Disclaimer: I am not trying to argue in this post that being gay is a sin. I don’t believe that at all. I am playing devils advocate and asking the hard questions from the point of view of a Christian who does believe its a sin. Don’t misunderstand what I’m writing. I support equal rights and gay marriage.
Last night, I watched as the news reported (some with joy, some with sadness) that North Carolina had passed it’s constitutional ban on gay marriage. Both sides had their spin machines moving. I wasn’t surprised by the venom being slung by both sides, but I was disturbed by it. Here’s why:
Win One, Lose Some.
As Christians, we like to think we ‘won one’ in North Carolina last night. I’m not sure why. Other Christians I know all give a different reason to why we’re supposed to be against Gay marriage, but no one can explain why (best explanation I’ve been given, but still not satisfied this means make laws).
The real mistake that we often make as Christians is treating homosexuality different than other sins (thanks, Matt, for putting my feelings in words better than I could). According to the Bible, it’s a sin just like lying or stealing or sex before marriage. It seems to me that if we were really worried about the sin of homosexuality, we’d be worried about the act itself, or more Biblically, all of sin since it’s all bad. Instead, we settle on an easy, hot-button issue that makes us feel good, but is actually really lazy. If we’re going to shake our fists and demand political action to “fix” social issues we see, then actually find one that you can point to the dire consequences that require immediate action, otherwise sit down and live and let live.
On top of that, the kind of fervor I see in the Christian community over this issue is disgusting. If I were a gay man, I would be sitting down with my life partner for dinner tonight, determined to never listen to a Christian talk about their faith or set foot in a church again. So instead of winning one, I think we’ve lost one million. Great job, North Carolina.
The one consistent answer I recieve from people is this: “Stopping the attack on marriage protects the sanctity of marriage!” The problem is, banning marriage between two men or two women does nothing to stop the “attack” on marriage or protect the sanctity of marriage in this country. Why not? Because that’s not the real problem. The divorce rate in the Christian church is north of 30%[source]. Christians seem to *love* porn(50% of men view it weekly[source]). Adultery is no longer an abhorrent sin. So maybe, just maybe, the problem isn’t them; maybe problem is us.
Jesus said, “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.” We have the attitude that we can have sex before we’re married, cheat on our spouses after we’re married, look at porn every night and divorce and remarry three times, but it doesn’t matter because the problem is those sinful gays. WHAT?
We Can’t Legislate Morality.
I’m not sure why I’m writing this. I am a conservative, Republican, evangelical Christian. But I am sickened by the way the church has rallied around causes like the amendment in North Carolina. Maybe it’s time we do what Jesus did. Love people, and let the love of God in us change their lives. From my experience, that will be FAR more effective than laws will be.
Jesus himself was faced with situations like this multiple times during his three year ministry. Two that show Jesus’ true love are the story of the rich young ruler (Matthew 19:16-22) and the adulterous woman (John 8:1-11). In both stories, Jesus was addressing people who were living in sin. In both cases, Jesus TOLD them what they needed to do to find forgiveness (he didn’t legislate it), and in both cases the people he was confronting chose to either obey or not. In neither case did he get fired up and say, “That’s it. I’ve had it with these rich young ruler types. WE HAVE TO BAN BEING A RICH YOUNG RULER!”
Also, notice in the case of the adulterous woman, she was on her fifth partner, even though both divorce/remarriage and adultery were illegal in Israel at the time, and one (adultery) was even a capital offense. Legislating morality doesn’t work, just ask the people still fighting the war on drugs.
As Americans, we live in a country that allows us to enjoy more freedoms than any other country on Earth. The one right that we weren’t given, however, is the right to impede on another’s life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. If a man or woman chooses to be gay, they should have the same rights to family medical care, tax breaks and other benefits that every other married person enjoys. Divorced/remarried couples do. Swinging couples do. Couples that live together before marriage and couples that lie/cheat/steal do. You can’t separate one sin from another, so it’s either all or none. We have to decide.
I’ll leave you with this one final thought. Unless things change drastically in America, Christianity will be a minority in the next 50 years[source]. We have to be careful now, or we’ll find out how it feels to be on the wrong side of constitutional amendments before the end of this century.