I Still Stand as an Evangelical for Gay Marriage

I say to my fellow evangelical Christians who voted in North Carolina yesterday to ban gay marriage in a constitutional amendment, I get it. I know why you felt you had to vote the way you did. You aren’t out to oppress anyone, hate anyone, or even judge anyone. You honestly think you are loving them by making them unable to marry. You might not even like the conclusion you have come to, but your view of the Bible, the United States, and Christian ethics demanded it.

But I also recognize I probably don’t share your view of the Bible, the United States, or Christian ethics. So in addition to grace and compassion toward those with whom I disagree, how should I respond?*

Yesterday, hundreds of thousands of evangelical Christians used their vote as an opportunity to “stand up for their faith” against gay marriage. But my faith requires that I stand up for equality and with people who do not enjoy the same rights that I do.

We will probably not ever agree. And that’s okay. They are still my family. But here are a few reasons why I still believe evangelicals should support gay marriage:

Number One: Supporting Gay Marriage is not Supporting Sin. I know it is hard to grasp, but this matter has nothing to do with whether or not homosexuality is a sin. If it does, then you are probably being inconsistent since there are lots of things that Christians consider “sinful” that they do not legislate against. For instance, if God wants us as a nation to live by his laws, why are we okay supporting the freedom of religion? Shouldn’t we be out trying to ban other religions? If we are okay with freedom of religion,which is a law that basically mandates that our country allow for idolatry (according to the Christian), aren’t we being hypocritical?

Now, if this were about gay folks in church leadership or even church membership, we would have to address whether or not gay sex is a sin (which is another issue entirely on its own). But Paul seems to make it very clear that Christians have absolutely no place to judge the behavior of non-Christians:

9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral . . . . In that case you would have to leave this world. 11 But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sisterbut is sexually immoral . . . 12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13 God will judge those outside. . . .” -1 Corinthians 5:9-13a

Instead of focusing on “judging those inside” and creating a “city on a hill,” evangelicals are very good at making sure people who are not Christians know that they are “breaking the rules” of Christianity. And as such, we have gained the reputation for being judgmental, a moniker well-deserved for the most part. It is God’s place to judge the world, it is our place to love it. And just like the story we find in Adam & Eve, when we put ourselves in God’s place, we make a mess of things.

Number Two: To Love is to Empty Ourselves of Power. We cannot legislate people into the Kingdom of God, we cannot politically strong-arm people into becoming Christians. To think we can is to win the battle and utterly lose the war. It is also to misunderstand the emptying of God in Jesus Christ, the most powerful one who shows his power in powerlessness, the one who was God in his very nature but didn’t take advantage of that power but instead emptied himself and became a servant (Phil 2), even to his betrayer, even to the point of dying as a traitor to his state. Does love mean legislating a person’s morality according to a worldview they do not share? That does not sound like love, that sounds like a paternalistic power trip.

I would rather show people the love of Jesus by supporting them in their fight for equality, to stand with them, even if they are gay, hell, even if they are my enemies. My main goal as an evangelical Christian is to reflect the resurrected Christ and his Kingdom, not put it into law. It is to invite people in, not force them in against their will.

And while many Christians believe the “Christian” thing to do is to keep Christianity in power, I believe the “Christian” thing to do is empty ourselves of power, to give up our legislating and to take up our cross. I believe Jesus is on the side of those without power and his kingdom is one of equality, where no one is a second-class citizen, whether that be conservative Christian, drug addict, GLBT, atheist, or politician. We all bear God’s image in this story.

Number Three: History Should Compel Us. I am not sure Christians realize that they were, for the most part, on the wrong side of the slave issue. The Bible was used regularly during the Civil War to support slavery as morally acceptable. Not only that, but by taking care of the “less than human blacks,” the white slave owners were being quite compassionate, taking care of a race that couldn’t survive in the civilized world on their own. It was so “obvious” that the Bible supported slavery. . .

And, lest we forget, it was a Christian culture that kept women from being able to vote until only 100 years ago. I am ashamed that a “Christian” culture didn’t support or even acknowledge the equality of women until . . . well, in some Christian circles, they still don’t. By the way, in many circles, the same oppressive structure presents itself with women as with gays. We love you emotionally and even personally, but not enough to actually give up my privileged position as the man/straight in power.

The way I see the text of the prophets, the life of Jesus, and the trajectory of the New Testament, I would much rather be held accountable to God for fighting for someone to have the same rights I enjoy (sorry God, I assumed I should fight for the rights of those who didn’t have them) than to be held accountable to God for excluding rights from people for the sake of religious rules (sorry God, I thought I was supposed to tell the world how sinful they are and that my government should privilege Christian culture at the expense of other people).

I might be wrong. If studies show that children of gay parents are somehow disadvantaged or if our society does in fact begin to fall apart because gay people can marry, then perhaps I will change my mind. But for now that’s a risk I am willing to take for the sake of people knowing that there are Christians who stand with them in their struggle to be seen as equals in the eyes of their government.

If the Church wants to keep marriage between a man and a woman because of their religious convictions, so be it. Remember, this isn’t about the “sinfulness of homosexuality.” I understand that stance within the Church. But I will not support using the government’s power to coerce powerless non-Christians into behaving like Christians. That, to me, seems thoroughly un-Christian. It is the Spirit of God who transforms the heart, not the laws of the powerful.

*This is an updated, expanded, and edited version of a post I wrote back in February when a similar event occurred.

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72 responses to “I Still Stand as an Evangelical for Gay Marriage

  1. Great post, J. Thanks for this. The early version of this post really helped me (and cooled my political activist jets…)

    Thoughts:
    “But Paul seems to make it very clear that Christians have absolutely no place to judge the behavior of non-Christians”
    -> do we need to recognize the context and culture and audience of the times (I’ve been told that ; ), and not discount that the idea and possibility of a democracy was far beyond Paul’s imagination? That seems (for me) to be the challenge in all this. It’s not what the BIble teaches about sin, morality, etc, but what it doesn’t teach: a Christian’s role in the national democratic process.

    “…evangelicals are very good at making sure people who are not Christians know that they are “breaking the rules” of Christianity. And as such, we have gained the reputation for being judgmental”
    -> very well said (I’m feeling a little Blue Like Jazzy?)

    -> You’re #2 is fresh insight to me that sounds sooo right.

    -> the bridge that connects race and gender with where one chooses to put their junk (regardless of how genetically compelled one feels) is one I’m not ready to cross

    -> My “defining the law of marriage is like defining gravity” comment seems logical to me … if we hold that there is a Creator of universal laws (physical, moral, etc). The 7 year old on the roof dressed as Superman can imagine for himself how gravity works (define) or just deny it all together… and for 2 seconds he may think he’s right. Gravity is not something defined, legislated or approved / dissapproved of. It just is. I arrived at this conclusion as a result of thinking through this potential situation a Christian pastor would face: a gay couple gets married, gets converted, falls under conviction for being in sexual sin/gay marriage, and goes to the pastor saying: We believe God doesn’t approve of gay marraige, but He also doesn’t approve of divorce. Whatdah we do? My answer: though you entered into something you thought/your state thought was ‘marriage’, it wasn’t in God’s sight. There’s nothing to divorce. (you jumped off a roof thinking you were defining/denying somthing that doens’t bend to your ideas/perspectives/desires/preferences).

    -> The bigger question: is blogging (even worse, responding to blogging) a purley narcissistic practice? “Hey world, get a load of my brain!” 19 times while typing this I’ve felt like a dope.

    • Thanks for weighing in Stu!

      –> I agree that a democracy makes the conversation much more murky. But I am not sure the “context” argument works, considering the fact that the Greek democracy and the Roman republic would have certainly been within the realm of Paul’s education, growing up in a Hellenized Roman colony. But I could be wrong.

      –>I understand why you would distinguish between sexual orientation and race/gender.

      –>The only problem I have with the “gravity” analogy is that science and morality simply do not operate under the same rules. They aren’t the same type of “law” and we did/do not come to them in the same way. In fact, I think to call them both “laws” is an equivocation. But my brain is too tired right now to write it all out. Let’s talk about it on the next phone chat.

      Thanks for your perspective my friend, I always value it.

      • here is your friendly neighbourhood (blogohood?) classicist.

        neither the Athenian democracy nor the Roman Republic were political realities that Paul had ever experienced. Rome had not been a republic at least since 14 BCE (maybe as early as Pompey in the 50s), and Athens was the only Greek city to function as a democracy and it hadn’t had one since 404 BCE when it lost the Peloponnesian war.

        also, neither of these were “democracies” as we would recognize them. voting was limited to wealthy, free, adult men, and they generally voted according to whatever other wealthy, free, adult man had the best rhetorical skills. ok, so not too much different than today 😉 but there was certainly no sense of “representation” nor of any kind of check and balances, and no general suffrage at all.

        also, recently the Hellenistic aspect of Paul’s education has been brought into question… even his letter to majority-Gentile churches don’t read like Gentile letter. they read like Pharisaic Jewish letters. Paul scatters his letter with quotations from the Hebrew Bible and the Jewish writings around it, not from the pagan poets, rhetors, or political writers. From what we have preserved for us, we don’t even have any indication that Paul knew Homer, much less Thucydides, Pericles, or Cicero.

        so democracy is probably a much bigger difference in context than it seems. what is the role of the Christian in a democracy? i don’t know. but i do agree that it seems useless in multiple sense to attempt to legislate people into christianity. it’s been tried before (*cough*Constantine*cough*) and it doesn’t work.

      • Thanks Leah! I was hoping you would chime in here. Thanks for clearing that up. So, Stu, there’s your answer.

  2. Seriously, can we be friends? I’ve read a few of your posts and really appreciate the prophetic voice you have in correcting (and loving!) the Church. Spot on, thanks for encouraging me.

  3. Jared-
    Thanks for your comments and thoughts. I have been reading and entering into dialogue with folks around this issue to help form my opinion. I am grateful to hear from all sides.
    It seems to me the church abdicating its responsibilities (or was it taken?) around marriage and the covenant is what we are dealing with in part. A religious covenant has become a civil issue. The waters are completely muddied around this. Are we talking in a civil capacity for one human to deserve the rights as another human? Or are we talking about people partaking in the blessings of God under his promises?
    Maybe I am wrong in dividing the issue but I am having a hard time getting past the obvious difficult issues of care, love, justice, among others to where I can actually hear what is being said.
    thoughts?
    Thanks.

    • I think you’re right. I am using words like “marriage” because that is the language used in the discussion. I haven’t given it as much thought but I like many voices who say that the state should only issue “civil unions” to allow for the concomitant benefits and then returning the rite of marriage to the Church. Is that the sort of thing you are thinking?

      • I think so. I just know it would clear up much of the debate. The issue of homosexuality and sin is another topic.
        If the two are linked, where and how? This is always been a problem for the church, how to engage culture…what to accept, reject or engage.
        In North America we (both Christians and non-Christians) are obsessed with ‘rights’ when I do not think that is always the real issue.

      • After more reflection…
        Think what you may about the Constantinian Conversion but it effectively gave civic powers to spiritual ministers. For the previous 300 years the church understood itself as the keepers of covenantal life and sacramental practice, not primarily officers of the state.
        You can trace this blurring of lines through the middle ages all the way until today.
        I believe what we are seeing is an unraveling of that knot.
        For some it will be a blessing, others a curse.
        Being a Christian minister in a democracy means to act upon my conscience and to the best of my abilities to act upon what I understand the Scriptures to mean, the Spirit to say followed by reason and tradition. (I am Anglican 😉 ) If that means abdicating social authority so be it. I do not believe it means turning a blind eye to the needs of those around me. How that plays out is the unfolding story of God.

  4. I do enjoy this article, as it is exactly the kind of discussion that we as Christians should be having concerning this… issue. We as Christians still must condemn the sin of homosexuality, though the motto of “Hate the sin, not the sinner,” seems to be lost among many of us today.

    We should never have allowed the government to recognize marriage and issue benefits, subsidies, ect regarding it in the first place. When the government gives benefits, tax breaks, ect to people for various reasons, it encourages whatever action or behavior they are engaging in. Arguably, while a Biblical context for marriage should be encouraged in culture and society, it is not the government’s place to do this with our tax dollars.

    If the hobo down the street wants to marry a gay couple, fine. If the church down the street doesnt, fine. Many in the gay community however aren’t okay with that last alternative. Apparently, not only do you have to tolerate their lifestyle, but accept it, and if you don’t you might get sued for discrimination.

    Two things to remember

    1. Everyone is religious in that they adhere to a particular set of beliefs and worldview. Law by its very nature imposes someone’s morality on the general public. Every single law has a moral base at its core. Whose morality will be enforced on the general public?
    2. The Bible contains both Grace and Truth. We must adhere to both of them. Jesus says in Mark to use righteous judgement. While we must show the Love of Christ to all around us, we must also adhere to what Romans says regarding the sin of homosexuality. Jesus called those who sinned to repentance, and told them to sin no more, an example we should be following. Does this mean we should go out holding signs that says, “God hates fags!”? Not by any means. What it does imply, at least to me, is that we should actively be engaging the gay community in conversation and discussion regarding our lifestyles and particular worldviews.

    Occasionally I will talk with gay people, and when their particular lifestyle choice comes up, and they ask me my opinions regarding it, I tell them what the Bible says about it. I don’t however hold signs, shout in their face, ect regarding their lifestyle. Wisdom is a virtue, and we as Christians should try to demonstrate it occasionally.

    Again, excellent read.

    • Thanks for your comments. They are well thought and I agree, things to remember. I especially like your reminder that we all participate in ideology, there is no neutral stance.

    • Dear armenia4ever,

      I am sorry but you are being bigoted.

      You said “Arguably, while a Biblical context for marriage should be encouraged in culture and society, it is not the government’s place to do this with our tax dollars.”

      A biblical context for marriage? Seriously? Have you read your bible? Women being treated as property – young girls being married off as young as 8 years old – the encouragement of polygamy.

      Being gay is not a lifestyle choice. When will people seriously educate themselves……. There are many different lifestyle choices – being gay or straight is not one of them.

      armenia4ever – I encourage you to please re-read the scriptures pertaining to homosexuality in your bible – and do some further research.

      By the way – great article Jbyas
      mattbeks

      • I’m not sure how disagreement regarding this subject amounts to bigotry. Please define what you see as bigotry, as I am guessing that we may have a fundamental disagreement over the concept invoked by the word. I’ve also read my Bible quite thoroughly. Please point out what parts I am missing, need to re-read,e ct.

        I also do maintain that anyway you live, including sexual preference, desires, partners, ect is a lifestyle choice. If you walk down the street, it is a lifestyle choice. We must agree to disagree on that point.

  5. I love what Stuart says! Couldn’t agree more. Jesus loved people, but didn’t fight for their equality to live in their sin. Wake up people! If we are no different than the world, how will we stand apart from it? When Jesus met the woman at the well, He loved her, was frank with her and then told her to GO AND SIN NO MORE! How is allowing homosexuals to marry helping them or our country in any way? Haven’t we learned anything from legalizing abortion? It has in no way shape or form helped the unbeliever to come to a faith in our Lord Jesus Christ and has in fact, caused much judgement from God upon our nation. Can we legislate people not to sin? Absolutely not, but as followers of Christ, we do not call sin ok or go along with it. I loved Stuart’s explanation of redefining God’s laws. Seriously, how arrogant are you to think you can just redefine something that God has created? And why do people, even well- meaning Christians, compare the slave issue or the color of someone’s skin on the same pare as sin in someone’s life? Seriously! Can we not compare apples to apples? The color of someone’s skin or the fact that black people were not treated as equals in the world as the same as people’s sin issues, is not even close to the same thing. And it was a Believer, Abe Lincoln as well as William Wilberforce, who fought to see black people as equals in our nations.

    • I am having a hard time finding the connection between Christians saying “We believe gay sex is wrong” and Christians voting to make gay marriage illegal in a country founded on the separation of church and state. Could you make that clearer? As I have said before, this is a complex issue about what it means to be a Christian in a democracy, where your values and beliefs influence your votes but where you are voting on behalf of a country that has various a/religions represented. It also seems like a double standard and a power play to privilege Christian morality. I am not sure you would like it very much if Sharia law was enacted and you were forced to live it out.

      I suspect however that your view is based on a theological history that would posit America as a “Christian nation.” In that case, we just have to agree to disagree.

  6. “As per usual Jared takes the high road with Scripture in one hand and his heart in the other.” That would be my critics review haha. Seriously, thanks Jared for sharing your wisdom. You bring intelligence and fidelity to Scripture, which is refreshing in this conversation. Keep up the good work.

  7. LuLuBelle, the comparison between slavery and homosexuality can be made because they are both an issue of JUSTICE. In the former case, human beings were denied civil rights in a society because they looked different. In the latter case, human beings [are] denied civil rights in a society because of their personal habits. Both cases involve an oppressive power structure denying liberty to human beings. Denial of liberty? Apple. An issue of justice? Apple. See? Apples to Apples.

    Next, when Jesus told people to “sin no more,” he was speaking to people who lived WITHIN the same system of religion. Even the Samaritan woman at the well would have been concerned about the Law and sin. But the point that Jared makes (and Paul in 1 Cor. 5) is that it is NOT the job of Christians to do around telling non-Christians that they’re living in sin. Our job, is to love them, serve them and reflect Christ.

    • I understand that we can not legislate morality, and we don’t judge them by a standard other than those of a Believer. However, how is living as Christ NOT to tell others of the sin they are living in?? I’m do thankful that a loving, Christ-like Believer pointed out my sinful nature and that I was in desperate need of a savior. How else would I have known? As for laws, if we don’t have a standard by which to legislate laws, then what is to stop us from completely making every behavior legal? What would J’s answer to that be? And yes, I have agreed to disagree with you from the start. But I fear for those, especially who claim to be followers of Jesus, to make up your own rules to suit your preference or whim rather than listen to the Scripture and the Holy Spirit as to who the God of the universe truly is. It grieves His heart to see people separated from Him in their sin and those who claim to know Him will be held accountable to not speak His truth and actually lead others astray ” in His name, ” in love. Lovingly leading them straight to hell. Now where is the love in that, I ask you?

      • I am saddened by your “claim to” disclaimer. I am a passionate follower of Jesus and his ways, though I admit that I am constantly learning more and more what that looks like and what it requires of me. I truly wish that we could get past the “doubting you are a genuine Christian” name-calling and have a sincere and open dialogue about what it means to be a follower of Christ, to be a good missionary, in our culture.

        I understand your position and I respect it and I have no doubts that you are a follower of Jesus, trying your best to understand it as well. But I am still curious my interpretation of the Bible is “making up my own rules to suit my preference” but yours is “listening to the Scripture and the Holy Spirit.” Why is that the case exactly? Because I disagree with you? That sounds circular.

      • @LuLuBelle, I guess we’ll just have to disagree. It’s not worth getting to upset at one another. We are BOTH part of the Body of Christ – the Church – and we are BOTH probably wrong on many things. What matters is that we’re both trying to follower our Lord and Savior Jesus. We can agree on that, eh? 🙂

        As a thought and not an argument, I just wonder how appreciative LGBTQQ persons are when Christians point our their sin. I understand that maybe you’ve experienced a Christian helping you to see your sin and need for Christ, but I feel as though you could only apply your experience to that of gays if you were also gay and had experienced Christians pointing out your sin as a gay person. Otherwise, I fear that we too often speak boldly of things we do not really understand. My gay friends have explained to me that I really cannot understand their experience of reality, and I believe them.

        Anyway, peace be with you today.

    • Just to play devil’s advocate here – what about when John the Baptist told King Herod that he was sinning by sleeping with his brother’s wife? King Herod certainly wasn’t a Christian.

      • I appreciate trying to come up with good counter-examples, that’s helpful! But the only problem I see with that analogy is that technically neither was John the Baptist a Christian but a good Jew. So I am not sure if that account really serves in a normative way for the Church. What do you think?

  8. Perspective seems to be an important factor here. Where you are determines what you see.

    It seems to me that someone with a Christendom approach to this issue would find cause to suggest that the church ought to speak into the legislative process. This means that the question that bobfabey raises about the church’s responsibilty to protect the definition and state of marriage is important. The state has already taken and modified the definition of family away from one that resonates with what we find in the Bible. So the question becomes, is it the church’s responsibility to speak into the legislative sphere, thereby presuming that church and state are partners?

    What about someone who views the issue from more of a late-modernity stance? Church and state have detached to some degree, but the church still has a prophetic voice in the legislative sphere. Think Nathan and David. The prophet gives instruction and guidance to the king. While it is still ultimately the kings decision and the kings authority, the prophet speaks as the voice of God in the hopes of influencing the kings decision toward one that God would look upon as suitable and good. The person looking at this issue from this perspective would certainly feel that the church ought to stand at a distance and speak into the legislative process.

    And what about the perspective of the full blown post-modern, post-Christendom who sees the Christian life as that of Jeremiah 29’s letter to the exiles? Instead of overthrowing Babylon, the exile is to seek the welfare of the city and its inhabitants, to build, to plant, and to foster family. Certainly it seems that our blogger falls in this category, for he advocates for the giving up of power to instead reflect the resurrection in his life and choices.

    And so it seems to me that perspective is important here, especially as we engage respectfully in this dialogue of responses, and even more so as we engage with the world around us on this issue.

    My big concern is not about the ‘sin’ piece at all, but about the implications for opening this door. Armenia4ever has articulated one such implication, that tolerance won’t be accepted and that the church will be legislated to marry whoever state deems as such. Right now that’s not the case (in Canada or the US), but by opening this door we seem to be heading in that direction. Once something is deemed ‘okay’ by the state, it’s incredibly difficult for anyone to stand against that. One such example of this is the clinical terminology surrounding homosexuality. In the 1970’s it was a treatable condition as per the DSM-IV. Once that was challenged and homosexuality was removed of its negative “condition” terminology, it was no longer something that a therapist could “treat”. No longer being a condition, it swiftly become a completely acceptable lifestyle.

    My worry is that by opening yet another door under the banner of tolerance, we will soon find that any semblance of Biblical marriage and family will be lost, swept away for good.

    Good read. Good article.
    Thanks for writing it.
    It was a good challenge and a worthy concern to be sure.
    Cheers.

    • If by “treatable” you mean shock therapy and partial lobotomies than you are correct, homosexuality was “treatable”. Effective? No. Your “worry” that same sex marriage will somehow make “Biblical marriage and family […] lost […] for good,” sounds suspiciously like plain old fear of the unknown. Interestingly, this argument was used in Loving v Virginia back in 1967 (yikes, not so long ago, eh?) when interracial marriage was still punishable by law. I do understand your fears as I am a recovering Evangelical so understand the mindset. I hope that you continue to think about this issue and have healthy dialogue with people you do not agree with.

    • The core dynamic driving the change/deletion of sexual orientation variance as a coherent/dysfunctional classification in DSM is too easily confused and supplanted by the partial public media presentations of the vehicle or means of change. The core change dynamic was basically empirical hypothesis testing.

      In particular two important research shifts had been taking place for a while by the time the change was published in 1972 DSM (III I think, not IV) with the removal of ‘homosexuality’ as a viable mental disorder in itself. Firstly, study samples began to be used which were not already pre-selected by being in prisons and hospitals (and therefore biased by that restricted sample method) towards any number of negative life adjustment patterns. Secondly, data from well adjusted, even thriving or outstanding, same sex oriented people began to be available, many or most of the existing legacy negatives began to be disconfirmed such that hypothesis testing began to focus on why human services professionals who were being exposed to corrective positive data were not very quick to understand and apply it accurately. This amounted to a whole research direction as studies began to explore and hypothesis test why human service professionals (who typically perceived themselves as scientists or applied scientists) were so resistant to corrected data, i.e., existing prejudice and even bias in action in work and clinical services. Once these two streams of empirical study were flowing well, it was only a matter of time before push would have to come to shove for changing the DSM.

      The selection sampling bias effect was first to start changing. Once we restrict our subjects to people we must involve from incarcerated and/or hospitalized people, we will easily find that criminal histories and mental disorder histories are evident among the same sex behaving subjects we study.

      Worse, so far as hypothesis testing methods go, we continue to fail to distinguish between same sex behavioral contacts as such and the distinctly contemporary era concept of sexual orientation.

      It is now obvious, empirically speaking, to nearly everyone in the human sciences that the number of people who engage, have engaged, or might at some future point engage in overt same sex acts is not reasonably synonymous with the number of people who are accurately fives or sixes on the Kinsey Scale adjusted for sexual orientation (predominantly or exclusively gay/lesbian as a stable, persistent feature of spontaneous inner life and personality).

      In everyday terms, we have to consider that many people know they are predominantly or exclusively gay or lesbian who have various discordant patterns of overt sex lives. Some folks who already know they are predominantly or exclusively gay or lesbian have not been sexually active with any other person. Some have only been sexually active with the opposite gender, or have mostly only been active with opposite gender partners. Some will be sexually active with same and opposite gender partners, though they already know they predominantly are most attracted (and therefore capable of pairbonding complexly) with the same gender.

      In passing let me note for the record that the propensity for religious people to prefer talking about sexual acts rather than orientation does not help call these empirical distinctions into the religious discernment that wants to occur. Nor does the somewhat newer habit of religiously talking about orientation as if it were mainly reducible to and/or patly synonymous with a same sex partner contact patterns that are devoid of enacting other human qualities or needs (like caring, self-giving, truth telling, fairness mores or guidelines, and so forth) and that are shaped by all sorts of additional, personal but typical ‘dating’ or ‘couples’ complex phenomena is …. well … also not helpful in calling the real human deal going on, into what is supposed to be ethical or religious discernment.

      Slowly starting after WW II, hypothesis testing recruited subjects who were being sampled from non-incarcerated and/or non-persistently-mentally-ill groups. Data from non-mentally ill and non-criminal gay/lesbian people rapidly began to result in one negative legacy attribution after another, after another, after another, being unable to be sustained by any best practice statistical analysis of the new data.

      Human science people were greatly surprised.

      We had all received these negatives in our basic and advanced training, usually in a tone that clearly told us how the ‘awfulness’ of being same sex orientated could be ‘taken for granted as givens.’ All the practicing professional generations before us just new for certain that something had to be wrong with people who were not heterosexual. Some research people and some clinical people were surprised, yet also excited. How could our human sciences have skewed so blatantly in negative directions that careful method, data, and analysis failed to confirm? And. Once the new data was published, how could so many clinical practitioners be so slow to see the error of these legacy clinical ways?

      Another stream of research started to flow, in which published studies explored what was or was not happening among the human sciences clinicians, since so many practitioners clung so fervently to legacy diagnostic categories which were ideologically based and energized, not empirical. This whole stream of research amounts to a kind of parallel track of studies, similar to what we had already started to find out by studying the social psychology of dominant forms of prejudice and discrimination, operating along other lines of human difference.

      The catalyst for change came as the new gay liberation movement emerged. The Civil Rights movement had put down significant roots, into both the sciences and the USA faith communities. The changes in racial, ethnic, and cultural equality beliefs and practices marked one (if not two to three) generations in vivid sequence, starting w the startling Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Arkansas Board of Education. By the mid to late 1960s, into the early 1970s, a first waves of tentative young gay activists at first were boldly appearing, only inside their own respective gay man and lesbian woman communities. In most instances these realms were still pretty much ‘undergrounds’ of one sort or another, usually extant only in large cities and metro areas. The first impacts were that new ways of thinking and talking arose, partly fueled by an educated lay GL audience readership that took in the gathering empirical change data. Imagine the raw thrills of learning that solid research studies were failing to confirm that you were innately criminal and/or innately mentally ill, just because you were a five or six on the Kinsey Adjusted Scale. It was mind-blowing …. or so I am told by my collegial and mentoring informants from that generation.

      As the early gay liberation activities moved into wider social places connected with existing majority common life, agitation, confrontation, and a calling to account was the order of the day ….. more or less congruently modeled on a mix of womens’ suffrage legacies being updated by a reinvigorated USA women’s rights’/feminist movement, plus the fresh legacy of the African American civil rights movement, plus the other colors of ethnic-racial-cultural civil rights movements that also sprang up (God is Red, said Vine Deloria), plus the user friendly peace activism training channeled often and effectively by the Society of Friends in key large USA cities.

      By the APA convention, the gay activist confrontational, calling to account spark lit. The real explosion change currents, however, took place as the published new data about the ‘healthiness’ of gays and lesbians in new study samples was fired up anew by the APA convention confrontations. Without the growing body of published change data and hypothesis testing, the convention activism would have been much less like to burn on afterwards. What really tipped the change in the DSM diagnostic categories was powerful, persuasive leadership from prominent psychiatrist professor, Dr. Robert Spitzer of Columbia University. He chaired the nosology committee of the APA, and thus if any empirically-grounded changes in DSM criteria were going to happen, the changes would have to pass committee review. I think it is accurate to say that Dr. Spitzer was younger but still not too young, to lead the change. He was better trained and more committed to a revision of the legacy DSM by way of more empirically-based diagnostic criteria than had been preceding generations. Without Dr. Spitzer’s leadership, who knows?

      By now the empirically grounded change during the past six or seven decades has been more deeply digested and disseminated. Few if any current human services practitioners are being trained that people who are not heterosexual can generally be taken for granted as damaged or disturbed people who are going to lead ineffective, sad, tragic, and in some instances criminal, daily lives without remedial service and clinical intervention. Put simplistically, but quite accurately according to what we know are the hypothesis tested facts, you can be just as sick or just as medium average or just as healthy or just as exemplary in your daily life as an LGBT person, as any known heterosexual in our dear old USA.

      One may doubt that this unsuspected and as culture change goes, rather swift, sea change will return to its legacy negative directions, unless and until some persuasive best practice empirical research shows us that non-heterosexual orientation (LGBT) is any ‘dirtier’ or more ‘innately damaged’ or more ‘necessarily at risk of danger to self or others’ than is being heterosexual. Empirically considered, then, separate from religious community traditions and norms, nobody is any dirtier because same sex couples might get married, nobody is going to be damaged by same sex couples getting married, and it is reasonable to weigh the risk of this change as bearable given all the other risks we have found bearable in daily life in our era.

      All of which puts religious communities and traditions in a new, hard spot. All the important secondary negatives that faith people used to be able to take for granted are gone, or passing rapidly away. Faith people cannot simply take for granted that everybody ‘knows’ how LGBT people are rather likely to be criminals in other ways, besides being guilty of that former crime of not being heterosexual. Nor can faith people take for granted that being LGBT is a core sort of intrinsic or innate disorder or condition that renders people more likely to sustain other, possibly related detriments in health and mental health. The more LGBT people have been honest with family, friends, neighbors, and others in general about not being heterosexual, the more our daily life, face to face experience bolsters the change notion that our family members or friends are, really, not predisposed to be criminals or sick-os or dangerous.

      When it comes to marriage, family life, and parenting, knowing people face to face really swings discernment currents powerfully in new change directions.

      Anybody who knows several committed same sex couples (‘married’ in states which allow same sex or equal marriage) will easily realize that some are heading for the rocks, some are okay pretty much, some are really okay on the high end of doing fine, and some are outstanding people with charisma and competence in couples life, parenting, and family life outcomes. Just like the several different heterosexual couples people may also know.

      The faith negatives still exist among us, no doubt. These legacy discernments of ‘dirt’ and/or ‘damage’ and/or ‘dangerousness’ have already started to shift a bit, though. Adjustments of tone and substance which are interesting in their own right, I would think, since the force and inertia of even those relative changes might spur us to ask, Is this a slight adjustment to the course of a steady ship? Or, Is this the early course correction that will turn even a very large sea-going vessel in new directions, guided by new stars previously hidden in thick fog banks? Less and less do faith people find themselves willing to go along with preaching and meaning that being LGBT is the worst thing in the world, though indeed that is what being LGBT was, uthinkingly, for our parents and our grandparents. The ethos is more likely now, to be something along the lines of preaching and meaning that being LGBT is on a flat ethical or theological discernment level with any other human sin or failing. Seems viable, seems plausible enough. But remember, the empirical foundations are no longer there for being taken for granted as dirty and damaged and dangerous. Thus, the faith person may actually be on a moving deck of ethical or theological discernment. A small three percent deviation in an early change curve draws out to be a huge course change, later, elsewhere. Will ethics and theology increasingly become closed, air tight negative bubble worlds in order to preserve the negatives of being LGBT per our legacies? Will ethics and theology have to rigorously engage with being LGBT as a part of basically being human, ‘natural’ in the most accurate empirical sense?

  9. Thank you, thank you Jared! I’ve been really struggling to articulate why, as an evangelical Christian, I believe in supporting gay marriage. Your argument was clear, logical and well written. I believe that America is a nation of freedom, and as such, my personal convictions (even though I believe a homosexual lifestyle is sinful) should not prevent anyone else from making their own choices.

    Incidentally, I also appreciate a piece of writing that addresses this issue calmly and thoughtfully. People get so heated!

  10. I don’t know who you are, but you are awesome. So refreshing to find articulate sanity in the body of Christ.

    • Those two issues cannot be linked. Abortion is about terminating the life of someone who has no say about it. Marriage is about two consenting adults choosing to marry, no one gets hurt in the latter.

      • In the context of 1 Corinthians 5:9-13a (not judging those outside the Church) abortion and gay marriage are the same, if gay marriage is Truly sin.

  11. The point you raise around Christians not being responsible for judging the lives of non-Christians is one that I pondered at length.

    We certainly aren’t responsible for judging the moral behaviour of non-Christians. However we should at all times sate what our position is, and we should be able to defend that position. If we agree to same sex marriage on the basis that what non Christians do is none of our business – don’t we become hypocrites and lose any basis of argument against it within the church?

    I say this because we can’t on one hand say that we agree with the principle that same sex couples should be allowed to marry, and on the other hand say that we believe it to be wrong. For me it has to be an either/or question.

    I personally favour the civil union option. It allows same sex couples to gain equal recognition under the law, however doesn’t water down the traditional understanding of marriage.

    • I wish we could agree on what a traditional understanding of marriage is. Not we we inside or outside the church get it when divorce rates are what they are…

  12. Slavery is not the same as homsexual, to be a slave was not a sin, to be homosexual is to be in sin that God clearly states as sin. This is not about equal rights, you can do whatever you want, but sin must be repented of.
    This about those that want to change the oldest foundation of God, God made a man and woman in the gardern to be together as a family and procreate.
    Homosexuals cannot naturally procreate. By this I mean aside from adoption and or invitro, they cannot bear nor produce children.

    So here is a thought since you think this is such a great idea.

    If we were to put all gay men on an island with not medical means of producing a child and not adoption agencies, would not your group die! The same with all the lesbian women, they would all die likewise!

    God made us to reproduce and alone they cannot ! BTW, the island was completely deserted so there was noone else there!

  13. Interesting article but as a Christian, I have a different outcome when surveying the scriptures on homosexuality and sin in general. It is true that we cannot force the world around us to “behave” like Christians, in truth, we can’t force ourselves to behave like Christians. But that is the point of the Gospel, we cannot ever do anything morally good enough to merit God’s love and acceptance other than cling to the cross of Jesus and admit our need for a Savior. In our admitance of Christ as our Lord and Savior, not only am I saying it is unlawful for me to judge someone for their sin but I am also saying obedience to Christ governs my life, not because it saves me but because I want to honor Him as God. Part of honoring Him is to stand up for the way of life that God has created us to live. So that means speaking out against all sin, homosexuality included. The greatest way we have to speak against the sin of homosexuality is to vote against legislature which would redefine marriage in a way that is not God ordained (Gen. 2)
    That also means speaking out against pre-marital sex, pornography, and living together before you are married. For sure, those things will not go before a legislature but they still need to be addressed and confronted.
    The question is: can I be opposed to someone’s lifestyle and still love them by speaking out against it? The Bible is clear that we can, in fact confronting a brother’s sin is one of the best ways to speak love (Eph. 4).
    We are not the judge or jury on the eternal lives to come. But, as the church, we are the direct representation of Christ on Earth. That means that not only shall we love each other as we would ourselves, but we must confront each other out of love and stand up for the heart and laws of our Creator. To simply say, I do not care how we define marriage is to say I do not care how God defined it in the first place. Be careful that is not what we are saying.
    Jesus was loving but he was not tolerant of sin. The sinners he dined with did not continue to live in their sin, he demanded that they didn’t. (John 8) To be tolerant is to be indifferent and indifference is the greatest form of hatred.

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  15. I am still wrestling with my own opinion on the gay marriage issue and whether it should be legal, but there are a few points in your post that I took issue with and wanted to share my thoughts.

    First, your idea that we shouldn’t “legislate a morality” is not logically sound. All laws are based on a moral. Laws say “you should do this” and “you shouldn’t do this.” In other words, saying “You can’t murder” is based on the moral that murder shouldn’t happen. There is not such thing as a law without a moral premise.

    Think of welfare programs – they are based largely on the moral that we “should” help our neighbors and that citizens “should” have food to eat. These are morals.

    Secondly, the idea that Christians who oppose legalizing gay marriage due so simply because they want to convert the citizenry or because they want to impose Christian living on even those who aren’t Christian isn’t logically sound either. It is very possible to vote to make gay marriage illegal because you believe it is bad for society. I know of some studies that show that children with gay parents have more difficulty developing socially and academically, for example. I can’t speak to the truth of those studies, but I am merely pointing out that it’s possible to vote for something that aligns with Christianity for reasons other than a pure attempt to convert.

    I think the same thing about abortion. I think abortion is against God’s will, but I also believe that it should be illegal. I believe it should be illegal because I believe it’s killing a human being, and I think allowing the killing of human being is bad for society.

    Lastly, I wanted to address a point that you reference vaguely throughout your whole post, and that is the idea that Christians shouldn’t be involved in politics, or at least shouldn’t do any politicking based on their Christianity. There are plenty of examples in both the Old and New Testament of God’s people getting involved. Matthew 14 tells us that John the Baptist had stood before King Herod and told him he was sinning by sleeping with his brother’s wife. That’s getting involved in politics right there.

    Thanks for your thoughts. I am going to continue praying on this issue.

    • Thanks for pointing out the issues you find troubling (and doing it in a civil and respectful way!).

      As for your first point, I would argue that in America we shouldn’t be legislating morality based on religion. There are in fact laws without a moral premise but your point is well taken, and I agree. Thanks for making sure I nuance my stance more thoroughly.

      Secondly, if you disagree with gay marriage on non-Christian grounds then you are not against gay marriage because you are a Christian. So once again, I completely agree, there are many reasons people are against gay marriage, not just religious ones.

      Thirdly, I would argue that we must tread very lightly on using political examples from the Old Testament, considering it was an attempted theocracy. I also think the New Testament can’t really be straightforwardly normative simply because we have no instance in the New Testament where (1) the people could vote on legislation and (2) where Christians were ever in the majority or in power.

      Thanks again for helping me think through this as well.

      • Thanks for these thoughts. However, your first response makes me a bit nervous, because if I understand you correctly you are saying we should not use our Christian morality to inform our voting. My point in stating that laws have moral premises is that one morality is going to win on each issue; in each law. As Christians, if we don’t stand up for morality as we believe it to be true, someone else will stand up for their morality; whether they call it their conscience, relativism, ‘societal good,’ etc. I believe Christ would call us to stand up for His truth.

        Also, I completely understand wrestling with the idea that a complex example of how to exist under a democracy isn’t offered to us in the Bible. To this I would say that Jesus said to give to Cesar what is Cesar’s – and in a democracy, “Cesar” (“a democratic government”) requires its people’s involvement. I truly believe we have a duty to be involved in our nation’s politics.

        In terms of your third point, I’ll just reiterate my first point here – if Christians don’t stand up for what is right or vote on legislation, someone else will.

        Again, it’s a truly murky issue, made murkier because people are so hurt by it. We should definitely tread lightly and I’m grateful for your blog where we can wrestle this together.

  16. I am a Christian and I do not agree with this post. I think you have a point that we are not to be the ones who judge those outside our faith, however; does that mean we are supposed to support them in going against a value that Christ himself did not stand for? Christ did not say to the prostitute, continue to be a prostitute…He said, “Go and sin no more”. I do not think it is my place to condemn anyone, especially those outside the faith, but I will not be standing next to them trying to get a morally wrong behavior passed into law. Should I also then stand next to women who get abortions and tell them that if they don’t want it they should just go right ahead and kill their unborn baby? Or tell murderers that I’ll stand next to them in court saying they should have the right to kill whoever they want? Where is the line drawn? I understand what you are saying and I think that parts of it are good, but let’s face it. We live in a sinful world. God is supposed to be our “government” not man, but that’s just not the way it is. You can’t go around pretending these issues don’t face us. I think this is a very complex issue when it comes to faith, but if we stand up for morally wrong behavior, isn’t that the same as doing it ourselves? In fact, I believe the bible says in Matthew 5:28: “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” I realize that is not specifically applying to homosexuality, but the idea is that if you are thinking a sinful act, you have already committed that sinful act. I think you were onto something when you used 1 Corinthians 5:9-13a. Maybe we aren’t meant to judge them, but then doesn’t that go both ways? We aren’t meant to judge them to condemnation, but then we also aren’t meant to judge them to heaven just because we want to show them love. I do not believe, as Christians, we are meant to stand beside them and support them in their fight. I also do not think we should condemn them. We are supposed to take them as they are and simply love them. Not fight their battles that are outside of our faith. In my opinion, that would make you immoral because you are standing for an immoral thing. I have no problem loving people who share different values I do. One of my very best friends is not a Christian and has done many immoral things (based on my value system from my faith) and I have nothing but unconditional love for her. She knows I don’t agree with many things she does, but we accept each other and love each other just the way we are despite holding different values. I don’t stand beside her when she does these immoral things, but I still love her. It is completely possible to love someone the way Christ told us to without giving up my moral ground as well as without condemning them to hell.

  17. This is a good article and perspective, whether or not one is a Christian.

    I will comment that a number of people reacting to this seem to be committing a very common mistake that many Christians make; they are personalizing Jesus as making dictations against homosexuality. As has been stated many times (yet seems to often fall on deaf ears) the Biblical figure of Christ never had any statements on the subject attributed to him. Not one; anywhere.

    To some Christians, this gets swept aside as quibbling with the letter of the law. “Well, sure, the book never says Jesus said anything but every word in the Bible can be taken as the word of Jesus after all…”

    And that is an incredibly dangerous assumption, but sadly, one that much of Christian culture has become founded squarely upon – biblical literalism, assuming without question or examination that every single word of the bible is meant to be the precise proxy word of Christ.

    The problem with biblical literalism is that there is hardly a Christian alive who actually practices what they preach, because deep down, they know it’s unworkable. If one were to follow every single comment in Leviticus to the letter, one would be committing “sin” for countless acts performed every day in the modern world. The biblical literalist is ultimately a hypocrite. Picking and choosing which random ‘dictates’ are the word of god, and which dictates are merely metaphors and aren’t meant to be taken seriously. And the literalist has a bad habit of insisting that the literal commands set down by god, happen to coincide with whatever is socially or politically convenient.

    It’s tragic that so many Christians have been conditioned to thoughtlessly proceed forth with an unthinking and uncritical usage of their holy text; this only leads to undefensible hypocrisies that drive people further away from them, not closer. A great deal of what Christian groups attack in the world today would pass without comment if only the words attributed to Christ were given precedence – and thought, consideration (and common sense) where applied to the rest of the bible to understand the context in which it was assembled. (How many Christians are literally unaware that the Bible is not one document, but many documents, and ones written long after the passing of Christ? Written to sound current, as if narrating events as they unfolded?)

    Sadly, one suspects that these conversations are mirrors of the same ones that happened during the time of slavery, during the oppression of women, and more; the same blind adherence to tradition and fear of change, and attempts to cite the Bible as proof of the danger to society. One by one, every hypocritical practice misguided, even if well meaning, Christians have supported has been abolished.

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  20. “I would rather show people the love of Jesus by supporting them in their fight for equality, to stand with them, even if they are gay, hell, even if they are my enemies. My main goal as an evangelical Christian is to reflect the resurrected Christ and his Kingdom, not put it into law. It is to invite people in, not force them in against their will.

    And while many Christians believe the “Christian” thing to do is to keep Christianity in power, I believe the “Christian” thing to do is empty ourselves of power, to give up our legislating and to take up our cross. I believe Jesus is on the side of those without power and his kingdom is one of equality, where no one is a second-class citizen, whether that be conservative Christian, drug addict, GLBT, atheist, or politician. We all bear God’s image in this story.”

    Me too.

  21. To Mori I say:

    2 Timothy 3:16 – All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.

    Matthew 19:4-6 – And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made[a] them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”

    and lets not forget about Sodom and Gomorrah.

    Jesus made clear that his Father intended it to be one man and one woman and the Bible clearly states how God feels about homosexuality and Jesus is God as well as the Holy Spirit. Three in one. They all have a different purpose, but what one says stands for the other.

    Again, I do not feel it is my place to condemn anyone who chooses a homosexual lifestyle, but I will certainly not be standing with them to support a behavior that is clearly stated as immoral by my Heavenly Father.

  22. Let me ask this question then…not because i’m trying to be smart, but because i actually am really curious to know your answer…if the only way of showing love to homosexuals as a Christian is to stand with them in their fight to make gay marriage legal, how do you show love to those outside the faith that disagree with gay marriage? You can’t agree with both of them, so is it only possible to show love to one group since you’re definition of love is agreeing with people?

  23. I am not Gay, but I have had friends & business associates through out my life who are Gay so I can honestly say I understand this world pretty well.

    Removing all of the emotion, religion & simply sticking to the facts; it is my observation that insinuating that someone is “discriminating” against another who professes to be gay is completely illogical.

    Why? Being gay is not the same thing as being black, white, red, disabled, male or female. Being gay no matter how you slice it, it is still a life choice. Even though you may have been born with body parts that are mismatched and or do not function correctly thereby justifying a personal choice towards adopting a personal gender other than what is on ones birth certificate. This is still an individual choice nothing more.

    Denial of gay marragie is unequivocably a non equil rights issue. The purpose of Marriage is lawful procreation, the union of a man and a woman for the purpose of bringing new life into the world. Absent of procreation, gay marriage is not marriage at all it is a sterile legal Union. Gays can already form a legal Union just as any business can legally do so, sharing equal rights to each others assets and welfare. While not a traditional marriage it carries nearly the same weight.

    What needs to happen to resolve the gay marriage conflict is to set aside the whole concept of marriage as a separate inalienable thing unto itself. Then re-define in plane language the length and breathe of a legal union as a legitimate alternative. Article I, section 10, clause 1 of the Constitution provides that “No State shall … pass any Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts.” A legal union is a contract. Do this and the problem is solved, religions don’t get burned and gays get what they want, end of story.

    But since the world is full of selfish people who think that wants are needs, redefinition of legal union is not likely to happen and this is where the real problems begin;

    A law in favor of Gay marriage will in fact create legal grounds to sue not only religious organizations who refuse to marry non heterosexual individuals on nothing more than hearsay evidence, but anyone else involved in the process. This can lead to arrests and imprisonment for the refusing clergy, based upon discrimination laws which could be brought to bear in such cases. Entire churches could potential be shut down & subjected to heavy fines by the authorities for failing to provide an open door policy for gay marriage regardless of what the particular faiths doctrine dictates .

    In effect such a law would force others to abandon their life choices out of fear of prosecution. Therefore the balance remains unequal, which is what you should expect with life choices and why you can’t pass laws which force others to accept them.

    Laws such as “gay marriage” stand upon no moral principal and therefore can be easily twisted over time.

    This may sound extreem but consider this; what if someone decides that their choice to be a pedophile or a sadist is being discriminated against? Don’t sneer at this, there are a great many tax paying otherwise law abiding closet pedophiles and sadists around, who believe their lifestyle choice is perfectly OK. They believe they are harming no one and that their victims are willing participants. Perhaps it could be scientifically proven that they were just born this way and as such they should be afforded sanctuary under some from of the law.

    A few years back a scientific precedent was established that Rape is nothing more than a product of natural design, a necessary evil built in to the human male so as to ensure the survival of the specie. I am sure in time that this will end up being used as legal grounds to place the blame on the victim who will have to pay reparations to the accused.

    With all of the aforementioned in mind. Should we pass laws that make it a criminal act by refusing to allow a person (who has made such a life style choice) to be an elected official, to attend a church, be a boy or Girl Scout leader, a teacher or work in a day care?

    Ok, perhaps those are pretty extreme examples above, how about this instead. What if the vast nudist population decided that they should have the right to visit any store, or restaurant they so choose, ride public transportation and pick their kids up from school completely naked? Why not? It is their life choice is it not?

    If gays can legally sue Pastors, wedding photographers and wedding cake makers who refuse to work with them (which they are already doing) can not nudists sue the public school system for refusing to let their child attend school naked on the basis that school policy discriminates against nudists?

    But wait that would be unsanitary? Would it? I don’t know, maybe the government should be required to regularly send out paid inspectors and cleaners to make sure the surfaces we all share remain super squeaky clean so that the nudists do not get sick. It is of course their rights that are being violated if the environment is not kept safe for them.

    What about people who habitually spurt out profanities? Should they have the right to sue you because you ask them to leave your establishment? Don’t laugh, people sue over things that are a lot more nonsensical and unfortunately they win a great deal of the time.

    The bottom line is, that the more laws that are passed specifically supporting an individuals personal life choice, the more ammo crooked lawyers have in court to spin favorable decisions supporting potentially evil things.

    This is a very dangerous slope we are sliding down. What’s left of your rights may just depend on what you do right now with your opinions, letters to “congress persons” and of course your vote………………… Oops that’s right, you didn’t get to vote on any of this did you? It was just sort of crammed down your wind pipe.

    Hmmm, perhaps you should sign that petition calling for a vote by the people rather than just sitting back hoping a bunch of people who cut everyone else’s budget except their own can make the best decision for you.

    If you want to do the right thing, push for redefinition of “Legal Union” separate from “Lawful Marriage”.

    Remember! You get the kind of government you disserve.

    • Dear David,

      I don’t know what planet you live on where you can “remove all emotion, religion, and stick to the facts” when presenting your opinion, but it’s not planet earth. On that note, I don’t think you “understand this world pretty well.”

      Also, I think you need to talk to your gay “friends & business associates” – whatever that really means – and hear them tell their stories. You could start by asking them why they CHOOSE to be gay. Oh, and then maybe LISTEN to them. Good luck.

  24. PS. I am Christian I am not against gays they are just people like anyone else, who am I to judge them, only God can do that. I as all Christians, should be more concerned with the plank in my own eye.

    That said, from a lawful standpoint you simply cannot pass laws that force others to adopt any individual groups life choice, as all that will happen is that the same perceived measure of inequality will simply be passed around in a circle. With the exception that innocent people will end up going to jail and everyone will suffer for it.

  25. Can someone explain to me this life-style “homosexuals” are living? It’s just that I want to pass on the information to the gay community. I see so much diversity in the way that GLBTI people CHOOSE to live their lives and express themselves, that I think they have obviously never got the memo from the Gay Headquaters that they only have one life-style to choose from (which, I’m assuming is copious amount of hedonistic sex, drugs, alcohol, re-runs of sex and the city and a penchant for scarves). I’ll have to go tell my celibate gay friends, my monogamous gay friends, my fair-trade concious gay friends that they’re doing it wrong.

    Also, I’d love to hear them tell me about that day they woke up and whimsically chose to have sex with the same gender. Silly me, I was the under impression that most of them had spent years denying their sexuality, hating themselves for experiencing feelings of love towards a member of the same sex and considered suicide because they were convinced that they were an abomination that God hated simply for even having FEELINGS, let alone actually acting on them. Also, I must be naive in thinking it was AFTER all this that they finally learnt to accept themselves.

    I’ll also be sure to scoff when they tell me that it’s more than just “where they CHOOSE to put their junk” and when they try to convince me that they genuinely are in love with people and it’s just like any heterosexual falling in love, wanting to take care of and be close to a member of the opposite sex and how telling them to “not be gay” is akin to telling someone else “don’t be straight- it’s wrong for you to like the opposite gender!”. Silly gays, not knowing that all they want is sex!

    Yes, what I have said is ridiculous. But honestly, the way people talk about people who have a homosexual orientation clearly gives away the fact that they have never had a proper, listening conversation with one and that they are just repeating rhetoric. I don’t care if you decide it’s still wrong, but at least sit through a conversation with “a gay” and let them tell you how much they hated themselves and didn’t choose this. Or read the amount of suicide stories on this subject.

    My post is stupid and I could have written something better, but, I’ve decided to not act with my head today, instead let the my native tongue of sarcasm flow unhindered from my heart.

    Great original post, btw.

    • Well said, both the original post and Thing’s post above. I am gay and a Christian. There is nothing more frustrating than hearing so-called Christians repeat ignorant and bigoted stereotypes about gay people. Being gay is not a lifestyle. It is not a choice. It is not a behavior. Being gay is a sexual orientation. It is just the way God made me. If He wanted me to be straight He would have made me straight. Regardless of what path God leads me down, it doesn’t change the fact that I am gay.

  26. Pingback: We All Misinterpret the Bible | Jared Byas

  27. Pingback: On Christianity and marriage equality (part 4)

  28. This was a very interesting and well-reasoned argument, and I generally agree with it. I will quibble with one of your points, though. While it’s true that slave owners pointed to the Bible to justify their slave-owning, the Christian church was the driving force behind the abolitionist movement. To say that the church was on the wrong side of that argument is to ignore the work of so many Christians who’s faith led them to condemn slavery.

    • Great point David. I think your point actually raises another very relevant one: when Christians disagree about issues how do we determine who is “right”? Can we only tell in retrospect?

  29. Your arguments assume that Evangelical Christians support traditional marriage for one of three reasons. They are (1) morally opposed to the homosexual lifestyle, (2) trying to legislate morality, and/or (3) not compassionate toward their fellow-man. You criticize Evangelicals for “judging” but you miss the fundamental point in the whole argument in favor of protecting traditional marriage.

    Despite media reports to the contrary, people who practice a homosexual lifestyle are *not* deprived of any rights–not the right to life, nor to liberty, nor to the pursuit of happiness. Like you & I, they have the right to vote, right to enlist, right to run for office. To say you will “fight for their equality,” or to compare their plight to that of pre-civil-war slaves in the American South assumes that they are not receiving equal treatment or are somehow enslaved. I don’t get that and challenge you to provide one example. In fact, the comparison to slavery significantly minimizes the horror and terror of slavery, and must be insulting to any descendant of slaves.

    On the other hand, as “gay marriage” has been sanctioned in Massachusetts and New York (against the will of the majority) Christian ministries *have* been affected, to the detriment of society as a whole. As a specific example, rather than be forced to provide children for adoption by homosexual “couples,” a number of faith-based adoption agencies in both states have closed up shop! What a tragedy for orphaned children who need good homes! Similarly, faith-based organizations are rightfully concerned that they will soon lose their right to refuse to “marry” homosexuals, and will even have to employ and provide fringe benefits to homosexual partners–in violation of their Constitutionally protected freedom of religion. These are real threats, evidenced by real lawsuits, the number of which will only increase.

    • “As a specific example, rather than be forced to provide children for adoption by homosexual “couples,” a number of faith-based adoption agencies in both states have closed up shop! What a tragedy for orphaned children who need good homes!”

      God forbid we allow SINNERS to try to do something that would make them happy!

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  31. Interesting post – I have a few thoughts:

    1. You can legislate morality – in fact all law is codification of morality. See Turek and Geisler’s book, Legislating Morality.

    2. It’s one thing to take a liberterian view of things, i.e., limited laws against immorality (e.g., de-illegalization of prostitution, de-illegalization of drugs etc.). It’s another to positively legislate immorality. Homosexuality is obviously immoral (I don’t think I need to prove this up to an “Evangelical”). Thus, it’s one thing to not pass laws against same sex, sexual activity. It’s another to affirm the goodness of such conjugation (via state law marriage).

    3. Marriage is not a trivial matter. Marriage is the bedrock of the family. It was created and instituted by God. It is a wonderful relationship and the safe place for children to be raised. That’s what marriage is. Sure, there are some childless marriages. Sure, there are widows and widowers. And, of course there are divorced people. On the last point, we know that God hates divorce. So that’s not really justified but permitted in only the extreme situations. But for the vast majority, it is marriage and kids.

    Allowing homosexuals to “marry” turns this relationship upside down. Marriage is the great analogy of Christ and His church. Women and men were designed for each other, not same sex conjugation. Homosexual “marriage” is a bold statement to the culture and the country: marriage is not important. We can make a mockery of what God has created.

  32. You are supporting a marriage that goes against the marriage God created. I am not saying this marriage should be imposed on those not following Christ, but as a follower of Christ you should know that God created marriage. He carefully and perfectly designed it to model our relationship with Him. Thus by supporting gay marriage, you are saying that God’s marriage is not perfect and that now people in 2012 have to correct it for Him. Wrong. Also, freedom of religion does not show Christian hypocrisy. Jesus calls us to share the gospel to non-believers. These non-believers have the option, just as we once did before we accepted Christ, to accept Him as their Lord and Savior. Jesus does not call is to impose “Christianity” on people because Christianity is not even a religion.

  33. I am so ridiculously encouraged by the majority of individuals keeping calm, cool and collected as they share their convictions here. This is what true fellowship is all about. I pray blessing on all of you who truly seek to better our communities, our nation, and effectively the world through seeking out the truth of Christ and following it to the best of our abilities.

    The only thought that I would like to add to the mix is the power of the Holy Spirit to convict even without our words of condemnation towards a non-believer. While it is undeniable that we should lead others in the way they should go by using Scripture for reproof and correction, it is undeniably possible that simply by our selfless acts of love and charity that one could be brought to conviction. Sometimes all we can do is plant the seed, it takes the Spirit for it to grow. We cannot save anyone, but God uses us, strategically placed in other’s lives, to reach out and bring them to Him. Let us use our words in conjunction with our deeds to bring light to the darkness.

    (sorry if I come across cheesy or over-spiritualistic, I’m just trying to bring the issue back down to a manageable level)

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