I know this one's gonna get me in trouble. It's probably gonna get me unfriended on Facebook by a few folks. But what the hell, the point of this whole thing is to draw attention to myself, right? To get people to read this 'chere blog thing. To get people talking; to get my name on as many lips as possible. Welp, this oughta do it. I hope it doesn't make anybody hate me. I really do. But, to put it in wrestling parlance, "heat" is a good thing. The more of it a heel (more wrestling jargon) can draw, the better. Heat puts butts in seats. So let's see if I can kindle some heat, then.
I don't want anybody to think, though, I'm just milking this hot-topic issue for my own benefit. What I'm about to say really is my honest, truthful opinion. More than an opinion, it is my belief. And if talking about my belief can also serve to draw a little much needed publicity my way, that's cool.
This is not directed at any of my friends who already support gay marriage. This one is strictly for the ones who don't, and primarily oppose it on religious grounds. I want to try to explain to them why I believe they shouldn't.
Also, before we get down to it, I hope not to be viewed as "guilty by association." What I mean by that is, as I am talking in support of this volatile issue, that no one will assume I must be one o' them damn bleedin' heart liberal pinko commie types. I'm not. And I hope, as I am addressing this to a largely conservative audience, evangelical Christians for the most part, that nobody will assume I'm one of those good God-fearin', gun-totin', tea-sippin' republican types. I'm not. The truth of it is, I don't belong to either side in this fight. I don't trust either side and bend no knee to either ideology. Whether elephant or donkey, the major political parties in this country are controlled by people whose main interest is their own best interest--meaning, not YOURS and not MINE. To get elected to high office, it is necessary for a politician on either side of the divide to curry favor from special interest groups. SOMEbody has to put up the millions and millions of dollars needed to run for office, after all. The only real, basic difference between the Democrats and the Republicans is which special interest groups they sell out to. So I'm not coming from a political standpoint, here. Nor am I coming from a moral one. I don't even want to touch on the argument of whether or not homosexuality is or is not a sin. That's a whole separate debate. That's not what I'm interested in addressing here. I'm not a donkey and I'm not an elephant. And, even though I am a Christian and I am talking to Christians (at least the tile of this post is meant to attract the attention of Christians), I'm not too much gonna approach the subjects of sin and spirituality. First and foremost, I am speaking as an American, and one who values the freedom that comes from it.
Okay. End of preamble. Here is why I believe that every Christian should support gay marriage.
(Note to all: If at the end of this you disagree with me, fine, but please read it before you dismiss it. After you read it, then you can dismiss it. Or not. We'll see, I guess.)
Growing up in a tiny Baptist church, I sometimes heard, when I was actually paying attention, the term "separation of Church and State" spoken of as if it were a bad thing. It isn't. It's a wholly necessary thing. Has it been misused? Sure, just like everything else. That one guy who doesn't like praying before the football game and files a lawsuit to try to keep everybody else from praying, using separation of Church and State as his weapon of choice to try to impose HIS beliefs on the majority? That is a misuse of the statute. as much so as if they tried to force him to pray when he didn't want to. It's an admittedly prickly subject sometimes. The individual has the right not to pray. People who want to pray also must have that right. To keep one from infringing on the other, there's the rub. But separation of Church and State is a GOOD thing. It's why our Founding Fathers, many of whom were themselves practicing Christians, decided to include it in the Constitution. They understood the necessity. The Pilgrims came to America in the first place to escape having other people tell them how they should and should not worship. America was founded on the precept of religious freedom. And to maintain religious freedom, we MUST maintain separation of Church and State. Why? I'm glad you asked.
Having a Theocracy ( a government run by religion) might sound like a fine idea--so long as it is YOUR religion in the driver's seat, people who share your views and ideals who are making the laws. But think about this: what happens if some other group gets behind the wheel? let's say the Church of Christ gained control of government. All of a sudden, it becomes illegal to have music in church. But hold up, we LIKE music, you say. Too bad. Or what if the Seventh day Adventists got control. Suddenly everybody is required to go to church on Saturday, when the ballgames are happening down at the park. The Baptists get control, and all of a sudden everybody has to have full immersion baptisms. I myself am an Episcopalian. What if my team started calling the shots? We allow women minsters in our church. Don't believe in women ministers? Sorry. Now you're gonna have to have 'em, whether you want 'em or not. Are you seeing my point, here? I'm not picking on any of these denominations. I'm just using them to illustrate. Now you may rightly point out that all these examples are strictly religious in nature, but the law is the law is the law. Where it imposes limitations in one area, it touches upon all areas. Theocracies don't work. look at Iran. They have one. Anywhere a theocracy exists, the rights of SOMEBODY are going to get limited, if not outright ignored. Every time. That is why we cannot, we must not, allow the religious convictions of any one group to affect our laws. It is the doctrine of separation of Church and State that safeguards our rights, both to worship as we see fit and to live our lives as we see fit. And to have a true democracy, all the laws must be equal and impartial. What is illegal for one must be illegal for all--like murder. Illegal whether you're an atheist, a Catholic, or belong to the Holy Unified Church of Elvis; whether you are black, white, male or female. Murder is illegal for all. The right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is conversely guaranteed to all. It must be so for our society to be a free one. The right to a trial by jury must be allotted to all, and it is, regardless of whether or not that person goes to church or doesn't, eats meat or doesn't, likes dogs better than cats, wears polyester, etc. and etc. Rights must be equal and pertain to all, if we are to have a truly free society. Freedom of speech. Freedom to wear your hair the way you want to. Freedom to worship in the manner you choose, or NOT to worship. All rights; no exceptions, And that includes the right to marry. If we are going to let heterosexual couples marry, we must allow gay couples that same right, else we do not have a 100% free society. Thus we are not guaranteeing EVERYBODY equal rights under the law. And when the rights of ANY group are limited, that should concern us. Because it could just as easily be YOUR rights and mine that get limited next.
For those denominations that believe homosexuality is a sin, should they then be required to conduct gay marriage ceremonies? Absolutely not. We are talking here about CIVIL unions. What the STATE says constitutes a marriage. Not what the CHURCH says. Or churcheS, in this case. Some will say that the only true marriage in the eyes of God is between a man and a woman. Okay. Fine. If that is true, then what difference does it make what the STATE says constitutes a marriage? The State must, to be equal, extend the right to marry to gay couples. Your church, ANY church, has the right not to recognize that marriage. Look at it like this: some denominations believe the consumption of alcohol is a sin. Yet they understand that it is legal for the state to sell alcohol. It is legal for people to drink it. From this vantage point, then, people must be afforded the right to sin if they choose. You don't have to believe in it, my brothers and sisters. You don't have to accept it. I'm just asking that you recognize, if we are to live in a free society wherein OUR rights are protected under law, we cannot exclude them of THEIR rights. There is no such thing as separate but equal. There's just equal. And either we are or we aren't. And to make sure YOUR rights are protected and guaranteed, we HAVE to be that. we just have to.
One objection I can anticipate. "Righteousness exalteth a nation," some will say. And how can any nation be righteous if it sanctions homosexual marriage, sanctions a SIN? So those will say who believe homosexuality IS a sin. To that I say, we can be perfectly righteous if we stand for equality under the law for all, be they sinner or saint. (And let's face it, there are a whole lot more of the former than the latter.) And even more so if, by extending the right to sinners to commit a sin, because we extend that same right to non-sinners--if by doing so we are protecting our OWN rights, and this including the right to worship God as we believe, then there is nary any unrighteousness afoot. (And then there is that whole "treat others as you would have them treat you" thing, and I know I would certainly want to have all the same rights under the law as the next guy. But I said I wasn't going to tread onto moral ground, and so I shan't. Bottom line to my argument, then: I believe every Christian should support the rights of gay people to marry, in order to safeguard OUR rights.
How'd this all come about? A discussion I was having with a friend, who asked me why, as a Christian, I supported gay marriage. It occurred to me that this would make a good, juicy blog post. And the next time somebody asks me that question, instead or spending thirty minutes, getting all tongue-tied trying to explain it, I can just direct them here. I do welcome discussion. Respectful discussion. And I really hope nobody unfriends me over this. But if you must, no hard feelings