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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

My Stab at a Political Issue - Gay Marriage

Since getting pregnant, I regularly watch "The View." I enjoy this show because they talk about religion and politics, and frequently the debates get so heated that I am crawling out of my seat.

Today they had guest panelist Star Parker, on the show and boy, did things get uncomfortable! Star is an African American woman, who used to be a welfare mom, on drugs, into crime, but became a born-again Christian and now is a spokeswoman for conservative Christian political issues.

Star got put on the spot multiple times as Barbara and Joy asked her questions like, "What does it mean to be born again?" "What do you think about gay marriage?" and "Weren't you divorced from your minister husband? Practice what you preach!"

I was squirming all over the place, but after it was said and done, I found myself rehearsing my own answer to these questions. Particularly the one regarding gay marriage, because I have yet to hear anyone adequately answered this question.

I have gay friends who have never asked me this question, and yet they've never felt they had too. They know where I stand. I know where they stand. However, this doesn't let me off the hook. I should still articulate my thoughts. So here goes -

I have no trouble with gay people getting married! However, I can't reconcile a gay couple getting married in the church. Likewise, I don't have trouble with my gay friends being gay. However, if they were to give their hearts to Jesus and ask him to guide their lives, I think he would lead them out of a gay lifestyle.

Here's the watershed for me - I don't understand why Christians insist on asking Non-Christians to live like them.

As believers we know that Jesus asks us to make decisions and live lives that are harder than we are capable of attaining on our own. Jesus asks us to give up our money. He asks us to love our enemies. He asks us to be monogomous. He may ask us to give up a boyfriend or a girlfriend. He may ask a gay person to remain celibate. These things are simply too hard to do on our own strength. But we also believe that Jesus sends us the Holy Spirit to enable us to make these very difficult life changes.

Why on earth do we expect people who have never experienced the life changing power of Jesus Christ to live like they have? It's simply too hard, and even we who are believers struggle to live by Jesus' standards.

This is why legislating morality, such as gay marriage, wrankles my chains. Turning Faith issues into political ones forces those who are not Christians to live by Christian standards.

This sets them up for failure, and it empties the gospel of it's power. Blending Christianity with politics imposes the rules without faith. And who of us, is capable of living a righteous life apart from Faith? (Romans 1:17)


Blogger Stacey Jolley Webb said...

Amen Sister...I absolutely love your ability to articulate your beliefs on these issues....I think I am gonna read this to my family...haha!

4:13 PM  
Blogger Abby Matchette said...

you spoke my heart and I think this is an article you should publish to Geez Magazine. It caputres what Christ said while here on earth as well. Your beautiful!

12:47 PM  
Blogger Cory Murman said...

"I don't understand why Christians insist on asking Non-Christians to live like them."

I completely agree and have been saying this for a while. It's like youth groups only accepting the kids who don't party, drink, have sex, etc. "If you're gonna fit in here and know Jesus, you've gotta stop that stuff."

Not one single soul has ever saved his or her own self from the punishment of sin. We should stop asking others to do so.

2:03 PM  
Blogger Christin said...

Stacey - You and I have had so many talks about this stuff. I finally hit the point where I felt like I needed to get it out in writing!;-)

Abs - Thanks for the tip! I'll do that!

Cory - I totally agree, brother!

10:45 AM  
Blogger Dave & Lynnette Mason said...

Christin, I wish you could be on the View!! That was beautiful, well said & it helped me to grasp what I was truly feeling about Gay Marriage...I don't care if they get married, I just care about them finding Christ, & then He will take care of their working first on their hearts.

3:30 PM  
Blogger Roxie said...

This is an I-wish-I'd-written-that post. I'm so glad I stumbled across this! Well said.

10:29 AM  
Anonymous Rob said...

Quite thought-provoking. Well done.

5:12 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

Do you remember when Star Parker came to IWU? I've read her book, Pimps, Whores, and Welfare Brats. It's good. Nicely communicated, the part about your feelings of gay marriage. Couldn't have said it better myself.

10:54 AM  
Blogger Christin said...

Beth, I don't remember that! How funny! She certainly held her own on the View and even articulated some of her thoughts very well. I was impressed.

Tangent -
I suppose part of my criticism of what Christians are communicating about Gay marriage has more to do with HOW they're communicating, not what. Eventhough Star was doing a great job defending her beliefs, I could see that there as a massive disconnect between her and the audience.

I believe we as Christians have to be aware of How we sound to those we're communicating too, and we need to take steps to articulate our views and beliefs in a way that doesn't alienate those people.

I guess, in the end, that's what this post is all about. I want to talk about gay marriage from a Christian perspective, but using my culture's language - not conservative Christian language.

3:09 PM  
Anonymous Kari said...

Christin -
Have you ever read "Middlesex"? It won the Pulitzer Prize a few years ago. It's about a person born with 'both parts.' I read it when I was searching my own beliefs about homosexuality. It was very impacting for me - and it just happens to be one of my favorite all time reads.

1:12 AM  
Anonymous Kari said...

One more thing: I think it's worth saying that I personally do not believe that a person's sexuality has anything to do with their morality. A few years ago, I asked a gay friend to patiently listen to all the arguments I'd been taught as a Christian about why it's wrong to be gay, and then go through them with me, one by one, and help me see my blind spots. It turns out there are a lot of blind spots.

An example: Your blog suggested that a gay man who becomes a christian may feel led by God to be celibate, suggesting that being gay isn't a sin, just having sex with other men is.

The problem is that we live in a world where christians have liberated sex, allowing it primarily to be about pleasure and connecting with the one we love - making babies is a secondary reason for sex. We spend most of lives on the pill, using condoms, preventing pregnancy (but still having a lot of sex), only using sex to create life a few brief times. If natural sex is about pleasure and connection, then people of the same sex can experience sex in all it's fullness just like we can. The idea that "gay people don't fit together...their sex isn't natural" no longer carries meaning.

That was the short version of just one of the myths I had to work through. There were a lot of them.

Sorry for the long post. I thought you might be interested in hearing another view.

You look fabulous with the little belly.

7:18 AM  
Blogger Christin said...

Hello Kari! So good to hear from you! I can't tell you how many times I look at your travel blog longingly. I think this bed rest is starting to make me crack.

About your rebuttal to my comment "God may ask a gay person to be celibate."

Let me clarify by saying that I don't presume to know what personal changes God may ask a gay person or any person to make, or in what order. I'm not espousing that celibacy is the answer for gay people.

My point is that what ever way Jesus wants to change our lives only He has the power to help us do that, and it is futile for Christians to perscribe changes for people's behavior, when we are not the ones with the power to help them change.

Now to your second point regarding the pleasure of sex justifying gay sex. (Let me preface this by saying that I am NOT interested in getting into a debate about why homosexuality is wrong and why Christianity is right. This misses the point. The minute Christians begin to judge lifestyles they seperate themselves from the people they are trying to love and help, and they fall into hypocrisy. I have NO desire to fall into this trap.)

Now to your argument: Of course sex is pleasurable! It always has been, all across the world, in every generation, and in every form: straight sex, gay sex, adulterous sex, menage et trois, masterbation/self-sex, the list goes on and on. Pleasure is no justification for doing anything. Not to mention that it's a weak arguement for Christian blindspots.

A better arguement against Christian blindspots is this one excellently worded by Gregory Boyd:
"The comic irony [is that] the group most vocal about 'the sanctity of marriage' namely the evangelical Christians, happens to be the group with the highest number of divorces in the United States, which itself has the highest divorce rate in the world!"
_The Myth of a Christian Nation_

Now THAT'S what I call a blind spot.

Thanks for your POV and for helping me articulate my thoughts further!

11:03 AM  
Anonymous Kari said...

Hey Christin,
Thanks for the response. Ofcourse, I understood that the point of your article was how Christians should not expect those outside of the faith to live by the same standards, and I probably took a little too much liberty to push the issue a little further. I think I was more moved by the comments - the overall agreement that being gay is just plain wrong. I think I just got a little 'riled up' and wanted to leave at least one comment that questions that idea. I do not think that the 'sex as pleasure' idea mentioned above is a brilliant overall argument. It is simply the short version of one small example of the ways some christians deem gay sex as less noble than straight sex.

Anyway, it's nice to hear you articulating a more open attitude towards people who are gay, even if it runs the risk of being the old view with a new coat of paint.

I respect you a lot...and maybe that's why I feel so free to comment. Can't wait to meet the new little one back in LA in the fall.

4:21 AM  
Blogger Christin said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2:09 PM  
Blogger Christin said...

I'm not ashamed of being old school. I believe Jesus has the power to change people's lives. And I hope the "new paint" means I withhold judgement.

"I respect you a lot" - As I do you, Kari! It's so good to talk through these issues. Thank you for commenting.

5:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bless you.

There are two questions behind your post that most Americans (Christian or otherwise) do not know how to answer satisfactorily.

First, to what extend should the public morality of our society be shaped by the morality of a particular religious system?

Second, if the public morality of our society is NOT to be shaped by the morality of a particular religious system, then on what basis do we decide what will be publicly approved or made illegal?


7:26 AM  
Blogger Drew & Erika said...

Hey Christin!

I love your writing, and the way that you can articulate down to the core issues. I hope that you can get this point of view "out" there to where millions of Christians can read it!

Love you!

4:58 PM  

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