Same-Sex Marriage, A Response

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constitutionmeme_blogThere is a comment thread in my first post on same-sex marriage that I will respond to here in this post. I’d like to make a couple of points that might get lost in just replying in that thread…

A reader named Deanna asked me to go look at a blog which leveled the charge of “idolatry” at people of faith who do not condemn their gay neighbors and same-sex marriage. My friend Greg went and read it and responded, and I checked out as well. Here are a couple of points I’d make…

First Point: Name calling is just too easy and evasive.

There are so many arenas on the web to talk about and debate what the scriptures actually say about same-sex attractions or practices, and I really encourage people to dig in and try to answer some of the tough questions surrounding the issue of same-sex activities recorded in the scriptures and how we interpret them, if living by the scriptures is one of your personal drives. I will say that I agree with Greg on his take on the referred article… too simplistic and unfair. It’s far too easy to simply accuse people you don’t agree with as idolaters. When you can’t hold a substantive argument, the recourse should be doing more scholarly homework, not resorting to name calling.

Maybe, one day soon I’ll unpack my reading of scripture and same-sex attractions and relationships here, at least as I have come to believe and read the scriptures. I am someone who holds scriptures at the core of my life and thought, dependent on and grateful for them.

However, in my previous blog post, though I did mention own belief that a same-sex orientation is not antithetical to my faith, all the ideas I expressed were about removing inequalities in our civil laws about marriages and it’s benefits. The article to which I was referred at least began at the marriage question, but only as a spring-board to move to other things, like name-calling in disagreement. Why change the subject? Scallia’s exchange was interesting, but hardly definitive.

The bottom line is that I am happy to respect anyone’s right to hold a view on same-sex marriage and to have their own thoughts on same-sex orientation, but I am not happy to have anyone’s views unnecessarily held above their neighbor’s views to their neighbor’s detriment. That is not “neighborly,” nor kind nor civil.

Second Point: Has no one ever taught us to disagree?

I’m afraid that people of faith who do believe that same-sex attractions and relationships are antithetical to their faith are missing a great opportunity to grow in their own beliefs and at the same time make a fair, just statement to their neighbors who believe differently. I wonder why we so often think that someone’s differing opinion undermines our own? Universal agreement is certainly not the best test for one’s own convictions.

Suppose that more traditional thinking people of faith who opposed same-sex mariage would say something liek this:

 “Well, it is a ‘free country’ and you are responsible for your own life. So I will not try to get in your way on such a personal issue that involves consenting adults living their lives. By the way, if you ever want to consider my views on the issue, I’d be glad to buy you a cup of coffee and chat.”

Such an offer may not get many takers, but it’d be respected far more than shrill name calling and denial of people’s civil rights.

People of faith have been disagreeing poorly for a long time, so I don’t blame our current generations for the problem. I do however think we could make some real strides forward on disagreeing better. We can be part of the solution!

This is especially needed when we are thrown in the public spotlight. I grew up in churches that happily argued and condemned each other all the time, relishing the delight of publishing scathing articles about another congregation, a college or some preacher who disagreed with their view. The worst days were when one congregation would take out a full-page ad in the local paper to condemn another. What a horrible witness to the reconciling power of Christ.

People of faith who want to point to the faith of the writers of our national documents like the Declaration of Independence and Constitution should be humbled that faith had such a grand part of crafting these documents of freedom and liberty, not restriction and denial. Faith helped create the guarantees of freedom that we now debate in our national conversation and in the highest court of the land. In such a national arena we need to recognize that our views and opinions are best shared with respect, dignity and a large dose of humility.

5 thoughts on “Same-Sex Marriage, A Response

    Greg Metzger said:
    March 28, 2013 at 9:50 am

    I appreciate your work on this. I look forward to “searching the Scriptures” with you and learning together.

    Shannon said:
    March 28, 2013 at 11:41 am

    It reminds me of our Lenten reading from last week that I was looking at last night:

    John 15:10 – This is my command: Love each other.

    Deanna Greiling said:
    March 28, 2013 at 11:55 am

    Have you ever watched The Passion of the Christ? I was struck by the Pharisees, men who studied the Torah and guided the people. I have watched other movies about Jesus, but this one really hit home about how God’s truth divides and separates. It stirs people emotionally.

    The Truth of the world, Jesus, stirred emotions of men who hated his words. They sought to kill him and succeeded.

    Jesus said these words, in NIV translation, “You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”

    He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign!”

    Who wants to be called these things? He “labeled” them to describe them. It is what words do. The Bible is full of examples that can undo much thinking.

    In other situations I have been relating to, I have been called names for speaking the truth. Just stating it for what it is, makes people angry. Not even biblical truth, just an everyday happening that the person wants to deny and ignore. But it stands as an elephant controlling the dynamics.

    What I do know is that the day comes when we will stand before God in judgment. No justification allowed. We fall because we will know in that moment how He sees us. I pray for you, as a pastor, God holds you to a higher standard for what you teach. Any pastor whatever the deception they have admired and perpetuate from the pulpit will hold God’s wrath. God does not adjust His truth to satisfy our want or even our definition of love.

    I only know from personal experience sitting at the feet of Jesus and granting to him the sincere want to unwind the lies I had embraced throughout my life, that he dissolved them and I thought differently. Everyone of us will be surprised by what we see, this life is a journey to becoming more like Jesus in expressing God’s truth for His meaning, not our own.

    Peace to you!

    reserve7 responded:
    March 28, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    And peace to you, Deanna! I hope your Holy Week is blessed and that your Easter Sunday is a joyful one!

    And trust me, I covet every prayer offered on my behalf. No matter the issue, once you speak an opinion on it, there will be those who call it truth and those who call it deception. Our only recourse is to prayerfully follow our conscience and trust in the Holy Spirit to help us, as we follow as best we can see God’s leading.

    One of my favoriate passages that I hold close to my heart at all times to govern my words and actions is Philippians 4:4-7, especially verse 5 “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.”

    We share that desire and practice of sitting at the feet of Jesus, soaking in every possible bit of wisdom and courage to then follow as best we can.

    ~Todd

    An Ally’s Repentance And Confession « toddthomas.net said:
    November 10, 2014 at 11:27 am

    […] have chosen to speak out for marriage equality before here and here, and I even said that I’m not scripturally or spiritually condemning of my LGBTQ sisters […]

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