On Gay Marriage

Gay marriage is a topic I tend to avoid in public forums. As is true with abortion and immigration, conversation is rare. Usually people just go straight to angry diatribes and restating tired rhetoric. But along with the rest of our nation I have been processing these things more deeply in the past few weeks and so I decided to share some of that processing here.

I suppose there’s no way to avoid having people get mad about what I’ll write. That’s fine. I’d love to have pushback. I would appreciate if we could keep it civil though.

Before my thoughts, here are a few blogs/articles I’ve found interesting and helpful.

Andrew Arndt, Pastor of Bloom in Denver

Hugh Halter, Leader of Adullam in Denver

Evangelicals Face Growing Tension Between Political and Personal Views of Gay Marriage, A Huffington Post Article

So here are some thoughts. They aren’t complete, but pieces of my processing.

Christians are picking a convenient time to “protect marriage.”

For a few years now the Christian line on gay marriage has been that we need to “protect marriage” from distortion.

First, I agree with Hugh that as Christians we believe marriage is something God has created and therefore we do not need to protect it from anyone. I also think it is telling that gay marriage is the issue that has led us to the line of needing to “protect marriage.” Marriage has been distorted for a long time. We have not protected marriage from being ravaged by divorce (for any and every reason or non-reason). We’ve often sanctioned it with our silence. We have not “protected” marriage from the abuse of husbands who are supposed to lay down their lives for their wives (Ephesians 5). Sometimes we’ve promoted marital distortion by telling men to be “spiritual leaders” in their homes without defining what that means. Leaving them to apply their distorted views of leadership to their marriages in God’s name. We haven’t protected marriage from the flood of pornography that objectifies women, dishonors wives, and defiles marital sexuality.

So deciding that now we are going to “protect marriage” says something about our view of marriage and sexuality. The hard truth that people don’t want to admit is that many Christians do think homosexuality is worse than divorce (for any and every reason or non-reason), abuse and neglect, and all kinds of sexual immorality that produces destruction of marriages.

Civil union and marriage.

Some are advocating that all government sanctioned unions be referred to as civil unions and those that take place in the church be called marriage. I understand the distinction being made (and don’t theologically disagree) but at this point marriage is the language used in our society for a committed sexual union between two people. So at this point it’s all going to be called marriage.

Despite this, I think there is a sense in which all marriages that do not include commitment to God in the vows are in a sense civil unions. They are recognized by the state and federal government and really have nothing to do with God. A marriage that is understood to be a vow to another person and to God, however, is a spiritual union (and assuming the right paperwork is filed is a civil union as well).

In the debates about gay marriage, we are talking primarily about the civil definition of marriage, not a religious one. In the United States the State should not be beholden to the Church, and neither should the Church be beholden to the State. Therefore it seems the State should define marriage as it sees fit, but this will only be a civil definition. The Church should also have the freedom to define marriage in a religious/spiritual manner.

Our culture is not advocating “marriage equality” even though that’s the term now applied to this issue.

Words are powerful. They frame perceptions. Why do you think people against abortion aren’t called anti-choice or those for it called pro-death? We pick words that will frame our particular perspective in the most positive light possible–even when it’s misleading.

In our culture we are not debating marriage equality, we are talking about a specific group obtaining the legal rights that come from marriage. I don’t hear anyone advocating the right to marry for minors. I don’t hear anyone advocating for the marriage rights of polygamists. We are talking about state-sanctioned marriage for homosexual couples, not marriage equality.

Moving Forward.

At this point it is a foregone conclusion that gay marriage will be legalized across the country. The only question is how long it will take. In one sense I’ll be glad. Maybe it will allow us to move on from the debate to focusing on loving our neighbors well–to being people again instead of sides in an argument.

About Big Tasty

Be better today than yesterday.

Posted on March 28, 2013, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. As a Christian, I am supposed to be against homosexuality. I guess I am not a Christian because I am not against homosexuality. Nor am I against those who prefer this expression of themselves. Therefore, I cannot see any difficulty with “same-sex marriage” or “civil unions.” As far as I am concerned, all verbiage regarding these relational situations should be gender neutral. As a romantic, I believe love is at a premium and I applaud those who do find a true, lasting and committed love in their lives — regardless of the sex of those involved. I do like your distinction, though. Marriage is a matter between two people and their God. A Civil Union is a matter between two people and their government. The latter is necessary for whatever legal matters may arise between two legally joined people. The former is necessary for two people who feel marriage is a holy bond for their unique trinity with their God.

    It is said the purpose of marriage is to produce children. Therefore, those of us who have never had children — nor want children — may not marry. We are relegated to Civil Unions. This is archaic and ridiculous. Children do not dictate my life, nor my partner in life, nor any other aspect of my life. Does this make me less a Christian since I do not choose to be “fruitful and multiply?” Does not God love me as a person or just as a womb?

    I am for two (or possibly more) mature, consensual people uniting themselves in any legally satisfing situation that mutally enhances their lives. If God is love — and that must in the broadest possible definition of the word if Jesus’ death has any meaning at all — then how can He condemn anyone who loves (within the boundaries of a sanctified relationship)?

    And why aren’t — or can’t — all unions be equal? I cannot see how one is more valid than another. Either the unions are equal with equal rights or they are not. If they are not, which is more proper or which is better or which is more legal or which is based on “true love” or not? Either people make a commitment to each other or they do not. Yes, a feeling of commitment can change (I am three-times divorced, even though I truly meant my vows to be “until death do we part.” My spouses did not agree with the maximum). Unfortunately, while divorce is never right, it is often necessary. Such is the way of people.

    And such it will always be, regardless of who they are, what they are, and what they hope in their hearts. I cannot believe God condemns anyone who at least tries to love with all their honesty and with all their faith in what — and whom — they wish to commit their lives to. I always wish every marriage/union will be blessed with lifelong love. Here’s to love and marriage — may everyone live happily ever after.

  2. Good thoughts bro. Good thoughts.

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