Chick-fil-A and the LGTS groups have all had their 15 minutes of fame. I would post a link, but honestly, if you have Facebook, Twitter, a television, a church, a homosexual friend, or a neighbor, chances are, you already know the debate. So, my goal is sidestep the controversy directly, and to explore my own personal thoughts regarding homosexual marriage in the U.S.
First, I am a Christian. The word “Christian” seems to be taking a heavily negative connotation these days due to being “hypocrites” and “haters.” The newer, more socially acceptable forms of faith are now labeled “spiritual, not religious.” I, of course, feel that “hypocrite” is an offensive term when referring to all Christians and all Christian sects. First of all, majority (not all) of those people who refer to Christians as hypocrites, are typically people who do not have a true understanding of the Christian faith. Yes, Christ taught us the golden rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” Matthew 7:12. And the big one Christians are taught, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your strength” Deuteronomy 6:5. Though both scriptures are used heavily and are wonderful declarations of the faith, they are not the only scriptures. The bible contains 66 books that are divided amongst the old and new testaments, and if you have ever read it cover to cover, you know there’s a lot of information included. There are different sects of Christianity, many of them, and unfortunately, most of them believe they have their finger on the “correct” interpretation of God’s word (the Bible). I have read the Bible cover to cover, and I have done many Bible studies, and the one unique thing I take away from the Bible is that it truly is “the Living Word” in that depending on your situation, your need, your obstacles, your joys, your mindset: The Bible speaks to you where you are in life at that given moment. You can read a scripture one day and read it 2 years from now and it could take on a different meaning. Prayerfully considering what you are reading and truly opening your heart to hear the Word is key to the Christian faith.
That being said, there are some scriptures that are ambiguous at best. For example, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30) is often used by pro-trinity believers (which is probably majority of Christian sects) to defend the concept of the trinity, whereas those who do not believe in the trinity believe this is to show that God and Christ are one in purpose, not in being. Dragging out this philosophical debate isn’t the point; only that scripture can take a life of its own based on who is reading it, thus determining the purpose and meaning of the Word. Yes, the meaning of many, many scriptures can be vague. However, other scripture is quite clear and cannot really be read but one way. “You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal.” Deuteronomy 5: 17-19. Pretty simple, right? There’s no “you shall not murder unless,” or “You shall not commit adultery unless,” or “You shall not steal unless.” It’s pretty cut and dry. Of course, when you look at our society, it’s not so cut and dry. Stealing can be viewed as cheating taxes. The death penalty violates that whole “murder” thing, and the adultery bit has now become the highlight of movies, books, and reason for the prevalence of divorce.
But, still we take something so simple, and easily convolute it with the way we WANT things to be interpreted. Till death do us part has now become “till the road becomes too difficult or until a hotter woman shows interest in me.” We justify our desire for divorce based on worldly issues most of the time. Though the Bible DOES allow for divorce, the instances are very specific and the fallout is disastrous for both the man and woman. It is not the Bible that is wrong, it is our desire to use scripture to fit what we want, when we want it. It would seem the scripture and today’s society often clash – and thus remaining true to the faith becomes more and more difficult. Being labeled a “hater” and “hypocrite” becomes easier and easier. Such is the case with gay marriage.
“Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman that is detestable” Leviticus 18:22. “If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.” Leviticus 20:13. “Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with mennor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” Corinthians 6:9-11. There are numerous scriptures that address homosexuality as being “detestable” and being a sin. In Corinthians, the scripture pretty much calls homosexuality to be equally wrong as stealing, greed, being a drunk, committing slander, and being a cheat. That’s a pretty harsh scripture. Who has never been drunk, slandered someone (calling someone a hypocrite), or acted in greed? We all have, because we are all sinners.
“As applies to other doctrines of the Bible, one must avoid trying to interpret Scripture in light of one’s proclivities, and instead, interpret one’s proclivities in light of Scripture.” In Matthew, Jesus said, “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’ (19:4-5). Jesus seemed to be pretty clear about what a marriage is supposed to be, especially combined with old testament teachings. Remember, Jesus came to fulfill the prophecy, he didn’t “change” it. Heche, 2008, made the argument that even though the Bible has no documentation that Jesus renounced homosexuality in any sermon, one could argue that he never renounced rape, incest, or pedophilia and thus these actions are appropriate. Instead, Jesus reaffirmed what Moses talked about in Genesis and spoke of the family (and against divorce).
How many times have you heard that Jesus “takes you at what you are”? Well, he does. It’s beautiful to be loved, isn’t it? But, the part that is often left out is that Jesus wants better for you and wants to change you to be “right” by God’s standards. “Jesus, for example, warns about hell more than any other biblical figure!” (Heche, 2008). So yes, Jesus loves you, but just as in any relationship, you are to love in return. The relationship with God and Christ cannot be one sided. Just as in human relationships, when you are doing all the taking and not giving and not changing and growing in love, it isn’t a real relationship. Once you become a Christian, you WANT to change, and you TRY to change, and you do your best to live as Christ. When you WANT to change, that is when Jesus takes you by the heart and makes you new. “We cannot create a God to suit ourself. This is idolatry, which violates the second commandment” Heche, 2008.
So, as a Christian, I support the traditional family unit as described and defined by the Bible and by my faith. Does it make me a hypocrite? Perhaps in the eyes of many, but why would I change my belief based on what others think of my belief? Would I change my faith because some do not believe? No. That isn’t being faithful. Those who truly have faith cannot explain it, and those who don’t have it, cannot understand it. To be Christian doesn’t mean I am naïve. It doesn’t mean I believe the world is flat (which is not said in the Bible, but was upheld by a religious belief by a certain sect). It doesn’t believe that I think women are not equal to men. As a matter of fact, I believe men and women complement each other and strengthen one another, which is why a traditional family is so beneficial to the couple and to their children.
Am I perfect? HA HA HA! NO! I have a checkered past full of brokenness, pain, and sin. Do I pretend to have all the answers? No. Well okay, sometimes, I do, but who doesn’t when we feel convinced of the truth? The difference is, if I don’t have an answer, I try to find it. How many people can say the same? Reading an article on CNN or Fox doesn’t necessarily mean you have the facts (always check your sources). Referring to the Bible on many issues brings me peace of mind and presents a new outlook on many situations.
I am probably more liberal than some of my Christian counterparts. I feel that if a homosexual couple truly feels justified in their relationship, and despite what the Christian doctrine holds true, they want to be united, then so be it. My sole objection is I do not believe it should be called “marriage.” “Marriage” is a divine (not merely human) institution. The implication of this truth is significant indeed, for this means that humans are not free to renegotiate or redefine marriage and the family in any way they choose but that they are called to preserve and respect what has been divinely instituted. This is in keeping with Jesus’ words, uttered when his contemporaries asked him about the permissibility of divorce: “What therefore God has joined together let not man separate” (Matthew 19:6). For this reason, marriage is far more than a human social contract; it is a divinely instituted covenant” (Kostenberger, 2012). Should homosexuals be able to join in a legal civil union and be recognized as such by insurance companies, the IRS, and their personal friends/families? Absolutely. Should they be able to adopt children and raise them? Absolutely (there are way too many children waiting on loving homes). There are far worse sins, in my opinion, going on in this world than same gender loving relationships. Plus, the Bible explains that sin is sin, and it is not weighted by degrees of infraction (intentionally stealing a pen at the bank drive thru is just as bad as murder – it is all sin, and it is sin that is detestable). But, I feel that homosexual relationships are defined differently than marriage, as it is defined in the Bible.
I don’t have to agree with gay marriage, and I don’t have to throw my money behind their efforts. I don’t even have to like the idea of it, but I can love the people in that relationship. I can love the alcoholic, the drug addict, the skin head, the liberal, the conservative, the murderer, the rapist – and I can do it without condoning their actions, beliefs, or decisions. I can do my best to hold them accountable (with legal action, voting etc.) You see, I am a sinner, and I am filled with imperfection. I knowingly admit it openly and I am unashamed. Because I know this is why I need Christ. He paid for my sins in advance, and he does love me despite my failures. But, as any good partner in life, he wants me to be better, and he holds me accountable when I mess up. He builds my strengths and my weaknesses. Loving Christ and being a Christian does not make me better than others. But, it also doesn’t mean I have to love everyone unconditionally and love their sin, too. It means that I recognize my faults and sins and know I need to do better. Luke 6:42 “How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Believe me, I recognize my faults and sins, and I am working to do better. Being Christian doesn’t make me any more hypocritical than a non-Christian. The difference is I state my beliefs, and this gives non-Christians a stick by which to measure my actions. So by stating that I am a Christian, I am already prepared to have my sins pointed out and be deemed a hypocrite by non-believers. But, if you claim no set of standards or a moral code to which you subscribe, no religious principles, no philosophical code – then there is no stick by which to measure your actions. And by having no measure, you are free to set your opinion to the popular one at the time and hide your true feelings inside. That, to me, is being a hypocrite.
So it doesn’t come from a place of hate, or bigotry, or being a hypocrite when I say that I cannot support gay marriage (marriage in the Biblical sense). If it is voted into law, then my only hope would be that it is called “union” or something similar and not “marriage” since marriage has a higher connotation to me than what it means in general society. It is difficult for people who see marriage as a religious commitment to God that is in line with his desires for his people, to openly accept a “gay marriage.” The votes will eventually speak, and the people’s voice will be heard. I am thankful for our freedoms and am glad we have those rights. The chips will fall where they will. And I hope that homosexual couples will have the rights of societal law (insurance, tax breaks, etc.) However, to call it “marriage” would be like car insurance companies deeming the Toyota Prius as a hotrod and charge all the extra premiums as if it were a 69 GTO with the big block. Calling it a hotrod and charging all the same premiums will not, in the eyes of some, make the Prius a hotrod.
http://www.faithfacts.org/christ-and-the-culture/gay-rights#bible as found on 8/7/2012
http://www.frc.org/brochure/the-bibles-teaching-on-marriage-and-family as found on 8/7/2012