Frustrating Ignorance from Christians Re ‘Gay Marriage’
This article was first published at clashdaily.com on February 7, 2013.
Christian ignorance on the gay marriage issue frustrates me, a lot. Here’s why.
So many times on comment threads or blogs relating to the gay marriage issue, I see Christians saying things like this:
– God hates gays and that’s why gay marriage is wrong.
– God is against homosexuality and that’s why gay marriage is wrong.
– Marriage was defined by God in the Bible and that’s all I need to know.
… and the like. These kinds of comments frustrate me to no end!
First off, I am going on the record to say that God does not hate gays. God hates sin. He hates all sin. Theologians will talk about different types or degrees of sin … but the reality is that all sin separates us from God. To imagine that my sin is somehow better than somebody else’s is both prideful and dangerous. I refuse to engage in that sort of mindset.
Second, these kinds of comments sound willfully ignorant to me. Let me give an analogy so that you can understand how I feel.
Let’s say that you’re in a biology class, talking about the human body. The teacher is explaining some aspect of it, such as the skeletal system. He presents a diagram with all of the different bones clearly labeled, and discusses the function of each.
A religious student raises his hand and says, “I don’t need to know how the human body works. Who cares about the skeleton? The Bible says that God made the human body from the dust, so that’s all I need to know. Read Genesis 2:7.”
What would you think about this person if you were a fellow student in that class?
Now, let’s go back to the marriage issue. My organization, the Ruth Institute, specializes in helping people understand how marriage works as a public policy. The founder, Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, specializes in this very thing and has done an amazing job trying to help people understand the function of marriage in society and the structure it provides to society and families. We talk about all aspects of the marriage issue, such as divorce, cohabitation, contraception, premarital and extramarital sex, out of wedlock childbearing, physiology of sex … and gay marriage along with other issues.
All of these are like bones in a skeleton. We are probably most well known for our stance on the gay marriage issue, but that’s only because it’s the marriage issue that is most on people’s minds and most up for debate at the policy level. If divorce law reform was being debated, you can bet we’d be right in the thick of the action. We are interested in all aspects of the marriage question … all of the bones in the body.
So we spend most of our time talking about the non-religious reasons for marriage … because these reasons describe HOW marriage functions and some of the purposes marriage serves as a policy. Man/woman marriage provides a definite structure to society, like a skeleton, and we want people to understand this structure so they can talk about it coherently and so that they can make fully informed voting decisions.
It does not mean we are against the Biblical reasons for marriage, as a few Christians have accused me of on comment threads. It means that we want to be more informed about it, and we want to teach what we know. Would these same Christians accuse a biology student of being against the Bible if he studied anatomy? No, they would not, and they would sound very foolish if they did.
People are voting on the definition of marriage, and they largely do not understand the underlying structure that marriage provides. By removing one aspect of it, such as removing the gender requirement (aka allowing gay marriage), this weakens the support marriage gives to society and families. It’s like removing the fibula and expecting the body to run faster. Let’s imagine a conversation about removing the fibula:
The body will be so much lighter! Think of how much faster it can run without those useless bones. We don’t need two bones there – it’s redundant and adding unnecessary weight. I think you’re being ignorant not to make this change. Think of how much better you’ll feel without all that excess weight. You should get on this bandwagon because everybody else thinks it’s a great idea. The people who oppose it have no real, coherent reasons — they just keep quoting from the Bible, and they sound crazy. Don’t be like them!
If you don’t know what a fibula is or what it does, then you might be persuaded by skillfully crafted rhetoric. Even if YOU are not persuaded, you have others in your life who might be. Instead of quoting Genesis 2:7 and saying, “God formed us from the dust and that’s all we need to know,” think of how smart you’ll sound when you can explain how the fibula works, and why removing the fibula won’t accomplish what those others are saying.
I think people want to understand the non spiritual reasons for traditional marriage, especially those in the younger generation who are not content with “God said so.” Let’s do our part and help them understand why removing the gender requirement (aka allowing gay marriage) won’t accomplish what it’s supporters claim.
Read another article of mine where I explain why gay marriage does not exist, and I mean in a very practical sense, even in those states that voted for it. Removing the gender requirement not only failed to accomplish what it’s supporters claimed, it weakened marriage for everybody:
I hope this helps people understand why the non-religious reasons to support man/woman marriage are so important, and why it’s not against the Bible to understand them and talk about them.