Voters in Maine have repealed the law that would have allowed same-sex “marriage.” The Associated Press reports:
“Gay marriage has now lost in every single state — 31 in all — in which it has been put to a popular vote. Gay-rights activists had hoped to buck that trend in Maine.”
For me, this is the big news of this election day. If this measure would have failed, it would have been the first time for gay “marriage” to be supported by a popular vote. Also, it is significant that voters in two of the most liberal states in the countryâ€”California and Maineâ€”have now rejected gay “marriage.”
Yep, can’t blame this on conservatives or evangelical Christians. Americans in general don’t want marriage redefined.
But you can blame it on fear tactics and statements by the anti inclusive marriage side that said things would occur the states schools that the Maine Sec. of State over and over agains said would not be the case.
I expected this, as I mentioned in the other blog line on this topic. And, as I said in the same post tread, it seems that we have a narrow loss in Maine, and a narrow victory for “everything but the name” gay marriage in Washington State, Civil Unions in other words, and it passed by public vote there. In time, it will get the name to I suspect.
47% of Maine voters voted for marriage equality, and the younger voters supported it far more so than the older. It took three attempts and the better part of a decade to pass Maines anti discrimination laws. I think the same will apply here.
That said, it’s a loss for people in families like the one I am related to. Many of the privledges and protections and yes, the dignities, of marriage will be denied to many people, and denominations that wish to marry their members who are in same gender relationships will be legally prohibited from doing so.
But, if you had told me 10 years ago, that Maine, or for that matter even California (with its very conservative Imperial Valley/Fresno interior that a lot of people forget is there…it’s not depicted in film or tv as much, but its there) would disapprove gay marriage by only 2 percent, or just 3 percent, I would have laughed. This debate has come a long way. It will go farther, and polling shows support for gay marriage nationwide at 40% now. In places like Maine, at 47% it appears. But as the younger generation rises, this will continue to change. Demographics is destiny, a wise person once said. And it is true.
This IS a loss, no doubt about it, and the lack of concern for the real people it will hurt says a lot about the character of the persons involved in it. But, as you enjoy the victory, look at the the trend lines. In California, about a decade ago, gay marriage failed at the ballot box by 12%, and last time, by 2%.
I said three things in my earlier post on the other thread I would like to repeat; That this would be a loss for our side in this debate, that it would be close, and that it will be temporary. See yall at the ballot box in a few years.
Kelly, you make an excellent point about the real people that this measure will hurt. I think, so often, that Christians are focused more on the concept of what we support rather than the people involved in the decisions we’re making.
“Kelly, you make an excellent point about the real people that this measure will hurt.”
Lindsey: If you are speaking as a Christian, then you might want to re-examine your statement. If you are speaking as a non-Christian, then your statement makes sense.
From a Christian worldview and perspective, we cannot forget that there are real people trapped by sin, as we all are. It is only by the grace and redemption of Christ, borne through His death, burial, and resurrection that those of us who have placed our faith in Him have been freed from the hold sin had on us.
Jesus understood that situation well. He did relate to “real” people, but He also told them the truth about their sin. As He said to the woman caught in adultery, that He would not condemn her to death at that moment, He also told her to go and sin no more. He did not say to her that she could continue to live in sin without it destroying her.
Christians do have to be real with people about their sin and status before God, but we also have to have compassion on them.
Supporting laws that would affirm sinfulness is not compassion.
“Supporting laws that would affirm sinfulness is not compassion.”
Amen. It’s actually hating others to affirm their sinfulness. Jesus had something to say about that… something about it being better to be drowned in the ocean than help someone sin.
Nathan, many churches (denominations) with excellent theology believe differently than Baptists, such as the Lutherans and Episcopalians and United Church of Christ, and now realize that what you call sinfullness comes from your faulty, as many whole denominations now see it, and conservative reading of scripture.
It is not to hate someone to allow them to live and worhship in churches and lives that do not wallow in fundamentalism and concservative thought, and to help them seal their relationships and give their families the protection of marriage.
These relationships and their children are real Nathan. And they will not be going away…but, you seem to be comfortable in trying to make their lives harder. What do you get from this? It does not help you, and it hurts them. Sad. They are people with the ability to think on their own, with sexual inclinations they did not choose, loved ones they did, and real kids that love them. They worship in churches that support them, and are a part of their community.
I hope no one ever treats you the way you treat them. I hope no one ever says “Baptist church, you cannot marry that man and that woman…we don’t approve”. And no one has ever forced a church to marry anyone in US history, and never will, so please don’t try to fall back on that scare tactic. But no, as unpleasant a person as you show yourself to be, I pray you never get treated as you have treated others. Nobody deserves that.
Why do you get to apply your denominations, as I see them, lower standards to others? No one is going to force you to perform a gay marriage, but you have worked to prevent other Christians from doing so legally in their states.
It is a misstatement at best and lie at worst and unfair to imply that an educated (note I said well educated) understanding of scripture forbids the blessing of same gender couples, and when you ‘correct’ Lindsey, you do not even take into consideration that she may be one of the millions of Christians who are members of denominations and congregations that disagree with you on the sinfullness of committed same gender relationships.
A pronouncement that “But the Bible says…” fails to take into consideration the many reason that so many denominations disagree with you. Something you would do well to consider.
Don’t pretend you speak for the whole Church on this issue. You do not. And if the issue was ‘cut and dry’ there would not be so much debate among Christian scholars on the issue.
If I felt an ouce of real compassion coming from you, I could just find you wrong, and respect your, as I see it, hurtful but sincerely held opinion. But instead, I find your cruelty little less than disturbing.
Nathan, why do you insist on telling people that they shouldn’t lie? Why do you insist on keeping perjury in the law books? Don’t you realize how that hurts liars? They have families too, and they are REAL! I hope no one treats you that way. I hope no one tells your church that they can’t tell the truth and tries to force them to lie. How cruel of you!
“A pronouncement that â€œBut the Bible saysâ€¦â€ fails to take into consideration the many reason that so many denominations disagree with you. Something you would do well to consider.”
Kelly, I don’t speak as a Baptist on this issue, I speak as a Christian. Futhermore, the “denominations” you speak about that are now tolerant of homosexuality have fragmented from the mainline denomination (Lutheran, Presbyterian, Episcopalian, etc) They do not speak for all Lutherans or Presbyterians, only a fraction.
By the way, the numbers of those in “denominations” that approve of homosexuality are losing members left and right, while those committed to an orthodox view of Scripture are growing.
Your implications that Christians have been wrong on this issue for 2,000 years, but only the “noble” few have been recently “enlightened” is just as radical and fundamental as the judgment that you are now pronouncing on those that disagree with you.
“I hope no one ever treats you the way you treat them.” If that were the case, I would still be trapped in my sin and headed for eternal destruction. I am glad that people in my life confronted me with my sin and didn’t gloss it over or tell me that God would approve of it, even though they would have to somersault over what the bible actually says.
I have not spoken at all for the church anymore than you have. Moreover, I have never claimed to be a Baptist in this discussion, you are assuming that, perhaps because of Denny’s job at the seminary.
Finally, what can the church decide? You stated, “I hope no one ever says â€œBaptist church, you cannot marry that man and that womanâ€¦we donâ€™t approveâ€.” What if the man left his wife (who was a member of the church) for another woman and then demands that the church marries him to the new woman? Scripture says that the man should be rejected, but I guess you wouldn’t have a problem with that either, right? Because there could be people that simply have disagreements over the Scripture that would demand the man’s expulsion (if he refused to repent).
While I wrote my comment in haste, with some clarification I will stand by it. As a Christian.
As someone thickly surrounded by theologians and scholars, I am bombarded by politics (both church-related and bureaucratic). I hear admirable men opine about marriage amendments, alcohol, parenting, and more. I do not recall Jesus doing the same; He was a man of action, not just words. Certainly He told the adulterous woman “Go and sin no more,” but only after he had shown her compassion and love. We point fingers first, then say, “Oh, but this IS love!” But do we even have any friends who are gay? Not gay people we have met while campaigning against their rights, but just gay people whom we have met and loved?
You say, “It is only by the grace and redemption of Christ, borne through His death, burial, and resurrection that those of us who have placed our faith in Him have been freed from the hold sin had on us,” but with the unspoken caveat “unless you’re gay.” Your statement, “Supporting laws that would affirm sinfulness is not compassion” will surely garner favor with many people who read and post on Dr. Burk’s blog, but I ask you, with urgency: how does preventing homosexuals the right to marriage win them to the kingdom?
My friend, it does not. Love does. The love of Christ, that is. Repentance is key, and I am not affirming any sort of moral validity for homosexual behavior. But it is the work of the Holy Spirit, not the government, that brings sinners to repentance.
I had a very dear friend when I was completing my undergrad who was a lesbian. She had many Christian friends and because of that, she was willing to attend a concert of sacred music because several of us were in the choir. This was during the time that my state’s marriage amendment (which included a ban on homosexual marriage) was up for a vote. Rather than saying, “Welcome LWU Singers!” or quoting Scripture, the marquee outside simply said, “Vote yes marriage amendment.” She was confused, hurt, and irreparably uninterested in anything this church could have to offer her–because they were more interested in condemning her lifestyle than showing her that Christ provides a better one. She has since passed away, but every time this conversation comes up, I think about how poorly the local church handled its approach to ministering to her.
It is difficult to convey through posts like this any compassion at all because people read what they want. I do understand your desire to be compassionate and I want to be as compassionate as I can to my friends who are trapped in sin.
Having said that, it appears that you do not believe that living a homosexual life is sinful and that refusal to repent of it (by the power of Christ) will damn that person.
“but I ask you, with urgency: how does preventing homosexuals the right to marriage win them to the kingdom?” Allowing them to believe that a homosexual lifestyle has no eternal consequences will never win them to the kingdom. Unless you believe that homosexuality is not a sin.
Darius, I’m a bit disturbed by your contemptuous response to what Kelly and I have said. I thought it was a given that, despite the conflict between what we believe and what you believe, we would all treat each other with kindness.
Nathan, I made it a point to say that “I am not affirming any sort of moral validity for homosexual behavior.” I do believe that living a homosexual life is sinful (Kelly, I’m sorry if I conveyed otherwise to you). What I don’t believe is that passing laws banning gay marriage makes people not gay. I simply don’t believe that legislating morality wins souls.
For clarification and ease of this discussion, I will plainly state again that I believe that homosexual behavior is a sin, whether in the context of marriage or not. But it is not the sin of homosexuality that has caused my precious friend to go to hell; it is the fact that she never accepted Christ as her savior.
We are delivered from our sinful lifestyles, and this discussion routinely goes in a direction of a works-based salvation, whereby someone can turn off their homosexuality and suddenly be eligible for Christianity, but that is backwards logic. The only way to be rid of any sin is to allow the Lord Jesus Christ to cleanse us from it–and we must accept him first.
Lindsey, what are you talking about? I haven’t addressed your comments at all. Are you referring to my satirical comment to Nathan? I was using satire to show the absurdity of the idea that because people are emotional that we shouldn’t tell them the truth because it could “hurt” them.
“We are delivered from our sinful lifestyles, and this discussion routinely goes in a direction of a works-based salvation, whereby someone can turn off their homosexuality and suddenly be eligible for Christianity, but that is backwards logic. The only way to be rid of any sin is to allow the Lord Jesus Christ to cleanse us from itâ€“and we must accept him first.”
Amen, but I think you haven’t read most of our comments very closely if you think we’re promoting a works-based salvation. No one here believes that by banning same sex marriage that we’ll make people better or save them. What I do believe is that the more moral a society is, the better for its inhabitants. If we start allowing marriage to be redefined or lying to be promoted as a moral good (referring back to my last comment), then our society suffers. I certainly don’t think that people will be any better, but that’s not the point of law and order. You don’t make people better with law… that’s the entire point of the Gospel.
I would like to know Lindsey’s exegetical take on how homosexuality is NOT a sin.
Thanks for the clarification. As I said these posts can sometimes be misread.
“What I donâ€™t believe is that passing laws banning gay marriage makes people not gay. I simply donâ€™t believe that legislating morality wins souls.”
Amen to both statements. My first post on this clearly states that salvation is only by grace through faith in Christ and not of works. I will have to agree with Darius that a society’s tolerance, or lack thereof, on issues of morality does affect society, though not in a salvific way.
However, in a country that is governed by the people, Christians do have a responsibility to stand for laws that affirm biblical truths and oppose laws that do not. It will not save anyone, only the gospel saves, but we are accountable to God for how we conduct ourselves in a country that governs itself by the will of the people.
Darius, perhaps what you said was only in response to Kelly, or even just in response to the pro-gay rights movement, but sarcasm is a tricky thing when it comes to the blogosphere. This is a delicate issue anyway, and I think we just need to be judicious in how we convey our opinions.
Politics and Christianity are difficult because you don’t see much in the way of democracy in the Bible; if our intolerance on a bureaucratic level has a negative salvific influence but a positive one for upholding God’s law, which would you say should hold the weight? For clarity’s sake, I’m not asking the question rhetorically; I’d like to consider your thoughts as I reconsider my own.
Don’t we often explain to new Christians the difference between the Old Law and the New? That the Old Law was legalistic and condemning, that it wasn’t good enough for our salvation? Isn’t that why Christ came–to fulfill the Law and provide a better way? “I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”
I understand that you are not advocating a works-based religion, or salvation by anything but grace, but when we seek to enforce the law on people who are not under grace, it is, I believe, a dangerous path to walk.
“but when we seek to enforce the law on people who are not under grace, it is, I believe, a dangerous path to walk”
There are two assumptions I could draw from this statement. One is that you are referring to God’s laws for Christians as it pertains in the church, the other is that you are referring to matters of US law that happen to coincide with principles in Scripture. Please clarify as to which you mean or even if you mean something else.
In the church you are right to say that the members of a particular church have no right to demand their church-by-laws on those who are not members of that congregation.
In the government we make laws and have had laws that are bible-based since the founding of the country – murder, robbery, etc. All those are found in the New Testament as things that Christians would be guilty of sin if they committed. So we enforce biblical principles (laws) on people (both Christians and non-Christians) in this country all the time. And homosexuality was outlawed across this land up until the recent past, so I’m not sure I follow your logic. The state has the right to wield the sword (Rom. 13) and since we live in a country that allows us to vote, should we not vote with a biblical mindset?
Lindsey, thanks for the comments. Do you believe that John the Baptist was wrong to tell Herod, a Gentile, that he was sinning in taking his brother’s wife?
“if our intolerance on a bureaucratic level has a negative salvific influence but a positive one for upholding Godâ€™s law, which would you say should hold the weight?”
The Gospel holds sway, but the Gospel is empty unless people know God’s law. The law was given so that people would need the Gospel.
There will always been perverts and sinners who hate God and His law.. that doesn’t mean we need to apologize for it.
I don’t think it is being double-minded for my church to both affirm the sanctity of true marriage in our laws AND offer programs to gays who want out of that lifestyle, just as it isn’t an either/or to both fight abortion politically and support crisis pregnancy centers.
“The law was given so that people would need the Gospel.”
Let me further press this point… so, if we want to affirm the Gospel, it is necessary to have a society that still recognizes sin. We can’t say “God forgives you” unless we also say “You have sinned.” A society that no longer recognizes evils such as homosexuality and abortion and theft cannot understand why it needs forgiveness.
Now, what we have to keep in mind is that we are not outlawing same sex marriage. Any gay couple can go marry each other in a private service anywhere in this country. They just can’t expect the society and government to endorse their relationship and force other people to treat it as equal to a normal hetero relationship.
Darius, I apologize for the muddiness of my comment. I meant when we try to create governmental laws that enforce Christian principles on all people, which would include nonbelievers. It is one thing when our laws coincide with Scripture; it’s another when when they are straight from it.
It’s very difficult for me to express exactly what I mean, so I apologize that you’ve had to ask me to clarify so many times–especially when I’m trying to be careful in what I say, lest I open up a new can of worms. One that, for example, pertains to our founding fathers and their motivations in penning what would be the standard by which we measure our laws. The concepts of murder, robbery, etc. are universally accepted as morally wrong and detrimental to society; the moral degradation of gay marriage is a little harder to argue with objective data. In the society in which we live, with the government we are under, it’s not enough to enforce a law simply because the Bible says it is so.
To invoke the fact that homosexuality was outlawed across this land up until the recent past is fallacious; until recently, it was also acceptable to deny African Americans basic human rights. I hope I’m not suggesting that we not vote with a biblical mindset; I’m trying to suggest that the biblical mindset is not arbitrarily one that would enforce a prevention of gay rights.
John the Baptist, if I’m not mistaken, confronted Herod on a personal level. I think that his method is the absolute best model we have for how to approach issues that are morally wrong for an individual but have no business in our political agendas. To use my previously mentioned friend, for example: it’s not as if I told her that her homosexuality was acceptable, or didn’t engage her in conversations about sin and redemption. It was a different situation than passing a law because it was very clear to her that I cared about her; we don’t convey such care when we bring these opinions to the voting booth.
Gentlemen, it’s obvious that we all agree that homosexual behavior is sinful and that it must be called so. We even agree that sinners must be told that they are sinners. The difference here is just that I think it must be extremely localized (as in one person at a time), and that it does more harm than good to bring it to the state or national level. You both feel that by voting with God’s law in mind, it will convict the gay populace that their actions are not what God desires. I appreciate your intellect, your Christian love, and your discourse.
However, you are, in fact, calling to outlaw gay marriage. The very definition of outlaw is to make something unlawful or illegal. 🙂
“However, you are, in fact, calling to outlaw gay marriage.”
I’m sorry, but this is not correct. In those states where marriage amendments have been put into effect, is it illegal for homosexuals to marry each other in a church in a private ceremony? No, it’s not. What those amendments have done is merely say that the people will not recognize those marriages in public. I have no problem with homosexuals marrying each other or eight other people if they so desire. But they shouldn’t be allowed to force me to treat that relationship as equal to a normal marriage.
Maybe I’m splitting hairs, but the purpose of legalizing gay marriage is not so that they will be allowed to have ceremonies, but so that they will be afforded the same rights as heterosexual couples. That’s the point of treating it as equal–not to force you to be morally okay with it, but to allow them the same 1,138 benefits the United States government provides to legally married couples.
Voting for marriage amendments that prevent this from happening is making it not legally possible for them to obtain these benefits; my interpretation is that that is making it illegal.
Do you really expect people to believe that the only reason you support gay marriage is based on a careful objective study of Scripture? Or are you going to tell me that if these other churches do not support gay marriage then you will be against gay marriage?
But by giving them that right you are forcing me to be morally okay with it because it will be the law of the land. That is the purpose of law – to determine what is right or wrong morally in society.
For this same reason I am working to overturn Roe v. Wade because I believe it to be morally repulsive. But it is morally acceptable in the US today as the law of the land. The reason I believe it to be morally repulsive is because the bible condemns it. And since I live in a democratic country there is the opportunity to overturn that law by vote of the people, I will vote against it given the opportunity. If that irritates the people or even Christians who think it should be legal and that the bible is vague on the matter, so be it.
While this result is a big disappointment to supporters of gay civil rights, I think opponents should be aware that the long-term trend is against them. Young adults tend to favor legalizing favor same-sex marriage by about a 2-1 margin, while older adults tend to oppose it 2-1. This means that with every year that goes by, the anti-marriage forces lose two voters and gain one, while the pro-gay marriage forces lose one and gain two. At this rate, the balance will tip within 5-10 years.
This trend can be seen in polls from recent years. According to an NBC/WSJ poll in 2004, 61 percent opposed gay marriage and 30 percent favored it. In 2009, 49 percent oppose it and 41 percent favor it. (The remainder were undecided.)
In another arena, only 56 percent of Americans supported job equality for gays in a 1977 poll. By 2008, 89 percent favored job equality.
With regard to the military, only 44 percent thought open gays should be allowed to serve in 1993. By 2001, 62 percent were in favor of allowing open gays in the military. In 2008, 75 percent were in favor.
I clearly remember the days when most people thought it should be against the law for gays to teach in public schools or be allowed to rent a home or apartment without discrimination. We’ve come a long way.
As for using the law to implement religious beliefs about marriage, I suggest Christians start by trying to pass a constitutional amendment to outlaw all divorce except in cases approved by a religious tribunal as scripturally acceptable.
I assume you meant to ask that question of Kelly and not include my name on the quote…
I don’t support gay marriage.
Maybe we should be splitting hairs. I have no problem if the gays have â€œgay marriagesâ€ or civil unions that would afford them with all the rights as married couples. However, letâ€™s be honest this is not what the gay community want is it? They want to be called â€œmarriage/marryâ€ without the â€œgayâ€ label. That would be an encroachment on my rights. The ultimate goal is to force society to except them as â€œnormalâ€ and Christians must accept homosexual acts as moral. This is anathema to a true Christian. The Bible is crystal clear on this sin.
Sorry Nathan I just grab the quote from Kelly. You are correct, the question was directed at Kelly.
“As for using the law to implement religious beliefs about marriage, I suggest Christians start by trying to pass a constitutional amendment to outlaw all divorce except in cases approved by a religious tribunal as scripturally acceptable.”
Not necessarily a religious tribunal, but how about going back to prior to no-fault divorce and actually provide a reason other than I just lost interest.
The other news is that young evangelicals are outbreeding liberals by about 3 to 1 (perhaps more), so 20 years from now the tide will turn again.
“Young adults tend to favor legalizing favor same-sex marriage by about a 2-1 margin, while older adults tend to oppose it 2-1. This means that with every year that goes by, the anti-marriage forces lose two voters and gain one, while the pro-gay marriage forces lose one and gain two. At this rate, the balance will tip within 5-10 years.”
This may be true, but what you neglect to mention is that as those young adults turn old, they wise up and turn more conservative as well. So while I agree that the overall trend is not in my favor, it’s not necessarily going to switch quite as fast as you think. Furthermore, people who believe as I do tend to have a lot more kids than the self-loathing types who believe the marriage is a human construct. Liberals are breeding themselves to extinction… which is why they view the schools as their only hope to affect the next generation.
Haha, Nathan beat me to it about breeding.
The gay community is in good company when you have an amoral atheist as an ally. No one wants any suggestion from a liar and a subspecies of catarrhines who canâ€™t even justify his own moral foundation.
DennyReader, I believe it’s Tony Campolo (don’t quote me on it!) who feels that the government should grant everyone civil unions and reserve marriage as an honor that the church bestows. How do you feel about that?
I vehemently disagree that the governments decision to award benefits to married (or “unioned”) gay couples is an encroachment on the rights of Christians, or at least that we have any justification to complain from that angle. It is one thing for Nathan and Darius to be interested in the glory of the Lord, but it is entirely something else to say that this violates me so I am not okay with it. Our focus cannot ever be on how we are affected, or we lose from the start, don’t we? We must be Kingdom-minded and people-minded.
Nathan, that’s exactly my point. You don’t want it to be the law of the land, which is to say you want it outlawed. There is a major breakdown in all of my conversations with conservatives (I consider myself moderate) wherein I am completely ok with disagreeing, but rarely find that they feel the same way. I am more interested in practical, effective results towards what would honor the Lord, and my friends are interested in the principle of right and wrong. This is not to say that my perspective is “right” or “better,” just that it is where I come out based on my prayers and considerations. With that in mind, I get into a lot of trouble based on the fact that rather than overturning Roe v. Wade or banning gay marriage, I would rather see homosexuals transformed by Christ and woman compelled not to want abortions in the first place, even if the data were to show that would mean not voting the way that most Christians do.
To be accurate, gays canâ€™t breed.
Lindsey, it’s in the best interest of the government (in other words, we the people) to promote normal, healthy marriages. It improves our society to have children raised in healthy homes. It degrades society to have them raised where a mother and a father aren’t both present. [On a side note, that is why I am so against welfare, because it encourages single parent families.] That is why the government should promote marriage.
That said, if the government decided to get out of the marriage business altogether, I wouldn’t be completely opposed to that. But that ain’t happening, and we all know it. So, assuming that the government will continue to promote marriage and license it, then we have to decide how should it best promote it?
So now liberal is synonymous with gay?
But liberals can, if it didn’t offend their eco-centric sensibilities…
“It is one thing for Nathan and Darius to be interested in the glory of the Lord, but it is entirely something else to say that this violates me so I am not okay with it. “
I agree, which is why I make it a point to never say that these laws would offend me. They do, but it’s not about me. It’s about all of society and doing what’s best for people everywhere.
I also want to see people transformed by the power of Christ. I’m not sure you have any evidence to support your logic of having laws (homosexual marriage and abotion) that actually promote abstaining from the practice, but I appreciate your desire to see people come to Christ.
“I get into a lot of trouble based on the fact that rather than overturning Roe v. Wade… I would rather see [a] woman compelled not to want abortions in the first place.”
Why can’t it be both? And I don’t see how voting for the liberal agenda on abortion does anything but PROMOTE abortion in the hearts and minds of women… look at the recent post by Denny on the woman who left Planned Parenthood. They exist to promote abortions, because that’s where the money is at. Meanwhile, crisis pregnancy centers exist to promote life DESPITE the fact that there is little money there.
Let’s look at how the law of the land can affect people’s behavior… in Britain, they legalized suicide a few decades ago. Immediately, suicide rates skyrocketed. Or look at smoking… now that smoking is de facto illegal in many states due to heavy taxes and limited places one can legally smoke, smoking has gone down. Now, I am not arguing that suicide should be illegal or that the anti-smoking laws are good (I happen to think that most of the smoking laws are evil and anti-freedom). I AM saying that one should recognize the FACT that laws do modify behavior and worldviews.
I am on record saying that I do not oppose civil unions
Iâ€™ve argued why you are wrong about this in a previous comment.
Darius, I really did not want to derail the conversation to talk about abortion, so I’ll try to be succinct and say that I agree 100% with you, especially in light of the post about the women leaving Planned Parenthood. Mostly I was lightly referring to my comfort over repealing the Mexico City Policy, because the statistics on overseas abortions are a whole other issue.
Nathan, I don’t think that pro-gay marriage legislation would promote abstaining from the practice of homosexuality, but rather that anti-marriage legislation support so prolifically by Christians makes it more difficult to share the gospel on an individual basis. As far as abortion laws, as I said in the above paragraph, I would like to see Roe v. Wade overturned here. However, until our government is able and willing to fund family planning separate from abortions, it dangerously throws the proverbial baby out with the bathwater by preventing all funding overseas. In 2006, a Nigerian lawmaker announced that 55,000 women die in the country each year from unsafe illegal abortions. Some counseling and prophylactics would go a long way.
Here’s the thing: smoking and suicide are both something that all people are able to choose. While we’ve ruled out the idea of a genetic predisposition towards homosexuality, the evidence heavily supports environmental factors. In short, gay people don’t choose to be gay. So it makes sense that a law banning smoking would prevent smoking; people can choose not to smoke. A law banning suicide would reduce suicide; people can choose not to take their own lives. But a law banning gay marriage would not make even one person not gay.
I’m a little baffled that you think that most of the smoking laws are evil and anti-freedom. Is that sarcasm, or your honest opinion? Statistically (not biblically), the evils of smoking both individually and in society are far more easy to support with evidence than those of homosexuality.
DennyReader, thanks for the link. However, you missed the point of my statement. Darius had an excellent response to it. Earlier you said that you do not oppose civil unions for homosexuals; my question was not regarding this, but civil unions for all people.
“In short, gay people donâ€™t choose to be gay. So it makes sense that a law banning smoking would prevent smoking; people can choose not to smoke. A law banning suicide would reduce suicide; people can choose not to take their own lives.”
I think you missed my point. It’s not about making less people gay (well, maybe in a way it is a little; more on that below), but that laws do affect people’s behavior and views. If the law says that same sex marriages are equal to hetero ones, it’s not long before kids are growing up in a society that tells them that it doesn’t matter at all if they marry either gender. And they’ll learn that lesson well, mark my words. Which will lead to more kids being unnecessarily confused about their sexual desires. In the future that Kelly wants, every kid will have to make a decision about what gender to have pursue sexually and that whatever they choose, it’s morally neutral. Plenty of people who aren’t genetically or environmentally “predisposed” to homosexuality will choose that because they are encouraged to view homosexuality as a good thing.
As for smokers or suiciders being able to choose, that seems a bit prejudicial of you. Why does environment make it impossible for gays to choose but not so for smokers or suiciders? Almost all suiciders are depressed. Are you saying they choose to be depressed? Likewise, most smokers are hooked on cigarettes… the argument could be made that they can’t choose to stop smoking.
Yes, I was serious about smoking laws. They are most definitely anti-freedom because they infringe on what should be an individual’s choice. You (and I, for that matter) think smoking is disgusting. Fine, don’t smoke. You seem to think homosexuality is disgusting, but I’m pretty sure you don’t want homosexual behavior to be banned. Why the inconsistency? Public health? For one, the “science” behind the dangers of secondhand smoke has been shown to be quite dubious, at best. Two, I could argue that homosexual behavior isn’t good for public health either since it leads to diseases (which always spread to the heterosexual population).
That’s not to say I want homosexuality banned. I say let people decide for themselves what they want to do as long as it doesn’t adversely affect society. I am totally against a nanny state, which oddly enough is what most liberals want.
Within my comment via the link, it is implicit that I would not agree with this. 1. It would remove the distinction between gays and non-gays. 2. Marriage is an institution established by God not the Constitution.
What do you think the gospel is? Would it be easier to share the gospel if we tell child molesters that what they do is not a sin? I think it is better for someone not come to Christ than for someone to come to a false Christ.
Ah, I did miss your point. Sorry on that one. Thanks for explaining it. You make a very compelling point.
The difference is that the choice that gay people have is not the inclination to be gay, but whether or not to participate in homosexual behavior. I have been very careful to always state that my problem is with homosexual behavior because it is the only part over which a person can exert control. Suicide victims do not choose to be depressed, but they choose to take their own lives (often motivated by mental illness, but the discussion of homosexuality and mental illness would best be reserved for another time). Smokers are addicted but at one point every smoker chose to smoke that first cigarette. My dad has been a smoker for 40+ years and I hold him fully accountable for the addiction. Likewise, I’m a recovered anorexic. I would never say that it’s on par with being gay; it’s a disease and an addiction, but one that can be dealt with and overcome. Homosexuality does not seem to fall into the same field.
My disgust for smoking is not what makes me support anti-smoking laws. There are plenty of other things I find more disgusting that I wouldn’t ban because it would just be petty (public nosepicking, for example). I’ve seen the studies that demonstrate that the effect of secondhand smoke isn’t as horrible as we believe, but you can be certain that the effect of smoking on the individual is every bit as horrible as it’s made out to be. I’ve lost several family members to tobacco-related cancers. If legislation against smoking would have make them stop, you better believe that I’d have thrown my weight behind it. I support high taxes on cigarettes now and I’m thrilled that the FDA has banned clove cigarettes. The public health issue with homosexuality is only relevant as it pertains to promiscuity; as we are discussing marriage, it’s harder to argue.
Why, I wonder, do you oppose gay marriage or civil unions but not homosexuality itself? How does a gay marriage/union affect society in a way that is worse than a monogamous (or, even, promiscuous) homosexual couple that is not married?
*I would not suggest that I find homosexuality disgusting because I would rarely be in a position to qualify the statement, meaning that I find it disgusting insofar as I find sin itself disgusting; it’s no more or less revolting to me than dishonesty, or idolatry.
DennyReader, I understand that there are nearly 50 comments on this page, but I have used the majority of mine to explain what I meant by my previous comment. Since you have been kind enough to link me to your previous statements, see my explanations here, here, here and here.
I realize that this is something about which you feel passionate and perhaps some righteous anger, but I have come back to this post several times today and winced at the perceived attitudes. Refering to homosexuals as “gays” (which is considered prejudiced speech and, even if you disdain political corectedness, is unnecessarily demeaning), sarcasm that is not qualified, and hyperbole that is meant to make the quoted person look or feel stupid is not a healthy part of this discourse. I should hope that you would know that a sister in Christ who has spent many words declaring a goal of glorifying the Lord and winning souls to Him (so that He may redeem them of their sins–including homosexual behavior, which I also mentioned), and who mentioned several times on this page a preference for individual conversations of repentance and redemption would love the same gospel as you. One in which the Holy Spirit, not the state, does the convicting and in which Jesus Christ, not the voters, does the saving.
“rather that anti-marriage legislation support so prolifically by Christians makes it more difficult to share the gospel on an individual basis.”
Along the lines of what DennyReader said, let’s look at this from a less emotional issue, strictly hypothetically-speaking: lying (let’s ignore any differences between homosexuality and lying, since those differences don’t affect my argument here). If, for some reason, our culture began to promote lying as a morally neutral activity and a lobby group called PAT (People Against Truth) fought to make lying and deception legal in all situations (even in courts, so perjury was no longer banned)… would you be against Christians speaking out against that because it would make the gospel harder to share with liars or those who support the right of liars to deceive others? After all, if I told a liar that he was sinning and that I was against his right to deceive others in all situations, wouldn’t that potentially offend him?
Again, Lindsey, I come back to the Gospel. I’m not sure you completely understand the Gospel or at least don’t fully grasp its implications. The Gospel has no power where there is no law. The law brings condemnation so that grace may abound all the more. Without the law, grace is worthless. A society that denies the law will make it HARDER to evangelize, not easier.
“Smokers are addicted but at one point every smoker chose to smoke that first cigarette.”
The same could be argued for some homosexuals. They may have chosen to have a homosexual encounter the first time, but they are now “hooked” on it just like a smoker gets addicted to cigarettes (note: I am not arguing against personal responsibility for choices – quite the opposite – but that you seem willing to grant addictive tendencies to smoking but not to homosexuality). We all know that people can supposedly get addicted to sex. Why not homosexual sex?
“[Y]ou can be certain that the effect of smoking on the individual is every bit as horrible as itâ€™s made out to be. Iâ€™ve lost several family members to tobacco-related cancers. If legislation against smoking would have make them stop, you better believe that Iâ€™d have thrown my weight behind it… Why, I wonder, do you oppose gay marriage or civil unions but not homosexuality itself?”
This is where my reading of the Bible and the Gospel comes into play. I don’t believe that telling someone else how to live their lives is Biblical, as long as it doesn’t infringe on other people (they might want to throw a rock through their neighbor’s window, but they don’t have a right to do so). I believe in personal freedom and that I don’t know better than someone else what will make them happy. I know that junk food isn’t good for people, but I don’t want to outlaw their right to eat what they want. It’s their bodies, they should do as they see fit.
Ironically, based on this logic, you should actually want to outlaw homosexuality, since it is very unhealthy for people. How many could have been saved from AIDS if it was outlawed?
Where do you come up with this stuff? Have you ever heard of GLBT, do you know what the â€œGâ€ in that acronym stands for?
Why do people from your side feel the need to mock others and define what is appropriate discourse. Sarcasm and even hyperbole is not inappropriate when used in the proper context and directed at the proper person. The Bible has many examples of sarcastic remarks. e.g. Elijah mocking the priests of Baal.
If you are really interested in a substantive discourse you should stop attacking your opponents for what you consider as inappropriate discourse and make your argument. This is not helpful other than giving yourself some self-righteous ego boost.
DennyReader, I believe she was objecting to putting gay in quotes. But I might be mistaken.
I hope not, because I hope no one is that sensitive. It did not cross my mind that using the â€œâ€ was being prejudice or disparaging in any way. In the context that I use â€œgayâ€, I only meant to make a clear distinction between what is gay and â€œtraditional marriageâ€, just as I am using it in this context. It is meant to emphasize a distinction.
“If you are really interested in a substantive discourse you should stop attacking your opponents for what you consider as inappropriate discourse and make your argument. This is not helpful other than giving yourself some self-righteous ego boost.”
This coming from DennyReader is the funniest thing I’ve read in a while.
Why? Are you bothered by the fact that I pointed you out lying about me? I also canâ€™t help the fact that you believe that you are nothing more than a subspecies of catarrhines who canâ€™t even justify his own amoral foundation. Remember I did try to help. I just tell you the truth and you think it’s…
You are the one lying, yet I do not use that as an excuse to avoid your arguments. Do you even understand what ad adhominem means?
Care to prove it like I did with you? EP lied.
1. You didn’t prove anything.
2. You and I both know that your statement about me and what I believe in the post above (#51) is false.
3. Even if I lied or made a mistake, it does not mean that I lie or make mistakes about everything.
4. You are still guilty of the ad hominem fallacy.
I have the audio interview of Loftus open right now. What is the exact time when Loftus (not the interviewer) says the words you attribute to him?
1. EP did lied.
2. No, I was accurate in #51. You are an atheist, which necessarily mean that you are a product of a mindless, random and purposeless universe that created you through random evolution. According to the latest Darwinian fairytale you are a subspecies of catarrhines. You may not accept it but that is atheism.
3. No, it does not mean that you lied about everything but since youâ€™ve refuse to apologize and acknowledged that you lied or explain how you made the â€œmistakeâ€ then I have the right to point it out to you. Now I am not an unfair person. If you would finally admit that you made an egregious mistake for accusing me of â€œfalsely claimed that You say that John Loftus â€œadmits that there is no reason for the atheist to be good.â€ and apologize. I am a forgiving person. I will accept your apology and let this drop.
4. What you are doing now may be an ad hominem. What you do here with your posting attacking my faith and the God that I worship and love is an insult to me but I donâ€™t complain because I expect that from an atheist. But I have not engaged in any baseless personal attacks. I am sorry if by pointing out the facts about what you said and believe is ad hominem then I am guilty.
start at time index 10mins and 45secs
He doesn’t say what you claim at 10:45, so you are lying.
Maybe it is easier for you to pretend that youâ€™ve made a mistake instead of lying. But then again you are not admitting to that either.
Just for reference others can listen to the mp3 from the link in this comment and they can decide what Loftus said.
All you need to do is give the exact time reference where Loftus said what you claim. Can you do that?
If you are right, I will apologize for my mistake. If not, I’d like you to apologize for each time you called me a liar.
For the benefit of everyone this is what the interviewer quotes from Loftusâ€™ book, â€œYou say in the book that for the secular scientific minded person, for the atheist, you admit that there is no ultimate reason to be good.â€
Youâ€™ve got to be kidding. The exact time index is 10:48. I told you to start at 10:45 because I didnâ€™t want you to miss the beginning of his sentence.
1. The interviewer said that, not Loftus.
2. As far as I can tell, Loftus does not say that in the book – the interviewer is setting up Loftus to explain how and why atheists have a basis for morality.
3. The key word in this question is “ultimate.” Neither Loftus nor the interviewer are saying that there is no reason to be good (which is what you claimed). The point the interviewer is making is that there is no ULTIMATE – or something outside of and beyond humanity (in other words, God).
Loftus goes on to explain reasons for people to be good. I don’t see how anyone could listen to the entire exchange regarding morality and come away agreeing with your characterization that “John Loftus agrees that there is no reason for the atheist to be good.” What you stated was a clear falsehood – both in letter and in spirit.
1. You are unbelievable and you are a professor of some sort? The interviewer was quoting what Loftus said in his book. Are you going to said that quoting from a book does not count unless the writer actual said it out loud?
2. Are you saying the interviewer is lying or misstating Loftus? Why didnâ€™t Loftus correct him if that was the case? Is this what an atheist does to distort the obvious?
3. You can try to parse what he said but the bottom line is that he never gave any reason why anyone ought to be good. Whether you want to call it ultimate as God or ultimate as atheism, what is the reason for an atheist to be good? All he did was gave an opinion of what he would do at that moment. Stalin, Hitler, Mao wouldnâ€™t agree with him. The fact to the matter is that he never even came close to giving a reason why an atheist is to be good. This is why you are so messed up. Like you he never address the foundational issue of why and how an atheist can be good, when an atheist is nothing more than an accidental collision of atoms. Even the very thought of morality is merely the result of an interaction of mindless, purposeless, and meaningless atoms. Using his logic if he decides to get up tomorrow and murder millions of people like Hitler did, because that is what he wants to do then that should be reason enough. He gave as much a reason to be good as much as a reason to be evil, which is amoral. If there is no ultimate reason then there is no reason at all.
Enough already, kids. DennyReader, drop it.
It’s been an engaging conversation, but I’m through posting here. I’ll answer the last comments directed at me but, with apologies, I will not return to answer more.
DennyReader: “Where do you come up with this stuff? Have you ever heard of GLBT, do you know what the â€œGâ€ in that acronym stands for?”
The objection was at the use of gay as a noun. To call someone “a gay” or to say something like “gays can’t breed” is considered, generally, prejudiced.
Additionally: “Why do people from your side feel the need to mock others and define what is appropriate discourse.”
I thought we were on the same side, as believers in Christ. But it would seem that the majority of people who are commenting here are questioning my salvation, and I’m in no way required to defend that. However, I think that if you were to take the time to reread my previous comments, you would see that I have approached everything with as much gentleness as possible. It is that gentleness, in fact, that motivated me to ask that you tone down your harsh language. There was no mocking intended with what I said, but a direct request with no hint of sarcasm or disdain. Again, I apologize if I came across as haughty.
I am appalled at the vitriol that is coming from supposed believers towards dissenters. I don’t suppose ex-preacher will have any interest in becoming an ex-ex-preacher when this is how he sees Christians behaving.
Lindsey, ignore those jokers. We were having a good conversation.
Going back to something you said: “but one that can be dealt with and overcome. Homosexuality does not seem to fall into the same field.”
What about all of those homosexuals that have overcome their urges, just like all of those men who every day overcome their urges to be unfaithful to their wives? I know men who have fought same sex interests and are living solid Christian lives with wives and families. It seems like you want to treat homosexuality as special when in fact it should be treated like any other sin… something to fight with the Gospel and your dying breath.
Lindsey, I appreciated the tone you set. I haven’t read all the posts and followed all the discussion, so I don’t know where all we agree and disagree but I would like to take a page from your book in being able to press a point but do it respectfully.
Personally, I wish that ex-preacher and DennyReader and others would follow the rules of using their first and last names as they post. Back when Denny asked people to start doing that, it made an immediate improvement in the general tone of the discussion, in my opinion.
I could be completely wrong on this, but I have a mental image of many of the commenters here as young students, being trained in the argumentative arts of point-counterpoint apologetics. There can be value to this, but those who use these methods must understand that shouting down your opponent may win an argument (or just end it) but it doesn’t win the person and it doesn’t aid you in learning anything from them. Well, you guys don’t need me to preach to you.
Well, just one more comment to this. It has been said that today many are not asking “Can you out-argue me?” but rather “Do I want to be like you?” One of the best “arguments” we can offer the world is to live out the fruit of the Spirit, including the “softer” things like respect and gentleness. This leads to being a person that others want to be like and so gains a hearing. OK, for real, I’ll stop preaching 🙂
I know men who have fought same sex interests and are living solid Christian lives with wives and families.
Darius, I wonder if many people in church would say “that’s great!” to this – but if one of those men then said “even so, I still am tempted with same-sex attraction” I wonder if those same people might get that scowl that says “hmm, you aren’t one of us.”
I read one piece where a guy said that when most guys walk into a Bible study, they might be tempted to think lustful thoughts about the wives in the group. The difference with him was that he might be tempted to think about the husbands in addition to the wives, effectively doubling the number of potential lustful targets for temptation for him.
I think sometimes people feel pressured to be “healed” such that all those feelings and attractions go away. Not sure that is how it works.
I am sorry for derailing this thread. As you can tell I have no interest in discussing atheism. 🙂
“I wonder if those same people might get that scowl that says â€œhmm, you arenâ€™t one of us.â€
Not at my church, but perhaps some. It’s no different than hetero lust… it doesn’t necessarily go away, but you can master it through the Spirit.
Darius, Matthew sort-of illuminated my point. Homosexual behavior can be controlled; attraction to the same sex, less so. That is, unless Christ does the redeeming work, and it would seem that, in His own wisdom, He does not always choose to.
Matthew, thank you for your kind words.
I’ve appreciated this discussion, but Matthew again hit the nail on the head: I am immersed in young students being trained in the argumentative arts of point-counterpoint apologetics. While previous discussions on Dr. Burk’s blog have been very healthy for the development of my faith, this has been quite destructive and hurtful, and I feel convicted to abstain from engaging further.
I appreciate the firm but loving way that Darius and Nathan have approached their perspectives of how I’ve interpreted the gospel; obviously your concern is not in being right, but in glorifying the Lord and exhorting a sister in Christ. I’m definitely prayerfully considering what you’ve said. I may or may not post on future blog posts of Dr. Burk’s, but I’m most likely going to err on the side of “may not.”
Thanks for the discussion, Lindsey.
Thank you Lindsey, Darius and Matthew for your words of wisdom. I am only too happy to drop the matter with DennyReader if he will stop bringing this up in every thread.
If not, I have thought of an ideal resolution to this dispute: invite John Loftus to this blog (or we could go to his) to once and for all settle the question of whether or not “John Loftus admits that there is no reason for the atheist to be good.â€