Eugene Cho

church, gay marriage, and prop 8

Okay, let’s have at it respectfully.  You knew that the hotly contested and “controversial” Proposition 8 of California was eventually going to be discussed here.  Why am I bringing it up now?  This morning, I saw this billboard [online] and thought it would be worthwhile to host what I hope to be a passionate, compassionate, but above all, respectful dialogue.  I confess I don’t know much about the precise details of all that led to the actual vote of Prop 8 beyond the big picture media blitz it has received during the election season.

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What do you think of the billboard and it’s message from a group of Christians “sorry” about the results of Prop. 8.  From their website, Our Hearts are With You:

As a Christian, I am sorry for the narrow-minded, judgmental, deceptive, manipulative actions of those who took away the rights & equality of so many in the name of God…

Our primary hope in publishing this statement is to offer the love, hope, and grace of Jesus through a new voice of Christianity. The statement came in response to the passage of Proposition 8, but our message is not just to the LGBT community and its supporters.  We believe that God’s love and grace is for ALL people, regardless of race, creed, sexual identity, or life circumstances.  Jesus meets us right where we are.  “Christianity for ALL” is not a battle cry for a crusade, but it is a set of words around which a movement can rally to let ALL people everywhere know that God loves, cares, and accepts them just as they are…

With the passage of Proposition 8 in California banning gay marriage, the Church has successfully taken away the rights of a group human beings…the first time this has ever happened in the state of California.  Yes, it was accomplished through the political system, but it was the conservative church that started the movement.  While Missiongathering Christian Church is part of the Church (all churches in the world), the conservative churches who started, funded, and propelled Prop 8 do not speak for all churches.  Some Christians do not speak for ALL Christians.  We as a church feel called to be a new voice of Christianity.

And if you’re not familiar with Proposition 8 [California], this is a brief summary from Wikipedia:

Proposition 8 was a California ballot proposition that changed the state Constitution to restrict the definition of marriage to a union between a man and a woman and eliminated the right of same-sex couples to marry. The proposition did not affect domestic partnerships in California.

The campaigns for and against Proposition 8 raised $35.8 million and $37.6 million, respectively, becoming the highest-funded campaign on any state ballot that day and surpassing every campaign in the country in spending except the presidential contest. The proponents argued for exclusively heterosexual marriage while claiming that failure to change the constitution would require changes to school curriculum and threaten church tax benefits. The opponents argued that eliminating the rights of any Californian and mandating that one group of people be treated differently from everyone else was unfair and wrong.

The vote is over but what are your thoughts about Proposition 8.  Let’s be honest, this will come up again in numerous states in the upcoming years.  Here’s some thought I’ve shared before regarding church and the gay community:

  • Everyone has an agenda.  Let’s be honest.  The Church has an agenda and the Gay Community has an agenda.  When people speak about the influence of Christians, consider the influence of the Gay Community.  The example I gave:  How many Asian males are represented in Hollywood Primetime currently [2 - Hero and Lost] and compare that to the number of gay characters.  It’s neither good nor bad but a simple statement to say, “We all have an agenda.”  We’re all trying to convert people.
  • The Church is guilty of hypocrisy but it does not mean that the Church can’t say anything about sexuality and sexual beauty and depravity.  If no one but perfectly consistent people can say anything, who can say anything?
  • The Church must apologize for many things.  Many things.
  • The Church must learn how to listen.  We can hide in our churches, study diligently on our desks, and blog away but if we don’t know or learn how to listen, we can never even remotely come close to understanding the stories of others.
  • The Bible does speak – ever so briefly – about homosexuality.  But when it does, it speaks strongly. But, if we are honest about the Bible and what it says, it speaks contextually about homosexual behavior and not so much about identity which is what proponents of homosexuality often cite.  And yes, it’s still confusing.  But the Scriptures, in my opinion, do speak about God’s ethics of His created order which is what shapes my convictions.
  • This is a human issue.  Simply meaning, let’s not forget that this involves people.  Everyone that showed up to the “gay dialogue” knew someone – a parent, a child, a sibling, a friend, or a neighbhor that is gay.  Couple gay people also were present and contributed much for many to ponder about.  Remember:  this isn’t an issue, it’s about people with real feelings.  Even if your views differ from those in the gay community, be respectful.
  • Let’s not underestimate the role and power of the Holy Spirit in one’s life.  We can’t change people.   We teach, communicate, lead, guide, shepherd, love, rebuke, edify, etc. but ultimately, the Holy Spirit is at work.
  • The word I keep coming back to is “reconciliation.”  Isn’t that the heart of what we are called to as Christians?  To be ministers of reconciliation?  What does that look like? It’s an immensely complex issue with many, many layers.  Which leads me to the question, “Can folks who stand in opposition on Prop 8 still be in community together?”
  • Filed under: church, politics, religion, ,

    110 Responses

    1. Kenny says:

      The bible is clear that homosexuality is a sin. It’s also clear that marriage is between a man and a woman. So although people would disagree as to the rights of gay people, they have no less rights than anyone else. Playing the victim only works for so long. I’m sure some people will think i’m a homophobe, gay hater. I’m not, and if you think that I am, you’re being as judgmental as those you preach out against. Sure, they should pursue happiness, but can joy be found outside of God’s plan? I believe not. I’m proud of the result of prop 8. I think it’s best for our country. Absolutely.

    2. Michael W says:

      I have a very reductionist view:

      separate church and state.

      The State doesn’t grant Baptism, or Communion, what are they doing interfering with Marriage?

      If you want a ‘Civil Union’ anyone should be able to get one…If you want think there are special/magical powers that go along with it, thats fine.

      This will be unpopular to say, but I don’t think homosexuals should marry, in the same way that I don’t think atheists should marry, UNLESS a Church is going to grant that marriage, which there will always be homosexual accepting and encouraging Church’s regardless of if I agree with it or not.

    3. Michael W says:

      I also wanted to mention…

      Something that is frustrating to me, is in the Post-Prop 8 discussion, many of the people against Prop 8 are relating this to the Civil Rights movements and Segregation movements.

      I think this is very unfair, and trivializes those movements. The homosexual community has ABSOLUTELY had horrible things happen to them, but to compare it to what the African American community went though/still goes through is very unfair I think.

      Unless there are slave ships of homosexuals somewhere that I am unaware of….

    4. Being from California and having been inundated with the whole debate, I had a stock, one-liner response to the issue whenever I was asked about it.

      “Let he who is without sin cast the first vote.”

      Grace and Peace,
      Raffi

    5. Gfaith63 says:

      What truly baffles me is all of the support for gay marriage that I see from Christians. I really don’t get it…how do you support a measure that promotes sin? Supporting Prop 8 doesn’t mean that you “hate” homosexuals. The homosexual agenda plays on “words (hate) very well and have turned the whole subject into an emotional battle. I don’t see the Christians who support Gay marriage standing up for believers that are being heckled and verbally abused by the gay agenda supporters. It really is something else!

    6. Yes, I agree 100% with Michael W… church and state being separate, Marriage shouldn’t be considered a civil thing at all.

      Civil unions should have all the same rights as a marriage, and making them the same under the law is where a whole lot of tension could be resolved (I wouldn’t say this solves everything, but it’s a start).

    7. franksabunch says:

      As a Christian, I interpret the Bible as saying that homosexuality is a sin. Do I know people who are gay? Of course. Do I hate them? No. Do I feel that I am better than them? No. Do I feel that I am more worthy of God’s love than them? No.

      As an American living in a democratic society, I can find no reason why gay and lesbian people should not be allowed to get married.

      As an American Christian living in democratic society? I would have voted for proposition 8 if I was still in California. This is a democratic society and there is no reason why I should not be allowed to vote according to the morals of my religion, just as there is no reason why others should not be allowed to vote according to their own morals sans the influence of Word. The democratic process was untainted and conducted fairly. (Both sides had resources and received a lot of press.) If the results went the other way I would’ve accepted them.

      Regarding the church’s website statement: God’s love and grace provides forgiveness for our sins, not sanction.

      Another note (to get off track, sorry), I find it interesting that the proposition 8 opponents have taken to protesting outside of churches…but not those heavily populated by Latino Americans and African Americans. After all, didn’t Asians and Caucasians vote against prop 8 while Latinos and Blacks (overwhelmingly) voted for it?

    8. Dk says:

      @raffi,

      I agree but Jesus also did not condone the woman’s sin, right?

    9. Sue says:

      Kenny, Okay, I get what you are saying but the Bible is also very clear about divorce and its consequences. Why are Christians as passionate about passing laws forbidding divorces in marriage?

    10. d says:

      why is it so difficult for christians to allow the legality of gay marriage, when they allow the legality of atheist marriage?

    11. kate says:

      Oh…where to start. Brilliant billboard, and seems like a group that understands the immense hurt that has been caused by the moral majority both in the past and present.

      I guess the question that I keep coming back to is this: if it really is our goal, as Christians, to first and foremost love God and love people – are we REALLY communicating that by limiting the rights of gay citizens?

      Are Christians who support prop 8 expecting the gay community to suddenly realize, since they cannot legally get married, that they should be marrying someone of their own gender – and therefore turn their sexuality and identity 180 degrees, become attracted to the opposite sex, marry and create a happy, ‘normal’ family – and find Jesus in the process?

      Or does it just make everyone who acts out of the fear of what they don’t understand (homosexuality) more comfortable to know that the LGBT community is being ‘kept under control’ in some way?

      Honestly, not trying to be flippant here. Yet, I do think that much of the Christian community has knee-jerk reactions towards homosexuality out of fear, and that most churches fail to recognize their responsibility in apologizing for the hurt caused by the oppression of the LGBT community.

      To me, we serve a God who wants his people in relationship and reconciliation with each other and Himself. Is it our role, as Christians, to legislate morality that clearly creates a heartbreaking divide between two communities* who have the potential to live in peace with – and respect for – one another and perhaps even worship the same God?

      *the binary is for argument’s sake….there are, of course, those who fit into both categories (i.e. gay Christians).

    12. kate says:

      ack, edit – “opposite” gender, not own.

    13. Hak Kim says:

      Homosexuality is a sin according to the Bible.. Okay I can agree with that. But we don’t legislate everything that is a sin. There are plenty of sins that are not legislated. such as extra-marital affairs.

      Why has this become such a big issue then? It’s not a civil issue as others state above but rather a political one, with strong agendas on either side. It’s about granting a group of people their rights to marriage, a right that all of us have when we reach a certain age.

      I fully believe that we as christians must be change-agents thru conversation and our own behaviors, not by supporting/enacting said legislation.

    14. Daniel says:

      I’m an Orthodox Jew who hasn’t studied fully the New Testament and only read the Old Testament in Hebrew, so this might simply be a translation issue, but I’m curious, where does the Bible say that marriage is between a man and a woman? For that matter, where does the Bible mention marriage at all? Biblical commentators argue that Abraham and Sarah, for example, may have gotten married, but it certainly doesn’t say so in the (Hebrew) text.

      I generally agree with most of your commenters and yourself, that regardless of the religious debate over homosexuality, that should be separate from the political and certainly the criminal debate over it. I think, though, that one has to remember that marriage here is less an issue as marriage than as a symbol. Though MichaelW is right that there were no slave ships of gays (though there were concentration camps with them), it is reminiscent of Rosa Parks’ battle for a bus seat, important less for the seat itself than as a request for dignity. When gays are lynched in Iran, when Matthew Shepard is stoned to death, when the suicide rate is significantly higher for gay teenagers than others, decent people of faith and not have a duty, I think, to stand with those being beaten. Religious debates are important, and the Bible cannot simply be thrown out, but human beings have a political and human obligation as well. An extreme example would be to one who preached about the Jewish role in the Passion during World War Two. Perhaps doing such would have followed the literal Biblical word, but it would have defied all sense of humanity. I don’t think this vote did very much better.

    15. Jason says:

      I think there’s a difference in definitions at play here as well – something that hasn’t been mentioned yet. When I read Eph. 5, for example, I see a model of marriage laid out that suggests that marriage is a representation of the relationship between Jesus and the Church. But most Americans treat marriage as a contract between two people that came about as a result of an emotional tie. Some (like myself) understand marriage as somehow spiritual; while other see as a merely a civil institution.

      In conversations I’ve had with people, I often point out that if marriage were only civil, I would have no problem with someone marrying whoever or whatever they want. But since I don’t take marriage that lightly I feel that I have to support Prop 8. I think the gender element of Eph. 5 is a major piece of the puzzle – so you can’t switch it out/up.

      I do however, fully support equal rights for ALL people. The primary reasons I’ve always been given in support of gay marriage revolve around rights to adopt, visit loved ones in the hospital, health benefits, etc. If that really is the reason, than why can’t those things simply be made available to gay couples just as easily as hetero couples? Those things, while very important, are not spiritual.

      As I see it, marriage has always been inseparably connected to the religious community. Unfortunately, the state has taken it over and the meaning/significance has become skewed…

    16. It really saddens me that in a world plagued by hunger and disease, churches are spending thousands upon thousands of dollars on this issue. And the only result I can see is that it has further alienated the gay community. (I’m reading a book now that says 91 percent of non-Christians use the word “anti-homosexual” to describe Christians. I think we may have earned this perception.)

      Most evangelicals that I know think gay marriage should be banned because 1) the Bible teaches that homosexuality is wrong, and 2) gay marriage threatens the “sanctity” of marriage.

      So, using this logic, shouldn’t we amend state constitutions to ban divorcees from getting remarried?

      The Bible is much clearer about divorce than it is gay marriage. “’For I hate divorce,’ says Lord, the God of Israel.” (Malachi 2:16) Jesus says that “everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries one who is divorced form a husband commits adultery.” (Luke 16:18)

      So the Bible clearly teaches that divorce is wrong and getting remarried after a divorce is wrong as well. Where’s the amendment? Why aren’t Christians spending time and money trying to make it illegal? What am I missing here?

      Furthermore, I think that most people would agree that with 50 percent of marriages ending in divorce in this country, divorce is a much greater threat to the “sanctity” of marriage than gay marriage. But perhaps this just hits a little too close to home. Banning divorcee marriage would mean that nearly 50 percent of Christians would suddenly find themselves in the position of having THEIR civil rights restricted.

      (You could also argue, using the same logic, that we should amend state constitutions to ban interreligious marriages, which are also forbidden in the Bible.)

      Obviously, I’m not advocating that we do. I’m just pointing out the inconsistency here.

      In my opinion constitutions exist to PROTECT the rights of citizens, not take them away. I think separation of church and state is a good thing that ought to be preserved in this country. But most of all, I just don’t see how in the world fighting against gay rights is going to help the church build bridges to the gay community.

      There’s no upside to fighting for Prop 8, if you ask me.

    17. Jennifer says:

      In the midst of this debate I am concerned not only for rights for everyone…but also for Christians to reconsider what marriage actually is for themselves. We have the wooden “1 man 1 woman” definition, but I think we could take this as an opportunity to think more deeply.

      In some countries in Europe, the civil marriage and the religious marriage are 2 different ceremonies.

      I think if we had civil marriage availble to anyone, and Christian marriage available to those who desired it, then having a Christian marriage might mean somehting. Becuase right now all it means that you divorce as much as (if not more than) anyone else. What could it mean to have a specifically Christian marriage? If we ever had a prophetic voice on marriage, we lost it long ago. Maybe if we did some soul-searching as a Church about what marriage means for us, we might be in a better position to bring Light.

    18. mnelise says:

      a lot of good things being said here.

      I definiltey agree about marriage being so much more than civil. Spiritual even, with Ephesians in there. And thus should be an institution of the church not of the law. Yeah, civil unions are for the law. I get that.

      And Rachel, you were spot on about divorce being against the Bible and bringing up the remarriage bit. That was a great point, and it probably does hit too close to home, and the church can ignore it because they excuse Christians for bad behavior quite often.

      But when we see 2 things that are wrong, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t act on either of them. If we see divorce and homosexuality is wrong, and we aren’t doing anything about one, that doesn’t mean we get to ignore the other. It means we should start confronting the other as well – so that both are addressed.

      I bet the divorce issues comes down to $$$ and who supports the vocal groups.

    19. mnelise says:

      as for the billboard……it’s a little too bold, public, and black/white for my tastes.

      and i hate to say it, but i did question motives….is the church just trying to be liked?

    20. Tyler says:

      First and foremost…the faith of a Christian should be a part of every area in their life, including how they vote. Homosexuality is spoken of as a sin in both the OT and the NT. This isn’t to say the sin should be put on a pedastal, but in the Bible it seems pretty clear that it is wrong.

      If I wasn’t a Christian I would definitely vote against Prop 8, but my faith/belief convictions are what I vote based on. That is a bottom line for me. No exceptions.

      I don’t understand the reason for that church doing the billboard. It is like they are saying: “hey we’re sorry about those other churches, but we don’t think like that so all of you who would be welcome at those other churches should come to ours because we were against Prop 8.” As if how individual Christians voted changes how they love people with a homosexual orientation…

    21. Kacie says:

      Yep, I’m with Rachel. I don’t see how gay marriage is much different then divorce.

      Both are against the plan of God and show the brokenness of our humanity. Both should not happen. ONLY in the church and through salvation is our brokenness made whole. Only in the church can we find a truly redeemed view of marriage and family (and even then, we are still human so we are still constantly sorting through our own brokenness).

      So – as a church we clearly don’t expect our whole country to avoid affairs and divorce and all other sorts of things…. because they do not know God. Why then do we expect our government to legislate our moral viewpoint to a whole society in this one area? Seems illogical to me. I expect a church to teach and live in accordance with a biblical view of sexuality, marriage, and family. I don’t expect our government to, and so I’m totally fine with giving homosexuals the right to the government benefits that a marriage certificate brings. That will not breakdown our view of the family. America’s view of the family is already broken (as is every country that is not a theocracy, and probably even most theocracies), and the only hope for it is within the church, not within governmental rules.

      Having said that – the signs seems to be trying to curry favor with the outside world, which is maybe uneeded? It sorta says, “no wait, no wait, we’re not conservative, we like you, will you like us too?”

    22. katie says:

      There is a lot of sin in this world. However, when did it become our job to legislate, harass and segregate those based on what we view to be the “worst” of sins and look away and not get involved for the “lesser” or more socially accepted sins? I sadly spent a large portion of my youth living in judgement of many people-groups (specifically non-Christians and homosexuals), which I am still horribly ashamed of. But, through my recovery I realized that I have NO right to force my convictions (ESPECIALLY lifestyle choices) that result from my relationship with Christ on people who do not know Him. How about loving people to Jesus instead of telling them they are somehow less human that others?

      I’m not married, but I don’t think that allowing same-sex couples to make an official commitment to one another a) destroys the sanctity of heterosexual couples’ marriage in any way, or b) is a big enough issue to get so concerned about, when, as Rachel points out, there are so many hurting lives to be paying attention to around the world.

    23. Andrew P says:

      That billboard is a beautiful statement and I would be proud to be a member of the church that posted it.

      That being said, we are missing the big picture. Why as Christians or as citizens do we want government to have a say in ANY marriage? Marriage is a covenant between our spouse, God, family, and friends. Governement should have no part in that covenant.

    24. chad m says:

      someone should do some research on how the church got into the “marriage business” in the first place…as i recall, most weddings were only Civil back in the day in terms of legality. the church became involved because Priests were of the few who could read and write. as pastors, we are simply agents of the state in officiating marriages. my question then is:

      what makes a marriage “Christian”? this is an important distinction we fail to make, and are failing to make in churches. if we really care about the sanctity of Christian marriage, let’s start in churches. let’s be prophetic and not preachy. let’s be committed to the covenant of marriage within the church. after all, isn’t the church supposed to be a model of Christ? shouldn’t people be able to look at the church and say, “Why are their marriages different?” instead, we look the same, if not worse, than everyone else. we have lost something and engaging so ferociously and vehemently in this dialogue about whether a democratic nation-state such as our should allow all people within said nation-state to be married is just making us look bad. that’s just my $.02.

      i guess i’m sick of the rhetoric of us [Christians] versus them [sinners]. let’s start being the church and maybe folks will see the love of Christ and realize that inclusion in the Kingdom of God is a beautiful place to be…until then…

    25. joe says:

      here is where the problem is, in my opinion. it is a question of POWER. now, a church has every right to believe gay marriage is not something they can support and it is not the intention of god for the world. fine. but when you go to exert power over someone to force your way or will, you lose sight of Matthew 20. The body of christ walks out power by coming under and serving each other. we become a slave to each other. the church tries by rule of the sword to put their morality on those who dont agree. it breaks my heart.

      and let’s be honest. is this really about the sanctity of marriage? the only reason i ask is because our biggest problem in the church is divorce. we are equal to if not exceeding others in the percentage of divorces. i dont see us spending $35 million on that law.

    26. @ Dk,

      No, Jesus didn’t. But ask yourself who the California voters most resemble in this analogy: Jesus, the adulterous woman, or the angry/judgmental mob?

      Grace and Peace,
      Raffi

    27. Travis McKee says:

      So, I think i need to speak for some here. I would like to address the issue of Homosexuality as a sin. A lot of my research and thought have come from Peter Gomes (“The Good Book” puts it best) and my own seminary classes (hebrew bible class right now). I will also quote something found in Shane Claiborne’s book “Jesus For President”

      Sodom and Gomorrah – This was about hospitality, a very common theme in Hebrew Bible. A very common way to great God was with extreme hospitality. For those in S+G, an extreme way to say “we don’t like strangers round here” was to, well, rape them. They WERE condemned for their lifestyle. They weren’t gay, they were hateful and inhospitable.

      Leviticus: yep, for that community, there were tons of rules. and for the legalistic ones: which abomination is worse? Shellfish or homosexuality? Both are abominations, which is worse? Can one thing called an abomination be worse than the other?

      Gospels: Jesus never mentioned homosexuality. Homosexuality as a way of living wasn’t even considered then.

      Romans: (emphasis mine)1:26Because of this, God gave them over to shameful LUSTS. Even their women EXCHANGED natural relations for unnatural ones. 27In the same way the men also ABANDONED natural relations with women and were INFLAMED WITH LUST for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. (NIV)
      Lust seems to me to be the culprit here. Giving up relationships they had just to get more sex. That seems to be the issue.

      As Christians, we point the finger too often and say that those who are homosexual are living in sin. Yet, we don’t point the finger at liars, we don’t point the finger at those who horde money or possessions (that which Jesus DID rail on). I, as a christian, speak where the bible speaks. and, to me, i don’t see it speaking on the issue decisively enough to call it a sin. I think that lust is a sin, and that condemnation is a sin.

      I do see friends that don’t choose this path, they just have it placed before them. How can I say to someone who is a homosexual, in spite of death threats, in spite of losing their job over it, in spite of losing their families over it, that they are lying. How could I say that God didn’t create them that way. If they are faking it, they sure do a great job of it.

    28. Melissa says:

      I agree with MichaelW (and others) who point out that “marriage” from the state isn’t the deeply spiritual union given to us by God. “Marriage” granted by the state is a legal document which gives you certain rights and responsibilities. Nothing more. It is absolutely illogical to deny those rights and responsibilities to an entire group of people in a secular government.

      “Marriage” within the church is something entirely different, as several people have touched on. We should be worrying about preserving marriage within the church, not worrying about everyone else’s legal contracts. Personally, I would prefer the state to ONLY give civil unions, and leave marriage for the church. If you want to be married, go to church. If you want the legal status, go to the state.

      I also find it interesting that when this topic is discussed, and even in this discussion, we tend to focus on the sexual sins we perceive as “the worst,” as if there is a hierarchy of sins.
      Homosexuality = BAD, should be illegal.
      Adultery = bad, not a nice person.
      Sex before marriage = not right, they should get married first.
      Pornography = might be detrimental to their own sexual experience.
      God has no hierarchy. Anything less than perfection = You are damned except for the grace of Christ. If we intend to promote a Christian sexual ethic in the political sphere, we need to be consistent with God’s view of sexual sin. Heterosexual sin is JUST AS BAD as homosexual sin, which means we are ALL guilty. Are heterosexual couples denied marital rights in our society because of their sin? No…

    29. MM says:

      While showing me his Prop. 8 protest sign that read “Love is Love”, my gay ex-husband said with tears in his eyes, “My rights were stripped when I divorced you.” I know that there is much pain and rejection in his heart that has been there for many years. We all have a desire to be validated and loved no matter what, and we are all broken, wounded people. I pray for a way to love EVERYONE unconditionally as does my Beloved One, and yet still partner with with Him as the Bridegroom Judge who is not OK with sin.

    30. Jon in Iowa City says:

      I’m still angry about Prop 8 and the other anti-marriage voter initiated consitutional amendments that passed earlier this month in CA, AZ, and FL. I’m angry about the voter initiative that passed in Arkansas that banned unmarried couples from foster parenting or adopting (targeted at gay couples and marketed as a “gay agenda” campaign). I’m angry at churches like the LDS that actively pumped tens of millions of dollars into Prop 8 through its members and resources to potentially annul exisiting marriages in California and to prevent potential legal marriages in the future. I’m also angry that the Christian right seems much more concerned about other people’s marriages, but apparently doesn’t seem to give a toss about the unborn, given that every voter initiative addressing abortion restrictions or embryonic stem cell research was voted down this past election. Where was the LDS church of the Roman Catholic church’s money and resources to ban abortion in South Dakokta or to define personhood in Colorado?

      It doesn’t matter if you think being gay is a sin. Not everyone believes this. If your church leadership teaches differently, that’sfine. But your religious liberties shouldn’t beused to justify the trampling of other people’s religious and civil liberties.

    31. Tyler says:

      It scares me to read how many Christians are basically lacking any care for what the Bible has to say about this. I already know it is just a matter of time before gay marriage is legal in this country. I’m fine with that, but I’m not okay with the lack of care for the Bible.

    32. rexhamilton says:

      Central to Hebrew thought was the beleif that “the battle belongs to the Lord”. Over time, it’s become for many churches and believers the opposite…that we somehow must battle on God’s behalf.

      You are right Eugene in that we must work to be better listeners. If we can listen, we won’t make morality such a fight which only promotes polarizing conversations.

      Personally, I like the billboard and hope one day we find ourselves not having to apologize so much. The healing that is needed is going to require a lot of time and grace…

    33. Jon in Iowa City says:

      What does the Bible say about whether or not state constitutions permit gay couples from legally marrying? Nothing.

      What does the Bible say about gay people marrying? Nothing.

    34. eugenecho says:

      @tyler: i think i know what you’re trying to say. but my fear is that many people assume that if you stand on the fence or on “other” side of the debate on homosexuality or women in ministry, you automatically do not care for the Bible.

      the billboard: i like it to an extent but don’t really know because i don’t know what the church is trying to say beyond the words on the billboard. even after checking out their website, i don’t quite know what they are saying.

    35. Since it doesn’t seem like anyone else has said it …

      the bible IS NOT clear about homosexuality. Some translations and interpretations thereof think it is clear, others do not. what is very important here is that there are people who deeply respect and believe the bible who don’t think homosexuality is a sin (based on the bible). You can disagree with their interpretation and prefer your own, but don’t assume they are ignoring the bible.

      that said there are numerous “sins” mentioned in the bible that we assume do not apply to today. even the most “literal” readers pick and choose and reinterpret. We have to be willing to at least entertain the conversation regarding cultural shift and what the intent of scripture is for today.

      and all the while keep in mind that we are talking about real people who are listening in and forming their perceptions of christ based on what they hear.

    36. Deneen says:

      Prop 8 has enlarged an already large chasm between the church and the homosexual community. We can’t change the vote that has passed. It is saddening that churches find being pro Prop 8 more valuable than, say, feeding the hungry, clothing the poor, housing the homeless.

      All sin is equal in the eyes of God, as far as I can tell. So, if my friend has engaged in a homosexual lifestyle and I engage in a promiscuous heterosexual lifestyle, we’ve both sinned. Neither one of us is righteous without repentance and forgiveness of our sin by Jesus.

      I wish that we (the church community) would take the plank out of our own eyes before we try to take the speck out of someone else’s eye. All we’re doing is injuring people who are already hurting. We’re not representative of Christ; rather we’re like the men who brought the woman caught in adultery to Jesus, hoping that Jesus would punish her.

      Let’s spend some time at the foot of the cross. Let’s make some bridges.

      We can’t change the vote. It is finished. Both sides need to move forward amicably. ASAP. Our country has much larger problems looming than Prop 8.

    37. Channing says:

      From the numerous posts this is something people are passionate about and to be honest I am NOT one of those people.

      To listen to a person’s story is important but we must remember in a free-market society all points of view have a right to compete in the market place of ideas; whether you agree with them or not.

      If you remove the “moral” issue from the equation and fall back on natural law, marriage has been defined as a man and a woman for a few thousand years. The question is: does this have value?

      Another question not being asked is this: does a community (the State of California) have the right to define its social institutions? Let’s remember – the definition of marriage already excludes polygamy, incest, and underage couples. Marriage, as a state institution, already violates these individuals’ “civil rights”. My concern with the theme of the discussion is the elevation of individual rights over communtiy rights. We in the Western Church have a tendency of equating “individual rights” with biblical principles.

      As for the church’s reaction, I think we can affirm the biblical view of marriage with humilty and have an obligation to do so. I believe it is imperative as the church to make our marriages the envy of society – where people will be drawn to Christ because of the wholeness of our marriages.

    38. Jon in Iowa City says:

      It’s not finished. The vote’s being contested and will be heard again by California’s supreme court in a few months.

    39. Heather says:

      Hi Eugene, this topic has and will continue to come up more and more as the end draws nearer. I think it’s interesting that you brought up the point of “identity” when dealing with homosexuality, as it definately in many aspects has crossed that line (civil rights) and such, specifically with respect to points made that you’re born “quote unquote” gay. I think a lot of “christians” even have bought into this specific lie, which is unfortunate & somewhat confusing.

      Where I stand since you’re asking is I think that homosexuality is no different than any other form of sin, and that ‘christians’ have made it the ultimate sin, equating their own sin to be less signifigant. Meaning i.e. I was raised a christian, went to church my whole life and pretty much don’t struggle whith “those” types of sins….like drug use, premarital sex and the highest form of sin would be homosexuality….(not my personal opinion, but I’ve heard this elluded to several times and ways).

      I will give a little bit of background in hopes of helping shed some light on this topic from within. I struggled with homosexuality, and with lust, and so on….but I think now that I’ve been a follower of jesus over 11 years things are clearer now. I was sexually abused by a handful of men when I was a child, and by a girlf friend when I was around 8. As i think back on my childhood, men were (especially in my family) very sexual and would outwardly complement on the women in my family about their build and such, so my concept of men early on was that they were perverted. (Keep in mind, I was not raised in the church if anything my family hated God), so women were safe to me. I dabbled in unhealthy relationships, but never even before accepting Jesus as my Lord, did I believe that people were born GAY.

      I had (have) several friends who were/are gay and one thing that I always asked and was curious about was whether they were sexually abused as I was. To be blunt, I don’t have or have not known 1 person who was gay that wasn’t either sexually abused or had a father who was emotionally withdrawn from them. So, when I became a believer, early on I still struggled with many of the things discussed here and throughout the “christian” circle, because what I see lacking and what has been most hurtful to me, having experienced both sides of the fence….is that condemnation.

      Now that I know the GOSPEL, it confuses me how “christians” can act like their sin is cleaner or prettier than those in bondage to homosexuality. That’s what it is, its bondage….and I am free from it now, praise GOD!

      Does that mean that I condone or am an advocate for gay marriage, no. But I have to ask another question, does marriage certified by the state have any standing before God? My husband and I struggled with this even in our own marriage, as we didn’t think we needed a CERTIFICATE certitifed by the state to say we were married t one another, because before GOD we had made a committment and out of obedience were with each other until death separated us.

      Anyway, I think christians get distracted with politics, and “rights” and what is politically correct. Jesus showed us how to live, why can’t we just do it? Do you think that Jesus would have walked around with his cross and a sign saying you’re going to hell, in front of people practicing homosexuality? I think what God calls us to do, is to lay down our lives, our motives and to seek HIM & His motives….because when I read the bible and what Jesus said, he says we’re to love our neighbor as ourself, and your neighbor just might be “gay” or struggling with homosexuality and you can’t even look at him, or talk to him/her because of fear.

      How can you share the love of God if you can’t even make a friend who is gay, because it goes against what you believe?…that’s weird to me, because I think every day I break God’s commandments….don’t you?

      My husband and I also don’t think that we should swing the other way and just say, Hey yeah we accept everything, because God has laid out what is right and wrong and how damaging it is to your spiritual growth to continue on living in sin, He enables us to walk and turn from our sin, each day…..

      Heather

    40. Jon in Iowa City says:

      Hi Heather. *wave from a gay man who has never been sexually abused and who wasn’t neglected by his father*

    41. Shout out to Julie. I agree that the Bible is not as clear about homosexuality as many people assume it is. Folks used to say that the Bible was super-clear about slavery too (“slaves obey your masters.”) I seriously lie awake at night wondering if Christians have this wrong…and what the consequence of being wrong about this would be. (VERY serious.)

      P.S. In my earlier comment, I wasn’t suggesting that we SHOULD seek to ban divorcee or interreligious marriage. That’s ridiculous…(which is why I brought it up to show the inconsistency with which we apply Scripture.)

      Good discussion!

    42. Dadofiandi says:

      I have to echo what Rachel H. Evans has said as others.
      The same arguments against gay marriage being the detriment to society (here in AZ), were used to argue about inter racial marriages. Look up miscegenation laws, and I have seen there is some concern recently regarding this with the passage of Prop 8. I just know there is some blowhard 3x divorcee who has a bullhorn decrying the loss of sanctity of marriage. I am sadden as well that all the money spent on this issue (as well as politics in general) is used to feed the poor, etc.

    43. Katie says:

      In writing this comment, I have to remember the process I went through to get to the opinion I now hold. Otherwise I just get incredibly frustrated with the judgmental words and pointing fingers that go around and around the room when this topic comes up. It took lots of time, prayer, discernment, and conversations to get to where I am today…so I’ll try to keep that in mind while I write this comment.

      I believe that homosexual couples should have all of the rights that heterosexual couples have in secular marriage – meaning, hospital visitation rights, tax breaks, etc. I think that Christians (or any religious followers) do not have the right to legislate their “moral” view on marriage. It’s unjust and here are my reasons for holding this position:

      1. If you believe homosexuality is a sin, this does not directly say anything about what the law should be regarding marriage. Actually, I think it’s pretty irrelevant. Murder is a sin. Murderers can get married. Pride is a sin. Prideful people can get married. The list goes on and you can name as “trivial” of sins as you wish, but in the end a sin is a sin is a sin. And sinners get married every day.

      2. Many heterosexual couples that get married are not religious. Marriage may be a commitment to them, but it is not necessarily a covenant between them, their partner, and their god. Some actually reject this notion. However, they are still afforded the rights of marriage. But homosexuals are not? This is simply inconsistent. And what about homosexuals who are Christians? And let’s not forget all of the heterosexual marriages that are not good. As many have mentioned, how about the divorce rate? While some of you may hold marriage as sacred, many don’t. And some that do, still “fail” at it.

      3. Constitutionally, it’s pretty unjust to not give homosexual people certain rights. From a policy point of view, I just don’t see how inserting the language of “marriage must be between a man and a woman” into the law is permissible. But, I don’t know much about constitutional law. It makes me worried, if nothing else.

      4. In the end, I’d much rather spend my time eradicating poverty, feeding the hungry, decreasing violence and building peace, facilitating reconciliation, and healing the sick. They’re just up a little higher on my priority list than making sure gay people don’t get married, right or wrong.

      And I guess I just don’t see how we have the right to judge another couple’s marriage in a way that results in legislation. Your religious beliefs on the subject can run wild – believe homosexuality to be moral or immoral, a sin or not a sin – but that is a different debate and a different issue (which I’m happy to engage in). If it were really up to me, I would make all marriages civil unions with all rights equal to homosexual and heterosexual couples. I would leave the covenantal marriage for the churches, and let them decide if they believe it to be of God, the Church, the faith, and the Bible to bless such a union.

      And to the person that mentioned homosexuality as identity to be a lie – I am pretty sure it has not been proven (or even strongly supported) either way. I don’t think there is any definitive evidence regarding the biological nature of homosexuality. If someone knows of research that says one way or the other, I would be interested to know. I think there might be a variety of reasons why someone is gay (abuse, biology, predisposition, emotional reasons, environmental influences, societal pressures, etc.) as well as heterosexual.

      I sort of lost my train of thought there, though I’m sure that’s at least 2 cents worth :)

    44. Michelle says:

      Here’s my thoughts – as scattered and quick as they might be at the moment.

      Changing the definition of ‘marriage’ would be like changing the definition of ‘cow’. Calling a cow a horse doesn’t make it a horse…calling a marriage that is not created by God doesn’t make it a marriage, either. BUT, neither does calling a marriage that is flooded in pornography, adultery, hate, spite, anger, agendas and sin. I don’t know if this makes sense or not, but I don’t really think it matters if Gay Marriage is legalized or not.

      Because it’s legal under our judicial system does not make it okay under God. Why don’t we hunt down premarital sex, shacking up, multiple marriages and divorces and teenage pregnancy with the same venengance? What about excessive alcohol consumption, beating our wife in our living rooms, using our children as pawns in our game of life instead of human beings due the same respect as adults? Because those are such commonplace sins that bringing attention to those would bring attention to our own little ‘hidden’ sins we commit behind our personal closet doors. The sins no one knows about. The hateful thoughts we harbor, the way we eat our chocolate only after the kids go to bed, the purchase of shoes and purses that we hide from our husbands, the internet sites we visit, making sure we clear the history so no one knows where we’ve been.

      My point is, it really doesn’t matter. Sin is sin is sin, and until the return of Christ, every single one of us is due for redemption – gay or straight.

    45. [...] My response to Eugene Cho’s prop 8 topic…see link on right side! November 25, 2008 Filed under: learning curve, oh so politically incorrect! — mmechels @ 4:14 pm Tags: kids, marriage, God, divorce, sex, sin, prop 8, gay marriage, alcoholism, shopping, church, cow, horse, legalized Michelle Says: Tuesday, November 25, 2008 at [...]

    46. Heather says:

      Hi Jon in Iowa, I’m just sharing from my experience but the point more of less from my walk away from homosexuality after becoming a follower of Jesus, not a religoius system is that we all have sin and we all have different temptations, lies we’ve believed, bondage, etc., but we’re enabled when seeking God and born again/made new, to seek His help with things we don’t understand or seem so right physically….I often come back to the cliche saying, but so true, what you want isn’t always what you need. In my mind & in my thoughts, it was absolutely ok for me to do whatever I wanted with my body, but I bore the burden for my decisions not just with homosexuality, but with drugs, and terribly unhealthy co-dependant relationships, etc. My point isn’t that everyone who is gay or claims to be, was sexually abused, I’m just saying that this has been my experience personally and also outwardly currently friends that I still have that are gay, including myself. The point is, we’re all fallen, we’re unable to do what we desire to do, even if we try we can’t without Him. That’s my point essentially, no harm intended towards you and I’m really glad that you weren’t sexually abused or abandoned as many people are, it’s definately a blessing. Hope to have a dialogue with you if you’d like, my e-mail is dhcosby@gmail.com if you’re interested in speaking with me. Heather

    47. zu says:

      I am gay, I am a christian, I have a theology masters, I wasn’t abused in any way, I am getting married in Connecticut in a church by a pastor and legally. I attend a great church similar to the one this billboard represents. And I do not see things like Heather does above.

      When I look at all my gay friends (about 15 or so, including myself) we are all christians, we are in life long committed relationships, we weren’t abused, we love Jesus, and there isn’t one of us who hasn’t left a church to find a church like this billboard.

    48. zu says:

      p.s. this was in response to “Can folks who stand in opposition on Prop 8 still be in community together?”

      Sadly, I currently think no.

    49. Jon in Iowa City says:

      Random thoughts/questions as I check in:

      1. There appears to be an overwhelming and polarizing belief in this thread: that being us vs. them. Christians vs. gays. Like one can’t be a gay person and a Christian. This is a false assumption.

      2. There appears to be an polarizing series of assertions that the lives of gay people are sinful, even by those here who appear to be supportive of our families. My family isn’t afflicted by abuse or addiction or divorce or multiple partners or incest or whatever. The gender balance within our family doesn’t place us within a long list of terrible sins that we all struggle with.

      My family is my family. I’ll gladly put my family up against any of your’s for comparison. God has blessed us with each other, our children, our church, our home, and our professional careers,

      3. People are missing the boat if they believe that defining gay families out of your state constitutions will prevent us from coupling or wedding. All these constitutional amendments do are legally neuter our families. No DOMA law, no constitutional amendment can prevent a gay person from finding a church or an officiator or a quiet corner and committing ourselves together UNDER GOD.

      4. I mentioned it before. I’ll mention it again. The various Christian churches and organizations blew it this election cycle. They put everything into amending three anti-marriage constitutional amendment, one of which effectively annulled hundreds of existing marriages and they helped pass a law in another state that banned another group of people from foster parenting and adopting (and in effect, negated many exisiting foster homes). Meanwhile, other voter initiatives that affected the lives of the unborn were barely addressed and ended up losing.

      Christians prevailed against others’ marriages and also voted against adoption, but apparently cares little about pro-life issues. What does this say to unchurched gay people and our families? Why should gay people become involved with Christians and our churches when we dump tens of millions of dollars into eliminating their families?

      Why would we expect gay families to want anything to do with the Christian church after Prop 8 and the other voter initiatives? Why are Christians seemingly shocked at the anger expressed by gay people towards Christian entities following this attack on our families?

      Enough. I got boys to put to bed…

    50. Jon in Iowa City says:

      BTW, I won’t be e-mailing you, Heather. I don’t know the purpose of such private communication between us and don’t believe it to be safe to communicate with strangers from the internet.

    51. JB says:

      “The example I gave: How many Asian males are represented in Hollywood Primetime currently [2 - Hero and Lost] and compare that to the number of gay characters. It’s neither good nor bad but a simple statement to say, “We all have an agenda.”

      While Asian males may want to see more Asian males in Hollywood roles (and as the parent of two Asian kids, the more the better, I say) Asian male kids come home to Asian parents: the ultimate and best role model. While my kids don’t come home to an Asian parent (which I know is not optimal) at least they don’t come home trying to hide the fact that they are Asian because they are afraid if their Dad and I find out we will disown them, hate them, or at best, need a lot of our own therapy, and certainly wish they weren’t Asian: they know that we respect and love every bit about who they are, including their Asian-ness.

      So it’s a very different circumstance, and the comparison is not valid, IMHO. Gay people go through untold pain feeling that they are rejected by God, by society and by their families. Racial minorities at least have God and their families on their side! Hollywood may provide the only role models some of these kids will see, and that’s unfortunate, because how much better if people felt like they could be honest about who they are, and kids could see that people from all walks of life can be gay and that those people aren’t doomed to a life of rejection and loneliness, but that the best of life–love, family, friends, community, GOD, meaningful work– are available to them too.

      Prop 8 is just one more kick in the teeth to people who have taken crap all their lives for something they cannot control and which is just a part of who they are.

    52. JB says:

      @DK

      “@raffi,

      I agree but Jesus also did not condone the woman’s sin, right?”

      That’s because He’s JESUS. He GETS to say, “go and sin no more.” You and I? We get to put down our stones, go home and work on the planks in our own eyes.

    53. Dk says:

      @JB,

      So people should say nothing about anything?

    54. JB says:

      People say that as Christians, they believe gay marriage is wrong, so there should be a law against it.

      Q.1: Do you believe Christians should make law that everyone has to follow?

      Q.2: Jesus said marrying a divorced person causes that person to commit adultery. The Bible condemns adultery. Would you vote for a ballot proposition outlawing remarriage for anyone who had been divorced?

    55. JB says:

      @ DK How would Jesus have responded if one of the stone-throwers turned to him and, hands on hips, said “So we should say nothing about anything?”

      You’re trying to discern his will, right?

      I’m just pointing out that in the story, we sinners shouldn’t identify with Jesus, but with the sinners. We are who the story is for.

    56. eugenecho says:

      @heather: thanks for sharing your story here.

      @jon in iowa: likewise, thanks for sharing your story here.

      @zu: encouraging to read your comment.

      you’re obviously attending a church you love and a church that loves you with no strings attached. in light of what you shared, you’re not in direct fellowship with people within your micro-church that are in opposing views as you, but how do you relate to the macro Church? since you are a christian and have done further studies in theology, do you consider others who stand in opposition to your views – still – as your brothers and sisters in Christ?

      geez, i should have found an easier way to say the above. how do you relate to the larger Body of Christ?

    57. Learning says:

      The Separation of Church and state is a myth. Nowhere in the First Amendment is the phrase “separation of church and state mentioned”. The First Amendment does say : “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …” Article 1, Bill of Rights. Voting Yes on Prop 8 doesn’t establish a religion. No one is going to be told to go to church or read their bibles or get baptized or to worship in some specific way. As Christians we shouldn’t be afraid or intimidated to vote according to our values. In regards to imposing our morality on others, everyone imposes their morality on others. No matter which laws get passed in the end someones morality, whether its the gays morality, liberal morality, conservative morality or libertarian is going to be legislated.
      In California gays in a domestic union already have all the same rights that heterosexual couples have ( California Family Code 297.5). I find it interesting that Elton John is not for changing the definition of marriage. He says he’s fine with civil unions because they give equal rights to gays. What Prop 8 comes down to is about homosexuals wanting social approval.
      There would also be ramifications if Prop 8 did not pass such as eventually teaching kids in school that same sex marriage is legit. Three of the biggest sponsor organizations for voting no on Prop 8 in California , the Anti-Defamation League, the ACLU and the Human Rights Campaign were also involved in gay marriage in Masschusetts. Parents in Masschusetts went to court when they were told they’re children would be taught about gay marriage at school. The parents said they wanted prior notification on when the kids would be taught. They went to court and were met by the three sponsor organizations who are now involved in California with Prop 8. The three organizations filed briefs telling the court to reject the request of the parents. The court eventually ruled against the parents. Issues like this and other similar issues have come up on other states and countries that have legalized gay marriage.
      When it comes to issues like Prop.8 and issues like it I find that people try to make it seem more complicated than it should be. The bible is pretty clear. The only time when issues like abortion or gay marriage get fuzzy is when we start to bring up extenuated circumstances. When you read the gospels Jesus is pretty black and white when talking about sin. That is of course if you have created your own ” Stepford Jesus “. I think, in our attempt to be ‘postmodern’, we try to make things sound more complicated than they are.
      To compare gay marriage to interracial marriage is also off. The only thing they have in common is the word ” marriage “. Interracial marriage was between one man and one woman. And plus, I’ve never heard anyone say ” I use to be black ” or ” I use to be white “. And on top of that others can use the same argument from interracial marriage to apply to any other kind of so called marriage :
      A- I want to marry four or five women.
      B- You cant do that.
      A. Why not?
      B. Because it’s wrong. It’s unnatural.
      A. Well they said the same thing about interracial marriage.

      In regards to the billboard I would agree with what I see as their intention, to love gays as Jesus would love them. That is great. I am not one for holding signs on the streets and calling gays names. But at the same time as Christians we must stand for truth. Im just a bit weary of a lot of churches who push some kind of ” Jesus spirituality ” but won’t graciously and honestly speak the truth. Jesus is almost presented as some kind of spiritual sage and people are taught to do good acts of love like Jesus, that is to act like Jesus but not worship Jesus as the King of Kings. Jesus the revolutionary but not Jesus the Holy One….God
      Some thoughts.

    58. Tom says:

      Offline for a day and now hoping to make the Top 50 Comments :^

      Moving and impressive thread.

      This discussion could never happen in the vast majority of real life evangelical congregations face to face in real time. Or even in any subset of those evangelical congregations. I speak as an increasingly disillusioned 50-something born in the blood type.

      Something for conservative Christians to think about.

      When even the discussion is out of bounds in many churches something’s wrong that may require repentance.

    59. Learning says:

      Tom it happened at one church…..www.newsong.net. Instead of preaching they took two services where they had mircophones set up and went through all the propositions. People came up and voiced their opinions. It was good to listen to. http://www.newsong.net (the LA campus). There were diverse opinions on this topic. Good stuff.

    60. Emily says:

      I understand that church’s sentiment, but I think it’s unfortunate that they chose to use words like “deceptive” and “manipulative,” etc… I think taking it that far only pushes them farther from their Christian brothers and sisters, many who are not those things, but they searched their consciences and Scripture and voted as they believed. I don’t believe homosexual marriage is a godly institution, but I also don’t think it’s the position of the state to determine that. If they want to have a ceremony and call it a marriage, then sure, go for it. (I’m not trying to sound rude, I just don’t think the spiritual reality would be what they might think it would be.) I think they should have all the same rights as heterosexual couples, and that is the government’s job to make sure they have them. I like what Jennifer said about two separate ceremonies… sure, let the government give them a civil marriage. But then let the Christian church determine their own set of requirements and meanings for marriage. I think this church is moving in the right direction by apologizing for the hurts the Christian community has caused the GLTB community, but I think it went too far in potentially alienating and stereotyping other Christians who feel differently.

    61. Lee Gibson says:

      If the State wants to sanction marriage, it must not withhold it from anyone.

      I think the State should not sanction marriage.

      I’ve been to a number of weddings. Some between two men, some between two women, many between a man and a woman (like my own, for instance). I felt the presence of God in every single one of those rooms.

      For those who get hung up on the sinfulness of homosexuality, they better not eat shrimp. Or wear clothes made from two different fibers. Or work on Sunday.

      How can you possibly follow the Greatest Commandment, while simultaneously thinking “Wow. Too bad that person’s lifestyle irrevocably condemns them to hell.”

      Judgement does not belong to us. Judgement belongs to God. Christ would never turn his back on a gay person who loved God. Why are so many Christians so unlike Christ?

      It’s ludicrous to think that God did not create gay people. It’s equally ludicrous that they should just change because it makes some people feel squicky. Get over it. Remove the plank from thine own eye, and love thy neighbor as thyself.

      It’s really not that complicated.

    62. Learning says:

      Are people born gay or is it a choice? I guess thats one of the big questions. Romans 1 obviously covers the topic of homosexuality. Romans talks about idolatry. Its talks about how we choose to worship other things rather than God. And then it says that because we choose to worship other things God hands us over to sins such as homosexuality. I had a thought. Worshipping sex or lust is idolatry obviously. Do you think people become gay because their functional god is sex or lust? So God basically hands them over to the natural result of worshipping sex which is sex that goes beyond the boundaries of God’s design between one man and one woman? Then they start to have thoughts for people of the same sex? It’s kind of like lust that God allows to go unchecked ( He ‘hands them over’ ) What are your thoughts on Romans 1 ?

      Romans 1:24 says :

      ” Therefore God gave them up IN THE LUSTS OF THEIR HEARTS TO IMPURITY, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, BECAUSE they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator…”

      Verse 26 then says :

      ” For THIS REASON God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men…”

      What are your thoughts. Romans seems to say that homosexuality is both in a sense a choice and a consequence. It’s interesting to point out that we live in a very sexualized culture. Kids can look at porn starting from a young age. What are your thoughts?

    63. Tom says:

      @ Learning. That’s truly encouraging. Hope other churches will use that experience as a model.

      Reading back over all the comments, I thought Tyler’s comments were so significant in understanding why this issue is so emotional among conservative Christians:

      “It scares me to read how many Christians are basically lacking any care for what the Bible has to say about this. I already know it is just a matter of time before gay marriage is legal in this country. I’m fine with that, but I’m not okay with the lack of care for the Bible.”

      No doubt there are plenty of conservative Christians who are motivated by self justification and encouraged by their own ignorance in their bias against gay people. All of us are full of self justification and encouraged by our own ignorance. That’s biblical teaching you can count on.

      But I do think that many conservative believers who otherwise have love in their hearts for gay folks believe that the bible ‘is pretty clear’ about the issue, and are very fearful of what might happen if conservative Christians began to accept homosexual behavior.

      Like so many issues, this one comes down to your theory about how you read your bible, or as the seminary types talk about it, your ‘hermeneutics.’ Wow, even that word sounds sort of ‘gay’ so hope I won’t lose anybody at this point :^)

      All Christians struggle to balance the three key elements of biblical interpretation: the biblical texts themselves, tradition, and experience (including the rigorous discipline of science which is simply a much more systematic application of experience).

      The biblical texts say very little about homosexuality, which is surprising given how accepted and mainstream homosexual behavior was in Greco-Roman society. You would think that if the NT types thought homosexuality was such a problem they would have made it a major ethical topic. They didn’t. Something to consider.

      But I agree that the few biblical texts that speak to homosexual behavior are clearly negative.

      So, at least in my reading of the biblical texts, we have a behavior that the biblical writers considered relatively ethically insignificant, but when they did speak to it they condemned it.

      Christian tradition is almost exclusively very hostile to homosexual behavior, well beyond anything in the biblical texts. Somebody in the thread said that homosexuals haven’t faced the same kind of persecution and hostility that blacks have throughout history. Hmmm…….:^

      So we’re left with experience potentially over against the minimalist biblical prohibitions against homosexual behavior allied with extremely hostile and vicious Christian traditional responses to homosexual behavior.

      My guess is that experience will eventually sway almost all evangelicals to accept homosexual behavior, like experience has swayed conservative believers for the past 4 thousand years to ‘see’ many ethical issues with new eyes. Many ethical behaviors that the scriptures and the historical faith community at one time condemned have become fully acceptable, and conversely, many ethical behaviors that the scriptures and the historical faith community condoned later became universally condemned. Those changes became incorporated into ‘conservative’ hermeneutics in the past, as they will continue to be in the future.

      I think the process of experience transforming our interpretations of the bible is a very scary process, and I think for most of us who take scripture seriously it can feel like the whole bible will end up being meaningless and we’ll end up on the ‘slippery slope’ if we change our thinking on a particular ethical issue. So I appreciated Tyler’s comments because I think that’s the issue that’s underneath so much of the emotion about this in the conservative, American, protestant church.

    64. Aaron says:

      As one who voted on Prop 8, here are my main thoughts…

      1. They are fighting to change a definition of a word! Homosexuals are able to have civil unions which grant them the same rights as marriage without the term “marriage”. So when people argue that their ‘rights’ have been revoked, I want to know specifically which rights? The right to label themselves legally with a word…. that is the only thing denied. So they are fighting to change a definition…

      2. It does not bother me what people choose to do amongst themselves. The problem I have is that when I choose to have children, they could be raised in a school that teaches that homosexuality is OK. Although, you may believe it is… I believe it is a sin. (Not to open a can of worms, I am a sinner too). My point is, that if I have children they will be taught something I believe is wrong is really ok. This is already going on. My friends co-worker was reading stories to elementary students about two princes getting married and living happily ever after! So, it affects the way people raise their children. Personally, I see this as moral decay that will affect my children and their children and so on.

      3. The next thing I have to say is this, because someone voted yes (banning gay marriage) does not mean they are judgmental or hateful. It is possible to care deeply for someone but not agree with their actions/behavior/lifestyle! Love does not mean let people do whatever they want, and hate does not mean do not let people do whatever they want. So, in my eyes, that is null argument.

    65. Jon in Iowa City says:

      “Do you think people become gay because their functional god is sex or lust?”

      People don’t become gay because they’ve made a god out of sex or lust. Many people, like myself, consciously recognized that we were gay in our early teens. Close to a decade before I ever had the guts to ask another guy out on a date and long before I was ever sexually active. This was pre-internet early 80s, small-town Nebraska. Sure, gay people can become beholden to sex and lust, but heterosexuals do too.

      Regarding civil unions and domestic partnerships: There is already a challenge in Florida to repeal domestic partnership benefits in that state based on this election’s marriage amendment. This after they asserted it was only to do with defining marriage and would not affect benefits in any way. This same pattern of behavior has been seen in other states like Michigan, for instance. I fully expect that some Christian group will go out of its way to knock down California’s domestic partnership law, or at least attempt to do so repeatedly.

      New thought: The Christian church and its members are going out of their way to prevent gay couples from marrying. They are going out of their way to prevent us from instituting civil unions, domestic partnerships, and other similar legal arrangements (with the argument that this will eventually slip into marriage). They want to prevent us from raising children. And we and our families are ostracized from church communities, most of us having experienced everything from cool stand-offish behaviors from church congregants to outright expulsion by church leadership.

      What kind of behaviors do you expect from gay people when you not only prevent gay people from all of these stabilizing institutions, but in the process justify it by telling us that we aren’t capable of monogamy, that we aren’t stable individuals, that are no different than those guilty of murder or incest or drunks or drug addicts? Just a thought…

    66. JET says:

      Here’s how it is: In the Church’s spiritual function it is entirely outside the state. Some have suggested that Church and state should be separate, and therefore, that marriage should not be granted to the LGBT community, since it is supposed to be a function of the church. Yes and No. Here’s the problem: people have forgotten that not even the marriages granted by the state between heterosexual couples, are valid as Christian marriages. Christian marriage is really what we’re talking about – you know, the covenant/sacrament where two become one in the presence of God. That only happens in the Church. Whatever the state calls marriage is a completely COMPLETELY different thing. Hence, I have no problem with LGBT people “marrying,” except that it will confuse Christians even further. This is where the Catholic church has a leg up on us protestants – they can tell people who have not been married in the Church that they are not married in the sacramental Christian sense, which to them is the only sense.

    67. Dadofiandi says:

      I don’t recall being taught about heterosexual marriages as a kid nor divorce but that may have changed. The only thing I learned about gay people was, in school via peers, that they were queer or not normal or any other pejorative. There seems to be an irrational fear that our children will turn gay if its taught in school that it is ok. I learned a lot more on the playground about sex than I ever did in the classroom.
      Regarding Romans, I have seen differing credible interpretations on what the author (since we are unsure) is referring to. (as an aside look at how differently our constitution and bill of rights are interpreted and they were written in english and are less than 300yrs old). I am against quoting scripture because it becomes too convenient to tailor it to fit our own means and desires. We are straining to find the minutiae and missing the big picture, its to mechanistic. Really what is sin? That which separates us from God? Is it Levitical laws? I am just thinking out loud here. I don’t presume my interpretation is totally correct, but I think that is ok. I think God’s grace is pretty generous and I will leave it up to God to be the final arbitrator. I’d like to ask those who are against gay marriage in general what would you do if your son or daughter was gay? Would you think they were morally deviant? Would you attend their marriage ceremony or recognize their marriage? Would you love the sinner, but hate the sin? Would they feel loved by you or disowned? And I know Jesus came with a sword so please don’t quote scripture. Sorry if I seem snarky, but would enjoy a discussion not a diatribe.

    68. Rick L says:

      The law in CA, as it stands now, does not discriminate.

      It tells the gay man that he may not marry another man.

      It also tells the straight man that he may not marry another man.

      Equality.

      That one man wishes to do something the law does not allow is not relevant.

      The man who desires to steal other peoples’ property is prevented from doing so by the same law that tells the man who does not desire to steal that he too may not.

      The question of WHY the prohibition of gay marriage is a worthy value is another post. The point of THIS post is merely to demonstrate that the law is not discriminating.

    69. Daniel says:

      Concluding that it is pointless to refer to scripture, is to bring us to the point of making the very words Christian, and truth, essentially meaningless. Being a Christian then becomes whatever you want it to mean, whatever suits you. The scriptures are not unclear, they speak very plainly. Show me any verse in the bible, and you can undoubtedly find plenty of “scholars” with differing interpretations, but that is only a smokescreen for those of us who don’t like the simple message of scripture, as it shines it’s light onto our lives, and our hearts.

      Those who have embraced homosexuality cannot appeal to being born with certain desires, leanings, or traits, anymore than I could fall back on such a defense for the fact that I have struggled with pornography and lust for much of my life. I cannot reinterpret what God has clearly spoken about such things as being sinful, and wrong, because I have certain ‘inherent’ desires… Monogamy does not render a relationship or behavior pure in the eyes of God. I could have a monogomous, consensual sexual relationship with say, my daughter, but it would nonetheless be perverse and sinful. Nor could I embrace a lifestyle that indulges in pornography, or any other kind of sexual misuse, and stamp it “Christian”, and thus redeem it by virtue of what I choose to call myself.

      It is sad, however, that so much of the prevalent Christian culture has erected a false dichotomy between different kinds of sin, placing homosexuality off in it’s own horrible category, that is somehow set apart from the rest of the population. God sees sin as sin. It is a true waste of time and money to attempt to keep such expressions of our sinful nature at bay through legislation and political means. Only the gospel can free people from the bondage of any behavior, or any relationship, that is in contrast to His Kingdom….

      Our society confuses sex with love, and it is true that the vast majority of people who have embraced the homosexual lifestyle have done so because they sincerely hunger for love. But that kind of quest for fulfillment is a dry well. It seems that these issues are becoming more divisive, and more sensitive within the broader Body of Christ, as more people come into contact with homosexuality in a personal, rather than abstract, way. Still, God’s truth is as real, as powerful, as loving, as just, and as freeing as it has always been, and if we sincerely desire to follow Christ, we cannot pick and choose which elements of being his disciple that we want to accept. We cannot baptize into the body certain beliefs simply because they are accepted by the society as a whole. Nor can go to the opposite extreme, and treat people who are enslaved to certain passions (as we ALL are before meeting Christ), as if they are some kind of second-class citizen, and attempt to “reform” them, or the culture, through external devices…

    70. Learning says:

      Jesus is against sin no matter what the sin. But he also loves all and wants all to repent. We must becareful of trying to create god in our image.

    71. Daniel says:

      Very true Learning…. But you can’t repent of something that you’ve convinced yourself is healthy, normal, and designed by God. Jesus does love all, but it’s not a love that is safe, that doesn’t threaten every fiber of our being. Look at Jesus in the gospels, everytime he confronts someone, he puts his finger right on their most sensitive issue… Jesus, the REAL Jesus, is certainly not the God we would come up with by our own internal driviing forces. Jesus’ love is not a conveniant love…..

    72. kati says:

      i too am a queer christian. i too am glad this discussion is happening!

      i was in full-time ministry for several years before i began questioning both my sexuality and the theology that surrounds it. even during that first period of beginning to seek new understanding, it was still just that….understanding. ideas. theory.

      however, i now live in a time and place where the effects of this particular doctrine has become very CONCRETELY evident in my life–we’re not only in the realm of debate anymore. i don’t live in california and i’m not fluent in lawyer speak, so i can’t tell you for sure if the civil unions offered there give the exact same rights as marriage did (although i’d have to guess no…”separate but equal” has rarely been true), but i know that in my personal life, i don’t have the same rights as most heterosexual people do.

      i happened to fall in love and marry (yes, by my own definition) someone who is a foreign citizen. because she doesn’t have independent wealth or family already living in the u.s., she has not been able to secure a resident visa. what this means practically is that i must choose between living in my country of birth (and all that entails about living near to family, educational opportunities, career paths that interest me) and living with my spouse. knowing what i know about God, immigrants, foreigners, and the NT concept of ‘home’, i can’t imagine that God would think this is fair in any sense of the word.

      you should see me around tax season, too. i work long-distance for a u.s.-based company as a freelancer, so i end up paying 15% taxes to a country that won’t let me live there with my family. i admit, i get awfully bitter for a few weeks there…but maybe i’ll pull a hannah and hope and pray that God will hear my bitterness and grant me my heart’s desire.

      in the meantime, i’ll fight for change using every method i can think of. i promise you all that this is not just an interesting topic up for debate. it’s an issue of justice that can’t be ignored, especially if you believe and serve the God of justice of malachi 6:8.

    73. eugenecho says:

      @kati: thanks for sharing your story here on the blog. much appreciated.

      one footnote: you meant micah 6:8, right?

    74. djterasaki says:

      @Aaron – could you be more specific about how the changing of a word – as you put it – will lead to ‘moral decay’?

    75. Randy says:

      I would like to focus on one issue here: The use of divorced remarriage as a comparison to gay marriage.

      One thing I have long believed as a Christian is the mysterious way that Christianity constantly demands that we look at ourselves and get our own selves in order before judging others.

      With this in mind I recall growing up in a church where the few divorced people were nearly outcasts. This included women who sought divorce because of well-known physical and emotional abuse.

      When I entered graduate school, I entered a church with a special ministry to divorced people. They were controversial because they did allow re-married divorced people to be full members and participants in the church. So that period is not so far behind us as some here suggest, even though we seem to have moved very quickly to recognizing divorce as a normal part of life.

      Some suggest here that the church needs to move back to condemning divorce and forbidding remarriage. Perhaps we should, but then we need to reach out to people who suffer through divorce. For those who want to reflect on this, I suggest Brian Walsh’s “Wedding Sermon” at
      http://empireremixed.wordpress.com/2008/08/12/compassion-goes-all-the-way-down-a-wedding-sermon/

      Peace,
      Randy Gabrielse

    76. kati says:

      @eugene…..yes, yes i did.

      you’re welcome. and i’m a dork. but my point still stands :)

    77. MattR says:

      I’m a Christian,
      I live in California,
      and I voted NO on prop 8!

      A few reasons…
      1. No matter what you think the bible says about being gay… we don’t live in a theocracy.
      Change hearts and minds through sound argument, and most of all love. But trying to make the law fit Christianity is the wrong way to go. Remember, ‘Separation of Church and State’ was designed to protect the Church as well as the state. When we use power to get out way… we loose our prophetic voice.

      2. This was a civil, not religious issue.
      Marriage in our current culture is NOT religious. Sure, for Christians it is, but that was not what we were voting on. This proposition was about CIVIL marriages under the law. And ALL should be protected equally under law in a democratic society. I agree with what others have said, that at some point we should make that legal distinction clearer.

      3. Rights should NOT be decided by majority vote.
      That’s not how democratic society works… otherwise the majority would always vote to limit the minority. This is the FIRST time in Cali history (that I know of) that the constitution will be changed to restrict rights… constitutions are meant to extend rights, not impose religious views.

      4. A majority of the public rhetoric coming from the ‘yes’ on 8 side was built on fear and misinformation.
      I heard this even coming from the Christian community (which is part of the context of the billboard, I assume). MASS emails sent out by mainstream Christian leaders comparing gay people to communist China, etc. These were FALSE… Gay marriage in NO WAY affects straight people’s marriages, nor the rights of churches to preach and practice what they want. And there were many saying things that were full of fear, and playing VERY loose with the facts… unfortunately, this may have harmed the relationship between the church and the gay community in a big way it Cali… And that should matter A LOT to Christians. Our call is to love sacrificially as Christ did, our commitment is to truth… not to try to ‘win’ at all costs.

    78. Sam says:

      Interesting discussion! I am straight & married, but have friends in the LGBT community. Prior to the election, the topic barely came up with my gay friends. Based on the fiery rhetoric from the “Yes on 8” group, both before and after the election, I asked my gay friends what they thought (after the election). They know I’m not against them marrying, so I think we had honest discussions.

      They told me that for them personally, this was not a major issue, even though they think gays should have the right to be married for the legal/civil rights marriage gives. So for them, this is primarily a legal rights (civil) issue, although they know some gay people who also want the culture to recognize gay marriage. However, my friends say that they and their gay friends do not have a need to have gay marriage recognized by the Christian religion or by any other religion. They told me that some gays may want that, but they do not know those people.

      There is another side to the issue that I have yet to hear in any discussion among people who are not gay. My gay friends know gay people who probably should not have gotten married, but did it when it was allowed just because they could. Now they are in a legal mess with their “Ex”, just like straight couples get into with their “Ex”. So there are people in the gay community who recognize that the legal right to marry does not mean one should. As one said, “I doubt marriage is all that it is cracked up to be. I can’t think of any reason I would have to marry anyone.” Of course, he thinks others should have the right to marry whomever they want.

      Many, many people in our culture do not see marriage as a Christian institution, regardless of how Christians see it. Therefore, the culture sees the efforts of churches, Christians and even other religions to define marriage based on their religion, holy book or whatever as religion trying to exert control on the government. Perhaps that works if the vast majority of the culture are followers of Jesus, Mohammed or whatever. But in a culture that is demonstrably secular, where no religion is controlling the state, for any or all religions to try to control the state is not looked upon kindly by the culture.

      Christianity and the state have been interrelated for a very long time. Yes, it is tough when Christians no longer have the upper hand in dictating that the state conform with Christian values. But haven’t you figured it out? We’ve already lost our battle to control the state. Yes, the issue of homosexuality is perceived by many to be a last ditch effort to regain control. Passing Prop 8 may be a battle won, but most of us think this is an unwinnable war. Then there are those of us who think this is not the war we should even be fighting, since even our holy book does not direct us to fight this war. But it does direct us to fight the war of poverty, nakedness, fatherlessness, and hopelessness.

    79. i am a queer Christ-follower who married my partner b4 the election and we are NOW in legal limbo thanks to the passage of Prop 8.

      i appreciate the sign this church put up. That is right, NOT all the churches involved in Prop 8 speak for ALL Christians!

      The Bible is NOT clear on homosexuality. In Leviticus, it was dealing with a holiness code for the Jews of that time. SO< look at the passages in their historical and cultural contexts, people! Otherwise, you had better stop eating shrimp, quit wearing mixed blends of clothing, stone the adulterer. and quit touching the woman when she is menstruating!

      Sodom and Gomorah is about hospitality and NOT homosexual sin. Jesus eveb refers to this story as an example of lack of hospitality.

      Paul was speaking about temple prostitution not loving same-sex relationships.

      SO< ALL you Biblical literalists, quit checking your brain at the doors of your church and do some legitimate research.

      i know i do not know everything nor do i have all the answers figured out. i admit i can be wrong. LOVE, though, should triumph all, even what we think our correct interpretations are. i am having a hard time showing love to all these homophobic people because i am hell tired of being trampled on with what these people think is correct and moral. BUT try is what i will do because God commands me to do so.

      Why don’t all these Biblical literalists go and fight just as hard or more so for the poor, for the earth, for those being sold into slavery, for all disenfranchised people? Maybe because they are hypocrites.

      Let’s look at the plank in our own eyes before we go looking at the speck in others eyes. Let’s get our own houses in order b4 looking to clean up the houses of others.

    80. josh says:

      Kate says,


      I guess the question that I keep coming back to is this: if it really is our goal, as Christians, to first and foremost love God and love people – are we REALLY communicating that by limiting the rights of gay citizens?

      Are Christians who support prop 8 expecting the gay community to suddenly realize, since they cannot legally get married, that they should be marrying someone of their own gender – and therefore turn their sexuality and identity 180 degrees, become attracted to the opposite sex, marry and create a happy, ‘normal’ family – and find Jesus in the process?

      I think this post is right on, why are so many Christians fighting so hard against this. . . what is the end game?

      Where in history do we see the Church legislating morality from the top down and subsequently having a society of Christ followers, passionate about their beliefs.

      Even if I believed homosexuality was indeed sinful I could not see how Prop 8 could possibly serve the church. In my experience people do not experience a life changing experience with Jesus because someone convinced them not to sin(nonetheless making their sin illegal).

      As Christians we should live a life set apart for the Gospel. However, that is so often confused with a life set apart by morals. Jesus was not radical because of how strictly He adhered to religious code. His life stood out because of whet He stood FOR not what He stood against, how He ACTED not reacted.

      We need to be bringing people to the foot of the cross, showing them and helping them experience God’s grace. We are all sinners. The Gospel is for sinners and it changes lives, God changes lives.

      I believe it is easier to live a radical life that is shaped by showing people how “moral” you are than it is to live out the kind of radical love that Jesus showed. Love for the poor and oppressed, radical, real, accepting, love.

    81. marandbry says:

      a few days before the election, i got really frustrated with the church’s response to prop 8 and created a random website: http://christians-against-prop8.tumblr.com/

      am also part of a really interesting dialogue here: http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=41252551321&id=580160219&index=0

    82. marandbry says:

      We live as “aliens and strangers of this world” and are here to share the love of Jesus, not to institutionalize a God-ordained morality. The separation of church and state is what allows people to worship other gods, even though as Christians, we believe that true worship is reserved for Jesus and idol worship is the mother of all immorality. But it is that same separation that should also differentiate state marriage vs. church marriage and societal morality and Christian morality.

      However, I also struggle with my own desire to keep our culture pure and safe, especially for my future children. This whole “Girls Gone Wild” thing with straight women experimenting with their sexuality freaks me out. Every year, it seems like that stuff just keeps getting more and more normative and it will grow increasingly difficult for future generations to pursue purity.

      But I don’t think that is reason enough for the church to rally against gay marriage. I don’t think making gay marriage illegal will mitigate the cultural shift that is already happening at breakneck speed. And furthermore, I don’t think pushing that agenda is the best way for us to love people or share the gospel. It is too easy for us Christians to fall into Pharisee-like ways of thinking and doing, while losing sight of the larger picture of God’s calling for us to love and forgive others as Christ did for us in our sin.

    83. saltypundit says:

      There are a log of good arguments in the comments here about this issue. I am pro-prop 8, but I think it would be easier for gay people to persuade the other side of the merits of gay marriage if they were as tolerant as they claim to be of all people’s rights. But some, especially those who belong to the militant activist group, proved otherwise by their post-prop 8 behavior. Instead of trying to engage the other side in discussion, they browbeat women, trashed a church in Michigan, and threatened and harassed Christians in San Francisco. Obviously, this group’s antics have not helped their side.

      The other factor has to do with the gay population’s intolerance of those who do not agree with their lifestyle. They seem to demand not just tolerance, but complete acceptance of their lifestyle, or else they will use whatever means, legal or not, to force such acceptance. This included complaining to the government just because a Christian photographer would not take pictures of a lesbian commitment ceremony (resulting in a huge fine to the photographer), or the lawsuit to force eHarmony to cater to gays. Needless to say, this also includes education of children. I have no doubt that gays would love to silence all Christians by enacting a law similar to Canada’s that prohibits all criticism of their lifestyle. The militant gay activists seek to force all organizations, including churches, scouting organizations, Christian businesses, etc. to capitulate to them.

      So prop 8 is just part of a larger fight, perhaps mostly by Christians, but not exclusively, against a militant gay agenda that seeks to force totalitarian acceptance of their lifestyle by others. Even though in theory it may seem that separating church and state by having separate civil and religious ceremonies for everyone may work, in reality, gay couples would probably remain discontent and eventually someone in the gay community would sue a church or churches to force them to marry gays in their church. They will not stop because their goal is 100% acceptance. Non-acceptance is not tolerated.

      I’m also tired hearing people say that having gay marriage would not affect other people’s marriage. The fact is that gay marriage would change the basis of society, and like anything else that is immoral, the effects may not be palpable at first, but will eventually be visible. The meaning of husband and wife will be gone. Already California prohibited ministers from using those terms on a marriage license. Legalizing gay marriage is no different than legalizing prostitution. Concerned citizens have every right to speak up and vote against sodomy.

      Some wonder how, as Christians, we can love people and share the gospel while still fighting against gay marriage. One could ask the same question of John the Baptist, who spoke up against Herod taking his brother’s wife. One of the ways we love our neighbor is by asking them to repent of their sins. The concept of sin has gone out of fashion in our society. However, if we believe that homosexuality is indeed a sin, then we as Christians have a moral obligation to love our neighbor by turning them from their sin. We don’t need to treat homosexuality as a bigger sin than other sins. All sin is equal in the sight of God. We also have to remember the grace that God gave us, and extend that to other sinners, whether they are gay or not. It’s an age-old challenge for a Christian to hate the sin but love the sinner, but with God nothing is impossible.

    84. MattR says:

      saltypundit,

      It’s hard to really make generalizations like that. Yes, the conservative media has made a big deal out of a few extreme cases… but aren’t there a few extremists in every group? Most of the protests have been peaceful.

      Gay people aren’t intolerant. If you get to know a few gay people you will find most who are just like anyone else… productive members of society, some who love God deeply, and want to live, fall in love, and have a healthy, happy life.

      There is no “militant gay agenda.” Gay people wanting to be full members of society is hardly “militant.” Is there a militant Christian agenda? Sometimes I wonder, when many of my fellow brothers and sisters if Christ keep trying to impose their Christian view on all of culture through power… like what just happened with prop 8. Calling a minority who are asking just to have the rights afforded everyone in a democratic society ‘militant’ doesn’t make sense to me.

      What if people made a law saying that you could not get married… and if you were married we wouldn’t accept it? Wouldn’t you be a little upset?

      As far as your biblical argument… Yes, John the B criticized Herod. But a prophet calling someone in power to accountability is not the same as this situation. The gay community are not the ones at ‘the top’ here.

      And love… Yes, love does often call us to speak up when we think something is wrong. But that is part of the problem… because conservative Christians have demonized the gay community, even if they think it is a sin to be gay, they have lost a lot of their prophetic voice. Say what you think is right and wrong, yes… but don’t speak in generalizations and demonize a whole group!

      As a heterosexual Christian, I encourage other hetro Christians to get to know a gay person… not as a ‘project,’ but to truly build a friendship. Most of those stereotypes start melting away. And that IS what Jesus did, went out to people and ‘incarnated’ love to them. It changes your perspective drastically!

    85. Tom says:

      If anybody’s still on this thread, go see ‘Milk.’ Took my family to see it in Denver yesterday. Really worth seeing no matter how you feel about the discussion here.

    86. [...] just spotted this blog post from Seattle’s Eugene Cho, pastor of Quest church and regular contributor to Jim [...]

    87. Gregg says:

      I just found this discussion, and feel that it is a worthwhile “debate”… As a pastor in Christ’s church, I do NOT believe that we all interpret the scriptures the same way. I, for one, believe that the Bible is silent on the issue of homosexuality as we know it today. I have done extensive study and believe that those who interpret these few scriptures literally are wrong. Biblical literalists will obviously think that I am wrong. We could sit around all day and argue about who is more wrong, but I don’t find that helpful. Given that we have disagreements, how do we continue to be in community when I am ostracized by some, and shunned/shamed by others? I am more than willing to engage in mission and ministry with all other followers of Christ, but I don’t often find the same is true for those who disagree with me. The onus, therefore, falls on the conservative folks in this debate to come to the LGBT community and their allies (of which I am one) and meet us on our terms. It has not been safe or helpful for us to come to you.

    88. Gregg,

      Thank you for your enlightening and encouraging words here. We in the LGBTQ community need all the straight allied we can get! And it’s extra nice you are a pastor! :)

      i am going to use your words in a post on my blog.

      i am so sorry you have been ostracized by some of those people who disagree with you. i certainly can relate. It’s painful and not at all what i think Jesus envisioned.

      i think you are onto something when you said:

      “The onus, therefore, falls on the conservative folks in this debate to come to the LGBT community and their allies (of which I am one) and meet us on our terms. It has not been safe or helpful for us to come to you.”

      Again, THANK YOU Gregg, for your heart and compassion!

      Warm Regards,

      Adele

    89. Tiger Doll says:

      Gay people should accept civil unions, as that contract law can be made to fit their unique needs and living scenario.

      The marriage social contract is oriented around the family, and thus requires different protections and stipulations for the parties involved—especially mothers and their kids.

      It goes without saying that gay marriage fully undermines traditional marriage by redefining it beyond recognition and making the new definition the law for all (thus obliterating the old form and purpose and design).

      Civil unions will allow gays to find the legal protections that fit their scenario. Marriage contract law will then allow heterosexuals to have the legal protections that fit their unique family scenario.

    90. Tiger Doll says:

      Kate, gay isn’t an “identity” like being black or woman, since gay or straight is something you do in the bedroom a few hours of your life. Being black or woman is something you are 24 hours a day, every day. Comparing gay sex to the Civil Rights movement is an insult to African Americans, and we take it as such.

      Rachel, we absolutely should bring laws back that prohibit divorce. Marriage laws have a huge impact on how many broken homes there are in our country. Before divorce was permitted, divorce was rare, and children were the main people to benefit from that stable environment. Now it’s 50%, like you said. Really, everyone benefitted when divorce was not permitted, because staying together produces the greatest personal and financial stability for everyone in a family. Divorce shatters everything and leaves kids as foreigners to their parents’ new homes and new families for decades. It’s so sad. And single parenting is so hard on everyone.

      Obviously, the bible reveals that homosexuality is a sin against one’s own body–a denial of one’s own bodily design and purpose. But that’s not why it’s a state issue. States have always supported marriage because they have understood that heterosexuals raise the families that are the state. So, we can see why the state has an interest in helping the very unions that reproduce, care for, and educate “the state.”

      Gay people should accept civil unions, as that contract can be made to fit their unique needs and living scenario. The marriage social contract is oriented around the family, and so it obviously requires different protections and expectations of behavior for all the people involved.

      I’m surprised to read some comments here to the effect that gay marriage doesn’t change our social structure. Gay marriage fully undermines traditional marriage by redefining it beyond recognition, thus erasing the old form, purpose, duties, and design. That’s serious stuff. The end of marriage as a family social contract is the end of a country’s sustainability.

    91. [...] the video.  Many of you already shared your thoughts about Prop 8 here.  What do you think of the [...]

    92. Dadofiandi says:

      @Tiger Doll
      Your argument seems to be one of separate but equal. Do you believe the Civil Rights movement applies only to African Americans? Or is what they fought for applicable to all races, religions, etc?

      Regarding identity is how you view yourself as well as how the world views you as well.
      Are people or is society only prejudiced in regard to race or ethnicity?
      How are those who are obese or disabled treated ?
      What if you are Latino a woman and a lesbian?
      Everyone has a story and unless we walk in their shoes we need to be careful in our judgments.

      Does having a mother and father automatically create better children? Are there single parent or gay parents who do a better job raising their children?
      Is divorce an option when there is physical/mental abuse or infidelity? (I agree that divorce is too easy as is getting married in the first place)

      Regarding what the human body is designed for: If someone is infertile does that mean God doesn’t want them to have their own children? Does that also mean people who don’t have children are sinners? Is using birth control a sin? Is corrective surgery or plastic surgery against God’s will since he designed us a certain way?

      The Bible is not obvious in many ways, therefore there are various interpretations and commentaries, Bible studies, sermons. We try to define our indescribable God to our world view.

    93. Tiger Doll says:

      Hello again Dad of Ian:

      It’s not a civil rights issue at all. Black is the color of your skin and woman is the sex you are. Gay is the preference you have while making love.

      Civil Rights is not something that extends to every demographic group we can create, whether “tweens,” “baby boomers,” S&Mers, “skaters” or “Trekkies.” So, just because some group self-identifies with something, doesn’t mean they have Civil Rights for those things.

      The issue at hand has to do with marriage, which has always been between men and women because they produce families. There would be no “marriage” law at all if not for the family result of heterosexual reproduction. The family members require protection because of the dangers of child and spouse abandonment. It’s common sense, really.

      Fathers and mothers partner in raising children well at a high success rate, and have done so for millions of years. This is nature’s own biologically mandated society. Yet it is the marriage laws between these people that enforces the responsibilities parents have to their children and penalizes them if they abdicate those responsibilities. The problem with letting everyone adopt is that children require permanent homes for their stable well-being, and there are few to zero social situations between humans that force such long-term partnering. Sex between heterosexuals forces this long-term parenting partnership, as society naturally holds the parents accountable for raising their babies to adulthood (approximately 18 years). There’s your best long-range social structure.

      Divorce should be punishable with heavy fines, so as to protect children from desertion by their parents and mandate that parents keep their responsibilities. A random infidelity shouldn’t be any reason for divorce, but any ongoing infidelity amounts to desertion, and that should trigger legal penalties which allow the faithful spouse to separate and get the same economic support from the unfaithful partner as if the couple was together. This is the legal system that works for families. Anything less allows people to abandon their children at a high rate without penalty. That’s a disaster.

      As for what the body is designed for, it practically goes without saying. Men and women have obvious biological complementarity which suggests to us our natural purpose as beings/creatures. Infertility is a medical defect, just like being born without a hand. We don’t interpret this as anything but a rare biological malfunction, which it is.

      While it’s true that the bible is against homosexuality, this really isn’t the basis for preserving traditional marriage laws in a democracy. The basis is that marriage laws arise around the biological certainty that heterosexuals produce many babies in their lifetimes, and these babies need a long-term society and economic protections from the adult partners. This implicit expectation is made legal and enforceable through marriage laws.

    94. Jon in Iowa City says:

      I’m sorry. Are civil unions being offered to most of us? Most state’s constitutional marriage bans specifically prevent those states from offering civil unions or domestic partnerships. Heck, efforts are being made in Florida as we speak to prevent local governments from continuing domestic partnership benefits. Despite the fact that these same groups lied during the recent campaign saying that their amendment only defined marriage and would not affect benefits at all.

      Then again, gay couples in California and New Jersey have already been realizing why marriage licenses were needed instead of statewide “equivalent” DP or CUs. Businesses (FedEx comes to mind immediately) refuse to honor those state’s domestic partnership laws, citing federal laws requiring them only to provide benefits to married spouses of employees.

      Different but equal has been discovered to be unequal.

    95. Tiger Doll says:

      Jon, civil unions most certainly should be allowed. And I think they can be created just about everywhere, if I understand correctly.

      But the contracts that heterosexuals and gays require are so different that they must have their own legal distinctions. Marriage law has been around forever because heterosexuals produce families (children) which require legal protections from economic ruin and abandonment.

      Gays have different needs, and thus need different contracts. We can be equal but also recognize all the different ways humans organize themselves into contracts.

    96. Dadofiandi says:

      Tiger Doll, we have to stop meeting like this. :o). Thanks for answering my ?.
      Re Civil rights – http://education.yahoo.com/reference/encyclopedia/entry?id=10487
      and http://dictionary.law.com/default2.asp?selected=204&bold=||||

      I don’t think we will change each others minds, but I think it is healthy for us to examine our beliefs.
      Thanks for your candidness.

    97. Jon in Iowa City says:

      There are gay couples, like me and my partner, who are both the legal parents of our kids. Why shouldn’t our children be protected against economic ruin or abandonment?

      And, no, civil unions aren’t accessible everywhere and most of the states that have amended their constitutions to prevent us from legally marrying have also explicitly banned those states from offering civil unions or DPs or any other forms of legal rights or responsibilities for couples like us. Not to mention that their not federally recognized, so there are no protections for Vermont couples who are in civil unions, to name an example of a state, once they leave that state’s borders.

    98. zu says:

      eugene: sorry it took me so long to get back to this. You asked me a question…

      “in light of what you shared, you’re not in direct fellowship with people within your micro-church that are in opposing views as you, but how do you relate to the macro Church? since you are a christian and have done further studies in theology, do you consider others who stand in opposition to your views – still – as your brothers and sisters in Christ? how do you relate to the larger Body of Christ?”

      Response – I guess in Covenant fashion I say to the macro church, and my parents and brother who quote verses about hell to me, that we see these things differently. That our only choice right now is to agree to disagree. That I will seek to stay in relationship with them. That I will hear them quote scripture at me until it’s too hard, and then for self care reasons I will step back for a couple days. But I keep coming back. Right now I am fully engaged in the macro church through my family and my workplace, but I have to be in a micro-church that tells me I am accepted as I am when the rest of the church throws rocks.

      I stand in the midst of my brothers and sisters in Christ. I hear them say things about me in the hallways at work (a christian workplace), I let my parents share how distraught they are at my upcoming marriage, and I just stand. I stand as much as I can and then I “run to” my church “micro” when the macro church is too much.

    99. Tiger Doll says:

      Jon,

      First, gay marriage law won’t protect you personally against abandonment, for gay coupling has no economic risks for spouses. That is, gay relationships, unlike heterosexual relationships, don’t force others into becoming “dependents.” (In a heterosexual marriage, the woman becomes economically at risk by having and raising children.)

      Moreover, the “gay marriage contract” is dissolvable without penalty. So, gay marriage is not able to protect the adults from breach of contract.

      As for your child, I suspect there may be some economic protection associated with separate adoption law. Yes? But adoption laws function separately from “marriage law,” as I understand it. Could you speak to that?

    100. Jon in Iowa City says:

      I know gay couples with kids where one parent has assumed a stay-at-home responsibility for their adoptive kids. If they were married, they’d have some support through Social Security if their working spouse died or once they retired. If they divorced, there’d be the opportunity for allimony

      What do you mean that there’s no penalty?

      Why would children obtained through adoption be protected without the benefit of marriage, but children through birth relationship not be protected without the benefit of marriage? That makes no sense.

    101. Tom says:

      @ Tiger Doll

      Normally don’t get back into discussions this deep and late, but I just checked back and noticed your comments.

      I really appreciate your good efforts here.

      A couple of things come to mind.

      I like your idea that maybe the word ‘marriage’ should be reserved for heterosexual couples, since, as you say, that’s been the traditional designation for hetero unions over a very long time. Sometimes those of us who want to see social change have got to be aware of the deep emotional importance of symbolic language.

      Seems like what Jon and many others have been trying to communicate here is that the current definition of ‘civil unions’ doesn’t give gay people the protections they need when they want to create potentially socially beneficial relationships that are both stable and long lasting. Not by a long shot.

      No question gay folks don’t build long term relationships that biologically produce children. That’s definitely a different circumstance and may, as you note, require some different nuances in the law.

      But many gay people are adopting children and many others would love to adopt them. So perhaps even that difference based on creating families with children will turn out to be less important than it may seem right now.

      I think we all have a strong interest in fostering social stability and long lasting relationships based on love and respect. I can see no reason–as a straight evangelical Christian–why the state shouldn’t support gay people legally in ways that encourage those kinds of outcomes and values.

      We’re not in that place now.

      Christians can play a role in all that. I don’t know whether the effort to make that kind of change should be compared to the civil rights movement or not. Who cares? Seems like the important thing is to support people legally who want to live lives committed to their spouses–and in the case of gays–potentially their adopted children.

      As for the language, well, I can’t imagine that gay folks can’t come up with some creative designation different from ‘marriage’ that would identify their unique long term and legally recognized relationships.

      Sometimes terminology makes all the difference. I think it did among the voting population in California with Prop 8.

    102. [...] Church, Gay Marriage, and Prop 8:  Again, sometimes it’s just best to give people a venue to have respectful conversations and step aside. [...]

    103. [...] getting it on the ballot in November in Washington. And while it may not get as intense or ugly as Prop 8 in California, I suspect it’ll get heated especially in the upcoming weeks as the referendum needs about [...]

    104. Nikki says:

      A few people have mentioned how Christians can support same sex marriage. It’s simple. Religious beliefs should not be forced upon a nation that is in theory free from religion. Just because the Bible says it is a sin, does not mean that I have the right to force everyone to believe it is a sin. I cannot force my religious beliefs on a nation by a ballot measure. Furthermore, the reason that the bible says “homosexual behavior” is an “abomination” (not “sin”) is the same reason it says masturbation is an “abmoniation” – the time when Leviticus was written Jews were few in number, and they believed that sperm was limited. Therefore, the sperm should not be wasted in masturbation or homosexual activities, instead it should be put in a woman so there would be more pregnant Jewish women, and hopefully, eventually, more Jewish babies.

      Furthermore, the bible also says you should stone your wife to death if you find out she was not a virgin when you married her. Adulters should also be stoned to death. However, both Jesus and Paul said that the codes followed in the old testament do not need to be followed anymore, that you only need to love.

      A religious organization cannot force its views on the rest of the population. And, furthermore, what would my gay (yes, I am gay) marriage do to harm you? I would live in a house with my wife, we would both have normal every day jobs, and lead normal every day lives. We might have normal every day dogs. I would not come up to your children and try to “convert” them to being gays, I do not want to force ANY churches or religious organizations to perform gay marriages, because there IS a seperation of church and state. I am not quite sure how my gay marriage would affect the health care industry, other than invitro-infertlization doctors would have a sudden increase in people seeking their services, and that there would be less homeless orphans.

      Gay people are PEOPLE first, just like straight people are people first.

    105. Anonymous says:

      It’s interesting that from Jesus original christianity to the evolvement of it today. What I am getting at is this: Jesus said to turn the other cheek, to give to the poor, to give your coat up, he also said satan was the ruler of this world, Jesus did not permit his followers to rule over anyone. They were to be the meek not the power in position. It is anti christian to over power someone else to make them do as you want. I am not a believer in christianity or any other religion, but I do know the truth about christianity. Obviously it is the gays and lesbians that are the oppressed not the heterosexuals. If there was a god he would be angry with those that over powered his brother and took away from them seeing them as being unfit. This would be the true enemy of god. God would automatically save the gay community and condemn the aggressors just for this alone. Referring to the story of Lazarus and the rich men who would not help him.
      To take away from one for the benefit of oneself, how can you call yourself christians? The greatest shall be the least and the least shall be the greatest. I am simply saying follow your fkn bible if you claim to believe in it and live by it.

    106. Michael says:

      I support the Lamb and not the Prop 8 and Gay marriage. I support the Weddings of the Lamb.

    107. Michael says:

      You are happy whatever you can do. You can marry with a wife. It is fine. You can marry with the same sex, it is fine. Enjoy and have fun. It’s what God has given you to enjoy.

    108. Michael says:

      Can I ask you one thing to the Proposition 8? Why does the Bible says on Revelation 14, verse 4: These are the ones who were not defiled with women for they are virgins, who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. These were redeemed from among men, being the first-fruits to God and to the Lamb. What is the bible trying to say to me? Does the Bible support the Doctrine and Covenants when they say just in order to get in heaven, you have to marry a wife by my word? Which is the true the Mormon Church or the Bible? Why the bible tells me so? Who I will believe the Mormons or God?

    109. Michael says:

      I am quite so confused about it. I do not know to choose. Because the Bible opened my eyes about the reality that I did not see. I was in the wrong path. God says that only virgins inherit heaven and he denies all men who are married with women. The bible tells me so. Only the 144,000 have the access to the kingdom of God.

    110. Michael says:

      I believe to all heterosexuals must thank to Jesus. Without Jesus you are nothing. If Jesus would have not come to die for you. All of you who are married with a woman, you are counted as sinners. If Jesus would not have come, God would have sent you hell and never forgiven you. But, by the grace of Christ, you are saved because God condemned you when you married with a wife, but Jesus interceded for you then you are safe and forgiven and after you are dead, you all become angels of God forever and ever. Whew! thanks God you are safe and saved forever and ever. By the grace of Christ you are saved. God does not condemn me because I have nothing to do with God. Because I have not defiled with women because I believe in Jesus Christ and God.

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