I've been asked by several friends to write about this issue. I don't want to. Well, I don't want to add to the current firestorm that exists because this is such a polarizing topic. That's what I don't want. I would however like to write something that is helpful to those who are looking to make sense out of what they believe is a Christian nation making what appears to be such a non Christian decision. Here is my attempt:
First of all I think it is important to understand that marriage is both a spiritual entity and a legal entity. We must realize that not all heterosexual marriages are spiritual ones. Just because a union appears to be honored by God doesn't mean it is God honoring. Yet those unions, because they are heterosexual, remain legal ones. With those legal unions there are social benefits, tax benefits, parenting benefits, health insurance benefits, death and dying benefits, financial benefits, etc… The rights that come with heterosexual marriage (spiritual or not, God honoring or not) are never removed or questioned. Yet the rights of same sex couples have historically been removed because people of faith believe them not to be spiritually honoring to God. Is it possible that we can disagree with somebody's lifestyle and choices and not remove their rights as people? Can we let people have legal marriages if they are not spiritual ones? For the record we already do. Is it possible to truly have a separation of church and state? As stated by many, it's a slippery slope. But it's a slippery slope either way. We live in a fallen world. By definition we were warned that it would be slippery.
Our country was founded on the right to choose the Christian faith. Which means we must also extend the right to deny the Christian faith. That's what the word "choice" means. Why are we trying to legislate Jesus? God himself didn't legislate Jesus. God said,
"Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!" Deuteronomy 30:19
Essentially God is saying "Here is life and here is death. Oh, please choose life!" But he doesn't dictate that we choose life. He doesn't remove his love for us or from us based on what we choose. In fact he meets us where we are in whatever our choice and continues to say "I love you". He makes it clear which one is better for us and then says, please choose life, the consequences of the other are great and because I love you I want you to choose life and blessing not death and cursing. Then he waits. Sometimes years. It is my deepest desire that all people would choose him. When his love is really experienced I believe the only reasonable response to it is to submit my life and heart to him. I want to tell people about that transformative love. That love feeds the hungry, it gives orphans families, it takes care of widows, it prays for the sick and hurting, it houses the homeless, it helps the disenfranchised and it continues to love those who do not choose it, respond to it or believe in it. As Christians I think we should do everything in our power to love people to Christ but I don't think we can legislate him if God didn't.
For those of you who can't get passed the sinfulness of same sex marriage I will ask you to consider: When is the last time you sinned and because of that sin you couldn't visit the person you loved the most in the hospital? When is the last time you sinned and you had to call your accountant to change your tax exemptions? Would the sin of lying, gluttony, greed, gossip or adultery keep you from adopting a child, getting a job, having health insurance or obtaining an inheritance from your partner? All other things being equal it would not. When is the last time that your sin was a legislative topic? Why is our government expected to distribute the consequences of what we consider sinful in same sex marriage but we would never stand for the removal of our rights according to our sins? Isn't our government's job to assure that people have the same rights no matter what they choose to believe spiritually? The government is not the church nor do we want it to be. We are the church.
We as Christians are spending an awful lot of effort and energy defending our position. It seems we are placing more value on being right than being The Good News. Eternally speaking we are an unthreatened people. Yet when our truth is challenged we respond defensively as though the kingdom we've inherited can be shaken. It cannot. God remains on the throne. His truth is unchanging no matter who believes it to be truth. His love is unfailing even when it is not valued or received. Many Christians have bought into the lie that connecting with people on their terms is somehow compromising, even though it's exactly what Christ did for each of us. If we were not too beneath Christ, who died for us while we were still choosing sin, then how dare we take a position of superiority over any other human being. He came to me when I was denying him and loved me before I chose him. He came to me when I was questioning truth and he loved me before I made any decision to honor him. He loved me in the brokenness of my sin and the disgustingness of my choices. Then he waited and he waited and he waited while I was choosing otherwise he was actively loving me. Jesus doesn't need us to stick up for him! He needs us to be like him, to look like him, to talk like him and to love people like he loved them. Love is why he came. It's who he is. And love has won infinitely more people to him than theology, dogma or legislation.