In my previous post, I asked the question: Should Chris and Pat get married? As we’ll see, I don’t think they should.
In the debate about homosexuality, those in favor of same-sex marriage often appeal to several virtues that justify a marriage regardless of the gender of the two partners. For instance: if a couple is committed to faithfulness and mutual love, if they abstain from sex until they are married, if they are both committed to Christ and desire to follow him, then they should get married.
After all, there’s nothing destructive in such a relationship. There’s no harm to themselves (one could even say they are harming themselves by not pursuing marriage), nor would their marriage cause any harm on other people.
To get more specific, one could say that sex between two men is potentially harmful to themselves. Without getting into the details, some studies show that male-male sex is biologically harmful. But: Chris and Pat are not two men. In fact, the sex that Chris and Pat will enjoy after they are marriage are the same acts that heterosexual couples engage in.
If the biblical standard for marriage is mutual love and sacrifice, commitment and Christ-like faithfulness, and pre-marital purity; and if sin is determined primarily in terms of whether it breeds destruction upon the ones committing the act or upon others—then I see no reason why Chris and Pat should not get married.
And to give a few more details: Pat is 28 and Chris is 26, and neither have been married before. And no, Chris is not the name of Pat’s sheep.
However, I don’t believe they should get married. No way. And neither do you. Because the biblical standard for marital union goes beyond pre-marital purity, consensual love, and undying faithfulness. The Bible gives additional qualifications for a valid marriage, and sometimes the Bible doesn’t give explicit reasons why. There’s some truth to the old school belief that God’s rules are right because they are God’s rules; sometimes He explains why, and sometimes He doesn’t. Just ask Job.
So why shouldn’t Chris and Pat get married?
Because Chris and Pat are brother and sister.
No, I’m not equating same-sex marriage to incest. The point of the analogy is to show that the logic often used to justify same-sex marriages can equally be used to justify sibling marriages. Consensuality. Mutual love. Purity before marriage. And since they can’t have kids, there’s no harm done to anyone else (i.e. the whole genetic mutation thing). There’s nothing visibly destructive about Chris and Pat’s marriage.
We could also add that sibling incest, as far as I know, is only forbidden by Old Testament law, in Leviticus 18 for example. But—so the argument goes—Christians don’t obey all sorts of laws in Leviticus. Why should we uphold the incest laws? (1 Cor 5, by the way, doesn’t prohibit sibling marriages.)
This certainly doesn’t solve the debate about same-sex marriages. No way. There are too many other factors and many more passages to consider. But if “the essence of Christian marriage involves keeping covenant with one’s spouse in a relationship of mutual self-giving, which doesn’t not exclude same-sex couples” (Vines, God and the Gay Christian, 146), then it shouldn’t exclude sibling couples either.