Yesterday, the Baptist Press ran a story on Barack Obama’s position on civil unions. In short, Obama says that his reading of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount leads him to support civil unions for homosexuals. Here he is in his own words:
“I believe in civil unions that allow a same-sex couple to visit each other in a hospital or transfer property to each other. I don’t think it should be called marriage, but I think that it is a legal right that they should have that is recognized by the state. If people find that controversial, then I would just refer them to the Sermon on the Mount, which I think is, in my mind, for my faith, more central than an obscure passage in Romans. That’s my view. But we can have a respectful disagreement on that.”
The reporter from the Baptist Press asked me for comment, and here’s what I wrote:
“Senator Obama has attempted to pit Jesus’ message against Paul’s, a conflict that neither Jesus nor Paul would accept. The fact is that Jesus appointed Paul to bear his name before the Gentiles (Acts 9:15), many of whom were living in homosexual sin (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). The passage in Romans condemning homosexuality was not obscure to first century readers living in the Roman Empire. It’s only obscure to modern readers when they are looking for biblical grounds to justify that which God condemns. As a matter of public policy, the best way to honor God’s intention for marriage and human sexuality is to keep monogamous, heterosexual marriage privileged in law. Unfortunately, the policies of Senator Obama fall far short of the biblical ideal.”
Some people think that it is a more middle-of-the-road position to support civil unions for gays over and against “marriage” for gays. I think that view (which is represented by Senator Obama) misses the point. The point is that marriage between one man and one woman needs to be privileged in law. The civil union confers rights that only properly belong to married people, and that makes it virtually equal to it in law. Thus to elevate homosexual unions through civil unions undermines traditional marriage in the same way that homosexual “marriage” would.
For this reason, not only has Obama misconstrued the Bible, he also takes a position that undermines the sanctity of marriage.