Obama, Gay Marriage and the Gospel

I used to be conflicted on this issue. I read lots of contradictory arguments and never found one, on either side of the issue, thorougly persuasive. As a result, you'll see below, when it came to biblical interpretation of the issue of homosexuality, I mostly just referred people to other sources.

But, then I heard Matthew Vines speak on the subject and the homosexual issue became much clearer for me. I think Matthew addresses all the issues and arguments and brings them together persuasively.

His textual and historical analysis of what the apostle Paul was really talking about was the key that turned the lock for me. Anyway, please take an hour to watch his video below or read the transcript.

Gay marriage has been in the news lately -- with the passage in NC of the constitutional amendment prohibiting legal recognition of gay marriage and President Obama "coming out" in favor of legalizing gay marriage.

So, who's right?

As a legal issue "gay marriage" seems simple. As a matter of basic civil rights (and justice), homosexuals should be able to marry each other, and certainly have the same rights that heterosexuals have. Right now there are over 100 federal rights that heterosexuals have that homosexuals do not. This is just plain wrong,unjust and therefore unChristian.

Many public policies, like the tax code, get distorted in different ways, due to homosexual and heterosexual couples being treated differently. Generally, homosexual couples are disadvantaged although there are some cases where they can gain an advantage by not being considered "married". It's just wrong any way you look at it.

On the other hand, we should respect freedom of religion and therefore, no church, synagogue, or temple should be required to conduct same-sex ceremonies or even recognize them if that goes against their religious beliefs.

Really, it's as simple as that. "Yes" to civil unions, even marriage. "No" to any requirement that religious institutions conduct or sanction gay marriages against their religious beliefs.

What about the gospel? What's the "gospel view" of gay marriage?

First, it must be recognized that, just as with the other "hot button" issue for many: abortion -- Jesus never mentioned the issue and there's nothing in any of the gospels about it. However, clearly the gospel requires that we love our neighbor as ourselves and treat others even better than we treat ourselves. So, it seems like Christians should actually do that by ensuring that homosexuals have the same rights that marriage affords heterosexuals (most of us) in our society.

And, if your issue is the word "marriage" -- ok, do you at least support civil unions? If we can even get the right to civil unions for homosexuals -- that alone would be a tremendous step forward. If you oppose civil unions -- why may I ask? Just post below because a logical reason escapes me.

In the end, it really seems hard to find a good reason to oppose legalization of gay, civil, marriages. I mean, why deny gays equal civil rights in all areas -- including marriage. Heck, we give heterosexuals the civil right to divorce -- and that is much more clearly condemned in the Bible -- even by Jesus. So, anyone who thinks, for biblical reasons, gay marriage should be illegal, should feel even more strongly that divorce should be illegal. It's hypocritical to pass laws against gay marriage and not do the same against divorce.

Now, moving beyond the issue of recognition of civil marriages, a much more difficult issue is whether homosexual marriages are inherently sinful.

It's worth considering what sorts of things historically we (as humans) have been wrong about in our interpretation of the bible. It seems those things invariably are issues where the culture polluted our interpretation of scriptural texts. For example, a few hundred years ago, many people interpreted the bible as saying slavery was a righteous institution and necessary in a "Godly" society. We were wrong. Only a few decades ago, many interpreted the bible as prohibiting "mixing of the races" in marriage. The bible has been used as support to restrict the rights of women.

What do all of those cases of misinterpretation have in common?

Weaker groups, minorities being oppressed and societal norms influencing biblical interpretation.

The issue of whether homosexual actions or gay marriage is sinful all comes down to interpretation of a few bible verses. I have my own personal opinion about what the relevant verses in the bible are talking about and how we are to interpret them. But, you know what, who cares about my personal opinon? I'm just not going to waste your time with it. I'll leave it up to you to decide for yourself.

Here's a few resources that might be helpful:

Here's a couple more articles on this topic:

  1. Would Jesus Discriminate
  2. Bible and Homosexuality

The second one also defines what the term Eunuch means biblically.

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