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Today, few issues are so divisive as the "gay marriage" issue. The newly released Manhattan Declaration, as well as the recent defeat of a gay marriage legalization bill in the New York State Senate, has the issue front and center. Both Catholic and Evangelical Christians, as well as social conservatives, nervously await a sweeping stroke from our current administration defining any and all speech against homosexual behavior as "hate speech".
Interestingly enough, my stance on the subject has changed in the last year. Well, that isn't exactly true. I am still a Christian who thinks homosexual behavior is a sin. What has changed is with this whole idea of "gay marriage". I will begin my apologetic by asking a question.
If a marriage, any marriage, isn't holy in the eyes of God, will the state sanction of that marriage make it holy?
Well, the short answer here is no. How could it? Marriage is an institution with divine origins. What business does the state have interjecting its own criteria into it?
Allow me to give you an example. If my wife and I had been told by the state that we couldn't get married, for whatever reason, I would have said, "Fine." I would have then proceeded to purchase the rings, find a willing minister, say my vows before God and man, and introduce her to the world as my wife. And I wouldn't have given a hairy hoot what the government thought about it.
Personally, I cannot understand why homosexuals want state sanctioned marriage. The tax benefits? I would gladly relent any supposed tax benefit if in return they got their grubby paws off my marriage. I find it ironic that they are fighting so hard to acquire something I would willingly jettison if I were permitted. If anything, state sanction taints marriage, which should be holy and untarnished by secularism. I have a hard time believing this push to have gay marriage legalized is motivated by the desire to be in a different tax bracket. Are they fighting so hard so they can use the word "marriage"? What is stopping them from using that word now? State acknowledgment?
Since marriage is a patently religious institution (I have never understand why any atheist would desire marriage by the way. What's the point of marriage if we are little more than a primate?), I think marriage ought to be performed and regulated by the couple's religious order. And various religious orders ought to have the intellectual means to develop criteria and principles in which marriage under their orders are to be implemented.
So I am not "pro" gay-marriage politically, I am gay-marriage neutral. I would not vote on it at all were a gay-marriage bill introduced in Tennessee. The government, in my estimation, has no business telling anyone, through rule of law, whom they can, or cannot, marry. That is between them, their god, and, of course, their intended spouse. To say it is illegal is, in my opinion, not only legislating morality, but it is nonsensical (1). With regards to it being legislated morality, let me explain what I mean by that. Let's assume we say gay-marriage should remain illegal based on the premise of Christian morality, or based on the premise that homosexuality is a sin. Fine. But anger is also a sin. Should we make anger a criminal activity? What should the penalty be, 30 years to life? I didn't go to church Sunday, which in the minds of most Christians is also a sin. Should I go ahead and lay my head on chopping block now or wait until I am officially indicted by the courts? Should adultery be criminalized? What about pride? Covetousness? Lust? Should we slap the cuffs on the next teenager we see oogling some girl? You cannot make something illegal based purely on the idea that it is a sin. In my estimation, you have to prove, objectively, that the act is either a threat to order, or an injustice.
Let me give you another example of the distinction. Let's say some guy stops by the store on his way home from work and picks up a case of beer, goes home, and gets hammered out of his mind. The Scriptures clearly define alcoholic intoxication as sin. By doing so, he has sinned, but he has broken no law. But in this condition, let's say he decided to jump in his car and drive back to the store. Now by drinking and driving, he has become a threat to order, and has consequently broken the law. If he hurts or kills someone in this condition, then he has committed an injustice, and has also broken the law. But just getting intoxicated in your own home is neither a threat to order, or an injustice, and is perfectly legal, though still a sin.
So, do you see the distinction between how laws shouldn't be made based purely on the idea that they are sin. Also, regarding gay marriage in particular, if there is any religion in America that honors marriage between gays (and there is), then making gay marriage illegal is in contradiction to the first amendment, in my opinion. In fact, most of America was populated by immigrants who were fleeing a country where a church was attempting to impose their morality on citizenry through rule of law. That is why we have the first amendment. And that is why it is FIRST, in fact. It was an important aspect to guaranteeing our rights, to not have a church imposing its morals and traditions upon those who did not wish to observe them. Have we become the thing we fled from over 200 years ago?
Now, having said all that, allow me to voice a reservation about my stance on this subject. Being a Christian who believes that homosexual behavior is indeed sinful, I know who is behind this movement to keep gay marriage in the political realm. In fact, it has been an ingenious tactic of Satan to gain the social acceptance of any sinful behavior by merely making it a political issue. When you study Satan, you find his whole strategy lies rooted in appetite. Everything he does to lead humanity astray is found by exploiting one or more of its natural appetites to be used in ways, or at times, or in quantities that are unhealthy physically and spiritually. Remember his attack on Job, first his affluence, then his life, was jeopardized. His first attack was on Job's material and vocational appetites, and the second was on his physical appetites. If money is the root of all evil, appetite is the trunk. Roots feed the trunk. The desire for money stems from our appetites.
So it stands to reason that Satan's appetites are never satisfied either. Thus, he is never satisfied with the ground he will have gained in perpetuating his agendas. He will always want more. I am afraid that if gay-marriage ever becomes socially acceptable, and legal, on a large scale, it will only be a matter of time before a gay couple taking a Sunday drive will spot some nice, quaint, little Baptist church, and think, "Oh, what a nice place to be married." But when the pastor declines the privilege based on the moral grounds of his religion, there will surely be a lawsuit. And we will find ourselves being guilty of a "hate crime" if we say we regard gay marriage as unholy. You can bet the farm that the same first amendment I cited earlier will be totally ignored by the courts when this pastor asks for his religious views to be honored.
One small addendum. If the day comes where simply having the idea, or expressing the idea, that homosexuality is sin, is considered hate speech by secular standards, I will stand my ground. I make no moral justification for homosexuality. I will say that the idea of our government interjecting its views into the holy institution of marriage is a byproduct of a weakening church, asleep in Zion, who has made it a habit of delegating too much of its liberties to the whims of secular government to begin with. A nation whose is Christian Church is where it needs to be will not need social engineering or social programming. By allowing government to inject itself into these areas, we have forfeited many opportunities for blessings. But alas, I fear the day is coming where a Church will lose any tax-exempt status, or worse, for merely saying, "Homosexuality is a sin, and hateful in the eyes of God."
(1) I say it is nonsensical because marriage is more than a ceremony and a union recognized by man's government. If two people join before God in truly holy matrimony, it matters not what any secular institution says. They are married! It only makes sense that the government could outlaw marriage if "secular" marriage was the only thing on the market.