The problem with the “gay marriage” debate

The issue of gay acceptance and gay marriage is reaching a fever pitch. I wanted to briefly weigh in with something I’ve been thinking about that concerns this.

All who dwell inside the prison of the law interpret things in terms of the knowledge of good and evil. We have one side saying that gay marriage is wrong, and the other side saying it is right. Both sides think the other side is morally reprehensible for even holding those views. Gay supporters want Christians to change their tune, and say that homosexuality is good and acceptable. Christians want gays to repent of their perversion.

However, Christianity isn’t primarily about where you draw the line between good and bad. The unbelieving gay community believes the Christian position is, if they don’t conform to our version of good and bad, they aren’t allowed to be included. So in the LGBT community there is the demand to redraw the lines of inclusion, to loosen up our rules. If someone has an inbred or genetic tendency to be attracted to the same sex, Christians are wrong to demand change. The thing is, all humans are born with a tendency to all kinds of sin. I have the inbred tendency to overeat and ogle shapely women who aren’t my wife. All of the lines of inclusion are all undoable. I’m supposed to love God with my whole heart, mind, soul, and strength. If getting rid of our attraction to sin is the condition to inclusion, the number of people in the church would be ZERO.

This is where the schizophrenia of the church concerning the work of Christ on the cross and the nature of justification and sanctification is shooting itself in the foot. Is there grace for the homosexual, really, or not? Is being gay, untransformed and unchanged, a condition for exclusion from Christ and heaven? Or, is belief in Christ, in His blood shed for our sins, enough? Can anyone really repent or transform prior to coming to Christ? Can anyone really perfectly transform even after coming to Christ? Is perfect repentance really the primary condition to inclusion in the Church? Of course not. Trust in the propitiatory death of Jesus on our behalf is the primary condition. Justification is the acceptance of a gift, not the moral work of the flesh.

To the LGBT community I will say, don’t ask me to redraw the lines of what the law of God says is right and wrong. I won’t do it where it condemns me any more than I will do it where it condemns you. The fact that the particular sin of homosexuality is wrong is a triviality; pretty much everything anyone does is all wrong. You think homosexuality is the only sin the Bible speaks against? Pride and a lack of humility are also heinous sins, but no one is clamoring for us to go soft on those. You are trying to get me to justify you by changing right and wrong. It just doesn’t work that way, you’re barking up the wrong tree. We are all on the wrong side of God’s law, and we are all born that way, and we all persist in it. My repentance is filthy rags. The law shows us in a deep and profound way that we all need grace. We dare not water it down. But your failure in sexual matters of the heart are no more shocking than mine, and your failure in other matters, such as coveting, stealing, selfishness, gluttony, laziness, etc., are no more grounds for exclusion from grace than mine. Once you accept the free gift of justification, the Holy Spirit may lead you to focus on your laziness or your covetousness just as much as He might lead to you a new sexuality. Your identity is not to be wrapped up with your sexuality, but is to be wrapped up with Christ who loves you most dearly. Your sexuality is not nearly the barrier you imagine.

To the Christian community I would say, stop being schizophrenic. Either the blood of Christ is enough or it is not. We all are born with sin, we all secretly end up redrawing the lines of what is acceptable. Make the gospel to be about Christ, and realize there is no change without Him. The kindness and mercy and love of God is what leads us to repentance, and it is our love for one another that grabs the attention of the world. Grace is for each of us with our own shape of iniquity and sin, and we must be accepted by Christ first before the Holy Spirit can lead us to heartfelt true transformation. Preach grace and only grace, never forget that God is love, and the message is first about love, and not your iron stance on morality. The law is a tool to lead us to the cross, but the cross is the true message.

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30 Comments

    • G-d is able to make your genes change. Just ask Him. with a little faith you can move a mountain! He can make you the woman or man He intended. to live in sexual activities with the same sex is just plain wrong. Ask Him to come into your heart and guide your life, and you will see that is the case. I don’t know who is telling you that it’s ok, But it’s not Jesus.

    • to the author. i agree that we are all born “that way” sinners in one way shape or form. but repenting and coming to christ means turning from the acts of the flesh and live a spiritual life. the point that people like me are totally against is that we don’t revel or display our sin and call it “normal”. im a thief and proud of it?? really? Or i know i’m wrong and i am working out my own salvation? what’s the difference? holding hatred in your heart or same sex acts> sin is sin. it all stains your soul. when you have gone too far, your conscience is seared as if with a hot iron.. you have no remorse, no shame. at that point these folks have nothing to do than to ty to make themselves more comfortable, but really, if the laws allow them to do whatever, that won’t be enough, because their spirit is at war within themselves. and the spirit always wins! one way or another we will all have to surrender to HIM!

  1. The problem being, the homesexual community doesnt want exceptance, they want everyone to think the same as they do, even if civil liberties have to be revoked by using legal channels to do it, no longer giving you the right to show the love of Christ to them and giving the Spirit of God the opportunity to show them a new sexuality. You are assuming you will always have the protected freedom to love them out their problems just as someone else is being loved out of the problem of, lets say gambling. The freedom to do so, that you are relying upon, is being threatened at the legal level. Its not a debate on morality, its a debate on your rights as a human being to freely persue what you believe in. Forcing someone to believe what you believe isnt tolerance, its tyranny. We don’t force them not to be homosexual, we try to love them to show them there is a better way by being an example, but they are not so willing to choose to be so civil.

  2. The problem with the gay marriage debate is that the constitution says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” which means you can’t legislate from the bible. Or the Quran. Or the Book of Mormon. Or any other religious book.

    Nobody is asking you to change your beliefs. But what gives you the right to expect others to adhere to your belief system? A close example here is the old “Blue Laws” that prohibited businesses from being open on Sunday because it was the Sabbath. Legislated right out of the bible. The only problem is that Christianity isn’t the only religion in this country so the Blue Laws were rightfully struck down.

    Stores are now open on Sunday, where Jewish people and 7th Day Adventists and the non-believers and lots of others can shop…and the world hasn’t come to an end. And yet, Christians can still go to church on Sunday all they want. They didn’t have to change their beliefs to let others live theirs.

    As to the freedom of speech, I perfectly welcome the right of free speech. That’s not what the other current issue (Chick-Fil-A) is about. He is free to speak his mind, nobody denies that. But so are we. We are free to point out that he gives money to groups that seek to criminalize us for who we are, bringing back sodomy laws (between two consenting adults), denying equality with regard to preventing anti-discrimination laws in employment and housing (so that in several states we can continue to be fired or denied employment and/or evicted or denied rental–whether actually “practicing” or “celibate”–just for a declaration of who we are), and helping to fund an anti-human rights bill in Uganda that would have allowed gay people to be put to death. It’s his right to speak. It’s his money to give. Don’t forget, though, we have the right to speak too. And to tell the TRUTH.

    We don’t want to take away your rights. We just demand the same rights that you already have.

    • @ Roland…You do want to take away our rights. Mr Kathy has every right to support any group he wishes whether you agree with what they stand for or not. There is in the US, the Communist Party USA. This group seeks to eliminate the Constitution we now have and replace it with a DIFFERENT FORM of government. I don’t agree but I don’t call those who agree with them ‘haters’. They have the right to move to a country where that form of government already exists but they don’t. Instead they seek to impose it on those of us who like this Constitutional Republic.
      The ‘gay agenda’ seeks to do the same. Our system of government was developed by men who believed in the Bible as the standard of right and wrong. It forms the BASIS of our Laws. You want the standard of morality to be changed to suit you. Ok, then when does it stop? There are those who claim that children should be able to be ‘aborted’ up to the age of 1 year. How about two years? If the Bible is NOT the standard, the arbiter of morality, WHO IS? Is it Hitler or Mother Theresa?
      If someone kills a homosexual it is a hate crime. If someone kills me, it isn’t. Therefore, homosexuals ALREADY are members of an elite class whose life is more precious than mine. Enough! Homosexuals have their ‘hate’ crime, heterosexuals have marriage. Be content with what you have or make ALL MURDER a ‘hate’ crime, then come speak to me about equality.

    • Everyone likes to reinterpret the establishment clause but it states that the state make no law respecting the establishment of religion. This is based on what the original settlers faced in the old country, the state adopted a religion and you had to follow it, or face persecution or even death. The founders based the very foundation of this country and our laws on Judea/Christian values and beliefs. Sessions of government, courts, and virtually all formal government events open with prayer. I am sorry but you are not permitted to reinterpret the constitution whenever it fits your needs; there are enough people that wish to interpret this as a “freedom from religion” instead of “Freedom of Religion”

  3. Roland: Excellent response.

    One major inanity represented in this article is the faithful’s equating the two sides: “We have one side saying that gay marriage is wrong, and the other side saying it is right. Both sides think the other side is morally reprehensible for even holding those views.”

    Fail.

    Instead, a far more accurate parallel is this: “We have one side (the religious) legally prohibiting the other group (gays) the *civil* right to marry, be employed, rent apartments, adopt children, visit loved ones in the hospital, and the like; and the other side (gays) asking the first side (the religious) to stop denying them their civil rights.”

    And, of course, also this: “We have one side (the religious) whose holy text and Almighty God command that the other side should be put to death, and the other side saying…’No.'”

    If gays were as intolerant as Judeo-Christian-Mormon theists, their “agenda” would claim, “If a man lies with a woman, both must be put to death (Leviticus 20:13).”
    • Clark, G. A. Love the theist, hate the theism. Op-ed column. The Daily Utah Chronicle, Oct. 6, 2011.
    http://www.dailyutahchronicle.com/?p=12141

    • you’re really full of it. when have you heard of a bible based church putting these people to death or denying them employment? they dont control the economy. what a bunch of nonsense. Christians love sinners, so much so, that they don’t want people to burn forever.

  4. Roland: Excellent response.

    One major inanity represented in this article is the faithful’s equating the two sides: “We have one side saying that gay marriage is wrong, and the other side saying it is right. Both sides think the other side is morally reprehensible for even holding those views.”

    Fail.

    Instead, a far more accurate parallel is this: “We have one side (the religious) legally prohibiting the other group (gays) the *civil* right to marry, be employed, rent apartments, adopt children, visit loved ones in the hospital, and the like; and the other side (gays) asking the first side (the religious) to stop denying them their civil rights.”

    And, of course, also this: “We have one side (the religious) whose holy text and Almighty God command that the other side should be put to death, and the other side saying…’No.'”

    If gays were as intolerant as Judeo-Christian-Mormon theists, their “agenda” would claim, “If a man lies with a woman, both must be put to death (Leviticus 20:13).”

    • Clark, G. A. Love the theist, hate the theism. Op-ed column. The Daily Utah Chronicle, Oct. 6, 2011.

  5. Ridiculous… what Christian engaged in this debate EVER said that the blood of Christ isn’t enough, or that the sinner can pull himself out of it by his own bootstraps? The fact is that this whole debate is taking place on two different spheres simultaneously, the spiritual and the temporal (i.e. sociopolitical), and each has its premises in its own context. Your post, while clarifying the issues in some areas, confuses them in others. Bah.

    • No Christian says that the blood of Jesus isn’t enough, but MOST act as if that were true. Case in point; we claim that speaking the truth to the Gay/Lesbian community is done out of love to save them. (In reality it is done out of fear.)

      Would they be saved by becoming heterosexual?…

      Let’s speak the truth of Jesus’ completed work.

      His kindness led me to repentance, not His judgement. How about you?

  6. @Roland: You say, “We just demand the same rights that you already have.”

    Straight people don’t have the right to redefine marriage….and neither do gay people.

    • Then perhaps you should take another look Mack at what the bible exemplifies as marriage and what we have today. No one if forced to marry their siblings bride if he dies. Inter-racial marriages are legal. Rape victims are not required to marry their rapists. Man has forever been changing the “definition of marriage”. Just because you choose to hide behind an ideal that is millenia old and even Jesus condemned does not make you correct. Eat pork or shellfish? Wear cotton and polyester at the same time? Jesus testifies in the New Testament that these old laws were designed incorrectly by man and spells out what expectations God has of us, but there is no negative reference to homosexuality in the New Testament that I have read or ever heard of. Jesus Christ. This is the name where christianity came from yet so few actually protect and project his teachings and examples. When Christians start following their own religion instead of telling other how to do it then perhaps others will be more likely to pay attention and embrace it; and those who claim to embrace it will truly understand what that actually means. This is, afterall, an order given by Jesus in Matthew.

  7. Good try, but … um … no! Christians do not have the right to call homosexuality sin EVER, EVER, EVER. To even consider that is to have such a superficial understanding of scripture that it calls into question why you even own a Bible. The Bible doesn’t condemn homosexuality. Even if it did, why would anyone respect a book that says a man can rape a virgin, pay the dad 50 shekels and then marry her? It’s a crazy book for crazy people.

    • Not true, we are Americans, we have freedom of speech, There is no right to not be offended. We can call it sin, we can call it wrong, we can say that God will judge you, We can even say the boogie monster is going to tickle you until you change your ways. We have freedoms in this country, yes Barack Obama and his friends in the Media wish to take those rights away, but for now we will exercise those rights. We have to accept and be tolerant of everyone’s choices and lifestyles, that doesn’t mean we have to agree or like it. The man down the street that brings a different woman home every night, the Alcoholic that walks up tp the corner store 10 times a day to get beer, the woman that sunbaths in skimpy clothes in front of our children, we may all despise or simply dislike behaviors we have to be around, we must be tolerant, if they are not hurting others, but we have no obligation to embrace them.

  8. This lacks any real facts. It is simply opinions. The bible is a book filled with stories and guides to live your life happily. It is book that should be found in the “self help” section of a book store. It is not law, reason, logic, or facts. It is one or more people’s collaborated ideas, written by man, and there-for is not creditable. You wouldn’t trust a man who claims to see “visions” today, so why would you trust a man then? Even before all the knowledge we know today. The LGBT community only wishes for you to allow them the same rights as you. You get to live your life the way you want, believe in what you want, marry who you want… so why should a gay man have any differently because he “sins” differently than you? Why should he have to live a life alone, or hide who he is inside? You don’t have to hide the fact you are a man of god. You do not have to hide your love or marriage. Neither should they. They don’t ask you to change. They don’t ask for you to accept them. They just ask for you to leave their life decisions up to them, and to give them the same rights as you… because in the end, we all “sin”, and repenting is only denial. Leave the judgement to God, and go on living your life without interring others.

  9. One main problem with the “gay marriage” debate is the false premise of a “ban” on same-sex marriage. Churches are free to call the union between two adults of the same sex a “marriage” if they like. Their assembly is welcome to join them in recognizing this as a “marriage”. However, this does not compel every other citizen, nor the government to recognize that union as a marriage. Nothing is banned. It’s just that one type of union is recognizedas marriage in large part due to society’s desire to endorsethat type of union.

    What somein the gay community desire seems to be recognition, therefore endorsement of their union in effort to accomplish normalizationof their still fringe behavior. Whether we as a society are okay with that recognition, endorsement, and normalization should be the debate, but let’s be honest about it firstly. And let’s acknowledge that there is no ban, and there are no “rights” being denied by government’s refusal to recognize certain types of unions as marriage.

    Once we figure that out, let’s examine whether government should play a role in recognizing marriage to begin with – and whether it makes sense to just recognize that these are all Unions and the ones recognized by the State are Civil Unions – including marriages between one man and one woman.

    • Excellent argument Chet… other than the fact that no “out” gay person I know gives a crap if you accept them or not. I know gay people that have been married in a christian church and/or by christian clergy so the only additional recognition wanted is by the state. FYI – technical definition of state would be federally, not locally titled “states” like NY or California. The recognition they want is only to protect their families and interests just as heterosexual marriages are currently protected. As of now, family members of a gay partner have more legal rights over them then their actual partners and can deny hospital visitations, take away children, and take everything that they own. So if they cannot be allowed these protections why not take it from everyone??

  10. all well and good. Now, what do we do with all the instructions (even from Christ Himself) on the subject of “remaining, or, continuing” in that sin?? ‘Flee’ means just that– quit, don’t continue in that sin. Sure we all have a propensity to sin, but the subject is taken further in scripture than just…’love then and let them (or me) go on doing it . Big difference! Rom.6:1 ‘shall we continue in sin so that grace may abound, certainly not’. You make a wonderful point that all Christians should pay attention to, but like the ones who would have us turn our heads and accept this sin as ‘normal’ and not to be addressed and considered ‘normal’ ,is frankly, biblically irresponsible. Christians have a responsibility from scripture to stand against open sinful practice wherever it happens and THAT will always be objected to by those who choose to PRACTICE sin in their lifestyle, and then demand that others(Christians included) accept that lifestyle. Well, some of the most miserable (and bitter) Christians I know are that way because some church member didn’t take them aside and show them scripture pointing to where they were sinning and going wrong, before they ruined their lives!! That seems to fly in the face of this theory of ,”we should just mind our own business,since we all sin” .

  11. It’s pretty simple, folks. Within very broad limits, you are free to practice your religious bigotry in your church and religious ceremonies.

    BUT: Marriage is a *civil* arrangement, quite independent of what happens in your church. And there are multiple practical, real-world consequences associated with that arrangement, aside from the name.

    You have no more right to deny gays the right to a marriage license on religious grounds than to deny them a driver’s license. Same with employment, housing, and the other civil rights I listed above.

  12. Mack says “Straight people don’t have the right to redefine marriage….and neither do gay people.” Alas for Mack and so many other apologists, actual history tells a rather different tale. Facts, not faith, folks.

    The reality is that civil marriage in America today is far, far different from what the Bible indicates, and also from that proscribed by earlier US law.

    Exhibit A: Most modern supporters of “traditional marriage” on theological grounds conveniently disregard that interracial marriage was also illegal in Utah till 1963 (!), and in other states till even more recently, in good part on religious grounds. As the Mormon prophet Brigham Young preached, “If the White man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain [blacks], the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so.” Yet the Supreme Court rightly ruled such institutionalized bigotry illegal in the public domain. http://utahfreethinkers.com/religion-racism-and-revisionism-2/

    And did I mention polygamy, present not only in the Bible, but also throughout early Utah as God willed, and as is still practiced in accord with God’s will in some LDS sects today?

    Remember, too, that according to Jesus Himself, anyone who divorces and remarries is an adulterer.

    And, who can forget the ever-popular Biblical mandate (Deut 22:28) that a man must marry the virgin he rapes? This practice is still enforced in Middle Eastern theocracies, whether the victimized woman likes it or not.

    Ah, yes. The sanctity of “traditional marriage.” We can’t ever redefine that, can we?

  13. The problem is that we are defining marriage as a religious rite, which it is to those who are Christian. actually, we should be doing a religiious ceremony for believers and a civil ceremony for others. marraige is a civil contract and as such is a right of every citizen with the boundraries of age of consent. I refuse to view sexual orientation as a free choice and therefore a sin. No one would freely choose a life of discrimination, loss of family, friends and social standing. therefore, I do not regard homosexuality as sin (I am heterosexual, if you should wonder) The world is full of sins that should cause us all to fall on our knees. yes, Ime Christian how about the sins of meanness, selfishness, putting down others who do not look or act as we ourselves do please concern yourselves with the very real sins of the spirit which cause so much chaos, fear and heartache grace d. Benesh buck

  14. Great thoughts on grace……and yes acts of sin are a normal outflow from the source being “sin” — a nature. I find it interesting that most of the responses fought about law, civil and moral, and grace was pushed off to the side. Hmmm…

    • YES!!!!!!!!!! I found that interesting too…Have you read Jim’s post on “The Two Universes?” We love living in the universe of Grace. Sounds like you do too… Blessings Without Measure!

  15. I appreciate each and every comment on this important issue! Thanks to all for your kind words and passion. Sorry for the delay, I’ve been busy and the attention this post has gotten took me by surprise!

    I think K.C. and my wonderful wife Betty are right, many of the comments illustrate the very problem I wrote about in the post. I am saying that the debate centers around the question of where we draw the lines of religious and civil law, while the real message of Christ is grace however you draw those lines. We may actually differ over where we draw the line on homosexuality, but the real point is that the whole law of the scriptures and of conscience leads us to a knowledge of our inadequacy, not to success (Romans 3:19,20). It doesn’t make it better to draw the lines more loosely, because tighter laws are truer laws, and lead you more surely to mercy.

    The message of the gospel is that we are accepted in Christ, forgiven of all, even our misconceptions about the law. Jesus takes all of the blame. We are greatly accepted on the condition of His death. Whatever you believe about homosexuality, it is Christ who rescues us from the whole of all of our sin, and all sin even according to their own standards. The main question is not about homosexuality, it is about liberation under grace.

    Furthermore, any reform or repentance we experience in Christ is only going to manifest truly and deeply under the liberty of grace. It isn’t that in Christ you suddenly enter into sinless perfection. It is that before you were identified by your failures, but in Christ you are identified by His love for you. You either believe that, or you don’t. There is a great amount of teaching on this on the many posts on this blog, it is the main subject I am always posting about. True virtue is virtue freely chosen from love inspired by the Holy Spirit, and there is great patience with God, in fact infinite patience, as concerns the wrong views of holiness and righteous standards that we all harbor.

  16. VERY excellent article!!! And speaking as a former practicing lesbian (saved by God’s grace) it is extremely balanced! While same sex attraction is still my “thorn in the flesh”, God’s grace is truly sufficient! I do believe that God can…, and at times does, provide complete elimination of that attraction, but I know that for His own reasons he doesn’t always. But God is good and His strength is shown in my weakness! What saddens me the most is when the church, in it’s attempt to be gracious, accepts the practice of homosexuality and openly “celebrates” it. It’s “loving them to Death”. And there is the other extreme of the Westboro group. Sadly, both are soul destructive. But while we deride the Westboro group, rightly so, we tend to merely silently shake our heads at the other.

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