Ben Franklin said that two things in life were inevitable: death and taxes. It was a great line, oft quoted, but I think there are a few other things that he might have included in his list as he wrote in the late 1700s, if he hadn’t just been going for the laugh.
There were changes on the horizon, at least one of which was clearly in Ben’s sights: Slavery. Even Franklin as a young man had owned slaves, but as he aged he offered that he was against the institution, very possibly more for economic reasons than any humanitarian ones. But there are hints that he understood the inevitability of slavery’s demise, though he never came right out and said it.
The Founding Fathers might have been wishy-washy on slavery, but the Bible was not. And if you favored slavery you could quote chapter and verse to back up your position.
The Old Testament, rife with incidents of slavery, managed to defend the act except in the case of the Israelites. The Deuteronomic Code in fact made it a crime to enslave Israelites. But clearly the OT gave slavery the thumbs up. The New Testament is a little less clear, but Christian slaveholders in the South were glad to point to Paul, who said that slaves should obey their masters, thereby seemingly condoning the practice. In hindsight I think most of us will agree that like death and taxes, no matter how the Bible is quoted or misquoted, slavery’s end was inevitable.
Another case of inevitability could be made for women’s rights. Through the millennia up until early in the 20th century women were treated like property, treated as the Bible commanded, as a helper for man, to be obedient and faithful, to cook, clean and produce children. Looking back now, it is hard to believe that such a short time ago women couldn’t own property, hold office or even vote. Still, I think it was inevitable that women and blacks would eventually attain the just freedoms they rightfully deserved.
Finally I would like to point out another issue of inevitability: gay marriages. I am very clear on what quotes can be leveled against homosexuality from the Bible, although interpretations of the original translations vary greatly. I also know how long gays have languished unfairly in the same social malaise as women and blacks, but I offer that “the times they are a changin’.” While it may be conceivable that the hard line religious right might be able to stall the movement for equality in much the same way Bull Connor, George Wallace and the like did with the Civil Rights Movement, full rights for gays will prevail.
You may not like changes to your societal norms. Neither did the slave owners. And I wager that lots of husbands are still struggling with the notion that their wives are their equals. Nevertheless, I suggest that gay marriage is just and, therefore, ultimately inevitable.
The writer lives in Surfside Beach.