What should a Christian’s response be regarding same sex marriages?
Many Christians are at odds with themselves wanting to understand the plight of civil rights, ( an all too familiar topic to us in the South) yet at the same time trying to understand a Biblical perspective when it comes to same sex marriages.
Christians want to please God and their neighbor, and find themselves at a crossroads as to how to do both.
On January 23, 2015 in Alabama, “Judge Granade of the US District Court for Southern Alabama struck down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, saying the ban violated gay and lesbian citizen’s equal protection and due process rights.”
This judge’s ruling caused a problem between federal and state government because 81% of the state of Alabama voted to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
When the federal judge decided what marriage would be for an entire state, the decision violated our state’s rights.
In a former case, the US vs Windsor, the court’s decision made it plain that same-sex marriage did not have to be recognized in every state, but that each state has a “well-established right to determine the definition of marriage” (Smith).
And so we find conflicting outcomes of cases dealing with whether or not states must observe same sex marriages.
Judge Granade also said Alabama failed “to provide ‘rational, much less compelling,’ arguments connecting the deterioration of ‘the biological family structure the state wishes to promote'”(Ballotpedia).
This deterioration of the biological family, in my opinion, is difficult to prove since homosexuals only make up 14% of the state’s population.
However, with the legalization of same sex marriage, given time, I am sure the state would see much deterioration of the biological family.
Judge Roy Moore’s Stance
State Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore explained that “the United States Supreme Court is very clear in recognizing that federal courts do not bind state courts,” and that Judge Granade ” ‘ has no control over the state of Alabama to force all probate judges to do anything’.” Justice Moore went on to say that since Alabama probate judges were not defendants in Judge Granade’s case, they did not have to obey the direct court order to legally recognize same sex marriage in Alabama (al.com).
And Justice Roy Moore is not the only civil authority that feels this way. Justice Clarence Thomas complained, “the court’s decision was made ‘without any regard for the people who approved these laws…or elected the representatives who voted for them'”(al.com).
Justice Roy Moore was then branded as George Wallace stereotype, reminiscing Wallace’s “schoolhouse door” stance.
The difference between Justice Moore and former Governor Wallace is that Wallace was trying to fight a ruling from the US Supreme Court which was handed down nine years earlier that dealt with the suppressing the rights of a race of people.
Our Supreme Court has made so such ruling as of yet in regards to same sex marriages across states. Therefore, Justice Moore was simply trying to uphold the ruling our state had already made in regards to marriage defined as being between a man and a woman.
Chaos ensued on February 8th, 2015, the day before same-sex marriages were to become legal in Alabama, as Justice Moore ordered probate judges in Alabama not to issue same sex marriage license.
Even though Justice Moore has made it clear that he believes marriage is between a man and a woman, and he was trying to follow his religious and moral convictions, he was also trying to protect State laws.
Governor Robert Bentley’s Stance
Our governor is a Republican and Southern Baptist who reads his Bible daily and believes marriage is between a man and a woman, but he did not want Alabama to be perceived as once again, “against history’s tide.”
Governor Bentley explained he simply did not believe defiance was the route to go because he has “to represent the state of Alabama to the rest of the nation and the rest of the world”(al.com).
My only concern is how is Alabama being represented in the eyes of God who has also made plain His feelings on homosexuality, which we will visit momentarily.
A question Governor Bentley will one day, no doubt, have to give an answer for.
The Gay and Lesbian Community’s Viewpoint
As mentioned earlier, the gay and lesbian community equate to roughly 14% of Alabama’s population of 4,849,377, but their small voice is causing quite a stir (hrc.org).
More than 1 in 5 explain they have experienced harassment monthly or more at houses of worship and 50% have experienced harassment at school (hrc.org).
Their goals are to prevent harassment and violence against them, increase workplace protections and opportunities, support gay and lesbian youth in schools and communities and ensure homosexual families have the protections through marriage (hrc.org).
Of course, I cannot speak for all of society, but according to the latest gallup pole, over half of society, 55%, supports same sex marriage. This number has doubled in the last eighteen years, which makes me wonder where we’ll be as a society in the next twenty years (McCarthy).
A recent talk show stated that society needed to re-visit the definition of marriage.
Viewed as an infringement upon a minority group’s civil rights, society feels that new laws need to be made to ensure the homosexual community enjoy the same rights as heterosexuals do when it comes to marriage.
Many churches are beginning to accept homosexuality as correct as well. I recently watched on the news at the leaders of one denomination came together from across the US to vote on the issue.
The vote passed to honor same sex marriages in their churches by 70%.
Same Sex Marriage is Not About Civil Rights
I mean, all this sounds logical does it not? Admit it, if you were living as simple a lay person in the world, without Biblical convictions, it would seem logical that no group of people should have their civil liberties suppressed, right?
But is same sex marriages a matter of civil liberty? Or is it simply a choice people make about a characteristic in themselves they would like others to view as normal?
Gregory Kokul, President of Stand to Reason, explained the issue this way:
“Same sex marriage is not about civil rights. It’s about validation and social respect. It is a radical attempt…using government muscle to strong-arm the people into accommodating a lifestyle many find deeply offensive, contrary to nature, socially destructive, and morally repugnant.”
Homosexuals are not a race of people
When society compared Justice Moore to Governor Wallace, they missed an important point: Wallace was suppressing the rights of a race of people; Moore was upholding our state’s law regarding a choice people make concerning their sexual orientation.
Despite many homosexual’s belief they are born with homosexual tendencies, I do not believe this to be so. Having had association with homosexuals in a church setting, I have an insight as to how they choose the lifestyle.
One bi-sexual female explained that many people do not understand the pull in the spiritual level of a person toward this type of lifestyle.
Oftentimes, a person’s destructive behaviors, be it physically or emotionally, can be traced back to a spiritual issue.
Two lesbians attended a church where my father served as Senior Pastor. Both were interested in a relationship with Jesus Christ.
One worked with our freedom ministry, became free from the pull of homosexuality through a spiritual deliverance, and is happily married to a wonderful man and has a beautiful daughter.
The other woman returned to her lifestyle.
Even Nature Does Not Agree
It does not take a person of great intellect to understand the “birds and the bees.”
Whether you believe in a divine Creator or not, anyone can see that homosexuality is a choice which goes against the very laws of nature that brings forth life.
Think about it…
If the entire world decided to practice homosexuality, reproduction would cease.
A Christian and Re-definition
So, how’s a Christian living in a society that feels a re-definition of marriage is needed, supposed to react when everyone views us as close-minded?
Even Russell Moore, the Southern Baptist Convention public policy head, said that Alabama judges who could not bring themselves to issue marriage license to same sex couples in Alabama should resign instead of trying to fight the law while holding office (DeMar).
So, is everyone who has a moral conviction over the matter supposed to step down from their civil offices?
Should all our representatives in Washington who define marriage as between a man and woman step down from representing the Christian voice?
The very idea is completely absurd. God places people in positions of power so they can make a difference in a nation.
If everyone who had a moral conviction stepped down from office, there would be no one for God to use to bring about change.
Basically, it comes down to obeying God’s Word. As Jeremiah Castille explained,
You cannot look at the situation to decide if you are going to obey God.
Governor Bentley could take a lesson from this former All-American Pro football player.
The Biblical View of Homosexuality
As Christians, we draw upon God’s Word to help us determine whether homosexuality is right or wrong. This is the same book our country was founded upon, by the way.
“Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their [own] hearts to sexual impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves…” Romans 1:24
“For this reason God gave them over and abandoned them to vile affections and degrading passions. For their women exchanged their natural function for an unnatural and abnormal one, And the men also turned from natural relations with women and were set ablaze (burning out, consumed) with lust for one another–men committing shameful acts with men…” Romans 1:26-27
“And so, since they did not see fit to acknowledge God or approve of Him or consider Him worth the knowing, God gave them over to a base and condemned mind to do things not proper or decent but loathsome.” Romans 1:28
“Though they were fully aware of God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve to die, they not only do them themselves but approve and applaud others who practice them.” Romans 1:32 All quotes from Amplified Version
In modern English, there were people throughout the Bible that practiced homosexuality. Because the people chose to believe what they wanted to do was morally acceptable, God allowed them to believe it.
It was not that He did not try to show them the correct way. You can also find His instructions to His people in Leviticus 18:22:
“You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.”
Since people did not feel they needed to acknowledge God in their behavior, He allowed them to do what they wanted, paying a great price in their bodies and emotions.
Those that practiced homosexuality before Jesus’ sacrificial death for our sins were considered lawbreakers against God’s covenant, and were given the death penalty.
Fortunately, Jesus was sent to die in our place so that is no longer the case. God made a way for every person, homosexual and heterosexual to be able to be forgiven of their wrongs and come to Him for help to break the cycles of sin through the death of his Son, Jesus.
However, psychologists will explain there are certain destructive behavioral tendencies that are more difficult to shake than others.
Having worked in freedom ministry (helping those bound by demonic oppression and possession), it’s been my experience that a tendency toward homosexuality is one of the most difficult to overcome.
It’s very premise is against what God designed, therefore, is in direct conflict with God’s desire for mankind.
A person who allows their very nature to be touched by a demonic force often finds themselves “bound” to the tendencies which drive them to live in a way that is opposite the way God designed.
I have heard homosexuals say they desired not to be gay, and even prayed that God would take it away from them, yet they still practiced the lifestyle.
Once an individual dabbles in the homosexual life style, many find the pull of the enemy toward this life style to be greater than their resistance. At this point, it will require spiritual intervention to become free plus a great effort on the individual’s part.
How Should We Treat Homosexuals?
God still feels very strongly that homosexuality is a sin that is not to be accepted or applauded. And He doesn’t appreciate us attempting to “re-define” what he Has already made clear.
Homoesexuality was an abomination to God because He created us. He knows every intricate detail of our inner workings.
The Bible tells us that God knows us even before we are conceived in our mother’s wombs (Jeremiah 1:5).
God knows the affects of practicing that type of lifestyle has on our emotions and spirit, and that is why He is so passionately against homosexuality.
God also does not condone the harassment or violence toward any people. Hate never won someone–that’s love’s job.
We are to love the homosexual, but not accept their life style as correct.
We are not to shun them in churches or harass them.
We are to love them and allow God to correct them, whether it be a matter of heart or counseling with leaders of the Christian community.
Does God expect us to obey our civil and federal officials no matter what they tell us to do?
“Let every person be loyally subject to the governing (civil) authorities. ” Romans 13:1
We Christians find ourselves between a rock and a hard place when it comes to this question. We don’t want to appear as fanatics in front of society, but neither do we want to support what God has spelled out in His Word as morally wrong.
In the verse above, to be “subject” to our government means to be “submissive.” The Bible does teach unconditional submissiveness to our government, but…
the Bible does not teach unconditional obedience.
Submission deals with the attitude of our heart; obedience deals with fulfilling what we are told to do (Bevere 135). Whenever we deal with our governing authorities, we are to do so with an honorable, submissive attitude.
“The only exception in which we are not to obey authorities is when they tell us to do something that directly contradicts what God has stated in His Word…however, even in those cases we are to keep a humble and submitted attitude” (Bevere 135)
From Daniel facing the lion’s den to Shadrach, Mesach and Abednego facing the fiery furnace, people have often had to make a choice regarding whether or not to obey God’s Word in times of severe persecution. The list is endless of those who chose to follow God’s Word instead of the law of the land then and now.
Perhaps Franklin Graham puts it best:
“No earthly court has jurisdiction over the infallible Word of God.” (al.com)
For me, and many other Christians, it comes down to a matter of citizenship.
Physically, we enjoy freedom in the US; spiritually, we are citizens of the kingdom of God Jehovah.
Spiritual citizenship trumps physical every time.
Why Has Society’s View Changed So Much in the Last Few Years?
Many decisions have been made in this country over the past few decades to push God out of this nation. In so doing, we have silenced His voice and direction. Without His providential guidance, this nation is headed for disaster.
“Where there is no revelation, people cast off restraint…” Proverbs 29:18 NIV
“There are only two forces that hold back homosexuals from giving themselves over completely to their sin, and they are rejection by society and the repudiation and teachings of the church.
When society no longer rejects their sin as abnormal and fully accepts them and encourages them in their abnormality, and when the church no longer preaches against it as sin and consoles them in their sexual activities–there no longer exists any hindering forces.
The floodgates are open, and homosexuals are encouraged to continue in their sin. I have seen these two roadblocks being swept away. When that which hinders is taken away, chaos will follow.”
The above statement is taken from David Wilkerson’s book, The Vision and Beyond, which was written in 1973. At that time, Wilkerson received several visions from God detailing what would happen in society soon, and in the future.
We are now living out his vision.
Alabama is in a state of chaos because the people of this state are casting off restraint because there has not been adequate revelation of God’s Word.
Society now accepts homosexuality as normal, and encourages it to be accepted by every one. Just tune into any television show on ABC Family.
Churches are ceasing to cry out against this immoral lifestyle as homosexuality is being accepted as an alternate lifestyle.
What Wilkerson saw has happened, and the floodgates are open as these restraints are being removed. I shudder as I wonder what societal chaos is next.
Generations of sexually-confused young people will grow up with emotional scars as they try to determine their own paths of life.
And the children of the Christians will live in a world that views them as a minority of close-minded people which won’t listen to reason, making our children the laughing stock of society.
What Do We Do Now?
The answer lies in a sermon my husband recently titled, What If?
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14 KJV
This message is to God’s people–the Christians.
1. We Have to Humble Ourselves
We have to admit we have missed it as a nation in supporting what God’s Word called an abomination.
2. We Have to Pray
After admitting that we have fallen short of wisdom, we then need to ask God to direct us. How can we speak out respectfully in a manner we will be heard? How can we teach others correct sexual choices based upon God’s Word? We must ask for God’s wisdom.
3. We Must Seek His Face
In this pampered age, we’ve become accustomed to seeking God’s hand for His gifts–not His face for His presence. We need to become acquainted once again with our Heavenly Father.
And as we spend time in His Presence, we will find ourselves becoming more like Him.
4. We Must Turn from Our “Wicked” Ways
We have to stop calling wrong behavior correct. We have to stop doing whatever we feel like it and believing God overlooks are wrong doing. We have to put away our sins and get back into right standing with our Heavenly Father.
And when we do these things from our heart, despite what anyone thinks of us, God will begin to move in our nation.
But, what if we don’t…?
I think George Washington explained best what would happen to America if she turned her back on God’s guidance:
“The propitious smiles of heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself hath ordained.”
Truly we have disregarded God’s direction. Although God is rich in grace and mercy, and is long suffering with mankind, I fear the smile is fading from His face.
View Pastor Keven’s sermon, What If? by clicking the link below:
The US Supreme Court will be ruling on this issue of whether all states should recognize same sex marriages in June of 2015.
I plead with every Christian reading this, let us begin to do as 2 Chronicles 7:14 instructs us so that God will can bring healing to our nation.
If you would like to better acquaint yourself with how to respond to issues such as this, I recommend:
A special thanks to everyone who helped me in my research for this topic!
Sources for my research in case you’d like to delve a little further:
“Alabama’s gay marriage battle continues long fight for states’ rights. The Associated Press. AL.com. http://blog.al.com/news. February 17, 2015.
“Alabama Sanctity of Marriage, Constitutional Amendment 774 (June 2006). http://ballotpedia.org. February 17, 2015.
Bevere, John. Under Cover. Thomas Nelson Publishers. Nashville, TN. 2001. 135.
DeMar, Gary. “Oh No! Southern Baptist Leader says Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore should Resign for Defying Judge’s Order on Gay Marriage!. Eagle Rising. http://eaglerising.com. February 16, 2015.
Everyday Realities for LGBT Alabamians. LGBT Rights in Alabama Human Rights Campaign. www.hrc.org/Alabama.
“Franklin Graham on gay marriage in Alabama. AL.com. http://impact.al.com.2/17/2015.
Koukl, Gregory. “Same Sex Marriage Challenges and Responses.” Solid Ground.
McCarthy, Justin. “Same-Sex Marriage Support Reaches New High at 55%.” www.gallup.com. May 21, 2014.
Smith, Cameron. “Court Biased Own Ruling on Same Sex Marriages.” The Birmingham News. February 25, 2015.