If you haven’t been living under a rock, chances are you’ve noticed the debate in Washington between the ideas of traditional marriage and homosexual marriage. I’ve been weighing in on the topic on Facebook almost daily. Some people like my opinion; others not so much. Admittedly, it’s taken me a few days to formulate my opinion into a tangible course of preferred action. I’m taking this opportunity to write to help me work out my thoughts on the issue (whereas, I’ve usually at this point already articulated it).
Disagreement ? Hatred
One issue I’ve discussed and debated ad nauseum is that disagreement–even passionate disagreement–does not equate to hatred. For example, how many of us have had very passionate disagreements with loved ones? Some married couples may spend their entire life not seeing eye to eye on some issues. Yet no one would say a husband doesn’t love his wife (or vice versa) because they disagree. Loving someone does not mean agreeing with them.
Think about a relationship between parents and children. How often did your parents really not like something you were doing? Even if you had loving, caring, compassionate parents it is unlikely that they always agreed with you. They may have even gone out of their way to tell you that they don’t like or believe in your behavior. Obviously, if you had less than loving parents this concept is alien to you, but just try to imagine it.
The same goes for this debate we’re having about gay marriage. I don’t know one Christian who opposes homosexual marriage who hates homosexuals. I have been accused of and called all sorts of things because of my unwavering opposition to government acknowledgement of homosexual marriage. I’ve been told through lines of bad logic that “disagreeing is the same thing as hating”. No it is not.
I have not once in my life encouraged or promoted hatred against homosexuals (And I would like to hope, not against anyone period). Neither have I ever supported or promoted legislation to prohibit homosexual relationships. I think that people do have the right to make their own decisions–even if I think those decisions are wrong.
The disagreement comes in whether I feel the Federal Government has any business endorsing homosexual marriage. This is where my feelings and thoughts have had some cognitive dissonance going on. Originally, I felt that the Federal Government should only endorse marriage between a man and a woman. I feel that this is necessary for procreation as well as the social structure of America. Research after research has shown the breakup of the traditional family has been causing social and emotional problems for generations of Americans. In this respect, I believe the government has some responsibility to promote the social and cultural structure necessary to maintain a civilized society. That, in my opinion, is one of the basic roles of government.
There are two major things that have challenged my view of the Federal Government’s role in this issue. Let’s begin with my changing understanding of the U.S. Constitution.
You may have heard a lot about it, or maybe not, depending on your circles of influence. But there is one Amendment to the Constitution that clearly lays out the authority of the Federal and State governments; cue the Tenth Amendment.
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
It is important to understand that every amendment carries the same weight and legal authority as the First (which guarantees freedom of speech, religion, and the press). I mention this because you’ll see people fight tooth and nail for the amendments they like then dismiss the ones they don’t (or are ignorant to).
Although it has been often overlooked, trampled, and altogether ignored, there is an ever increasing movement for the States to seize back the power they’ve lost to the Federal Government by attrition. This movement is often referred to as the “Tenther Movement” and a supporter of this movement is generally called a “Tenther”.
It is important to understand at this point that in matters of Government the U.S. Constitution is the SUPREME LAW OF THE LAND. The Constitution binds both the Federal Government and the States. We’ve lost our sense of State independence (unless maybe if you’re from Texas) over the last 200 years. It’s important to realize that the ultimate authority in almost every matter is your own state. Why? Because the 10th Amendment says so.
Where the Constitution doesn’t prohibit the state, and where it doesn’t specify for the Federal Government, the State has the ultimate right to make the decision. This honestly seemed very alien to me at first. We seem to have been taught and conditioned that the Federal Government is the end-all, be-all of American government. Yet, the funny part is that it’s been right under our noses: The United States of America. Yeah. Right there.
States & Marriage
The significance here is that the United States Constitution says nothing about marriage. Not once. Nowhere. Notta. Zip. Zero. Null. In fact, if you look back in history, governments rarely if ever were responsible for marriage. It was often a contract that was solely dealt with by the families or religious institutions of those involved.
The Tenth Amendment dictates, then, that the States must individually decide what their definition of marriage is and the Federal Government has no business interfering or involving itself in matters of marriage. Period.
The crux of this situation is two-fold: 1) the Federal Government has no business legalizing or endorsing gay marriage without a Constitutional Amendment, and, 2) neither does it have any Constitutional authority legalize or define marriage. Yes. It’s a two-way street. The Federal Government has no authority over marriage. Period.
The Christian View
Opposing homosexual marriage has often been equated with Christian beliefs. The Bible clearly states that homosexuality is a sin. Anyone who says otherwise is extremely ignorant or outright ignoring significant passages in the Bible. Here are the two most blatant:
26 This is why God delivered them over to degrading passions. For even their females exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 The males in the same way also left natural relations with females and were inflamed in their lust for one another. Males committed shameless acts with males and received in their own persons the appropriate penalty of their error. 28 And because they did not think it worthwhile to acknowledge God, God delivered them over to a worthless mind to do what is morally wrong.
9 Don’t you know that the unrighteous will not inherit God’s kingdom? Do not be deceived: No sexually immoral people, idolaters, adulterers, or anyone practicing homosexuality, 10 no thieves, greedy people, drunkards, verbally abusive people, or swindlers will inherit God’s kingdom.
This last verse is an important one. Yes, God sees homosexuality in the same light as adultery, stealing, and the like. This is probably one of many things that angers and even hurts homosexuals. I wish it didn’t. But, to be told your behavior is seen in the same light as these others could be very upsetting and I’m sorry that it is. If anyone should feel shame, however, from this verse, it should be Christians.
How many people in our churches worship things other than God? How many people in our churches are cheating on their spouses? How many people in our churches steal things from stores, or other people, or even the government? How many get butt-awful drunk? How many are verbally abusive to their children and spouses? Of course, nobody will deny these things are all wrong…but how often do we see Christians protesting in the streets waving signs about the evils of adultery or verbal abuse? Don’t you get it? All of these things are contrary to Christ-like behavior, yet there seems to be a focus on this one issue of homosexual marriage.
Where To Go From Here
This is where I find myself unsure of where to go or what to do from this point. On one point, I acknowledge homosexuality is a sin and I don’t want my government endorsing something that I believe is ultimately destructive to society. I also wonder how it’ll effect people should all marriage be deemed off-limits by the Federal Government. Finally, what authority do I have as a Christian to oppose homosexual marriage? Do I have that right? What moral standing is there? What Bible verse?
I’m not saying churches stop speaking out against it and that we shouldn’t warn people. I’m not even saying stop opposing it. Or am I? I know as Christians we have the right to warn people of sin and its consequences. I too, will continual to warn about it and any other sin. But do I have any obligation to fiercely fight it in our government?
I don’t know. What are your thoughts?