Words have meaning. Like former Republican National Committeewoman Kim Lehman, I don’t like the term gay marriage. Marriage is between a man and a woman. At the core of the core of the current debate is the public sanction of homosexual unions. With that sanction gay couples will be able to avail themselves of benefits that have previously been reserved for married couples. Further, many in this culture allow the law to define their view of morality. For example when abortions were illegal, many people would never have considered going outside the law to seek one. Since Roe v. Wade abortion has become commonplace in our culture. Therefore, if the law sanctions homosexual unions, general cultural and social acceptance is sure to follow. Consider Iowa, immediately after the Iowa Supreme Court’s Varnum decision, which opened the floodgates for legitimizing gay unions, voters took the unprecedented step of failing to retain the three justices who appeared on the 2010 ballot. You would have to be living under a rock to miss the fact that public opinion in Iowa has changed almost 180 degrees. While purists might argue about what the Supreme Court actually did in Varnum — the reality is that Iowa now issues marriage licenses to homosexual couples and tacitly (or explicitly) sanctions their unions.
As a Christian and a leader in the Republican Party, I do not believe that the government should sanction homosexual unions, but my position is a little more complicated. I should probably begin with a disclaimer.
I am a born-again Christian, a Sunday School teacher, a sometime preacher, a deacon in a Baptist Church and I believe so strongly in traditional marriage that I am trying to arrange marriages for my four daughters (just kidding about the last part — but if you have sons, we should talk)
At the 2012 State Republican Convention, I ran for the male seat on the Republican National Committee. (The idea that we must be so politically correct as to have a male and female seat will be the topic of a future post.)
As I was outside the hall shaking hands and kissing babies, a fellow came up to me and said, “I remember you, you’re the gay rights supporter.”
I am, to put it mildly, a big guy of Asian, African and Pacific-islander ancestry — so I stick out pretty conspicuously at Iowa Republican gatherings 🙂 I assumed he must be talking about me. But how did he get the idea that I was a gay rights supporter? I asked him about it and he reminded me that after the US Supreme Court struck down state anti-Sodomy laws in Lawrence v. Texas in 2002, there was an attempt to put a plank into our state platform supporting anti-Sodomy laws. I had argued (rather eloquently — if I recall correctly) against the plank on the convention floor. I did so, not because I am a supporter of homosexuality — I believe it is a sin, a violation of God’s moral law — rather I spoke against the plank because I do not believe that it is the government’s job to regulate sex between consenting adults. I would have been just as strongly opposed to a plank call for laws criminalizing pre-marital, or extra-marital sex — even though I believe that these too violate the moral law of God. I explained that while I believe that homosexual relations are a violation of God’s law, I do not want to put the government in the position of enforcing it. Apparently he accepted my reasoning and promised to vote for me.
So, does that mean that I think the government can’t legislate morality? Not at all, I hope morality is precisely what the government legislates. Murder, rape, theft, assault and abortion are also violations of God’s moral law and I am completely comfortable with the government legislating in these areas. In the case of sodomy (and other issues as well), I want my government to stay silent. But in the case of homosexual unions, the gay community is asking the government to sanction something that is contrary to God’s moral law, and this I oppose.
So, where do I stand on the public sanction of gay unions? I oppose it. I do find the modern libertarian position on the issue appealing but not totally compelling. That is the idea that the state should be out of the marriage business altogether. Perhaps allowing for religious marriages (of various sorts) and civil contracts or unions.
I know that I have rambled quite a bit in this post. I have probably contradicted myself a time or two but in conclusion I want to convey something that gets to my core beliefs. My core beliefs as a Christian, which in turn shape my beliefs in every other part of my life including my politics.
Like Rush Limbaugh, I believe that public sanction of homosexual unions is inevitable. Whether the Supreme Court rules this year or it happens gradually — we have already lost.
As a Christian I should not be surprised, the picture that the Bible paints of moral decay in the last days is coming true before our very eyes. And while I may be called to fight against the tide, I am not sure that I should expect to reverse it.
This last thought is a summation of what I think is the core issue in this debate.
The real problem with marriage in our culture is not how the homosexual community treats it. The real problem with marriage in our culture is that we in the church have failed to honor it an uphold it as we have been instructed.
Christians in this country have not honored marriage the way God intends. Divorce among Christians is just as common as it is among non-believers. In the Bible we are told that the marriage relationship is a picture of the relationship of Jesus Christ to His Church. Looking at the state of Christian marriages today, it is no wonder that non-believers want nothing to do with Jesus or His Church.
As for me, I will continue to be an opponent of public sanction of homosexual unions. But if I could change one thing about marriage — it would not be stopping homosexual unions. I would see that all the marriages in my own local church were strengthened to the point that they would reflect the sacrificial love that God showed for us in sending his son.
I am OK with pointing a finger at the world about homosexual unions, but at the same time, mindful of Matthew 7:1-5, we must point the finger at ourselves and make sure that we in the Church are honoring God’s design for marriage as well. The Great Commission to which I and all Christians are called, is not to make the world follow God’s law. The Great Commission is to make disciples who will in turn desire to follow God’s law.