Tag Archives: gay marriage

Rant Alert: Marriage Equality & Christianity

marriage equality

I’ve sat and watched with increasing frustration the last few weeks as people on social media have debated the topic of marriage equality back and forth. It’s frustrating for a number of reasons. The level of vehemence on both sides. The ignorance. The intolerance. Often, the sheer stupidity of the statements, again, often from both sides. More than anything, what has both frustrated and angered me is the responses I’ve seen from self-proclaimed Christians, especially from people that I know and love. I’ve debated back and forth whether I really wanted to get into the fray by writing something about it. I didn’t want to get into heated debates with people. I’ve made some comments on social media in various places, but mostly I’ve restrained myself from really diving in. Tonight, after another one of these topics came up in a Facebook post, I decided I couldn’t hold back any longer. I’m not going to debate whether homosexuality is a sin or not. I’m not going to open that can of worms. I am going to debate why marriage equality should happen (or continue to happen), and why Christians should stop getting so up in arms about it. The main point is this:

It May Share the Same Name, But It Isn’t The Same Thing

The biggest argument I’ve seen against marriage equality is that it smacks in the face of God’s definition of marriage. It’s sinful, an abomination, and will be the downfall of society, America, and apple pie. Here’s why you’re wrong.

1.It’s not the same thing as the marriage you’re talking about.
It just isn’t. The Judeo-Christian definition of marriage is the joining of man and woman in a holy covenant between themselves and God. They are spiritually and physically joined together in a union that is meant to last until death. It has a HUGE spiritual significance. It is a huge deal, just like all covenants with God.

Other cultures and religions have varying interpretations and emphasis. For some you’re joined to Gaia, for others it’s a union blessed by Thor and Odin, or the moon and the stars, or whatever. Marriage has a different meaning for every different culture and religion. They all share a common ground, the joining of two people’s lives, but the significance and what that union means can vary and is entirely dependent on the couple and their beliefs. This is not the kind of marriage that you need a government to condone. This is the type of marriage that has gone on for centuries across most cultures in the world since societies began.

The kind of marriage that people are losing their freaking minds about is the other kind of marriage- a legal contract between two consenting adults that joins their lives in a legally recognized way and bestows upon them special privileges and selectively-apportioned state benefits according to that government’s laws.

It’s a legal.

Contract.

As far as the government is concerned it has nothing to do with love, God, Allah, Gaia, Thor, the entire Greek pantheon, or my chicken sandwich. Any other significance, beyond the legal, placed upon it from there is ENTIRELY dependent upon the beliefs of the couple. Arguing over this topic to the point of violence is as dumb as arguing over whether “sinners” should be allowed to sign the Apple Terms of Service Agreement.

Christianity doesn’t own the concept of marriage. We don’t have a trademark on the term. Marriage of one kind or another has been happening in societies long before God made His covenant with Abraham or before Moses wrote the Ten Commandments. It is an ideal that has been practiced by cultures that had never even heard of Yahweh,  Jesus, God, or the Holy Spirit. Hell, Native Americans were practicing a form of it before the rest of the known world invaded and gave them the gift of smallpox and introduced them to the concept of eviction.

Now, if said homosexual couple wants to have a religious wedding, then that is another topic for debate; but it has nothing to do with the marriage license or the legal side of things, which is all the Supreme Court decided. Either way, there are two different versions of marriage at play here. One is legal, the other holy. Stop confusing the two and getting up in arms about it.

2. It is Incredibly Hypocritical 

The “baker” question has been floating around quite a bit on Facebook lately. Should Christian bakers bake cakes for gay weddings? Would Jesus? (I’m not touching on whether they should legally be forced to, just the idea of willingly doing it or not.) I said this in a Facebook topic earlier today and I’ll share it here, and note that this is me with my “Minister” hat on now:
I’m wondering, for all of you hypothetical bakers, if you’d refuse to bake a cake for a couple who had a sexual relationship before the wedding, or if they’d committed adultery, or been previously married but divorced for a reason other than adultery? If the answer is yes, how, exactly, would you plan on staying in business?

When did homosexuality suddenly become this line in the sand and thus worse than all other “sinful lifestyles”? Why is a homosexual wedding any different than a couple who had lived and had sex together out of wedlock before the wedding, or what if they’re wiccan, or agnostic, or atheists? They’re all considered “sinful lifestyles”, yet you don’t see these bastions of Christianity denying cakes to everyone else. Is it only okay as long as the baker is ignorant of the lifestyle in question? Should we start having sin questionnaires just to be sure? Should we have to call their pastors and confirm that they’re card carrying Christians? Do we not see how hypocritical this line of thinking becomes?

Further food for thought, for the ones so aghast at the thought of “Jesus the baker” baking a cake for these sinful people- he WAS a carpenter. Do you think he refused to make furniture for “sinners”, knowing that they may use said furniture to celebrate acts of gluttony or even for use during a wedding of other hedonistic sinners? Did he tell the Samaritan at the well that they must not drink from the same water as the Jews because they were a “sinner,” as the Pharisees and Sadducees did? (Note: Yes, I’ve heard the wooden idol argument. No, it isn’t the same. That is a symbol of idolatry used in a religious ceremony. A cake is not.)

It’s out of love and compassion that He wanted His followers to be known by, not the same self-righteous judgmentalness that the Pharisees and teachers of the Law displayed. I’m seeing so many people hurl insults towards homosexual individuals as though these people are somehow worse than the rest of us. You don’t have to agree with the lifestyle, but you should keep in mind that we are ALL sinners and we’re all equally filthy in the eyes of God without His forgiveness. So I say this in love:

Grow up, get over it, and stop being such a hypocrite.

We don’t live in a Christian theocracy. You can’t expect a secular society that is a melting pot of all different kinds of religions and ideologies to conform to your way of thinking or sense of morality. Nor should you to expect to be treated better, or given legal benefits and privileges  solely based on what’s going on between the legs or by skin color.  You think homosexuality is a sin? Don’t do it. You don’t agree with homosexual marriage? Don’t do it. You do you, and stop worrying about everyone else- particularly in areas that don’t affect you personally one single bit.

Added from a comment I made below, which I think sums things up well: What it really boils down to is those against gay marriage are really saying that homosexual couples don’t deserve to have the same legal government/insurance/financial benefits and protections as other couples, and I have yet to see one solid reason as to why without people injecting their personal religion or beliefs into it.

 

Note: I decided to open the comments section because this is a topic that’s important to discuss. That said, I have to approve every comment before it’ll show up, so keep it civil. If you disagree that’s fine, but I refuse to let this degenerate into anything ugly.

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Rant Alert: The Separation of Church and State and Same Sex Marriage

equal

Most of you who may pop by here on the irregular basis that I post something, or who has read at least one of my books and happened to glance at the “about the author” section, knows that for roughly 15 years I was a non-denominational minister. I try not to bring up the subject of religion a ton, especially here, because it can be such a divisive topic, even among those who proclaim to believe the same thing. However, with the legality of same-sex marriage barraging the news, media, Facebook, and just about everywhere else, I felt it was time to address the subject. I am for the legalization of same sex marriage because I believe, from a legal standpoint, homosexuals deserve the same rights as everyone else. It has nothing to do with morality and everything to do with legality. It is a civil rights issue. However, the more vocal of the religious community, and those with a social media account and too much time on their hands, feel the need to evangelize the masses and let everyone know how wicked it would be for gay people to be legally married so they could have insurance and see each other in the hospital. God wouldn’t like that, you see, and it would kick-start the apocalypse, the water would turn to blood, and everyone who supports it will suddenly find 666 on their forehead.

I would like to quote a Lutheran Pastor, John Rallison, in regards to this issue, and why all those “Christians” should probably just stop talking:

“The moment I argue society’s acceptance or rejection of homosexual marriage based on my faith, I am on dangerous ground. We do not want our government establishing a religion we want because, of course, they might later establish a religion we do not want. By seeking to impose on others a definition of marriage based on my faith, I am paving the way for someone else to impose legal restrictions on my behavior based on their faith. I certainly don’t want my wife to be forced to wear a burka because one day the majority of people in America believe that the burka is God’s highest design for women’s dress.”

There is a reason why the founders of our country felt that separation of Church and State was a swell idea, and Pastor Rallison sums it up pretty well. You see, that door swings both ways, and once we start down the path of dictating law according to religious beliefs, one day those laws won’t necessarily reflect the beliefs you may cling to.

More to the point- it’s none of your damn business.

There, I said it. Whether two men or two women want to be legally married and live their lives together- it’s none of your business. It doesn’t affect you, the sanctity of your marriage, or your relationship with God. If it does then I would suggest that perhaps the problem is not actually same sex marriage, but is instead a personal issue that you should examine and address. I know people don’t like to be told that personal issues such as this is none of their business, because everyone wants to make everything about them, however that doesn’t change the fact that it still. Is not. Your business. Your business is that which affects you, your family, and your affairs. Unless you happen to be homosexual, this topic does none of those things.

On the religious side of things: tell me something, oh you of sanctified faith. If Jesus is the ultimate example we all should be living by, then why is it you feel the need to do the exact opposite of the example he set? Show me a passage where Jesus preaches against Rome and demands that Roman law mirror that of the Jewish faith. In fact, many of those who turned on Jesus did so because He DIDN’T do this and they expected, that as the Messiah, He would. Show me where he utterly condemns someone based on their lifestyle. Last time I checked, His response was “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” Show me where He ever implied that God “hated” ANYONE. Hypocrisy in the name of righteousness is still hypocrisy, and you only continue to hurt not only your witness but His by going forth in a self-righteous, holier-than-thou manner, as opposed to displaying the same love and compassion that He did. I think Jesus would be ashamed to see the way that so many who proclaim belief in Him carry on and represent Him. I think it’s shameful how they treat other people who don’t believe the same that they do- all under the guise of righteousness. It sickens me and is exactly the very thing that Jesus railed against. It’s pharisee-ism of the highest order, and then they wonder why so many “heathen” just can’t see that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the light? Why would they when you aren’t demonstrating it yourself by your lifestyle and actions!

Pro tip: telling someone that who they are is evil and they’re going to Hell isn’t the right way to go about it.

Try and remember that that other person believes just as strongly in their own beliefs as you do about yours. Try and remember that the world doesn’t freaking revolve around you and what you consider to be “right” and “wrong”. Try and remember the example that Jesus set, where you use love and compassion, not the whip and condemnation, to reach and help others. And for God’s sake, literally, stop invoking Him on your freaking Facebook page to back up your ignorant, hate-filled nonsense.

This’ll probably anger a lot of people.

Good.

Maybe it’ll wake them up.

J.R. Broadwater is the author of the non-fiction book Down with the Thickness: Viewing the World From a Fat Guy’s Perspective,  the sci-fi detective novel You Only Die Twice, and the fantasy novel The Chosen: Rebirthing Part 1- all available now in digital and paperback formats. Sample chapters and more information about these books can be found here.

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