Captive Virgins, Polygamy, Sex Slaves: What Marriage Would Look Like if We Actually Followed the Bible
Traditionally, Republicans tend to run on a platform of God, guns and gays. This time, it’s God, gyne-policy and gays – a set of urgent priorities straight from the mouths of conservative bishops and evangelists who call themselves Bible believers.
There’s no way to understand politics anywhere without understanding religion, but to an outsider American Christianity — and so American politics — can seem almost incomprehensible. Over the last 2,000 years, Christians have quarreled themselves into 30,000 different denominations. On top of that, American Christianity, like American culture more broadly, tends to flout hierarchy and authority, which means that a sizeable number of American Christians consider themselves “nondenominational.”
The ever faster splintering of denominations and non-denominations, from crystal cathedrals to house churches gives a particularly elevated status to the Bible, which is why, along with the Catholic bishops and charismatic preachers we find the Good Book in the middle of our public policy debates. “Bible-believing” Christians, also called “biblical literalists,” believe the Bible is the literally perfect word of God, essentially dictated by God to the writers. Thanks to the determined work of historical revisionists like David Barton, many of them also believe (very, very wrongly) that America’s Constitution and legal system also were founded on principles and laws drawn from the Bible.
Not all Christians share this view. Biblical literalists are at the opposite end of the theological spectrum from modernist Christians, who see the Bible as the record of our imperfect spiritual ancestors who struggled to understand what is good and what is God and how to live in moral community with each other.