As the comments keep multiplying on my previous post on gay marriage, I thought it best to condense some of the discussion to get at what seems to be the heart of the matter. I’ve enjoyed hearing from each of you (many of you are apparently new readers – welcome), and I’ve entered into a conversation or two on your own blogs as well (click here for a good discussion Paperdreamer and I have been having on ethics and morals).
I’ve gone through all the previous comments (at least the first twenty) and pulled some quotes (hopefully within context) to which to respond. As I think most of you will concur, the issue of gay marriage is ultimately not one of legality or even of morality; the issue is ultimately one of who has the final say in the area of our sexuality (and everything else). For instance:
Vitaminbook: “I’m taking it as a given that nonconsensual romantic or sexual relationships should be illegal…children would be in a position to be exploited by this kind of thing even if it was legal….what marriage is defined as has nothing to do with why most people would agree that adult/child relationships are harmful.”
The questions here are where is the “given” coming from, and why would “most people” agree? The statement implies some kind of outside source (I would say the Christian God) who has already determined right and wrong; we, then, are simply deciding if we agree or disagree with his determination. The fact that we want to break the law – any law – is not a hetero- or homosexual issue; it’s a human one. We all have the two-year-old syndrome: that is, we want what we want, regardless of sexual orientation.
Vitaminbook: “Those who are against gay marriage seem to think that it will open the floodgates for legalized adult/child relationships, but I don’t think that’s being realistic – it’s like saying that legalizing voluntary euthanasia would open the floodgates to legalized, free-for-all murder.”
Given what humankind’s history shows us, we’d be hard-pressed to say it wouldn’t. I’m not trying to blow this point out of proportion, but am simply trying to make the connection that, just as our view of human life/death affects our tendency to respect/take it, so, too, does our view of the purpose for human sexuality affect our perspective in partaking in it.
If our sexuality is removed from God’s intended context of the monogamous man/woman marriage, intimacy has no God-prescribed commitment to cement (which, biblically speaking, is a main purpose of our sexuality). With this as a reality, we will then experiment and walk down some seriously repulsive roads in our search for “satisfaction.”
Vitaminbook: “For the record, I actually do think that people should be allowed to be racist or anti-homosexual if they want.”
On the basis of our shared humanity and the imago dei (image of God) within each of us, I would disagree with this statement completely. I don’t need or want to be “anti-” anyone in order to walk with God and love others.
Escapethedrain: “You and others are commenting on how much marriage is sacred and should be protected (from homosexuals). How sacred is this marriage you speak of when we have the highest divorce rate in the world? (talking the U.S. in general)?”
The question is what makes marriage (or anything) “sacred”? I do not come from the perspective that, because my wife and I have been married for almost twelve years, we are the ones who have made and kept our marriage sacred. The Scriptures teach that God makes marriage between a man and a woman sacred; we have just entered into the sanctity of what God has done. Marriage was God’s idea from the beginning (Genesis 2), and a government document merely recognizes and protects that sanctity; it does not create or power it.
Paperdreamer: “Homosexual marriage is a valid desire, legally and socially…[still] I will say that it is against nature to be homosexual.”
These two statements can only exist in the same sentence if one believes man is an animal who cannot control himself; in other words, homosexuality must be an evolutionary mistake (after all, gay men or lesbian women cannot reproduce, so this cannot be any kind of helpful natural selection), but since we’re nothing more than animals anyway, so be it (the caveat here is usually “as long as they don’t harm anyone else” – then there needs to be limits).
If any of us were asked if there is anyone in the world right now doing things we believe they should stop doing no matter what they personally believe about the correctness of their behavior, we would all say, “Yes, of course.” Doesn’t this mean that we do believe there is some kind of moral reality that is “there” that is not defined by us, that must be abided by regardless of what a person feels or thinks? If we’re honest, I think we would say we do.
Lwayswright: “It is an often confusing topic because there are so many things in life nowadays that people are ‘born with a predisposition to.’ Where do you draw the line between predisposition and responsibility or lifestyle choice?”
I believe that the cause of homosexuality is as much nature as nurture. By this, I mean that all of us in our nature are fallen and broken sexually, regardless of whether we think of ourselves as being of hetero- or homosexual orientation. Regardless how the lines of brokenness fall, they have fallen on all of us; just as someone who may deal with homosexual tendencies and temptations, I as a heterosexual man deal with my own tendencies and temptations as well.
Thankfully, God woos us out of the sexual brokenness of our fallen humanity. We can embrace the exchange of Christ’s life of perfection for our life of sin, and respond in obedience to his love out of a heart of gratitude for what he has done. Indeed, the Christian God is a god of performance; the good news is Christ performed in our place.
All that to say (and as with all of life), how you and I view gay marriage has everything to do with how we view freedom, which has everything to do with how we view morals, which has everything to do with how we view ethics, which has everything to do with how we view the source of our ethics, which has everything to do with whether we think of the final authority as ourselves (in the form of government, philosophy, or good old-fashioned preference) or God.