Sunday, February 27, 2011

The inevitablity of 'gay marriage'

I have always believed that homosexual conduct is morally wrong. I also believe that two people of the same gender being "married," from a purely secular sociological view, is an oxymoron.

That said, in light of U.S. attorney general Eric Holder's recently-expressed interest in overturning the federal Defense of Marriage Act, I'm forced to concede that same-gender matrimony will likely soon become legal in this country (though I won't put a timetable on it). And there's nothing we'll be able to do about it.

However, I don't believe that you can simply blame that just on society's general "moral breakdown," liberal, activist judges or gay advocacy groups. Rather, I suggest that our Western romance-based marriage culture is the primary culprit, because often we base our choices for a partner largely on physical attraction, often (at least from a "Christian" viewpoint) devolving into "spiritualized lust." What if you're truly attracted to someone of the same gender, a topic which actually isn't addressed in Scripture? Remember that marriages in that day and culture were arranged.

Those who say that the Scripture prohibits homosexual conduct may get the response that opposing "gay marriage" on that basis is "outdated." And they have a fair point.

The immediate context of such is that it's part of the "world system" -- something that God's people were to avoid because of its prevalence in surrounding cultures. I would say that He wrote it into Leviticus to distinguish ancient Israel from neighboring nations who, although the text doesn't say this, were probably engaged in that as well as other detestable practices. As far as the New Testament, the former singles pastor of my church has suggested that about 70 percent of ancient Rome, probably due to the accepted practice of infanticide of female babies, was homosexual, which is why the Apostle Paul had to address it. (Jesus never did because ancient Israel, generally His audience, wasn't involved.)

Basically, that means that, when it came to fighting "gay rights," we went beyond Scriptural mandates, focusing upon their particular evil and in the process misusing God's Word -- and, not coincidentally, since Anita Bryant's 1977 crusade in Miami, using gays as political piƱatas to raise money and outrage. We accused them of preying on children when 90 percent of acts of child sexual abuse are committed by heterosexuals. We accused them of "recruiting" (i.e. placing literature in racks on college campuses to publicize their activities, like anyone else). We accused them of trying to gain undefined "special rights."

As a result, and also because people began to develop sympathy for beleaguered gays, we began to lose that public relations battle. According to former right-wing journalist David Brock, who himself is gay, the gay-rights movement actually got a boost from the Republican Party's national convention in 1992, with white-hot speeches about a "culture war" turning off so much of the electorate that even many Republicans voted for Bill Clinton for president.

Many of us say, and I used to believe, that gays actually chose their orientation, but after reading a chapter in Philip Yancey's "What's So Amazing About Grace" about writer Mel White, a personal friend who had worked for and with such luminaries as Billy Graham, Pat Robertson and the late Francis Schaeffer, I now question that. Yancey mentioned that, before he "came out," White had actually undergone such things as shock therapy, aversion therapy and even exorcisms to kill his attraction to other men. Eventually he gave up.

The last stand turned out the be the legalization of same-gender matrimony -- I don't care to use the term "gay marriage" because it gives the mistaken impression that marriage is all about sex -- by a Massachusetts judge in 2004, which spooked a number of folks into voting for George W. Bush for reelection that year. However, with the war in Iraq dragging on, the economy failing and incidents of corruption by a number of Republican politicians being exposed, "moral issues" were placed on the back burner and what we know as the religious right, which had always led the charge, became increasingly irrelevant.

We also recently realized, or should have, that many, if not most, secular conservatives had no interest in fighting such things as gay rights and abortion, which led to a number of "culture warriors" skipping the recent Conservative Political Action Conference because of the presence of at least one prominent gay Republican group. (As though there's no such thing as gay conservatives -- be real.)

Anyway, because it's becoming more accepted and will likely achieve legal sanction, let's consider some of the implications down the road for those Christians opposed to "gay marriage": Are we willing to become social pariahs for the sake of the Kingdom of God? Are we willing to sacrifice social, let alone financial, support for various ministries that we operate publicly? (This should put the lie to the idea that the church of Jesus Christ is primarily, or even secondarily, a social-service agency.)

I don't see the Catholic or Mormon churches, both of which maintain a similar stance, as being similarly affected socially because they don't have the same kind of cultural position we evangelicals had or sought. Much of the African-American church, which also understands being marginalized, will also "keep on keeping on" -- polls have indicated that black Christians, the vast majority of which voted for President Obama in 2008, also were major supporters of Proposition 8, the successful ballot measure in California banning same-gender matrimony now under attack.

Bottom line, it might be time for a slice of humble pie because the tide has been turning for a while. And, strangely enough, in losing this part of the "culture war" we may actually gain down the road by focusing on God and His Kingdom and not changing the outside world so that we can live in it and avoid true spiritual warfare.

1 comment:

Raymond said...

I agree that gay marriage is inevitable since much of society has accepted homosexual behavior as normal and unchangeable. We have already lost the culture war, it is the church we most fight for now. The fact is that it is not natural or unchangeable. Thousands have left homosexuality when turning to Christ through organizations such as Exodus International. Moses, Jesus, Paul and Peter all relate the fact that it is a sin. A sin equal to any other sin small or great, since all sin is equal in God's eyes. Through Christ we have forgiveness, as you well know, but with homosexuality there is usually not a willingness to repent. Augustine of Hippo stated that if homosexuality was accepted by every nation in the world, it would still be a sin. If the world wants to accept that, so be it. If the church accepts that then we might as well through away God's word and join the world's view of God and our Savior.