This week, the advance of legal same-sex marriage passed a rather significant milestone. Both Oregon and Pennsylvania had their state bans on gay marriage struck down. For those who are counting, that makes them the 18th and 19th states respectively to recognize gay marriage. On his podcast this morning, Albert Mohler observes that a majority of Americans now live in states where gay marriage is legal. If you live in a state where gay marriage is not legal, you are in the minority.
Mohler has some other salient observations on today’s “Briefing.” You can listen to the rest of it below or download it here.
Here’s an excerpt from the transcript:
Yesterday, a federal district court judge in Pennsylvania struck down that state’s constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage. That came just one day after another federal district court judge did the same thing in the state of Oregon. Thus, in two successive days, first the state of Oregon became the 18th state in the union to have legal same-sex marriage and then Pennsylvania became the 19th. But there are a couple of very important issues related to these two developments. The first is this: though only 19 of the 50 states currently have legal same-sex marriage, it is certainly true that a majority of Americans now live in those states that have legal same-sex marriage. The geographic distribution of the population is uneven and given the size, the population size, of several of the states that have legal same-sex marriage at this point, it is without doubt that a majority of Americans now live where access to same-sex marriage is available.
Perhaps this new world young Christians will be facing is something of our own doing. While we shudder in fear about our possible future, we take for granted our past actions against gays. As a result, we have firmly cemented in the minds of many Americans the association between believing homosexuality to be sin with intolerance as evidenced in the desired legislations designed to promote Christian privilege and prohibit equality for homosexuals. We never presented the option of believing homosexuality to be sin while embracing and defending the equality of homosexuals in society. At this point, we are showing our inconsistency.
I will be waiting for Curt to believe pedophilia, polygamy, and incest to be sins and defend the equality of their practitioners in society. If not, he will be showing his inconsistency.
Johnny, do you expect to reach anyone who is homosexual or supports gay marriage by equating those views to pedophilia, polygamy, and incest? Yes, these are all sins but you act like this is some game of logic in which you can defeat your opponent. If this is a sound argument then why is it not more effective?
It may seems like a logic game, but it’s argumentation 101. You may not like how it’s done, It may be cold and heartless, but it discredits the logic/reasoning in the argument. People scream that Christians can’t use God or the Bible in their argument against homosexuality or SSM. Well, there you have it then. What was once illegal is now legal. What’s the natural progression? I’d rather speak Jesus to others, out of love and wanting God’s best for them, but which argument would you rather have? Can’t have both.
If your agrument is torn to shreds, all there is left is emotionalism and judgementalism and court decisions should not be based on an emotionalistic argument.
I just think there’s something wrong if we’re going to convince ourselves that we would win arguments if only our opponents would submit to their logical inconsistencies. Sin is illogical. That’s the point.
True. But that’s the problem with the emotionalism part of the argument. You can try to point out the logical inconsistencies, but if you’re being called a “knuckle-dragger” or ” bigot”, it shows that the other party does not want to appeal to logic/reasoning but emotionalism.
James, I agree with this statement you made. I was addressing Curt, who, as far as I know, is a Christian who views homosexuality as a sin. but who is also for the legalization of SSM (Curt can correct me if I am wrong). So my question was directed at the apparent logical inconsistency of a fellow believer and not someone who is lost.
Polygamy and incest are (possibly) comparable. Pedophilia is not, as there is an obvious victim who suffers direct harm.
Incest is currently disallowed, I suspect, not because it’s considered “wrong” but because it’s legally defensible for the state to deny marriage rights to incestuous couples based on its compelling interest in discouraging such unions. It passes “strict scrutiny”. Interestingly, the same pragmatic rationale was used to argue against same-sex marriages but was rejected by the courts. i.e. it was deemed that the govt. has no compelling interest in discouraging same-sex marriages.
Hopefully you also realize the flip side of your criticism of Curt. You imply that he’s being inconsistent in supporting equal social standing of practitioners of homosexuality, which is sinful, but not also arguing for the equal social standing of those who practice other sins, e.g. child sexual abuse.
One might instead remark:
“I will be waiting for Johnny to argue against social acceptance and equality for those who practice heresy and idol worship. If not, he will be showing his inconsistency.”
Buddy, lets be consistent here. Are heretics and idol worshipers currently seeking the honoring and celebration of their behavior to be enshrined in law?
Johnny asks: “Are heretics and idol worshipers currently seeking the honoring and celebration of their behavior to be enshrined in law?”
They don’t need to. Mormons, Buddhists (and Catholics?) have every legal protection already to practice their faith and worship as they see fit, and the government acknowledges the validity of their churches via tax exemptions.
Yeah, I walked into that one didn’t I 🙂
Looking back at what buddy said, I wasn’t being consistent because we were comparing two different things. I used sexually immoral practices when making my statement against Curt, since homosexuality would fall under that category. Heresy and idol worship are completely different things so buddy’s example would not apply.
They’re alike in that they’re all sinful activities. Your question to Curt carried the implicit assumption that all sexual sin is alike so he should treat all sexual sin the same. I merely broadened that assumption and treated all sins alike.
Is it possible that, just maybe, sexual sins are different and the individuals who practice them should be treated differently?
They don’t have to. The first amendment already says that the federal government cannot make a law promoting or hindering an establishment of religion as well as giving all people freedom of speech. So long as people don’t infringe on the freedom of others, they can worship idols and be as heretical as they wish. By definition of freedom of religion, celebration of idolatry and heresy are enshrined in law.
The majority of the issue is that many that claim to be homosexuals see who they are (at their core) as an extension of their sexuality, which is based entirely on their feelings. That is clearly not what scripture tells us “who we are”,
From Sam Alberry:My sexuality is not to be found in my feelings but in God having created me male; it is not primarily psychological but bodily. So I am not to read my core identity off my sexual desires, but to receive the sexual identity God has already granted me as a male as a good gift to be lived out and enjoyed. My sexual desires are part of what I feel, but they are not who I am.
This is incredibly significant. If my sexual feelings are who I am at my core, then they must be fulfilled in order for me to even begin to feel complete and whole as a human. My sense of fulfilment is cast upon my sexual fortunes, and everything seems to depend on it. But being a Christian gives me a different perspective. My sexual desires are not insignificant; they are deeply personal. But they are not defining or central, and so fulfilling them is not the key to fullness of life. I suspect our culture’s near-hysterical insistence that your sexuality is your identity has far more to do with the prevalence of torment, self-loathing, and destruction than we have begun to realize. Are we really to suppose that only good fruit has come from affirming same-sex relationships or encouraging Christians to self-identify as gay from a young age? Or that no spiritual and psychological damage has resulted from this?
You are not your own, you were bought with a price.
Ian, most gay men and women don’t “define themselves” primarily by their sexual orientation. They’re simply suggesting that it is indeed a part of the totality of who they are as a person, not a wayward “urge” than can be eradicated with wishful thinking and electric shock therapy.
“Are we really to suppose that only good fruit has come from affirming same-sex relationships?”
Like anything, it depends on the relationship. Some gay relationships can be highly dysfunctional and abusive. Many are not. I would argue that many of these relationships produce measurable and quantifiable goods for the participants: more happiness, more financial stability and so forth. Sure, you can argue that there will be penalties in the next life, but this is highly speculative and rarely persuasive.
James, thank you for your honesty.
From conversations I’ve had with other homosexuals, it would at least be for some that their identity as human beings stems from their sexuality and their need for the world (or the country’s social system) to validate that identity as human beings.
Now please don’t misunderstand me, I am in now way denouncing the humanity of any person regardless of whatever they may think/feel or believe. All people are created in God’s image and should be shown love and respect. That being said, I still hold that many of the people behind the SSM movement and those that are pushing to add sexual orientation to non-discrimination laws are doing so out of a sense that their humanity is being taken from them. As people won’t validate who they are, as being defined by their sexual orientation or a part of who they are, that’s the driving force bhind the movement and the emotionalism added to it as well.
However, I still think it should be up to the states to decide if they want to recognize SSM. If that makes me anti-progressive, backwards or a bigot, oh well.
Ian, from my own experience, you are probably correct in suggesting that for some gays, their identity is primarily their sexual identity.
I would guess that it is the same for other ideologues of various political or religious stripes: one can become so passionate about a cause or “mission” that one’s entire identity is subjected to that cause. In other words, one can only think, feel and act insofar as it serves that “cause”, whether doing so is justified, rational and fair or not.
It is why I strongly encourage my fellow activists to be a bit more gracious on these issues as the tide has turned in our favor, even if it’s only for their own sanity and humanity.
I suspect most people, straight or gay, functionally derive some measure of identity from their sexuality. How many straight men would feel like “less of a man” if they were to suddenly become “asexual” in terms of desire and ability to become aroused?
Sexuality figuring more prominently among those with s.s.a. probably derives from their their being a minority group. It’s the same reason “blackness” is a bigger part of most African Americans’ identities than “whiteness” is for most whites. If you’re part of the majority with respect to a given trait then you’re less likely to view that trait as a distinctive and feature it in the lens through which you view yourself.
That may be true, but at least for Christians, a man’s identity is rooted in who God created us to be, not found in culture’s definition of what being a “man” is. Men are to create and cultivate. The best example of biblical manhood is found in the life of Jesus.
The problem that we face is not just the acceptance of homosexuality as normal. It has to do with the way that it is no longer considered a sin. By removing the stigma as sinful, this leads the way for normalization. Many Christians have not really thought through this new standard of moral behavior. Yes, there have always been homosexuals. Yes, there have always been liars, thieves, and those who commit adultery. The difference is the with the rebranding of homosexuality as non sinful, it is now tolerated and even celebrated.
I do not think that I have seen in my lifetime a behavior condemned in the Scriptures that has not only become condoned by the population, but rebranded by many in the church. Which sinful behavior will be next?
This battle was lost years ago when the “divorce” battle was conceded. Christians are no more a moral authority on the matter than any other group. It’s later than you think.
True, but there is a resurgence in Gen-Y evangelicals that hold that divorce is wrong, (with 2 exceptions, providing either party is unwilling to heed to church discipline and reconcile with their spouse)
This exception business is how we got here. Divorce is sin for which repentance is needed.
And when one spouse abandons the other (not just location abandonment, but abandons the vow they made to the Lord) and refuses to repent or be reconciled? I guess I shouldn’t have used the word “exception”, but what should be done if you’ve got a knucklehead (either the husband or wife) that refuses to repent/reconcile or go through the church discipline process?
I’m against divorce. I truly am. The church never should have aligned itself as it did with secular culture in that respect. I also think “no-fault divorce” is a joke. If both parties submit themselves to the Lord, there is nothing that can’t be reconciled/resolved. But I know not everyone is willing to do that.
Yes, it’s complicated. I’m not sold that the Bible sanctions re-marriage after divorce. It’s best to remain in that state and commit to singleness or work towards reconciliation. It’s still a grey area for me and perhaps always will be.
Complicated, I would agree for sure.
If you think certain Protestants are harsh, consider the Catholic position, that even if you’ve remarried but are now repentant, you must abstain from intercourse with your new spouse.
You are not sold on the snactions of divorce. In the Holy Scriptures, it is very clear what Jesus said on the divorce and homosexuality (an other matters). Jesus said this, not another. We should be faithful and trust Him completely. Being a Christian is a tough life–why compromise on the clear statements of Jesus.
Christians aren’t to use profanity and be crude — yet those actions are allowed, protected, and celebrated in America. The Bible is chock full of things people aren’t supposed to do, but are allowed because Americans are free to ignore the Bible as much as they are free to follow whatever they think it means.
I don’t need you or the Bible or anything
to tell me what is the law,
With a good enough lawyer I can do anything,
in beautiful america