ancient and noble Christian tradition. Although neither of us took the trouble to investigate the subject, each privately assumed that the ritual of that summer was some Christian descendant of an adoption ceremony used by the early church to solemnify a state-that of friendship-which comes highly recommended in the Christian tradition (“Henceforth I call you not servants . . . but I have called you friends.” [John15:15]). The whole article is worth a read (here).
The problem our culture’s fixation on sex and lust, eros, has all but removed the highest expression of love, from a Christian perspective, selfless and self sacrificing love, agape, from our understanding of what authentic love is. Fraternal, philio, love has all but been eradicated from our society. At least for men. The idea that two men can love each other as friends and not lovers is a lost concept. Friendship between men is confined to activities such as watching football together or playing golf.
Anyway the idea that the early Church sanctioned same sex marriage is absurd. But the same sex marriage radicals won’t let go. Anyone who dares to say that homosexual acts are sinful are labeled bigots. It is going to get rough.