Gay Marriage & the Missional Position

Every state in our country restricts marriage in various ways. In most of them you can’t marry 1) a family member, 2) a minor, 3) more than one person, or 4) someone of the same gender. All law is imposed morality, and we see that current marriage law imposes on anyone who would like to marry these (and other) restricted persons. For the polygamist, love won’t cut it. For the pederast, emotions are not enough. And for the homosexual, the state has never defined marriage based on the strength of affection between two (or more) people. True, some people marry for love. But we’ve never had  a love commission at any government level measuring the strength of emotional bonds between two people.

Until now. Or so you would guess from the reasons given by same sex marriage proponents. Here is Washington State Governor Gregoire saying that the state cannot tell homosexual people that their love does not qualify for marriage (see just after the 2min mark). But the state has never said anything about the love of homosexuals or the love of anyone else for that matter. The state has supported the union of one man and one woman because that union not only naturally produces children, but it has been seen as the best environment in which to raise them. This shouldn’t be controversial. As my friend Joe Backholm points out, take one million kids raised by their biological parents and one million kids raised by anyone else. Which million do you think does better? If you’re not sure, you’re not paying attention. This is not an argument against adoption or anything else. It simply makes the point, plainly for anyone to see, that kids do best, all things being equal, when raised by their biological parents. The state has historically supported the union of one man and one woman for this reason.

Gregoire also says the state cannot discriminate this way against homosexuals, and to do so is similar to the separate but equal evil of segregation. We’ve seen this is false. The state does discriminate–against homosexuals, polygamists, pederasts, and the incestuous. Now imagine, 30 minutes after two homosexuals get “married”, a guy and his two consenting fiances walk up to the county court house demanding their marriage license. They are in love, you see. And who can argue with them? Polygamy has as much historical presence as homosexuality. Probably more so. But the state can discriminate against one and not the other? Now a lot of sentimental people would never want the state to grant marriages to a dude and his wives, or a dude and his three cats, or a 9 year old boy and his 30 year old girlfriend. But if the criterion is love, and the state cannot discriminate–in the words of the governor–then there is absolutely nothing to stop that train. The president has recently said his view on marriage has evolved. Shouldn’t we expect it to continue evolving? Or is this the one place evolution stops? Of course this doesn’t mean beastiality is right around the corner. But who would have thought in the 70s that we’d be here?

Christians are required not to be sentimentalists, and to see the consequences of ideas before those consequences arrive. This is what it means to be prudent. Go back to 50’s unitarian conformity and you’re on the doorstep of the 60’s. Ah, the good ol’ days. We’re also required to resist tyranny and protect the weak. One common response to the fight over gay marriage by Christians is to say that marriage is one thing for non Christians and another for Christians. They take an oath before the state (at least sign something), we take an oath before God. Therefore, we should not withstand what they are doing. But consider, when God told Noah he would require a reckoning for murders, was he only talking about Jewish murders (Gen. 9:5)? Of course not. When Dan Savage gets a speaking spot to high schoolers on anti-bullying, and proceeds to attack his lame understanding of “the bullshit in the Bible” and the “pansy-assed” Christians who believe it, is there any wondering what this effort is about?

The irony is elephantine. In the name of not discriminating or imposing on others, elected liberals are imposing a minority view on the majority. Gay marriage has been voted down 32 out of 32 times when states actually vote on it, most recently by a landslide in North Carolina. Never has Peter Berger’s quip been truer that if India is the world’s most religious country and Sweden the most secular, America is a nation of Indians governed by Swedes. The only way gay marriage has become legal in a state is when enforced top down. It’s not as if the proponents of gay marriage are signing Referendum 74 that actually lets Washington voters choose what they want. Actually, I should qualify that. Some proponents of gay marriage probably have signed the Referendum, and hats off to them. They at least want democracy to live, stand with racial minorities in our country who overwhelmingly oppose gay marriage, and would likely never tell African American pastors who disagree with them to evolve like Chris Matthews did.

Data says that roughly 40% of evangelicals vote. The common line in churches is that the gospel is all about love, and politics all about power. This is true in one sense. The gospel is all about love, and when it comes to power, it primarily exercises left-handed power: sacrifice, blessing, love, influence. Politics of the usual kind is all about right-handed power: coercion, force, violence, control. What kind do you think is being used right now to redefine marriage? Do you think you’d be called to exercise some right-handed power if you saw a man raping a woman? But I digress. Whatever kind of power voting is,  it’s a privilege and a basic civil responsibility for Christians. I’ve been amazed to be at churches where people simply do not regularly vote. I’ve also been amazed at the refusal of many churches in Washington to take part in the Referendum effort. If you’re a pastor at a conservative church, you might have a few people who are over-zealous, who have not gotten the beam out of their own eye but complain about all sort of political specks out there. But you probably have a lot more people who are lazy in their civil duties, duties that affect their neighbors. You can talk about being missional and loving the city and shaloming all over the place, but if you don’t care enough to protect Johnny down the street from learning in school that marriage is a genderless institution and that we all need to explore our sexuality, then it’s time for another walk through Romans 1 with your eyes open. It’s time to remember that Jesus got murdered by political authorities because he threatened their influence. If we want to do justice and love mercy, this is the easy and first thing. Perhaps after the little, we will be entrusted with more.

 

When the Tolerant Aren’t

From a great post at Blog & Mablog:

A staple argument of homosex apologetics is that when the Bible condemns the vile behavior of the residents of Sodom, it was addressing the violent side of it — the attempted rape of Lot’s visitors. It does not address at all, so the argument goes, the kind of loving, caring, mutually affirming same sex relationships that we are are talking about today. You have to take context into account, you see, and there have been those who bought this argument. Simple Simon, after all, did go to the fair.

“But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter: And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them” (Gen. 19:4-5).

But let us pretend to accept this for a moment, for the sake of argument. Let us pretend that mutually affirming is the way to go, so long as you avoid that kind of violent hate sex that so unfortunately characterized the men who surrounded Lot’s house.

Comes now Bill Maher, who struts like a crow in a gutter, and is considered to be a leading humorist by the other crows. On a recent show, he had on comedian Marc Maron, who said that he thinks about “angrily f**king” Michele Bachman. He said this, not wanting “to be crass.” Oh, good. For a minute there, we were worried. And then, just to cover their stunted little tails, another guest said, to deflect accusations of sexism, that he would like to do the same to Rick Santorum. So fine then. You guys are willing to engage in hate sex, violent rape, against members of both sexes? And this makes it good, how exactly?

Strange Bedfellows

Stories about “evangelical” churches embracing homosexuality hardly seem like news anymore, but still the headlines are still rolling. As the article linked states, Pastor Mark Tidd changed his views on homosexuality after counseling a couple whose daughter began identifying as a boy. Tidd couldn’t apply the “plain meaning” of Scripture to this case (which implies that the girl is confused, not God), and so concluded that “It’s not a sin to be gay or act in accordance with your nature.”

The temptation is to think that churches embracing postmodern sexuality are making drastic changes when they do so. They might have made drastic changes, but these almost certainly came long before embracing homosexuality. The fundamental break is the view of the Bible which says it’s absolutely a sin to act in accordance with your nature. Paul says we were all “sons of disobedience–among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind” (Eph. 2:2-4).

Every pastor who walks around with his eyes open would answer the question “What is more common in your congregation, heterosexual or homosexual sin?” with a resounding “hetero.” I believe it’s possible for the answer to be homo, but we are not there yet. So is it alright to tell men that they must be radically committed to their wives, that Solomon is right when tells his son to be “enraptured with her [his wife's] breasts always”? Or is that just the ancient “plain meaning” of Scripture no longer applicable?

Should men be required to repent of their insane desire for pornography, or is it alright to reply with pastor Tidd, “I just didn’t feel God would tell a person to deny a big part of who they are and to keep it a secret”?

Of course post-evangelicals like Tidd would never (read “this year”) say embracing homosexuality is a license for adultery or even fornication necessarily, but this is because people who’ve left the foundation of the Bible are blinded to the consequences of their ideas and actions.

Why is this the case? Is it because of the onslaught of homosexuality? Rarely if ever. These pastors have been lazy and cowardly in addressing the predominant hetero sexual sin their congregations for years, and when the culture begins visibly discipling their church, what is there to stand on? If you haven’t stood against the constant mangling of human beings in heterosexual relationships–lovingly listening, praying, counseling, rebuking, and teaching again for the umpteenth time, what are the chances that you’ll have any integrity left when homosexuality makes its case?

There is an attempt by those who compromise this way to scramble for the high ground, posing as those who listen and embrace when what they are really doing is abandoning those who need loving and firm help finding their true identity in Christ. Paul tells the Corinthians that many of used to be, among other things, homosexuals, and some of them likely religiously devoted to it in paganism. So the Christian church must never be “closed” or unkind to gays, just like it shouldn’t shun those who struggle with any other sin. But in order to deal with this issue that will confront every church that is openly evangelical and engaging the world, the elders must proactively address all sexual sin. As soon as this is neglected, the church has turned into a traditional values club which has no basis other than personal preference for opposing anything coming at it. Oddly, this puts these churches in the same boat with those accepting homosexuality. Strange bedfellows, indeed.

Disunified Right

Last week the Seattle Times published a front page article claiming the Christian right wing movement in Washington state is tubing and evangelical pastors are reluctant to engage in partisan politics. Cedar Park Assembly of God pastor Joseph Fuiten went so far as to say “As a political movement, [the right] is a leaderless army milling about the field.”

Fuiten doesn’t like the way opponents of homosexual marriage are vilified as intolerant bigots, so he has come out against Referendum 71, the 121,000 signature-needy petition that went to the Secretary of State’s office on Saturday for an official count. If the required number of signatures are obtained, a statewide vote will ensue and I’ve not heard anyone predict that gay marriage benefits in Washington State stand a chance–only elected officials impose that sort of stuff thus far. Continue reading

Voter Intimidation Update

I posted a few days on the fear mongering and voter intimidation behind www.whosigned.org. A refreshing response came from the Seattle Times who unlike the President have “long supported full same-sex marriage”. Despite that, a recent editorial from the paper collectively condemned whosigned.org as hoping to “make signers afraid that some zealot will look up their name and address, knock on their door and confront them about why they signed.” The editorial goes on to call this move by homosexual supporters to “out” their political opponents an ironic move and “especially obnoxious in this state, where citizens are private in their politics, and register to vote without publicly declaring a political affiliation.”

Meanwhile, the Family Policy Institute of Washington and others are collecting signatures for Referendum 71. If they get 120,000 signatures before the July deadline, Senate bill SB 5688 will come to a democratic statewide vote where homosexual marriage issues are always, thus far, defeated. It seems that only when legislators act contrary to the will of the people,  as  concretely expressed by the ballot, does gay marriage move forward.

While I’m opposed to gay marriage and all the other perversions that will follow it, it must be said that the only way to have a sane view of marriage is to exult in your own. The church has understood marriage as a common ordinance, given to all people whether they thank their trinitarian creator or not. This is well and good and the government ought to protect marriage for everyone. But Christians should know that judgment begins at the household of God, and so long as husbands refuse to rejoice with the wife of their youth and cultivate homes where their kids see homosexuality for what it is–boring sameness birthed from father-hunger and other issues–we will continue to have more of the same. No legislation will change the stupor the church has fallen into. We ought at least to be thankful the honest report card.