Over on Evangel, Paul McCain republishes an article by Pastor Peter Speckhard, nephew of Fr. Neuhaus, advocating for the institution of temple prostitution. Fortunately, the piece can still be considered satire (though that will likely change in the next few years):
What are the biggest problems, practical and theological, that Lutheran churches in America face today? I would submit the following:
—Inability to retain or reach out to young, single people, especially men. Think about it—on a typical Sunday in a typical Lutheran church, how many 28-year-old single men are sitting in the pews? How might we draw them in? What are their felt needs?
[ . . . ]
—Declining revenue. Especially in a tough economy, we need new and creative ways to raise money if we’re adequately going to fund critical ministries such as feeding the hungry or blanketing Africa with condoms.
[ . . . ]
Now imagine all those problems solved with one simple innovation. The answer: temple prostitution.
I know, I know. Outrageous and offensive. I can hear readers already dismissing the idea out of hand. And I admit that we may not be ready for it quite yet. But please hear me out on this.
First off, let’s address the common objections. Sure, there are a handful of Bible verses that might seem to condemn the practice. But all the condemnation of temple prostitution involves pagan practices or worship of false gods. The objectionable thing is the idolatry, not the physical act itself. Sanctified, faithful prostitution in service of the true God is a new thing. The Biblical writers never foresaw or contemplated sanctified, faithful, God-pleasing prostitution in the churches and thus never wrote about it. Attempts to find a Biblical injunction against the practice therefore fall short.
Secondly, let’s not cherry-pick verses selectively. We don’t stone disobedient children to death. We don’t refrain from pork or sodomy merely because this or that verse says we should. We have to look at the whole Biblical witness in light of the freedom we have in Christ. For example, God ordered Hosea to marry a prostitute. Such Biblical precedent offers interpretive nuance to seemingly black-and-white prohibitions.