Why do we believe……that banning homosexual marriages strengthens or protects Christian marriages?
Many Christians suggested Proposition 8, which effectively bans homosexuals from marrying in California, is something that would strengthen or protect Christian marriages and families and if Proposition 8 was not passed, marriages, families and ultimately society would suffer.
I do not believe this is true.
If homosexuals are legally allowed to engage in civil unions and call these unions marriages by the U.S. government I do not think the overall state of Christianity, Christian marriages, Christian families, or the nation is inherently eroded or damaged.
If a homosexual couple lives next door to a Christian couple I do not think their presence magically degrades the quality of the Christian couple’s marriage.
I definitely do not think that their presence is neutral until their union is recognized as and called by the name of “marriage” by the state of California and then all of a sudden their presence begins to degrade Christian marriages and families.
Speak Faithfully Public Service Announcement: Dear fellow Christians, sexual minorities are just people. Married or unmarried, they do not contaminate their surroundings by broadcasting sin in some manner akin to radiation.
While this statement is intentionally over the top and ridiculous I think it represents a core belief inherent to some of the logic behind Prop 8, One of the most common arguments I have seen for Prop 8 is that if we allow homosexuals to marry, the overall state of marriages and families in the U.S. will suffer. This is never explained, argued for, or backed by any sort of research, but I have seen countless Christians nod their head in agreement and go along with it when such statements are put forward in churches and at rallies.
Is this what we really believe?
I think the real Christian agenda in backing Prop 8 had nothing to do with protecting marriage and everything to do with fighting homosexuality because many Christians believe it is a sin.
We need to check ourselves and think seriously about this issue.
First of all, why are we trying to fight this battle through the U.S. legal system. Do we truly desire a Christian theocracy where Christian morals and ethics are forced on everyone, regardless of their religion?
Secondly, why are we not pursuing this against all sinful behavior? For example, why are we not proposing a ban on pornography in California or amending the laws regarding divorce aimed at lowering divorce rates? Why are certain aspects of Christian morality being turned into battlegrounds. Is thinly veiled homophobia a greater motivation than anyone is acknowledging?
Closely related to this belief is the rather widespread notion that the Church is engaged in a cultural war against the homosexual community and other non-Christian communities (the ACLU, Obama, the “Blue states”, etc.) that Christians believe are secularizing our “Christian nation.”
We again, need to re-think this belief as our struggle is not against flesh and blood. Our struggle is not a holy culture war in the U.S. to fight back to some mythological Christian origin to the United States, and it is definitely not against other sinners.
If Christians truly desire to strengthen and protect Christian marriages and families we need not look outside our own walls to do this. We better serve Christian marriages (which fail 50% of the time) families (that are touched by all kinds of dysfunction) and congregations (which are rife with sexual sin, especially pornography) through taking seriously our own problems and working on them, not through trying to pass legislation in the U.S. legal system. It would have made more sense to me to take all the time, effort, and resources used to advocate for Prop 8 and instead offer free marriage counseling, increase awareness on addiction and recovery resources in the local church, and otherwise deal with the issues that are actually directly hurting congregations and families.
Passing legislation that really only applies to non-Christians is one of the most asinine ways to strengthen and protect Christian marriages and families.
If anyone disagrees with me and believes that Proposition 8 somehow strengthened or protected Christian marriages and families please post and explain your argument. I am fallible and I might just be failing to see what is plainly obvious to others.
This is basically the end of my post. However, while I am on the topic, I will continue with more of my thoughts on the issue(s) around it.
For the Record: I don’t believe homosexuality is a sin, I believe sexual minorities can be followers of Jesus, and how we read the Bible on this issue (and many others) is wrong. I discuss that at length starting here: (http://wp.me/pVYH7-nE).
As a young gay man, and a former Christian, I have had profound and painful experiences in dealing with my sexual orientation and the faith of others (family, friends, society at large).
What is ironic is that I wholeheartedly agree with so many people that marriage is not valued enough, families break up too often, and children deserve a stable home to grow up in. Our society has normalized relationship and family dysfunction to the extreme. I would rather spend 100 hours working with a Christian ministry on how to prevent a divorce than one hour arguing about what civil and legal rights I deserve to have with my future husband.
I would never want my legal rights to infringe upon the faith of another person, for the record. And I am so intensely perturbed when the faith of another person is reason enough to infringe upon my rights.
These comments may not mean much, but I earnestly yearn for a cease fire between Christians and the LGBT community. So many gays and lesbians (and bisexuals and transgender people) have suffered because of the hostility aimed at them by people holding up a bible… People who could use the wisdom and guidance of Christ.
Thanks for your honesty and input I greatly appreciate it. I too share your desire for a ceasfire between the two communities. Open hostility, ignorance, bias and prejudice from either side benefits no one.
I think the only way the homosexual right to marry would impinge upon freedom of religion is if the State ever forced a church to officiate a homosexual marriage or face legal consequences.
I’ve written pretty extensively on this subject on my blog, especially regarding the issue of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, which I predicted would be repealed. I used many of the same arguments that you did. However, I do believe that marriage is different. Not entirely, but it is different.
Note that, while the patriarchs took several wives, God said that a man would leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife. So while many wives may come to certain powerful men in our Old Testament, the command was for one wife and one husband.
Now, we don’t live in a theocracy, nor have we ever, nor ever shall we. However, I do believe that marriage is more than a social contract. It is a deeply spiritual one and for that reason, I would like it (not me or my family) protected, as it were. Homosexuals don’t poison the water hole any more than porn addicts, molesters, etc, as far as a spiritual condition is concerned. Yet here is an area that I will defend. Sir, spend your life with whomever you want. That is between you and God. Rewrite the laws so that a civil union is the same as a marriage as far as the social contract is concerned, but let me have the marriage…please.
Not that it matters. The die has been cast and this is a dying argument. I fully understand the reality and I acquiesce to the cause. Just don’t go thinking that we’re all haters. Many of us care deeply about all people. We just care about the Bible as well. It is what it is.
Dan, thanks for the input! I know people can care about homosexuals and still be against homosexual marriage.
The spirituality of marriage is something to think about. I am tempted to suggest people who get married do not necessarily go through a spiritual experience or spiritual bond. Two people could get married by a judge and lack any faith (in any religion) to speak of and I do not know if I would call what they went through a spiritual union. God knows, I don’t.
Again, I still fail to see how calling a homosexual union “marriage” in any way damages or taints the Christian sacrament of marriage.
Dan, if we eschewed the concept of “marriage” from legal discourse, would that be acceptable for you?
Also, which side of marriage the social construct side or the religious side is of greater value to you?
I would say, speaking only as a representative of myself, that the spiritual side is more important. I grant that very few people get a spiritual connection out of marriage (though as a married man I am qualified to say that many do). That doesn’t make it less so in God’s eyes. I’ve done my fair share as a heterosexual man to destroy the concept of marriage spiritually as well, but there is a difference. In the end, I was and am still married to a woman. Once my personal spiritual condition was back within God’s light, then my marriage was redeemed. A homosexual couple, which, as I see the scriptures, violates the concept of marriage spiritually, cannot be redeemed. I don’t know if that makes sense and again, my heart is not in judgment though I know it must sound like it. I promise you that I know my past and some of the things I’ve done.
Joel, I would absolutely love to get rid of marriage as a social/legal construct. Yet I am a married man. If I am to die, my wife must have a legal (which is based loosely upon the initial social) capacity to be taken care of, and that comes from the legal side. This is why I think that it’s ok for homosexuals to have lifelong partners. Just don’t give it the legal reference of marriage. Give it the legal reference of something else and make it equal legally to marriage. That might come off as bigoted, and in that respect, I can only say that I don’t mean to judge.
If your spouse could be legally taken care of in the event of your passing, without a legal reference to marriage would that be okay?
Joel, if I marry and then die, and you try to pull a “Levirate marriage,” know I will haunt the crap out of you.
Hmm…no. I may feel that the spiritual issue is more important, but legally, I want marriage to be for heterosexuals. Hence the reason I say make a legal position for the LBGT community.
I just don’t see how there’s a distinction to be made in “legal” marriage and “spiritual” marriage on a personal level, but that should then mean no “legal” marriage for gays. Lots of things the public can do (drinking, smoking, strip clubs, tattoos, sky-diving) are permissible, but not something we view as being forced upon us. But if two women were allowed to be legally protected same as another couple, that is somehow endanger a religious belief? Do strip clubs and bars also threaten religious beliefs? Does any legal activity outside of God’s law attack religious beliefs?
And the idea seems to imply that two gay men couldn’t have some spiritual connection to each other. Or they wouldn’t want it solemnized by a religious leader. Gays fall in love just the same as straight people. Which is enormously important to some gay people.
I guess the argument I don’t get is, “but let me have the marriage… please.” No gay person wants to TAKE AWAY any marriages. But Prop 8, that was ALLLLLLL about (literally) taking away my marriage. I would never vote for a law to take away the right of straight person from marrying the woman or man they loved. But it is ok to take that right away from gays? I ask YOU…. let me have my marriage… please.
And there’s no earthly reason to equate “molesters” to a gay person.
*One is a predatory child rapist
*The other is just like a heterosexual, ‘cept for the two hot dogs and no taco (or vice versa).
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