Jamila Bey Caught in the Commission of Journalism

Hemant Mehta shows us this incident in which the Rev. William Owens of the Coalition of African-American Pastors made the mistake of opening up the topic of “Biblical marriage” in front of an audience which included Jamila Bey. The press conference was supposed to be about CAAP’s opposition to marriage equality. Rev. Owens is a consultant to NOM. He acts like he isn’t accustomed to actually answering questions.

Bey: Reverend, What is God’s position on polygamy?

Owens: [Glares] Well, I think you know that. This is not about polygamy. This is about same-sex marriage.

Bey: This is about your — I need you to define for me, please, the Biblical definition of marriage–

Owens: The Biblical definition of marriage is a marriage between a man and a woman. And I’m not going to–

Bey: But Reverend–

Owens: I’m not going to get on another track!

Bey: … Talk to me about Abraham’s marriage.

Owens: Madam. Next question! Next question.

Bey: Reverend, what is God’s position on polygamy?

Owens: Next question!

Bey: Reverend, what is God’s position on polygamy?

Owens: Are you, are you going to stand there and just demand that I answer your question? This is not about polygamy. This is about same-sex marriage… and I will NOT do any different.

Bey: Reverend, you said that you would answer questions about Biblical marriage.

Owens: [To security] Would you have this lady removed?

Look at that again: “Are you going to stand there and just demand that I answer your question?” Why, yes, Rev. Owens! It’s called being a journalist. If you bring up “Biblical marriage,” as if the Bible is a helpful guide to well-adjusted family life, then you should be prepared for someone to ask about polygamy. This is especially important given how much energy the anti-equality side puts into comparing SSM to polygamy, or sounding the alarm that marriage equality will put us on a slippery slope to polygamy, bestiality and state-sanctioned incest. In light of the environment which the pro-patriarchy side has created, one should know better than to bring out the Good Book as a defense of enforced heterosexual monogamy. The Reverend just walked right into it.