Independent Christian Voice

Wednesday

An alternative perspective (by an evangelical) on the gay marriage issue

Originally posted on the OKCTalk.com forum discussing the topic, "Lutheran Church okays same sex marriage": I've been puzzled as to why this issue has been elevated by the Religious Right to such a preeminent status. Is this really the most important thing we have to worry about? Consider this: How important was it to Jesus? Go back through the gospels and read the red letters. How much time did He spend talking about homosexuality or homosexual marriage? Overall, throughout the Bible, how much time is dedicated to this issue? Other than Levitical law and the brief mention in Romans 1, how many other references are there to it? I contend you will be hard pressed to find (m)any more references at all. In contrast, based on the number of references to it in scripture, what issue was highlighted to a much greater degree? Poverty. There are approximately 3000 verses that relate to issues of the poor. The only issue that receives more attention has to do with idolatry. To me, that means it must be an important issue to God. Why then has gay marriage taken center stage as one of the two most important issues facing our country today? Have we sufficiently addressed the poverty issue? Hardly. More families are below the federal definition of poverty than ever before (and many experts agree that the current guidelines are obsolete and that many more families should be included in these poverty numbers) — and that's if we are only supposed to care about people in our own backyard. Worldwide, poverty has crippled hundreds of millions. How, then, does this "gay marriage" issue rise above poverty — an issue that seems to be much more of a focus for God, based on scripture? Some Christians will contend that gay marriage threatens the very foundation of society — the traditional family. How, then, is a traditional family defined? One man and one woman, most Christians would say. But many Christians conveniently forget (or choose to ignore) that divorce would be a violation of God's original plan for marriage. "Until death do us part" is the vow (most of us) take in a wedding ceremony. Nearly half of all marriages never make it to the death part. So a vow (to God, in the marriages of Christians) is broken; go back and do a bible study on how seriously God treats broken vows. And yet, the divorce rate WITHIN the church is nearly identical to the divorce rate among the unchurched. Divorce has had a much more ravaging effect on the moral fiber and cohesive fabric of our country. Where's the great crusade to ban divorce? God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16) and forbids divorce and remarriage (Mark 10:7-10, Luke 16:18). And yet, it's as pervasive a problem among God's own people. Perhaps the evangelical crusade that is so passionate about the gay marriage issue should first clean its own house before cleaning the houses of others. Or better put...
"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye." — Matthew 7:3-5
Both my brother and sister have been divorced and subsequently remarried. Do I condemn them and pass constitutional amendments barring them from divorce or remarriage? If no, why not? For one thing, it's a religious issue. It's a vow between God and the married couple, and so an issue to be settled between them. In civil society, it's a contractual agreement and, in the case of divorce, a legal dissolution of that contract. Explain how a civil contract between two gay people, which affords the contractual rights and obligations under the law that any couple would want (as okieopus has adequately described), negatively impacts the traditional family (one man and one woman for life, by the Christian definition) — something that's truly rare in this country anymore. A civil union (or marriage) between gays does not affect my marriage. Not only do I have a government-recognized civil contract with my wife, I have made vows before God. It is my vows before God that guides how I relate to my marriage; not the divorce-ridden marriage standard currently in our churches and country today. Additionally, if you look at all the other sins that we're commanded against, leaving out all the Levitical laws that most Christians no longer adhere to — lying, gossiping, cheating, cursing others, neglecting the poor, selfishness, greed, gluttony, arrogance, boasting, disobedience, lack of faith, not loving your neighbors as yourselves, not loving the Lord your God with all your heart, not surrendering to His Lordship in every area of your life, etc. etc. etc. — there are much bigger problems that deserve our attention than gay marriage. I propose a constitutional amendment against lying. But, no, that hits too close to home for too many people. Deceit and mistrust do more to destroy the moral fabric of this country than any gay marriage could. Gays are an easy target. It takes the attention off of our own shortcomings and puts the focus on those who are different from us. The spotlight of outrage for sinful behavior conveniently shifts from our own sins to the sins of others. And, unfortunately for Christians, this crusade takes our eyes off our true mission as Christ's disciples of fulfilling the Great Commission. He did not call us to convert the world by passing more laws. Quite the opposite. Christ's message was one of grace, setting us free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:1). We will not win this world for Christ through crusades for more laws, by passing amendments, or by packing the court with more conservative judges. We, as American Christians, have lost focus. Just some things to think about.

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