Saturday, 25 July 2015

Some things to consider regarding the gay marriage debate

This post is part of the July 2015 Synchroblog on "Gay marriage". Check out the links at the bottom of this post for all the other contributions that were made for this months topic.

Occasionally I will jokingly tell my friends that I am a conservative who prefers the company of progressive Christians. The truth though is that I wouldn’t feel comfortable planting my flag in either of those camps. The gay marriage debate would be one of many examples where I don’t think my thoughts would satisfy either party very much. And rather than having a compromise view somewhere in the middle I feel that in many instances there is a third way of seeing things as well. Allow me to explain…

Firstly, let’s talk about ideals. Ideally, I would like to believe that every family would have two parents in every home. That those parents could naturally bear their own children and that each child would grow up with their biological mother and father in an environment where they would be nurtured, protected, provided for and loved. Unfortunately though, our world is broken and ideals are rarely if ever realized. Spouses fight and sometimes separate, people with young children pass away while others cannot conceive through no fault of their own and all parents in raising their children to some degree miss the mark of perfection. Yes, all of creation suffers and has been affected by the failings of individuals as well as the failings and the decay within others and creation itself. Do I think that homosexuality fits in here somewhere and misses the mark of Gods ideal? Sorry to disappoint all of my affirming friends but yes I do. I think that scripture, whether you want to refer to the letter or the spirit of it, conveys that as well. But this is where I want to step off of the conservative platform and address some other issues that I see.

According to a recent blog post that I read, only 3% of people in the USA identify as LGBT (1). That is not 3% of the church but 3% of the total population. Consider then that among church pastors, who are meant to be the cream of the crop so to speak, that 20% percent admit to viewing pornography at least once a month and the same number admit to having had an affair while in the ministry. Statistically speaking, a whopping 50% of pastors marriages will end in divorce (2). And according to a survey done by Pornhub, the bible belt of America watches and downloads significantly more gay porn than any other area in the US does (3). I mention all of this because I suspect that when the world looks at Christians who claim the moral high ground and preach the sanctity of marriage; they must think of us; “You are kidding right?”    

To be honest, I don’t think that the legalization of gay marriage has anything to do with the church. Paul mentions in 1 Corinthians 5, when specifically dealing with sexual immorality, that we have nothing to do with judging those outside of the church. I know that pastors fear that they are going to be forced into performing same sex wedding ceremonies and possibly lose their jobs for not towing the line and I do feel for anyone put in that situation where they have to do something against their will but this is to some degree one of the consequences of the church getting in bed with the state which should have never happened in the first place. I cannot recall anywhere in scripture where Christians performed civil service duties on behalf of the state, neither can I recall anywhere where someone was fired from their spiritual gifting as if that were even possible.

Even if we somehow conclude that it is the duty of the citizens of ‘the Kingdom not of this world’ to give the ‘kingdoms of the world’ a holy makeover by means of political coercion, we should recognize that the law has no ability to influence the inner man. My guess is that the law to legalize gay marriage did not alter anybodies sexual orientation. The law may restrain and discourage certain behaviors (drugs, violence etc) but simply has no power to sanctify and renew the person who is ruled by whatever his vice may be.  

There is also something that Jesus once said that I have been thinking of as well. In Matthew 19:8 Jesus said to the Pharisees that Moses permitted men to divorce their wives because of the hardness of their hearts even though it was not the ideal God had set out in the beginning. It made me think that if someone who is gay wants to commit themselves to one partner for life and perhaps adopt a child and raise a family, then surely it is a better situation than having them sleep around with multiple partners and have those orphaned children possibly grow up with nobody they can call their family. I know single moms who are doing a fantastic job raising kids by themselves, once again it is not ideal but sometimes in specific situations it was probably a better option than staying in a marriage that was emotionally or physically unhealthy. It is entirely possible that a gay couple can do a better job raising a child than a straight couple could. And if you are younger than 35 there is a 50% chance that you grew up with 2 moms and 2 dads anyway. Again, none of those situations are ideal but why do we focus on the homosexuality and excuse things like divorce which is more common and more than likely a little closer to home?

Without ignoring it, there are simply bigger fish for the church to fry than the issue of gay marriage; I suspect that most Christians like to single out homosexuality precisely because it is not something that they personally struggle with. Before we remove the gay splinter from someone else’s eye, perhaps we should look at the planks of lust, divorce and remarriage (which scripture equally condemns) out of our own eyes first. These are much larger issues in the church today; they are the three fingers that point back at us when we are all up in our neighbors faces.

I think the same grace that is extended to people broken in other ways should be extended to our gay neighbors as well. Sure, we are products of the choices we make, but Lady Gaga was not totally wrong when she sang "Born this Way". In a broken world people are sometimes born with hormonal imbalances just as other people might have fertility issues. One may accept things as the way God has ordained them but I believe that God can redeem all things to their original order (Genesis 1:31). Some things need to be repented of while other things may require a supernatural act of healing. Sometimes that line is not so easy to see but the place that we turn to in both situations will be the same. That place is the cross of Christ.


2 – Stats taken from Death by Church by Mike Erre, pg 23-25

click on the links below to see what others wrote about

Carlos Shelton - About Gay marriage
Justin Steckbauer - Gay marriage, LBGTQ issues and the Christian worldview
K.W. Leslie - Same-sex marriage
Leah Sophia - marriage equality again
Paul W. Meier - Gay Marriage – Love is the Narrow Gate
Tim Nichols - Imago Dei: Loving the different
Tony Ijeh - Thoughts on Gay Marriage
Jeremy Myers - Two men in one bed (Luke 17:34)
Tara – Justice for All
Michelle Torigian – Marriage Equality: The Constantly Expanding Love of God
Lifewalk Blog – Here I am
Mary – A Recovering Evangelical Writes about Homosexuality
Liz – Same Sex Marriage Stuff: Part 1
Loveday – Gay Marriage in Africa, USA, and the World
Jea7587 – Loving Your Gay Neighbor, Part 2
D. L. Webster – Questions of Interacting with Differing Beliefs
Glenn Hager – Love Wins


  1. Like the emphasis away from judgementalism toward self examination and grace!

    1. Thanks Glenn, I'm still wading through all of the contributions. I look forward to reading yours!

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