Thursday, November 06, 2008

California's Proposition 8 Same-Sex Marriage Ban Passed: Should Evangelicals Be Glad?

As I went through election results other than the incredibly joyful (and still tear-producing for me) election of Barack Obama, I noted that California's Proposition 8 had passed by a fairly large margin (5%). Proposition 8 defines marriage as between one man and one woman -- "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California" -- which reverses laws previously made in California allowing same-sex marriage.

This Proposition, perhaps not surprisingly, had intense backing from Evangelicals, including James Dobson and Rick Warren. The single largest organization behind it may have been the Mormon Church (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints [*] ). Protests state-wide in California are underway as I write these words.

My progressive Californian brother and I have had some sparky discussions re homosexuality, my "orthodox Christian" position seeming pure bigotry to him. (He's kind of a hero of mine, so I feel not so good re his assessment!) But regarding Proposition 8 being a bad idea, I found myself agreeing with him that it was a bad law.

I hope everyone reads to the end of what follows, because while no one may like my tentative conclusions, I don't want to be misunderstood re what those conclusions are. And even more than usual, I remind all that these thoughts do NOT represent any organization or entity with which I am associated, whether that be Jesus People USA Evangelical Covenant Church, Project 12, or whomever else I have written for, spoken for, bla bla bla. My views are solely my own.

Homosexuality and Scripture

Before fellow Evangelicals freak, let me reiterate: I believe God's Word that marriage as created by God is meant only for one woman and one man. I would submit that not only does Scripture contain verses directly targeting homosexuality as outside God's will (Lev. 20:13; Romans 1:26, 27; 1 Cor. 6:9-11; 1 Tim. 1:9-11), but also an overwhelming number of verses defining marriage as between one man and one woman. (Professor Linda Belleville wrote a multi-part article on sexuality and Scripture for us sometime ago, and here are parts One, Two, and Three -- the last most directly addressing homosexuality in Scripture. Parts four and five never got posted on line, sorry to say.)

God's marriage model remains that found in Genesis: 2:23, 24 : "Then the man said, 'This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; this one shall be called Woman, for out of Man this one was taken.' Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh" [NRSV]. This is reiterated in Matthew 19:5-6 and Mark 10:7-8. Paul reiterates the Genesis model twice more, once in a negative context regarding prostitution (1 Cor. 6:16, and the larger passage afterward expands into a discussion of the same heterosexual one man, one woman marriage), and once in a positive and startling context (Eph. 5:31,32).

What of polygamy? someone might ask. Yes, polygamy is abundant in the Old Testament, but never is it suggested that God founded such a practice. Further, it is expressly discouraged in the New Testament (no Elders or Deacons may be married to more than one wife / husband). In the biblical narrative, God tolerates things He doesn't like. A for-instance? The frivolous divorce laws under Moses, where a man could ditch his wife simply by writing a decree of divorce, Jesus negates by saying "It was because your hearts were hard" (Mark 10:5a, NIV) . Then Jesus sets the record straight on divorce, reminding his listeners of the heart of the law.

There are other arguments pro-gay folks attempt to argue from Scripture, including the rather sad (to me) argument that since David's love for Jonathan (my namesake) "surpassed the love of women," that love was sexual in nature. Such interpretation seems to me possible only in our western culture where male love is so circumscribed that love such as David's for Jonathan is automatically assumed to be sexual. Can't men love each other with incredible depth and even passion without it turning sexual? As a man, I hate this traditionalist view of males which (with a sense of irony) I note is being used by pro-gay forces.

But this isn't meant as an in-depth treatise on homsexuality in Scripture. My only point here is that within a Scriptural world view homosexuality appears to me to be excluded. I hasten to add that heterosexuality outside of marriage is also excluded, and that homosexual desires are not in themselves sins, but rather temptations.

FINE, Trott! Get back to Prop 8!!

So with the above beliefs, must I support Prop 8, as well as other present and future laws like it? Shouldn't we Christians attempt legislating marriage in in all fifty states as "one man, one woman" just like Genesis says? Isn't this one time bluechristian should read a little bit redchristian?

I don't think so.

Defining Marriage for ourselves vs. Defining Marriage for our Neighbor

I think we Evangelicals, Catholics, Jews, Muslims, and anyone else who holds to the one-man, one-woman definition of marriage on religious grounds are caught in a major difficulty when it comes to making it law. Not just on legal grounds, mind you, though I personally suspect that the "Traditional Marriage" people are about to provoke state courts, federal courts, maybe even the Supreme Court into doing the very thing they fear. But I think there's something ethically wrong here, frankly.

It was James Dobson, speaking negatively about Barack Obama's morals, who helped me begin clarifying for myself what seems wrong with Prop 8:

"What terrifies me is the thought that he [Obama] might be our president. . . might be in the Oval Office . . . might be the leader of the free world . . . might be the Commander in Chief," he said to Sean Hannity back in June of this year. "As I said a minute ago, the man is dangerous, especially in regard to this issue of morality. I can't tell you how strongly I feel about this. He's saying that my morality has to conform to his because we all have to agree or else it's not democratic."

Um.... I have at least three issues with the above.

(1.) Isn't this inverting the truth? That is, aren't WE the ones who are saying that everyone else -- from Hindu to Christian to Agnostic to Atheist -- must accept OUR morality as their morality?

(2.) When James Dobson claims that "my morality has to conform to [Obama's]" it shows mainly that Dobson is misreading the entire basis for the conversation. Who is demanding conformity more, a person who narrows marriage's definition for everyone or a person who widens it? Especially in the context of a secular polycultural democracy, it seems increasingly problematic to attempt legislating one subculture's version of marriage. The legal definition of marriage in America should reflect a wide spectrum of Americans' understanding, not just Christian Americans' understanding.

I don't like mixing up race with homosexuality because they to me appear quite different topics on a number of levels, especially the deepest moral and spiritual levels. But Prop 8 begs for the comparison to interracial marriage, because the way it frames same-sex marriage is highly similar legally to how segregationists framed interracial marriage. Using Dobson's logic, when the 1967 Supreme Court decision Loving vs Virginia prohibited state laws against interracial marriage, the state was forcing moral conformity on everyone. In actuality, churches could have and in fact still do (unfortunately!) teach against interracial marriage. That is their right. What isn't their right is to define marriage legally for everyone (as opposed to theologically for their own community).

(3.) Dobson's unspoken assumption here is that America is a Christian nation. No, it is not. It never has been. And as a fervent Christian, I never think it should be (or could be for that matter). It is true that "traditional" values -- sometimes Christian and sometimes not -- are eroding in America and have been for decades. Barack Obama could not have been elected President or even thought of running in the 1950s-early 1960s "Christian America" James Dobson wants to "restore." I grew up in that era, and I do *not* want to go back.

Aren't Dr. Dobson and Rick Warren attempting to enforce Christian belief when it comes to marriage, making that belief a required law rather than human choice? Many Christians want marriage to remain identified with a mono-cultural America, one rooted in Judaeo-Christian principles. Yet for me, who see in that same old paradigm the roots of a dangerous nationalism which I firmly believe could result in an all-out fascist state if not politically defeated, I find myself wondering if we need to rethink this whole "traditional values" thing. It -- once again -- assumes the myth of a once or future Christian America. Never was one. Never will be one. [**]

That is what bothers me about Proposition 8. Because, you see, Christians (along with all supporters of so-called "traditional marriage" [***] ) are assuming they have the right to define marriage not only for themselves but for everyone else as well. God could, of course, define marriage any way he wished simply by causing all same-sex individuals to start yearning heterosexually. But God doesn't use force very often, despite how many of his self-appointed spokespersons suggest he does. In fact, God is the most coy about relationship of any Person. He woos us in thousands of ways, yet never forces us into relationship with him and never requires of us that we force our neighbors to believe as we believe. EVER.

My question -- and despite all the above I remind everyone it is a question I'm answering for myself here, not you -- Do we as Christians really believe that pushing our moral values via legislation furthers the cause of Jesus Christ? I think Dr. Dobson, Rick Warren, and others who think they've won a victory have actually done something which may be immoral, not because it violates God's Word re marriage, but rather because it violates the heart of Love itself. It violates the opportunity each person has to discover God's Way for her or him self.

As a believer in Jesus Christ, I have little interest in converting my neighbor to heterosexuality, or from homosexuality. What I am interested in is first of all to love my neighbor as myself, second only to loving God with my whole heart and mind and soul. Loving my neighbor is firstly about introducing him or her to Christ -- using words only where necessary. Prayerfully, I see Christian marriage itself as one of the greatest potential weapons of love in causing a non-believer to become attracted to Christ. Very prayerfully, I dare hope that sometimes even my own marriage might cause such attraction to observers of it. If a gay person enters into a relationship with Jesus Christ, wouldn't one assume that she or he might also encounter the words of Scripture? And wouldn't the Holy Spirit within that person aid them in beginning to see, and act on, a realization that homosexuality isn't what their Lord wants of them? The issues are hard to cope with, complex in scope. But I trust God's Grace (Agape love) over the law (of God or men) which biblically is said to lead to death.

As far as Proposition 8, I would have voted against it if it had been an issue here in Illinois. I probably would not vote for defining gay marriage as equivalent to one man and one woman -- I'd be violating my conscience (and God's Word) to do so. But I also would violate my conscience to vote for a Proposition that dictates what love is and is not to my homosexual neighbors. They, like me, make choices regarding love and right and wrong before a Personal, Holy, Just, and Loving God. Admitting some ambiguity in just how that unpacks as far as legislation goes, I believe I do God no service by engaging in "culture wars" wherein my ego rather than God's righteousness seems most reflected.

It does cause me suffering to think my neighbors will enter into relationships which are outside the will of a Loving God. And isn't part of my hesitation, even now, in actually posting these ruminations rooted in wishing I could avoid that suffering? It is incumbent on me to bear witness to God's ideas on marriage, even while I refuse to block the democratic rights of others to legally define marriage their own way. I also acknowledge that my own views on marriage cause my homosexual neighbor to suffer. She feels diminished when she realizes I do not see her relationship with her beloved as healthy or biblical. Yet I love my neighbor -- and I am talking about a real person here, not an abstraction. All I can do is bear witness to what God has done and is still doing in me, in my relationships, in my own broken but healing heterosexuality. And I can simply be silent, affirming her personhood even though unable to affirm all her choices.

It hurts to be a Christian, and the more it hurts the closer I suspect it gets to actually being real Christianity. But of course suffering and loving and failing and starting again can't really be the topics of legislation. The law kills. The Spirit gives life. As an Evangelical, I am indeed a person of the book. But I am also a person of the Living Word, Jesus Christ. If you are a fellow Evangelical who thinks I've terribly erred, pray for me that I would see better. If you are a homosexual and deeply troubled, even hurt, by what I've said here regarding the Scriptures, please forgive my ineptitude and gracelessness and pray for me that I learn better to communicate God's heart, not just my own mind. And if you are an observer, wryly fascinated by my obtuse and overly-verbose attempts to reflect both "Truth" and "Love," pray for me that I might understand far better how it's done.

-=-

I welcome feedback on this post... hopefully of a reasoned manner. I do moderate comments due to a few recurrent rascals, but will post almost all comments made unless they're downright hateful and/or astonishingly monofocused on topics which are off-topic. For more (and perhaps more intelligent) postings on this topic, see:

Randall Balmer's Huffington Post article takes Rick Warren to task: "Rick Warren on Prop 8: He Knows Better"

The Evangelical Outpost blog has some good back and forth: "Proposition 8: The Same-Sex Marriage Debate"


* Does anyone else find it odd that the Mormon Church -- founded in part on the doctrine of polygamous marriage -- would be a principal sponsor of Proposition 8?

** (Well, actually it's up to God what happens when all Creation is at last redeemed on that day of His appearing... a New America along with a New [fully redeemed and healed] Earth? Sorry, that's pretty theological for my non-christian readers).

*** "Traditional marriage" is one of the most unfortunate, as well as inaccurate, phrases I know. Marriage is so sexy, so adventurous, so challenging and painful and demanding and life-altering. "Traditional"? That term in addition suggests the usual male-dominant union of powerful husband, submissive wife, a model many of us Evangelical egalitarian / feminist types reject as overtly unbiblical. See http://www.cbeinternational.org for more on egalitarian biblical theology and support. They, by the way, have NOTHING to do with the views expressed here on Proposition 8.



43 comments:

matthew said...

I appreciated your post. Thank you for being thoughtful, clear, and completely logical without compromising a Biblical stance.

Aoede said...

Basically agreed. But on the subject I think part of the trouble is that what pro-gay activists want (from what I've listened to) is mainly the same group of legal benefits that "regular" married couples have, whereas the anti-gay marriage activists seem to be more about the meaning of marriage and the personal side of things. (Since I'm not really a part of either movement, I may be incorrect.)

But provided that I have accurately assessed the situation, and considering that all marriage laws can affect is couples' legal status... I think that from a pragmatic point of view, the term "marriage" should be given back to the churches and dissociated from the legal status.

I mean, seriously. Visitation rights? A tax break? What does the Bible say about that?

Tom said...

First, let me say that I agree with many of you views and use them as arguments of my own simply on the basis of their being well stated.

That being said, the question I have in reference to Prop 8 is this: God created the idea of marriage, did He not? Isn't that the first record of marriage in the world? I ask because I'm not nearly as well read as others. If it is, then whether or not one believes in a Judeo-Christian God, as I do, the model for marriage is set and isn't up for discussion of what it is and what it isn't. It is and always has been simply that; a union between a man and a woman.
I don't believe that a person or a group of people get to impose their will on the rest of society simply because they want to change the definition of something. I could get a group together and insist that the definition of the word "mammal" should include the definition" that it "has gills to enable it to breathe underwater." simply because I want my pet goldfish to be a mammal. Not even if I get all the goldfish owners in the world to lobby Congress for it. That's not what a mammal is and all the desiring in the world won't change it. All the desiring in the world won't change the definition of the word marriage in the sense that it is between a man and a woman. No matter how many people lobby for it.
I agree that it is hurtful for those homosexuals that desire to be legally protected and want what they see others have, but it is equally injurious to those who are married in the eyes of the law and in the eyes of God to have it cheapened by inclusion of a sinful act in the definition.
I understand that identifying oneself as homosexual isn't a sinful act and living with another of the same sex also isn't sinful, but when you change the definition to include man laying with another man as husband and wife. That's a sin according to God.

When did the feelings of homosexuals become more important than those of Christians? I understand that we are to turn the other cheek and God is big enough to defend himself, but when it seems like we are having things taken away from us and then told that we should tell those who took them that we're sorry for not giving those things up without a fight and that we're totally in the wrong. We, in society, spend much of our time worried about the feelings of minority groups, so much so that when we decide that something is too much, we aren't allowed to pull back and reign in the sacrificing. There should be a point at which we are able to say "This far and no farther" without being labeled as haters or discriminatory.
What do we keep for ourselves? We are being told that we must allow sin to be incorporated into those parts of our belief or risk being picketed or boycotted or accused of discrimination when we don't include them.
I'm all for civil unions and gay rights, it matters not a bit to me, because I've said over and over that the act of homosexuality is a sin that is between them and God and really isn't any of my business, and the only problem I have is when that sin touches that which is meant to be kept apart for God in my beliefs. This is less to do with forcing MY beliefs on them as it is them forcing THEIR beliefs on me.

@bdul muHib said...

Beautifully said, Jon. Exquisite, even.

Would that we could go back to our practices in the First Century, in so many ways. But relevant here, the idea that there was civil marriage and Christian marriage, and they were separate entities, and separate practices. What do I care what the "pagans" do, or what their morality is? I would wish them to change, but it is not my place to judge those outside the Church. What matters to me are the marriages *within* the Church. Otherwise, unless is restricts the rights of others, let freedom reign.

bob brown said...

Jon:

In another article I commented on the logical problem a Prop 8 defeat presents.

Trying to keep this secular, to avoid bigotry of the type your brother feels you have on a Christian basis:

Once you redefine away from the one woman/one man marriage (the 1/1),
how do you logically defend against any other permutations or combinations of spouses (various plural arrangements, old school Mormon polygamy, polyandry)?

In a Liberal (and in my case Libertarian/Conservative), modern, secular society - does it or should it matter who and how many as long as they are competent, consenting adults?

I will do a little arm waving here. I am not familiar with any historical or current societies where plural marriage has worked out well for women's rights. I guess because the most popular flavor appears to have been and currently is polygamy. Allowing gay marriage, I believe opens the door to denigration of women.

@bdul allows how we in the church ought to keep our focus on christians and our marriage practices within the faith.

I agree. It always irks when I hear a preacher say "Now by the power vested in me by this State, I now pronounce you..."

I much prefer you get your ticket punched down at City Hall for the legal part of the marriage contract and let the Church bidness be carried out at the Church House.

In other words....Separation of Church and State! (not like we usually hear it from you Libs)

//bb

druid said...

What we're talking about here is what the state should do. @bdul muHib has it exactly right. Marriage existed before Jesus and long before the Christian church took it upon itself to decide what marriage really is and means. Almost as soon as Christians started laying down rules on that subject, they fell out among themselves. That should have been the end of claims that churches have primacy over this issue.

Even the word itself ("marriage") predates and is completely divorced (excuse the pun) from Christianity. The same is true of synonyms like "wedlock" and "matrimony." I'm working on my own blog entry on this subject just because I see so many comments that seem divorced from historical and linguistic reality. The churches have never owned "marriage," and to grant them ownership rights now would create a flagrant violation of the separation of church and state.

Let each church (or individual, or community) decide what relationships he/she/it wants to honor, and leave to the state the question of what relationships will carry the legal rights and privileges (and duties) that flow from marriage.

As for concerns about polygamy, there may be sound reasons (including the ones Bob Brown mentions) for the state not to grant plural marriages the same rights and privileges it grants to monogamous ones. The question the California Supreme Court had to decide -- and on which Prop 8 sought to overturn its decision -- was whether the state has any legitimate reason to withhold those privileges from a couple merely on the ground of sexual orientation.

@bdul muHib said...

Tom: God created the definition of marriage, in the same way that he created the definition of murder, and incest, and ichneumon wasp, which plants its young inside living caterpillars so that they can eat the still-living but paralyzed caterpillar from the inside out. God is God, so he created the definition of everything- but I don't think really helps us understand how the model of marriage is set up. In truth, as God did set it up, and our first relationships were without marriage, then the first marriage is just shacking up without the ceremony. But that just confuses God's permissive and perfect will, so it doesn't help us resolve the issue.

You ask "When did the feeling of homosexuals become more important than Christians?" When Jesus died on the cross. That's when he decided that, while we were still yet sinners, he would die for us. We don't have a God who helps out only the good, as the Muslims believe. We have a God who comes for the bad. Which yes, includes all of us, but again, beside the point. More to the point, in this particular example, is that homosexuality is sin, and so God comes for the lost sheep, and so, yes, their feelings are more important than the 99 God already has.

Bob: polyandry actually works out fairly well for women's rights.

Druid: I would submit, and perhaps you would agree, that the Church has "owned" marriage, to the extent that that is marriage within the Church. By which I mean that there is an ecclesiastical definition of marriage, there is a definition of marriage as given within the Church that is appropriate only within the Church.

I would disagree with you, however, that we should embrace the idea that every church and community within the church can define marriage as it sees fit. Yes, we shouldn't force anyone, but it should be a definition that the Church comes to, through consensus and council.

As to polygamy, I think it just as grave a denial of civil liberties that that is banned, as is with gay marriage, or for that matter, marriage to a cow, or a chair. As long as it does not infringe on the rights of others, we have no right to deny other human the liberty to do something, no matter how horrid it might be morally. (And yes, there are plenty of cases of consenting animals.)

Jon: Little funny bit here. Because of the automatic Message Rules I have set up on my email, I totally missed most of the notifications on this topic, for you include the word "sex" in the title. Years ago, I found that was the easiest way to avoid a whole lot of spam that I don't want to get.

Alan Thomas said...

My biggest objection is that marriage is something bigger than ourselves, so the "defining it for our neighbors" thing doesn't register with me...I don't define marriage for EITHER my neighbors OR me. It's something God define before the fall and has repeatedly reasserted since then.

Dawg Doc said...

The idea of marriage as between one man and one woman is absolutely biblical and should apply to those within God's Israel, the church. But we must distinguish that from the largely non-Christian society around the church. Our calling is not to make the society a more moral place or even to defend God and his created order. He can do that well enough without us. Our calling is to preach Christ and Him crucified. Whenever we stray from that we ultimately abandon our true calling and become as salt that has lost its flavor.

Additionally, let us remember that human marriage is a picture of Christ's relationship with the church. He is our husband and we his bride. Those outside of the church are not his bride nor is he their husband. Why force the world to accept a picture of a relationship it finds repulsive?

Jon Trott said...

Tom,

This passage of yours bears scrutiny:

I don't believe that a person or a group of people get to impose their will on the rest of society simply because they want to change the definition of something. I could get a group together and insist that the definition of the word "mammal" should include the definition" that it "has gills to enable it to breathe underwater." simply because I want my pet goldfish to be a mammal. Not even if I get all the goldfish owners in the world to lobby Congress for it. That's not what a mammal is and all the desiring in the world won't change it.

Actually, the word "mammal" is only two noises (syllables). Wegive the word an actual meaning. And therein lies the conversation between post-modernists and modernists.

@bdul muHib said...

And, though completely off topic, Congress wouldn't be able to define "mammal", as that is something scientists do, and more importantly, the mammal clade does not exclude the possibility of breathing with gills. Rather, the mammal clade refers to all of those animals descended from Therapsids. The importance of this can be seen when we consider that "fish" (those with gills), is actually an unscientific catch-all for four different living clades, or phyla, namely Ostyicthyes, Chondrichthys, Myxini, and Petromyzone. Most within the Amphibian clade possess gills but are never considered fish, and, as we've seen recently with Tiktaalik, it can often be difficult to tell the difference between fish and amphibian, as one merges into the other. Thus, it would be highly unlikely for us to see gills in a mammal, as the amphibians provide that cross-over case, being more closely related to the "fish", but if it were to happen, it would only be through convergent evolution, and is thus feasible, while still maintaining itself within the definition of mammal.

I know, completely unrelated to the topic, but I couldn't resist setting the record straight :-)

JennW7773 said...

God bless you - what a well stated and intelligent blog. And - if it needs to be said - I am in agreement.

God instituted marriage in Genesis as between one man and one woman. But we do legally bar from marriage those who disagree with us. Atheists, Muslims, and irreligious couples enjoy their love and the blessings of their neighbors, doctors and employers regardless of what they believe about Genesis or God.

The sin in homosexuality is not abated by maintaining this exception. All we do is hurt our gay friends, and make ourselves seem arrogant, intolerant and anything but Christlike.

Anonymous said...

I'm a long-time reader, though late to the party on this comment. I feel like this is a safe place to say something- thanks, Jon.

First of all, I think this argument about defining what marriage means needs to be taken out of the "religious" sphere. Otherwise, it's all about competing value sets and feelings, which gets us nowhere near that (I believe) desirable place you wrote about in your post on Dobson's letter: where we can recognize gay peoples' civil rights *and* the religious community's sense of what marriage means.

I think the way to do this is to put it into sociologic terms. Sociologist and professor Bo Weston has written about this (and other topics) on his blog: http://gruntledcenter.blogspot.com/
especially the entry for Nov. 16. He expresses what I believe about civil unions, and why, based on sociology research. The blame then cannot be laid at the feet of religion as the only factor in ascertaining people's opinions.

If the "dictionary definition" of marriage (as a social institution consisting of one man and one woman) does indeed get changed, I think the thing to do would be what what European countries have done since Napoleon: require everyone to have a civil marriage in order for it to be recognized by the state, with a religious ceremony optional.

In all of these discussions, I think of the first Christians and the times in which they lived. Only wealthy Roman citizens who had property to pass on had marriages recognized by the state; otherwise, the state didn't care who was sleeping with whom, as long as there weren't any insurrections going on. In addition, there is no extant writing by Christians prior to about 300 AD, that I know of, that offers any judgments about the behavior of people outside the faith, particularly wrt sexual behavior. There's plenty addressed *to Christians*, but nothing to those outside, except "This is what we do and why we do it." I think that is a good lesson for us.

Why are Christians getting so torqued about the behavior of people who don't identify as Christians? (When a gay person does identify as a Christian, that brings up some other issues, but those issues are about behavior, not identity, as you wrote, Jon.) Unless some people need an other to Other- which seems very far from Jesus' commandment about loving our neighbor.

Dana Ames

@bdul muHib said...

As far as early Christians mentioning the sexual behavior of pagans, I'm not sure what you said was exactly accurate. I can think of something directly in even I Corinthians, where Paul lambasts the church for having a member doing something that not even the pagans do. Clement as I recall also mentions sexual deviance of pagans. Yes, you're correct, the point is far and away the behavior of the believers, but there is also reference to the behavior of nonbelievers.

Seeker said...

Jon,

While I am so glad you haven't bitten the postmodern bullet and am happy that you don't appear to endorse homosexual marriage or homosexuality (as SO many so-called pastors of the postmodern ilk do today), I must respectfully disagree with several of your views as stated in your post above.

First, you wrote that "California's Proposition 8...reverses laws previously made in California allowing same-sex marriage."

This is false. I'm a Californian who follows these developments and the ONLY thing that legalized homosexual marriage was an activist set of judges who overturned the will of the people (we voted to outlaw hs marriage back in 2000 LONG before this 2008 development, but activist judges attempted to overturn the will of the people...we Californians do not appreciate such arrogance, so we took the issue back into our hands where it belongs).

Second, you quoted James Dobson as follows: "(Obama's) saying that my morality has to conform to his because we all have to agree or else it's not democratic."

In response, you wrote: "(1.) Isn't this inverting the truth? That is, aren't WE the ones who are saying that everyone else -- from Hindu to Christian to Agnostic to Atheist -- must accept OUR morality as their morality?"

Your response above indicates that some people desire a change from the status quo. The problem is that the status quo from day one in the USA was ALWAYS one man and one woman can marry each other...so, who's trying to change who? Who is truly trying to impose their morality upon whom?

Contrary to your assertion that we are requiring others to follow our morality...false: we are requiring them to follow pre-existing laws and not have the ability to change the very definition of marriage for EVERYBODY.

We are NOT the ones trying to change them or their desired definition of marriage. No, they are trying to change the established (and VERY long-standing) definition of marriage that we happen to endorse.

Bottom line is we are not denying them their "civil rights," they are trying to change the definition of marriage for EVERYBODY and force us to accept their views as legitimate/acceptable/etc.

I guess the question is whether one believes that those who want to change the laws have an obligation to prove why they ought to be allowed to do so or whether we ought to retain that which has worked extremely well for centuries (yes, they would say it has not worked well, but most Americans definitely agree with me on this to this very day).

Next, you asked: "Who is demanding conformity more, a person who narrows marriage's definition for everyone or a person who widens it?"

If that is your view, then there exists NO reason why bigamy and polygamy ought to be disallowed (do you believe that we ought to allow multiple marriages at the same time just as you stated we ought not oppose homosexual marriage legally? I am VERY interested in your view on that issue. too).

Again, if you REALLY believe what you wrote, then their would be NO definition for marriage (it must be TOTALLY open), and anybody knows that such an open-ended definition means NOTHING since it allows for EVERYTHING (many philosophers have noted this over the centuries with virtually NO dispute regarding the issue).

You then raised the question regarding race (the civil rights achievements of African-Americans) and hs marriage. If my memory serves me, it was around 70% of blacks that voted FOR Proposition 8...I think they have spoken fairly conclusively regarding their views of the comparison between the two issues.

Next you wrote about the following: "3.) Dobson's unspoken assumption here is that America is a Christian nation"

Unless the man states that explicitly, I would warn against the assumption that he holds to that view. Instead, MOST Christians don't believe the USA is a Christian nation, if you mean by that based 100% upon the Scriptures. However, we DO hold fast to the fact that the USA was founded upon the Judeo-Christian philosophy and ethic (ie - morality - since ALL laws have a moral basis; that is you can't craft an adequate law without some presupposition of what is right or wrong).

You then wrote: "That is what bothers me about Proposition 8. Because, you see, Christians (along with all supporters of so-called "traditional marriage" [***] ) are assuming they have the right to define marriage not only for themselves but for everyone else as well."

On the contrary: those who are desiring to change marriage from what it has always been in the USA are trying to force US to bow down to their belief that anything goes in marriage (again...if the def is opened to be all-inclusive as that view requires, then the definition is meaningless... it means absolutely nothing if it means everything.

Jon, we are called to be the "salt" - the moral PRESERVATIVE in this dark world, in addition to sharing with the lost the "way out" of our sinfulness and into the FREEDOM of knowing and loving the Lord Jesus. That NEVER "violates God's Word" nor does it violate "the heart of Love itself" (the last two are your words in quotes).

Jon, you wrote next that: "If a gay person enters into a relationship with Jesus Christ, wouldn't one assume that she or he might also encounter the words of Scripture? And wouldn't the Holy Spirit within that person aid them in beginning to see, and act on, a realization that homosexuality isn't what their Lord wants of them?"

Yes, that ought to happen, but how will they know if they have not heard and how will they hear without a preacher? (a paraphrase derived from Rom 10:14-15).

Many homosexuals are VERY religious (heck, in California, they have LOTS of churches of their own and in those churches, many of their "preachers" teach about the homosexual love that Kind David and Jonathon gave to each other...I know, I have heard them talk about these very things, but, of course, they are lies).

I also think you are very wrong to assume the following: "I believe I do God no service by engaging in 'culture wars' wherein my ego rather than God's righteousness seems most reflected."

Those of us who DID vote for Proposition 8 are not on an ego trip in any regard (was your quote only to apply to yourself in your hypothetical statement I quoted above?) It is the very HEART of humility to follow the will of the Lord that hs marriage is unacceptable when you KNOW you WILL suffer persecution of some sort simply because you voted for Prop 8 as SOOOOO many of us in California have, yet we are the salt...the preservative in this VERY dark state.

God is good and we must reflect that good standard as much as possible because that points people to Him even without words.

"We're reachin' out to you, pointing to the way..." (Waves by Rez)

@bdul muHib said...

The U.S. was founded on the Judeo-Christian ethic? Only to the point that said ethic is expanded so broadly that the statement becomes meaningless. Only if said ethic also happens to be the Muslim-Hindu-Buddhist ethic. I don't see how a bunch of Deists were able to found a country on a Judeo-Christian ethic, when many of them explicitly rejected large portions of the Bible. And frankly, the whole Jewish deal wasn't a large part of their thinking. For them, religious tolerance and pluralism meant that Catholics, Episcopalians, Congregationalists, and Quakers could all sit in the same room and not kill each other. (Or in the case of the Quakers, be killed.) They would have spoken of the Catho-Protestant ethic as the all-encompassing belief. Although they certainly at times gave lip service to remembering the "Musselman" and the Jew.

bob brown said...

How 'bout those McCain-Palin rioters!

It sure is a bummer that those people couldn't accept the demonstrated will of the people properly expressed thru a legitimate election.

//bb

Seeker said...

@bdul muHib said: "...I don't see how a bunch of Deists were able to found a country on a Judeo-Christian ethic, when many of them explicitly rejected large portions of the Bible."

Yes there were SOME Deists, that is true (eg - Thomas Jefferson) but nobody who has actually studied the Founding Fathers and is honest about the lives of these men agrees with you that they were ALL Deists. That is a ludicrous idea.

Furthermore, they were ALL aware that the laws they produced were based upon the Judeo-Christian ethic (as it has come to be known) and its attendant presuppositions.

They ALL knew that Thou shalt not kill/commit adultery/etc and Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God/etc came from the Old Testament and they all knew that was of the Jews.

@bdul muHib said...

Yes Seeker, that would be a ludicrous idea. I'm not sure where you got that.

However, if someone has studied the founding fathers, you'd find that the majority were Deists. And pretty much all of the most influential; the ones we consider the most important.

And your next statement likewise concurs with what I wrote above. What you are calling Judeo-Christian ethics also happen to be Muslimo-Hindu-Buddhist ethics. Pretty much every ethical system has that in common.

Now, there are such a thing as Christian ethics. Had the founding fathers based their ideas on turning the other cheek and loving your enemy, then yes, this would be different than other ethical systems- although the Buddhists might have a run at that idea. It would, however, quit labeling it as Judeo-Christian ethics.

Seeker said...

@bdul muHib wrote: "Yes Seeker, that would be a ludicrous idea. I'm not sure where you got that."


Well, @bdul muHib, I think you know where it came from since YOU wrote the following which was obviously what I was replying to: "I don't see how a bunch of Deists were able to found a country on a Judeo-Christian ethic..."


As to your view on the Deist founding of the USA: George Washington: NOT a Deist (and he was obviously the one most regarded, hence most influential compared to all of the others).

Now, as to ethical systems, it doesn't change Judeo-Christian ethics into ANYTHING else simply because a Muslim, Hindu, etc happens to believe SOME of the same points (and no they are not in agreement on all of them, by any means).

Your view of Christian ethics (as you like to distinguish it from Judeo-Christian ethics) is not separate and distinct.

Jesus said, for example, that the Commandments were summed up in love...therefore those Commandments are founded in love. The question is whether those who take those Commandments in the correct manner or not.

We need not get into a semantic dual here.

@bdul muHib said...

No, I don't know where you got it, Seeker, since what I said and what you just quoted me as saying is not the same thing as what you said previously. So you are wrong; I do not know where you got that. But since I pointed out immediately thereafter the difference in what we were saying, you do know this, and are just playing word games now.

You say you don't want to get into a semantic dual, yet you insist on doing only that. When you state there is an importance to the our nation being founded on a Judeo-Christian ethic, and I point out that in truth it was founded simply on universal religious ethics, and therefore is not in that tied to the Jewish or Christian tradition, you want to focus on that not changing Judeo-Christian ethics, which is true, but was hardly the point, at any point.

Yes, you are correct in stating that the roots of nonviolent resistance are in the Old Testament. However, pacifism was never a Jewish philosophical system in Old Testament times, and is certainly not now. It remains something unique to overall Buddhism and Christianity, with scatterings within most other religions (with the notable exception of Islam). Those two (Buddhism and Christianity) approach pacifism in uniquely different philosophical ways, allowing for us to say that there is a unique Christian and a unique Buddhist philosophical system on this seemingly narrow but horribly significant issue. Therefore to argue that Christian ethics is then not distinct from Jewish ethics on this manner is to argue semantics of the word "Jewish", which is hardly necessary, because then we are on the road of talking about if a man is a true Jew if he is one inside or not, and that was really, really not the original point.

Seeker said...

The problem here is that you wrote exactly what I quoted from your post, but now you want to say it means something different than the words you used, yet you won't even provide a sentence to explain why you didn't mean what you wrote nor what the alternative meaning is. The issue isn't on my end of understanding - it is on your end of either not being able to express yourself clearly and/or trying to alter what your quote says (sadly, it appears you are being a Bill Clinton: "it depends on what the meaning of 'is' is.")

I'm not interested in a semantic battle as I stated long before you did. The answer is for you to explain what you mean or somehow try to reconcile it with your past statement. You are the one who, sadly, seems to be running from his own past statement.

Judeo-Christian ethics (those that the USA was founded on) are not universally accepted. This is proven time and again by those who show their "religious" ethic by throwing acid on young school girls' faces simply because they want to learn, or, even worse murdering people with a strap-on bomb simply to strike terror into the hearts of those who may not agree with you...THAT is not the same ethic by a long shot.

BTW - I said nothing explicitly about pacifism (although I know it is one ethical view that some hold to)...I guess that is a focus of yours and you want to shift to that specific?

Also, what about my response to your Founding Fathers were "a bunch of" Deists assertion: George Washington (not a Deist) was the most respected Father, yet he "founded" this country. Was he one leader that wasn't a part of your assumed "bunch." It seems odd that you bake them all in one big pie and ignore the fact that there are those Founding Fathers who never fit into the Deist system of thought.

@bdul muHib said...

No, seeker, you seek to jump to conclusions rather than to seek. You are the one who first brought up the idea these guys were all Deists, and I agreed that such a concept was ludicrous. You then quoted me out of context to prove your point. It's an easy thing to proof text. It's also an easy thing to simply go up and read the string above to see the clear progression, which is why I felt no need to repeat it here.

The original point I brought up related directly to pacifism. Again, if you care to actually read the previous posts, you'll see that.

I'm sorry you never bothered to read my previous assertions that there were exceptions to the Deist rule. I'm sorry you don't like it when I point out the ways that I agreed with you in the beginning. It doesn't count if you say you don't want semantics and in the same sentence engage in it. But I see you're fully capable of having an argument with yourself; I don't need to be here. Do as you will.

Seeker said...

@bdul muHib wrote: "No, seeker, you... are the one who first brought up the idea these guys were all Deists, and I agreed that such a concept was ludicrous."


Actually, bdul, YOU first used the term "Deist" when you specifically stated the following: "I don't see how a bunch of Deists were able to found a country on a Judeo-Christian ethic..."

Now, those who take the time to actually read the posts will see your statement that those who founded this country were "...a bunch of Deists..." giving no room to the idea that not all of them were deists (how many "bunches" of people were there? You only indicated one). That is a flat-out statement made by you: the founders were deists and those skilled in English would naturally understand it as such.

You then LATER restate that the "majority" were Deists and claim that is exactly what you said at the beginning, which is false (perhaps it is what you MEANT, but it is not what you wrote).

Then, I wrote: "Yes there were SOME Deists, that is true (eg - Thomas Jefferson) but nobody who has actually studied the Founding Fathers and is honest about the lives of these men agrees with you that they were ALL Deists. That is a ludicrous idea."

My goal was to simply get you to admit the FACT that NOT all the Founding Fathers were Deists. Now, can we get to that point or is an argument all that you desire?


@bdul muHib then wrote: "The original point I brought up related directly to pacifism. Again, if you care to actually read the previous posts, you'll see that."

And my original response was to Jon Trott, not to your post...anybody can read that by scrolling up (I even used his name, specifically).


@bdul muHib then wrote: "I'm sorry you never bothered to read my previous assertions that there were exceptions to the Deist rule."

The real problem is that I did indeed read the posts and understand English quite well. Yes, there were exceptions made by you only after I called you on it. Then you acted as though you had left room for those exceptions from the beginning, which is simply not true.


@bdul muHib then wrote: "It doesn't count if you say you don't want semantics and in the same sentence engage in it."


Very true, so why are you trying to change the original meaning of the statement I called you on?

Now, if we can get on to more useful things and away from your semantic twists, it would be much better for all.

Shalom

Rachel said...

I've also been pondering how we Christians should be behaving in the political arena. Jesus was so noticeably non-political, even though his followers wanted him to be. They still do.

Dr. Dobson could do so much for the cause of Christ if he would stay out of politics and really focus on supporting families.

Seeker said...

Blogger Rachel wrote: "I've also been pondering how we Christians should be behaving in the political arena. Jesus was so noticeably non-political, even though his followers wanted him to be. They still do.


Rachel, you are correct in one regard, but I really believe that many will misunderstand your statement.

Indeed, Jesus was "non-political," if by that you mean that he didn't run for office, and the like, as some of His followers would've had Him to do. (Even though running for office is in no way against the will of the Lord. Jesus had a different, very specific mission, and office-holding was not included in His mission). However He ALWAYS stood up for what was right versus what was sin, both by His words and His deeds.

He constantly distinguished between following God or sin; between being saved or being lost. (We all know that the greatest indication to others about what condition we each are in is our actions). He knew that to be saved one must first distinguish between sin and not sin, recognize one's own sinful state, repent of it, ask for God's mercy through Jesus' shed blood, and yield to Jesus.

I hope by your post you didn't mean that calling sin "sin" (as many of us Californians did with Prop 8) was getting too "political," because that isn't politics at all...that is Jesus' domain. It is also our domain, since we are the "salt" (preservative). A preservative is in the middle of the "mix," warding off the evil by all means: exemplary living; telling others about the Lord; and voting for those things that prevent the decay that we are supposed to preserve our fellow humans from (even though many of them are completely ignorant of their own decay).


You also wrote: Dr. Dobson could do so much for the cause of Christ if he would stay out of politics and really focus on supporting families."

It isn't "politics" that determine sin or not. I remember Dobson and others lamenting a few years back that they should've done more to stop the legalization of abortion (legalized murder) in the USA back in the 1970's). You know, if they had been just a LITTLE more "political," as you seem to call it, there would've been millions less babies murdered.

Whether it's called political or not, as Christians we are ALL called to protect the innocent and helpless by all acceptable means, which include voting and speaking out.

TJT said...

I'm truly disappointed that a member of the Jesus Movement would have such an arcane view of marriage and love between two people, particularly where scripture is concerned. There is MUCH progressive biblical scholarship that soundly and roundly debunks the misinterpretations regarding homosexuality and scripture.

The most glaring is quoting Leviticus. You cannot be that dense, brother. Read all the arcane laws around them, put them into context, take into account Jesus Messiah's teachings and you will plainly see that the Annointed's message was that love is far more important than dogma. If you're going to quote arcane Jewish law, be prepared to have the book thrown at you (pun intended)!

I won't discuss every verse here. You're all adults and these books are readily available. You can find multiple truths for yourselves. Realize that your interpretations aren't the only ones from salvation, and that, indeed, a dynamic and diverse community of interpretations is what Christianity was founded on.

Jeff Carter said...

Jon,
While I can surely empathize with you about the vanity of legislating morality, I don't think that's what the passage of Prop 8 is - it's simply different factions in a democracy - only one of which is Christian - coming together to form a majority opinion. See my blog, "Life in the Big Democracy" at my website, www.sophiesladder.com

Regards,
Jeff Carter

@bdul muHib said...

Jeff,

There are many, many Christians who feel that homosexuality is wrong but support equal rights for gays. There are many Christians who think homosexuality is not immorral. Did you mean that the Christian faction was the opponents of Prop 8?

The Mormons were the overwhelming financial support for Prop 8- without that backing, Prop 8 wouldn't have passed. Were this perhaps the group you were referring to as the Christian faction? If so, are you familiar with the basic tenants of Christianity, and the basic tenants of Mormonism?

Seeker said...

bdul wrote: "There are many Christians who think homosexuality is not immorral (sic)"

So, people who follow Jesus Christ think homosexuality is not immoral?

Only 2 options:

1) they are unskilled in the Scripture and believe falsely and will be willingly corrected by the Word when they hear it or...

2) They are sheep in wolves' clothing and do not know the real Jesus (perhaps a false one, but not the real One)

Also, Mormons are just ONE part of the reason that Prop 8 passed...not by any means the primary reason (but thank God that He uses even those who only have a "form of religion")

@bdul muHib said...

Yes, Seeker, not everyone who follows Jesus believes the same thing, and not everyone who follows Jesus is always right about what they believe.

Even you.

Jeff Carter said...

Bdul,
I am a Christian, understand the difference between the Christian and Mormon tenets, and that some Christians between homosexuality is immoral and some believe it is not.

My point was to respond to Jon's premise that Christians shouldn't be defining marriage for someone else. The entire enterprise of democracy it is the people who define law (and thereby, morals and culture). To participate in democracy is to participate in definition. Bottom line - every one else - every other faction - has the opportunity to voice his opinion - why shouldn't the Christian (whatever his position on homosexuality is)?

@bdul muHib said...

I would say the entire point of democracy is to avoid the tyranny of the majority.

I think the problem with your previous statement is that you stated only one of the factions was Christian. You would have been on more solid ground to say that "only one of the viewpoints was Christian", though certainly some would argue with that as well.

Seeker said...

bdul,

Don't make this about "me," the Scripture is what true Christians FOLLOW, NOT what they alter to their own preferences.

Otherwise, they are wolves in sheep clothing (deceived and deceiving).

Seeker said...

bdul wrote: "I would say the entire point of democracy is to avoid the tyranny of the majority."


False, that is in no way "the entire point of democracy."

The reason the USA's "democracy" (actually we are a Republic, not a strict democracy) was constructed was to allow for the MAJORITY to choose how they will be governed (remember that ol' King the founders escaped from and fought against?)

The allowance given to minorities to not be overrun completely was a PART of USA Republic's democracy, but NOT the "entire point" of it at all.

@bdul muHib said...

eeker,

I have no control over how much your arguments are about you or not.

Seeker said...

b dull,

My arguments are not about me, no matter how much you attempt to frame them as such.

Apparently you prefer to go into your ad hominem attacks upon people rather than dealing with the issues at hand in a rational, logical manner founded upon Scripture.

As was written before:

bdul wrote: "There are many Christians who think homosexuality is not immorral (sic)"

So, people who follow Jesus Christ think homosexuality is not immoral?

Only 2 options:

1) they are unskilled in the Scripture and believe falsely and will be willingly corrected by the Word when they hear it or...

2) They are sheep in wolves' clothing and do not know the real Jesus (perhaps a false one, but not the real One)



The Word of God is undeniable: homosexuality is sinful and those involved in it need repentance that leads to forgiveness. They don't need encouragement to continue in sin and die apart from the Lord.

Calling sin "sin" is the most compassionate thing we can do, if it leads them to repentance and a real relationship with the true God.

That is not merely "my opinion," that is the truth of the Christian God.

Jon Trott said...

Yo, everyone... let's cool off the rhetoric just a touch.

There are multiple issues at play here in this discussion. I note that an article somewhere on the Christianity Today site (sorry, I'm rushed and can't look it up right now) suggests that perhaps the state should get out of the "marriage business" altogether, and deal ONLY with civil unions across the board. That way, marriage and its definition becomes the property of the couple, the church (Christian, Muslim, Jewish, or Wiccan for that matter), and their traditions / beliefs.

Seeker, I'm unsure what your central point is here. My point isn't that Christians are disallowed from participating in democracy. Far from that -- this is a political blog done by a Christian. I am simply asking if, by getting ourselves into a "culture wars" frame regarding marriage, we are shooting ourselves in the foot. It seems abundantly clear that after eight years of one of the most vicious and undemocratic administrations on record -- one backed by the Christian Right -- many people are incredibly sick of further "culture wars" and reject that ultra-divisive approach.

For myself, I support the biblical model of marriage between one man and one woman. And I hope I do it best by loving my wife and being loved by her in return. I want people to fall in love with Jesus Christ, to encounter Him, to be transformed by Him. That includes gay people. My firm belief is that if someone -- hetero or homo -- falls in love with Jesus Christ and as a result begins to attempt to walk out Jesus' commands, their sexuality will be challenged and ultimately transformed along with everything else.

Jesus is all or nothing, the Pearl of Great Price. He is the ultimate form of gravity, pulling all of our life into his orbit and radically reordering it all.

I am heterosexual, though probably could have swung either way (occasionally did in my young years). My heterosexuality was disgusting, non-relational, self-focused, lust. Frankly I think there were (are) homosexual lovers who probably did a better job of loving as human beings than I did way back then.

Jesus demands I radically change my whole attitude about sexuality. Sex is at the core of who I am as a person, and if my sexual world is disordered, there is no chance the rest of my world will exist in Christ. As I am hard on myself regarding my predilection toward sexual impurity, so there might be a time I will be hard on my friend if he is caught up in sexual sin. But for those who do not know me, and who have been assaulted by the self-righteous morality police (a.k.a., the Christian Right and/or the Mormon Church), I'm not going to go after their sexuality. I'm going to go after their hearts with the most winsome and singularly brilliant human being who ever was, is, or will be. Jesus is the heart of the gospel, not heterosexual marriage. "We" can win the battle over defining marriage and lose the war for thousands of hungry hearts and minds.

Jesus. He is what makes me an Evangelical. The rest of this moralistic CRAP which is really the most self-righteous and therefore sinful assault on my neighbors merely stops them from seeing the Beloved. He is winsome. He is wholly good. He is Love in Flesh Appearing. God is love, and Jesus Christ proves it beyond all doubt. That is the first message I have for my gay neighbor. If he or she embraces Jesus Christ, and if he or she wants my input about what following Jesus' model of sexuality consists of, I'll attempt to prayerfully and forthrightly give that input.

What I won't do is to militate for political control over my neighbor's love life with another consenting adult. I know plenty of heterosexually married individuals who live ungodly, selfish, and angry lives... some of them are Christians. As for me, my own marriage is imperfect of course, but fuels me with one of the most visible signs of God's love I know. All I can do is live out that marriage, and this life, as though I really mean what I say and say what I mean.

And with that overly long ramble, I'll shut up now.

Merry Christmas!

Jon

Seeker said...

Jon, I appreciate your post in many ways, especially because of the desire to emphasize the view of love that you want to present. There are some things that I need to put forth, for balance.

You pondered about my "central point," Jon and, although the discussion has covered a lot of territory, my theme has been consistent as follows:

1) "Sin" exists and every human is full of sin (ie - "sinful")

2) To quote Glenn K from "Live Bootleg": "Jesus didn't say 'believe,' he said 'repent and believe.'" So, we must indeed love those who are in their sin, but we MUST never forget to call sin what it is "sin" and call those involved in homosexuality, for example, to repent and put aside those sins as part of following the Lord...this is evidence of whether salvation has occurred in that person or not: not just giving in because we are in a constant battle, but instead fighting our own predilection towards sin.

You see, there is a tightrope, so to speak between love and license. Yes, as Christians, we sin, but to say it doesn't matter (or as bdul seems to indicate that some Christians believe homosexuality is not sin) is anti-Christian in and of itself, since it calls God a liar.

Some ask: "Isn't that harsh to tell another person s/he is a sinner."

I say it is literally hell to not tell them of their sin (thereby discouraging their repentance) and let them end up in hell. There are MANY so-called churches that are homosexual in themselves (Metropolitan, etc). They tell people it is ok to act out homosexually...it is no sin. Those are false prophets and they are leading their followers into hell itself.

As far as your view that "culture wars," as you call it, aren't good to get involved in. I think it depends upon one's attitude, but we DO know that the Lord commanded us to be salt (ie - the preserving influence regarding sin versus non-sin). Again, remember that nobody ever became a true Christian without recognition of sin and repentance from one's sinfulness.

There is another fairly large issue that you mentioned and it puzzles me because it directly contradicts your presentation of how we ought to treat others. You wrote: "It seems abundantly clear that after eight years of one of the most vicious and undemocratic administrations on record -- one backed by the Christian Right -- many people are incredibly sick of further "culture wars" and reject that ultra-divisive approach." (Actually, in California, about 70% of blacks voted FOR Prop 8, as did the majority of all Californians...sounds like many people in such a liberal state think it is a good thing to fight this "culture war").

First, why are you so giving and loving to homosexuals (ie - those that we KNOW hate God, according to the Scripture), yet so extremely judgemental towards President Bush? That is one of the MOST judgemental and love-less statements I have read by a "Christian" writer in my life.

In my view, it is not at all "clear" that the President is "vicious" nor "undemocratic" in any regard. (It sounds like the nasty lies peddled by the far anti-Christian left on the Daily Kos or the Huffington Post). In fact, I challenge this view as being false. President Bush will go down in history as the best President since Reagan, if we evaluate his presidency honestly. The left says these things without any TRUE evidence of it (of course, there have been many lies told about the President...that is how the left survives: lies. Sadly, even some Christians have been duped by the lies of the left).

Back to the main point, this issue of marriage is very important. We are not denying homosexuals their "civil rights" at all. They are trying to change the very definition of marriage for EVERYBODY and force us to accept their views as legitimate/acceptable/etc, which they simply are not.

Jesus is either both Lover and Lord or He is not our Savior at all (Mat 16:24 Jesus said unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.)

That is our hearts desire.

@bdul muHib said...

e ekeer...

Seriously, this is getting ridiculous. You consistently make fun of my name, come in here and attack, ignore my responses, and accuse me of the same. Yes, I'm not going into long detailed responses to you, Seeker, because I really don't want to. I've learned you attack, and don't discuss. I gave you a short answer, which you ignored, and I gave a short answer because you were again making assumptions about what I said, in order to argue. The most hilarious bit is this short answer actually agreed with you, because my original post agreed with you, but all you could see was disagreement. Really- I don't want to talk with you, because you keep on attacking. Talking with a bully is no fun.

Seeker said...

bdul, I find it odd that the very things you are accusing me of are the things you have done throughout this discussion.

How very sad for you.

Wordlady said...

Umm-yeah, Barak Obama's election is STILL tear producing for me as well (and probably will be for a long time to come).

John Umland said...

Hi Jon,
So sorry I'm late to the party here. I saw your post at a recent CBE blog and thought I'd drop by and see what you have to say.

Regarding this statement of yours. "What I won't do is to militate for political control over my neighbor's love life with another consenting adult. I know plenty of heterosexually married individuals who live ungodly, selfish, and angry lives... some of them are Christians. As for me, my own marriage is imperfect of course, but fuels me with one of the most visible signs of God's love I know. All I can do is live out that marriage, and this life, as though I really mean what I say and say what I mean."

Does your approach change if the topic switches to creation care? Do you think it is right to militate for political control over your neighbor's waste disposal of used car oil in his own yard? Is creation care, which is a moral ambition, worth pursuing legislation over? I think so, because physical pollution affects others, sometimes including me. Don't you agree that moral pollution affects others? Isn't that why we have zoning where adult stores can sell their filth? Or are you opposed to that as well? Is there a difference? As a Christian, you know that immorality can damage a community. As a casual google search can tell you, homosexual behavior affects homosexuals negatively as well as those around them.

How do you determine what moral things are worth legislating?

God is good
jpu
a friend in Connecticut