This is the 3rd post in this Gay Christian conversation. Be sure to read the first one first, which includes commenting rules, and read the 2nd one, written by Jim Decke. Here are some follow-up thoughts from me on one of the comments underneath the first post:
Some difficult words to chew on, brought to you by my friend Jeff R. in the comment section of the first post: (after agreeing with me that homosexual behavior is a sin and should not be elevated above other sins, but please read his entire comment to get the full context) And I would never argue that someone who sleeps with someone of the opposite sex outside of marriage, or someone who gets angry easily and often, or someone who is lazy, or someone who dwells on impure thoughts, or someone who uses porn, or someone who lies often to make themselves look better, or someone who gossips shouldn’t be able to serve his country, live where she wants, adopt children, or have their relationships recognized by the government on the basis that they are also world-class sinners. So why then would I oppose those things for homosexuals? To me the answer is clear: because I don’t really see myself as being a world-class sinner, that I see homosexuals as being in a class worse than me, more unholy, less deserving of being treated well. I’m willing to stone the adulteress woman as Jesus looks on.
These are powerful words from Jeff. I’d be curious how some of you respond to this. For me personally, it’s very convicting. My auto-response to gay marriage is to vote against it on spiritual reasons, but at the same time I’m also not starting a petition to make those who’ve had premarital sex unable to marry, or those who’ve looked at porn unable to marry, or those who have divorced unable to remarry. Why is this? So on this level, YES I agree with Jeff I think we still have a double-standard in how we spiritualize our response to legislate against homosexuality, but we don’t seek to legislate against others sins, sins I just preached that are all equal with homosexuality.
I think the other side of the coin that I see is that “marriage” is something seen as sacred and God-designed between a man and a woman. So if someone is sinning before marriage, we still allow them to get married because we still want them to get to marriage, whereas with homosexuals, we don’t see a way they’ll ever “get to” God’s design of marriage, so what we are standing up against is a new definition of marriage, different than the one we believe in and that God defines. I think that’s what it comes down: how do we define marriage?
Getting off the fence and stating an actual opinion: I think it’d be best suited to give homosexuals the legal rights of marriage but somehow delineating a in-the-eyes-of-God definition of marriage from a legal, in-the-eyes-of-the-government union. What I mean is, why does the spiritual definition of marriage have legal/civic connections to it anyway? (i.e. tax benefits, shared health insurance, etc.) Church and State are separated so it seems odd to me that those things are combined. I’m sort of thinking out loud here. I can see a homosexual’s point in saying “why don’t we get the tax benefits of a heterosexual couple?” –I can answer that on a spiritual level = Homosexual behavior is a sin + God’s design for sex/marriage is a man and a woman…but I can’t answer it on a legal/civic level. And so if my final answer is “I am depriving civic rights to you because of your sin”, then I think Jeff’s point comes in loud and clear, why don’t we make equal efforts to deprive legal/civic rights from other sinners / for other sins? Because if we did that, we’d have to deprive them from ourselves!
Thinking out loud here and still wrestling with these thoughts, but hey, thinking is a good thing, right? This level of conversation is really making me analyze the motives of my heart, and like Jeff said, my own pride and self-righteousness. I’d ask that you not read into what I wrote and assume I’m advocating for gay marriage to be legal. What I’m advocating is that we practice what we preach and if we say all sins are equal, wow that carries a lot of weight when it comes to our own sins and the way we respond to them practically (in contrast to how we respond to other sins practically).
Thoughts from others would be helpful on this. Please be calm and respectful.
I’ve been really impressed with everyone’s comments thus far. I will post more in the next couple days hitting on some of the other topics you brought up, and Jim may also.
All of the posts in this “Gay Christian” series:
- Gay Christian? A sermon by Noah Filipiak and Jim Decke
- Jim on Nature vs. Nurture
- Thoughts on gay marriage
- Is legalizing gay marriage the same as legalizing polygamy?
- Can a gay Christian still identify themselves as “Gay”?
- Are there different levels of being gay?