Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Why I Am Neither For Nor Against Legalized Same-Sex Marriage

On Friday, the Supreme Court's decision regarding same-sex marriage sent my Facebook newsfeed into overdrive.  I saw a lot of extremely polarized views, mostly either, "OMG this is the best thing ever!!!! #lovewins," or else, "OMG this country is on a downward spiral now!!!! #fallennation."  I don't agree with either of those views, but don't mistake me for being neutral, because I'm not.  I did see a few "neutral" posts that basically said, "I don't agree with it, but as long as it doesn't affect me, what do I care?"  That's not my viewpoint, either.

Brace yourselves.  I might be making every group angry.

I firmly believe that homosexuality is wrong.  I also believe that sex between a man and a woman, outside of the context of marriage, is wrong.  I believe that greed, indifference, lust, and covetousness are wrong.  I hold these beliefs because I am Christian, and I believe God's Word.

The thing is, God didn't put me here to legislate my beliefs onto others.  Yes, I believe what God said to be true, but nowhere did He say that I should enforce His Laws onto the country where I reside.  Or, to quote 1 Timothy 4:16, "Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine [emphasis added]."  Take heed to myself--pay attention to the way that I am living my life; to my standing with God; to how my life lines up with the Bible.  That doesn't mean I shouldn't care about my neighbors.  We need to pray, always pray.  But prayer is not the same as forcing someone to live in what you perceive is the correct manner.

This country where God has placed me was founded on the principle of personal liberty--that is, the liberty for each individual to live his or her life in the manner that he or she chooses, so long as it does not harm anyone else.  That means I have the right to seek employment where I choose, vacation where I choose, and marry whom I choose.  My neighbors also have those rights, even when I disagree personally with their choices.  And really, if you believe in God-given free will, you must recognize that God allows us to choose.  He allows us to choose wrongly.  He allows us to make mistakes.  He allows us to do things that will hurt us, because He loves us so much that He wants us to freely choose Him.  There wouldn't be the same joy in us choosing to follow God, if we were forced to do so.

At the same time, I believe that officially recognizing same-sex marriage is a mistake, because when "love" is the only listed requirement, that opens the door to all different kinds of love.  Incest?  Sure.  Pedophilia?  No problem.  After all, why shouldn't two brothers be allowed to marry?  It's not like we'd have to worry about their genetics when it comes to children.  And with so much push to allow young girls access to birth control without parental consent, isn't that basically saying that they already know their sexuality better than their parents?  So why shouldn't a 10-year-old girl marry a 35-year-old man?  Studies have already been done to determine if pedophilia is really just another sexual orientation.

The problem we have here is having the government involved in marriage at all.  It wasn't always, you know.  For many years marriage was a social institution, recognized by priests and villages but not regulated by the state.  The state has its claws in now, and it won't retract them easily.  Being in charge of marriage--something most adults crave--gives the state too much power.  If government were to remove itself from marriage, including all tax benefits, etc., marriages could once again be performed by priests, rabbis, shamans, or what-have-you, without needless coercive redefining.  Those who want to marry someone of the same gender can easily, in this day and age, find someone to perform that ceremony.  Those who want male-female only relationships can find places that line up with their beliefs.  And when government is removed from defining marriage, it can better protect children, which is one of its intended functions.  Of course children should not be allowed to marry, but when "love" is officially recognized as all that's needed to marry, that line can become blurred.

The point in all of this is personal liberty.  God gives us liberty.  Our Constitution is supposed to affirm that liberty.  It is not just to force an entire nation to abide by your personal beliefs, whether they be heterosexual-only marriages or love-makes-a-marriage marriages.  Get government out of marriageIt should never have been in it to begin with.

So yes, I believe same-sex marriage is wrong, but not any more so than homosexuality itself, or sexual relationships outside of marriage. The Church, however, is not the State, nor should it be.  They each have their separate functions.  Carey Nieuwhof wrote an excellent piece about this.  

Live your life.  Live it the best way you know how.  Don't force others to fall in line with what you believe, whatever side of the issue you're on.  Be kind, be generous, be thoughtful.  Be the kind of person you want to meet.  You're much less likely to be frustrated with others' perceived idiocy that way.  And for heaven's sake, if someone around you is loudly spouting a different viewpoint, don't engage in an argument.  Maybe you could offer coffee, and a chance to discuss differences in a civil manner.

Another good read:  Why Christians Should Oppose a Government Definition of Marriage