Homosexual “Marriage”

Whether or not homosexual marriage should be legalized in the United States is one issue that just will not go away. It continues to be an epic fight with battle lines (apparently) clearly drawn…

RingAnnouncer-bwIn this corner, representing “fairness,” “progressive ideas,” and the “full rights of citizenship for all,” the ADVOCATES OF LEGALIZING HOMOSEXUAL MARRIAGE!

And in the other corner, standing tall for “traditional values,” “the sanctity of marriage,” and a “biblical worldview,” the CHAMPIONS OF TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE!

The first side is working tirelessly for the legalization of homosexual marriage everywhere. The other side is fighting hard to make sure that the only legally recognized marriage in the United States remains the marriage between one man and one woman.

And, if you happen to find yourself in a discussion on the topic, you should be prepared for a couple of things:

  1. If there are people in the discussion who have opposing views on the matter, the discussion will likely digress into an argument.
  2. You may be asked which side of the issue you are on — and the choices offered to you will likely be one of the two outlined above.

But, I would like to offer a third alternative. You see, I am standing firmly in a neutral corner.  Don’t misunderstand me, now. I stand firmly with the Scriptural teaching concerning the sinfulness of homosexuality and the definition of marriage. But, if you look closely at this bout, you will see the sinfulness of homosexuality and the biblical definition of marriage are really not the issues. What is at issue is how the state will ultimately rule on the matter — as if their decree will decide anything.

I think Christians who are engaged in this fight are making a terrible mistake. Not for standing up for what the Bible clearly says about homosexuality or marriage, but for arguing theological points with politicians. To argue theology with them is to miss a much larger point. It’s also an implied acceptance of a premise we ought to reject outright.

Fighting this battle in its current context assumes that the state has the authority to define what is and is not marriage — and it does not.

Marriage was instituted by God. He created it. He defines it. The state has no more authority to define marriage than it does to define salvation. The matters are just not open to debate. God has spoken. It is settled.

Don’t fall prey to the erroneous notion that something is morally or ethically right merely because it has been passed into law. All sorts of morally repugnant things are laws:

  • Abortion is legal is many parts of the world.
  • In China married couples are legally prohibited from having more than one child.

Likewise, many legitimate activities have been criminalized:

  • In many parts of the United States, if you own a milk cow it is illegal for you to consume the raw milk it produces.
  • You can even be fined for cutting someone’s hair without a license.

So whether or not something is legal is a very poor indicator of its inherent rightness. Never forget, God is Lord of the Law, too. And, with that in mind, I really could not care less whether or not any state recognizes my marriage to my wife. It’s not open to their scrutiny. What matters is whether or not God recognizes our marriage. Do our brothers and sisters in Christ see our marriage as consistent with Scripture? Did our church authorize our union? These are the things that matter. I’ve always wondered why marriage licenses even exist. Marriage does not belong to the state so why does the state need to issue permission in the form of a license to anyone? It’s ridiculous.

BoxingGlovesMost Christians would agree that the issue of salvation is a more important theological issue than same-sex marriages. We don’t have state licenses for salvation. The state does not recognize anyone’s conversion. Why not? Because, it’s none of their business.

I have friends who adhere to different religious beliefs than I do. I can share my faith with them and they with me. But we don’t try to force our beliefs on one another through the power of state coercion. If we did we’d cease to be friends. Our freedom to choose for ourselves how we will conduct our lives is paramount in a free society.

I don’t mind if two men get “married” in a ceremony by someone professing to represent God as a priest or pastor. I think they should be free to do that and the state should butt out. Is that form of “marriage” an abomination before God? Yes. Will I recognize their “marriage” as legitimate? No. No more than I will recognize someone’s professed salvation through Buddha. But, according to 1 Corinthians 5:12, it is none of my business to judge those outside the church for their sinful behavior. God handles that. I am accountable to my brothers and sisters in Christ and am to hold them accountable in turn.

But we all should agree on one point: In matters of theology — whether it concerns salvation or marriage or whatever — politicians should never be allowed to operate under the illusion that they are the ones who define such matters.

They are not.

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About Chip
Chip is a graduate of Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, AR and Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary in Memphis, TN. He served more than five years on the staff of the State Convention of Baptists in Indiana as Director of Communications and Public Relations, editor of the Indiana Baptist newsjournal, and regular contributor to the Baptist Press, the official news service of the Southern Baptist Convention. He currently earns his living as a writer. He serves his local church as a teacher and deacon and his local Baptist Association as a Seminary Extension instructor and supply preacher.

13 Responses to Homosexual “Marriage”

  1. Mark says:

    Or you could stop sweating over the finer details of what other people do in bed and focus your ideological energies on constructive endeavours such as poverty and the environment.

    Because if you don’t channel your obsessions into the preservation of the planet, you wont have the luxury of obsessing over the bedroom habits of consenting adults.

    Starving children need your help more than we need your moralising. Do you see where this is going? Good. Go forth and get with the programme.

  2. Chip says:

    Mark,

    You completely missed the point of this article (if you read past the headline at all). I am neither “sweating over the finer details of what other people do in bed” nor “obsessing over the bedroom habits of consenting adults.” Perhaps you missed the part where I said “I DON’T MIND if two men get ‘married’…” (again, not sure if you read this or not).

    No, Mark, the point of THIS article is that we need to stop accepting the idea that governments have the authority to define what is and is not marriage. The two sides in this fight are trying to utilize the power of government to force the other side to accept a point of view with which they adamantly disagree.

    The point of THIS article is to remove government from the equation altogether. Perhaps you missed the part where I said Christians engaged in this fight are making “a terrible mistake” by accepting this premise (again, not sure if you actually read the article).

    No, the point of THIS article was to demonstrate that both sides in this fight would be better off if they stopped caring whether or not the state granted them permission to marry. It’s sort of a live-and-let-live approach to the whole issue. The federal government of the United States could decide tomorrow that a Christian wedding is no longer considered valid and I would not care one whit. You know why? Because they don’t have the authority to make such a declaration. They might as well make a decree repealing the law of gravity. It won’t change anything.

    But, I’ve said all this already (in the article). Do you see where this is going? Good. Now go actually read the article.

    • Mark says:

      Yeah I read it. All. But you see I can’t get past your bigotry: “I stand firmly with the Scriptural teaching concerning the sinfulness of homosexuality and the definition of marriage.” History, and indeed today’s news teaches us that the pious are usually shouting to deflect from their own moral quandaries. Christianity is getting thrashed by the day, thanks to the catholics.

      As for your earnest point about politics, well, the root of that word lies in ‘popularity’ so I guess the law changes when enough people want it. Looks like the world at large is beginning to see the paradox of a moralising xtian. Cheers, Canute.

  3. Chip says:

    Mark,

    It is easy to dismiss an argument with name calling. You say you can’t get past my “bigotry”?

    I’m sorry, but holding to a different worldview is not bigotry. The definition of bigotry is, “the state of mind of a bigot: someone who, as a result of their prejudices, treats other people with hatred, contempt, and intolerance.”

    I hold to a biblical worldview, one that is clearly different from your own. Yet, I do not treat you (or homosexuals) with hatred, contempt, or intolerance (understanding “tolerance” and “acceptance” are two different things). In fact, my article is most tolerant of homosexuals. One of my points was for Christians NOT to judge homosexuals who are outside the church. That is God’s job.

    Let me share with you a quote from another Christian blogger that may help you understand my worldview…

    “The most offensive thing I believe is Genesis 1:1 and everything it implies. That is, I believe in a sovereign Creator who is Lord and Definer of all. Everything in the universe — the planet, the laws of physics, the laws of morality, you, me — everything was created by Another, was designed by Another, was given value and definition by Another. God is Creator and Lord, and so He is ultimate. That means we are created and subjects, and therefore derivative and dependent. Therefore, we are not free to create meaning or value. We have only two options. We can discover the true value assigned by the Creator and revealed in His Word, the Bible; or we can rebel against that meaning.”

    You are right, it is possible to legislate based on popular opinion. It is possible to get enough people together and accumulate enough power to force your beliefs on others — that doesn’t make it right. Hitler criminalized an entire ethnic group. By your logic he was justified because he had enough people supporting him in the effort. Sorry, but I could not disagree with that philosophy more. And that was the point of my article — not that homosexuality is sinful (although it is), but that groups of people should not use force to get others to conform to their views.

  4. Frank says:

    Chip,

    Mark may have read your article, but what he can’t “get past” is the fact you hold to a different view than he does. I suspect nothing but complete agreement with him will be satisfactory for Mark. For all their touting of diversity and tolerance, the left can be quite intolerant of anyone not just like themselves.

    Ironic.

    • Mark says:

      Ok chip, dont patronise me with your ‘acceptance’. I don’t need it, but really, thanks anyway for being so magnanimous. If you deem the word ‘bigotry’ to be an insult or name calling, then it would reveal that you feel an element of guilt, for it is in fact an observation, not an attack.

      You are bigoted. The Klu Klux Klan used to speak of ethnic minorities in the same way. No one would argue that you are not bigoted. That’s not up for discussion.

      Which brings us to Frank. You really think you can be intolerant and then when someone you perceive as an easy target points out your bigotry you instantly play the victim?

      Chip, Frank, if you are so vulnerable in a grown up discussion that you cry foul as soon as someone disagrees with you, then you shouldn’t enter the forum in the first place.

  5. Chip says:

    Mark,

    You continue to miss the whole point of this article. It’s not about the morality of homosexuality. It’s about rejecting the state’s authority to define morality for us. You may have read the article, but you have failed to comprehend it. By removing the state from the debate, we both have the freedom to practice our beliefs unfettered. I’m not trying to force you to believe like me and I expect the same courtesy in return.

    Instead of commenting on the topic at hand you have merely repeated your original insult by calling me a bigot. This is an ad hominem attack — you’ve attacked me instead of addressing my argument.

    You are welcome to comment here. You are welcome to disagree with me. But, one criterion for commenting here is that you address the topic at hand and refrain from personal attacks. Do that and we can have a discussion. Keep posting personal attacks and I will delete them.

    Your call.

  6. Frank says:

    Mark,

    In my original comment I said the thing you can’t “get past” is Chip’s differing viewpoint. You have just agreed with me by saying you can’t address his argument because of his “moral” viewpoint.

    It appears I hit the bullseye.

    • Mark says:

      It appears that people can’t have any kind of rational discussion with someone who believes that an ideology is fact. It kind of renders anything an xtian says as moot. So, Frank, own goal for you. Ipso facto – sorry about that.

      Next!

      • Frank says:

        Mark,

        Considering that you are the one who has resisted having a rational discussion and have even admitted that you can’t address the subject at hand because of someone else’s viewpoint, I’d say the only moot comments on this post so far have been your own.

        Which begs the question: Do you really not see how every comment you make illustrates my points, or are you being ironic on purpose?

  7. Pingback: Religious Freedom vs. Gay Rights | Thideology™

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