Thursday, March 28, 2013

Gay Marriage -- for the Love of God


For millions of Christians today is Maundy Thursday.  We will pause this evening to remember the final meal that Jesus shared with his disciples before his arrest and execution on the morrow.  At least according to the Gospel of John, standing at the center of this feast (in John this is a pre-Passover meal not a Passover meal) is the command to love one another.   I’d like to pick up on that command – that mandate (Maundy is an anglicized form of the Latin for mandate) and connect it with the important conversation occurring in this nation this week.

                The U.S. Supreme Court has heard two key cases this week.  The first concerned the constitutionality of California’s Prop 8.  Being from California, I have a sense of the political process in that state.  Back in November of 2008, as part of the national election cycle, Californians voted by a narrow majority to overturn a state Supreme Court ruling that overturned a ban on gay marriage.  Prop 8 was later declared invalid by a Federal Appeals Court, and the U.S. Supreme Court is being asked to resolve this standoff.   At this point it appears that the Court may dismiss the case, leaving the lower court ruling in place, thus allowing gay marriages to resume in California, but not affecting the status elsewhere. 

                The second case will decide whether the Federal Defense of Marriage Act passes constitutional muster.      This statute, which the Justice Department and Obama Administration have chosen not to defend, prevents any federal rights and benefits to be accorded to any gay or lesbian marriage relationship, even if a state has deemed them legal.  From the questioning yesterday, it would appear that there are at least five votes to strike down DOMA.    This would mean that the federal government must treat persons legally married, whether gay or straight equally before the law.  This ruling won’t affect state law, but it might begin to pave the way for more change across the country, as people recognize the disparity that exists between civil unions and marriage.  We’re seeing political figures, especially within the Democratic Party coming out in support of marriage equality.

                So what does this have to do with Maundy Thursday?  I’ve not posted anything as of yet on the issues before the court.  But now that the cases have been heard, the arguments made, I thought it worth my time to comment.   I want to couch me statements in the command to love.  Though stated differently from John, Jesus is on record calling on us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.  If my neighbor, or in my case my brother, is gay how do I love that person as I love myself.  What would I want for them that I want for myself?

                In regards to marriage equality, I’ve concluded that my gay and lesbian friends should have the same recognition, rights, and blessings that I’ve enjoyed these past thirty years of marriage.  I can see no harm coming to my marriage as a result of extending the blessings of marriage to gays and lesbians.  Indeed, it would help solidify families – adoptions could be recognized on the part of families rather than individuals.  Children could have the legal benefit of knowing that their parents have society’s full recognition – bolstering their own sense of identity.   In times of sickness and death, a partner is recognized as closest kin.  How horrid it would be for me or Cheryl if one or the other was not allowed to be at the side of one’s loved one. 

               Chief Justice John Roberts, during Tuesday’s debates, suggested that what the opponents of Prop 8 wanted in their call for recognition of full marriage equality was a change of label.  What the Chief Justice didn’t seem to understand was that this label carries a lot of weight.  Even if Civil Unions were raised to the same level as marriage, in the eyes of the populace they are not the same.  As Justice Ginsburg pointed out they are skim milk as opposed to whole milk.  The label matters – to children and families. 

                In the name of love, a love that seeks the best for one’s neighbor, I stand in support of marriage equality.  I believe it’s the right thing to do, and I believe it is in accord with the spirit of my Christian faith.  Yes, there are biblical texts that appear to oppose homosexual relationships.  But Jesus was not averse to challenging traditional views in the name of love and of justice.  I believe that what we are seeing today is a move of the Spirit.  As the voice from heaven tells Peter:  “What God has made clean you must not call profane” (Acts 10:15).  We are, I believe, at just such a moment in time.  God has, in my estimation, called for us to bless what God appears to be blessing – the union of loving and committed same-sex couples.

25 comments:

Gary said...

God has cursed homosexuals and defined marriage as the union of a man and a woman only. There are no same-sex marriages to be found in the Bible. The Bible is very clear that God condemns both homosexuals and those who support their sins. Trying to argue that loving your neighbor means supporting their sexual perversion is insanity. Those who want to remove the opposite sex requirement for marriage cannot logically or morally defend any restrictions on marriage at all.

David said...

Gary, we know what you were going to say.

My town...

United States » Michigan » Clawson
It is legal for a farmer to sleep with his pigs, cows, horses, goats, and chickens.

http://i.imgur.com/dtMdJ7U.png

David said...

I think making same sex marriage the law would give marriage a needed shot in the arm. I'm hoping that all the straight couples, who think nothing of having children out of wedlock find this struggle inspiring. It's usually, obviously, for financial reasons they don't marry. We need to stop punishing the married, and the unmarried.

Gary said...

David,

Since it is legal where you live, are you having sex with animals? If you are not, do you have a moral objection to that? What is the source of that moral objection, if you have one?

David said...

Of course not. But freedom unused, is not wasted. My objection is you shouldn't force your will on the weak.

Gary, in your opinion, homosexuals are created unequal. Why doesn't God have better quality control? Why does He call on you to love us all? What is the primary source of your vitriol?

John said...

Gary,

Would you wash the feet of a gay man?

Whenever you enter the conversation it seems to rapidly refocus on your personal hatred. So let's go there.

Judging and punishing is God's work, not ours. So what are we supposed to do? We are called to live our lives seeking to reflect God's love in the world, proclaiming the Kingdom, and through our efforts and through the work of the Holy Spirit within us, we seek to bring God into the world.

If you accept these premises, what can you do to proclaim the Kingdom?

I cannot escape the image of the Bishop of Rome washing and kissing the feet of inmates in a Roman prison yesterday. No hatred, no animosity, no judgment - only profound love and kindness.

Gary, does that example not call out to you to consider having a different relationship with those in the gay community? They are not criminals, they do not pose a threat to society. But they have been set aside by Society for a special punishment, a special humiliation. Socially demoted and religiously persecuted, they are forced to carry a cross not of their own choosing.

And for what? For seeking the political, social and financial benefits promised to everyone else? For seeking to live out the lives God granted them, for seeking to live out the commandment of Jesus to love in the way that is most natural to them?

Jesus blessed marriage and specifically taught that if one cannot live without the intimacy of another, then it is better to experience and express that intimacy, that passion, that happiness, and that love, within the sacred relationship of marriage.

And you would deny gays access to the very relationship which Jesus promoted. And worse, you pour out venom and hatred on gays and on those who would support them in their quest to live faithful lives.

Jesus did not ”accuse" the woman caught in the act of adultery. Instead he showed her only kindness. He saved his judgment for those who judged her.

It's surely complicated. But whatever God's will is in the matter, at the very least we are called to treat one another with love and kindness.

Why is that so hard for you?

Gary said...

David,

You think God is responsible for someone's homosexuality? On what basis do you make such a claim?

If you are correct, then would not God also be responsible for someone's adultery? Or someone's fornication? Or someone's murdering? Or someone's blasphemy? You think by endorsing homosexual behavior and same-sex marriage that would prove my love for homosexuals. When I read the Bible, as I do daily, I can't find any agreement with what you claim is true.

Gary said...

John,

What I wrote to David I wrote to you also.

When I read the Bible, I can't find any evidence that God approves of homosexuality. Just the opposite. Neither can I find any evidence that God approves of same-sex marriage. If you are a Christian, why would you advocate things that are contradicted by the Scriptures?

David said...

Hating someone for their sexual orientation is the same as hating someone for their race, or their hair color, or where they were born. Science, experience and the lack of a good argument. You lack a good enough argument to change my mind Gary. You always will.

Gary said...

David,

Sexual orientation is meaningless without sexual behavior. Being sexually attracted to someone is a behavior. Having sex with someone is a behavior. Getting married is a behavior. It is homosexual behavior that God condemns.

Why do you claim to be a Christian and endorse what God has condemned? It isn't my argument that you reject, it is God's argument that you are rejecting. I have said nothing about this that I cannot prove from the Bible.

David said...

Gary,

If being a Christian is standing behind everything written in the Bible, as though it is literal truth, I'd resign. But I know for a fact, that is very, very far from the minimum requirement. As a matter of fact, I pity anyone who can't understand how to make moral judgements based on their own judgement. I feel this is where your judgement actually comes from. Something in you, or,your life, caused you to fear homosexuality. Oh, you'll forgive us as we do as we see fit. There were plenty like you, when it was decided the Bible, and its churches couldn't condone slavery, or suggest ham a and lobster aren't tasty and nutritious.

Gary, Try looking at others as your equals. Just as an experiment. Fire up those mirror neurons, before they die from atrophy. I suspect God longs to feel love through our experience. Warm His heart. Even if it results in only one 1 to his infinity. Infinity K + 1.

Gary said...

David,

You can't resign from something you have never been a part of. You are not a Christian, and never have been. You are a reprobate, God-hating, sin loving, infidel. And you cannot produce a shread of credible evidence to prove me wrong.

John said...

Gary,

Let me begin by apologizing for making the mistake of attempting to engage you in a serious discussion.

Neither David nor I are any more less of a sinner than you. I think you will agree with this. If not, then nothing more need be said.

Perhaps we chose our sins as much as we choose our struggles with God and with Scripture. You ignore or at least resist Jesus' teachings and I resist those teachings of the Church which disagree with Jesus. And while Jesus did say something about a man and a woman drawing together, he said so much more on the subject of marriage, and about love, and about the eternal ramifications of marriage, teachings which address so much more than who can marry whom, and why, and what that union signifies.

Jesus focus was on love, forgiveness, kindness, mercy, forgiveness, spiritual health, and Kingdom living. Your hate speech ignores all of that. And its clear you won't go there, and maybe you can't go there.

.

Gary said...

John,

You're a joke. You and David both are. So is Cornwall. You three hypocrites claim that you know Christ, but in works you deny him. No one that really knows Christ will promote sin, and you three not only promote sin, you attempt to justify what you are doing by claiming that Jesus approves. Hogwash.

Imagine someone promoting adultery and calling themselves a Christian, and claiming that Christ's love demands what they are doing. Their claim of knowing Jesus would have no credibility. Well, that is you, and David. And Cornwall. You are all promoting the sin of homosexuality, and the perversion of marriage, and claiming that Jesus is for what you are doing. You are all liars.

David said...

No, we're promoting the love apparent between homosexuals. Why are you blindly judging such a large group of people with a roller brush? I've met good and bad from all groups in life. I still haven't quite figured you (Gary) out though. Bad, or sad? We're a joke to you, but who's the clown? Why do you continue to come here Gary? Do you boast of your bravery in confronting the progressive demons? It's very perplexing. Chances are, there is someone close to you who would love to see you lose some of your hate. Either because they are, or because they love someone who was born with an orientation that doesn't match their equipment. We aren't machines Gary. The mind controls who we love. None of the three of us knows this struggle personally. I've known what the majority of America has realized only in the last few years. Acceptance of true committed gay love and marriage is a very positive step for us all. Christ demands you do not judge like you do.

Gary said...

David or John,

In Mark 10:6-7, Jesus said, "But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife;"

In 1 Corinthians 7:2 Paul said, "Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband."

In light of those two Scriptures, can you tell me how you have concluded that God allows people of the same sex to marry?

David said...

You explained it yourself Gary. Marriage strengthens bonds and prevents fornication.

Gary said...

That's a little shorter than I thought your reply would be, but just as non-sensical and absurd as I expected.

Gary said...

If you are for removing the requirement that marriages be only between a man and a woman, then you can't logically object to removing all of the restrictions. You have to be for polygamy, incest and the marriage of children, if they have the permission of a parent. Or, you might not even think the parent's permission is required. After all, "marriage strengthens bonds and prevents fornication".

David said...

I can't help but to blame people who judge and hate homosexuals for the atmophere of fear and shame, that lead to my cousin's death, Easter day, 20 years ago. No, he didn't get murdered or kill himself. He died of your God's viral rath, your imaginary, fearful Gary God. Have a nice day.

Gary said...

David,

I'm beginning to understand your problem. You hate God. You blame God for making homosexuality a sin, and for not preventing your sodomite cousin from reaping what he sowed. Get used to that because a lot more of that is coming your way. Have a nice day. It might be the last day you are not in Hell.

Robert Cornwall said...

Gary, what a wonderful message you bring to us on Easter -- a word of condemnation. Not sure that is the message of Jesus.

David said...

Gary did reply to have a nice day. It must have been hard to do.. :)

Gary said...

Cornwall,

Since you are promoting homosexuality and same-sex marriage, in contradiction of the Bible, what would be Jesus' message to you today?

David said...
This comment has been removed by the author.