I honestly did not know how I would feel once same-sex marriage was legalized. Now that it is, I will share my immediate thoughts. It’s not like I’ve never thought about this issue before, so I’m not really shooting from the hip here. So I have 1 positive thought, 2 thoughts that might be best classified as “indifferent” or “neutral,” and then 3 thoughts firmly in the category of “concerned” or “worried.”
1 Positive Thought
I am a pro-freedom guy. I want the maximum amount of freedom, the maximum amount of time. If the Supreme Court felt this granted more freedom, then I hope everyone in government always thinks that way. If people argue from a “pro-freedom” standpoint, then I can get on board with that argument. I don’t even have to really think about the issue. I definitely have Libertarian leanings; as long as others are not being hurt, I want people to get to do whatever they want. I hope I am always granted the same latitude.
2 Indifferent Thoughts
First of all, I usually couldn’t care less what the government says. It is not my source of truth. The government has been wrong all the time. Slavery was legal. Native Americans were “relocated” against their will. Japanese-Americans were put in internment camps during WWII. A mother can choose to kill her unborn baby, but if someone kills a pregnant lady, they’re charged with a double murder. Yeah, that makes sense. Government changes all the time (usually with the will of the people, but not always.) I used some pretty extreme examples of the U.S. Government getting it wrong, and I am in no way relating same-sex marriage to those atrocities. I simply used extreme examples to prove that the government is not some beacon of “right and wrong.” They’re simply supposed to reward what is right and punish what is wrong, but since humans run everything with .gov at the end of it, it gets things wrong all the time.
Secondly, I don’t care if the government redefines marriage. It doesn’t affect my definition, your definition, God’s definition, or any other definition. It just creates the U.S. Government’s definition. Whatever the Supreme Court decided, it would have angered a hundred million people or so. I don’t have anything inside me that wants to protest. I’m not going to attack the SCOTUS for their opinion. I’m not going to attack you for your opinion, and obviously I don’t want people to attack me for my opinion. I’m interested if 20 years from now whether people will look at objective data on how children raised in same-sex households are fairing to see if it changes their opinion. There have been 3 studies on this issue. One said that children do better with same-sex couples, one said that it makes no difference as long as there are 2 parents, and the third said it was terribly detrimental for kids to not have a mother and father. All 3 studies were not varied enough and didn’t last long enough, and so I think they’re all worthless. But one day we’ll have real data and I’m interested if it changes people’s minds.
3 Worrying Thoughts
So, my first thought when the decision came down was the same as all sinful, selfish human beings, how does this affect me? I understand how a lot of people say that it doesn’t affect them, but I have a unique job. I’m a pastor. My opinion on social issues is asked ALL the time. I’m not allowed to not have an opinion. (Fortunately, I always have an opinion :) Even just a few years ago, my Libertarian leanings would have led me to say, “Let people do whatever they want, as long as it doesn’t hurt someone.” But that opinion has unfortunately been forcibly changed. I have seen bakers, photographers, farmers, and pizza-makers excoriated, threatened, sued, and legally forced to do something to which they had a religious objection. Can you honestly tell me that a pastor won’t be excoriated, threatened, sued, and legally forced to do something to which they have a religious objection (even if you disagree with their religious objection)? I think the VAST majority of same-sex couples would just go to some other venue or some other person to get married, but all it takes is one couple, one news outlet, one blogger, one crazy person to absolutely turn my life and my church upside down. I get it, hurting people hurt people. You might think that I should just do the wedding and not cause a fuss, but is that the country we want to live in? Is that freedom? Do I have to choose between what I believe God wants me to do and what society wants me to do? I hope there is someone to stand up for you when you are forced to do something you don’t want to do (which is infinitely more extreme from not being allowed to do something you want to do, which started this whole debate.)
Second, is my church going to be labeled a hate group? Am I going to go on some sort of government watch-lists because I refuse to perform weddings allowed by the almighty U.S. Government? I know that sounds a bit extreme, but this debate has accelerated through American politics pretty quickly. President Obama was for same-sex unions and against same-sex marriage as late as 2011 and then in 2012 he “evolved” towards being for same-sex marriage instead. Now it’s legal in 2015. The LGBT lobby and marketing is top-notch. Are all of them going to go home and celebrate victory? Or will someone like me be in their sights 3 years from now? It seems that it is not good enough for same-sex marriage to be legal, everyone has to be personally accepting of it. If the U.S. Government legalizes marijuana it won’t force me to smoke it, and just because abortion is legal, it doesn’t force people to abort their children. But will there be activists that try to force me and my church to participate in same-sex weddings? How can anyone say, “No Way!” at that proposition with what they have seen lately? I have no hate in my heart for anyone. I promise. Look at my Facebook page. You will not see a disparaging comment about another human being. Well, if you go back far enough, you might find some negativity towards the New York Jets and Kevin Costner, but I have evolved since then. I’m a nicer person now. Am I going to be charged with discrimination or hate-speech because I think that sex outside of the marriage bonds of a man and a woman is a sin? To be fair, I believe heterosexual, pre-marital sex is a sin. I believe extra-marital affairs are sin. I believe sex between 2 men or 2 women is a sin. I talk about sin, because sin is terribly destructive. Sexual sins are even more so. They are so engulfing. Breaking the bonds of sexual sins is very difficult. All other sins we commit outside the body, but sexual sins are committed against our own bodies. What do I believe can break such sin? Jesus. Jesus is the breaker of sin. Can a gay person come to know Christ as their Savior? Of course! Does that mean they will instantly no longer have same-sex attraction? I actually don’t think so. I struggle with lust still and I’ve been a Believer in Jesus Christ for years. Just because my lust is heterosexual in nature doesn’t make it ok (it just makes it more understood in the church setting.) But I believe a true believer in Jesus Christ won’t desire to sin. Am I really committing hate-speech or hate-mongering because I believe the Bible teaches that Jesus is not accepting of sexual contact outside of His definition of marriage? Would Jesus eat lunch with a person that identified as homosexual or bisexual or transgender? Yes, and so would I. Would Jesus love them and help them? Yes, and so would I. The second kindest thing a human can do for another human is help them pack a moving truck. That is only an activity for family and the absolutely best of friends. Jesus would lift that sleeper-sofa for a same-sex couple, and so would I. Yet, the most loving thing that you can do is die for someone, and we don’t even have to speculate on whether or not Jesus would do that, because He did. He died for those who are gay and bisexual and transgender and everyone else. Jesus’ love cannot be denied. He helped get water out of a well for a woman who was sleeping with 6 different men. He stepped-in and stopped the stoning of a woman caught in adultery. Jesus’ response was always love, and part of that love was looking them square in the eye, and saying, “Go and sin no more.” He knows the destructive nature of sin, and He wants to rescue us from it.
Finally, I worry for my kids. I have thick skin (I was a referee for years, I have heard some utterly appalling things come out of the mouths of middle-aged parents.) I don’t care what people say about me. I know who I am. I know that I have treated all gay people I’ve encountered with kindness. I know that no matter what, I have to answer to my Heavenly Father and not to society. But what will my children have to go through? What will they have to endure? Will they understand it? What will be the next agenda item in society’s quest for more sexual acceptance? It seems challenging as a parent to navigate the truth of God’s Word juxtaposed with a society that questions and attacks everything it has to say. I don’t think that this is unique in history or in the rest of the world. It just seems more challenging to me now than when my first child was born 4 1/2 years ago.
I love you all and am interested in your comments or questions. I wonder who will be meaner to me, supporters of same-sex marriage or dissenters who think I’m not “anti” enough? I’ll find out I guess :-/