More and More Christians Support Marriage Equality

It has been refreshing to see more and more Christians coming out in support of marriage equality and stepping away from homophobic beliefs. And now Washington United for Marriage is using that fact to persuade even more Christians in Washington State to support marriage equality with this ad.

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As Dominic Holden of The Stranger puts it:

This ad manages to hatch three birds with one egg.

The first and most important aspect: It’s a narrative story. Polls show consistently that stories about LGBT couples are the key to winning — because couples in love are instantly comprehensible and disarming. It’s also a story about people’s personal evolution to accept marriage equality — like Obama and Governor Gregoire — and gives voters permission to evolve along with them. If Washington United for Marriage can remind voters, as this ad does well, that everyone feels love the same way, wants love to be recognized the same way, and shift their opinions the same way, they can connect with the lizard-brained moderate voters who typically tune out election hype. Even better: These stories inoculate moderate voters against the infectious scare tactics of the anti-gay right.

Second, this is a straight couple. It’s not a gay couple talking; this isn’t a gay issue. It’s a fairness issue. Third, the man talking is a reverend. The opposition has tried to stake their moral high ground on their piety, and the media keeps falling for it. The approve R-74 campaign is just as religious and more righteous, without being sanctimonious like the bigots who use the Bible as a weapon. More ads like this, please.

This ad hits its target with middle American voters. The Christians who think of themselves as nice people will make the connection that approving Referendum 74 is the nice neighborly thing to do.

And for those “nice” Christians who can’t let go of “what the Bible teaches,” I hope they watch this video by Matthew Vines and rethink their traditional interpretation of what the Bible has to say about homosexuality and same-sex marriage.  Vines is a gay Christian. He struggled to make those two facts compatible, going so far as to leave college for two years to study what the Bible had to say on the topic. The result is this thoughtful (and clever) analysis of how to interpret the Bible.

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If you can afford the time, watch this video in its entirety. And keep it as a reference to share with anyone who cites the Bible or their Christian faith as a reason to oppose same-sex marriage.

About Ericka M. Johnson

As a lover of science and reason, Ericka M. Johnson has an affinity for evolutionary biology and is the president of Seattle Atheists. She revels in any opportunity for a thoughtful debate on the meaning of life, the universe, and everything (especially over a pint.) Follow her on twitter @ErickaMJohnson

  • http://www.facebook.com/rogi.riverstone Rogi Riverstone

     MUCH more important: more and more Queers don’t support xianity.

    • Alconnolly

      What I find important is people moving towards compassionate tolerant treatment of their fellow travelers on the road of life, regardless of what beliefs get them to treating others that way.

  • http://www.bricewgilbert.blogspot.com Brice Gilbert

    Good for these people, but in 20 years time the Christians of the future will insist the gay rights movement was their idea all along. I can’t wait :(

    • Baby_Raptor

      Let them lie all they like. The truth will still be there for anyone who wants it, and what really matters-That equality is finally actually a thing-will be reality.

      A bunch of whiny children lying for their needed ego stroke don’t matter in comparison to that. 

  • LesterBallard

    I don’t care. The Bible says what it says. You can interpret the shit out of it all day long, and it still says what it says. The place of Scripture in our communities? None! It has no place.   

    “haven’t yet put forth theological arguments that are as well grounded in Scripture as their own”

    I don’t care about arguments grounded in Scripture. Most scripture is utter bullshit, and if you’re calling yourself a Christian, you’re supposed to believe that it all comes from the same source. 

    The Bible (the Koran, the Tamud) is bullshit.

    • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

      Yes, it’s all bullshit. But it’s bullshit that strongly influences the society we live in, so we should all care how it’s interpreted. How can we see it as anything but good news that more Christians are choosing interpretations that are in line with humanist philosophy?

      • LesterBallard

        Are these interpretations based on logic and reason and evidence?

        • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

          IMO it is easier to interpret the Bible as saying little or nothing about modern homosexual relationships than it is to find condemnation. And of course, a great many Christians around the world are not bible literalists, and do not believe that everything found in it was intended to be universal or to apply to all people in all times.

          So while I think the Bible is a worthless piece of trash, not even having much literary value, I do think that those who choose to use it as a guide can use more or less logic and reason in their interpretation- and certainly, the view that homosexual relationships are acceptable is more in line with the philosophy most Christians claim the New Testament stands for.

          • LesterBallard

            So being homosexual today is all that different than being homosexual two thousand or so years ago? In what ways?

            • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

              I’d argue that the Bible says absolutely nothing about being homosexual. It makes a handful of references to homosexual behavior, and those in a context that separates it completely from what we would call a homosexual relationship. It similarly condemns heterosexual behavior is such contexts. Furthermore, there are arguably homosexual protagonists in some Bible stories.

              There is much in the Bible that may have been relevant to Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cultures 2000 years ago but which is not so any longer. Most Christians have no problem with recognizing the absurdity of many “abominations” found in the Bible; to isolate homosexual behavior from that list and treat it as more important or significant is what I see as illogical.

              How a person interprets the Bible depends on whether they place more weight on the words or the spirit. There are Christians in both categories.

              • LesterBallard

                What, pray tell, is the difference between “being homosexual” and “homosexual behavior”? Is there a similar difference between “being heterosexual” and “heterosexual behavior”?

                • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

                  Are you serious? Your orientation is not a behavior. Homosexuals can and do engage in heterosexual behavior. Heterosexuals can and do engage in homosexual behavior. Both homosexuals and heterosexuals may engage in no sexual behavior at all.

                  What little is found in the Bible on the subject addresses behavior only, not orientation.

                • LesterBallard

                  Where does it say that in the Bible?

                • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

                  Where does it say what in the Bible?

                • LesterBallard

                  That there is a difference between “being homosexual” and “homosexual behavior”? Where did the people who believed in witchcraft and demons and talking animals make that distinction?

                • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

                  Of course it doesn’t make that distinction. How could it, when it doesn’t even address the idea of homosexuality at all?

                • LesterBallard

                  Your centrifuge is going to wear out soon. I hope you mailed in your warranty.

      • LesterBallard

        No, we should strive to have a society where it has little or no influence. In their homes, in their personal and private lives, fine. In society, fuck off.

  • Alex

    Religion is like a virus. It mutates and adapts to changing environment. It is why we have religions that are several hundreds of years old still alive today. Natural selection at its finest: if it survives, doesn’t mean it’s good or strong or fair, just more adapted than those that don’t.

    I’m not sure if I’m glad to see this happening or not.

  • Edmond

    Regarding the Matthew Vines video, it’s very admirable for him to want to study this subject in such detail, and try to understand it so thoroughly.  But I think he’s still got a LONG way to go.  Now that he feels he’s found a compatibility between his faith and his sexuality, hopefully his next exploration will be finding a compatibility between his faith and logical, realistic, critical thinking.

    And he’s kidding himself if he thinks that his arguments will convince the Christian masses.  He’s asking them to think far more deeply about their bible than they’re accustomed.  Few Christians care about the Council of Jerusalem, or about Paul’s opinion of what’s natural.  They know what they know, because they know it.  End of interpretation for them.

    For those who are more interested in deeper meanings and detailed deconstructions, his arguments ARE generally “clever”, as Ms Johnson suggested, but for me they began to become shaky around the 38 min mark.  This is where the (necessary) mental gymnastics begin to show.

    Here he’s trying to interpret Paul’s words, particularly summed up in Romans 1:21 “when they knew God, they glorified him
    not as God”.  He interprets this to mean that Paul condemned STRAIGHT people who WERE straight but ABANDONED it for homosexuality (as they “knew” god but chose to abandon him), but that this should not apply to gay people, because they NEVER “knew” heterosexuality.  He argues that Paul (and by extension, god) condemns people who made a deliberate switch.  Making this “switch” was never an option to same-sex-oriented people, so they are not condemned.

    This kind of throws bisexuals and transgender persons under the bus, doesn’t it?  Not to mention all the gay people who DID LIVE for many years in heterosexual relationships, or even marriages, in attempts to be something they’re not.  Are they “condemnable”, since they DID make this switch?

    Even if his arguments are successful in changing Christian minds, he only goes far enough to defend same-sex MARRIAGE, and not same-sex relationships OUTSIDE of marriage.  This leaves single gay people still discouraged from enjoying short-term relationships, the practice which allows most heterosexuals to FIND the person they choose to marry.  However, I can let him slide on this one.  Arguing for gay marriage is tough enough, without also trying to change Christians’ minds on “fornication” or pre-marital sex in general.

    One of the more interesting aspects of pro-gay Christian apologists like Vines is, in their attempts to re-phrase the bible’s condemnations against same-sex behavior into condemnations against things like gang-rape or “lust-only” sex, they are overlooking a glaring omission.  In over 31,000 verses, god NEVER says that it’s ok for loving, committed same-sex couples to be together.  He could see the future, he could anticipate what kind of environment will be created for gay people from these misinterpretations, he had over 31,000 opportunities to CLARIFY what he “actually” meant, but he never did.  Was he just waiting for Matthew Vines to come along and clear everything up?

    Hopefully Matthew will soon start down the road of discovering that no god inspired any bibles, and that NONE of these rules and arguments are worth listening to.  He’s already on the road of discovering that the bible is as pliant and malleable as Silly Putty, easily bent and twisted into any “interpretation”.

    • Camorris

      And if he does go down the road of discovering that no god inspired any bibles, his impressive speaking skills could be of great benefit. Perhaps another Hitch in the making?

      • Mayumi

        You can either be a follower of the Bible (laws,words), a follower of the idol Christ (not Jesus as “Christ” was not his original identity) or you can be a follower of Jesus (the universal human) or you can be a follower of God (Love).

        Our labels have divided us…that in order to be Heterosexual you must be this…in order to be Homosexual you must be this…in order to be Christian you must be this…in order to be Atheist you must be this… What you follow is your Life Journey…Yet the actions you take in your Life Journey is what will earn you the most scrutiny. It’s Okay to be Heterosexual, it’s okay to be an Atheist…It’s okay to be a Homosexual Christian, it’s okay to be a Christian.

        I am labeled as Homosexual or Lesbian by default as deemed by society at large…Honestly…I don’t want to be labeled because my Homosexuality is not my Life Journey. I identify myself as being Christian because my beliefs overlap, but this is not the title of my Life Journey. My Life Journey is about Love, and I have no problem with God or any gods or any religion or any philosophy that promotes Love.

        All these analysis, details, lack of details, arguments, Logic enrich our life but we should be weary at the actions it produces out of us…none of this will up us if it does not provide us with Love which encompasses Acceptance, Compassion, Kindness, Goodwill, Serenity, Harmony, and Family. In the end people remember you not for the words, the logic, the laws, but how you made them Feel whether good or not so good.

  • bort138

    I don’t care what loopholes they find in the Bible to justify their support for homosexuality as long allows the gay rights movement to advance. You’re not going change all Christians to atheists so the best you can do is try to play their game and convince them to stop being homophobic.

  • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

    There’s nothing too surprising about this. Since there’s little or nothing in the Bible that really condemns homosexuality, and younger Christians have grown up in a world that is rapidly increasing its acceptance of homosexuality and legally recognized same-sex relationships, you’d expect the view of churches to shift.

    By their nature, churches are inherently conservative… but they aren’t static.

  • Hana

    I’m a committed Christian and I’m pro-GLBTQ! I’d rather use my faith to spread love, respect, faith and hope, than to deny someone their rights. God bless the whole world, no exceptions :)

  • njew84

    As a Christian I would be proud to have a son like Matthew Vines. He is so compassionate about love and his interpretation of the Bible and his way of explaining it is just so eloquent. Whether or not being gay is a sin or not isn’t really my concern, they are still people.

    This video should be national news. I think it will really open up the hearts of the intolerant and even though I doubt the motives behind this particular website and atheists spreading his message, I know Matthews intentions are genuine.

    I will definitely share this video with all my Christian and non-Christian friends and help support the gay community as much as I can.

    If a homosexual wants to be in a monogamous relationship, get married and start a family, I honestly don’t see the harm in it. I honestly have felt this way for a long time but just didn’t know how to put it into words and this kid nailed it. It is purely the lust that is immoral not the homosexual. Thanks for sharing.


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