This week the Supreme Court began hearing arguments in the Hollingsworth v. Perry case (aka. Proposition 8, aka. Legalizing Gay Marriage). Many feel this is a political issue while others feel it’s a deeply religious issue, but for certain it’s a very divisive issue. Many Christians have been accused of hate and bigotry at every turn for opposing gay marriage, but that’s not the reason Christians (or at least the ones I know) oppose gay marriage! It’s because of love. Let me explain.
To make sure we’re all starting with the same information let’s discuss what’s at issue. Proposition 8 was placed on the ballot and passed in 2008 as an amendment to the state constitution of California which stated that “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” A ballot amendment is where the voters of the state of California voted according to their majority values that they wanted their state to recognize marriage as only between a man and woman. Any legal resident of the state of California had the right to vote on this amendment and it passed. Therefore, the majority population of the state of California believes in the “traditional” view of marriage.
Also at issue is the Defense of Marriage Act which was drafted and passed by the 104th United States Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996. The main point of the law reads as follows:
Section 2. Powers reserved to the states No State, territory, or possession of the United States, or Indian tribe, shall be required to give effect to any public act, record, or judicial proceeding of any other State, territory, possession, or tribe respecting a relationship between persons of the same sex that is treated as a marriage under the laws of such other State, territory, possession, or tribe, or a right or claim arising from such relationship.
Section 3. Definition of marriage In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the word ‘marriage’ means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word ‘spouse’ refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.
Proponents for gay marriage want basically two things. 1) To have Proposition 8 ruled unconstitutional in the state of California, 2) A Federal ruling legalizing gay marriage nationwide (similar to the Roe vs. Wade ruling) and giving them “equal protection” under the law for the same rights as heterosexual married couples.
I do not support gay marriage and it’s not because I’m a homophobe, a bigot, or that I hate some group of people…it’s quite the opposite. Look at what the Bible says:
1 Corinthians 6:9-11 NIV – 9 Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
There are several other verses I could reference, but this verse sums up all others very nicely. First of all this passage very clearly states that “men who have sex with men” (or homosexuals) will not inherit the kingdom of God. Is the Apostle Paul trying to single out homosexuals and turn them into some sort of unforgivable monsters out to destroy everyone? NO! Notice who else he points out, the sexually immoral (anyone who has sex outside of a marriage between a man and a woman!), thieves, greedy people, drunks, slanderers, and swindlers! Paul isn’t singling out homosexual behavior as unforgivable…quite to the contrary! He indicates in verse 11 that the Christians in Corinth used to be involved in the very same sins he listed, and they had been forgiven!
I do not stand in opposition of gay marriage because I hate gay people. I don’t! Paul didn’t stand in opposition to the practice of homosexuality because he hated gay people. He didn’t! God doesn’t forbid homosexuality because he hates gay people. He doesn’t! In fact God sent his only son, Jesus, to die for the gays, the straights, the drunks, the sober, the murderers, the peace keepers, the adulterers, the faithful spouses, the liars, the honest…you see my point. Jesus died for all so that all people everywhere, regardless of their past failures, could be saved! And until Christians fully understand this, embrace this, and live this, and share this fundamental truth of our faith we will be misunderstood by many as homophobic and hateful people. In large part, we Christians haven’t been doing a good enough job of sharing the love of Christ with others, and we must fix that problem NOW!
I have had very good friends in my life who were alcoholics. I love those friends and care about them, so much so that I don’t support their drinking. It’s bad for them…it hurts them whether they see it or not. God tells us that it hurts them spiritually and that sin separates them from a right relationship with God. That’s the worst part of drunkenness!
I have had very good friends in my life who were gay. I love those friends and care about them, so much so that I don’t support their homosexual lifestyle. It’s bad for them…it hurts them whether they see it or not. God tells us that it hurts them spiritually and that sin separates them from a right relationship with God. That’s the worst part of homosexuality!
1 Timothy 2:3-6 NIV – 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time.
So there it is. Christians love others and wish for them to do what is right in the eyes of God. We’re imperfect people trying to live out and teach others a message of perfection…and that’s pretty difficult to do! Do we always get it right? No. Are there some Christians that come across as hateful? Unfortunately, yes. Does that mean that we are all hateful people? Not at all!
Christians have truly messed up big time in spreading the message of the Gospel! When people feel the reason we don’t support something is because of hate towards other people, they don’t understand the love of Christ, and that’s our fault! We must show the love of Christ to all people at all times and in all situations, while remaining faithful to God’s commands. Let’s get to work!
What are some ways you feel Christians could do a better job in showing the love of Christ to others?
6 thoughts on “Proposition 8: How Christians have messed up big time!”
This isn’t about “love” … what we’re talking about are not religious issues but civic issues and no where in our constitution does it tie civil rights and protections guaranteed to all citizens to the holy, inspired Word of God.
Thank you, though for being up front about how well-meaning Christian peoples have really screwed up the witness they try to live out.
For me, one of the best places to start was a thorough understanding of the Scripture.
Before I had the courage to stop lying to myself about being gay, I clung desperately to what I had been TOLD about homosexuality and joined the chorus against those who were gay. (I was also a staunch Republican.) After I came out, I would still struggle with those un-Godly messages about gays that had been ingrained in me in the name of religion. I did not before or after Acts 17:11….I did not delve into the Word and see what it was talking about–what it was REALLY talking about.
But a deeper study of this Holy book revealed to me that I may not have been taught the truth, but a biased, maligned version.
A deeper study of the culture of the Bible and its context helped free me from these misapplications of the Word that had burdened my very soul. The information in the link below is based on that analysis and I share it here out of hope that religious love become truly all-inclusive as it was always intended.
Many people will refuse to read the information in this link. Many will immediately refuse to consider these possibilities. And many will disagree with what’s written here. But the context and historical facts can’t be denied.
I applaud your posture of loving everyone regardless of who they are genetically created to be (black, gay, Asian, etc.) or what religion they choose or what sins they commit (divorce, fornication, gossip, slander, hypocrisy, etc.). I hope that you and others like you will also commit yourselves to fully understand what it is you are calling “sin” and apply your fervor equally to all those sins, particularly the ones heterosexuals commit (with a historical perspective on what Christian peoples used to be vehemently against) and then perhaps your witness of love will become more authentic.
I appreciate your thoughts on the issue tdub! I’m not sure that we see eye to eye on everything, but we don’t have to. Let’s keep the line of communication open and love in our hearts. Thanks for reading!
gotta admit–when i saw the notification come up that you’d replied, i held my breath for a second. But your attitude is refreshing. 🙂 Thanks!
Wow! That was inspiring. I share much of the same unfortunate religious background that you have. It’s was an experience that consumed a majority of my still ‘young life’. It’s not something that I would ever wish to put anyone through. It is extremely emotionally and physically detrimental to one’s well being, happiness, and mental health. It is sad that these crushing and life destroying ideologies exist. I’ve made a difference in many of my older conservative family members by showing them the bare facts with a Bible in front of them. Even with facts staring them in the face, it is still like climbing a mountain to get some of them to change something they have always been told to be true, even if entirely false. My comment says much of the same that yours does with just more specifics (still awaiting moderation from Matt) lol.
There is no doubt in my mind that those who believe as Matt does will not exist in fifty years from now. A new generation of Christians are being brought into the world who understand that Jesus showed people love and that that is the best witnessing tool. For the non-Christians of this generation, well they were never against homosexuality in the first place. 99% of those who are opposed to homosexuality do so based on religious reason. So it’s in the near future that hopefully no one will ever again have to go through what you and I have. Every day more support blossoms.
I thoroughly appreciate the honest interaction here.
Tread carefully my “Christian” friends. You claim to not judge, but how else do you refer to outwardly expressing your blatant disagreement with something that, in your opinion, is sinful?
I think that many people today are confused as to what the word “judging” means, and what it means “to judge.” Judging is the process of passing a judgment. To judge is to simply form an opinion or conclusion about something. Essentially, it is to claim whether or not something is right or wrong. To simply claim that anything is wrong is in fact to pass a judgment. To state it out loud, or to go as far as giving any specific conditions which would make any individual a “sinner” is undoubtedly blasphemous. Where in the Bible does it give anyone the authority to discern to another person what is and what is not sin?
Some Christians love to use catchy phrases to justify their own condemnation and judgment of others and to justify passing a judgment on any sin, idea, behavior, activity, or person. If you didn’t already know this, the Bible actually does not say anywhere directly “to not judge”. But it becomes very close. It can’t state to not judge, because judging is necessary in everyday life and must be used to make decisions. Note that the Bible does not directly say to not judge, but says to judge “….with right judgment” (John 7:24) and to “….judge righteously” (Proverbs 31:9). It’s extremely important to note two types of judgment acknowledged in the Bible: rightful judgment and wrongful judgment. The Bible must acknowledge that rightful and correct judgment exists because it is a necessity of life. You cannot go through life without rightfully judging whether or not you should do something, or whether or not something is right or wrong for you to do. It is essentially decision-making in its simplest form. It’s fairly easy to understand the line between rightful and wrongful judgment. If you are judging whether or not something is right or wrong for you, or whether or not you should do a particular task, then you are rightfully judging your own life. If you are judging anything to do with anyone but yourself—judging someone else’s actions, activities or behaviors—then you are judging wrongfully. The Bible makes careful note to not state that judgment is sinful, but to discourage it stating “judge not, and you will not be judged” in dozens of locations, as compared to the 3 verses I have found that could possibly encourage judgment in any way. If you conclude that these verses are in fact encouraging judgment, they are undoubtedly encouraging the judgment of your own life, and not of others.
Disregarded Bible Verses of the 21st Century
In response to what is “definitely not biblical”, so “clearly stated”, “proof” , or “false doctrine”, let us review a few other “clearly stated” verses:
-Disobedient children should be stoned to death (Deuteronomy 21:18-21).
-If I chop your penis off you won’t go to heaven, despite your choice and/or inability to stop someone from removing it (Deuteronomy 23:1).
-One born to unwed parents may not attend church, or enter heaven until they have been cleansed by at least 10 generations of offspring (Deuteronomy 23:2).
-All women that have sex with men should be killed. Men should engage in sexual activities only with girls (Numbers 31:17-18).
-Women should not be allowed to speak during church (1 Corinthians 14:34).
-Killing interracial couples is a good deed in the eyes of the Lord (Numbers 25:6-1).
-If you were born to an unwed mother, you cannot enter the church (Deuteronomy 23:2).
-Women should not be allowed to pray with their heads uncovered, and it is a disgrace to a man if he has long hair (1 Corinthians 11:13-15).
-If evidence is found that a woman is not a virgin on her marriage night, then she should be put in front of the city and stoned to death by all the men (Deuteronomy 22:20-21).
-If your hand causes you to sin, it should be cut off. For a life handless is better than an eternity in Hell (Mark 9:43).
-Slavery should still exist (1 Peter 2:18; Ephesians 6:5).
This list can continue with more Old and New Testament laws listed above. Like a lot of you have said, you can’t pick and choose what to and what not to abide by. The Bible was written by man, not God, leaving it open to a man’s bias and opinion. Not only was it open to a man’s bias and opinion when it was written, but it was an opinion formed over 3,000 years ago. Do you know how different life was in the time period when the Bible was written? It wasn’t even written in English. It was written in Hebrew which had to be translated by PEOPLE—a translation which was left open to those PEOPLE’s interpretations. So to take any biblical verse literally, in a word for word interpretation, is idiocy. Besides, even if the Bible was somehow magically translated perfectly into English, without any influence from man, you still should never take a verse literally because most biblical verses are to be understood by reading a large passage as a whole to better understand the message that is intended to be delivered, relative to what is being discussed, rather than a single sentence pulled out of context. Homosexuality as it was understood thousands of years ago, as you think it is referenced in the Bible, is certainly not anything close to what homosexuality is today. In fact, in my personal study I’ve arrived at the conclusion that the Bible actually mentions nothing of homosexuality. The word ‘homosexual’ did not even exist 300 years ago, let alone 3,000. I am probably getting too technical for most of you, if you want to read on about the specifics check out my blog at http://craigforsure.wordpress.com
Misconceptions About Homosexuality
All sins are choices. God gave man free will to choose his actions. To claim that being a homosexual is a sin is to also claim that being a homosexual is a choice. What really alarms me the most about these individual ideas and opinions that most of you have about homosexuality is that you are convinced that someone’s sexuality can change or that they can repent from their sexuality; and by repent, I mean recognizing that their practicing of homosexual acts is sinful and turning away from that sin. Do you actually believe that can be? Talk to a few people who are actually homosexuals and see what they have to tell you about that. They all think that you’re a bunch of crazy lunatics. It’s no different than asking a heterosexual to not practice heterosexual acts. Let’s be blunt: Do you really think that someone can change what gets their dick hard? I’ll answer it; you can’t. You can answer it to, think you can change that about yourself? Didn’t think so. Do you realize what it is that you are asking? To actually convince a homosexual that changing their sexuality—or not acting on their sexual urges and romantic longing to fall in love—is possible, would be to have them spend a lifetime of misery trying to conform to someone’s opinion of homosexuality, or homosexual acts, as sinful. They won’t make it out alive; lives are ruined and are lost because of this. So sad. The discrepancy lies within the inability for most to recognize that homosexuality is no more of a choice than it is a choice that you choose heterosexuality. Disagree? Are you a homosexual? No? Oh, you’re not a homosexual, yet you know that homosexuality is a choice? You’re a heterosexual who acknowledges that you didn’t choose to be straight but claim that homosexuals chose to be gay? That is one of the most illogical arguments that I have ever heard. Someone’s sexuality isn’t a choice. And if it is, when did you choose to be straight? Still unsure of the answer? Well, there is only one way to find out the truth. Why don’t you go around and ask some homosexuals if they chose to be that way? This seems like an unfair advantage that God would have given to straight people, don’t you think? Sin makes sense. God didn’t draw sin out of a bucket. Homosexuality being a sin hurts no one. It doesn’t make sense for it be a sin on multiple levels. I’d be curious to see how many homosexuals tell you that they chose to be gay. I won’t even begin to explain how silly it would be for someone to choose a sexuality that society disgraces, a sexuality that forces you hide who you are from family and friends, a sexuality that makes you feel so alone and want to kill yourself every night because of the uneducated people around you who have actually made you start to wonder whether you are choosing this physical attraction that will eternally damn you to hell. Some try to change this about themselves under the influence of close relatives who are in strong opposition to homosexuality, these are the ones that usually end up killing themselves out of misery; they can’t change their sexuality and they become overwhelmed and stressed knowing that if they told their family they would never accept nor agree with them and possibly be disowned by them.
Homosexuality With Regards to the Church of the 21st Century
This is why the Church runs away gays, and why you don’t find very many gay Christians. The Church preaches a message of “it’s a sin just like any other sin” at best. For people who don’t know about Jesus or the Church, hearing a message, that the way they live their life and something which they have no control over is a choice, is the absolute last thing that they need to hear, nor is it even remotely true. They’ve probably already had enough turmoil throughout their lives just trying to accept who they are, worrying about what their family or friends might think about them or dealing with the shit people gave them over it. After coming to terms with themselves, the last thing that they need is Bible-thumpers telling them that their sexuality is a sin and that if they repent they will be “fixed.” It turns people away and gives a message of which I think Jesus would be quite ashamed. The Church needs a wake-up call. I’ve never heard of something as absolutely outrageous as calling someone’s sexuality sinful.
Thinking for Yourself
I don’t have all of the answers; but if you actually research some of this stuff, rather than quoting old and outdated misinterpreted Bible verses that applied to people that lived 3,000 years ago, you will find that there is just as much addressing of the few verses that reference ‘homosexuality as misinterpretations’ as there are referencing other Bible verses that humanity seems to justify not following as ‘misinterpretations.’ Many people like to sit around quoting Bible verses. Why, because it’s easy, and by nature people tend to look only for more support for their pre-existing ideas or opinions. If a Bible verse supports their theory, they use it; if it doesn’t, they ignore it. Can you believe that only 150 years ago Americans thought that slavery was acceptable and practiced it regularly—and that they found biblical ways to justify it? Crazy. Want to go on a real Bible adventure? Try researching why we no longer obey some of the New and Old Testament law. Try to find out why we can now eat raw meat, or meat boiled in water without the guts attached, despite scripture that prohibits it. The Bible is one of the oldest, most complex, amazing books ever known to man. I find myself in awe at its organization and how cleverly worded some of the statements are so that they could not be easily dislodged. Bible verses are more than meet the eye. Don’t just quote scripture as a basis for your argument against homosexuality.
All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness – 2 Timothy 3:16
To your wife, Jennifer, who feels the need to post to Facebook images and/or statuses which display that she is in opposition to gay marriage. Is this how you think that Jesus witnessed to people? It’s not even close. You show people Jesus with your love, your actions, your life, and how you treat people, and then when the time is right you introduce them to Jesus. Then and only then can you encourage them to study in the word and in reading they will become aware of their own sin, or perhaps through a Bible study amongst other Christians etc. You might think “well what if they don’t agree is sin what I believe is sin, I must show them that it is sin!” No you don’t have to show them that, and no where does the Bible encourage or recommend it, it in fact condemns it. If they don’t believe what you believe is sin it doesn’t matter. You have effectively witnessed and hopefully allowed someone to reach salvation; your work is done. It isn’t your duty to play God drive your personal interpretations of the Bible into their minds.
I know that people who believe as you do will not exist in fifty years from now. A new generation of people is being brought into the world who understand that Jesus showed people love and that that is the best witnessing tool. But for our current generation, I hope you realize how truly damaging to these homosexuals your ideas, beliefs, and opinions are. Not only is it damaging, it is un-true.
For Those of You Plagued With the Question of Homosexuality vs. the Bible:
If you truly want an unbiased opinion, then do not listen to ANYONE or be swayed in any one direction by any biased person; and don’t listen to anyone who tells you that they are unbiased, because everyone is biased to some extent. I do acknowledge efforts to form an unbiased opinion. It is, however, still an opinion. Read the Bible for yourself and interpret the verses in your own way; read the passages in their entirety and never just a singled-out verse. You can develop your own personal beliefs this way. It may turn you away from Christianity or bring you more toward it. Either way, at least you’ll be able to back your decision intelligently and with evidence. For God to call something that cannot be changed and something that isn’t a choice ‘sinful’ doesn’t seem very loving to me. Therefore, I continue to search for answers to this age-old debate.