G ay Marriage is quite possibly the single most controversial, inflammatory topic in the news these days, and I know that by voicing my opinion, I am likely to be praised by some, but blacklisted by many others – so let’s start with something we can all agree on: the bedrock American principle of equality is central to the political and legal convictions of liberals and conservatives alike.
This revolutionary concept is expressed in the Declaration of Independence in words that are among the most noble and elegant ever written: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
As wonderful a concept as this is, sadly, it has taken us, as a people, a long time to live up to that premise. During the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln simply but eloquently reminded the warring nation of its foundation: "our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal."
"If we could all take a step back and realize the value of listening to one another, we would all be a bit more humble in our interpretations and open to what others have to say."Subsequent laws and court decisions have made clear that equality under the law extends to people of all races, religions, and places of origin. So why, then, are so many so quick to deny the same protection to men and women solely on the basis of their sexual orientation?
We should be supporting the rights of other people to exist peacefully in this land, because in doing so we secure the same for ourselves. Christians, above all others, should understand and practice this concept – but regretfully, this same group that is so quick to cry ‘oppression’ are often the most vocal about denying equal rights to those unlike themselves.
I have heard the arguments from the conservative ‘christian’ camp about protecting the ‘christian values’ that this country was founded on, but there are some problems with that argument, as I see it. This issue isn’t so much about Christian views, but more about our right as Americans to behave within our own value systems.
Before the comments start flying that I’m an atheist or a heretic, let me make one thing crystal clear. I am a Christian. And as a card carrying Christ-follower, I do believe there is absolute truth and God has a stand in every issue. But I also believe that God’s stand and will is often times not so simple and black and white as we would like to think.
I think that, a lot of times, while one side or interpretation may be closer to the truth than others, their particular interpretation is probably not fully what God has in mind either….and the issue of gay marriage is no exception.
I’m not saying that it doesn’t matter how close to the truth we are in our interpretations. It does matter, and it is our moral responsibility as Christ-followers to hold to as close an interpretation of the truth as possible. Yet, it is also our responsibility to use the minds that God has given us – and that means being open to hearing other points of view. The ancient Jews called this type of critical listening “midrash” and believed that through that discipline, we may learn more about God and His word and have a clearer picture of what the truth actually looks like.
If we could all take a step back and realize the value of listening to one another, we would all be a bit more humble in our interpretations and open to what others have to say. I am open to hearing both sides of this issue, but one thing I really cannot stand among the anti-homosexuality position is that most of them put forward their position as though it were so simple that any clear-thinking ‘christian’ would see it as they do. I use the word ‘christian’ really loosely here because most in that camp would also argue the point of whether or not a person who disagreed with them were actually a ‘christian’ at all.
I’m sure that Mike Heath and people like him are 100% convinced that they are believing and speaking truth within their interpretation of the Bible and their belief system….but there is another Christian principle that often gets lost in translation with situations like this --speaking the truth in love. As Christians, we need to be extremely careful with our interpretations of what sin and morality are, and then live ourselves within that standard of Christian ethics before we start trying to hold people to a standard that they haven’t chosen to embrace for themselves. I think that the Bishop of Portland has really hit the nail on the head this time....let’s start getting Christians to behave like Christians and mind their own morals and follow their own truth before speaking words of condemnation toward others.
If you believe in Christ, and you believe that you are an ‘ambassador” for God, then you need to realize that you will be held accountable for speaking hate towards people who are made in Gods image, and you will have to answer for all the people you have driven further away from God through your actions.
The reality here is that “gays” are part of the marginalized people that Christ always reached out to. These are the ignored and hated of society and even the Church, sad to say. But God loves them and desires that Christians and the Church love them and reach out to them.
Did Jesus condemn? Or did he come to seek and save? I’m pretty sure he would have had dinner with a gay couple more readily than a self righteous politician. He proved that when He dined with “tax collectors, sinners, and prostitutes” and in the process, ruffled the feathers of all the self righteous Pharisees.
“I tell you the truth, whatever you have done to the least of these, you have done to me….” ~ Jesus of Nazareth.
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