Homosexual rights and same sex marriage have become the civil rights battle of our age. Supporters of same sex marriage often shake their heads at anyone in opposition calling us narrow minded, ignorant, bigoted, or religious whack jobs. We’re told no one is hurt and we should all be equal under the law.
Before I move onto my main point I would suggest a quick detour to the nature of our laws. Almost every law we have is somewhat arbitrary and and won by the majority. Why was the law of the land a speed limit of 55 for so many years? Why not 50, 60, 65? Why not let each state determine on their own roads what the right limit should be (technically they still had that right but would be denied much needed federal highway funds if they chose a higher speed limit). Why is sex between a 18 year old boy and a 17 year old girl a crime? We might question a 50 year old man having sex with a 17 year old girl but an 18 year old boy? What changes when someone turns 18? Are not some 17 year old’s far more mature than some 20 year old’s? I could go on and on but in the end society has to establish some laws, some limits, some minimums and maximums. We don’t all agree with each and every law. Some change with time. Public morality changes with time.
So why should I, as a Christian, stand in the way of a same sex couple who love each other from getting married? Well for starters I live in a democracy where we are each allowed to vote according to our conscience. How I arrive at my voting choice is up to me.I have just as much right to my opinion as does everyone else. Those opposed to me seem to think I have some moral requirement to “live and let live” and not stand in the way of the choice of others. Yet in a democracy we don’t have to all agree.You may not agree with my reasons but that does not make them less valid. I may live in a secular society but that does not mean I have to put aside my spiritual beliefs when it comes time to vote. We are all guided by something be it personal values, religious beliefs, philosophy, or whim. Their belief that same sex marriage is just as valuable as opposite sex marriage is still a belief!
The Christian writer C.S. Lewis was once asked about this very topic (of homosexuality) and this is what he wrote:
“I have seen less than you but more than I wanted of this terrible problem. I will discuss your letter with those whom I think wise in Christ. This is only an interim report. First, to map out the boundaries within which all discussion must go on, I take it for certain that the physical satisfaction of homosexual desires is sin. This leaves the homosexual no worse off than any normal person who is, for whatever reason, prevented from marrying. Second, our speculations on the cause of the abnormality are not what matters and we must be content with ignorance. The disciples were not told why (in terms of efficient cause) the man was born blind (John 9:1-3): only the final cause, that the works of God should be made manifest in him. This suggests that in homosexuality, as in every other tribulation, those works can be made manifest: i.e. that every disability conceals a vocation, if only we can find it, which will ‘turn the necessity to glorious gain.’ Of course, the first step must be to accept any privations which, if so disabled, we can’t lawfully get. The homosexual has to accept sexual abstinence just as the poor man has to forgo otherwise lawful pleasures because he would be unjust to his wife and children if he took them. That is merely a negative condition. What should the positive life of the homosexual be? I wish I had a letter which a pious male homosexual, now dead, once wrote to me—but of course it was the sort of letter one takes care to destroy. He believed that his necessity could be turned to spiritual gain: that there were certain kinds of sympathy and understanding, a certain social role which mere men and mere women could not give. But it is all horribly vague and long ago. Perhaps any homosexual who humbly accepts his cross and puts himself under Divine guidance will, however, be shown the way. I am sure that any attempt to evade it (e.g. by mock or quasi-marriage with a member of one’s own sex even if this does not lead to any carnal act) is the wrong way. Jealousy (this another homo. admitted to me) is far more rampant and deadly among them than among us. And I don’t think little concessions like wearing the clothes of the other sex in private is the right line, either. It is the duties, burdens, the characteristic virtues of the other sex, I suspect, which the patient must try to cultivate. I have mentioned humility because male homosexuals (I don’t know about women) are rather apt, the moment they find you don’t treat them with horror and contempt, to rush to the opposite pole and start implying that they are somehow superior to the normal type. I wish I could be more definite. All I have really said is that, like all other tribulations, it must be offered to God and His guidance how to use it must be sought.”
Lewis took a unique perspective here. He did not get into the debate as to whether people are born gay or not nor what made them that way. He simply stated that regardless of their circumstances they were to still obey God’s Word and see a vocation from their tribulation. Any honest reading of the Bible must conclude that God intended sex and marriage to be between the opposite sex. Most people in this country oppose polygamy yet what if they argued they were born that way and it was just as natural for them to have multiple wives (or be one of the wives of a man) as for others to stick to one partner? Does not society have to decide and do we not do so by voting our consciences?
It is time to stop the name calling and labeling and accept we each have a view and are entitled to it. I will vote my conscience as informed by my faith. I don’t believe in same sex marriage because God designed marriage to be between one man and one woman. That has not nor ever will change. I live in a democracy though and others will vote according to their beliefs. I fully expect that at some point in time same sex marriage will be the law of the land. Not with my support but then this is a democracy and my vote is but one. It is my right and not born out of ignorance, hatred, close-mindedness, or bigotry. It is a reasoned decision based upon my faith.
Lately I’ve read a number of letters ad commentaries trying to suggest the Christian response to homosexuality is irrational particularly in the current debate over gay marriage. I’ve seen a trend of misconceptions I would like to address.
First off, and this is my pet peeve, it is grossly unfair to assign the label homophobic to anyone who is not fully supportive of homosexuality. A phobia is an irrational fear. Most Christians do not have a phobia about homosexuality. Their opposition is based on the teachings of the Bible and not a fear that homosexuals will take over the world and turn everyone one else into a homosexual. Some may have concerns about what is being taught to their children but no more so than some parents object to certain sex ed content sometimes taught. The are not against their children learning about the birds and the bees but might prefer to discuss it privately with their children or using different materials. That is not a phobia. The word homophobia has become a derogatory term suggesting someone who is a bigot, hateful, close minded, and irrational. Is there no room for disagreement in our democratic society without negative labels being attached?
One misconception I’ve heard is that Christians believe all unions have to be about procreation therefore homosexual unions are invalid. One article I read cited the case of an old couple being married and asking if these same Christians consider that an illegitimate marriage since the couple was beyond child bearing age. Of course not! No where does the Bible say marriage is not allowed if the couple cannot have children. God gave the command to “be fruitful and multiply” but that was a general instruction and never said there could not be exceptions. Christian churches do marry older couples. My Mom remarried at the age of 80 to an 80 year old man. They got married in a church. So this is not an argument about the ability to have children in the union.
Other articles have tried to call into question what the Bible really has against homosexuality and argue that the only concern was for homosexual prostitution. There is poor, self-serving scholarship behind those claims. There is no reason to believe there is anything other than regular homosexuality in view in the Biblical passages.
The bottom line is this. The Book of Genesis tells us that God first created Adam. He had Adam name all the animals thus giving him ample contact with every type of animal. Adam found that although the animals were great none were suitable to be a companion to him. He was human and they were not. So God created Eve – a woman. Adam responded with great excitement that now here was the perfect companion to him. God then went on to define marriage as between a man and a woman. No where does Scripture change that definition. It has always only recognized marriage as being between a man and a woman.
God could have created two men or two women with the ability to procreate in some other fashion. Man and woman each in some unique ways convey the communicable attributes of God. In other words women have some traits of God we men don’t quite have and we men have some traits women don’t quite have. Together though we complete the traits God has passed on to us.
So the real Christian objective to homosexual marriage is simply that it goes against God’s definition of marriage. We realize full well we live in a secular, democratic society. However that gives us the right to exercise our right to vote as we please and speak out for what we believe just like everyone else. Opposing homosexual marriage is not a hate crime. It does not involve hate at all. It is simply standing up for our beliefs. Personally I have no hatred toward gays and have had gay friends. I treat them no differently than anyone else. However if you ask me if gay marriage should be allowed I am compelled to say no. I say that though based on my beliefs. I realize that society as a whole may decide it’s ok and in time it may become the law of the land.
Disagree which is your right but please don’t toss out straw man arguments, call it homophobia, or hatred. There may be a minority of Christians who cite some of those reason or who have a hateful heart but if so they are not following the teachings of God and I cannot back them.