I attended a wedding on Saturday, and then a wedding shower later that same evening. Both events were of the ‘traditional’ variety, a qualifier which is now required after the US Supreme Court decided to legalize gay marriage nationwide last Friday by a 5-4 decision. This means the United States has surpassed all 20 previous nations as the largest gay-marriage supporting nation.
Yes, these 21 national decisions are wrong. Yes, they mark a frightening escalation of sin in our time. Yes, they twist God’s definition of marriage as the uniting of one man with one woman.
And just like the U.S. legalization of abortion in 1973, this newest decision has occurred in a Sabbath rest year, a year of spiritual significance that was designed by God for restoration and renewal – for setting things right – not a year to invent new forms of social rebellion against the Almighty. For me, the timing of Friday’s decision seems eerily like a divine setup for some kind of God-ordained response this Fall. To me, the US decision feels also like a capstone for the gay marriage ‘arch’. Echoing God’s words to Abraham in Genesis 15 about the Amorite, is God telling us that ‘the iniquity of our nation is now complete’?
Instead, here and now, I would like to warn you about the two biggest traps I see for those of us who oppose gay marriage. Let us not make these two mistakes in the midst of our opposition.
The first mistake is in seeing those who practice gay marriage as the ‘them’ in an ‘us versus them’ comparison. It is too easy for us to separate ourselves emotionally from our fellow human beings and point fingers in judgement, as if we were the righteous calling out the unrighteous. This attitude is exactly the problem I have with Islamic opposition of homosexuality. It comes from precisely the wrong motive. The spirit behind Islam is one that is always looking to separate people into groups – those who submit to Islam and survive, and those who do not submit and are punished. We must shun this attitude entirely.
The reason Bible-believing Christians and Jews should oppose gay marriage is that according to our understanding of God’s ways, gay marriage will not bring them the desired result they seek. As those who love life, we desire good for all human beings, but we see no good coming out of it for them. The divine blessing and protection of a God-defined covenant relationship is simply not possible outside of God’s definition. The gay marriage fabrication is even worse than a cheap covenantal substitute. We say the result will be worse for them than if there was no gay marriage at all. Yes, we also believe the result will be worse for all of society too, but we are not asking them to make sacrifices for the sake of society as a whole, but for their own well-being in particular.
It is not because of hate, but because of reality that we are compelled to warn those who ‘get married’ that your new house is no house at all: it has no roof, no doors, no windows, no walls and it is built over a sink hole. If this new structure you have created brings you life and prosperity then the God who spoke through Moses in Deuteronomy 30 is a heartless liar. But He is not a liar. What He asks of mankind He asks in love, and love cannot lie.
The second mistake we can make is to over-emphasize the importance of Friday’s gay marriage decision. Our nation does not have a ‘gay marriage problem’. Our nation has a sexual sin problem. Much of our national economic engine runs on the feeding of these sexual appetites internally as well as beyond our borders. Whether it is how we look, what we wear, or what media we look upon and listen to, and all the gadgets, and internet and satellite services that make this possible, the engine is there to feed us and to make a profit in the process. Gay marriage is a logical outcome of a larger sexual sin problem that is absolutely massive in scope and reach within our society. To view ‘gay marriage’ as the root of the problem is hypocrisy.
Do you remember forty years ago when the national debate was about whether sex should be considered legitimate (1) among just married adults; or (2) loosening up a bit, among engaged couples; or (3) loosening up further, to those who at least love each other; or (4) in the final loosening of the day, among mutually consenting adults? Within 20 years of the approval of ‘the pill’ in the early 1960s our nation answered that question with a hearty ‘yes’ to choice number (4), that of mutually consenting adults. That ‘yes’ was a milestone on the same sexual highway upon which our nation is still driving, the same sexual highway which gave us Friday’s latest ‘yes’. And the ‘two person gay marriage’ milestone is certainly not the last potential milestone ahead of us.
We may not have anything to do with gay marriage personally, but we all have something to do with the sexual sin highway in our various nations. The industry offers us so many ways to participate by feeding the economic engine, to mental fantasy to pornography, and with various forms of sex. We are all guilty of a certain measure of silence in our failure speak out loudly to define love, sex and pleasure in the context of God’s wonderful, redemptive plan.
So yes, we can and should oppose gay marriage. But let us not make two mistakes in the process. First, there is no ‘us and them’. We oppose gay marriage because we care for the well-being of everyone involved. And second we acknowledge our part in the larger sexual sin problem of our nation, and humbly pray that God might have mercy upon us all, allowing us to find an exit ramp off the highway of sexual sin.