Wednesday, June 7, 2006

What do our votes say?

A few weeks back, my roommates and I had what became a rather extended discussion about why we would vote one way or the other on the issue of banning same-sex marriages. And with President Bush wasting taxpayers' money and congressmen's time trying futilly to add a Constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages, I can't help think about it (along with how negligent the current administration is).

If you're a biblically-minded Christian or anyone else who believes homosexual marriages to be wrong, what would you do when faced with a vote that would either ban or permit same-sex marriage? For me--and hopefully for anyone with any true sensitivity and engaged in deep though--it's hardly a simple decision. My question is, What does my vote say or do?

I believe that same-sex marriage is not as harmless as many people like to claim. Anything contrary to God's revealed will for our wholeness is damaging and therefore wrong. (Uh-oh, I feel a discussion about theocracy coming on . . . ) And I cannot imagine what will happen to children, adopted or otherwise, reared in a same-sex household. So do I vote against it out of the desire to actually prevent potentially harmful situations from arising?

What happens if, even though I'm morally opposed to it, I vote to permit it, and it becomes/stays legal? Does legally allowing something imply that it's okay? I wonder, has a shift in popular opinion concerning abortion occurred since--or, more importantly but more difficult to determine, been caused by--the Roe v. Wade decision? Is there any inherent pedagogical and moral influence of laws? After all, St. Paul does say that he wouldn't have known that coveting is wrong if it weren't for the law (Romans 7:7).

Or what about the effects of my vote as far as what it says? If same-sex marriage is banned, does that simply serve to perpetuate the well-deserved stereotype that America's Christians, upon whom much of the blame will inevitably fall, hate gays? Will this only serve to further estrange the LBGTA* community from the Church--or, worse yet, from Jesus? I certainly don't want to set up any unwarranted and unnecessary hindrances to the gospel. Conversely, though, God does not need me to defend his honor or make compromises, as if I could embarrass him or screw up the execution of his eternal redemptive purposes. I mean, no amount of hate-mongering or "intolerance" by the Church has ever kept anyone from Christ. Rather, "the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed" (John 3:19-20). It's the prideful fear of exposure and the love of sin that keep anyone from repentance and faith in Christ.

Anyway, it's a lot to chew on. I could go on for a long time. But, really, what's a vote worth on this issue? How are we to choose?

* LBGTA stands for Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, Transgender, and Ally (those supporting LBGT rights)


halfmom said...

Interesting questions, both. Usually, I'm the one who debates and debates before I decide what I think on a given issue, but for me, these were actually easy choices.

I'd vote for a ban on same sex marriage were it an option. The issue, for me, is whether or not it is clearly forbidden in scripture, which it is. So, I cannot,with a clear conscience, support anything that is forbidden in scripture.

For DaVinci - the debate actually lasted a bit longer. I teach in the medical and graduate schools of a Jesuit university. It's about as secular an environment and as supportive of inclusion as I've ever seen. I decided that there was more potential harm done by allowing others to discount my opinion(s) of the movie because I had not actually seen it than the harm done by my going- so I went - and found the movie to be poorly done in multiple aspects and rather boring. That anyone would actually believe such poorly disguised gobblety goop just goes to prove your point that darkness does not desire to be any where close to light.

I hope your trip back to the states will be easy and that you will not have a difficult time transitioning back into American life. I have been told by the missionary that we help to support, that it is frequently a very difficult thing to adjust to "re-entry".

Allie said...

I'm going to use Proposal 2, voted through in Michigan in 2004, as my example for this comment. The wording: "A PROPOSAL TO AMEND THE STATE CONSTITUTION TO SPECIFY WHAT CAN BE RECOGNIZED AS A 'MARRIAGE OR SIMILAR UNION' FOR ANY PURPOSE. The proposal would amend the state constitution to provide that 'the union of one man and one woman in marriage shall be the only agreement recognized as a marriage or similar union for any purpose.'"

The wording of this proposal not only rules out marriages (an expressly religious word - from its outset, at least) for homosexuals, yet also rules out any sort of civil union, thus COMPLETELY denying homosexuals rights that heterosexuals can obtain through marriage (tax breaks, insurance, etc etc.) "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that ALL men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these rights are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness...." By denying homosexuals the same rights as heterosexuals, you are denying that God has created us ALL equal, that we have ALL sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, that NO ONE seeks God. Next we'll deny rights to those who divorce (50% of professing Evangelical Christians, by the way), then to those who kill, then to those who covet, then to those who lie.

It seems from your post as though you, in good moral conscience, can not vote to allow same-sex marriages. I, in good conscience, can not ban them. To vote to ban homosexual marriage means that I have to vote to ban divorce, that I have to vote to ban anyone who lies to their spouse from getting married, that I have to vote to ban anyone who is human from entering into a marriage bond. People will be held accountable for their own sin, it's not me that has to prevent them from sinning.

If asked by a homosexual friend, I want to be able to say, I think you are a human being. I acknowledge that you feel that this is a right lifestyle. I support your rights as an American and as a child of God. Although I disagree with the path you've chosen, I will love YOU with the love of Christ. Like you said in your post, it's not my responsibility to defend God's honor. It's my responsiblity to love Him and love others, and Lord willing, He will give me the words to say in such a situation that communicate that I am not here to condemn the world, but to point the world to He who can redeem them from sin.

(On a separate note, what happens if, 50 or even a hundred years from now, the Religious Right has fallen out of power and popular opinion and, say, an LGBTA political party rises? Say they amend that same constitutional amendment to say that only same-sex marriages shall be recognized by the state? Say it gets voted through. Are you still voting yes on proposal 2?)

allie said...

P.S. I'll respond to your super-long email sometime this month, hopefully. Life is crazy. Michigan is glad to have you back! Let me know when you want to meet your future wife.... ;)