07 June 2008 ~ 17 Comments

Same Sex Marriage – This Christians Response

Also in the Santa Cruz news yesterday, Santa Cruz started taking appointments for same sex marriages starting June 17th. And of course the response was huge.

Gaymarriage

Now I’ve been thinking about weighing in on this whole issue, but withheld.  Here’s an excuse to go ahead now with a nice controversial blog post.

This has been a big issue in California again.  Many have discussed how we as Christians should react.
I received an email from a friend a few weeks back about a petition to sign to fight the decision and get same sex marriages overturned.  I deleted it.  (No offense if you sent me that email.)

Let me explain.  First of all, I have no problem admitting that I personally disagree with the homosexual lifestyle.  I have no problem saying that I believe it is immoral in the eyes of God.

I also feel that we can’t legislate morality.  That’s why I’m not a politician.  Laws don’t really change people.  Jesus does, one heart at a time.  Not into Christian clones, but into individuals becoming more like Him.  I’d rather spend my time sharing Christ with others and watch Him change us (me included) from the inside out than try to force change on people from the outside in.  That never works.  In Churchianity, it’s called legalism.

So do I agree with homosexual marriage?  No. Do I feel like it’s a hill worth dying on?  There was a time that I did.  Not so much anymore.

The big argument from Christians is that we need to “protect marriage.”  I have 2 thoughts to leave you with when it comes to that.

  1. My marriage isn’t about the government definition anyway.  The legal benefits are great.  That’s why we do it.  But my commitment to my wife before God was a totally separate issue.  A faith issue.  That Can’t be changed.  I’m not suggesting that we start marrying homosexual couples in our church.  I just don’t see the California legal side as worth my time and energy to fight.
  2. Above all, I can’t get past this one huge thought.  Our state government allowing same sex marriages is probably far less detrimental to the institution of marriage than the 50% divorce rate inside and outside of the church. (Read that again.)  Ouch.Why are most churches spending their energy outraged that the government is allowing same sex marriages, all the while continuing to marry and divorce each other inside the church at the same rate as the rest of our culture and not spending the time and energy we need to strengthening our own marriages?

Again, I’m not saying I agree with it.  And if it’s on the ballot in November, I may even vote to keep it traditional.  I honestly don’t know.  I just think there are more important battles to fight, and most of them won’t be won in the political arena.

Just my thoughts.
There ya have it.
Your turn.

17 Responses to “Same Sex Marriage – This Christians Response”

  1. James McLean 9 July 2008 at 7:22 pm Permalink

    sin is sin.
    mercy is needed.
    judgment is needed.
    governments/laws are a necessary evil because of a fallen sinful world.
    God’s Kingdom will never be built through political systems or by voting, never.
    Jhn 18:36
    Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”
    God’s kingdom is built through his bride, the church, when they do this:
    Mat 28:19
    “Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”
    just sayin. this is what God has led me to believe. lets focus on what we have been put here for.

  2. bobby 11 June 2008 at 11:30 am Permalink

    Phil and Rick-
    I agree that I’m glad we can live in a place where we can disagree. And I’m glad we can do that civilly here. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. We need to challenge and learn from each other, and y’all make great points. That being said…
    Rick-
    A couple things. First, you made me laugh with the liberal community comment. Thanks! ;)
    It’s interesting that my response to Jenny cleared up so much for you. I feel like this topic evokes such emotion that it causes kinda knee-jerk reactions. I say that because I felt like I didn’t say much different than my post. Or maybe I just wasn’t as clear to begin with as I thought. But, I thought I was pretty clear on where I am at theologically. But I think, with complete respect, that with an issue like this, sometimes we hear certain parts shaded by our past experiences. This may or may not be the case here.
    Yes law is based on a moral code, but I guess I disagree that it is a Judeo-Christian code. I feel like that is a fallacy we have bought into. From what I have read, our nations fathers believed in a higher power, but most of them were Deists, not Christians. The “Thomas Jefferson Bible” is a good example of this.
    As far as God’s best, well, I like it because whether we like it or not, the word sin, culturally, has a lot that has been attached to it that is not accurate anymore, in my opinion, to what we’re trying to say. So when I’m speaking with you, I may use the word sin, but when I speak with those who have not spent years in traditional church culture, I’ll use another phrase. I don’t do this in an attempt to water down, but to contextualize. Granted, most contextualizations are not perfect, but I feel like it’s a step in the right direction in many cases that allows the conversation to move forward.
    If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything. The question is what you choose to stand for. Right now I believe my energy is better spent standing for “God’s best” through sharing Christ and His love, not making laws. On the flip side, I’m not saying that I don’t understand those who believe that politics is important. Just not sure I agree. Church and state thing.
    And if it makes you feel any better, I don’t think it is from living in Santa Cruz. I can show you a paper I wrote for school 3 years ago arguing why I think prayer should not be instituted in public schools. you’d probably disagree with that too. That would be a fun conversation! ;)

  3. Rick 11 June 2008 at 11:09 am Permalink

    Amen. I will agree that the role of the government is always up for debate. That is what this country is about. Thankfully we agree that God is not up for debate. Yeah!
    Bobby – thanks for the open forum as well!

  4. Phil 11 June 2008 at 10:35 am Permalink

    Rick – I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree on this one. It’s certainly not the first time – and will not be the last – that there are disagreements over religion, morality, and politics. Daily I’m thankful to God that we live in a country where such disagreements are okay.
    And for what it’s worth, I agree with your theology. I think our difference in what we think the government’s role is.

  5. Rick 11 June 2008 at 9:25 am Permalink

    Ok, I have to chime in. (sorry for the long comment)
    I was not going to because I feel very strongly that blog posts that are somewhat controversial are often misunderstood due to the lack of inflection and tone that you can only get in the real world by having real conversations – but, this post has my mind spinning a bit.
    At first I was taken aback that one of the most biblically sound brothers was becoming more ‘in the world’ and I was afraid that being in close proximity to a more liberal community had tainted his theology. I am glad you commented on Jenny’s post – you cleared the air quite a bit… whew!
    Bobby, I have to respectfully disagree with the statement that we can’t legislate morality. All laws are based on a moral code. It is considered immoral to kill, therefore, a law is on the books; it is immoral to sell your body for sex; therefore, there is a law on the books; it is immoral to steal, to sell illegal drugs, to break into someone’s home, etc., etc.. Having laws do not ‘force’ change on people. Laws guide Western society on what is acceptable behavior and what is not. Please don’t read this as an endorsement for more laws – heck, I think that we legislate far too much as it is… nevertheless, when a particular special interest group attempts to assert itself as mainstream and demands ‘rights’ that are not endowed by the creator – or when abhorrent behavior is recognized as acceptable I have to draw a line.
    You said it yourself; homosexuality is immoral in the eyes of God. Therefore fly’s in the face of our countries moral structure. The fundamental basis for our legal system is Judeo-Christian values (i.e. morals) that means the application of predominantly Old Testament/Tanakh laws and values that were codified into our modern Western World. These laws have helped hold the country together. All this to say that we (Americans) do legislate morality. So, why would any American think it would be ok to codify or make legal any immoral behavior. We wouldn’t let a chronic alcoholic legislate that it is ok to drive drunk – nor would we legislate that it is ok for a pedophile to allow marriage of adults to minors. That is just wrong. It goes against God’s law.
    Is gay marriage wrong? – yes.
    Is being gay a sin?, no.
    Is acting on that urge a sin? – yes.
    Is sin wrong? – yes.
    Are we supposed to willingly continue in sin? – no.
    Now, your two thoughts;
    1. My marriage isn’t about the government either – it is about the first order of business that God started in Genesis 2:24 when he said “24Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” That being the case, I will fight for God’s word to always be protected. That is what a Christian should do.
    2. Got to disagree with you again on this one as well – The problem with marriages isn’t the government – it is SIN. Yep, read that again – SIN. And what is the homosexual agenda trying to do, but legalize SIN. Nope, can’t get on board with that one.
    There is a huge problem with the current generations unwillingness to call sin, sin. It is referred to as “not God’s best” as if God would accept ‘second best’ (stole that from a good friend). Or it is dismissed by saying such things like, “we just need to love them to Christ”.
    Stop it people.
    When you do things like that we are dismissing the pain, suffering and blood shed by our Lord on the cross! He paid the price so that we would have eternal life with him. He died for OUR SIN. That doesn’t give us the right to continue to live like it doesn’t matter – it doesn’t give us the right to water down our transgressions into “not God’s best”. It is sin, we all have them – as Christians we ask for forgiveness for them – we all struggle with them – why, why on God’s created earth would we want to make a law to make it legal for someone to live in continual sin? I don’t get it.
    If we start giving up on fighting for God’s best, eventually we have nothing to fight for. Aaron Tippin said it best, “You have to stand for something or you’ll fall for anything”.
    I don’t know about all of you – judge me if you want (which I doubt any will, because judging is not right by today’s standards, you have to have mercy all the time…) but I stand strong on God’s Word, will defend it till the day He takes me home. My NO vote on a ballot may not mean anything in the world – but it means a whole lot in the Kingdom!
    And just to make things clear – I am not a Gay basher – I was raised by a gay man and loved him and all of his partners until each of their untimely deaths. I didn’t agree with the lifestyle choice, but I loved the man. BTW – I struggle he never accepted Christ.

  6. Michelle Lasch 10 June 2008 at 10:09 pm Permalink

    Hey Bobby, my comment was WAY too long to post. As I am wont to do, I wrote a book. So I published my thoughts here: http://mlasch.blogspot.com/2008/06/gay-marriage_10.html.
    It is not a rebuttal per se, because I know you did not say the things I attribute to the pro-gay marriage side. It is simply my current thinking on the matter.
    To sum it up, since God created marriage between a man and a woman as a picture of the relationship He wants to have with us, we walk a tight line when we screw with His picture. We risk misrepresenting Him. No marriage perfectly mirrors His love for us, but that does not give us the excuse to throw out His standard.

  7. Phil 10 June 2008 at 8:42 am Permalink

    Sorry, I meant that Islam is the largest-GROWING religion in the world. It’s the second largest in number at this time…

  8. Phil 10 June 2008 at 8:36 am Permalink

    Jenny – I absolutely, 100% agree that we need to strengthen our Christian marriages, encourage our friends, hold each other accountable, and strive for God’s best – obviously marriage between one man and one woman.
    Where my comments stem from is that it is not government’s job to define the civic institution of marriage to match the Christian one.
    There are churches out there that would say that mixed-race marriages are wrong. There are churches that say that marriage between a 40-year-old man and a 13-year-old-girl are proper and blessed by God. There are churches that think that having more than one wife is the holy way of things. I realize that these are extreme examples and seem ridiculous to us… but they should have no more power to effect legislation than our own spiritual beliefs.
    This is where the boundaries between religion and government can be tough for a lot of people.
    I 100% agree that God’s plan for humans is for heterosexual marriage. At the same time I 100% believe that it is not our government’s job to enforce that.
    Let me take another tact… Islam is the largest religion in the world. What if, somehow, the U.S. went from majority Christian to majority Muslim, and our representative democracy chose to install strict proponents of Shia law? Thankfully, the Constitution would prevent that religious law from becoming the law of the land. That’s why I love this country, because everyone is free to believe their own religion.
    In effect, I guess what I’m saying is that just because we’re right doesn’t mean our government can “force” that upon others. It has to play fair… because perhaps some day, those same rules of fairness will have to be enforced in the other direction, and eventually, at God’s ultimate judgement, we win out. =)
    So absolutely, keep encouraging our friends and family, keep striving and pushing for stronger marriages, true to Christian faith. Just keep government out of it.
    I realize it’s a fine line, maybe it’s just hard to spell out in the comments of someone’s blog.

  9. bobby 10 June 2008 at 12:16 am Permalink

    Ryan – good point man. Is it just about semantics? That has been one of my arguments in the past. There are legal benefits already. So maybe it is semantics, but if so, why is it so important. Great question. Any thoughts?
    Jenny – I’m glad you didn’t remain silent. A bunch of people who agree is pretty boring. ;) And to be honest, I was kinda surprised I hadn’t gotten more push back. I want to hear your thoughts. I do value them.
    I don’t disagree with you about God’s best. But I just feel like it is protected for my kids because I will raise them to know true right from wrong. I wouldn’t have them in a church that accepts same sex marriage as ok. Of course I wouldn’t work at or plant that church, so that’s taken care of.
    I guess my question is, because I don’t fight it in the political arena, am I saying that it is right? I don’t think I am, but it’s a question I have to keep asking myself. But I don’t feel like I’m letting the people who don’t believe in the Bible dictate what is right and wrong. I still stand by my beliefs as I said. As strongly as I believe in the Christian way of living, that doesn’t give me the freedom to tell them to live by our standards either. Maybe the question becomes, where is that line? What do we make laws for and what don’t we?

  10. Jennifer Platt 9 June 2008 at 10:59 pm Permalink

    Normally I would stay silent to blog posts like this. However my heart is hurting after reading your post and your friends comments.
    I agree that churches should put a huge emphasis on strengthening marriages. I think we as Christians should be encouraging our friends in their marriages and holding each other accountable.
    However I also think that we should not use this as an excuse to ignore what is happening around us. What is God’s best? A marriage between a man and woman or a marriage between two people of the same sex.
    I am going to choose to continue to try and protect God’s best. Not only for me but for my children and for your children.
    We continue to take steps further and further away from God’s perfect design for us. I am afraid for what the future holds when we choose to sit back and let people who do not believe in what the bible says dictate what is right and wrong.
    You don’t think we should legislate morality, unfortunately the other sides thinks they can.

  11. Ryan Lipert 9 June 2008 at 9:14 pm Permalink

    When I read the title of this post, I was looking forward to disagreeing with you. Unfortunately, it was a well crafted and tasteful post. Not much to disagree with here.
    But I will stir up the pot here. Although I would agree with you that Gays/Lesbians should be afforded the same legal rights as straight couples, in California and a couple other states, there is already a system that handles these issues. In California it is called “domestic partnership” and in other states is called a “civil union”.
    With that said, the gay marriage issue in California is not about legal rights at all, but largely focused on extending the definition of marriage. Its an argument exclusively over semantics?

  12. Joel 9 June 2008 at 10:30 am Permalink

    Oops…thats my comment above.

  13. Anonymous 9 June 2008 at 10:29 am Permalink

    Completely agree brother. Frankly, I think the majority (actually about 50% I believe) of men and women have done a good enough job making marriage a not-so sacred thing with divorce and adultery that gay marriage is just another notch in the belt. Love ya man.

  14. beth 8 June 2008 at 10:43 pm Permalink

    Bobby, totally agree. We should be fighting for marriages that already exist that are failing, that’s energy well spent.
    Thanks for being honest…
    By the way Happy Birthday bud!

  15. Tim 8 June 2008 at 8:56 pm Permalink

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25050074
    This article takes it one step further.
    As far as my opinion on gay marriage, it all comes down to the “definition” of marriage. As Christians, we view marriage as the covenant between a man and a woman in the eyes of God.
    In terms of legal benefits for a gay partner, I believe that Phil above has some great points. Denying somebody legal benefits based on religion would be un-Constitutional. With that said, I think Christians should make it clear that gay-marriage is not a “marriage” in the eyes of God (somebody should tell the Bishop). My concern with gays (it already comes off sounding bad) is their desire to embrace, and sometimes flaunt, their “sin”. Getting married as a gay couple to collect benefits is just a part of the government system that I don’t feel too strongly against. Getting married as a gay couple to show their community they are “married”, what is the point if the true definition of a marriage union is between a man and a woman, as defined in the Bible?
    Since I don’t know the mindset of every gay couple getting married, I will just passively sit back and oppose it in front of my computer screen.

  16. Phil 8 June 2008 at 6:00 pm Permalink

    As long as the United States and individual state governments provide legal/material benefits and protections to married couples (and they do), I do not see how it is Constitutional to deny those same benefits and protections to same-sex couples… strictly from the “all men [and women] are created equal” and “equal protection under the law” that we are all entitled to as U.S. citizens. Marriage as a political institution cannot be allowed for some and denied to others. An exact parallel could be drawn with denying voting rights to black people (if you believe that homosexuality has a genetic component) or denying someone’s right to practice their religion (if you believe that homosexuality is a choice). If marriage – politically speaking – is okay for straight people, then it HAS TO BE OKAY for gay people. It is unfair and unconstitutional to deny spousal insurance/inheritance benefits, or the right to make medical decisions while one’s spouse is unable to make them for themself, or things of that nature. Again, this is strictly on the legal side of things.
    The spiritual side of marriage – the side that we Christians honor and hold sacred – cannot be lessened by any person or government. That is a contract and vow between us and God. A gay couple being able to marry will have ZERO impact on the spiritual nature of MY marriage. God is above governments, above Earthly laws, above the squabbles of humans. As Christians, we need to do what we can to show love and mercy even to those with whom we disagree or see falling short of God’s best. If homosexuals would like to get married, that’s perfectly fine with me. Should my church be performing the cermonies as if they have the blessing of God? That’s for my church’s leadership, not the government, to decide.
    The government cannot tell us how to practice our religion. Its job is to be as fair as possible to all citizens. God is the judge, not us.
    For the governmental institution of marriage – let any two people get married, regardless of sexual orientation. For the Christian institution of marriage – that’s the church’s decision.
    Sorry this is long, but it’s one of the “Christian issues” that I feel most strongly about…

  17. Paul J. 8 June 2008 at 2:15 pm Permalink

    There’s a radio talk show host in Atlanta named Neal Boortz. He has said many times that Hollywood has done more damage to the institution of marriage than married homosexuals ever could. Interesting thought.
    Thanks for the post. Well written.


Leave a Reply