President Obama & Gay Marriage

Our President recently made history – just not the kind of history I am proud of or can support as an American citizen or as a follower of Jesus. Instead, I find myself grieved by President Obama’s statement supporting gay marriage in America. In an interview with ABC News, President Obama stated:

“I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married…I, you know, we are both practicing Christians and obviously this position may be considered to put us at odds with the views of others but, you know, when we think about our faith, the thing at root that we think about is, not only Christ sacrificing himself on our behalf, but it’s also the Golden Rule, you know, treat others the way you would want to be treated.”

Of course, the world was all abuzz about this – as seen by two potential magazine covers (one above and one below) using rainbow imagery often found in the gay culture.

Contrary to common media portrayal, many of us who oppose homosexual behavior do not oppose homosexuals. Yes, many who oppose homosexual behavior have historically responded very poorly and wrongfully to the gay movement with judgmental, mean-spirited, and even hateful statements and actions (I deplore this). Unfortunately, this has caused all of us who embrace Biblical standards of sexuality to be branded with an undeserved reputation for intolerance – or worse yet – as hatemongers. For those of us who call ourselves followers of Jesus, we need to unashamedly express truth as revealed by God in the Bible but also extend genuine compassion and kindness in our words and actions to the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) community.

It won’t be easy. Many in our culture see this as a discrimination issue and as a result, they view us as “narrow,” “prejudiced,” “intolerant,” “homophobic” people who discriminate against gay people. As Ed Stetzer writes:

“Christians have always believed and taught that God’s standard and intent is a man, a woman, a marriage, and a lifetime. To us, that just makes sense and it seems clear in the scriptures, but to an increasing number in our culture, this is simply discrimination. President Obama clearly justifies his reason for supporting gay marriage because of the Golden Rule – the idea that we should treat others justly, as we would want to be treated. So, we should not be shocked at their response. Many people believe that we are discriminating against other people by restricting marriage from gay couples -much like keeping black people out of a certain section of a restaurant. They see that as unjust and us as bigots.”

Pesonally, I don’t want to see the LGBT community unjustly discriminated against or to lose rights that belong to all of us as American citizens. And I don’t ever want to see violence used against them by those who oppose their lifestyles. But I also don’t want to allow our culture to redefine what is right and what is wrong morally. I don’t want culture to redefine marriage and family either. Politicians, Hollywood stars, and the news media don’t have that privilege or right. Not even President Obama – regardless of how much his views have “evolved” – has the right to change God’s laws. No, God has spoken and spoken clearly. He has defined what sexual behaviors are acceptable to Him without leaving any gray areas open to subjective opinion. His declarations are not only timeless, they are also loving. God knows what research and common sense have proven true regarding the negative consequences of sex outside of a monogamous male-female marriage. For example, just imagine what a difference there would be in the number of people who have suffered from sexually transmitted diseases if they had only followed God’s wise and beautiful design for sexuality. God loves us and wants to protect us from such pain. The Golden Rule our President refers to (Matthew 7:12) is about love but the kind of love Jesus spoke about does not support people living any way that they choose. The kind of love Jesus has is inseparable from truth – moral truth, God’s truth.

As I close, I believe I can say with sincerity that I love gay people. I have been at the hospital bedside of a homosexual man who was dying of AIDS. On another occasion, I went to the home of a gay neighbor who lost his lover to AIDS in order to express my sorrow at his loss. Just recently, I got into a conversation with a man in his 60’s regarding faith issues. I told him of the love of Jesus for him. Sadly, he responded that God would have nothing to do with him because he is gay. At that moment, I tried to express compassion for him as a person while expressing that while same sex attraction is not sin, homosexual acts are. But. . .so are acts of gossip, pride, idolatry, and outbursts of anger. Bottom line: we all sin in various ways. We all need Jesus to save us. At the end of our conversation, I hugged him and went on my way but I have not forgotten him. He is lonely. He is hurting. He needs real – and righteous – love.

So I leave you, my readers – whether Christian or Muslim – with a question. While we disagree on how many wives a man may have, our faith traditions generally agree regarding what God says about homosexual behavior. With this in mind,

How will you express your views about moral issues in a way that does not compromise your religious values but also expresses the unfathomable love of God for all people – including the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community?

10 thoughts on “President Obama & Gay Marriage

  1. Mark–

    For me the issue is that the culture IS redefining love and marriage, not for Christians, but for the culture that is our larger environment. Actually I think the decision of the military to enlist gays and lesbians without challenge was the leading edge of this; the President is following in the wake of other events. And what could be more American than the military? So the question that I’ve been mulling is, how do we as a church fine-tune our witness in a culture that has changed? How can we witness to the truth that we know, in a context that hears us as backward and unloving, in a way that makes God’s love and power clear? We’ve been in the habit of being able to speak our minds on most topics knowing that we will find a large measure of agreement or at least toleration in our host culture. If that changes, what are the ways in which we need to be wiser about how we communicate?

    –Dave

    • Dr. Dave–my old professor–thanks for your reply!

      I so agree. This issue of gay marriage is an issue that will not go away. Maybe, we as followers of Jesus have not been “salt and light” enough to bring a rightousness to our culture that could have prevented this. I don’t know. Now I feel the train is gaining momentum. Definitions are being changed by sitcoms, movies, music, and even the news media.

      Yes, you have touched on the question of the hour: how can we present the truth in such a way as to make both God’s power and His truth clear? May He give us such wisdom. The need for it is great.

  2. The only concept that can get in my mind about marriage is that marriage is only between a man and a woman.

    • Genesis 2:22-24
      Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman, ‘ for she was taken out of man.” For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

        • Peacemaker, I can’t speak for the Qur’an since I am not a Muslim. Maybe one of my Muslim friends can respond to your comment with more understanding than I would have. That would be appreciated.

    • Hussain,
      So great to hear from you, my friend!
      Yes, I so agree with you. It is the only concept–marriage as only being between a man and a woman–that I can get in my mind as well. It is simply the only way God has defined marriage: “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). This is also quoted (and affirmed) by Jesus in Matthew 19:5 and by the apostle Paul in Ephesians 5:31. I believe with all my heart that God has a divine design for marriage and when we violate it, there are painful consequences.

  3. This post really helped increase my awareness of how important and pressing this issue is becoming. We live in a nation that is changing every day, and conveying our love for others while living righteously through God’s grace shares a message in this arena that needs to be shared. Thanks Mark!

    • Nick,

      So great to hear from you, my friend!

      Yes, this issue will not go away. I believe it will only increase in its intensity – from both sides. You are so right. We need to balance love & grace with truth & righteousness.

      Keep living for Jesus, my friend!

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