Last year President Obama declared his support of gay marriage and, by extension, it took center stage in the political landscape of our country. According to the statistics by Gary Gates of William Institute, if he is accurate there are approximately of 1.7% of Americans that are gay, with an additional 1.8% that are bi-sexual. This means that somewhere between 7-9 million Americans are directly affected by this issue. Over the last few years it has become a very divisive issue to say the least.
Shortly after the President declared his support, there was an intense shifting of support in the military through the Commander in Chief, and in the GOP as some Senators came out in support of gay marriage. Even in the church there was shifting, as a few well know preachers came out in support of same-sex marriage. How should the American Christian population respond to this? And more importantly to many of the young voting populace- Christian or otherwise:what difference does it even make?
Let me give you my thoughts on this. What is important about this issue is morality, the definition of marriage, and what role the government takes in determining those two issues. As if to emphasize these two issues, we should note that before the Supreme Court even reached their decision about the constitutionality of same-sex marriage, groups were already asking “What about polyamory” or in the case of Mark Henkel, he was asking what’s wrong with polygamy? It raises the question regarding Bi-Sexual people; shouldn’t they also be allowed to find fulfillment in their sexuality by having both a husband and wife? What about an adult brother and sister who are of age and want to be married? This issue actually matters far beyond the political implications of how we interpret our right to the pursuit of happiness. It matters because it is an issue of morality.
Ultimately, I think that it makes an enormous difference because at some point the United States of America must draw that red line of morality! Not as a Christian Nation, but as a Nation. Some debate that there is no morality at stake in such an allowance. They argue that if there is a monogamous loving relationship what difference does it make if it is a gay or straight marriage?
I think as we continue to wrestle through this period in our nation’s history, it is important that we consider three things. First, throughout history same-sex marriage has never been accepted as a cultural norm until the last thirty years. Second, from the perspective of Christians, regardless of your support for or against same-sex marriage, we need to be frank and upfront about the fact that the vast majority of Christians in support of gay marriage are arguing from what is called an argument of silence. They argue that since the Bible never specifically addresses same-sex marriage then the passages about homosexuality can’t actually mean what we understand them to mean.
Some of the resources that I have read, say that when Paul wrote the passages about homosexuality there was no way he could have been thinking about a monogamous relationship between two men or two women. When Leviticus spoke out against homosexuality it was more about cultic prostitution, not faithful relationships or in the case of Rob Bell who recently said:
I would begin with, I am for monogamy, I am for fidelity, I am for commitment. I think the world needs more of that. I think that promiscuity is dangerous and promiscuity is destructive … some people are gay and want to share their life with someone and they should be able to. That’s how the world is and we should affirm that. We should affirm monogamy, fidelity and commitment – both gay and straight.