Reverend Charles Morris is absolutely correct, there is absolutely nothing in the Bible forbidding premarital sex. It is one of the traditions that is man-made to control people. The only reference is in the Old Testament and in the New Testament only the total mistranslation of the Greek word “porneia” as “fornication” – a clear lie that has no basis. Due to the patriarchal society, a family with sons was stronger than a family with daughters. However, cultures find ways to balance wealth and power. In the Old Testament culture, a man seeking marriage would pay the father of the bride. The value of the bride was determined by many factors including her beauty, ability to bear children, strength, various household skills and even her status as a virgin. You find an example of this in the story of Jacob and Leah and Rachel. Also remember in biblical times, most young women were betrothed based on a family financial deal. Sometimes, she never even had met her husband until the wedding day. And once betrothed the families had to wait until the girl was 12.5 years old before she could marry. Since most boys and girls were married by the time of puberty and there was little dating, singles sexuality was never an issue. In biblical times, there was nothing wrong with a married man having as many wives as he could afford, concubine and “common” prostitutes. Adultery was only wrong for a married woman, since it violated her husband’s property (and sexual) rights over her and his other wives or concubines. In biblical times, men were masters, and ruled over women and their children. Women had very few rights, and men often bought women from their families or at an auction usually at age 12.5. Women were owned property of a man. Fathers owned women (daughters, wives, concubines, handmaidens, servants and so on) and if you wanted to have sex with one of his property, then you had to ask him permission. To sell a daughter, they would get more money if she was a virgin, non-virgins were cheaper to buy. If a man bought a daughter at a virgin price and she was not (after he had sex with her and the bedding was not bloody), then he could return her to the father and get his money back. Some concubines were war gifts to soldiers for fighting well in battle. They would kill all the men and then share the women among the fighting men. Some concubines were bought at auctions. Prostitutes rented themselves on time-limited basis and [the practice] was never wrong (common, not temple prostitutes worshiping the fertility gods – idolatry was wrong, not prostitution). It was better to buy a woman than rent one. They had no condoms, or birth control or modern medicines in the Bible days. Most sex rules were just to solve a practical problem of the time. Today, women have the same sexual freedoms that men have always had. But to try and preach that responsible non-monogamy, premarital sex, or fornication is somehow wrong, simply shows biblical ignorance. But the sexual repressive teachings that developed in the Middle Ages are still followed today based on repressive Christian traditions – out of ignorance and having no biblical basis. Old Testament: Exodus 22:16 – 17, “If a man seduces a virgin who is not engaged, and lies with her, he must pay a dowry for her to be his wife. If her father absolutely refuses to give her to him, he shall pay money equal to the dowry for virgins.” Deuteronomy 22:28 – 29, “If a man finds a girl who is a virgin, who is not engaged, and seizes her and lies with her and they are discovered, then the man who lay with her shall give to the girl’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall become his wife because he has violated her; he cannot divorce her all his days.” This Exodus passage is one of the few passages that deal directly with the issue of premarital sex. There are a couple of important points concerning this passage. First, neither the man nor woman is rebuked or punished for any sin (compare with Deuteronomy 22). The man is required to seek marriage but can be refused by the father. The key here is that there is no punishment for the man and woman having sex. The punishment is for the change in value of the woman as bride. The term “virgin’s dowry” implies that there was a special dowry (probably of greater compensation) for her virgin status and since she is no longer a virgin, the father is still payed the dowry as compensation regardless of whether she marries the guy or not. Also note that there is no law concerning the pre-marital sexuality of men or unbetrothed non-virgin women. The passage in Deuteronomy refers to a rape not consensual pre-marital sex. In order to remedy this crime, the man must take the woman into his household and care for her. He cannot divorce her. The rape of a married or engaged woman carried the death penalty. The rape of a virgin who is not engaged carries a lesser penalty. And while the penalty may seem unjust by our culture’s standpoint, the penalty was probably very just for that culture. In Deuteronomy 22, there is a clear example of what happens to a woman who has had sex prior to her marriage but deceives her parents and husband into believing that she was a virgin and accepted money (“playing the harlot in her father’s house”) for her virgin status. Although the severe penalty for such a deception is stoning, the husband can show love, forgiveness and mercy. There are two other examples of pre-marital sex in the OT. In Deuteronomy 21:10, there is another case study of how a man is to handle a captive woman. If he desires her as a wife, he must follow the conditions and then sleep with her. If she is found pleasing, he has the option to marry her or he can send her away. The Book of Esther also describes how Esther is brought into the King’s household to become a part of the King’s harem. In every case of pre-marital sex in the Bible, there is no punishment for the sexual act. The only penalty is the compensation to the father for the woman’s change in status. There is nothing said about premarital sex in the New Testament. The scriptures were not written in English. “Fornication” is a great example of the lies in translation of some bibles. Some English bibles say that, others say the more correct translation “sexual immorality”. Porneia meant sexual immorality which included: • sex during women’s menstruation. • adultery which biblically was understood by the Hebrews to mean wrong for a married woman to have sex with another man since [it] violated her husband’s property rights. It was never understood to be wrong for a married man since his wife had no such rights. The married man could have as many wives and concubines (breeders) as he wished as long as [they were] not married (another man’s property). Nothing ever was wrong with singles sexuality. • Pagan sex goddess prostitution. Porneia as used in 1 Corinthians 6 – 9, falsely translated in some bibles as fornication was actually the practice of the prostitutes in the Temples of Corinth selling their services as a part of pagan fertility goddess worship which was what Paul was warning against. Not even specifically about prostitution (still legal and very popular in Israel today) but used as a pagan sexual goddess worship. • Pederasty – one of the worst of all sexual sins that took various forms. The practice of pederasty falls into three distinct styles. First, is the relationship between an older man and a young boy. Second, is the practice of slave prostitutes. Third, is that of the effeminate “call boy” or prostitute. Other practices included a heterosexual male degrading another heterosexual male by anal intercourse after capturing them in battle. Another practice was heterosexual’s using anal intercourse to drive out other heterosexual strangers they didn’t like such as the case of the Sodom story. It had absolutely nothing to do with homosexuality as we know it today, which is simply being as God designed some people to be. Adultery in biblical times did not mean what it means to us today. Clearly, there was never a word said about the fact [that] Hebrew men could have as many wives, concubines and “other women” as they could afford. This is not adultery in the Hebrew understanding of the adultery Commandment of Moses. Adultery as understood by what Moses said was only wrong for married women, never a married man. Christ taught in the Sermon on the Mount that the only law is the law of love. He demonstrated this by reversing four of the OT laws which conflicted with loving people. Therefore, anything that was hurtful, not by mutual consent etcetera, would be immoral for a Christian, but obviously not loving sexuality regardless of marital status or natural sexual orientation. Reverend Morris will be “rebuked” because he is going against the teaching of the church and will likely be treated as an outcast. This has always been the approach of the church when facts are presented that are contrary to their teachings. Reverend Morris should thank God we are not in the days of the Iquisition, he surely would have been burnt at the stake.