I received this question in my email this week:
Where are you? Your president who claims to be a Christian has come out in favor of gay marriage and your silence is deafening. Can you reconcile, using scripture, Christianity with same sex marriage? This is not an issue on which a Christian can ride the fence because God calls unnatural affections an abomination. What do you say?
I say, what took him so long? I say that my obligations as a Christian are to behave in accordance with what Jesus says I should be doing. Interestingly, Jesus doesn’t really give me a mandate to go out and tell other people what they should be doing. But he does teach us about attitudes, judgments, and servants’ hearts in Matthew 25:31-46. And he does command us to “love one another.” Judging one another isn’t in there anywhere. Really, it’s not.
And if that isn’t enough, then maybe this will explain it better:
To my questioner, I offer this. Marriage is a legal contract which is the product of an act of the state, not an act of the church. Some people solemnify it by making vows in front of a church and a minister; others do not. Marriage confers certain legal rights upon those who enter into such contracts. It is, at its most fundamental base, a contractual arrangement between two adults. It has not been defined throughout the ages as one man and one woman. It has, at times, involved one man and many women. At other times it has involved one man and one child. These are both definitions of marriage that our current society rejects, but which were at one time completely sanctioned within certain religious and societal sects, including the mainstream churches.
I’m glad and proud to support a man who chose to be empathetic rather than judgmental and legalistic. Since my views on this have been quite plain for a number of years, I didn’t feel the need to expand on it initially, but given my emailer’s (and maybe only reader’s) confusion over my position, it seemed like a good time to reiterate it.
Here’s one final biblical admonition that I try but don’t always succeed at heeding:
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. – Romans 12:18
In the context of marriage equality, it is simple enough for me to heed it and live by it. Same sex marriage does not threaten me or undermine my marriage. It does not elevate anyone above anyone else. Condemning same sex marriage and becoming an advocate for stripping people of happiness and stigmatizing them does not comport with “living at peace with everyone else.”
Like I said, I don’t always succeed. But I do try.
- President Obama’s tribute to his mother
- Stop and smell the flowers