Sam points out that:
(Some) Christians really need to start being honest about what taking anti-gay marriage positions mean: they hate gays.
Many Christians are just plain selfish on this issue. They believe that America is prosperous because it is a Christian nation. They believe God smiles on us. They fear that if wicked behavior becomes legal God will stop smiling on us and then poof! their prosperity will be gone in a cloud of fire and brimstone.
There are several flaws with this way of thinking. First, God never promised prosperity to the righteous. Second, American is not a Christian nation. Third, the concept of a “Christian nation” or even God’s legitimizing of some governments is not in the Bible. Next, wicked behavior is not always punished by God in the here-and-now. Most punishment has been reserved for the by-and-by. Finally, for a religion that is supposed to be founded upon legitimate altruism, selfishness or concern for self in this way, is the most wicked attitude a person can adopt.
Second, Christians have adopted a teleological view of the world which makes them heroes. From Max Weber on, the argument is made that it is the unique bundle of ethical standards which Christians (especially Protestants) espouse which has brought about our present prosperity. I dealt with that some in my previous post. Allowing homosexuality is seen as a threat to that bundle of standards. It is believed that the whole structure will tumble if one or two tenants are removed. Not so.
Finally Christians are afraid that if we talk about something, or discuss it openly, it will occur more. They are prudes. Let’s not discuss sex, not discuss war, not discuss murder. Let’s just not talk about these things. They forget that to maintain prudish conversation while reading the Bible aloud would require discarding the vast majority of the old testament, and major portions of the new. God does not want us to be ignorant of sin, just innocent of it. Read the list of sins in Leviticus and Deuteronomy. Read the sins committed by the characters in Genesis, and try to remain a prude. God wasn’t shy about sin.
But Christians think that they can preserve their children from sin by sheltering them from hearing about it. Good luck with that. Youth groups are overwhelmingly ineffective at preserving churched kids beyond the college years. Parent’s efforts are misdirected if they are focused on behavior. You can’t prevent your kid from anything, let alone homosexuality.
Christians also have a poor understanding of marriage. They think the government ought to be involved somehow. I have two marriage relations. One is a contract, the other is a covenant. Both are with the same woman – my wife. The contract is what my wife and I have on record with the state – to be enforced by the state. It says that we share our property and both have custody over our children. It makes enforcement of certain laws and other contracts more efficient and creates a savings for society for us to maintain this contract, so the state refunds us some of this savings in the form of various discounts. We enjoy a particular tax benefit, for example. If we want to break this contract, we have to pay penalties, and in many ways refund our discounts, in the form of court fees, etc. The rationale for this relation is completely utilitarian, and for that reason, I see no justification in prohibiting it to homosexuals.
The second relation is the covenant I have with my wife through God. This relationship is intended to be a physical demonstration of Christ’s love for the church. It is thus accompanied by pure, altruistic, unconditional love by each of us for the other. I covenant with God to love my wife no matter what, because the fount of my love is God’s love for me, and not any emotional feelings I might have in passing. This covenant with God is eternal. It has the positive externality to the world of demonstrating Christ to them. It has the benefit to us of having God involved in our relationship, and the joy which is supernatural added to our own pleasure.
God has limited participation in the marriage covenant to men marrying women. Therefore, I think CHURCHES ought to do the same. But I don’t see how anyone outside the church has any legitimate claim against a church that adopts this ethic. Just go to another (apostate) church to get your marriage ratified. I will argue that the covenant does not exist, because it is dependent upon God, who has rejected it, rather than on the individuals getting married. But Christians have no place discussing these things until they start taking the covenant seriously themselves. That is, until the divorce rate among Christians is zero, there is no justification for blasting homosexuals on this issue.