. . . The news of Wendell Berry’s recent endorsement of gay marriage is not altogether surprising, but it is certainly a case-study in self-contradiction.
Burk is an associate professor of Biblical Studies at Boyce College(Louisville, Kentucky)
Editor’s note: Burk responses to Berry, a prolific author of books, poems and essays who won the National Humanities Medal in 2010 and was 2012 Jefferson lecturer for the National Endowment for the Humanities.
The news of Wendell Berry’s recent endorsement of gay marriage is not altogether surprising, but it is certainly a case-study in self-contradiction. Here he is in his own words:
My argument…was the sexual practices of consenting adults ought not to be subjected to the government’s approval or disapproval, and that domestic partnerships in which people who live together and devote their lives to one another ought to receive the spousal rights, protections and privileges the government allows to heterosexual couples.
In one line, Berry says that the sexual practices shouldn’t be subject to the government’sapproval or disapproval, and yet in the very next sentence he supports extending the government’s approval to the sexual relationships of gay couples. Can anyone make any logical sense out of that?
Berry also argues that the Bible really doesn’t emphasize gay marriage enough for Christians to make much hay about it. He writes,
The Bible…has a lot more to say against fornication and adultery than against homosexuality.
I cannot improve upon Doug Wilson’s response to this. Wilson writes:
For believing Christians, the issue is what the Bible teaches, not how much it teaches on one thing compared to other issues. There are matters of first importance compared to other matters, but this is determined by wisdom, and not by word counts. We should not tally up citations of the Ten Commandments throughout Scripture in order to manage our disobedience by triage.
First published on the DennyBurk.com website of January 15, 2013. Reprint according to policy.
Reprint by policy. First published on the DennyBurk.com website on December 11, 2012. Reprint by policy. The Worldview Church staff encourages you to visit our “Doing the Right Thing” resource page for small group study materials.