This is a significant time in our country. I’ve been watching the chatter on social media for a few days and wanted share a few more thoughts about the Supreme Court’s decision to affirm gay marriage. I specifically want to address the Christian audience that might pay attention to my posts.
I’m not going to attempt here to share an exhaustive overview of this topic, but hope to make a few comments that might be helpful and point to some resources that might bring some clarity to what seems like a confusing issue.
1. Do Christians hate gays?
First, I’ve seen some Christians jump on the bandwagon and support the liberal mentality that the Church is full of mean-spirited people who “hate” gays. Supporting the Supreme Court decision seems like the compassionate thing to do, as if opposing it would somehow put them in the mean people camp who want nothing more than to make life miserable for the gay community.
I just wanted to say that though I’m aware that there’s misguided jerks out there who come in the name of our faith, I don’t personally know a single Christian or church that hates gays. On the contrary, I see many Christian leaders and Christians today bending over backwards to try to be gracious to the gay community in spite of our differences, without forfeiting their consciences and what we believe is the clear teaching of Scripture.
Here’s the real problem: we live in a liberal culture that is working hard to make disagreement synonymous with hatred. It’s absurd. It’s unreasonable and it’s unfair. To suggest that holding a different position is akin to hatred is to destroy the entire culture of democracy, free speech, and religious liberty that our nation is founded on. While I hold the view that the Bible teaches that homosexuality is sinful, I also believe the same about greed, dishonoring our parents, and addiction to tobacco. Would the person who assumes that I hate homosexuals because of my worldview also assume I hate all people who love money, all children who disobey their parents, and all chain smokers? Is it a safe assumption for me that if the same person who accuses me of hatred disagrees with anyone about the morality of anything, that they hate them?
I don’t consider homosexuals my enemies. I actually have several gay friends. However, even if I did consider gays my enemies, I follow a Savior that tells me to love even my enemies. I’m called to love and forgive even the jihadists that flew planes into the twin towers. I’m called to love and forgive those that have mistreated me, betrayed me, abused me, mocked me, bullied me, or hated me, just like Jesus did while he was being crucified. So, how, if I’m a true Christian, could I hate anyone?
2. There’s a difference between being pro-gay and pro-freedom.
I’m not for homosexuality, but I am for freedom. Or, I should say, I’m for as much freedom as possible in our country. If two people want to live together and join their resources, I am not going to stand in their way to live their lives as they please. I think the Christian community needs to be very careful about legislating a morality that even Christ himself made voluntary. If we call for legislation that commands the consciences of others, we may be turning a gun on ourselves.
That said, what happened in the Supreme Court last week was not about affirming our constitutional freedoms, it was about the redefinition of marriage. That’s both troubling and dangerous.
It’s troubling because I’m being asked to redefine my morality based on the decisions of a few unelected judges in Washington. Marriage pre-dated these judges. It pre-dated our nation and all other temporal human institutions and governments. It was inaugurated by God in creation. It is a pre-political concept. It’s arrogant and reckless for a government to start redefining terms, and then demand that it’s people accept this alternate reality.
Marriage is between a man and a woman. Jesus affirmed this in Matthew 19:5 when he said, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?”
So this is troubling. Liberals redefining morality and reality is troubling. Liberals commanding my conscience is troubling. The possibility of our government commanding our consciences is troubling.
And it’s dangerous. It’s dangerous because of where this could lead us. Besides the bizarre places outside of sanity and common sense that redefining terms could lead us, redefining marriage has put us on a slippery slope to who-knows-where? Kevin DeYoung says, “The issue is legitimate: if 3 or 13 or 30 people really love each other, why shouldn’t they have a right to be married? And for that matter, why not a brother and a sister, or two sisters, or a mother and son, or father and son, or any other combination of two or more persons who love each other. Once we’ve accepted the logic that for love to be validated it must be expressed sexually and that those engaged in consensual sexual activity cannot be denied the ‘right’ of marriage, we have opened a Pandora’s box of marital permutations that cannot be shut.”
3. Reasons for our position.
The first reason, a true Christian must concede, that we hold our position that homosexuality is morally wrong is that God says no. Period.
He is God. I’m not. Truth doesn’t begin with me. I don’t have to like it or even understand it for it to be true.
God says no.
If we disagree, He’s right. I’m wrong. He doesn’t arrange His life around me. I arrange my life around him. It’s called “Creator rights.”
That being said, the Christian belief that homosexuality is sinful and dangerous is not unloving, unreasonable, or unfounded.
It is my love for God and people that drives me to hold this position. Homosexuality hurts people. It destroys human health. It destroys the fabric of the American family, and what makes a child healthy. Though I know that gay parents love their children deeply and can provide a loving environment, research has overwhelmingly shown that two dads or two moms is not the same as a father and a mother. Recently, adult children of gay parents spoke out in federal court about the deprivation they experienced in same-sex homes, even when their homes were marked by loving gay parents: http://cnsnews.com/news/article/lauretta-brown/adults-raised-gay-couples-speak-out-against-gay-marriage-federal-court
As far as health concerns go, the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that anal intercourse increases the risk of cancer 4000 percent. Kevin DeYoung gets into this further in the link I posted below to his article “Five Questions For Christians Who Believe the Bible Supports Gay Marriage.” One compelling point he makes is that “if you feel strongly about the dangers of tobacco or fuss over the negative affects of carbs, cholesterol, gmo’s, sugar, gluten, trans fats, and hydrogenated soybean oil may have on your health, how can you not speak out about the serious risks associated with male-male intercourse.”
4. Beware the “ex-gay” message.
I think much damage has been done by fundamentalist or hyper-charismatic wings of Christendom that paint same-sex attraction as something a true Christian always gets over, or worse, that they simply need to have a demon cast out of them, suggesting they’ll suddenly be “healed” or purged of same-sex attraction. I think many in the Church have promised something the gospel doesn’t promise—the absence of temptation. God promises freedom from the mastery of temptation (Romans 6:14), not the total absence of it. Though some have testified of the total freedom from same-sex attraction, I don’t believe that is the norm. Most of the time, just as I’ve had to grow as a heterosexual in submitting my lusts and sexuality to the Lordship of Jesus by abstaining from fornication and adultery, so a person with same-sex attraction will likely have to do with their homosexual desires.
And just as I have to abstain from the desire to have sex with multiple women I might find beautiful because the presence of the desire doesn’t mean it’s good or that I should act on it, so a person with same-sex attraction who wants to follow Christ ought to abstain from their desires, and part with the assumption that the presence of the desire means it’s good or that they ought to act on it. (I’m speaking to Christians here, not non-Christians. I wouldn’t expect someone who doesn’t claim to follow Christ understand or submit to the same commandments I do as a follower of Jesus.)
5. Can a Christian affirm gay marriage?
Finally, to Christians who affirm homosexuality or gay marriage, I’ll only point you to the Kevin DeYoung link below “Five Questions For Christians Who Believe the Bible Supports Gay Marriage” and remind you of this Scripture: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter” (Isaiah 5:20). When the Bible says “evil” it simply means that God has identified it as sinful. The Bible is saying it’s a crime against God to call something good that he defined as not good. You are essentially trying to take God’s place.
In the end, I want to make the disclaimer that in writing about homosexuality and the current issues surrounding the Supreme Court decision, I don’t want to paint myself as holier-than-thou with anyone. My sins might be different than homosexuality, but they are not better sins and my resume’ won’t give me any points with God. I depend solely on the grace of God given through the cross of the bleeding Prince of Heaven, Jesus Christ. He’s my only hope of salvation. I’ve committed sins outside God’s law and religious sins inside God’s law. My aim in this post is to perhaps help some with questions and point again to the joy in following Jesus and His commandments.
“Five Questions For Christians Who Believe the Bible Supports Gay Marriage” by Kevin DeYoung: http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2014/06/17/five-questions-for-christians-who-support-gay-marriage/
“Should Same-Sex Marriage Be Legal?” by Kevin DeYoung: https://www.crossway.org/blog/2015/04/ask-kevin-should-same-sex-marriage-be-legal/
Matt Chandler “Homosexuality, Part 1”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0c8rGtTZCnM
Matt Chandler “Homosexuality, Part 2”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OjOneiZgQtU
Matt Chandler “Homosexuality, Q & A” (does a nice job answering common questions and objections): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ELjpqBgw3RA
“Here We Stand, An Evangelical Declaration on Marriage” by The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission: http://erlc.com/erlc/herewestand