I recently read some reaction to President Obama’s announcement that he now supports marriage equality and I think it’s typical of the conversations happening across the country right now. Marriage is a tough nut to crack because – for many – the religious meaning outweighs the civil meaning. And in those cases, many people forget that some don’t even believe in a religious meaning to marriage. The main person in this conversation argued strictly about whether being gay was a sin. I responded and felt it important to share it – not because it’s the definitive answer on the issue, but because life is one big conversation. Enjoy.
I want to say that I completely understand we will not convince each other to think differently on this issue, however I still feel compelled to explain my part, just as you have done with yours.
The original link [my friend] posted wasn’t about what God says about gays. It was about the leader of the country’s stance on an increasingly less controversial (at least, according to the most recent poll numbers) issue in the eyes of the law. People will argue that America’s law is based on Christianity, but the bottom line is the founders were fleeing religious persecution and wrote the Constitution so that people could practice religion freely and have the rule of law still reign. Surely, their religious convictions influenced the law, but many of them realized their convictions were not the same as others’.
This means that whatever your belief is about what the Bible says can stand as true in your mind and the minds of millions of others in this country. But it also means that just because one’s Christian perspective is that gays are wrong and gay marriage is wrong, does not mean it can be legislated as such. In times past, when this has happened, society has shifted (Christians would likely say “away from God”) and changed the laws or Christians themselves have shifted on an issue as well. This issue is no different.
The issue at hand in this post is NOT whether being gay is a choice or is genetic. It is not about what the Bible says about it. It is about what’s right in the eyes of the law and the Constitution. It’s about rights in a country, not rights within a religion.
Also, what God says about gays is debatable. Regardless of what some may think, the Bible’s meaning is ALWAYS an interpretation. This is just how it works. Humans always interpret things themselves, even if they’re hearing it straight from the source. In grade school, we all read a bunch of stuff from the past. And in those cases, our teachers told us that a work must be taken in the context of which it was written. For some reason, people forget this fact when it comes to many religious texts. Also, ALL Christians – in one way or another – pick and choose what they believe still holds “true” in the Bible. The Bible says pig is bad, we now eat pig. The Bible says don’t work on the Sabbath. We do. The Bible isn’t a huge fan of straight couples living together before they get married, but they do ALL the time. When it’s convenient, we allow the realities of life to overtake our so-called Christian convictions and play them down. When it’s something we’re uncomfortable with and we’ve never had to face, we’re sometimes extremely convinced our way is the right way. It’s just human nature.
To summarize, the point of the president’s message was clear: He’s in favor of gay marriage. Yes, he also said that he doesn’t think that view conflicts with his Christian faith, but that is his personal interpretation of the scripture. The religious ramifications of his statement are surely separate from the legal ones – the ones that matter when you’re talking about rights in a secular country with such a diverse group of people. Gay marriage doesn’t restrict the rights of Christians at all. It just opens up rights for others who don’t believe like SOME (an increasingly smaller group) Christians do that being gay is wrong. Right or wrong in the eyes of God does not equal right or wrong in the eyes of the law. Not in this country.