Friday, June 26, 2015

Christianity and the Supreme Court Ruling on Marriage Equality

by: Katie

So, it finally happened.  The decision that has been a long time coming, and to anyone watching the trajectory of courts across America wasn't that much of a surprise, is finally here.  The Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage is legal across the land and individual states cannot ban it or refuse to recognize those marriage ceremonies conducted in other states.  If you've been outside the Supreme Court building or anywhere on social media today it's impossible to miss the outpouring of celebration and relief pouring out of people's spirits.  Signs and banners are being waved, people are hugging and kissing each other.  Jubilation fills the air.  However, if you're on the conservative right, it is more the sense of apocalyptic doom and gloom that fills the air.  While gleeful protesters dance in the streets and happily plan parades and change their profile pictures to have rainbow overtones, Christians and conservatives around the country are quietly stating that the ruling was wrong and the end is nigh.  Depending on what branch of the spectrum  you fall under, you may not be doing so quietly, you may be at this very moment calling your senator and five of his closest friends.  If so, I suppose that is your choice.

Personally, I fall somewhere between these two camps--into the quiet, calm state of relief.  I do not begrudge the large legal victory that was handed down today, and I congratulate the victors on the legal protections they now may enjoy without fear of continual recriminations, but I also do not fall into the category of wildly celebrating this as a win.  You see, I actually believe homosexuality is wrong.  But wait, before all those nasty words that just started piling up in your head start coming out of your mouth or out of your keyboard, please just hear me out. :)  I don't think you'll be least not too much.

I find myself in the odd position of wishing I could celebrate today.  I see so many people who are overjoyed at so hard-fought a victory after so many years of facing true, hateful bigotry, and as any person who appreciates love more than hate and kindness and compassion more than prejudice and bigotry, I wish I could celebrate that victory with them outloud.  I wish I could, but I am given pause, because I believe the Bible to teach that homosexual activity is a sin.  However, I also believe that having sex with someone you've never married is a sin.  I also believe that drinking to the point of intoxication (not simply drinking at all) is a sin.  I also believe that adultery, materialism, gluttony, selfishness, idolatry, or anything else the Bible condemns is very simply a sin.  Here's the thing though, as far as I know, no state has a law against gluttony or materialism or selfishness, and the culture thrives on those concepts to make businesses (often even "Christian" businesses) run successfully.  No one that I am aware of is running a campaign to make having sex outside of marriage illegal in the U.S.  So, why is homosexuality such a special sin that we have made it the focal point of a cultural warfare?  Good question.

I think it comes down to the fact that Christians are largely insecure in a world where their cultural Christianity is not the dominant way of life anymore (even though Christianity was never designed to be the dominant culture or a "culture" period).  This fighting and crusading against "the gay agenda" is not defending the Bible, because the Bible's definition of marriage will stand no matter how marriage is legally defined, and I don't think marriage equality advocates have really been trying to make their argument from the Bible.  The Bible doesn't need my defense; it's going to continue to stand regardless.  What may fall away is my dominant place in society as having the mainstream view, and that's perfectly fine with me.  My faith was meant to transcend culture not takeover it.  What bothers me about the way Christians in general have conducted themselves in this cultural warfare is that they have made "homosexuality" worse than unbelief in Jesus Christ.  Really that's inexcusable.  For many people fighting this fight, it has nothing to do with "defending the Bible" and everything to do with defending their own comfortable way of life.

So, why am I "relieved" with this ruling even though I believe homosexuality is wrong?  I am hopeful that to some extent we can move beyond this round of our "cultural fistfight" and get back to what we are supposed to be most concerned with in the first place, which is the Gospel.  It is little wonder that people questioning their sexuality and struggling with same-sex attraction issues have fled the church in recent years.  When sides are drawn, where is the Gospel in that?  Where is the understanding and compassion that are supposed to characterize Jesus' approach to sinners of all varieties?  

I don't know what our cultural outlook will be 10 or 15 years from now, but I hope that we are focused solidly on sharing Christ's love with everyone again, because the same-sex couple who is now legally married and claims no faith in Christ is no further from the truth than a "moral" unbelieving heterosexual couple who was legally married a long time ago.  Perhaps if the church wasn't always being dragged kicking and screaming into the latest era of civil rights (i.e. segregation??) it wouldn't have lost so much credibility in discussions today when trying to use the same arguments again.  

So, before you who are celebrating write off all Christians as bigots and haters, please consider my disagreement with you does not mean I will treat you with contempt.  I am genuinely glad you are legally protected from those who would do you harm.  And those of you who are seeing the world as a hint darker today than it was yesterday, before you take to facebook to proclaim what "that gay agenda did" or "how America's going to hell in a handbasket because..." just remember that you may be trying to fling your words at an abstract "agenda" but you're actually hitting people who are still made in the image of God and need to hear the truth and love of the Gospel, not your fear and American rights speech.  

May God show mercy and grace to all of us who are struggling to figure out our way through this crazy, mixed-up world. :)  Grace and peace.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I just want to say I'am a catholic man and hold the bible close to me every day of my life, I also would like to say I am a gay man at the age of 45 who struggled all my life with sexuality and made it my goal since I first known I was a gay man to try and convert myself and destroy these feelings I have for another males until of coarse when I reach the age of 41. I am also not gullible and believe in the things I see or experienced myself in which I am very opened minded person so either is something is mentioned in the bible or not doesn't mean the bible is right but yet I still hold it close to me. There are a lot of sins written into the bible that are optional and unfortunately homosexuality is not one of them. I felt like I wasn't normal and no matter how hard I tried these type of feelings would never develop for the opposite sex. I did a lot of research and participated in quite a few events to try and convert myself to become heterosexual but none of them ever worked. I am a family man type of guy and always wanted a life to share with someone and have children. I love reading opinions but when you say homosexuality is wrong you are making it sound like it is a choice I have to be heterosexual or homosexual but as gay man I know you are in fact incorrect. Trust me it took me 25 years of my life to realize I cannot change that part of me either if I was to become hetero or bisexual just as long as the attraction was there towards women and now that I am 45 and halfway through my lifetime or maybe more as I could die sooner but so much has changed since I came out at 41 and now I am much healthier than I ever was physically and mentally. And on another note I don't understand why people are bothered by it as it doesn't affect them in anyway as lovemaking between 2 people are to be kept private, if it was publicly displayed then this is why there are laws against it but its not just towards homosexual couples its any type of nudity. The dark part of this world you speak of is not because of marriage equality it is because of all the hate/negativity. Even some of the biggest things that are positive go on in the world today barely get noticed but when something negative happens it attracts 10 times more attention than anything positive, its a shame really. It's not that people are not intelligent its that people are so gullible these days they believe anything they read or hear even without any proof. Love is part of being human and again homosexuality is not a choice so in saying this you can see why I am concerned. So if you were homosexual then you know and understand what it feels like to be part of you. I can't speak for all homosexuals but from the support groups I have attended all we want is for a chance to feel normal. I think it is important to be open minded especially when you know nothing of a particular topic like being homosexual.