Wednesday, March 27, 2013

My Short Pro and Con Thoughts about the Gay Marriage Debate

Here are the cons
-God's Word is the Bible, and the Bible shows homosexuality as being sinful, as being against God's design for human sexuality.  It is by no means some kind of special sin.  It is one of many sins, and it is one of many sexual sins.  Also, marriage was created as between a man and a woman.  There is a complimentarianism in the design between the two genders.  In short, I have a very hard time voting to endorse something that I know God hates.

-Marriage is not just about personal and private fulfillment and happiness.  We tend to think that it is, which may possibly be one of the reasons the divorce rate is so high -for marriage was not intended to carry such a load.  I believe marriage is the fundamental building block of family and community.  I believe if we mess with that, it will impact human community and society to some degree, and that degree is unpredictable.

But here are the pros
-In the United States, we Christians enjoy many liberties.  Armchair-activists whine about things like how we are not allowed to pray in school (which is untrue... it is, as I understand it, merely that public schools cannot mandate prayer), and others chide on about Obama and the political left and how they are wrecking this country, but how often do we really sit back and thank God and our country for the fact that we can pray, think, speak about, and worship God basically however we want?  How often do we really think about how great it is that we have the liberty to publicly blame Obama or whine about how public schools do not mandate prayer?  We basically have the right to do and think and say and believe whatever we want so long as it does not violate the rights of someone else.  These are things not found everywhere in this world, not by a long shot.  But here's the problem.  We have these liberties in the good ol' USA only because these liberties are open to EVERYONE.  Islam, among the litany of other cults and religions represented in this country, is morally and theologically wrong and abhorrent to God, but we permit muslims to practice Islam here.  Why?  Because although it is wrong we understand that the freedom for Muslims to practice Islam is the same freedom that allows us to practice Christianity.  If we seek to shoot down this freedom for Muslims because Islam is wrong then we are shooting this freedom down for everyone, including ourselves.  To me, that is scary.  This same principle applies to the gay marriage issue, I believe.  Although I believe homosexual union is wrong and abhorrent to God, our personal and private liberties are important to safeguard because they do not only protect the homosexuals but they protect you and I.  If we shoot them down, if we start feeding the government, giving it more control over the private spheres of life, it will come back to bite everyone, including us. 

Why can we support things like religious liberty even though it endorses the freedom to practice ungoldy religions but we cannot support this freedom?  Why the double-standard?  And why do so many Christians make this such a pet issue?  I'm really not sure.

-What message are we sending gays and the broader culture as Christians?  Wouldn't it be something like this:  "We are ok with how our country supports religious and civil liberties, but only when it supports our personal religious and civil liberties.  The rest of you all can go to hell."  It promotes the very negative stereotype about Christians which is that we really only care about ourselves and our tribe.  This is destructive, it is anti-Gospel, and it should be untrue of us.  We should be those who care about the common good, who love all of our neighbors, who strive for the betterment and support of everyone, not just ourselves.

I can't believe I'm actually saying this, but I think I am becoming a supporter of gay marriage rights.  It is not because I support homosexuality.  I cannot support homosexuality any more than I can support adultery or fornication or greed or stealing.  It is because I support the US government upholding our common liberties.  I support government staying out of our private lives unless it is causing clear harm to and violating the rights of others (such as with abortion).  The ideal world I long for is not here yet.  In the meantime, it behooves me to support rights which endow freedoms to all of us, and it behooves me to seek ways to love those I disagree with.  To love my neighbor, whether Mulsim, Catholic, Mormon, black, white, gay, straight, or whatever.


Anonymous said...

We must be wise/discerning to understand what is at stake; not just the rights of homosexuals but the acceptance of homosexuality. I agree with the first but not the second. God is love, but God also hates sin. We should always love people without condoning sin. Sometimes that stance will not be the popular one. We can stand up for the respect and rights of homosexuals without condoning their lifestyle. If we do not stand up against sin at all, then what kind of Christians are we, what kind of Gospel message do we have? Without the repentance from sin there can be no salvation, and then what did Jesus die for?

Mathetes said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mathetes said...

Here is what you miss: our culture *already* accepts homosexuality. That ship has sailed. Laws only follow behind where the culture already is and already is going. Our culture is already there. We as Christians needs to get over that. We grasp at straws for a dream that doesn't exist.

The other thing I think you miss is that there is a distinction at some point between what you are saying about sin/the Gospel and the role of the government/civil law. For example... would you condone idolatry? Would you condone how people re-define "God" and "worship" in idolatrous ways in this country? I would not. Yet do you approve of how our government gives them the freedom to do those things? I hope so, because that religious liberty, though it also permits and condones people's self-discoverty toward idolatry, is the religious liberty that has allowed us to practice our faith.

Government is imperfect. We will not have a perfect government that perfectly takes into account God's hatred of sin and yet His love for grace and liberty in this life. There are always going to be costs and trade-offs. I am just saying (and I vacillate daily on this) that I think erring on the side of governmental permission/liberty, even though it is allowing something God hates, is in the best interests of everyone -just as erring on the side of governmental permission when it comes to how people redefine God and worship and teach others to do so is also morally wrong. Religious liberty permits sin just as much, if not more.

I also think Christians can sometimes be a little bit too preoccupied with what others are doing and we often get a bee in their bonnet for pet issues, certain sins that we focus on as being worse or more than others. I agree that it is wrong and that there is a cost to permitting it. My concern is that there is also a cost to having the government control, especially the federal government (this has always been a state issue), control something that has to do with our personal life. I would never want the government to limit how I can legally worship and view God, for example.

It's not perfect, and I may change my mind tomorrow, but this is what I wrestle with. I don't like it one bit, but it has raised a lot of my thinking about government and how "big" governmental control ought to be over our personal lives and where that line should be.

Mathetes said...

Another thought is... what would it be like if we put ourselves in the shoes of our forefathers? There was not real separation between church and state in the Europe they left. Something that was a "sin" was also a civil crime. People were thrown in jail and tortured for not believing in the Trinity, for example. Others, during the Reformation, were hunted down for believing and teaching the "new" doctrines of the Reformation. Heresy was a crime. That was part of the backdrop that led to our forefathers (many though not all of them Christians) insisting on religious liberty. They knew it would permit things that were wrong, but they believed it was better than having the government in their sanctuary. So, along that line of reasoning, I'm wondering if it is also better for our government to not be in our bedrooms, either. Obviously there is a line, and there always has been... our rights find their limits where they infringe upon or violate the rights of others. That is an obvious reason why I believe abortion should be illegal -not just because it is morally wrong but civilly because it goes against the founding principles of our government.

Anonymous said...

Definitely surprised to read this from you. I rather like this post! Really shows that you have an open heart and a non-judgmental personality. We are all humans and it's not a Christian's job to judge... that's my 2 cents!

Anonymous said...

We worship a holy God - not a "good-buddy." It is impossible to research scripture without acknowledging the fact that God promises to punish unrepentant sin. Are all sins equal in the eyes of God? No, in fact, they are extremely unequal! It is also a fact that God clearly orders, in the great book of Leviticus, punishments to be imposed according to the severity of the sin committed. First Corinthians is specific in mentioning various sins that keep an unrepentant sinner from the Kingdom of God, indicating a degree of punishment according to the sin. Murder is a sin and gluttony is a sin, but these sins carry with them very different consequences and therefore different punishments.

Mathetes said...

Yes, indeed. He's not a "good buddy." He is far better.

Here is another way to put it. Let's say we invite the government into our bedrooms to legislate morality there, and we do not permit any sin. Somehow, someone finds out that you had in your history some occasions of sex outside of marriage. Should you have to live in fear of whatever the government has for you because of that?

Mathetes said...

My point is that human government choosing to not control or oversee certain areas of private life, granting its citizens the freedom to live their own private life so long as they are not violating the rights of others is NOT the same as condoning sin. It is simply about finding the best possible thing for all people, even if that thing is not perfect by any means. Furthermore, do we *really* want to try to align human government with God's justice? Where does the line end? Should one be thrown in jail for fornication or for lusting or for having pride? How would human government decide if there is "repentance?". Let's not forget that God's Law leaves us all with mouths shut (Romans 3). So, how far should it go? Where is the line? You tell me.

You see. It doesn't work. It is a slippery slope in BOTH directions. The best we can do, til Jesus returns, is the best we can do... to do our best to balance personal liberties for ALL with the protection of the citizens.

You are confounding the role of human government and the role God has in being judge over human hearts and actions. They are not the same, even if is some overlap somewhat.

M_M21 said...

I remain a critic of same-sex marriage. I oppose it morally and theologically. I think its consequences would be negative. It’s like premarital sex, divorce without biblical cause, or committing blasphemy. I want to convince the culture that it’s wrong, and harmful, and based on a false understanding of sex, family, and God. Every homosexual individual deserves all of the same rights and protections that heterosexual individuals receive.