(1)It must first be noted that the Bible openly approves of polyamory and does not share our modern definition of incest.(2, 3) Because of this fact, those wishing to make a purely “Biblical” argument should accept this as a point in favor of LGBTQ ordination. Nonetheless, this argument is false. Incest is very often also rape and sexual abuse, and in cases where it is not rape/abuse it risks offspring with severe genetic abnormalities.(4) Incest is something that, despite the Bible, we have come to define differently and reject over time, even though royal families practiced it well into the last century. Polyamory is also something that the Bible approves of but which we reject.(5) It is now our assumption that fidelity is best expressed, children best raised, etc. by monogamous parents.(6) However, it should be noted that the vast majority of Americans practice serial polyamory since very few people only have sex with one marital partner in their entire life, and this is appropriately no bar to ordination.(7) Homosexuality is not like either incest or polyamory.(8)
1. This is another argument that seeks to lump homosexuality in with other other sex practices, logic notwithstanding. Less offensive than the comparison to pedophilia and bestiality, this argument is still quite false.
2. That the Bible at some points approves of polyamory should be apparent to anyone who has read the Old Testament. Solomon had 700 wives. Enough said. The Biblical assumption is that men of means should have more than one wife, and that having many wives is a demonstration of power and wealth - the same as in many other ancient cultures. If someone wishes to make a "Biblical" argument for what are approved ways to couple sexually, polyamory and what we would now define as incest must be on the table. Just ask Betty Bowers.
3. The Bible is not consistent in it's stance where incest is concerned, and does not define incest in the way that we define it now in the United States. The marriage of Abram and Sarai who are siblings is unproblematic, as are the incestuous relationships of Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob and Leah and Rachel, among others, while Lot and his daughters are condemned. This chart illustrates the inconsistencies we are referring to. It is also worth noting that what is permissible for men in scripture regarding incest is different from what is permissible for women.
4. That incest is incredibly harmful to its victims is well documented. Consider this information from an organization called RAINN. We do not think people of conscience will read this information and then continue to make the case that homosexuality is like incest.
5. In many cases, the Bible presents things as acceptable that we no longer find acceptable, and vise-versa. Everyone makes decisions as to how they will live, and no one outside the Bronze Age (and for a year, this guy, sort of) lives a "Biblical" lifestyle. We have intentionally used the term serial polyamory here instead of the more common serial monogamy to highlight the hypocrisy among those who lament the destruction of the institution of marriage by non-traditional families and do not themselves adhere to a one man-one woman lifelong commitment.
6. In fact, children raised by committed, same-sex parents do measurably better than those raised by opposite-sex parents. Not a lot better, but significantly, measurably better. There is plenty of evidence that children with two parents fare better than children with one parent - this is not to denigrate the heroic efforts of single parents everywhere, merely to point out that the two-parent ideal is supported by more than anecdotal evidence. (And here is an article that has a different take on the issue)
7. Learn more about actual human sexual behavior from the Kinsey Institute, the National Center for Health Statistics, the NHSSB or any number of other places.
8. The debate over ordination rights has never been a debate between those who adhere to the Bible and those who do not, whatever opponents of equality may say. It is a debate between people who preference ancient purity laws and those who preference God's ever-widening call to those who are outcast, forgotten, and least.