Gay Marriage

I plan to offend almost everyone with this post. Liberals, Conservatives, LGBT’s, Christians, Democrats, Republicans, Fox News fans, MSNBC fans. All i’m asking is that you read this post through to the end.

Well, i’m finally going to do it. I’m going to make a blog post about a controversial and divisive issue. What has caused me to finally feel a need to post on this subject? I’m a Christian, someone who attempts to be a follower of Christ, and yet i see so many of those who wear the name Christian taking stands against things in ways which Jesus never would.

Franklin Graham, president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and son of Billy Graham has moved all of the BGEA bank accounts away from Wells Fargo because of what he calls “Moral Decay”. What evil thing has this company done to result in the ire of Franklin Graham? They aired an advertisement about embracing diversity with a lesbian couple in it. Here’s the link:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/08/franklin-graham-wells-fargo_n_7537056.html

I have a few questions to ask so that we can discuss the answers:

  • Is murder wrong? Is murder against the law? Does the Bible condemn murder?
  • Is hate wrong? Is hate against the law? Does the Bible condemn hate?
  • Is homosexuality wrong? Is homosexuality against the law? Does the Bible condemn homosexuality?
  • Is gay marriage wrong? Is gay marriage against the law? Does the Bible condemn it?

I want to walk through these questions and try to fairly answer them and then draw some conclusions.

Is murder wrong? Is murder against the law? Does the Bible condemn murder?

I am starting off with the easiest question, but also the question which has the most profound impact on this topic.

Is murder wrong? In every culture/society i am aware of, murder, in general, is considered wrong. Most (but not all) cultures do make an exception for two things: self defense and retribution for a murder. We won’t go into the rightness or wrongness of the two exceptions, but rather look at the general consensus that murder is universally considered wrong.

Is murder against the law? In every culture/society i am aware of, it is.

Does the Bible condemn murder? Yes. It’s one of the ten commandments.

The point: This issue is the most clear cut of the four we are going to look at. Murder is considered wrong in a universal and cross-cultural way. YET, in America, we hold sacred the idea that even a murderer is entitled to a fair trial and to a competent legal defense. We hold this view so highly that our government will even pay the fees for a lawyer to defend a murderer if he can not afford it. The point here should be obvious. Even though our society condemns and abhors murder and those who commit it, we still staunchly defend the rights of a murderer to a fair judicial process. We respect the rights of someone we do not respect as a person. And that is my point. We can without any doubt or equivocation, grant rights to someone who has committed an act we repudiate and an act which is universally considered wrong and yes, sinful.

Is hate wrong? Is hate against the law? Does the Bible condemn hate?

Is hate wrong? This issue is a bit less clear than murder. I would posit that most people think that hate in general is wrong, but that it is justified in some circumstances, such as when you’ve been wronged or hurt by someone or something. That’s a general answer to the general question. Then there are those who feel that hate is perfectly legitimate based on religious reasons or racial bias. Many of us reject that rationale.

Is hate against the law? The emotion is not, but actions based on that emotion often can be. We call them hate crimes.

Does the Bible condemn hate? Yes. Here, we are finally on solid, objective ground instead of societal rationalizations. The Bible specifically condemns hatred. In fact, Jesus taught clearly that we are not only to love our neighbors, but that we are even to love our enemies. That’s a tough one, but it’s crystal clear. Jesus said:

Matthew 5:43–44 (NLT)
“You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!

The point: So, if the Bible is so clear about not hating, and actually says that we should love our enemies, then why do so many of those who claim the name Christian, hate others and justify that hate in the name of Christianity? There is no place in the Bible where we are ever told to hate. Ever. Many of these people claim they don’t hate, but they are “standing against moral depravity”. If those actions look like a duck, quack like a duck, and walk like a duck, then they are a duck, regardless of the attempt to justify or ameliorate the actions. If an action is not loving, then it falls short of what Jesus taught his followers to do.

Is homosexuality wrong? Is homosexuality against the law? Does the Bible condemn homosexuality?

Is homosexuality wrong? At one time it would have been easy to answer this question. Culturally, in general terms, homosexuality has existed throughout recorded history. Also, throughout recorded history, homosexuality has generally been looked down upon and considered not normal. Usually homosexuals kept their behavior out of the public eye because of the scorn they would receive from others. Some of that scorn still exists in many cultures. In America it also exists, but those in the LGBT are fighting a crusade to have their behavior become considered normal and acceptable.

Is homosexuality against the law? In some nations it is. In America, in the past, it has been. That is no longer true in America.

Does the Bible condemn homosexuality? I believe that it does, and that it does so clearly:

Romans 1:25–28 (NLT)
They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen. That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved.
Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done.

The point: Please be aware that this sin of homosexuality is not singled out as the worst or greatest sin in any way. Nor is it ever magnified as the sin that will destroy society, marriage, or our nation. In fact, the next three verses of this same passage list a number of sins that are treated as being in the same category as homosexuality. If you are going to take a stand of moral indignation against homosexuality, then you must take the same stand against these evil sins listed in the next three verses. You may be familiar with a few of them:

Romans 1:29–31 (NLT)
Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They invent new ways of sinning, and they disobey their parents. They refuse to understand, break their promises, are heartless, and have no mercy.

That’s right: greed, hate, envy, quarreling, deception, gossip, pride, boasting, disobeying your parents, breaking promises, not showing mercy. I haven’t heard very many sermons about those sins. I haven’t seen any of them condemned in protests by Christians nor in speeches by famous clergy. Why not?

Is gay marriage wrong? Is gay marriage against the law? Does the Bible condemn gay marriage?

Is gay marriage wrong? This is a new question. Only 50 years ago, this question would never have been asked by anyone anywhere. That is because for a gay marriage to occur, the two participants would have to be willing to publicly admit that they were homosexuals, and that was a very rare thing in the past. Now that those in the LGBT community are coming out, a logical extension of their public acknowledgement is a desire to commit to a relationship the way that others do.

Is gay marriage aginst the law? In some states it is legal, in some states it is not. In some nations it is legal, in some nations it is not.

Does the Bible condemn gay marriage? Gay marriage is never mentioned in the Bible.

The point: Why then is Franklin Graham claiming Christians should boycott companies that publicly recognize gay marriages? Why does he claim that this single issue will destroy marriage in our nation? On what basis does he call this one thing “moral decay”?

Here is the problem: Jesus said some things about marriage. He said divorce was wrong. Have you heard any famous clergy protesting that divorce is destroying marriage in our country? Have you heard any sermons against divorce? How about St. Paul who spoke out against fornication and adultery? Are there any bakeries asking those getting married if they have had sex already and then refusing to make their cake? You see, there are actual scriptural passages about those sins. Yet no one is screaming from the rooftops that these things are destroying the moral center of our nation or destroying the institution of marriage. Instead, they have made gay marriage the single greatest harm known to man and the heart of everything evil (i exaggerate for effect). Christians seem to be wildly inconsistent by singling out only gay marriage.

Can a case be made that because homosexuality is sin, then as an extension, gay marriage enables or endorses that sin? I think it can. I also think that same case can be made for those issues specifically spoken about by Jesus and Paul: fornication, adultery and divorce.

What does John think?

I personally struggle with pride, greed, selfishness, and other sins. I am no less (nor more) a sinner than a homosexual is. Most importantly, I have a command from Jesus to love both my neighbors and my enemies.

Would the Jesus who dined with sinners and tax collectors boycott a company because of a policy that endorses sin? Can we call something sin and still love those who commit that sin? Can God look at me and my sins and still love me? Would showing sinners that God loves them be more Christlike than boycotts and protests?

1 John 4:7–10 (NLT)
Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.

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