The Judiciary Committee of the Connecticut State Legislature

John C. Rankin

In the spring of 2001, the push began in the Connecticut State Legislature to pass a law ordaining same-sex marriage. It caught me by surprise, and I was asked last minute to join a panel before the Judiciary Committee.

Behind the scenes, and in preparation for this push, a group of syncretistic clergy made a public declaration in favor of same-sex marriage. They also warned the media and legislature to watch out for intolerant “Bible thumpers” or “fundamentalists” who would oppose such a natural “civil right.”

In the hearing itself, it was front-loaded with the pro-same-sex marriage advocates, including the syncretistic clergy led by the Rev. Dr. Davida Foy Crabtree, Connecticut conference minister and spokesperson for the UCC. In her testimony, she held up a leather bound Bible – being filmed live on C-TV (the local analogy to C-Span) – and declared that “Jesus says nothing in the gospels about homosexuality.” She continued and argued in favor of same-sex marriage, rooted in this argument from putative silence. It was ironic in that she and her group were warning the legislature about “Bible thumpers,” yet she was the using the Bible as a false prop.

Then a legislator asked our panel for a response. In sum, I said that 1) Jesus affirms marriage as defined in the biblical order of creation, 2) he fulfills the Law of Moses that says no to homosexual actions, and 3) the apostle Paul ratifies the same. (I could have added other details such as Jesus explicitly opposing porneiai, a koine Greek word rooted in classical Greek literature for a “sexual immorality” inclusive of homosexual actions, but time was limited). I then noted that Jesus had no need to mention homosexuality per se, since first century Judaism was not struggling with the issue in its midst. Nor did Jesus mention the three cardinal sins for which Jeremiah chastised ancient Judah, that which led to the Babylonian exile in 586 B.C. – sorcery, sacred prostitution and child sacrifice. Jesus did not have to do so in his own day, given the power of self-evident biblical assumptions being in play in all he said among his biblically literate fellow Jews.

No one on the committee, nor in the media, nor in academia, nor in the political homosexual movement, challenged any of this.


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House of Lords 17 October 2017

Text of John Rankin’s address on the occasion of the 500th annive5rsary of the Reformation.