With the election coming up, and the vote in California for Prop 8 – otherwise known as the gay marriage bill – I have been receiving a lot of emails wondering my take on the whole issue. My bridge building goal is to elevate the conversation between the GLBT community and the Church, and so here it is:
Recently I was being interviewed on a national radio show and the host retold a story about speaking at a political rally outside of a courthouse. The rally was geared toward the fight to protect the institution of traditional biblical marriage. As he was walking toward the park where the rally was being held he noticed a not so subtle pack of GLBT protesters roped off across the street screaming at anyone seemed to be going in the rally’s general direction. The protesters held up cleaver signs in support of gay marriage and called the passer-bys names; dubbing them “religious right bigots.” The host went on to talk about “the gay agenda” in broad, non-specific generalizations; an “evil agenda” that has such a strong controlling influence that it poisons the minds of the GLBT community. His conclusion was that “rank and file” gays and lesbians blindly perpetuate political and religious upheaval around the country. “They [gays and lesbians] don’t even know what they’re doing. They just do it because every other gay and lesbian is doing it.”
I don’t know if I heard him right or not, but it sure sounded like he was blaming an agenda for brainwashing individual people’s actions. And I swear that is the exact same accusation the gay agenda folks blame the religious right for doing to Christians. During this particular interview and the next six interviews I gave, each host told me that the gay agenda was the single driving force of hatred towards evangelical Christians.
I’ve caught on to the pattern and this whole thing is ridiculous. All this talk of agendas is now officially wasting everybody’s time.
One of the main fighting points is over the legalization of gay marriage. Christian parents all over the country are already forced to have difficult conversations with their children about why their kid’s friends have two moms or two dads—regardless if the two moms or two dads are legally married or not.
In research done by The Williams Institute and the Urban Institute, more than 65,000 adopted children are living with gay or lesbian parents in the United States. The same research also showed that over 14,000 foster children (3% of all foster children) are living with gay or lesbian foster parents.Preventing legalized same sex marriage, or legalizing it, is not going to change the conversation for any Christian family.
As Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw acknowledge in their book Jesus for President, we find ourselves in a fallen world that dominates government and culture in ways that are not of our Father. It is not the Christian community’s responsibility to govern a world that we do not belong to; fight in wars that are in direct opposition to Jesus’ peaceful, non-violent approach; or reign over a government we are not a part of.
“For Jesus and his followers, the central question was, How do we live faithfully to God? It [the central question] was not How do we run the world as Christians … how do I run this profit-driven corporation as a Christian … how can we make culture more Christian … how would a responsible Christian run this war. But Jesus taught that his followers—or even the Son of God!—should not attempt to “run the world” (p. 167).
Let the politically active have what the politically active think belongs to them. Christians should think in God’s terms, not in human terms.
“Caesar could brand with his image coins, crowns, and robes, which moths would eat and rust would destroy. But life and creation have God’s stamp on them. Caesar could have his coins, but life is God’s. Caesar had no right to take what is God’s. We are also reminded that just as Caesar stamped his image on coins, God’s image is stamped on human beings.” (p. 117)
The political world means too much to Christianity, and people mean too little. Love is a tangible and measurable expression of one’s unconditional behaviors towards another; it’s not a legalized rule written into governmental documents.
And whether or not gay marriage is politically accepted or denied, it still should not change how we as Christians live in relation to and relationship with, anyone who is gay or lesbian.