Yeah, but can they stay married?

Yeah, but can they stay married? June 27, 2011

Well, by  golly, they up and did it.

Gay people can now marry in the state of New York.

I know that upsets a lot of people for reasons that I’m quite frankly too theologically dense to understand.

For some reason or another, Gay people marrying is supposed to be a big threat to me and my marriage.

(It feels queer using the term Gay people  but the last time I referred to Gay people as Gays, I got a testy note from someone taking me to task for using the wrong terminology. I’m still not sure why Gays are supposed to be called Gay people. I thought it was understood that we are all people. I mean bears don’t write, do they?)


Like I was saying.

I’ve never understood why Christians are supposed to be appalled at the notion of Gay people marrying.

You’d think if we were going to be appalled over something it would be the divorce rate in this country. But then that might really step on some toes, if we started making divorced people feel bad for being divorced.

Frankly, I’m not interested in anyone feeling bad — Gay people or divorced people.

I find the whole thing amusing myself.

In a catawampus sort of way.

To be clear, I don’t think the Church — any church — ought to be forced to marry Gay people, or any other people for that matter. I believe the State has no business telling the Church what to do. Same goes for the Church.

My mama and daddy didn’t marry in a church but they managed to build a decent union all the same.

I have no problem with Gay people getting married in New York or anywhere else. It’s a civil matter as far as I’m concerned.

I don’t see what the big fuss is all about.

I think Gay people are going to finally figure out what the rest of us have known for a long time: It’s not getting married that’s the problem.

It’s figuring out how to stay married.

I’ll be curious to see if Gay people do any better a job at staying happily married than the rest of us do.

Or if their divorce rates will be equally as high.

I’m kind of tickled by the irony of all this.

On one hand, the Church is scrambling to keep marriages intact. And on the other, they are scrambling to keep people from getting married to begin with.

I think as soon as all the states allow Gay people to marry, all this public outcry will die down and everybody can return to their own homes and do what married couples do best — bicker among themselves.

Karen Spears Zacharias is author of Will Jesus Buy Me a Doublewide? ’cause I need more room for my plasma TV.

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  • Christians who interpret Scripture to say that homosexual acts are sin (a group which includes me) have screwed this thing up, and you have highlighted one of the ways: saying it’s a threat to marriage.

    (For the record, I do not believe the common notion that 50% of Christian marriages end in divorce. I simply don’t buy it. But that’s for another day.)

    Another way that Christians have said the wrong thing is when they quote Leviticus, which is part of a set of civil laws which were given to the Israelites as they came out of slavery and had no laws, and nobody who knew how to make or enforce laws. God graciously set them up with hundreds of laws so they could go forward as a nation. The individual laws in Leviticus do not apply to me or you because we’re not Israelites, so any Christian who brings up such laws might as well be bringing up laws from 18th-century Romania. If you want to show why same-sex sex is sin, use the New Testament, and shut up about Leviticus.

    That said, I have no idea what everyone’s reasoning is, Karen. You use words above like “appalled” and “outcry”, but many of us simply voted against it (in my own state election a few years ago) because it was presented to us to vote on. I wasn’t emotional about it. I simply looked at the wording, saw that it redefined marriage as I understood it, and, since I am not a big fan of redefining long-held institutions, I voted for the measure (which meant I voted against redefining marriage).

    I was not “up in arms”, a phrase that you didn’t use but which typically gets used a lot when this topic is discussed. (What does it meant to be “up in arms” anyway?) I simply, and without much emotion, voted the way I voted. If New York has voted another way, fine for them. You won’t see me protesting. It doesn’t affect me.

    Not sure if that answers your questions about why some vote the way they do.

    • Karen Spears Zacharias

      Up in arms must have something to do with the NRA… 🙂

      I’ve got no problem with people voting whatever way people want to vote. I come from the long tradition of voting being a private matter.

      • I know. I was just answering your question which you seem to be posing about why someone take a position against gay marriage. It’s not a high priority to me by any means, but in my case, it was a matter of redefining a word. I imagine you’ll get a few different reasons if you ask enough people.

        • Karen Spears Zacharias

          I imagine so. Appreciate your answer.

  • maybe you hit the nail on the head here… maybe the reason people are so against gay marriage is that they’re afraid the divorce rates won’t be as high, and that that will make straight marriages look bad.

    • Karen Spears Zacharias

      As if we need help making our marriages look bad…

      • chris rock had a routine years ago that basically said gay marriage doesn’t cheapen marriage, game shows where marriage is the prize cheapen marriage.

        • Karen Spears Zacharias

          Or reality shows where you end up engaged?

          • yeah, that’s what he was referring to. he probably phrased it a lot better than i did.

  • Karen: Gonna try this point again. On a previous thread, your website blocked me for being “spammy”.

    “Church” with an upper case “c”. I’d use that only in the context of a recognized proper noun such as “First Baptist Church” of “The United Church of Christ”. When we speak of Christianity in general, we should actually use “church” with lower case “c”. The church of which Christ is truly the head can by definition only be the generic one, holy because it is Christ’s and catholic/universal (small “c”) because it pertains to the whole. That church, as distinct from congregations or denominations or individuals, speaks with more than one voice on the subject in question. Augustine said, “the church is my mother. She is a whore, but she is still my mother.”

    James: If we can neatly divide OT from NT things, can we divide first century things from 15th century or 20th century thinking of Christians? As far as “18th century Romanian law”, we do this all the time today. All of the public lands in the West of our country are adjudicated for mining and extraction of natural resources under an act passed in 1872. I hope we revisit it soon. Laws in the state of Louisiana are based on the Napoleonic code, one reason why the state has parishes, not counties. And both the Napoleonic Code and the English system of common law have roots tracing back to the Romans and before. Yet, what we have today is not an exact reprint of what came before either.

    Many times discussions of whether same-sex sex is sin seem to focus on “sins” (individual acts or behaviors) to the exclusion of Sin–the general human condition. If we focus only on the New Testament, we end up looking at Paul to the exclusion of Jesus. By that I don’t mean to imply that Jesus was silent on the subject and that it is therefore a non-issue. That would be to ignore the fact that Jesus was not silent on a subject much larger: that thoughts and words were tantamount to enacted capital crimes, that Sin was pervasive and could not be confined to acts that are so easily seens as only those of the other. All sins accrue to one and only one: self-justification by which we make ourselves God.

    In this time, as in all times, let us pray for human relationships everywhere.

    • I never said we could neatly divide the New from the Old Testament. Most of the years covered in the Old Testament, God’s people were not under the Mosaic Law. That was for a particular group of people at a particular time in their history. It was never given to you or to me. That’s why you can eat bacon, and I can have a shirt with more than one type of thread. And so could anyone else not under the Mosaic Law.
      Not that this really has anything to do with Karen’s topic. I simply brought it up to say that while I disagree with her on on hand, I agree with her that Christians who use Leviticus to back up ideas about gay sex are off-track. especially if they are eating a pepperoni pizza while doing so.

  • Above should read “First Baptist Chruch” OR “UCC”, etc. R.

    • “Chruch”

      Made me giggle like a schoolgirl.

      • Yeah, I keep inverting the r and the u in that word. It happens in a few other words too, and lately I’m wondering whether it’s an ulnar nerve issue or an early sign of Parkinson’s disease. But if Leviticus was given to people in a certain time and not to us (which I agree with, BTW), how are the letters and epistles of Paul with specific addressees and specific contexts the same/different from Leviticus? Thanks.

        • Paul’s letters give us principles and spiritual truths, not laws and rules.

          • Matt Woodley

            Really? What’s the difference between a “spiritual truth” or a “principle” and a rule? So is “Bless those who persecute you” (Rom. 12:14) a principle or a rule? Or how about “Flee fornication” (1 Cor. 6:18)? Or how about “clothe yourselves with compassion” (Col 3:13) or do not act in “lustful passion” towards a brother or sister in Christ (1 Thess 4:5? Are these rules or principles? They sure sound like “rules” to me–at least in the sense that they are not optional.

  • Dana

    You and I think similarly on this one, Karen. I believe that homosexuality is a sin, and that scripture is clear on that. But I can’t get too invested in exhorting non-believers to live by biblical mandates regarding marriage before I’ve gotten professing Christians to do so. I think we’ll stand a much better chance of persuading the world that “God’s way works” if we actually live it out first. And right now–we ain’t livin’ it out. No wonder nobody’s listening…

  • For goodness sake, I agree. Since when did the church own the franchise anyway? When did we get the rights to dictate the terms of marriage? Everyone has been marrying in one form or another way before Christianity came along. I can’t see why same sex marriage is such a threat anyway. Abuses, sinful, selfish behaviour and outright criminal behaviour occur within the sanctity of God-ordained marriage every single day, and that’s just the people who go to church. I think we have enough to worry about sorting that lot out, just quietly.

  • Megan S.

    I finally decided to comment before reading everyone else’s comments b/c I usually get lost on my way down the line in other people’s stuff. It was tough, but I made it.

    And all I really want to say is thank you. As a seminary graduated, global mission organization employed, faithful Christian, I have never been able to articulate that just-not-right feeling I get every time someone wants to bust on marriage among gay people. I’ve been surrounded by lots of talk about why marriage is sacred in the church and I totally agree. But I also totally agree that this is a civil/state matter and we are lucky enough to live in a country that separates the state and Church.

    So, thanks for saying it.

    • Karen Spears Zacharias

      Thank you, Megan. I do think that it’s a state matter. I don’t think churches should force the issue on their congregants, or on their government.

  • Matt W.

    “I’m kind of tickled by the irony of all this. On one hand, the Church is scrambling to keep marriages intact. And on the other, they are scrambling to keep people from getting married to begin with.”

    Karen: I’m sorry I just can’t find myself getting “tickled by the irony in all of this.” As the writer Pat Conroy once said, “Every divorce represents the death of a small civilization.” That’s a profound, biblical perspective on marriage. We live in a culture that is rough on marriages–for a lot of reasons. Sorry, but I just don’t get the flippant attitude that divorce is funny.

    • Karen Spears Zacharias

      A keen observation by Pat, given the number of divorces he’s been through.

  • Debbie

    With the state most marriages are in I cannot for the life of me understand why these guys and girls want to be married…I know it is more for the legal protection of properties and stuff when things go south yet still…who in their right mind would want to be married these days?

    • Karen Spears Zacharias

      Apparently they haven’t put much thought into divorce court like the rest of us.

  • It’s a civil matter, as you said. Gay people will be in gay relationships whether or not it is legally recognized. What most concerns me, however, is the children that will be adopted into these marriages.

    • Caleb

      Straight people have been raising gay babies for forever. Can’t gay people raise straight children? Or do gay people only raise gay children? Please, we need clarification.

      • Gay parents may raise straight or gay children, as history has shown, but these children will either be raised in motherless or fatherless homes.

        • Karen Spears Zacharias

          Stephanie: This discussion over the children hails back to the age where we had this same discussion about bi-racial marriages. But what about the children? people decried.
          Turns out they are some of the most beautiful people among us.
          I think the thing children require is love & nurturing.
          They aren’t picky about who provides it.