Struggling with the Concepts of Banning Gay Marriage

I am increasingly finding myself struggling with the so-called status quo within Christian circles of being against same-sex marriage. I will be coming from this angle from my Christian beliefs and will be using Scripture and experience as a basis for this.

I am not convinced of the old adage that God created Adam and Eve to be married and not Adam and Steve holds as much water as the proposers think There are various reasons for this.

I do wish to make the following statement though that I do believe every Minister, Pastor, Celebrant or what ever label you wish to use should have the right to not marry someone if it goes against their conscience and beliefs…which they now exercise for any couple wishing to be wed.

1.) Marriage is not a Christian institution, it’s a cultural institution. Scripture says that before the flood, the population was busy eating, drinking, marrying, working etc…ignoring God and Noah’s warning.

2.) Historically the early church was never involved in marrying people. It was the Jewish custom for the heads of families to organise their sons / daughters to marry…or men would just go and take for themselves a wife. The priest hood was not involved in presiding at this celebration….

3.) The church increasingly become more involved with the function / celebration  of marriage the more it was entwined within the governmental process’ of state. Church / state / records / marriage tax….

4.) I have sat with, counselled grieving people whose long-term spouses have died. One gent had been with his boyfriend for 25 years. His grief was real. His pain was real. His experience was real. His regret of never being allowed to marry was real as he shared with me his experience of not being allowed to marry.

5.) Christianity is a subset belief system within a greater societal / governmental frame-work. Whilst as a Christian I whole heartedly believe in my beliefs. I know why I believe what I do. I know that faith in Christ is what compels me to love others and to want others to know this very love of how God loves us.

In saying this I need to acknowledge that there is no such animal as a Christian government. Certainly I believe that Christians have a right to practice their beliefs in peace, and in the name of tolerance society should expectantly tolerate Christians to practice their beliefs.

At the same time, I will wholeheartedly allow someone to believe and live their lives as they feel is right for them. I believe it’s our hearts God is interested in  more than he is in a legalistic out-ward showing of obedience. Within this frame-work I believe I have the right to share my faith in the same way others have the right to share theirs.

6.) Typically what we call a defacto relationship in which a male / female who taking on the responsibility to live together have actually taken a commitment which is akin to marriage as recorded within Scripture and other ancient historical texts.

If indeed marriage is a societal institution and not a Biblical institution as I propose it is; then the church should not stand in the way of gay marriage within society… though again I reiterate it should be allowed to officiate accordingly to its belief system.

7.) It is oft argued that the promiscuity within the homosexual community should be a barrier to marriage as its considered a long-term commitment. I would counter argue that as much promiscuity happens within the heterosexual community and that anyone contemplating marriage should do so with the ideal of single-minded faithfulness to the other.

There are other issues to explore within this highly emotive subject. I know many want to tar and feather homosexuals as being sinners. I would remind us all that the Apostle Paul tells us in Romans that Sin unites all of humanity. He says that ALL have sinned and fallen short of Gods glory. That we all are in need of Gods grace, his mercy and His forgiveness, which he freely extends to us when we ask Him.

Rather within the frame-work that marriage is more of a societal issue, more so than an issue of faith – I have come to believe that we should not withhold this to any who is genuinely seeking it within a societal structure.

About Craig Benno

I'm an average aussie guy who has lived perhaps a not so average life.
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7 Responses to Struggling with the Concepts of Banning Gay Marriage

  1. Craig Benno says:

    I would like to add one other point to this list.

    Traditionally / culturally within the greater church movement it doesn’t recognise many hetrosexual marriages being valid…whereas society does. Society is recognising the need for same sex relationships to be validated…while the church does not.

    In my understanding of the church and Christian faith, it doesn’t have to validate the marriages of gays for society to do so.

  2. tildeb says:

    When one comes at this issue as a matter of civil rights, the issue is pretty clear. When one allows the imposition of morality under the religious banner to influence the issue, one sees religion’s role for what it is: direct and intentional interference with establishing equal civil rights.

    There should be no equivocation on the part of religious people to support first secular rights and then religious concerns on a personal level. Abortion, for example, is not a religious issue at all; it is a medical issue first. The teaching of biological science based on evolution is an educational issue first. And so on. When the religious think they have every right to stick their noses under these various tents under the premise that all issues are moral issues first and therefore a religious issue, then we have a direct and intentional interference by the religious to derail secular issues with secular solutions and replace it with religious dogma in the public domain. The religious are free to alter their own behaviours according to their own religious precepts in these matters but it is an imposition to have public agencies toe the religious line. There should be no ‘struggle’ with respecting where the boundary of religious belief lies in secular issues.

  3. Craig Benno says:

    Tildeb, I disagree with your premise that abortion is a medical issue. Most of the time it comes from a selfish attitude towards life and not one that has a medical urgency.

    I am actually pro choice in the matter, how ever most people who go through an abortion are not given all the choices and information that is available. Such as, current research is showing a strong link between breast cancer and abortion. In my role of a telephone counsellor I also take at least one call, often more in the 4 hour shift where a person who has had an abortion is truly regretting it….and is in need of much ongoing counselling.

    I’m all for the theory of evolution to be taught in schools, as long as it is taught as a theory and not a fact….as is often the case. There is a strong scientific case for Intentional Design Theory in science also, which is much different then the YECs which are most likely referring to . If a school is going to teach a theory…they need to actually bring together other theories alongside it.

    Interestingly, it was through the church that schooling, hospitals and governmental freedom became the norm for the lower classes of life. Certainly America, Canada, much of the UK and Australia owes its democratic lifestyle to the historical activities of the church…
    It was through the church based civil rights activism that saw the end to slavery, equal voting rights for men and women, equality for blacks and other nationalities etc….whilst we can see in nations where the church sat back and said and did nothing that many national abuses took place…such as was seen under Hitler and Stalin.

  4. tildeb says:

    Craig, I didn’t mean to argue about these specific issues I mentioned; I introduced them as examples where religious folk try to impose affects based on this weird notion that religion has something valid and valuable to contribute. There is no area where the religious do not try to interfere based on the incorrect assumption that religious ‘morality’ gives them the right to have has a seat at the discussion table.

    Imagine the reverse for a moment: no matter what the religious issue, along comes evolutionary biologists who make pronouncements about what ‘correct’ theology must look like, people who interfere with every church canon and ceremony arguing for ‘correct’ religious history to include tenets of evolutionary biology, actively lobbying government to ban this religion here and that religious practice there, to affect laws about donations and who can give what, how that money may be used, what the curriculum for bible study must include, and so on. Religious folk would quickly run out of patience with this active interference and question on what ground does an expertise in evolutionary biology translate into expertise in the daily practice of theological issues? Yet the reverse is true: religious folk wade into secular matters based not on professional expertise (like medical ethics, scientific research, education, public policies, and so on) but on the merit of holding a religiously sanctioned ‘morality’. It is against this specific assumption that the gnu atheists maintain their raison d’etre.

  5. Pingback: Marriage and the Church | Trinitarian Dance

  6. Craig Benno says:

    I think there is much said for ethics in society that has its roots based on religious morality. Such as laws against murder, theft, societal breakdown through adultery, and even what constitutes life, the abolishment of slavery etc.

    Every person whether secular or religious is entitled to their belief system which contributes towards society. The fact that someone has atheistic convictions should not hinder that person from contributing towards societal policies, just as it should not hinder someone with religious convictions.

    There is a great deal of interaction between religious and non religious throughout every level of society and this should be encouraged. Such as I know many theological colleges who have invited various atheistic philosphers to come and speak at the college with the invite being reciprical.

    I think when it comes to issues of life for subjects that involve life, medical research and such… it is right and proper for all within society to have the right to speak into those issues.

    • tildeb says:

      I think there is much to be said for ethics, too, but to grant its roots to religion is highly dubious. For example, do you think people are inherently unable to determine that murder might be a rather bad activity without some religious admonishment to set us on the straight and narrow? I think religion simply co-opts these moral norms and claims them for its own without a shred of evidence to back this up. There is no better example than slavery. Although many religious people actively helped overthrow this practice, let’s be very clear: they did so no because but in spite of their scripture. The bible does not offer us any injunction against slavery; in fact, the bible repeatedly offers us advice on how best to treat our slaves and how to compensate slave owners for their loss. Even Jesus hits slaves. So my question to you is how do you know that slavery is morally wrong? My answer is the same way you know how to cherry pick your scripture for the morality that seems right to you while rejecting the morality that seems wrong to you.

      Morality precedes religion.

      You see atheism as the flip side of the religious coin when it is no such thing. To be clear, all atheism means is non belief in a god or gods. That’s it. It’s not a ‘worldview’ or a different kind of religious belief. It has nothing in common with religious belief: no priests, no holy books, nothing. Atheism simply a succinctly means non belief.

      To make my point, consider the state of your belief in Zeus. You don’t believe, right? As far as you and Zeus go, there is no connection. You simply do not believe that Zeus is god. You are an atheist regarding Zeus. That non belief does not come packed with anything else… no different kind of morality or political bent or perspective or worldview or anything else. You simply do not believe Zeus is a god.

      Now imagine how you would feel if others treated you differently, thought of you more poorly, claimed that the reasons for treating you with less respect was because you had to be without properly grounded morality, that you deserved mistrust and disrespect, all because you didn’t believe in Zeus. It would make you shake your head in wonder.

      You and I are atheists together in all matters of all gods ever worshiped on this world save one; I just go one god further than you. That’s all it means.

      So when it comes to stuff like medical research, why don’t we give medical ethicists their due and let them figure out how to bound research that is ethical. When it comes to abortion, why don’t we give medical doctors and the patients their due and let them figure out what is in the best medical interests of those women. Who says that your morality concerning abortion is any greater or lesser than the individuals involved? By all means allow your religion to influence your own decisions in such a matter, but don’t wade into other people’s areas of concern thinking that your morality is somehow enhanced by your religious belief. It clearly isn’t in the matter of slavery yet you have somehow managed to muddle through the issue and arrive at what I think is a defensible moral position. I have the same trust that pregnant women and their doctors will muddle through without my interference.

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