The New Christians

The New Christians


The Government’s Business: Same Sex Marriage Blogalogue

posted by Tony Jones
blogalogue_bar.jpg

Rod, it was great to meet you and sit on your front porch drinking
coffee.  Actually, it was even more wonderful to meet Julie and the
kids, your chickens, and your incapacitated dog.  I appreciated reading your story, and I’ll comment more on that on Monday.

Tony Jones and Rod Dreher.jpgOver the next couple weeks, I know we’ll get into all manner of
angles on the topic of same sex marriage, be they philosophical,
theological, and biblical.  But first, I’d like to wonder aloud about
the role of the state in defining marriage.  (This will drive many of our commentors to drink, since they seem to think that all Christian reasoning begins and ends with the biblical argument.  But, nay, there are several ways to approach this.)

Our government does, indeed, define marriage.  This didn’t happen
overnight, nor did it happen with, say, an amendment to the
Constitution.  Instead, it happened as do most items in our legal code,
over time.  There have been campaigns for and against polygamy and miscegenation, but these now lie decades in the past. 

At local and state levels there have
been various strictures on who can marry whom and what kinds of sexual
acts are legal and illegal.  And, as with so many laws, those have
changed over time.  Interracial marriage is no longer banned, and most
local anti-sodomy laws have either been dropped, ruled
unconstitutional, or simply not been enforced.



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Pat F

posted November 22, 2008 at 1:59 pm


This is an excellent perspective from which to begin.
Within the American legal context, there are several different, even opposed, approaches to the question of “Why government should recognize marriage”.
1) On the one hand, legal scholars like Martha Albertson Fineman at Emory University have written that the civil regulation of marriage & the family should focus on its care-giving role (cf. ‘The Autonomy Myth: A Theory of Dependency’). If the link between marriage & procreation has been severed, why single out marriage at all? As such the argument goes, the U.S. government should (publicly) recognize and (economically) support relationships of dependency and care-giving of whatever type. Here, marriage & family is legally recognized in terms of the one criterion of care-giving.
2) Alternatively, some proposals place the committed / affective sexual relationship at the center of public recognition of marriage. This would be the position taken by the Massachusetts Supreme Court (in Goodridge v. Dept of Public Health, 2003). According to this view, it is important to bring all sexual relationships under the stabilizing and “civilizing” influence of public recognition. This integrates these relationships into broader networks. Like the first solution, this assumes that children are not an intrinsic part of marriage.
3) Finally, there are proposals that seek to abandon any set notion of what qualifies marriage & family. This argument usually takes the form of “no single structure captures the heart of the family”. Of course, all three aforementioned proposals by necessity take some form.
None of these proposals, as is evident, takes into account the idea of fruitful love inherent in sexual difference. Sexual difference is seen as “merely” biological. Nor do these alternatives view the family in any concrete relationship to history, culture and the generations. So despite liberalism’s vaunted protection of pluralism, including cultural pluralism, traditional (as well as radical) ideas of marriage and family are subordinated to individual choice.
It is also important to take into account the radical GLBTQ critique of liberalism’s approaches to regulating marriage (described above): namely, in its regulation of marriage, the government does not act neutrally. This is, ironically, precisely the conservative critique.



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Todd Burus

posted November 22, 2008 at 3:03 pm


Tony,
I think that this perspective does not get proponents of SSM as far as they think. At the base level America works as a democracy. One person, one vote. Therefore, if operating at that level, which many of the state laws on SSM are either doing or returning to, it is wholly up to the individual to choose a vote in favor or against this practice. But, if said individual is a Christian, we must ask on what basis they are making the decision of their vote. It is at this point that they should return to the authority of God’s Word in deciding their position.
But, what if we move from the level of the individual and go to the level of the state representative or governor or congressman or senator or president making the decision. Here we are at the republican (little r) level of our government, where the person making the decision is to be representing the views of their constituency. Maybe they do, maybe they don’t. However, the wonders of our system is that eventually that persons job winds up back in the hands of democracy, and here again the individual Christian would get to decide in favor of reelecting that person or not, which would again cause them to return to the authority of Scripture in making this decision.
Yet, maybe, as has been the case in all of the states where SSM is legally recognized, the issue winds up at the level of the judiciary. Then that judge gets to make the decision that they feel is in best accord with the laws of the Constitution and the various federal and state governments. This may or may not lead them to considering Scripture. But, any act of the judiciary can be overturned by democratic vote (like with Proposition 8) or starting with moves by the congress, either of which we again see is directed in some manner by how Joe the Voter votes, which in the case of the Christian, once more, should have them returning to the authority of Scripture.
So, it seems that no matter what level of government you appeal to for defining marriage, in each case there is some way in which the decision rests upon the individual, which means that there is some way in which the authority of Scripture should be the deciding factor.



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Larry Parker

posted November 22, 2008 at 3:06 pm


It never ceases to amaze me how conservatives (and if the California exit polls are true, some African-Americans) fail to see the parallel between gay marriage and interracial marriage.
Support bans on gay marriage all you want. But then, that leaves you in the position of opposing the felicitously named Loving v. Virginia. Is that a position you really want to be in?



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Larry Parker

posted November 22, 2008 at 3:12 pm


BTW, the commenter above just gave the oddest argument for American theocracy I’ve ever heard in my life.



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Todd Burus

posted November 22, 2008 at 4:39 pm


Larry,
I assume you are speaking to me on the theocracy note. I would like for you to notice the difference between a theocracy, a country ruled by God or God’s representative, and a person submitting their life and their conscious decisions to the authority of God and his revealed word. It is nice to use scary terms such as this, but I hope you will admit the difference if pressed on it. In fact, I think one of the most dangerous things going on in America today is that either (a) people are voting against their consciouses, or (b) people are lying about what they believe. Such is the case with Obama/Biden saying they will support abortion rights even though they personally feel their religions teach against it.
Also, as I commented elsewhere, the “gay=black” argument is on shaky ground for a Christian. I think the Bible’s commands for racial equality and it’s commands against homosexual practice give adequate reason for understanding that bans on interracial marriage and bans on gay marriage do not have parallel biblical bases. And, in response to your statement about going against Loving v. Virginia, as I mentioned in the above post, at the end of the line the individual American voter holds power over the individual jurist, which is why we need to focus on what the Scripture says on the issue.



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Darren King

posted November 22, 2008 at 9:36 pm


Maybe this well get parsed out at some point, but right now it seems we’re mashing together two very separate issues. In Tony’s original post he discussed his view on gays in Christian leadership. But the question of how gays should, or shouldn’t, be included in the Church, is very different from the question of allowing gay marriage in a pluralistic society.
If this blogalogue sticks solely to the question of same-sex marriage in the eyes of the government and the larger society, then I think the question is rather mute. Be it tomorrow, next month, or in the next year or two, we will see gay marriage emerge as part of our society’s recognized framework. And that’s because, as others have pointed out, over time our society has chosen to increase the “rights” of various people groups, not reduce them. So it seems inevitable that we will see this happen. Pluralism is rather absolute that way.
But again, that’s an easy one. The writing’s on the wall. These latest propositions in places like California and Florida are actually just a last ditch attempt to stop the wave that’s already crashing on the shore. People are pushing these propositions BECAUSE they already sense what’s coming.
But again, this is a very different issue that how we should handle the GLBTQ community in the Church.



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Darren King

posted November 22, 2008 at 9:47 pm


So… to make my last point really clear, I hope Tony and Rod will address this issue as it pertains to the Church most of all.
One other note: While I respect where Rod’s coming from, his background in Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy will no doubt lead him down some different authoritative avenues than us Protestants. And if Rod’s main point is going to be: “I think this way because this is what the (Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox) Church teaches” then he’s already resorting to reasoning that is pretty irrelevant to many of us checking out and engaging in this interaction.
All that is to say, if this is how its going to go, maybe we can have a follow up conversation between two Protestants, or neo-Protestants, or what have you. Just some thoughts…



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J.Random

posted November 22, 2008 at 10:58 pm


Todd wrote:
“So, it seems that no matter what level of government you appeal to for defining marriage, in each case there is some way in which the decision rests upon the individual, which means that there is some way in which the authority of Scripture should be the deciding factor.”
Exactly! And since Scripture commands me to love my neighbor sacrificially, treating them as I would wish to be treated, clearly I should petition the state give their families and commitments the same respect it gives mine.



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R Karl

posted November 23, 2008 at 6:42 am


J.Radom
What if your neighbors were a brother and sister who wished to marry?
A wealthy 58 year old man who wished to marry three 18 year old girls?



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Jeff Winter

posted November 23, 2008 at 8:34 am


First,let me say that since Tony was theologically trained at Princeton Seminary he should understand that any discussion needs to begin with Scripture, even a discussion on homosexuality. Princeton Seminary is a school that is based upon the Reformed tradition. As a pastor trained in one of our Presbyterian seminaries, Tony should know that we begin our interpretation of culture and human nature based upon God’s Word. The Scripture is foundational for all of life. ____On a practical note, I have worked with many persons, particularly men, who struggle with same-sex attraction. Those persons who begin to take seriously what the Bible says about homosexuality are the ones who have been successful in moving away from homosexual expression. They cry out to the Lord in prayer and ask Him to give them the strength and power to deal with their homosexual urges. God, over time, moves in them through the healing power of the Holy Spirit and gives them what they need to leave homosexuality or to deal with their same-sex attraction. All of my ex-gay friends began their journey out of homosexuality from the position of Scripture. If they were only led by their feelings they would have remained in bondage to their homosexuality.____I have found that many people who affirm homosexuality (liberals or conservatives) have generally not experienced the power of the Holy Spirit to change lives. They don’t understand that the Counselor can bring a person out of homosexuality. The Scripture is very clear that the Holy Spirit can powerfully change us, even our sexual orientation. I would advise those who affirm homosexuality to seek a deep and abiding experience with the Holy Spirit to help transform the personal sin they deal with on a day to day basis. After they begin to see that God can transform their life then they might be open to believe that the Lord can change the orientation of a person who has same-sex attraction. ____Jeff Winter Pastor and Chairman, OnebyOne http://www.oneby1.org __



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John Creasy

posted November 23, 2008 at 9:08 am


Tony, just a technical note, I can’t read the full post, it doesn’t come up on either of my computers.



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William Lavender

posted November 23, 2008 at 9:10 am


Tony,
I am amazed that a person with your theological training can even entertain the idea that the Bible condones deviant sexual behavior or that the civil government should not place any restrictions or penalties for such behavior.
While, I agree that over time laws are repealed or not enforced, this is not an indicator of God changing hearts on the matter, rather it underscores the history of man moving away from God and His mandates, as outlined in Romans Chapter 1. The ancient Romans and Greeks allowed for deviant behavior, does that make their debauched societies more civilized than ours? I think not, rather history has proven just the opposite. The Word of God plainly predicts that all nations will be turned into “hell” or chaos if they do not acknowledge God and give thanks to Him. Is this what you wish upon our nation? Is your desire to see a revocation or re-writing of our laws to accommodate the immoral person’s whims? Is your aim to see our nation become more tolerant of deviant behavior, atheistic philosophies, and failed political-economic systems in order to reflect the love of Christ in the world?
The real issue at hand is that people of genuine faith believe the dictums of Christ when He said, “If you love me, keep my commandments”. Notice that Jesus used the word “commandments” not suggestions or pithy proverbs. Jesus declared that unless our righteousness exceeded that of the Pharisees, we would in no wise enter Heaven. Holy and pure living has always been a priority with Jesus just as much as mercy, grace, and forgiveness.
Thus, a nation that was founded in search of God and developing a Christian society is only consistent in its civil law and in its ecclesiastical beliefs and practice to define and enact restrictions on deviant and criminal behavior.
John Knox would be saddened to learn that someone who was trained in the Westminster Confession of Faith and is an ordained representative of the Presbyterian movement would even give a moment of time considering the issues you have embraced. I hope you will spend much time in prayer and fasting, reading your Bible, and pondering the Historical positions of your denomination, and decided if you can in good conscience be true to your ordination and the great cloud of witnesses who have sacrificed before you to represent Christ and stand for Biblical morality in their generation.



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Korey

posted November 23, 2008 at 9:41 am


I also only see a few paragraphs. When I click “Continue reading the post”, I see the same few paragraphs duplicated.



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Ron Cram

posted November 23, 2008 at 9:53 am


Tony,
You write “we’ll get into all manner of angles on the topic of same sex marriage, be they philosophical, theological, and biblical.” You can discuss whatever you want, but the biblical discussion has to come first or the others have no context. The Bible is our standard for faith and practice. The Bible has warned about philosophy leading us away from biblical truth. See Colossians 2:8. Of course we need to use our minds in determining our theology but we have to realize our minds have limits. Our minds are imperfect. See Proverbs 14:12.
If you read something in the Bible you do not understand or do not agree with, that is a clue to you that you need to learn something or need to change your way of thinking. The Bible sits in judgment of our lives and our ways of thinking, not the other way around.



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Sam

posted November 23, 2008 at 10:34 am


Wow this was quite an eye opening read. The comments all have wonderful points. Regardless, sin is just that. Sin. We all live in it, around it, and even next to it. Repent stands for “Change.”
If we are not careful, they will start letting all kinds of sinners into the church. (sracasm off)
I have yet to hear anyone offer a perspective of how they think Christ would respond.



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wiliam

posted November 23, 2008 at 11:05 am


When there is controversy about a subject with the Church, and if it has you thinking hard or wondering on it just remember two profound but easy words that our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ told us
FOLLOW ME, not Rick the Minister,not Jeff the Preacher,or whoever the Priest might be,but to follow Him and what He says and what He says to do,and how we should live,and our lifestyles should be.



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dave

posted November 23, 2008 at 11:46 am


The answer is yes, it is wrong. Because I ‘feel’ it’s wrong? No. Because I quoted this celebrity/that person in the know/etc/etc/etc? No. Because still more than half think wrong more than the people who think it’s right? No. No one gives quotes from the Bible. Actually, I can’t identify the actual reference # because I don’t spend my time debating if it’s wrong and running to the Bible to see for sure. Either you believe it to be God’s Written Word, or you don’t. As far as the argument of love goes; yes we should love one another. Gays/lesbians/abortionist are loved by God and should be loved by all. But practicing a sin that is clearly spelled out in the Bible as wrong is not something we should condone.



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A Walker

posted November 23, 2008 at 12:26 pm


The State has an interest in this issue precisely because the heterosexual relationship is the biological machinery responsible for producing, educating, and disciplining the citizenry. It goes without saying that the State has a definite interest in protecting that foundational cell of which it is comprised.
The legal rights involved in traditional marriage are also self-evident. Children have the normative right to be nurtured and educated from infancy into adulthood by the adults who sired them, and adults are held responsible for the children they produce. There’s your contract necessity (marriage law).
The State has no interest in awarding legal benefits for mere romances. There’s no concrete benefit there to the State. In contrast, the State recognizes the unique service that heterosexuals provide to the State. As a result, the State tries to not add harmful burdens on married heterosexuals. To the contrary, the state offers tax breaks that help married couples better provide economically for their families.



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A Walker

posted November 23, 2008 at 12:30 pm


The link between marriage and procreation has not been severed—the world’s heterosexuals continue to be wildly reproductive. For the world’s 6 billion heterosexuals, children continue to be an intrinsic part of marriage at nearly a 100% rate of incidence.
Next, there is no parallel between gay marriage and interracial marriage. Interracial marriages procreate and educate the citizenry (thus the need for a social contract), whereas gay unions do not.
Why would the State have any interest in contractualizing mere attraction and friendships under penalty of law?



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Dave

posted November 23, 2008 at 12:38 pm


Sam, we DO know how Jesus would respond. When the woman caught in adultry (where was the man?) “Go and sin no more!”



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Dave

posted November 23, 2008 at 12:51 pm


Sorry, got distracted. Should have said: Sam, we DO know how Jesus would respond. When he admonished the woman caught in adultry (where was the man?)he said “Go and sin no more!”. To accept the arguments promoting GLBT, and three years after these taboos are removed, sex with children; you also have to conclude adultry and fornication are not sinful. This, using the Bible is just not possible.



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Steve Gandy

posted November 23, 2008 at 2:12 pm


I can only hope this Tony person’s beliefs do not spread.



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Robert

posted November 23, 2008 at 2:24 pm


You are arguing like you have no care what-so-ever that God has already made it perfectly clear that marriage is between one man and one woman. Don’t make the claim of being a christian if you ignore what God has said in His word.
In early America they did fight to keep marriage and to exclude polygamy. They haven’t had to do that “recently” because it was settled that that was what America was. They would have done the same for same-sex marriage.
Please do not equate interracial marriage with same-sex marriage. They are totally different things completely. Don’t show more ignorance by try to equate the two.



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Your Name

posted November 23, 2008 at 3:25 pm


To Tony Jones and everyone that is saying that homosexuality is OK for Christians. Let me ask you a question, and honestly think about it. Have you ever told anyone that you wanted one of your kids to be gay when they grew up? Or have you ever heard anyone EVER say that about their kids? I remember when Cher, of Sonny and Cher, said in an interview that when her daughter Chastity told them she was gay, Cher took it really hard and it took along time for her to except it. And she said that it surprised her when it did. Why? because every parent wants the BEST for THEIR kid. She was open and all for it for everyone else’s kid, but when she HAD to honestly look at it then and only then could she be honest with the subject and not just give lip service to it to show everyone how liberal they were.__God also wants the best for HIS kids that He put in our care. So when we say that something is OK , when His Word says other wise, we have to be very careful because He says that we are going to be held accountable for what we say and do and our influence upon others.__So Tony before you get behind the pulpit and tell your congregation it’s OK for their kids to experiment with perversion, tell your kids and have them go out and try it. And then see how you REALLY feel about it and only then tell others. Because you cannot really say it’s OK for others when you know in your heart that you would die inside if you kid told you of their new life style. And if you do keep saying it’s OK your kids will believe you! And the Lord will hold you accountable for it.________________



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Craig T

posted November 23, 2008 at 3:26 pm


I’m just going to weigh in my opinion, which is not necessarily God’s opinion for:
“Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?” (Romans 11:34)
Now, as an American, I believe that homosexuals have a right to exist, a right to marry, and I believe that ideally that we should return to a strictly federal system where states would be able to fully regulate (or not regulate) such matters. These things should go without saying, for we are all sinners and it is a shame that we go about judging others for their sins while not removing the log from our own eye.
As a Christian, and my allegiance is ultimately to God, I am very concerned with how sexualized our culture has become. Sodomy, of both the hetero and homosexual varieties, is accepted and embraced. I am disgusted by how within educated circles, one cannot speak of homosexuals and “trangenders” in any way that might be perceived as negative. However, homosexuals and transgenders have the highest drug abuse and suicide rates. Statistically, they are disturbed people, nor should this surprise us, because their sexuality from a scientific standpoint is certainly dysfunctional. Organisms are supposed to have sex for the sake of procreation. Any deviation from the norm is certainly inferior if we are to think in evolutionary terms. No matter how you look at it, homosexuality should not exist.
Using anecdotal evidence, the homosexuals that I have come across have fit the stereotype of “disturbed.” Now, this certainly does not place sodomites outside of God’s grace, as sodomy is not the one unforgivable sin (which is false preaching, but I digress.) However, schools should not be teaching children and churches should not be promoting that homosexuality is good, and certainly not transgender surgery, which is a disgusting and wasteful abomination. People have real psychological problems and spiritual needs. Our society has already tried the tolerance and “we can do it your own way” routes, and we have become no happier nor more spiritually fulfilled.
We need to love our neighbors as ourselves and love our God with all our hearts. As for us who sin, remember “no one is righteous.” But, “Should we continue in sin in order that grace may abound? By no means!” So, we should never justify sin. We should love sinners and encourage them (as we are sinners as well) to be perfect as our Father in heaven is.



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Your Name

posted November 23, 2008 at 4:03 pm


Craig, Aside from your opinion the homosexuals should have a right to marry, I agree with you wholeheartedly. Homosexuality is just one sin among many others of which we are all guilty, and I thank God that He has provided a Savior for us. God loves homosexuals and I believe that there is a great reward stored for them in heaven if they abstain from the sexual act. This is not an easy cross for them to bear, but where sin abounds, God’s grace abounds even more. My weakness was drug addiction. 34 years ago I gave my heart totally to the Lord and he gave me the victory over it. It wasn’t easy, but with His love and grace I was able to overcome it. The same thing applies to all sins, including fornication. The desire for it must be given to the Lord and one must believe that His strength will help the individual overcome. It is a cross that must be carried, but oh the rewards that are waiting on the other side! They will make the struggle over sin pale in comparison to the eternal joys that are waiting for us. May God bless everyone who is struggling today with overwhelming sins of any kind and may Christ give you the victory over it, even now, as you consider His great love for you.



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Your Name

posted November 23, 2008 at 5:32 pm


This is distressing, first because I am a Christ follower who believe the whole counsel of the word of God. Which is both the new and old testament, that “all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness…” (2nd Tim. 3:16). This issue (if you believe and follow the whole counsel of the word of God) is not rocket science. I won’t go through every scripture that speaks of homosexual activity and God’s judgment against it. (which are many and you know them) The distressing aspect of this is that the state of the majority of the church at the end times is that it no longer endures sound doctrine, and tries to bend over backwards to approve lifestyles contrary to that described in the scriptures to either approve those who practice lawlessness or explain it away, and consequently leading so many astray. It’s so sad. So much lost. I find great comfort in knowing that I am a sinner saved by grace. and by the fact that the world might change but God’s word does not. Let’s not forget that 2 of the seven churches judged and disciplined by God in Revelation was for Sexual immorality. (Thyatira & Pergamos) and the Worse Judgment was reserved for the church of Laodicea for being luke warm.
Please understand that approving or trying to explain away scripture to approve a certain lifestyle (no matter what it is) doesn’t change the fact that God is still on the throne and the ultimate judge.
Let’s be a light to the world in these dark times not a cloak for darkness. (Matt. 5:14-16)



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Panthera

posted November 23, 2008 at 5:45 pm


Reading the comments here, I wonder if, somehow, I have not fallen into an alternate reality.
One in which the age of enlightenment never occurred.
Science has clearly shown and medicine long ago accepted that homosexuality is neither chosen nor in any way a perversion or mental illness.
Between the cherry picking texts from the bible (especially this nonsense about the bible encouraging interracial marriage – for centuries people quoted the bible to “prove” the exact opposite) to specious arguments based on anecdotal observations to this absurd contention that recognizing my civil rights as a gay man would somehow threaten a heterosexual marriage and on to this nonsense that somehow granting my rights will lead next month to pedophile marriage. We are demanding marriage between two consenting adults of the same sex be recognized and granted the same status as heterosexual marriage.
Period.
The only rational argument I have read here is that children must be protected. I agree. Let us strengthen the child protection laws, education programs and health services for kids.
I almost prefer direct, in your face discrimination and hatred to this “we love you so much, that is why we must treat you like second-class citizens approach.”
There is nothing Christian about the thinly veiled contempt being voiced here. Rather, the teachings of the bible are being perverted to justify the oppression.



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Panthera

posted November 23, 2008 at 5:49 pm


Whoops, before someone takes offense, I have no problem with interracial marriage, my reference was to people who today claim the bible advocates it when I can still very well remember our pastor speaking out against it with bible verses to “back” him up in the 1960’s.



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Mandy

posted November 23, 2008 at 7:23 pm


Just wanted to add this: for those of you who comment here or care to engage in a moral, theological or political conversation about this issue, please understand that the term “homosexual” is offense to those in the gay and lesbian community. I figured this out in high school when my gay friends never used that word and my youth group always did.__Andrew Marin also addressed this issue at the National Youth Workers Convention this weekend. He said the reason the gay and lesbian community is offended by this word is because it is associated with the biblical passages Christians have used to villianize and marginalize them. He quoted one of his gay friends as saying “You know how I know someone is a conservative Christian who doesn’t care about me? They call me a homosexual.”__Please, if you truly care about your gay and lesbian brothers and sister or if you want to have a loving and productive dialogue, remove this word from your vocabulary forever. It is hurtful and the very definition of causing someone to stumble, even if you disagree with their reasons for being offended.



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Your Name

posted November 23, 2008 at 7:41 pm


If the Bible is the authoritative Word of God and is without error and God states that homosexuality is a sin, it is wrong period. Either you follow all of God’s Word or none. You don’t get to pick and choose what you want and what God will accept. God has stated what is acceptable and what is not. Just because we may not agree with him doesn’t make us right. It is His standand by which all men will be judged. ____The Bible is for people who have accepted Christ’s sacrifice in humble repentance of their sin. If you are not a believer you do not live under the authority of God. So why do non-believers think that they should have the benefits of Christianity (i.e.marriage) without living a life that honors and glorifies Christ. Look, we all have something that brings us to our knees in repentance…that we cannot overcome without the saving grace of Christ. Just as the alcoholic, drug addict, workaholic, depressed mother needs to Christ to overcome, so does the lesbian or gay person. Why allow people to believe that this sin is ok and remove the one thing that may bring this lost person to the Savior? Christ brings freedom from oppression. I know I’ve been to hell and back several times for myself and two kids. ____One blogger said no one commented on what Jesus would say/do. I believe Jesus would love the person but would lead them to an understanding of the consequences of continuing in sin but give them a choice to give Jesus their burden and accept his sacrifice as payment for their sin. I believe he would walk away if they decided to continue in sin…but he would be deeply saddened and heart broken. His sacrifice meant nothing to this person. They would rather live forever where there is gnashing of teeth than in paradise…because the ONLY sin that God states is unforgiveable is that of not accepting his Son’s sacrifice.____So love the gay/lesbian person just as you would anyone else who needs Jesus. Only the love of Christ truly satisfies the need we all have to be loved and accepted.



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Your Name

posted November 23, 2008 at 8:19 pm


Whoa, wait a minute – homosexuality is not a mental disorder?
Give me a break! Gay psychologists can claim they are “sane” but sexual perversion will never be healthy or acceptable in the eyes of God. But that’s my “biblical” perspective and, evidently, the Bible is no longer relevant to “new” Christians.



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Darren King

posted November 23, 2008 at 8:57 pm


One of the many “You Name’s” just wrote in to say that we cannot pick and choose when it comes to weighing the authority of the Bible. This is such a non-starter for dialogue. Why? Because it is so BLATANTLY obvious that every single human being, and every single faith group that’s ever relied on the Bible as authoritative, DOES in fact pick and choose. Many do it consciously, and probably even more do it unconsciously. But please, don’t pretend you don’t do it. This is like claiming you don’t breathe oxygen. If you’re human, you do it. End of story.
Now, if you want to make an argument as to why you think something fits with your overall metanarrative understanding of scripture, then go for it. In other words, justify your particular picking and choosing within a coherent, consistent narrative. But stop, stop, stop pretending you don’t pick and choose.
Not only is picking and choosing inevitable because we human beings are all subjective, but also because the Bible simply is not some sort of Cosmic Almanac that you can search through to find answers to all life’s questions. Read the story of God’s people, get a sense of where it’s going, then try and faithfully imagine and live into its future. But stop pretending its some sort of static faithlopedia.



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Robert

posted November 23, 2008 at 9:39 pm


I like this quote from a survey about you:
“I guess when you define your faith in relation to the culture it’s only a matter of time before the culture is your faith”
That is exactly what you are doing. In your “warning” on the first page you say we read the Bible differently. You are exactly right. I believe God meant what He said in His word and you obviously think your opinion trumps His word.
Nothing “emergent” here…just the same old stuff that was warned against in the New Testament. It should really be the “subversive church”.



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Darren King

posted November 23, 2008 at 9:46 pm


Robert,
Please see the comment above yours. Once again, its not as simple as “I believe God meant what He said in His word and you obviously think your opinion trumps His word”. You can keep telling yourself that’s where the difference lies, but again, you pick and choose just like everyone else. Don’t think you’re fooling anyone by saying it comes down to a simple either/or here. I’m honestly not trying to insult you (or anyone else) here, but I just think its honestly almost laughable the way some people think they read the Bible objectively. Just because you’ve lived inside a subjective bubble of biblical interpretation all this time doesn’t mean the bubble no longer exists.



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Robert

posted November 23, 2008 at 9:58 pm


Darren,
You cannot possibly in any way shape or form read what God has written in the Bible and come away with A) He meant for marriage to be anything we define it as or B) homosexuality is okay. You cannot. The fact is that it is very clear in any way you want to read the Bible that God meant marriage to be between one man and one woman and that anything else, including homosexuality, is a sin.
I am not saying that I or anyone else can read the whole Bible “objectively” but there are very plain verses of scripture that anyone can read “objectively”. Not the least of which is what God thinks of marriage and homosexuality.
You “pick and choose” argument is so weak as it allows you to justify anything you want while casually brushing off any logical and reasonable interpretations of God’s word. And yes, it can be done.



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Darren King

posted November 23, 2008 at 11:01 pm


Robert,
Do you disagree that you, I, and everyone else commenting on this blog does indeed pick and choose what we consider applicable, and what we don’t, when it comes to biblical interpretation?
If you’re at all a nuanced reader I’m guessing you wouldn’t deny this. So, then the point becomes how and when do we make those subjective decisions? And… are we sure we’re applying those rules of interpretation consistently, across the board?
My strong feeling is that we don’t, even at the best of times, interpret and apply with consistency. And that’s a problem when it comes to constructing an argument here. Let me be clear though, I’m not necessarily saying the issue at hand is defensible or not, I’m just pointing out that it’s disingenuous to resort to scriptural absolutes around issues we still despise, while conveniently overlooking those we’re not so uncomfortable with anymore.
I’m asking not for a particular position, so much as a consistently held interpretive grid.



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Evan

posted November 23, 2008 at 11:19 pm


I honestly believe that homosexuality is contrary to what God wants. How does that translate into support of things like Proposition 8? Firstly, the surrounding culture influences people. I don’t believe that people are born ‘gay’, it doesn’t make sense from either an biological or theological standpoint. I believe people are born sexual, and the final expression of that can be shaped. By allowing homosexuality to be promoted as ‘marriage’ will continue to shape future generations into the wrong path. Secondly, children being raised outside the bonds of traditional marriage will suffer. This will flow on to affect future generations. Thirdly, I know people who are openly gay. How do I reconcile support for Proposition 8? By the fact that I know God is real, and I know his plan for his children. As a result, I cannot condone anything which deviates from that plan.
Thanks,
Evan



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Tony Hunt

posted November 24, 2008 at 3:51 am


Even if you were expecting this Tony, all this has gotta sting. Stay strong, you’ve got my love. And I’m not even gay!



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Korey

posted November 24, 2008 at 6:41 am


Darren, thanks for the persistent clarifying analysis. A very welcome contribution.



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panthera

posted November 24, 2008 at 7:07 am


Mandy,
I appreciate your politically correct awareness, however, in other cultures, lesbians get furious (in my culture, for instance) when people only use “gay”. Gay and Lesbian and Bisexual and Transgendered and Questioning and Queer and and and is a bit much, so we simply use “homosexual”.
I get your point, will however continue to use the term I prefer. Being gay, truly, I do appreciate your sensitivity.
That said, I am not sure there is any point in even sticking around this thread. Apart from you, Tony Hunt and one or two others, this is all absolute nonsense. What a waste of valuable space, what a lost opportunity to talk to each other.
Tony (Jones), I very much appreciate your working to overcome prejudice against us. All the best, I haven’t seen so much concentrated hate since school desegregation.



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Mandy

posted November 24, 2008 at 9:54 am


Panthera,
Definitely. My gay and lesbian friends use a variety of terminology. I just know for a fact that coming from the evangelical Christian crowd, “homosexual” carries all kinds of negative implications. It’s a little different if you are yourself openly gay, I imagine. However, I think straight Christians should be respectful and use the terminology that is the least alienating. I noticed that the anti-gay/lesbian comments following mine continued to say “homosexual” over and over again. I think you might be right about the thread.



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panthera

posted November 24, 2008 at 11:56 am


OK – put the mouse down, back away from the screen and nobody will get hurt.
Tony, I was so looking forward to this opportunity for a dialog. What I find is beyond description.
Maybe you should just drive a stake through its heart and open two lines of discussion. One, title: “I only believe what my fundamentalist pastor tells me to believe.” The other, title: “How can I, as a Christian, come to terms with this very challenging aspect of being a Christian”.
You could add a little extra function to the “post” button for the bloggers in the first thread to click on, so the sound of a five year old stamping her foot rings out when they click “post”.



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Paul Fromberg

posted November 24, 2008 at 1:19 pm


I’m a male, gay, Christian, pastor who is married to a man. I was married at my church in 2005 and then again in a California civil ceremony this past July. I have officiated at many, many weddings – a few of which were for gay and lesbian people. I have been through the ex-gay movement (it didn’t work for me in terms of changing my sexual orientation or behavior) and have lived as both a celibate and sexually active gay man. I have studied the scriptures prayerfully on this topic, beginning when I was a student at Fuller Theological Seminary. I have lived with shame, doubt, secrets, joy, pleasure and sadness about my sexuality. I have come to believe that the reason that I am gay is that the works of God should be manifest in me. The Holy Spirit testifies to this in my life. If I were to deny this, it would be to deny the power of God in my life.



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Susan

posted November 24, 2008 at 1:41 pm


When you are 9 years old and have the “revelation” that your father is gay and it is 1959 and no one has “conditioned” you to think one way or another–and you remember your father’s lover’s face to this day and who has been living in your house with your father–please explain to me why I do not have a right to my feelings?
Interesting that this site deleted half my message. Are you so afraid of the truth? I will so share what you have done with other sites that expose you. The emergent church is simply intellectual masturbation and satan’s attempt to hijack the evangelical movement. Sin is sin is sin–whether drug addiction–alcoholism–stealing–gambling–all flesh that needs to go to the Cross–including homosexuality.
What are you so afraid of if you want open discussion? My dad was gay and I have lived with the reality of a man that could never go to the Cross and the pain it caused 5 kids. No pastor tells me what to think. The Holy Spirit does.



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Rev Dave

posted November 24, 2008 at 2:03 pm


First, I have to say that this move to beliefnet has gotten off to a bad start: the user very-un-friendly comment mechanism and the problems with the posts themselves not working or doubling or seeming to continue then not… not your fault, Tony, but it is frustrating.
Next I want to second Darren King’s thoughts above about the need for people to stop pretending they read scripture objectly. But let me try to put it more concretely for our very brave anonymous commenters who insist (and maybe even believe) that by denying the humanity of the GLTB community that they are “merely obeying God’s word.” What about other things forbidden by scripture in the same verses you trot out? Where’s the outrage and the vilification and the laws and constitutional amendments against eating shrimp? Or clothes made of multiple fabrics? Or football? All those who touch the skin of a pig are guilty too! Want to go NT? How about headcoverings for women? What do you do – not let women in without one? Or offer one to them on the way in to church?
If you ignore all these prohibitions or explain them away, but couldn’t possibly do that with others…well, I don’t see how you could be anything other than disingenuous or deluded. I’d like to be wrong about that, so please, show me how I am wrong.



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MattR

posted November 24, 2008 at 2:26 pm


Thanks for chiming in here, Darren King and Rev Dave. I’m not sure how many got what you’re saying… I have yet to understand how half the rants disguised as comments have anything to do with Tony’s post!
I like where Tony is going here.
I would say the definition of marriage on a civil level has already changed. The goods involved are no longer just procreation and the protection/support of children. There are several other realities that we now as a society consider ‘marriage’ and ‘family.’
No matter what you think of that from a faith perspective, it is in the best interest of society to encourage and support people who want to be in committed relationships, including gay people.



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Rev Dave

posted November 24, 2008 at 3:41 pm


MattR, what is this ‘Tony’s post’ you speak of? I thought this is just where we all stand around shouting past each other! (Speaking of which, in my previous comment obviously I meant ‘objectively’ not ‘objectly’.)
Thanks for bringing this back on topic. You are right, I think, that “it is in the best interest of society to encourage people to be in committed relationships.” Allowing the state to grant marriage licenses to gay couples strengthens society as it legitimizes their relationship, allows for sharing health care benefits, makes hospice care decisions possible…just to name a few. These are civil rights struggles – attempting to get the law to recognize the humanity of all people.
Our country has a history of changing definitions in order to live up to our stated ideal that “all [people] are created equal.” If that were not so, ‘eligible voter’ would still mean ‘land-owning white males’, for instance. Or “all men created equal” would still mean merely all ‘white persons with a penis’ are created equal and thus worthy of protection under the law.
And don’t tell me that churches would be forced to perform gay marriages. Churches routinely turn down marriages now, and do so for all sorts of reasons. Why would that change? If your church doesn’t want to do a worship service for a gay wedding, then don’t. I’ll disagree with your decision, but I’ll recognize your right to that decision.
The state and the church have separate roles in marriage now. Why would that be different by allowing gay marriages?



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Jonathon

posted November 24, 2008 at 3:55 pm


Rev Dave,____Thanks for joining the conversation. May I ask you what you believe are the “commands” we are supposed to follow today? You mentioned some instances in the Old Testament and the New that you think are irrelevant to the life of a believer today. Would you reject the idea that there are universal and eternal moral laws that we are to adhere to? Would you say that in the Old Testament you have a a break down of Moral, Judicial, and Ceremonial laws? The Moral are universal and eternal, rooted in the character of God, and thus still binding today on the believer. Would you agree that the ceremonial laws all pointed towards the coming of Christ, and according to Paul in Colossians, they were shadows of that coming reality (Christ) and are thus abolished today? The Judicial or Civil laws in the Old Testament were meant for the nation of Israel as they lived as a nation amond many other nations and were to be set apart as the people of God. Since that is no longer the case, the Judicial laws are also abolished. Would you not agree?____The New Testament passage you cite regarding head-coverings is also out of bounds. Let me try to make this difficult passage (1 Corinthians 11:1-16) a little more clear. First off, it has nothing to do with the current discussion. Second, Paul is more than likely speaking to wives and husbands in this context. The first part of the section deals with men having their “kata kephales”, or head covered. Literally it means “down from the head.” When you understand the culture at that time, one thing you find is that men would practice letting their toga or hair hang loose to cover their face in an act of piety while praying to pagan gods. Paul is basically saying, “don’t appeal to pagan practices while praying to the one true and living God.” ____In the section dealing with women we also have to understand the culture in which it is written. If a married woman had her head uncovered it would have brought shame on her husband. This action could have been taken to mean she was sexually available or simply being unmarried. All Paul is saying is that a wife should achknowlege that she willfully submits to the authority of her husband. Culturally, the action that denotes that same thing today is the wearing of a wedding ring.____Is this passage still relevant today? Yes! And again, it has no bearing on the current discussion.____The fact remains that there are moral laws that are universal and eternal that are relevant today. Why? Because they are rooted in the very order of creation which God has set forth. From the beginning it has been “one man and one woman.” Homosexuality is a perversion of God’s original design. It is pictured in as sin in both the Old and the New Testaments. We must bow before the Word of the living God.____Panthera, you make rash comments but give no support to your own conclusions. I would be eager to see how you work through what the Bible says on the issue, not some fundamentalist pastor. If God is there and He has spoken, what has He said? That is the question. It seems the post-modern tendency of those who support gay marriage is a rejection of what God has said. It is a rejection of the inerrancy, infallibility, and sufficiency of the Word of God. Please interact with what you think the Bible teaches.__



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panthera

posted November 24, 2008 at 3:58 pm


Thank you, MattR.
I have lived in Europe for many years now. We have had civil unions/marriage/partnerships, whatever one wishes to call it for gays and lesbians here for quite some time.
Although some churches have fought it, many have breathed a deep sigh of relief to see us welcomed into the interdependencies and mutual support of legally recognized and responsible relationships.
Surely, any discussion here must take into account that there is a large percentage of people who want committed relationships and desire the protection which a civil union/marriage/partnership grants.
Let’s look at my family, for instance. My parents are not well, there is no reason to expect improvement, I must sadly accept that they will not be with me forever. Should one die before the other, there will be no question or problem about regulating his or her private estate in the way he or she desired (especially since they are leaving everything to each other).
Now, let us look at my situation. Should I die here in Europe, or become severely incapacitated, my partner would automatically, as my legal next of kin, either inherit (less a fixed amount to my parents) or have an automatic power of attorney to make decisions on my behalf.
Were I, however, to die or become seriously incapacitated in the US, he would be dependent upon the charity of which ever hospital I first was in and then upon my parent’s desire to follow my written wishes. In my families case, no big deal. They welcomed our partnership.
Unfortunately, my other blood-next-of-kin are all fundamentalist Christians. They have already contested decisions regarding gay family members in court, have already made clear that they will fight me “tooth and nail” and told my partner, the day I die, he is out of the family.
Why should someone who has committed his life to me be at the mercy of such hatred? How does my entering a monogamous, committed lifelong relationship affect the status of a heterosexual marriage? In what manner does my having a stable, monogamous life-style threaten the children in our family or yours?
Society can only win when more people are permitted to recognize and exchange their love for one another.
One thing which puzzles me enormously reading most of the posts here is the ignorance, if not intentional disregard for those passages of the Bible which are inconvenient.
If we accept that all sins are equally repugnant as they drive us from God, then truly the question arises, why the fundamentalist Christians spend so much time harassing me and other homosexuals and do not concentrate more on those failing of their own which they may easily remedy. Shrimp, using a toilet within the city limits, wearing mixed fibers, working on the Sabbath. Not permitted, of equal rank to homosexuality.
Let’s move on to sodomy. No, not what you fundamentalists insist on defining it as, but as that which the Bible defines it as: Any sexual act which is not specifically aimed at creating a new life. If you have ever had sex with your wife at a time of the month when you knew she could not become pregnant, guess what – you are a sodomite. Ever practiced coitus interruptus? Oh, my, another sodomite. Ever got into some hot and heavy petting as a teenager, not, to be indelicate, gone all the way and taken care of matters later…yup, same exact name applies to you as to me, you sodomite.
So stop with the nonsense already and let’s look at how we can maintain the Christian body, accommodate homosexuals into the church and stop destroying families.
One important issue which has not been addressed here by the fundamentalists is the question of several wives for one husband. You can’t get out of that one with the “God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve and Bob and Jeanne and Lilith (oops) and Mary and…” argument. We have many biblical references of good men having many wives.
Today, one of the major arguments of fundamentalist against SSM (Same Sex Marriage) is that it will start us down the slipper slope to exactly such marriages.
That doesn’t make sense. You can’t object to the Bible! But you do!
Cherry picking the Bible to fit your desires is not my definition of growing closer to God. Practicing the fruits of the spirit and trying to accept the grace of Christ’s salvation as a second chance to do good in this world, is my definition.
(By the by, the gotcha refresh is great, but it still ate my text. Still, I appreciate every step in the right direction.)



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MattR

posted November 24, 2008 at 4:24 pm


Rev Dave & Panthera… exactly!
Thanks for sharing a bit of your story Panthera.
Jonathon,
The issue again of this post is about the government and marriage, not the Bible… yet, I’m sure Tony will address this.
But if we’re on the subject the problem is this… how can you claim to say that the passages relating to homosexuality in the OT are of the ‘Moral’ (and therefore according to you, universal) type? They, in fact are in the middle of ceremonial and judicial parts of the law.
And that’s the issue of those who just throw Scripture out there in an a-contextual way often dodge… It comes down to your judgment regarding Scripture. We are dealing with cultural norms and interpretive values, WAY more than some would like to admit when we talk about this.



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A Walker

posted November 24, 2008 at 4:35 pm


No, panthera, you may not merely redefine marriage to mean whatever you want.
Marriage is uniquely for heterosexuals, as the contract is based entirely around the fact that heterosexual sex brings with it the enormous long-range duties of raising children/families.
That’s right. The moment a woman has sex with a man she immediately incurs grave, long-range material risk. This causes the *need* for a long-range contract to protect her and her inevitable children from abandonment and economic destitution. Gays have no such similar situation.
For homosexuals, marriage is thus a family social contract. Since this is rooted in the very biology of heterosexuals, it cannot be redefined to mean something else.
Nice try, but it’s time for you to give up, or simply create a “visit-sick-partner-in-hospital” contract. But marriage is a uniquely heterosexual legal contract base on their procreative nature and responsibilities.



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A Walker

posted November 24, 2008 at 4:39 pm


one correction…i meant to say, “For HETEROsexuals, marriage is thus a family social contract. Since this is rooted in the very biology of heterosexuals, it cannot be redefined to mean something else.



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Rev Dave

posted November 24, 2008 at 4:54 pm


Jonathon,
The command I believe we are to follow today is, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength; and love your neighbor as yourself.”
As for the OT laws I brought up before, I didn’t say they were irrelevant for believers today (though I would say that). What I meant was, how is it that those who claim to hold that the bible is inerrant, infallible, etc. when discussing the sexuality laws get to completely ignore the food and garment laws (for example)? You write “God has spoken” but, as if to prove my point, you offer a long (and likely quite educated) cultural explanation for ignoring Paul’s words on head covers. We (myself included) are all quick to explain away some scripture while holding other scripture as inviolate. Everybody does this, including those who claim to take, or even think they actually do take, scripture at “face value.” I brought up the other issues as examples of scripture which Christians universally ignore. (universally that is, as far as I know.)
And that is the problem I have with the standard biblical argument: it is not possible to read, to borrow MattR’s phrase, a-contextually.
And, again, this is off topic. Let me also say: panthera, thanks for not giving up on this discussion. and thanks for sharing part of your story. As has been mentioned on a previous thread here, it is a bit unseemly for this discussion to be conducted on all sides by straight men and women. We need your voice to be present in this, so thanks for your courage here!



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MattR

posted November 24, 2008 at 4:57 pm


A Walker,
No, marriage has ALREADY been redefined. Read Tony’s post. Marriage no longer means what you say it means in our culture… And the very definition has changed throughout the years as freedoms grown… regardless of gay commitment. So just trying to go back to previous cultural values, and then claiming they are the current definition of marriage and family doesn’t work.
In fact then, I would say it is your view that is trying to redefine marriage.



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A Walker

posted November 24, 2008 at 5:30 pm


Hey MattR,
Yes, marriage was partially redefined in 1970 in a radical social experiment (addition of “no-fault divorce”). But this had disastrous results for women and children.
Marriage redefinition brings grave social consequences, for tinkering with marriage is tinkering with the engine of society. All throughout history marriage has pertained to protecting the material needs of women and children. Removing the contractual protections that traditional marriage afforded to heterosexual women and their children has produced enormous destabilization of society. (Most social ills arise from the broken home.)
The continued attempts to reorder society by redefining society’s most basic social cell will result in a final collapse of Western civilization. Then what? Well, strong emerging Muslim and/or Chinese societies will come in and reinstitute stiff social and military norms. That’s what happens when a society breaks down due to insurmountable ignorance and irrationality, as we see with the “gay marriage” experimentation.



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Rev Dave

posted November 24, 2008 at 5:36 pm


Well said, MattR. That’s basically what I was going to say to A Walker. I especially like your idea that it is A Walker’s view that is trying to redefine marriage.
A Walker,
Here’s what I really don’t get about what you have repeatedly repeated on these threads: that women need protection once they’ve had sex with a man. While this was likely true in ancient times, today women have, you know, jobs and stuff. In fact, many women chose to raise a family without a man/husband. Or, conversely, many couples chose to remain childless.
So, again, marriage in our culture has long moved past the narrow, utilitarian version you keep bringing up. I really don’t see how that is an argument against same sex marriage.
But at least it is in the realm of what the state can/should do and thus on topic!



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A Walker

posted November 24, 2008 at 6:19 pm


RevDave: While this was likely true in ancient times, today women have, you know, jobs and stuff. In fact, many women chose to raise a family without a man/husband.
A Walker: Single parenting continues to be extraordinarily difficult, and it usually ends in economic poverty for women. Raising a family of children requires teamwork by two adults permanently committed to the project. Removing one of the adults leaves the other person stuck with chronic economic perils and enormous responsibilities.
RevDave: many couples chose to remain childless.
A Walker: The fact that a few heterosexuals couples choose to remain childless does not change the reality that 98% of active heterosexuals do indeed produce offspring who require long-range care and provisions. And, social contracts are built around the rule of something, not the rarest exceptions to something.
Marriage has not moved past its utility to heterosexuals. The need for the traditional marriage contract will exist so long as heterosexuality continues to be procreative at a high rate of incidence and as long as infants require long-range care. Marriage is rooted in the very biology of heterosexuals.



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Your Name

posted November 24, 2008 at 6:48 pm


Interesting argument. I am a gay widower. Steve and I married in our commuity of faith but were not able to document our marriage with the state. We live in California where we are supposed to have all the rights and responsibilites of marriage as domestic patners.
But on the night Steve died this january past, the county coroner in my home had never heard of domestic partners. He demanded a blood relative make decisions and take posession of Steve’s property. I – the husband of 10+ years – was treated as a stranger in my own home. It still hurts.
What I do not understand about the Christian aversion to gay and lesbian families like mine is this:
Why do many Christians single out Homo-SEX-uality as a horrible sin, bad enough to put families like me and Steve and our daughter into a second class at CIVIL law? I understand the sacramental nature of marriage in many faith traditions – but CIVIL marriage is different. At law, felons in jail can marry someone not in jail – no hope of procreation or even sex! Women past menapause and men paralyzed from the waist down can marry legally – yet Steve and I could not.
When I ask this, I usually get a string of Leviticus and Romans in response. But to that cheery picking of Scripture, I have to ask, “How much should I get for selling my daughter into slavery?” and “Why aren’t we using Canadians and Mexicans as human slaves as the Bible condones?” Polygamy and human slavery are both clearly authorized by Holy Scripture – yet by civil law both are prohibited in the USA and western world.
In this day and age we have come to understand sexual orientation in a new and comprehensive fashion – scientifically, medically, and at law. It just seems wrong that the majority should be able to determine that by law, my family is not as good as a straight family. Just wrong. I do not see how Scripture gives Christians the right and responsibility to judge my family and put us in second class citizenship.
And for the record, Steve and I were married. I am a widower. Our marriage was not documented with the state, but it was a true and loving marriage.



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Richard

posted November 24, 2008 at 7:01 pm


Another problem with certain Christians putting gay and lesbian families into a second class or third class of citizenship is this:
I am authorized by the State of California to officiate at weddings. In my faith community, lesbians and gays are joyfully wedded and their families are treasured identically to hterosexual families. Yet with Proposition 8 passing and same sex marriage becoming illegal, MY religious freedom is trampled upon. I can no longer legally officate at weddings that my religion celebrates between two men or two women. My faith community’s beliefs are made illegal. I also think THAT is wrong.
How would Christians feel if the majority voted to disallow Christian marriages but to allow all other marriages?



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A Walker

posted November 24, 2008 at 8:43 pm


Richard: How would Christians feel if the majority voted to disallow Christian marriages but to allow all other marriages?
A Walker: First, in a democracy the majority makes the rules. So, your views are undemocratic.
Second, marriage is a contract based around heterosexual sex alone, as that sex act involves grave material risk for women and for the children they will inevitably produce from the act. The marriage law binds this “mini society” together and levies stiff financial penalties against an abandoning partner.
Gays simply don’t have any similar situation requiring a marriage contract. That’s why “gay marriage” doesn’t make any sense at any level. Nature simply has not tasked gay partners with the procreation and education of the citizenry.



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Jonathan M.

posted November 24, 2008 at 10:06 pm


Tony, I just spent about 15 minutes reading through comments related to the blogologue… hang in there man. Please don’t be discouraged. I’m really looking forward to what’s in store for this discussion.



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Colin

posted November 25, 2008 at 12:06 am


A Walker,
I really feel like you have been cutting and pasting your replies again and again for each post, perhaps you would like to share your perspective from a different angle. It isn’t really getting through to people like I think you hope it might.
In a previous post, you said that gay marriage makes marriage into a dissolvable romance contract. I argued that this is what marriage already is for straight people. You came back and just said the same thing again (and again). Now your tune is changing and you are saying it is a sex contract designed to protect helpless women that are seen in your fantasy as babymakers.
Most women leave the home and work and have careers. Women are CEOs. They own property and vote. Your posts come off as if your view of marriage is more like real estate, the trade of a woman from her family to a man, with a buyout clause just in case the man doesn’t like his purchase in order to protect it. Perhaps to you marriage is sort of like a lease or renting an apartment where you have to pay a deposit, if you screw it up too badly you are going to have to pay. I can’t tell to what extent you are anti-woman along with your anti-gay views. (I would be happy to hear clarification on this).
You have cited statistics repeatedly that contain figures like .00000001% without citing any sources. Are these statistic correct, or are you (as I suspect) making these up. This is another way of telling a lie (bearing false witness).
You continue to ignore the very real and imminent question regarding children of gay parents. You repeat again and again that gays have not been tasked by nature to raise the citizenry. I don’t know what else parents are tasked to do, gay or straight. What about infertile couples? I want you to give me sources with studies and statistics, not just the same rhetoric again and again.
You position yourself as a champion of democracy; will you pitch a fit when the constitutional amendments start peeling away by popular vote and a boy and his two dads move in next door because of the great democratic process?
If your reply is more of the same I will very happily ignore it and let you continue on your own path.



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Todd Burus

posted November 25, 2008 at 1:57 am


panthera, You comment on the process of inheritance and care should something happen to you. But, as far as inheritance goes, there isn’t, and never will be, a law against bequeathing your estate to whomever you see fit. The catch: you have to make a will. Yes, if you were recognized as “married” by the state then this would be a simpler process, but so it goes, this is still not something that is undoable as you make it seem.
Also, the comment was made by someone (I’ve read so much I’ve forgot who now) that the state should be trying to promote committed relationships. This again is a poor argument towards allowing SSM, as the fact that these people are supposedly “in love” should be enough motivation to be committed and not some legal recognition from the state. In fact, as we know all too well from hetero marriage, legal recognition of marriage is no catalyst to a committed relationship, particularly in the days of no-fault divorces.
An argument appealing to the state, particularly in the American democracy, has to appeal to the “social contract” of our citizenry, and as I stated at the beginning, this means that for a Christian the issue comes down to voting our consciousness from what is revealed to us in Scriptures; and thus Scripture, not social pragmatism, should carry the day for Christian opinion in this matter.



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A Walker

posted November 25, 2008 at 10:39 am


Colin,
My posts get through to people, especially to those who falsely argue that traditional marriage is simply a religious preference. Marriage has never been a “religious preference,” but rather is rooted in the biology and anthropology of heterosexuals, which cannot ever change.
I will answer your very specific points. First, you are right that easy divorce laws adopted in the 1970s made marriage a dissolvable romance contract. But that legal blunder has devastated women and children. For while the law indeed changed, the biological reality for heterosexuals didn’t. We still reproduce billions of children worldwide—only now we no longer have any strong legal obligations to raise them. And that hurts women and children.
Second, heterosexual couples are undeniably “babymakers.” There’s no way for us to undo our biology. We can’t help but produce billions of tiny helpless citizens worldwide who require life-long care, which the parents—and not the neighbors—are expected to provide.
Third, your analysis of the economics of women and children is fantasy, and feminists agree. College-educated women *who have multiple children* do NOT have the same career and economic outcomes as men, and this is because they have to raise their babies for large chunks of time of each day—time they would otherwise be working for a company and climbing the career ladder. Since they cannot do both, they and their children rely heavily on the other spouse to provide significant income and childcare, without which they face severe economic consequences. For non-college-educated women, single-parenting is synonymous with poverty and permanent dependence on welfare. So, you’re the one living in a fantasy.
Fourth, marriage is about how we order society for the best economic and educational outcome for babies. You may want it to be about something else, but all throughout history it has been little about “romance” and more about the “family enterprise.” For heterosexuals, marriage and long-range family responsibilities are inseparable.
Fifth, no one in their right mind could accuse my view of being anti-women! To the precise contrary, I am the one advocating that we strengthen their legal recourse against males by reinstating stiff economic penalties for spousal abandonment. Your view is the one that leaves women economically exposed and vulnerable. My view ensures that any male seeking to get out of the contract *will by law be forced to provide the same economic support for the spouse and children* as if they had never left the contracted partnership.
Sixth, gays don’t produce babies, nor are gays obligated to long-range contractual living. So, it’s harmful to children to place them in such a legally unstable society. We need to repeal no-fault divorce and place babies in those legally stable contractual societies.
Finally, I AM INDEED a champion of democracy. If this country wants the legal stipulations of gay marriage to be the law of the land for all, then let the people decide. It is utterly undemocratic to have a handful of judges impose their opinions one way or the other on the rest of the American citizenry against their consent.



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Your Name

posted November 25, 2008 at 11:02 am


Gay marriage won’t work, period. Not for just Biblical reasons, though, but for physiological reasons. Say, for instance, every GLTBQ couple moved to a large island the size of the United States and were faithfully monogomous in their male-male, female-female relationships. After one generation, what would happen? Well…the sad news is that all would be DEAD with no offspring. Hmmm…
This sad yet honest truth here is that homosexual marriages cannot reproduce. So from a Darwinian perspective, they are self-selecting a dead-end. I can see why gay couples insist on having the right to adopt babies, which were produced by non-gay couples, so they can brainwash them into the homosexual lifestyle. For gays to perpetually “feed off” straight couples amounts to a parasitic relationship, putting homosexuals completely dependent on non-homosexuals to continue to have babies that THEY can adopt.
Maybe this why God made it explicitly clear in Romans 1 what the “unnatural use” of the bodies would lead to…and stripping away the sugar-coating of homosexuality, it is unnatural, anti-God (we were made in His image, thus we are defiling Him and His nature), anti-Christ (we were bought at a price, and our bodies are NOT our own!) and will open the door to more perversion, ungodliness, wickedness, lewd and licientious and immoral behavior.



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