Monday, January 12, 2004

A Christian View of Homosexuality, Same-Sex Marriage

With all the recent discussions and legal activities on gay marriage, it seems this might be a growing issue for the 2004 presidential elections. Since there have been various editorials and commentaries on gay marriage, I thought I would touch upon this issue and more so on a Christian's perspective of homosexuality.

First, I believe in the Bible as a whole and complete doctrine of the living God. I believe Jesus Christ was the Messiah, the Son of God, all have sinned before God, my savior who died for all my sins (past, present, and future), and rose from the dead to give me the gift of eternal life, which is free for all who believe this. As C.S. Lewis stated, I cannot simply believe Christ was a great philosopher or moral teacher because that would be to ignore the majority of His message that He was God incarnate. It was for these reasons that He was crucified on the cross and the Pharisees sought His death. So after studying the Bible and the historical components around Jesus Christ, C.S. Lewis concluded that you can only accept Christ as a liar, lunatic, or God incarnate, but not simply as a moral teacher or philosopher.

"A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic on a level with a man who says he is a poached egg or else he would have to be the devil of hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the son of God, or a madman or something worse." - C.S. Lewis

Second, as a student of public policy and a person whose career will be in and out of government, I do not believe you can legislate morality. Moral change or conviction has to come from within a person. Your moral fiber or principles can be influenced by the people around you or whatever religious institutions you attend can have an indirect affect, but these choices are still decided by you. There is also a great danger in trying to legislate morality. Such behavior or values can become ritualized, dumbed-down, or insignificant in a person's life. For example, if some school district enforced a morning prayer for all students, I would be against this. Separation of church and state here is a value to hold, and from a practical view it would ritualize prayer for many of the students and hold little affect or influence in their lives moving forward. I can point to many of my Catholic friends who grew up in such a setting as an example of this effect.

As a Christian, I consider homosexual acts as sin. A sin as much as when I lie, hate, get drunk, and place the things of this world above God within my heart. Even though I am redeemed now through faith in Christ, I still sin and will struggle with my sinful nature until I die. I personally consider my independent spirit from God worse than most sins anyone else can commit, but all sins are like blades of grass to God above. Especially once you believe in Christ and His actions, all your sins are forgiven past, present, and future, which is called God's grace. And this includes homosexual acts, which I admit there are "Christians" out there that forget this and weigh it more than other sins for whatever reasons. There are groups within the Christian faith that hate gays and lesbians, but I personally question the validity of their faith and their knowledge of the Bible. "Hate" is probably a good red flag for starters. It's like when the KKK justifies their hatred and beliefs on Christian doctrine. Or other individuals or groups have a hatred towards Jews "because they killed Jesus." Ummm... Jesus was a Jew and so were His disciples. One of my role models, Paul the Apostle, was a Jew. Actually, he was a "Hebrew of Hebrews" (Philippians 3:3-6).

So as a heterosexual sinner I am no better than a homosexual sinner. What is the difference within the Christian doctrine? None. Are there such things as "greater sinners" in Christianity? No, everyone is a sinner before God. No less, no more. I remember explaining some of these points to one of my good friends, who's active in the gay community, and he was initially surprised to hear such things. He said it was refreshing to hear such a perspective as a gay man from someone he knows is a "devout Christian." I believe majority of Christians, if not all, who believe in the Bible as a whole and are knowledgeable take this view or cannot argue against this beyond their personal discomfort or cultural biases.

"Where was the social-conservative outrage at Seinfeld's dreadful actions? Can anyone on the religious Right seriously argue that the real risk to holy matrimony is not men like Seinfeld and women like Sklar but devoted male couples who aim neither to discard one another nor divide others?"

Deroy Murdock's article below highlights a good point that maybe the "religious right" or "social conversatives" should focus their energies elsewhere towards the greater problem of heterosexual marriage. Maybe he knows this already, but some of the "religious right" or "social conversatives" were against the mockery of marriage that Britney Spears, David Lettermen, or other people committed. Of course they are, especially the Family Research Council, but you have to pick your battles. That battle is so widespread and a whole another problem in itself it would be very difficult to tackle. From the Christian perspective, divorce is only condoned when adultery is committed, so the examples that Murdock brings up might not be relevant towards some of the fears against the institution of marriage. Their fears and thoughts are already based on those examples that he brings up, or similar examples from the past. They already know that marriage has become a weaker institution in America, and has become a disruption of healthy family lives. There are many studies I can point to that reveal the various direct and indirect social ills and individual problems that develop from single-family homes and irresponsible marriages by heterosexuals. So gay-marriage strikes another fear into these people's hearts on top of the existing problems. Maybe some of their reasons against gay-marriages are from ignorance, and maybe some of it is from concerns about how it can affect the fabric of American family culture. Or maybe I'm giving too much credit to the "religious right" or "social conversatives", which is a vast, nebulous group in America. Maybe many of these campaigns against gay-marriage are driven by fear and ignorance, or a need for some non-profits and political groups to "do something."

Anyway, the practical effect of a law supporting gay-marriages would be in question for me. I don't think it would increase homosexual acts in our society, which is one reason I'm against legalizing drugs because I know it would increase drug use which as a clear adverse effect on our society, so I'm not completely decided on this issue of gay-marriage. On principle then I should support laws against lying in non-professional settings, against any form of drunkness, adultery,... even against my own arrogance before God. I have to think about this some more...

(continue on latter post: "case against gay marriage")

A Mockery of Marriage
The things heterosexuals do.

National Review Online
Deroy Murdock, Contributing Editor

January 09, 2004

Social conservatives are working overtime to argue that gay marriage would imperil straight matrimony. They say that if Jack and Joe were united, till death do them part, they would jeopardize husbands and wives, from sea to shining sea.

"We will lose marriage in this nation," without constitutionally limiting it to heterosexuals, warns Family Research Council president Tony Perkins. The Traditional Values Coalition, meanwhile, sees "same-sex marriage as a way of destroying the concept of marriage altogether."

It would be far easier to take these claims seriously if gay-marriage critics spent as much energy denouncing irresponsible heterosexuals whose behavior undermines traditional marriage. Among prominent Americans, such misdeeds are increasingly ubiquitous.

Exhibit A is musical product Britney Spears's micromarriage to hometown pal Jason Allen Alexander. The 22-year-olds were wed on January 3 in Las Vegas. Clad in sneakers, a baseball cap, ripped jeans, and a navel-revealing T-shirt, the vocalist was escorted down the Little White Wedding Chapel's aisle by a hotel chauffeur. Spears and Alexander, who wore baggy pants and a zippered sweater, soon were wife and husband.

Almost as soon, their marriage was annulled. Clark County Judge Lisa Brown accepted Spears's request and ruled that "There was no meeting of the minds in entering into this marriage contract, and in a court of equity there is cause for declaring the contract void."

The revolving-door couple's 55 hours of marital bliss were based neither on love nor shared commitment, but because "they took a joke too far," explained Spears's label, Jive Records.

Whatever objections they otherwise may generate, gay couples who desire marriage at least hope to stay hitched. Britney's latest misadventure, in contrast, reduced marriage from something sacred to just another Vegas activity, like watching the Bellagio Hotel's fountains between trips to the blackjack tables.

Consider David Letterman. His hilarious broadcasts keep Insomniac-Americans cackling every weeknight. Last November 3, he got a national standing ovation when his son, Harry Joseph, was born. Those who rail against gay marriage stayed mum about the fact that Harry's dad and mom, Regina Lasko, shack up. What message is sent by this widely hailed out-of-wedlock birth?

And then there's Jerry Seinfeld. This national treasure's eponymous TV show will generate belly laughs in syndication throughout this century, and deservedly so. The mere sound of those odd bass notes on Seinfeld's soundtrack can generate chuckles before any dialogue has been uttered.

But while Seinfeld boasts millions of fans, Eric Nederlander is not among them. Shortly after the Broadway theater heir and his then-wife, Jessica Sklar, returned from their June 1998 honeymoon, she met Seinfeld at Manhattan's Reebok Club gym. He asked Sklar out, she accepted and, before long, she ditched her new husband and ran off with the comedian.

Where was the social-conservative outrage at Seinfeld's dreadful actions? Can anyone on the religious Right seriously argue that the real risk to holy matrimony is not men like Seinfeld and women like Sklar but devoted male couples who aim neither to discard one another nor divide others?

Of course, not every American is an overexposed pop diva, network talk-show host, or sitcom multimillionaire. For rank-and-file heterosexuals, marriage can involve decades of love and joy. In 51 percent of cases, people stay married for life. Such unions are inspiring, impressive, and deserve every American's applause.

On the other hand, 49 percent of couples break up, according to Divorce magazine. The Federal Administration for Children and Families calculated in 2002 that deadbeat parents nationwide owed their kids $92.3 billion in unpaid child support. In 2000, 33.2 percent of children were born outside marriage. Among blacks, that figure was 68.5 percent. A 1998 National Institute of Justice survey found that 1.5 million women suffer domestic violence annually, as do 835,000 men. So-called "reality" TV shows like Fox's Married by America and its forthcoming My Big Fat Obnoxious Fianc? turn wedding vows into punch lines. In nearly every instance, heterosexuals ? not homosexuals ? perpetrated these social ills.

Gay marriage is a big idea that deserves national debate. Nonetheless, social conservatives who blow their stacks over homosexual matrimony's supposed threat to traditional marriage tomorrow should focus on the far greater damage that heterosexuals are wreaking on that venerable institution today.

Deroy Murdock is a columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service.