Should Christian Leaders Be Made To Perform Same-Sex Weddings?

Since the wave of marriage equality first began to sweep the globe, many Christian leaders have expressed concern over what this might mean for them. Many worry that the state (whichever state or nation they hail from) may impose upon them a legal obligation to perform same-sex weddings against their convictions. It is indeed true that in some places this has happened, but by and large it hasn’t been an issue … until now. People are starting to call for this, citing discrimination, and a defeated bill in the U.S. state of Georgia this week would have protected against such a law. The question I wish to discuss today is whether or not the state has any business making Christian leaders perform same-sex marriages at all?

It may surprise you when I say that I am strongly against making church leaders perform same-sex weddings. Allow me to explain.

Among the many values that I espouse, separation of church and state is high on my list of priorities. The church is, of course, subject to certain laws (though not enough in my opinion as I feel they should be paying taxes) – governance is, after all, the role of government. But when it comes to matters of faith, religious conviction, doctrine, and things of that nature, well, we have the protection of religious freedoms for a reason. Now, I am all for fighting against the church. I criticize Christianity, and a number of churches in most of my writing, and I have good reason for it. They have no right to influence us in the public square unless we are all afforded the same opportunity, but their practices within their houses of worship are some of the many things freedom of religion is meant to protect. As distasteful and hurtful as their refusal to accept same-sex couples is, it does not fall under the category of religious practice that has to be banned for obvious reasons (ie: human sacrifice, sharia law, etc). When we do ban such things as a church refusing a couple wishing to marry, we venture onto shaky ground. A precedent for restricting freedoms is set, and that puts us all at risk.

Marriage is NOT a religious institution. It is a legal institution in which the marriage license, at least the one that is binding, is issued by the state. As a structure responsible for ensuring free and equal protections under the law, it is incumbent upon the state to legalize and legitimize marriage equality. Not so for the church. While I think that churches that do not perform or recognize same-sex marriages are wrong and should be confronted about their discriminatory beliefs and principles, having the state mandate their actions in this regard would be an actual violation of religious freedom.

At this point in a growing number of nations, marriage equality is the law of the land. Same-sex couples can get married the same as heterosexual couples can, and enjoy the legal benefits that go along with that. There are also a small number of Christian denominations and churches that do believe in marriage equality. The United and Presbyterian denominations, some churches and dioceses within the Anglican/Episcopalian communion, and a scattered number of others, for example. LGBTQ+ Christians who wish to get married in a church can make that happen, and I do hope to see more churches open their doors to them in the coming years. But none of this happened through legal mandate. The churches that solemnize same-sex marriage decided to do so on their own. This is what has to happen in places where church and state are recognized as two different entities with very different roles.

If things were different, if the church issued legally valid marriage licenses for example, I would feel very differently about this. And it’s not that I think churches should be given a pass on their exclusion. It’s just that marriage equality as a matter of law, is a legal issue. Many churches believe and do things that I and others are disgusted by, but they have the freedom to do those things because we have freedom of (and from) religion. I wouldn’t want to live in a country where this was not the case. Passing legislation that makes Christian leaders perform religious ceremonies that go against their religious convictions is, in my opinion, a step too far. Such a restriction on religious freedom effectively puts my own freedoms at risk, and that is something I am not prepared to accept.

 

Why Two?

The question has been asked, and it’s time it was answered. A select few mainstream evangelicals are posing this question, and although responses have been attempted, none have yet proved sufficient. “Why Two? Why not three, or four, or ten?” This question, of course, is about marriage. Having won the battle for the rights of two people of the same sex to marry, we now face a question designed by evangelicals to trap us into a moral corner. The assumption is that we are insistent upon marriage being confined to only two partners, and because they see our victory as a redefinition, they want to hear our explanation as to why we insist upon two. “If you are redefining marriage anyway, why stop now? Why two? Why not more?”

Now, if you are in the pro marriage equality camp, and you do feel that marriage must be confined to two partners, I would love to hear it. But our movement was never about just two. It’s about equality, and the historic fight won in the U.S. Supreme Court was about people of the same sex being able to enter into a marriage contract with one another – two because that’s the marriage convention we have. If a group of polygamists/polygynists began demanding the right to marry tomorrow, I for one would not have a problem with it; and here’s why:

Relationships that have a sexual component, in this case marriage, hinge on consent. The reason we do not allow children to marry children, or adults to marry children or animals, is because children and animals do not have the mental or emotional capacity to understand the meaning of such relationships; and cannot appropriately give consent. In the case of adults, be it two or more than two, consent can freely be given. Polygamy may not be right for you, it certainly wouldn’t work for me, but where consent is present, I see no reason to impose restrictions on it based on my own distaste. I can’t answer the question “why two,” because I am not of the mindset that it must be only two.

I must admit, I find this question a bit curious, considering where it comes from. Those posing it are firmly in the “only two” camp, and every time a progressive says what I just said, they feel a small sense of victory. “Ha! See? They have no morals! They say they are good people, but they just contradicted themselves!” The problem is that nobody contradicted themselves at all. I am a good person, and believing that marriage between consenting adults is okay, be it between two or more people, doesn’t make me a bad person. Among the many assumptions these opponents make is the belief that we agree with their morality, at least to a certain point. “We believe marriage is between two people, they agree with us on that, so if they say polygamy is okay, they have made a moral contradiction.” The reasoning behind this question is ludicrous, and based on an unfounded premise. Many of us do not agree.

The first five books of the Bible talk positively about polygamy frequently, and it’s used in all sorts of contexts – economic necessity, social organization, even by divine command. Two-person marriage is not the only God-ordained form outlined in the scriptures, yet it is seen as a fundamental issue of morality today that only two people, one man and one woman, be granted the right to it. The question “why two” is a good one, but it is being asked of the wrong people. Those asking “why two” need to have the question turned back on them. To the evangelicals asking us “why two,” I ask the same of you. I never said “two,” and the funny thing is your Bible doesn’t insist upon it either. So why two? Why is it that you are so adamant that marriage be between two people? Let’s be honest, you have more scriptural support for your arguments against same-sex marriage than you do against polygamy; and that’s not much. So why two?

As a final thought, consider this. We on the progressive left are being challenged on moral grounds by people who believe a book that says a woman, subject to the will of her father, can be forced to marry her rapist (Deuteronomy 22:28-29, Exodus 22:16-17). We are being asked “why two” by followers of a God, eternally unchanging, who allows polygamy under certain circumstances (Genesis 16:1-11), and is arguably generally accepting of it when you take all of scripture into account. We are being asked “why two” by people who assume we think “just two.” They don’t know if we feel this way, they just assume we do, and cry moral foul when it turns out we don’t. To our evangelical opponents, perhaps you would care to answer the question: Why two?

 

The Significance Of Justice Scalia’s Death

If you haven’t already heard, United States Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia peacefully died in his sleep on February 13, 2016 at the age of 79. Appointed to the Supreme Court by Ronald Reagan in 1986, Justice Scalia was a longstanding opponent of virtually every old school value that seeks to discriminate, deny freedoms, or otherwise oppress. He was anti-marriage equality, anti-choice, and pro-death penalty; a position in direct conflict with his ‘pro-life’ views. He consistently disagreed with progressive decisions on gender and racial equality, as well as protections based on sexual orientation. He was a massive hypocrite, having no problem when rulings went his way, but claiming the Supreme Court had overstepped its bounds when they ruled against him. In the 2004 Elk Grove Unified School District v Newdow case, as well as in a later 2013 interview, he demonstrated a belief that Christian values should be allowed to influence certain policy decisions. In short, and contrary to what some have written already, Justice Scalia conducted himself in the legal arena in accordance with his personal religious beliefs – and effectively against the U.S. Constitution that he is said to have loved.

Presidential hopeful Donald Trump, upon hearing of Scalia’s death, tweeted “The totally unexpected loss of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is a massive setback for the Conservative movement and our COUNTRY.” This says a lot.

Now, many have written that Scalia will be remembered as a brilliant legal mind, a man to be admired. I respectfully disagree, but before I continue let me be clear that I am in no way celebrating the man’s death. I am merely having one of the many discussions that Antonin Scalia’s judicial legacy demands. That being said, I am a firm believer that although we need not dwell on the deeds of the departed, if a person acted despicably in life, that does not change after their passing; and should not necessarily be kept silent. The passing of Justice Antonin Scalia, a man who left a reprehensible legacy from my point of view, demands discussion. His death carries with it huge implications for the future of America, which brings us back to Donald Trump’s tweet.

“The totally unexpected loss of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is a massive setback for the Conservative movement …” It’s amazing how so much can be said in so few words. At the time this is being written, President Obama has not yet announced whether he will appoint a successor or hold the decision over for the next president, but if I have been reading the cultural and political tide in America correctly, two things are almost certain. (1) the next President of the United States will likely be a Democrat, and possibly one who is not beholden to the traditional establishment (let’s hope), and (2) that will result in the appointing of liberal justices to the Supreme Court. In other words, far-right conservative Justice Scalia will likely be succeeded by someone who holds progressive views. This will bring a breath of fresh air to a seat that has been held by a hateful anti-equality blowhard since 1986. As long as the Supreme Court is responsible for ruling on social issues, a new liberal face will better ensure positive outcomes; and a more solid base in support of the views held by the liberal SCOTUS contingent. Granted, the Republican Senate will do whatever they can to keep this from happening, but even a more grounded conservative would be an improvement.

So let’s discuss the root issue with the ‘Conservative movement.’ To be absolutely blunt, the Conservative movement is one that seeks to deny equal rights and protections to all who are not cis white male. For those who aren’t familiar with this term, a cis white male is a person who is caucasian, has a penis, and identifies as a man (cisgender). I realize that your knee-jerk reaction may be to dismiss this statement as a conspiracy theory, but this is all well documented and researched. As a matter of fact, modern Feminism and the LGBTQ+ rights movement is about this very thing – our patriarchal system run primarily by white men – and if you want a current reference point, I encourage you to start following the U.S. Republican primaries. The comments being made about social issues and policy by Trump and company show us exactly what the Conservative movement is … and it’s not pretty. Justice Scalia was a part of that movement, and every time one of their members passes away, our potential for good grows just a little bit more.

Society is becoming increasingly secular. Humanist values continue to permeate our social consciousness, and as that happens, we reject and push back against outdated ideas that hold us down and deny us our full humanity. The politicians who are already liberal-minded begin to come around and follow suit. As the cis white male Conservative movement ages and loses members, those voices are not being replaced. Instead, liberal progressive voices are rising to fill the void. The time will come that the patriarchy will have lost all relevance, and that time is closer than many of us think. This is why Justice Scalia’s death is so significant. One of the most influential voices in the American patriarchy, a voice that held a position of great power, has been lost. That voice will not be replaced. Instead the position will be filled by a progressive, and those who enjoy cis white male privilege … people like Donald Trump … are right to view this as a big loss for them. It is, and that’s exactly what equality looks like. You see, contrary to what many claim, this isn’t about the proletariat overthrowing the bourgeoisie. It’s about equal footing, equal opportunity, equal dignity, respect, and freedom. Equality requires privilege be lost. Cis white males need not be cast asunder as inferior to anyone else, at least I don’t want to see that, but the privilege they enjoy by virtue of an uncontrollable condition of birth has to disappear.

I am not cisgender, but I am white, and I do have male genitalia. Although I don’t identify entirely as male, I look the part. As a result I have cis white male privilege, and that has kept me from experiencing many terrifying things that are everyday concerns for members of other minorities. Since coming out as gender variant, I have struggled with fears that were foreign to me, and that has given me a small sense of just how powerful cis privilege is. White privilege is more powerful still, and it is so vital that we tear down those walls. It’s too easy for those of us with white privilege, for those with cis privilege, to condemn and marginalize without even realizing it. We have to keep ourselves, and each other, in check. Privilege has to be done away with. Each and every loss for the Conservative movement is a step closer to that goal. The loss of Justice Antonin Scalia is a potentially huge win for progressivism, liberalism, and equality.

 

Some Thoughts On “Drop The T”

An unfortunate petition recently appeared on change.org, calling on groups like Lambda Legal, GLAAD, and the Human Rights Campaign to drop the T from the LGBT acronym. Among the justifications for this were claims that the Trans community has a different ideology “from that promoted by the LGB community,” and that this ideology “is ultimately regressive and actually hostile to the goals of women and gay men.” Now, the above named groups have all spoken out against the petition, and it hasn’t gained much support from the community; but this is being latched onto by anti-equality activists like Dr. Michael Brown, as a sign of weakness … a rift among the “gay activist movement.” There are three things I would like to touch on. The first is a response to this ‘rift theory.’ The second is a thought on cooperation and communication for my fellow Trans activists. The third is a direct response to a part of the petition that I was particularly struck by – that the Trans ideology is hostile to the goals of women.

(1) Within any group of people, you are going to find differing viewpoints; and every once in awhile you are going to find someone who takes a misguided and hurtful idea into the public sphere. This doesn’t mean there is a rift, however, quite the contrary. The “Drop the T” petition has been met with opposition from within the community, because it stands against the very foundation of LGBT activism itself – Equality. We talk about, promote, educate, and give exposure to our issues and struggles because equality depends on understanding. The “Drop the T” petition has been met with a calm, matter-of-fact, and very professional “NO” from the groups it was directed at. What we have here is a few people who are disillusioned and angry, and an entire community denying their request to take unnecessary action. If anything, this is a sign of strength. The community is coming together against someone seeking to undermine all that we’ve worked for. Those who see this a sign of weakness, people like Dr. Michael Brown, had better look again. We are strong.

(2) I think it’s important to point this out. We aren’t perfect. Despite the fact that the petition is a minority view, it shows that we still have work to do in our own house. One of the big problems the drafter of the petition has with the Trans community is the reaction some Trans people have when questions are raised. This is not a new complaint, and I have seen it myself. Often (though not always), Trans activists are not entirely receptive, and will lash out when certain queries are made. I saw this firsthand at a conference, where a woman asked a Trans panel if it was necessary to have so many identifying terms within the Trans community. Now, I understand that gender identity is very complex, and “Genderqueer” is the word I use for my own gender variance. But “Genderqueer” is just one of many terms I could have gone with. It’s a deeply personal thing. Some of us understand and accept that, but not everybody does. The woman who asked the panel if so many terms were necessary was asking an honest question, but the response was loud and angry. This should not have happened, and it disillusioned quite a few people.

The frustration is understandable. Trans issues are currently the most misunderstood in our human experience. From washrooms to pronouns, people just don’t get it, and we are losing a lot of lives to the same hatred that has taken the lives of countless gay and lesbian men and women. The discussion on gender is just getting started, and the desire to live freely and openly is a desire worth working for. But we have to realize that change comes with time. Prior to his murder in 1978, Harvey Milk had been a leader in the infancy of the Gay Rights movement. It would be 37 years later, in 2015, that marriage equality would be reached in the United States; and we still have a long way to go. Trans issues are decades behind. Gender identity is not understood, the social dynamics and implications are not understood, and the way we are going to get them understood is by education and discussion. The way to achieve for the Trans community what has been achieved for the LGB community is by using the same methods. I understand the frustration, and I understand the very real and present dangers we face, but it’s up to us to lead the discussion on this topic … shouting at people for asking questions creates enemies, not allies.

(3) The statement that the Trans ‘ideology,’ as if there is only one, is hostile to the goals of women is offensive from the outset. Aside from the implication that all Trans people are the same, the pressing problem is what is meant by the entire statement. What the petition is saying is that people like Caitlyn Jenner are men masquerading as women, and in doing so using male privilege to further oppress and/or mock women. For a homosexual person to say about Trans people exactly what has been said about them is absolutely disgusting.

Homosexuality has been called a choice, a mockery of gender and gender roles, and a lifestyle, among many many other things. Ignorant critics think they’re clever when they say that in same-sex relationships “one plays the man, the other plays the woman.” The similarities between what’s been said about the LGB community and what this petition says about the Trans community are so glaringly obvious we shouldn’t have to talk about them.

“Hostile to the goals of women.” Anybody who says this doesn’t understand what gender identity is AT ALL. Gender is a matter of brain organization, a matter of function. A Trans woman IS a woman. A Trans man IS a man. A Trans person who’s gender is both man and woman, a person like me, IS both a man and a woman. A Trans person outside of the binary … IS a person outside of the gender binary. These are intrinsic pieces of identity, they are as naturally occurring as sexual orientation. To say that Trans ideology is hostile to the goals of women, is to say that sex and gender are the same thing, that being Transgender is wrong, and that being biologically male while “claiming” to be a woman, or being biologically female while “claiming” to be a man, undermines the goals and issues of women’s rights. You might as well say “I want to say something about Trans issues, and I know all I need to know from watching Jerry Springer. I think it’s fake and offensive, so I’m just going to go with that.” A much better strategy, unless you’re trying to look foolish, would be to say nothing at all.

So in response to those giddy with excitement over a perceived rift in our cause – sorry to disappoint you. To my fellow Trans activists, effective communication is incumbent upon us if we are to make any kind of progress. In direct response to the petition – I could write a book on the problems with it, but for now I’ll keep with the point that struck me hardest. If you think we are hostile to women, you might want to consider looking for credible information on Transgender issues. It couldn’t hurt to learn a few things, so that next time your foot doesn’t go directly into your mouth.

 

The Pope Met Kim Davis: What Matters Is The Impact

I was waiting for confirmation from the Vatican before saying anything, and now that they’ve confirmed it, it’s time to talk about the Pope’s recent visit with Kim Davis. If by now you don’t know who Kim Davis is, I recommend both reading my September 5th post “Kim Davis Broke The Law,” and doing a quick Google search for her name. This woman is a hero to the evangelical right, and a pariah to the secular left. She is a polarizing figure to say the least, a beacon of God-inspired exclusion. She has been marketed as a martyr, embraced by Mike Huckabee, and now Kim Davis seems to have found favour with the most influential Christian leader on Earth – Pope Francis.

Pope Francis has done a lot of good. He refuses to live lavishly, he shuns the rich to eat with the poor, he is a champion against our destruction of the planet, and he was surprisingly impressive when addressing the U.S. Congress on his recent visit. He is also a skilled hypocrite. Very recent exceptions aside, the Pope panders to his nearest available base. He eats with the poor but does little to help them. He said “who am I to judge,” and then slammed the LGBTQ+ community at a Vatican-run interfaith International Colloquium On The Complimentarity Of Man And Woman. He is, quite frankly, very similar to another well-known Catholic figurehead – talking out of both sides of his mouth while holding to the values and ideals that keep those he claims to care about in the same desperate situation. Francis is nothing new, he is merely a deceptively polished version of the same charlatanry the papacy was built on. His meeting with Kim Davis should come as no surprise, but the impact of it is worthy of discussion.

Now, it should be noted that Charles P. Pierce wrote a piece for esquire.com, published just yesterday, effectively arguing that the Pope may have been swindled into meeting with Davis; an attempt by his enemies within the Vatican to discredit him. Mr. Pierce is not the only one suggesting a set-up here, and I must admit his argument is plausible. That being said, for the reasons stated above, I believe it naive to just give the Pope a free pass. Meeting with Kim Davis is not unbelievable given his loyalty to traditional doctrine, and he may very well agree with the many Christians who praise her ridiculous behaviour as heroic. Given the likelihood of Francis agreeing to meet with her had he known the situation, the issue of whether or not he actually knew and was tricked into it is irrelevant.

On to the important part of this story – the impact. Pope Francis’ approval numbers are through the roof. Catholics, evangelicals, members of most Christian denominations, even some Atheists, like this man. What he says carries a fair amount of weight. So what is a 10-year-old child supposed to think when the man they have been told to revere meets with a woman who is seeking to deny that child the same rights and freedoms as the heterosexual cis majority? Even if Francis never utters a public word about Davis, his actions speak loudly enough. The LGBTQ+ children dragged to mass every week learn that the Pope stands against them, the church stands against them, and their parents tell them to listen to the Pope and the church. In this childhood scenario, the world is not safe. These damaging influences on the developing minds of young people more often than not cause self-loathing, fear, hatred, bullying, too often suicide, and fatal attacks. We know this because it’s not a hypothetical. It keeps happening. Religious and familial influence play a huge part in who we become, and when that influence tells you that who you are is wrong, the impact is devastating.

It doesn’t matter if the Pope knew about Kim Davis, and despite the noise being made about what might have been said at the private meeting, the words spoken don’t matter either. What matters is perception, and the perception here is that the figurehead of the Roman Catholic church had a private meeting with one of America’s most notorious homophobes. The message sent is that the Vatican approves of Davis’ actions, and although not surprising to some of us, the impact this can have on LGBTQ+ Catholics is something we should be concerned about.

The message I wish to give to LGBTQ+ Catholics is this: There is nothing wrong with you. Kim Davis is wrong. Pope Francis is wrong. The doctrine that dehumanizes and oppresses you is wrong. Many of us understand the difficulty reconciling your identity with what the church teaches. We’ve been there, and we can help if you reach out and ask for it. You’re never alone in this. Whatever your identity, no matter who you are, Outspoken Ally has people who can help at the email address on the ‘About’ page. We can also put you in touch with other organizations that are on your side.

You don’t have to listen to the Pope. What’s wrong is wrong, no matter who says it.

 

Kim Davis Broke The Law

Kim Davis, the county clerk in Kentucky who defied the Supreme Court and refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, was found to be in contempt of court and sentenced to jail a few days ago. Cue her supporters, the droves of Christians who are now rushing to her defence, loudly screaming “foul” on the grounds of religious freedom being trampled. It’s a predictable response, and there’s one point her supporters are all missing … Kim Davis broke the law.

This case has nothing to do with religious freedom. Everybody has the right to freely practice their religion, but they do not have the right to impose their beliefs on others. When you work as a public servant, your right to religious freedom is limited to you – you may not infringe on the rights of the people your job requires you to serve. This is how rights and freedoms work in general. My right to swing my arm ends at my neighbour’s nose. When a law ensuring the rights of an oppressed group is passed, you follow it, and if you refuse to follow it you suffer legal consequences. It’s not complicated. The same thing happened when Jim Crow laws were abolished. People complained about losing religious freedom then as well, but I think we can all agree that re-enacting those laws would be a very bad thing.

The U.S. Supreme Court took mandatory prayer out of schools in the early 1960’s. That was one of many legal actions made to remove the imposition of Christian values onto people who do not subscribe to, or practice, Christianity. These laws are in place because they are good for us as a society. We may all freely practice the religion of our choosing, including none at all, but the government can’t take sides. When state laws are based upon religious belief, equality is, by definition, impossible. We follow the laws that bring equality closer, and if we are jailed for our refusal to do so, we may NOT then truthfully say that our religious freedom is being trampled. This is what has happened in the Kim Davis case.

Please don’t try to make Kim Davis going to jail into a reason to complain about religious freedom falling by the wayside. She is NOT a martyr. She refused to issue marriage licenses to a specific group of people, despite her job requiring her to. She broke the law, and she is suffering the legal consequences of doing so. Her anti-gay stance IS disgusting, it IS deplorable, and yes I DO think she is presenting herself in a very negative way … but none of that has anything to do with her going to jail. Before you start to complain about Christians being jailed for their beliefs, understand that doing so is to complain about something that isn’t happening; at least not in this part of the world. There is but one fact here: Kim Davis broke the law.

 

Matthew 19:3-6

Listening to sermons is a valuable research tool for anybody who wants to stay current on what various evangelical churches are teaching. I listen to sermons on homosexuality at almost every opportunity, and recently I’ve noticed a shift in many of the arguments. While the traditional approach has been to use Leviticus, Romans, and a few other scattered references to say everything from “it’s an abomination” to “we’re all sinners,” more and more preachers are opting to use Matthew 19. It makes sense for a Christian to look at what Christ said on any given topic, they are after all ‘Christ-ians.’ In the case of marriage, though, the idea that Jesus had anything at all to say about homosexuality is quite frankly offensive. Not to political sensitivities, but offensive to our human proclivity for honesty. To read into the text what isn’t there, and to use that to manipulate a congregation of believers, is dishonest at best.

Matthew 19:3-6 (NIV) ~ Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?” “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator made them ‘male and female,’ and said, ‘for this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh?’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

Let’s unpack this. The Pharisees asked Jesus a very specific question. “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife …?” The question was specific to heterosexual marriage. Jesus’ answer was specific to the question. This was a moment in which Jesus was being tested by his detractors to see if he knew the law regarding man, wife, and divorce. To hijack the passage and hold it up as an example of Christ’s condemnation of homosexuality is absurd.

It is argued that by referencing Genesis, Jesus was re-enforcing man-woman relations as the God ordained purpose for human sexuality. What this argument fails to realize is that the whole man-woman thing is strictly for procreation, the perpetuation of our species. Physically, the male and female sexes together are capable of reproduction, and for the majority of humans, sexual orientation facilitates that. Genesis is not insistent, however, that everyone be heterosexual. The existence of a natural way to reproduce has nothing to do with natural ways of showing affection or natural ways of enjoying intimate pleasure. These are often interconnected, but quite different things. Genesis is silent on this, it speaks only to relationships allowing for procreation and says nothing about relationships in which procreation isn’t possible. Otherwise we would have to consider relationships in which the couple is beyond their child-bearing years, not to mention young couples who cannot bear children. Going with the logic of the “God created them man and woman to multiply” argument, these too would be abominations.

Now, whenever it’s said that Genesis does not speak of homosexuality, somebody will inevitably bring up Genesis 19 (the story of Sodom and Gomorrah). That’s a topic for a different post, but there’s a discussion about it on our “Think” page. Regardless of what people think the story of Sodom and Gomorrah is about, a careful examination of ancient Middle East culture and scripture debunks the idea that the cities were destroyed because of homosexuality. There were a multitude of legal violations going on, to use the story as a scapegoat to justify anti-gay bias is too simplistic a reading.

Sermonizing on Matthew 19 is a desperate attempt to justify exclusionary bias. One by one, the evangelical and apologetic arguments have failed, and now we have preachers twisting and spinning the supposed words of Jesus of Nazareth into something that isn’t even there. To a faithful congregation, the idea that Jesus had a deeper meaning to his response is easy to believe, but such meaning would have been unnecessary and lost on the Israelites of 2,000 years ago. It must be said that Jesus was silent on the topic of same-sex relationships, and those who say otherwise must be corrected. There is simply no Christ-based argument to be made.

To our evangelical friends – use your best arguments against us, but avoid Matthew 19. When all of your arguments fail, which they have and will continue to do, join us in accepting and welcoming people for who they are; and not who you perceive them to be. I promise you will find a much happier life in embracing one another.