CHRISTIANS GET UPSET about the darndest things, as far as many Americans are concerned.
Like the recent Supreme Court ruling that legalizes same-sex marriage throughout the country.
Many Christians – possibly most who go to church each Sunday – say they see this as an attack on Christianity. After all, they say, Bible writers clearly – and repeatedly – warn guys not to do the dance with other guys. Ditto for gal and gal.
“It is disgusting for a man to have sex with another man.” (Leviticus 18:22)
“No one who is immoral….a pervert or behaves like a homosexual will share in God’s kingdom.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)
Many Bible-embracing Christians say they see the Supreme Court as essentially rewriting the Bible laws.
“It is legal for a man to have sex with another man.”
“Everyone who is immoral…a pervert or behaves like a homosexual has a legal right to do that in America.”
These Christians don’t seem to want their presumably Christian nation to stamp “USDA Approved” on the rump roast of two guys doing it.
There are Christians on the flip side of this debate. They’re celebrating under rainbows, and shouting “Hallelujah” like the Baptists. But most are not Baptists. Or if they are, they wear fake beards while celebrating in public.
“It’s a legal matter, not a religious one”
Christians celebrating the ruling say they see the law as allowing gay married couples to share the same legal rights as not-gay married couples:
- visit their partner in the hospital as a family member and make end-of-life decisions when necessary
- share in the partner’s retirement benefits
- file joint tax returns
- get divorced like half the rest of us (not me; my gracious wife somehow abides me)
The law doesn’t tell Christians what to believe, how to practice their faith, and whether or not to marry gay couples in sacred spaces. The church is still free to refuse to marry anyone, Scottish redheads included.
“The Bible got it wrong”
Some Christians argue that we know more about the science and physiology of sexual behavior than the Bible-writing herders and tentmakers did 2000 years ago. And some of these Christians don’t seem convinced that the herders and tentmakers spoke for God.
They argue that we have no idea who wrote the “laws of Moses,” such as the anti-gay laws in Leviticus. Those books of law were written anonymously. It’s Jewish legend that says Moses wrote them – a legend that Jesus seemed to embrace: “I did not come to abolish the law of Moses” (Matthew 5:17).
As for Paul’s harsh statement, the Christians say Paul was merely writing a letter to a friend and he was reflecting his Jewish tradition; he wasn’t necessarily speaking for God. And some would say Paul would not have anticipated that his letter would end up in the Christian Bible.
Just because something is reported in the Bible, those Christians say, we shouldn’t presume God agrees and that it fits nicely with the teachings and the behavior of Jesus who, by the way, never talked about homosexuality.
So there we have it. Some Christians upset about the Supreme Court ruling, and others relaxed, if not elated.
Folks are constantly pressing me for my opinion about stuff like this. Here’s my opinion. Think for yourself. I’ve got more than enough to think about for me. You think for you.
I am happy, however, to tell you what I’m going to do in the wake of the court ruling.
I’m going to keep my eyes open for people within my reach who need help, and I’m going to help them. That’s what I’d want them to do for me.
I’ll let lawyers grapple with matters of law.
I’ll let ministers grapple with matters of church ministry.
As for me and my house, we’ve got family, friends, and neighbors to tend to – along with some new friends we’ll make on trips abroad: “to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
Wherever we go and whatever we do, we Christians take the name of Jesus with us – for better or worse, depending on what we say and do in his name.
For more on the Bible and homosexuality
- Why does the Bible say homosexuality is a sin?” 100 Tough Questions about God and the Bible, pages 120-125
- Complete Bible Handbook, pages 142-144
- Complete Guide to the Bible, Student Edition, pages 66-67
- What’s wrong with same-sex marriages?
- Homosexuality and the Bible
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- Darlene Johnson
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Darlene and Bev are random this week.
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