This was originally posted at Modern March
Unless you live under a rock, you have seen the latest news on the Proposition 8 case. Earlier this month, U.S. District Court Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker ruled that Proposition 8 violates the constitution, a ruling that could potentially overturn the California voters’ decision that same-sex marriage should remain illegal.
Expectedly, Judge Walker’s decision has flared much debate over the issue of homosexuality. Many Christians, though not all, have been up in arms for years over the idea that same-sex marriage will be made legal nationally, and decisions like this could propel that concern to a reality. It is not outlandish to presume that if votes can be motioned to essentially be counted void, it’s only a matter of time before the federal process of voting will be undermined under the pressure of protesting nationwide. In fact, we may already be there.
Furthermore, the ruling states that Proposition 8 is nothing more than the brainchild of the “private moral view that same-sex couples are inferior to opposite-sex couples,” attributing this to such groups as conservative Christianity, and says that such a view has no place in law. To put it bluntly, this ruling insinuates that Christians should have no right of conscience to discuss or debate their concerns or beliefs. Never mind the fact that 44 states have specific laws that establish marriage as a union between one man and one woman. It is also ironic that the “private moral view” of Judge Walker allows him to impose on law. These loopholes make a mockery of the voting system.
Simply put, this is a debate that includes conservative Christians but is not at all limited to Christian thought. We are not alone in the outrage at Judge Walker’s ruling. In light of this, how should Christians in particular react to this news and to homosexuality in general?
With Biblical Conviction
It is our right, nay, our duty to respond with concern about the legalization of same-sex marriage. Biblically, marriage is specifically reserved for one man and one woman as created by God and reflects Christ and His Church (Ephesians 5:22-33). Scripture describes homosexuality as “dishonorable,” “shameless,” and “contrary to nature” (Romans 1:26-27). So, in the eyes of the Christian, there is no such thing as same-sex marriage because that would make Christ and His Church dishonorable, shameless, and contrary to nature.
Culture argues that Christians are merely imposing their bigoted religious convictions on America, but this is not the case with law-making in a pluralistic democracy. Laws in a system of government like ours do not come to pass because of a consensus worldview; rather, they come to pass when multiple worldviews converge in agreement that something is normal for societal health. So to be fair, this is not just a Christian argument, cultures and religions for all of time have agreed that same-sex relations are not normal. There are not enough Christians to overpower the government in a way that bans same-sex marriage. Many atheists and Buddhists and post-modernists alike disagree with same-sex marriage and this is why these laws exist.
As Christians being “in the world but not of it,” we are called to place God’s authority higher than the world’s while simultaneously living under the authority of those God has placed over us. We have the ability to vote, to voice our opinions, and to hold court in the presence of these authorities and that is where we can best try to defend our convictions in a system that will not allow us to dictatorially control it.
With Biblical Compassion
There is a tension that Christians are in the middle of when dealing with the Bible and the government. There are times when a law is passed or a President makes a bold statement that does not align with Scripture. As with abortion, same-sex marriage may be a controversial topic that becomes a national, legal, regular way of life in America. The appropriate response is not hate and venom. The folks at Westboro spew enough hate for the rest of us.
Instead, let us focus on compassion towards homosexuals as this process plays out. We should not condone their actions or bow to Walker and those who support same-sex marriage, but we should love them and pray for them. Homosexuals have souls, just like alcoholics, wife-beaters, gossipers, hypocrites, and you with any multitude of sins that attack you daily. Homosexuality is not its own separate level of sin. I don’t remember seeing in Scripture where God gives a list of sins that He’s more cool with than others. You are no better than they are, you have your own God-hating sin and so do I. You have been saved by grace and this should cause you to have grace for others, not elitism.
Brothers and sisters, this is nothing new. The apostles were no less at odds with their culture and governing authorities than we are today. As they did, we should make God’s name known even more powerfully through the preaching of the Word, through constant Gospel-centered joy in the face of obstacles, and through prayer for those who need a Savior.
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