Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Dismal Christian Response to Gay Marriage

Shooting down Christian arguments against gay marriage is as easy as murdering the fish in the proverbial barrel. The arguments are almost uniformly condemned as narrow-minded, ignorant and bigoted, and that's because they are.

This November California will vote on Proposition 8, a measure that, if passed, would rewrite the California constitution to define marriage as between a male man and a female woman (yes, these days you do need to make the distinction). The argument in favor of the proposition is mostly being advanced on a false point of outrage: That the will of the people has been overturned by radical, unelected officials. I once was manipulated by conservative pundits to be outraged by "judicial activism," but I now see the superfluity of it. The charges of activism and overruling the people are defunct in light of the fact that the judiciary is exercising their constitutional requirement of interpretation. And no amount of ire and heavy breathing will make a dent in someone fulling their duties as commanded by law. Now, we may disagree with their interpretation, but that's a different issue requiring different vehicles of attack now, isn't it?

In consideration of these facts, when we actually do the math and roll the numbers out we find that all of that phony outrage equates to this retarded statement: I'm outraged at you because you disagree with me. Well pardon me if I'm not interested in wasting my precious breath on such puerile twaddle. ("Geez Jason, don't pat yourself on the back or anything," said the collective readership. I'm sorry, you're right. When you reflect on this entry in hindsight please tone down my self-righteousness by half to make up for my oversight. Thank you.)

Unfortunately what we find is that the veneer of outrage is quickly stripped away to reveal that Christians don't want gay marriage because of religious considerations they have made for themselves. They think that being gay is immoral, so it shouldn't have the blessing of government. The Christian's first sin is their inconsistency. They don't seem to mind that the U.S. government frequently rewards the greedy, the lazy, and the hoarder of wealth (an action condemned by the New Testament).

The Christian's second sin is their...bigotry. Yes, their bigotry (keep in mind that I am one of these Christians who believes what the Bible says, and therefore what God says, about homosexuality). Their bigotry is expressed in their feeling that in a democracy their religion should be followed, should have a knee bent towards it from the non-believers, but everyone else's religion should be paid no mind. The Christian would laugh in the face of the Mormon or the Muslim who said that we should outlaw alcohol and caffeine because God forbids it. "But I don't believe that." Wouldn't that be the response? "Who are you to inflict your religion on me?" It is problematic indeed.

And it can go on like this forever. In the end we find that Christians are wrong to advocate for laws against gay marriage on religious grounds. God himself does not want someone following his rules who aren't following them in their hearts. God gets no glory in compulsion. If the Christian is successful in using the force of law to compel an individual away from marrying within their sex God has not been glorified.

"So where do you stand, Jason? Have you gone all liberal on us? Have you given in to the pull of the society?" Me? Oh, thank you for asking. I'm against same-sex marriage. But I take what I believe to be the only valid line of reasoning, one of which many gays and liberals agree with.

God's laws are not arbitrary. God laid down his rules because they have practical, real world implications. He did not make his laws to give you something to follow. He made his laws to protect you. U.S. law does not need to consciously reference the 10 Commandments because the bulk of them are self-evident. God has made it so that we can talk about His truths without having to point to the rulebook.

All research tells us, and our experience and gut feelings support the idea, that the best situation for a child is a mother and a father in the home. We're just talking about the ideal, here. Of course many children are not fortunate enough to have this, and of course plenty of children turn out great who do not have this. But it is in the government's best interest to see as many children as possible grow up in a home with a mother and a father in it. To say that any other relationship is worthy of marriage is to be institutionally cruel to children. It would be irresponsible of the government to say that a child is as well off with no mother, or with no father. But that is exactly what it would be doing by legalizing same-sex marriage.

That's the argument, in a nutshell. You don't have to agree with it, but I don't think you can call it bigoted. The only trick for me is making sure that it's true, that I really believe it, and I'm not just pretending this is the best argument in order to cover for my latent homophobia. It's certainly possible, but I don't think that it is the case.

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