The Supreme Court of the United States just ruled making Gay Marriage legal in this county. Many church leaders and Christians are very up-set about what they consider another nail in the coffin for this nation. They believe that since gay marriage is now legal we are one step closer to the judgment of God falling.
I am conflicted on this matter because I think it really is a separation of church and state issue. What I believe the scripture says about homosexuality and what I believe regarding the rights of individuals are in a bit of conflict. I believe that people should be free to exercise their own personal beliefs. I think Christians should be the first to stand up for the rights of the individual. If Christians want freedom from persecution we should be willing to grant it to others.
Let’s look at what the scripture says about homosexuality.
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. I Corinthians 6:9 – 11
From this we see that homosexuality is classified as unrighteousness (sin). The scripture not only lists homosexuals but also fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, effeminate, thieves, covetous, drunkards, revilers, and swindlers. If we take this list and identify each of these named sins as being just as worthy as not inheriting the kingdom of God as homosexuality I think that most of us should probably not cast any stones, let alone the first.
- Fornicators – how many people in this country have an active, un-married sex life?
- Idolaters – Idolatry is putting anything in your life as more important than God. Really most of us have a lot of idolatry in our lives;
- Adulterers –how many people including Christians are having or have had an extra-marital affair. In addition strict interpretation of the scriptures on marriage and divorce, if you have ever been divorced, for reasons other than adultery, and then re-marry you are committing adultery with the new partner. (Mark 10:12, Luke 16:18);
- Effeminate– “not simply of a male who practices forms of lewdness, but persons in general, who are guilty of addiction to sins of the flesh, voluptuous”. Vines Expository Dictionary – This can be another form of heterosexual sexual sin, including pornography;
- Thieves – someone who takes something that doesn’t belong to them. Are you honest in all of your dealings or are there little cheats and thefts here and there along the way?
- Covetous – desiring what your neighbor has;
- Drunkards – living a life style of drunkenness – many consider alcoholism an illness and not sin, maybe homosexuality is also an illness;
- Revilers – to assail with contemptuous or opprobrious (abusive, derogatory, disparaging, pejorative, deprecatory, insulting, offensive, defamatory, vitriolic, libelous, venomous) language; address or speak of abusively. I think we’ve all seen a lot of reviling going on lately, again a lot of it by Christians who have no problem speaking, not just their opinion of our elected officials, but out right slander of them.
- Swindlers – swindlers come in all shapes and sizes, they are all over the business world and even in the pulpit.
The “sin” of homosexuality is just one in this list and of no greater emphasis than any of these others.
Why then does homosexuality bother the church so much more than any of the other sins? Is it because that the LGBT population which is a small minority (about 3%) have become vocal in wanting the same social status and rights as straight couples. If they would have just stayed in the closet and continued to keep their secret would the church care? The church doesn’t preach much about the problem of pornography addiction among Christians. It seem that as long as you keep your sin a secret they don’t care. But since homosexual individuals seem to think they should have equal rights in the United States of America, the church thinks it’s the end of the world.
Jim Daly, whose daily Focus on the Family radio broadcast reach more than 2.9 million listeners weekly, is nowhere close to endorsing same-sex unions and insists that the legalization of gay marriage in the U.S. isn’t a “fait accompli.” But his vision for the evangelical movement is focused on reaching out to, rather than attacking or rejecting, other segments of society—what he calls taking a “gracious attitude.”
Evangelicals step back from gay marriage fightupdated 11:15 AM EST, Sun November 16, 2014
Some of you are arguing that allowing gay marriage is a slippery slope that if we change the law there, then what is next? Legalized pedophilia marriage? Will any perversion be allowed to be legal? Anything goes? I really don’t believe so because we have come a long way in that regard already, giving women the right to decide who they marry, raising the age of consent for marriage from 10 years old, at the turn of the 19th century, to 18 years old now. No I don’t see us going backwards in those areas just because a few gay couples want to have the same rights as others.
My conclusion, as I understand the scriptures, is that homosexuality is a sin; however I don’t believe the scripture teaches categories of sin, and homosexuality is not any worse than any other. We are all guilty of sin and need the Lord to forgive us our sin. But the Constitution of the United States does not grant rights to people based on their religious beliefs. Quite the opposite, every religion, race, and gender are given the same rights. Therefore, the government cannot discriminate against anyone based on religious belief. If the government bans gay marriage, based on the sin argument, then they also need to start arresting people who live together who are not married and people who commit adultery. We would have to start denying marriage licenses to people who have been previously married and divorced.
This is what separation of church and state is all about. The church cannot run the country. Every nation that has ever been run by a religion ends up in big trouble. People came to this country fleeing the tyranny that comes from a church run state. That is why our Constitution was written the way it was so that we won’t have a church run government that tramples the rights of those who don’t belong to that church. If we don’t want the country to be run by Sharia Law then we also better not insist that it be run by Puritan Law or Catholic Law or Baptist Law or any other religious dogma.
As Christians we need to live our daily lives in a manner that is pleasing to the Lord and take care of the sin in our own lives. As American Citizens we need to celebrate freedom and continue to fight for equal rights for all of our citizens.
Something to think about and visit again I think.
Grace and Peace
Good post. You know, I think a lot of Christians are very anti-gay because it’s the one thing they can easily be self-righteous about. It really is only 3% of the population – it’s not as common of a sin. People aren’t as likely to be personally affected by it. They aren’t gay, they don’t have that temptation so it’s easy to become like the Pharisee who stood up and prayed “I thank God I’m not like *that* guy.”
Also, I haven’t done the research, but I guess there are some compelling arguments that when the Bible talks about ‘homosexuality’ it isn’t talking about the practice we see in our day and age. I suppose I should research that more. But I think at the end of the day, what it comes down to is that we are supposed to do unto others as we would have them do unto us. And that means allowing everyone else to live their lives according to their own morals and their own consciences and not try to punish them because they may not live up to my standards.
There is something missing here that is crucial to the discussion. Marriage is a sacrament of the Church. Historically it is a religious institution recognized by civil government. When the civil government declares that gay marriage is legal they are stepping beyond their authority thus the civil government, not the Church, is violating the separation of Church and State. This is no different than the State forcing churches to serve communion to anyone they (the State) decide should be served. That is where I see the problem lies. People are free, in this nation, to live as they choose and with whom the choose and all people should be treated with respect but where the State has crossed the line is by interfering with religious matters and deciding how the sacrament of marriage should be defined.
I almost put something in this post about “religious” versus “civil” ceremonies but it was getting too long. I’ll probably do another post on that. I personally don’t think the government should have anything to say about marriage at all. Marriage for some is a sacred vow and for others a business contract. Either way the government should have no dictate over those kinds of very personal commitments. However, once the government recognizes one it has to recognize the other. One other point, no one is taking away the church’s right to determine for whom they will or will not perform marriage services. Churches already have guidelines as to who they will marry and who they will allow to use their facilities, that does not change with this new ruling. No one is mandating that the church provide gay-marriage ceremonies.