ON SAME-SEX MARRIAGE . . .

*As a Christian, this is a topic I have largely stayed out of, and the main reason is I’m still in process of refining exactly how I feel it needs to be approached. This is simply an attempt at transparency about the questions and struggles I deal with regarding this issue. This essay is not meant to be a lecture or a manifesto, but rather an open discussion, in which I hope to learn from you – Christians and Non-Christians, gay and straight – as well helping you gain a deeper understanding of me, with the end result being respect from both sides. Keep in mind this is written from a Christian viewpoint that the Bible is the inspired Word of God.

If you are looking to start a personal attack, in either direction, look elsewhere. I am required to approve all comments, and yours will be deleted.

pink-cross-response-to-marriage-equality-iconMarriage_Equality_Sign

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am a Christian. That is not to say I am a better person, but simply to say I am in recognition of the worse person I am, and have been freed from being, which is not of my own accord. In my mind, a Christian at many points in life is almost synonymous with a hypocrite, because recognizing Christianity as your belief system and putting your faith in Christ is essentially saying you are incapable of living to His potential for you without His intervention, and saying that you will never be able to abide fully in Him at all times until you are in heaven, yet we are still expected to strive towards this goal of righteousness through the Holy Spirit’s leading, while helping fellow Christians do the same. (If you disagree, look at Romans 7:14-20 describing Paul’s troubles, or look at the stories of David and Solomon.) That being said, I believe I am on equal ground as anyone in the LGBT community in regards to sin, and have only been rescued from myself through my personal recognition of Christ’s sacrifice, and through the belief of God’s promise through Christ and renewing by the Holy Spirit. And because of this, I believe God knows better than I, and the bible is the inspired word of God, which means I must believe that homosexuality is a sin. I wish I didn’t have to believe this, as it would make my life much easier, but I do because being a Christian without believing all parts is not being a Christian, but rather simply being a Monotheist. Christianity, or being a Christ-Follower, is much more complex than that, as the devil himself is a monotheist and is obviously not a Christ follower.

With that being said, I am very conflicted about Christianity’s role in same-sex marriage, because although I do believe same-sex marriage is a sin, as is homosexuality as a whole, I also believe judgment is meant for within the church, and our role outside of the church is simply to love, and point others towards Christ and His radical redefining of love. And this is where I am at odds, because although I do personally believe same-sex marriage is a sin, I also believe marriage has already been tarnished by the broadening of its definition to become a union outside of the church (I am still in conflict with myself here as well, as a person who believes in romantic love and our innate desire as humans, not only Christians, to be joined together, although I have seen the sanctity of marriage crumble because of our other innate human desire – which is selfishness.) and become defined as an entity of the state.

And this is where my view becomes muddied.

Same-sex marriage is obviously not accepted within the Christian church (and because of this I can’t see reason why a gay couple would want to be married by the church), and therefore is an entirely state-ordained affair. And in fear of sounding like a bigot, I find myself in great conflict, because I do greatly wish all humans to have the same state-governed rights, yet I do not wish for same-sex marriage to become a topic which undermines the righteousness and justness of God, because as Christians we know God does not change his mind, and only humans attempting to play god can make such a change. Which, if the world was led to believe God had changed his mind on same-sex marriage, the entire credibility of the Christian church and God’s righteousness would be questioned by those without a strong understanding of our God or a strong understanding  of the human condition of sinfulness which Christianity teaches.

So the question is this: When does the battle for equal state-ordained rights meet the battle of preserving the public view of an unchanging, righteous God and the marriage He has ordained? (I say public view because God does not need us to defend the claim of His righteousness, although I believe it is an important claim to defend because of the easily persuaded nature of humanity as a whole.)

I fear this may be a never ending, chicken or egg paradigm, yet I will attempt to expand on this question. In my mind, the argument cannot be won by either side because of the state-based, rather than Christianity-based, center of the actual law regarding marriage. I understand that marriage grants the family certain rights and privileges regarding taxes, among other things, so I will focus my attention here by offering a seemingly offensive hypothetical. If marriage was a covenant offered by the state which did not offer any extra tax or other incentives, traditional or same-sex, where would same-sex marriage stand on the priorities of this nation? Also, if the term ‘marriage’ halted usage in state affairs, and all marriages were dubbed ‘civil unions’ by the government, and only ‘marriages’ within the church, treating the two as separate entities (and unfortunately adding paperwork to the process), where would we stand on this issue?

With these questions in mind, which are my attempt to basically see the views on the other side of the argument, I will address the questions I have often pondered regarding my Christian faith in this debate. I have already discussed the importance of God’s decrees due to His unchanging, just nature as understood by the church, so my questions tend to regard my own personal responsibility as a Christian in this debate.

As a Christian with an understanding of reserving judgment for those inside the church, when does same-sex marriage become my cause to fight against, and when does it fall under the Christian foundation of retaining such judgment from those who, for lack of a better term, are naïve of God’s law and His desire for us to live accordingly? I think the answer lies in one basic question, and that is this:

What does the love I strive towards – and my call to love as Christ loved (John 15:12) which is to love through sacrifice – call me to do? Does it call me to love through acceptance, or to love through the observation and identification of the behaviors God sees as sinful in others?

This has brought me to this realization: We are to love people in a way that points them away from sin, and towards Christ, because, as Christians who believe sin results in death except through Jesus Christ (Romans 6:23), if we do not love people by pointing them away from sin, we are loving them by pointing them towards death, which cannot be love, while Christ made it abundantly clear that it is our duty to show Christ to others and bring them closer to Him. So with this I am led to conclude with these questions: Will the legalization of same-sex marriage increase the sin present in humans, especially since we as Christians already view homosexuality as a sin, and homosexuality is gaining acceptance in our society daily? Or will the often-times misunderstood, sometimes hateful condemnation of same-sex marriage within the Christian community cause more people to run from Christianity than the number of people within the LGBT community who would be led to Christianity through a love-based pursuit of the LGBT community after the fact and the acknowledgement of equality regarding sin as well as redemption through Christ?

Seeking God’s wisdom, and in need of His grace,

J.

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3 thoughts on “ON SAME-SEX MARRIAGE . . .

  1. Thanks Joel. Great insight.

    If we argue for the sake of equality with this issue, we will open the door of relativity to a new level that will cripple the value our legal system. Let me explain.

    Let’s say I support gay marriage. I say current laws are discriminatory because I don’t have equal rights like you. This is a civil rights issue. I win in court and I am allowed gay marriage.

    Now, my friend, who is incest wants to marry his sister. He argues I love my sister dearly, you can’t deny us our rights. He goes to court and wins due to the equality case won in gay marriage.

    Now my friend in Utah has multiple partners. This polygamist wishes to marry his four partners. He says I deserve equality, he goes to court, he wins, because of the previous landmark decision.

    An eleven year boy wants to have sex with his boyfriend. He argues I want equality. He argues that they are in love and it is their right to embrace sodomy. How can we deny this boy his rights? We could argue he is not of age. He could logically argue, I am in love, and I am equal, how dare you enforce your definition of love and equality on me.

    Redefining marriage and stripping it of its essential will cause much confusion in morality. Morality will be based on individual desire, relative and abstract. Law must be concrete and absolute.

  2. Joel, while I find your conclusions about the role of Christians troubling, I respect your willingness to struggle with this issue. And I appreciate your use of appropriate language, such as LGBT and same-sex marriage. I fully support the idea that your church, or any church, may recognize or not recognize any union it likes. But the U.S. government is not a church; and it is bound by the laws of the land, not the word of the Bible.

    Keith, I won’t go into detail on why your worn-out, alarmist, slippery-slope arguments have no merit – because I’ve gone into detail many times before, and you refuse to listen.
    But, for the benefit of those with whom you engage in future conversations, I want to try to clear something up for you:
    The argument for legal recognition of same-sex marriage has nothing to do with who is in love with whom. The argument for legal recognition of same-sex marriage is based entirely on the fact that the Constitution of the United States prohibits government denial of fundamental rights based on suspect classification.

    Until you understand what all of those words and concepts mean, it will be impossible for you to present a cogent legal argument.
    What you’re arguing here is propaganda. Baseless propaganda.

  3. When we let our emotions lash out at others it is clear those same emotions will vehemently defend our own personal agenda. It is important when we discuss issues that are personal that we keep our emotions in check. Lets honor Joel’s rules of respect.

    I did not know this issue was limited to the United States. I don’t have a narrow view when dealing with these issues and like to include all of mankind. It is important to distinguish what is a cultural issue and what is a human rights issue.

    If we fail to recognize objective moral law we open the door for all kinds of immorality. By denying objective moral values we are denying such a thing as “evil”

    If I slice up a baby did I do evil? Did I do anything wrong? If we deny objective moral values and I slice up a baby the response would be this “I don’t like it, (the baby slicing) but nothing wrong has happened.” This is what happens when evil is denied. Let me explain.

    The question is this, “do words have a fixed meaning, or can we can we decide what meaning they have.” Evolution and Darwinism is dangerous, Hitler committed genocide in the name of evolution and eugenics. In evolution when do we know we have reached the top? You might argue “You harmed the baby”, I could argue “baby? It was in the womb, not a baby. It was a service for its own good, not harm.” I define harm as something else and redefine baby as something else. The play on words are dangerous. Hitler thought he was doing the “right” thing. Every person will have his or her own definition of “right” and “morality”

    It is easy to justify something immoral. Here are some examples. Porn is bad when I’m 10, but okay when I’m 20. Divorce is okay when I’m not in love anymore. Murder is okay as long as it in the fetus. Adultery is okay as long as I love the person I’m committing the affair with. I can steal as long I’m starving. I can deal drugs as long as my family is need.

    Or does the word immoral have meaning? Is it fixed? If atheism is true, objective moral values do not exist. If agnosticism is true then we don’t even know what God wants. So what is the value of human beings? If there is not a God or revelation of God then what is the reason to think that human beings have absolute truth. Why do anything morally? Who or what makes morality, morality?

    God is mentioned in the US Constitution. Although primarily deist, the founding fathers understood that without the anchor or morality from God, law in the land would cease to exist. There would be no power behind it. It would be like a currency with no value. This God is unchanging. So we can either be Gods messengers or Gods editors. As a history teacher the most successful countries were the countries with morality. When Israel obeyed the commandments they prospered, when Israel disobeyed the commandments they fell. The Roman Empire became immoral. Smart people learn from their mistakes, wise people learn from other people’s mistakes.

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