GAY MARRIAGE in CALIFORNIA
Perhaps most of you heard the news that gay marriage will soon be legal in California (this is the state to which I immigrated more than 20 years ago). Somewhat expectedly the news was met with both joy and outrage. Many gays in California and in the rest of the nations seem very happy (most perhaps do not really care since they have no plans to ‘marry’), while many conservatives call this an ‘outrage.’ At least this is the word that James Dobson used.
Biblically speaking, the term for homosexuality is not an ‘outrage’, it is toevah. This is usually translated as “an abomination.” In my opinion, it is somewhat surprising that there are so-called Christians who disagree with the clear Biblical teaching that homosexuality is ‘sin,’ and I have no idea how both Obama and Clinton can claim to be Christians and totally disregard the Biblical stance on this issue. For very sympathetic but excellent treatment of this issue, see Richard Hays’ book: The Moral Vision of the New Testament.
Let me be clear here: I do not want a Biblical theocracy in the States and most evangelicals are in the same boat. However – as most citizens of the United States – we would vote against the legalization of something that we consider wrong and/or ‘sin.’ Thus – most of us would vote against the legalization of drugs, stealing, abortion etc.
In this particular case – I do believe that homosexuality is a sin, and I also think that it is unfair to hijack the word ‘marriage’ to refer to a relationship between people of the same sex. I would be more comfortable (but I would still think it is wrong) if this union would be called ‘gayriage’ or ‘sameriage’ or whatever new word the gay community would like to adopt (and I mean no disrepect whatsoever by the suggested terms). To redefine the word marriage, which is (and has been for thousand of years) defined in every culture and dictionary as a relationship between two people of the opposite sex would be unfair. Making up a new word for this relationship while giving the same rights to such unions would be more acceptable in my view.
Or course – this (the change of the word used to define a union between two gay people) would not change the way most people in the States (and of course in the world) feel about such unions. It definitely would not change the Biblical stance on this issue. However – it would be helpful to distinguish between a union that has a tradition of thousands of years behind it and one that is relatively new (to my knowledge there is no society on earth that has ever legalized and formalized relationships/unions between gays).
It is a fact that most Americans and most of the world believes that homosexuality is wrong and most do perceive it as something unnatural, perhaps a real toevah. Of course – especially for a Christians – this should never lead to hate and/or contempt anymore that my own sins (and they are many) and those in my congregation lead me to ‘hate’ myself or the members of my congregation.
Of course – what is particular troubling with homosexuality, abortion, and other activities that would be classified by the Bible as ‘sin’, is the fact that the society is trying to normalize these things and make them look normal and ‘not sinful.’ It is one thing to say that homosexuality is a sin and is wrong but I cannot resist it and it ruins my life, but it is a totally different level of sinfulness and defiance to say that homosexuality is normal and a homosexual lifestyle and union should be brought at the same level with a heterosexual marriage. This is to call black white, sin good, and toevah normal/beauty. And this is what unsettles most people with religious convictions (of course it does not apply to the Democratic [Christian ?] presidential candidates 😦 ).
I love all sinful people – including homosexuals. At least I try to love them – just as Jesus demands from me. And I want them to be really ‘gay’/joyful. One of the first things I can do to manifest my love is to tell them the truth in love. If you really want to be gay/joyful, admit that this is a sinful lifestyle and seek the help of Christ to free you from sin. Yes – I strongly believe (based on the Word of God) that you cannot be truly happy/joyful if you live in a sinful lifestyle – whether you recognize it as such or not.
Meanwhile – I am praying that God would work His sovereign will in California and the rest of the world. And if I will be given the choice – I will exercise my right as a citizen and vote against legalizing homosexual marriage in California (just as I would vote against legalizing abortion, slavery, euthanesia etc.) and beyond.
May God give wisdom to Christians, pastors, and presidential candidates to deal with this issue lovingly, wisely, and justly. Now – I will go and focus on my personal life and sinful behavior. And I pray that God will give me the wisdom and light never to view my sins as ‘normal’ and acceptable, and if I stand – not to fall!
For your joy,