Incest

A really interesting story in the Mail  last week.

A brother and sister who had a child together are to break the law and marry later this month, the Irish Mail on Sunday can reveal.

They first spoke to the newspaper in May about their shock on discovering that they shared a father and were involved in an incestuous relationship.

And even though the couple – known as ‘James’ and ‘Maura’ – realise it is illegal for them to marry, they say they are still determined to spend the rest of their lives together and will break the law to do so.

This weekend, the couple, whose identities the Irish Mail on Sunday has protected by changing their names, as well as those of their close relatives, spoke about their wedding plans.

James said: ‘We have applied to get married and there are no mistakes in the paperwork so we will be able to wed at the end of this month.

‘We were aiming for Christmas but we have decided to do it sooner. Maura has got her wedding dress, we’ve ordered identical suits for myself and our son. We’ve also ordered a cake and we plan to go on a honeymoon a few weeks after the wedding.

‘It will be a very small wedding. We have two witnesses who we know very well and they know about our situation. I don’t know whether our father will come or whether any of our parents will be there.

‘Our son is getting excited about the wedding. He knows what is happening. As for Maura and me, it hasn’t really sunk in yet that we’re getting married.’

In a story that made headlines around the world, James and Maura revealed how they met and fell in love completely unaware that they shared a father.

Now, before we go and say things like “That’s just disgusting”, perhaps a brief survey of Genesis 20:12-13 is in order?

I’m interested though in discussing what in the Christian moral framework is the issue with incest. We know that the law of the land forbids it, but we also know that Christians shouldn’t do or not do things just because the law of the land says so. That way lies the Deutsche Christen. However, the modern restrictions on incestuous marriage are based largely on the Levitical code (Lev 18:6-18). That leaves me asking “why”? Beyond the usual arguments about hereditary diseases and genetic make up, is there anything in the Gen 1 / Eph 5 husband/wife = Christ/church model that can help us understand why incest is (or isn’t) wrong?

Or to put it another way, what does incest say about Jesus?

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