This is the latest entry in the “we love the gay people but don’t think they are deserving of civil rights and this is how we express our love” category. Here is what I understand the basic premise to be — God invented marriage, so Christians own it and no one has the right to redefine it.
WHOA! It might behoove the authors to read a good historical account of marriage such as the one by Stephanie Coontz, “Marriage, a History: How Love Conquered Marriage.”
Before I write this summary, for the record: I AM an evangelical Christian, straight, 2 adult kids (26 and 28) and neither gay. No gay family members. I was in the isolation of the evangelical world until I met a hiking buddy on a trail in 2001. I know both sides of this issue WELL. So, with that cleared up, let’s get on with this …
INTRO — The writers comment on the unparalleled speed at which this issue has hit — well, the gays only came out of closet of shame imposed on them culturally and by the medical community in 1973, and the first request for marriage was in 1970. Rev. Troy Perry of MCC started petitioning right away. I think 45 years of trying to get a civil right is quite a long struggle.
WHAT JUST HAPPENED TO OUR CULTURE? There are reasons the gay issue was not discussed when the authors were younger. The first time anyone started studying gay youth was in the mid-1990s. The same bad stereotypes used on adult gays was imposed on gay youth from 1972 to 1992. Even more recently, when my last child graduated high school in 2005 — no one was out. I went to the same high school last month to speak at the GSA — and forty kids were there, including the valedictorian, a lovely lesbian nerd.
BEYOND THE NOISE — Please find some new “horrors” aside from the three standard cases of cake, pics and flowers. Open yourselves the the decades of tragic stories of gays denied rights and basic human dignity. Focus on just one day of the AIDS crisis in one care center where partners lost rights to families of dying AIDS patients. Then pick any day today when LGBT people are still discriminated against from jobs, to families.
Marriage belongs to the state in the US and has since the 1780s. Pastors marry couples with the permission of the state. Again, I strongly suggest you read accounts on how marriage came to the church in the 9th century and why. Did you realize it didn’t become a sacrament until the 15th century? This revisionist view of “we own it” is incredibly inaccurate.
WHAT GOD THINKS — Oh my. I don’t agree, so now what? Have I missed the heart of God? What makes a marriage? Procreation is included in the authors’ list. It was Augustine in the 5th century that added that imperative. Nowhere in the Bible does it state that a marriage is only a marriage if there is a baby potential. “Be fruitful” is a blessing, not a command. I have lots of comments on the margins in this chapter. Several Christian denominations are suing states for same-sex marriage, they too must have missed what God “thinks” about it.
WHAT IS MARRIAGE? Three undeniable facts of reality– another YIKES!!! You quote the spiteful and discredited Maggie Gallagher of NOM as the resource?! So much for your credibility.
The authors present the “problem” of what are “we” going to call marriage when same-sex couples can get married? Marriage — that is what a contract between two people who arrange their lives and families together for mutual benefit and responsibility is called.
As for the rest of the book…
“What we know about sexual orientation” is covered in 2 1/3 pages. “The main myth is that homosexuals are born that way. There is no strong scientific evidence that this is true.” If the authors are saying no gay gene has been found — true. But, there is massively strong evidence that orientation is part genetic, part epigenetic, and part hormonal influences in utero. Go to youtube and spend a few hours watching and listening to scientists. The 2 1/3 pages dedicated to the results of decades of scientific studies is shortly followed by ten pages on a book “After the Ball” which is apparently the published gay agenda. The only place I ever read about this book is in anti-gay venues. I do not know one gay person who owns it or has ever read it . I happen to have a copy because someone found one at a garage sale and sent it to me. Check it out on Amazon — 15 book reviews in 25 years of sales. Again, I have never heard anyone in the LGBT community refer to it yet the authors took ten pages on a 25 year old book and 2 1/3 on the science of orientation. Ugh.
Here is my bottom line — marriage in the US is not only a civil right it is a civil contract. LGBT people are already legally a class of people. Standing in the way of the civil rights of others is not only mean, I cannot see where it would EVER be supported in the Bible. It is so frustrating to read another so-called “thoughtful approach” that denies the civil rights of a group of people. The growing witness of LGBT Christians is and has been causing people like me to question what we have been told “God thinks.”
The Gay Christian Network meets each year for a conference. Wander up the coast to Portland in January and come meet hundreds of LGBT Christians and challenge your dogma. Or Sean — go visit Christ Chapel of the Valley, Glory Tabernacle, or Open Door — all nearby to you. THESE are the brothers and sisters in Christ whose civil rights you “thoughtfully” oppose and who you think need to change before God likes them. Come to GCN, go to an affirming church — get out of your insular world — I did almost 15 years ago and it changed who I am to the core.
The LGBT Christian community is packed with people who know grace and unconditional love far better and deeper than the rest of us. PLEASE get outside your bubble. Please.
KATHY BALDOCK, Executive Director of CanyonwalkerConnections.com, is a heterosexual Evangelical Christian who has transitioned to a fully affirming advocate over the past ten years. Understanding the language and issues on both sides of the dialogue, Kathy is able to foster the mission of Canyonwalker Connections: to educate, engage and encourage. It all began with a hiking relationship with an agnostic lesbian.
Her new book, Walking the Bridgeless Canyon: Repairing the Breach Between the Conservative Church and the LGBT Christian Community, is soon to be released and is available for pre-order now!
You may also find her on Facebook.