Passive Indifference about Gay Marriage

Conservative columnist James Taranto is “Exhibit A” of why gay marriage will eventually be legal in all 50 states. Those who might stand up in favor of marriage are simply shrinking back, and Taranto is among them. The GOP majority in the NY state senate is another case in point. There is a passive indifference on the part of these conservatives when it comes to social issues in general and to gay marriage in particular. Perhaps they would prefer that our laws only recognize traditional marriage, but no biggie if they don’t. Taranto represents this point of view really well. He writes:

“This column’s position on same-sex marriage is one of resignation rather than enthusiasm. If a plebiscite were in the offing, we’d lean toward a ‘no’ vote. But the overwrought expressions of anger and despair from people who style themselves champions of traditional marriage have the feel of scapegoating. It isn’t the fault of gays that marriage is in dire straits.

There’s a lesson here for Christians. While we can hope, work, and pray that marriage would be honored in our nation’s laws, it falls to the church of Jesus Christ to bear faithful witness to what marriage really is. The unbelieving politico’s aren’t going to do it. The abdication of truth and of the public good is a bipartisan affair when it comes to marriage. We should not be surprised.

39 Responses to Passive Indifference about Gay Marriage

  1. Paula June 28, 2011 at 2:20 pm #

    Yes, but….

    The media elite and the GOP establishment live in bubbles that don’t reflect the views of the majority of Americans. In state after state voters have rejected gay marriage initiatives, even in the most liberal states.

    Juan Williams, an avowed liberal, had some interesting comments on this last weekend, saying that the black community, the church and pastors in particular, are not on board with this. He lamented,

    “[T]o me, you know I think very threatening and socially upsetting to people – the black family is just in bad shape right now anyway.”

    I heard Williams speak recently about school choice and he really does have a heart for kids in poverty and failing schools. He’s having to fight his own party and in a sense, his own ideology, which has held many of these families captive there for generations.

    Now we have another liberal progressive policy that will further degrade marriage and families.

  2. Chris Donato June 28, 2011 at 2:29 pm #

    It isn’t the fault of gays that marriage is in dire straits.

    Bingo. Anyone, anyone?

  3. Kelly June 28, 2011 at 2:52 pm #

    Paula, as more and more of us get educated on this issue, and more and more of the nations churches do the same (Preabyterian, Lutheran, Episcopal, United Church of Christ), people are realizing this is NOT about them, and that it is selfish to make it about them.

    It is about freedom, and in a lot of cases, about families with two adults of the same gender who by adoption, birth or surrogacy etc. already have kids. Those kids, who every medical and psychiatric, psychological and sociological group will tell you do as well as kids raised in heterosexual married families, deserve that their legal parents (and like it or not, those are their legal parents) and family get the same recognition that yours and mind do.

    It’s as simple as that. Just be happy that other people can have the protections for their kids and loved ones you do, and stop making this about your faith, your ideas and your preconceived ideas and live and let live.

    As per the voters, well, pray your rights are never voted on. But, look at where they have. Only in one state, Arizona, did these amendments fail (it passed later when the anti civil unions part of the amendment was stripped from it…conservatives tend to forget that fact). But, in California, where it passed with 52 % of the vote last time, that was a change from 10 years earlier, when a similar law was passed by referendum with 62 % of the vote. The trends are (push polls from the so called “NOM” aside) clear, and the politicians can read them, as can we.

    Realistic polls, from Gallup to Pew, report that the majority view has, or is withing striking distance of, changed, and that most Americans support equal marriage rights for all couples. Facts are facts.

    This action in NY was a strengthening of many families,and a weakening of none.. And it in no way hurts your marriage. You will be (if you are married) just as married the day after same gender marriages being in NY as you were the day before.
    I am happy for you, and your family, and wish it well!
    I am happy for my gay friends and relatives, and their families, and wish them well!

    It is the moral, decent, Christian and loving thing to do.

    As per some black people not being on board, not all black people are not, and those who are not should stand back, and stop blaming their family problems on others. Happily, most of the black people I know personally do see it this way, although it has taken many of them some soul searching to get here.

    I hope you can do the same soon.

  4. Paula June 28, 2011 at 3:28 pm #

    Kelly,

    Regardless of what people tell someone in a phone survey, when they go to the voter booths, they continue to vote in favor of the traditional view of marriage, often by wide margins.

    I realize you’re all-in with the gay agenda for the United States. You’ve made these arguments here over and over again.

    I’m sorry for you, that you’ve cast aside biblical truth and have bought into the culture’s (or the Lutherans, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, et al, which are going the way of the dinosaur, BTW) idea for what constitutes a marriage.

    Some of us are getting really tired of having the morality of a small minority shoved down our throats.

  5. yankeegospelgirl June 28, 2011 at 3:43 pm #

    “It is the moral, decent, Christian and loving thing to do.”

    No. No. No. And no.

    But on second thought… no.

  6. Gabe June 28, 2011 at 3:47 pm #

    Paula, you said:

    “Regardless of what people tell someone in a phone survey, when they go to the voter booths, they continue to vote in favor of the traditional view of marriage, often by wide margins.”

    There’s one little statement in Kelly’s comment that you need to take to heart. She said, “As per the voters, well, pray your rights are never voted on.”

    And that’s the bottom line, basic human rights for a minority group are not determined by a majority vote. That shouldn’t be hard to understand

  7. Kelly June 28, 2011 at 3:56 pm #

    yankeegospelgirl

    yes, yes, yes and yes!

    and upon second thought, and prayer, and sense of love for my fellow women and men and their families, be they hetero or gay..

    YES!

    🙂

  8. yankeegospelgirl June 28, 2011 at 4:10 pm #

    Kelly, how do you define love?

    If my best friend is about to throw himself off a cliff, is it an act of love to say, “Well, my friend has obviously decided it’s right for him to jump off a cliff, so I need to respect that”?

    On second thought, maybe you’d say yes even to that…

  9. Nathan June 28, 2011 at 4:11 pm #

    TRUE: It isn’t the fault of gays that marriage is in dire straits.

    ALSO TRUE: …It falls to the church of Jesus Christ to bear faithful witness to what marriage really is.

    QUESTION: Does bearing a faithful witness mean forcing others to follow your ideal?

  10. Bart Barber June 28, 2011 at 4:18 pm #

    Nathan, although we do not have to “[force] others to follow [our] ideal,” we do believe that sin is destructive and corrosive to human society as well as to human individuals. Many, many people will suffer as a result of these developments. Not to believe this is to reject what the Bible teaches about sin. Should we be blasé at the prospect of rampant suffering as a result of bad policies?

  11. Gabe June 28, 2011 at 4:22 pm #

    Good question Nathan. Here’s another question, then why not seek to have laws passed forcing others to follow everything you feel is immoral?

    Same-sex marriage has become a pet-peeve sin for conservative Christians. By their words they all sin is sin, but by their actions it’s obvious they think being gay is more serious. For example, you don’t see conservative Christians pressuring politicians to outlaw blasphemy, or gluttony, or whatever other sin comes to mind. No, it’s this issue that takes priority.

    Like Kelly said, gay couples getting married will not in any way herterosexual marriages at all. Basically, conservative Christians need to learn to mind their own business on this topic

  12. michael June 28, 2011 at 4:24 pm #

    All of this will be decided by the Supreme Court, no matter where public opinion is headed. That is something that both sides need to keep in mind. I am certain conservatives have four votes on this. I am less certain liberals have four.

    Legally speaking, there is a great argument to be made that this is a states rights issue. Some liberals migh be persuaded by that argument.

  13. JohnnyM June 28, 2011 at 4:44 pm #

    Kelly,

    you seem to imply that one should no longer stand for what is true and right if the winds of change are against you. That because an issue like gay marriage is gaining steam and soon to be fully accepted that one should no longer stand for what is right or even worse that what is right and true is defined by what the majority thinks.

    Also, don’t kid yourself, this issue of gay marriage is about someone’s view of morality and truth winning, with the winner “shoving their morality down the losers throat”.

    To allow gays to marry is approve of their relationship. It is saying their relationship is normal, healthy, and something to be blessed and encouraged. This is a moral claim and one you seem to want everyone to abide by.

  14. Nathan June 28, 2011 at 4:57 pm #

    Bart — Following Hinduism is sin, and so is destructive and corrosive to human society as well as to human individuals. Let’s force people to not be Hindu.

    Do you believe that? If not, why not?

  15. Jason June 28, 2011 at 5:34 pm #

    “Does bearing a faithful witness mean forcing others to follow your ideal?”

    I’m not sure how the question necessarily relates. Would you, presumably, say the same thing about slavery or abortion?

  16. Jason June 28, 2011 at 5:40 pm #

    “Love is respect”

    Can you explain this, Kelly?

  17. JohnnyM June 28, 2011 at 6:40 pm #

    Kelly,

    What Bible verses support the idea that homosexuality is not a sin? And how do you interpret 1 Tim 1:8-10?

  18. Jason June 28, 2011 at 6:44 pm #

    I don’t think you answered the question. You did qualify it, but then went on to change the subject.

    “Love is Respect.”

    I still don’t understand how you necessitously equate the two. Does God love people that He doesn’t respect, people who, in fact, he loves quite in opposition to the respect they don’t deserve? Does he save them quite in spite of the respect they prove they are unworthy of?

  19. Jason June 28, 2011 at 6:45 pm #

    I don’t get the impression that Kelly is at all interested in the Bible in the matter, Johnny. We’ll see, I guess.

  20. yankeegospelgirl June 28, 2011 at 6:46 pm #

    Kelly, there are some people who would disagree with you. And they’re not even Christians. You might find this article of interest:

    http://winteryknight.wordpress.com/2011/06/27/a-non-religious-case-against-same-sex-gay-marriage/

    And since you said that “love” is “respect…” well, that does seem to indicate that you would say we should “respect” a person’s self-destructive choice.

  21. yankeegospelgirl June 28, 2011 at 6:47 pm #

    Jason, your comment made me think about expressions I’ve heard Christians unthinkingly toss around that don’t really mean anything when you stop to think about them. For example, “God believes in me.” What exactly is that supposed to MEAN? Shucks, if God “believes in me,” then why did He have to… never mind.

  22. JohnnyM June 28, 2011 at 6:48 pm #

    Jason,

    I’m glad God didn’t respect us or our decisions, but instead loved us enough to save us from ourselves.

  23. Jason June 28, 2011 at 6:51 pm #

    ygg,

    very nice!

    Johnny,

    Amen and Amen. Any other formulation is without the Gospel.

  24. Jason June 28, 2011 at 6:54 pm #

    ygg,

    You wrote,

    “And since you said that “love” is “respect…” well, that does seem to indicate that you would say we should “respect” a person’s self-destructive choice.”

    This is where I see it leading, too, that love must then become standing around while people destroy themselves in all sorts of creative ways. Kelly’s formulation cannot have any other consequence and it is, again, opposed to the Gospel.

  25. yankeegospelgirl June 28, 2011 at 6:56 pm #

    Johnny, Kelly would probably respond that God does give us the free choice to reject Him if we decide to. However, God makes it abundantly clear that our choices will have consequences, for good or for bad. He is a holy God, and He will judge all sin. No, He will not force us to accept the free gift of grace which He has deigned to offer us. If we persist in refusing it, He will in fact say, “Thy will be done.” Few thoughts are more terrible.

  26. yankeegospelgirl June 28, 2011 at 7:01 pm #

    Jason, yes, exactly. The core assumption seems to be that love means allowing people to do whatever makes them feel happy at the moment. Which could apply to all kinds of things even besides same-sex relationships (I will use “marriage” only in quotes).

    There’s a famous story about St. Teresa that this reminds me of. She suffered terrible depression, I believe, and she reported that one day she cried out to God asking why He allowed her to suffer so much. She claimed that he responded, “I always treat my friends this way.” To which she replied, “Then Lord, it is no wonder you have so few of them.”

    That always seemed a little risky to me, but I guess if you’re a saint, you know just how far you can push God without going over the edge. 😉

  27. yankeegospelgirl June 28, 2011 at 7:02 pm #

    To clarify, my point with the Teresa anecdote is that being loved by God does not mean that you are constantly happy. In fact, it can mean quite the opposite, because it’s not God’s intention to make you happy.

    I like to put it this way: Jesus doesn’t want to make us feel better. He just wants to make us better.

  28. Noel June 28, 2011 at 8:58 pm #

    God says marriage is between a man and a woman. God is not mocked.

  29. Jason June 28, 2011 at 9:24 pm #

    Kelly,

    It seems, from your one remaining substantive post, that you truly believe that what is right and good is what the majority assert to be right and good. What also follows from your post is that what is right and good can change with the desires of the majority. I do not see any other reasoning in your post.

    Presumably you would not be opposed to persons making a push in a more traditional direction, one commensurate with the form and purpose of the human body, right? After all, if the majority changes its collective mind, then that is true and good, correct?

    What, exactly is your objection here, other than the fact that you don’t like it for some personal and aesthetic reasons?

  30. yankeegospelgirl June 28, 2011 at 11:21 pm #

    It’s the “general will.” Dude, that’s like soooooo 18th century…

  31. Jason June 29, 2011 at 12:24 am #

    HA

    How does one LOL in french?

  32. Doubting Thomas June 29, 2011 at 12:43 am #

    “… my point with the Teresa anecdote is that being loved by God does not mean that you are constantly happy. In fact, it can mean quite the opposite, because it’s not God’s intention to make you happy. I like to put it this way: Jesus doesn’t want to make us feel better. He just wants to make us better.”
    So why follow God, then? Why be a Christian if your life is going to be worse off?
    (BTW, not that I’m sold on allowing gay marriage, but that line “As per the voters, well, pray your rights are never voted on” could apply to religious freedom, too.)

  33. Reader John June 29, 2011 at 6:34 am #

    I took Taranto primarily to mean, as Chris Donato implies, that Gay Marriage is a symptom of our marriage malaise, not its cause. That malaise runs far deeper than any comment box on an unfamiliar blog (Taranto Tweeted a link to here) warrants or allows. The question is whether SSM is a fever so bad that it warrants specific treatment or whether it will correct itself, without killing us before then, when we cure the marriage disease more generally.

  34. Christianes June 29, 2011 at 6:37 am #

    The irony of the political scene:

    you have one group fighting for less government intervention in the lives of people

    and

    you have another group fighting for less government intervention in the lives of people

    so they both get what they want ?
    No.
    Each is ‘selective’ about what they want to be ‘hands off’;
    and yet each group wants government to be restrictive according to its own wishes

    ‘the people’ of each state vote according to their preference of group, so the times they are a-changing

  35. yankeegospelgirl June 29, 2011 at 8:59 am #

    Thomas, have a seat. You’ve asked a very important question that deserves a full answer.

    Here’s the first layer of it: Although it is true that God doesn’t promise Christians a happy earthly life, it is also true that in a number of ways, being a Christian will in fact save you a lot of earthly grief. Here’s what I mean. When you look around at people whose lives are a complete messed-up wreck, you know they didn’t get there by following Christian principles of living. And by that I don’t mean the suffering saint. I mean the junkie, the drunk, the prostitute… They all made choices that have brought them nothing but despair. But many biblical principles double as good common sense. Just flip through Proverbs some time. The Bible contains advice that in many ways is intended for our own good. For example, we’re told to take care of our bodies and be wise in avoiding evil. How many lives might have been spared misery and ruin by following just those two principles?

    However, a distinction must be made between suffering and self-wrought misery, because suffering is not always the fault of the sufferer, and it can be intended by God for good. God says that when He allows suffering, He is refining us into the kind of people He wants us to be (namely, better people). Sometimes we can only grow through hardships. And the closer we grow to Him, the more purified of sin our hearts become, so that we can be made righteous and worthy to receive a crown of eternal life. Earth is temporary, but heaven is forever. Any suffering we may face down here is a drop in the bucket by comparison with infinite joy.

    That’s all true, and it’s the standard answer you would get from pretty much any Christian. But Thomas, I’ll throw in one more reason that you may not hear as often: You should become a Christian as a matter of intellectual honesty. Believe it or not, it’s the best explanation of all the evidence we have when you put it together. And when the truth is staring you in the face, it sounds pretty petty to say, “Well, I know this is probably true, but I don’t want to adopt it because I don’t want to let God have His way in my life. I want to orchestrate my own life, because it’s more fun, even though I’m turning away from what my reason is urging me to do.” Now you may not yet have come to the point where you’re convinced of that. But do enough objective research, and the pieces will start coming together.

  36. Bart Barber June 29, 2011 at 10:07 am #

    Nathan,

    With Roger Williams, I do not believe that the government is authorized by God to deal with “the first table of the law.” Matters of worship, prayer, etc., are items that deal strictly with the relationship between a person and God. Such things are eminently important and are indeed the cause of great harm for those who err in them, but the government has no authority to legislate in these areas—for good or for bad.

    But, regarding “the second table of the law”—the regulation of behavior among human beings—the government is authorized to act. In such matters, it is important for the government to act in a manner that rewards good behavior and punishes bad behavior, for this is the government’s God-authorized role and is the means by which government secures the highest good for society.

    Marriage clearly belongs to the second table of the law rather than to the first. That’s why I would differentiate between a law restricting marriage to a man and a woman on the one hand and a law outlawing Hinduism on the other hand.

    I’m guessing, Nathan, that you treat the two differently, as well. Government is going to license same-sex marriages. Let’s also have government license approved churches.

    Do you support that? If not, why not?

    I’m guessing that you’ll wind up in Roger Williams’s camp, yourself.

  37. Bart Barber June 29, 2011 at 10:13 am #

    By the way, Nathan, I sure did take a long time to reply to you. My apologies. I’m a bit absent-minded, I fear.

  38. Clint Bat June 29, 2011 at 11:41 am #

    Next up, NAMBLA and the age of consent laws…

  39. Jason June 29, 2011 at 12:25 pm #

    Tom,

    “So why follow God, then? Why be a Christian if your life is going to be worse off?”

    Would you prefer the self-centered illusion of being better to actually being better, even if you didn’t always feel like it?

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