I was posed an interesting question the other day with respect to a blog entry I did on Mike Huckabee. The question was whether the reader, a gay man living in Massachusetts, legally married to his partner by Massachusetts law should have the same rights to marry whomever he chooses as do his straight societal counterparts. The question was in response to Mike Huckabee’s advocacy of a Constitutional amendment to define marriage as between 1 man and 1 woman. I must say that as a Christian, I find the common Christian response to be rather harsh, judgmental, and un-Christ-like in most instances.
Gay marriage is a difficult subject to broach in a lot of conservative, Christian arenas. The perception of homosexuality, from the common Christian perspective, is that it is deviant behavior and should be treated as such (I must admit that I have been of the same belief in the past). From a strictly biblical perspective, I believe (and regardless of my belief, it’s rather plain to see in Scripture) that homosexuality is a sin. Some would argue that being gay is a trait, much like blond hair or blue eyes… that homosexuals don’t choose to be gay, they just are.
I cannot deny that there is a percentage of individuals who are not attracted to the opposite sex and are attracted to the same sex. The matter of sexual orientation does not mean, however, that they are devoid of choice. I can tell you (and my wife can probably testify to this fact) that I am attracted to women other than my wife. Is this attraction wrong? Not necessarily. The Bible, however, is very clear on the matter of adultery. So if I were to decide that sleeping with all the women that I was attracted to, which only came naturally to me as a man who finds many women attractive, I would be equally guilty of sin the eyes of God. The Bible is clear that homosexual acts and a homosexual lifestyle are sinful just as adulterous acts and an adulterous lifestyle are equally sinful.
Adultery, however, is more acceptable to Christians than is homosexuality. At least adultery is “normal”. I venture to say that neither is “normal” in the eyes of a Holy God. Both are a perversion of the model God gave us thru marriage as defined in Scripture. So from a Biblical perspective, gay marriage does not exist. The Bible says, the “man shall leave his father and mother, and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall be one flesh”. The Bible instituted the idea of marriage and all instances of marriage in the Bible are between a man and a woman. The logical conclusion is that the Bible makes no provision for gay marriage.
The central question of gay marriage, however, cannot be answered from a Christian perspective because we do not live in a society governed by the Bible (and I’m fairly certain that in a society ruled by New Testament theology, homosexuality still would not be illegal, despite what many Christians believe). As far as legality is concerned with regard to the societal governance in question, the authority we must look to is the Constitution. Since the Constitution does not grant any powers to the federal government with regards to marriage of any kind, those powers belong at the state level.
If Massachusetts state law prohibits gay marriage, then legally gay couples in Massachusetts can get married. That is their “pursuit of happiness” as mentioned in the Declaration of Independence. I don’t see any Christians protesting the rights of two liars to be married, though lying is also a sinful lifestyle.
The fact of the matter, most Christians believe that we can continue to be a “Christian nation” if we just make people behave the way we want them to behave by passing laws of conformity. Laws such as Prohibition, anti-drug laws, and the like promote a modicum of external conformity to the established behavioral models as defined by “society”. I have not once seen a Reformation take place because government stepped in and outlawed detrimental behavior. You may be able to make someone behave a certain way, but the only way you change a person is by changing their heart. You may be able to outlaw adultery, but you can’t remove the lustful thoughts by passing a law, the person’s heart and mind must be changed.
Others will say that the reason they are against gay marriage is because they don’t believe gay couples should be allowed to adopt. But again, I don’t hear the protests from anyone when two gossipers want to adopt. The likelihood of causing harm to a child’s spiritual walk with the Lord is no different if they constantly see homosexuality in their adoptive parents than if they see their parents living a hypocritical life, claiming to be Christians, yet gossiping and spreading dissention. Both sins will cause the child to be “provoked to wrath” (Ephesians 6:4).
Do not misconstrue my difficulty with this issue as being a champion for gay marriage. I cannot and will not condone a homosexual lifestyle, just as I cannot condone a lifestyle of adultery, lying, gossiping or anger. I am opposed to the gay lifestyle and gay marriage, just as I am opposed to cigarette smoking, but I also believe in a person’s right to do things that I am opposed to. I take issue with my fellow Christians who dogmatically are outraged by homosexuality yet are silent on equally reprehensible behaviors just because they are “normal”.
Only by spreading the truth of the Gospel can we effect real change in the moral fabric of our nation. Making people conform to a set of rules may make you more comfortable with society and may give you more smiling faces in church but could mean fewer souls in Heaven’s eternity.