A Christian Case For The Legality Of Gay Marriage

So much has been said on the subject of the recent Supreme Court ruling that it is nearly asinine even to mention that much has been said. And yet, in all that has been said about love, and all that has been said about justice, and all that has been said about fairness and all that has been said about hatred and bigotry and hypocrisy and force, I have yet to hear anyone address an issue that, in my opinion, the Church must acknowledge. That issue is whether or not we, the Church of Christ, are obligated to be honest to the world about what we want out of our government.

Despite some of the histrionics that I have seen from scaremongers on the extreme left, most of the Christians that I know and fellowship with do not want a theocracy in America. I have lived in enough places in this nation and spoken with enough Christians that I can say with assurance that most Christians do not want this. They do want their faith, and the right to practice it protected, and like all people, they get scared (despite the Lord’s command that they should not) and overreact. But the vast majority of them don’t really want a Church State.

I am going to speak, then, to those in the Church who agree with this principle. If we really do agree that Church and State should be separate, and that the State should have nothing to do with the Church, it is difficult for me to understand why the Church should consider it relevant what definition the State places on “marriage.” “Marriage” to the State denotes a legal arrangement that allows for special privileges between the married parties, most of which have to do with parental and property rights. What do we have to do with what the State says, unless it directly challenges our rights to be the Church of Christ?

I submit that it is dishonest of the Church of Christ to both want and not want the State to do our bidding. If we wish to seize the power of the State to make laws (which I think would be a grave mistake) then we should at least be honest enough to proclaim that this is what we want, and work openly for the establishment of a theocracy, which would make laws along Christian principles. I trust that such laws would include making divorce and the remarriage of the divorced illegal as well. But I have not seen the part of the Church that campaigns against the legalization of gay marriage waging a campaign against laws that recognize these other practices of marriage. All of them are practices which the State permits and Christ condemns.

The Muslim faith does, under certain conditions, permit and encourage its adherents to lie to unbelievers in a practice known as taqiyyah. Some Muslims have interpreted this to justify any lie to a non-Muslim. Others stress that taqiyyah only allows Muslims to lie about their Muslim identity to escape torture and death at the hands of persecutors. This is a difference between the Muslim faith and the Christian faith. As Christians, we are charged in the strongest terms to openly avow our faith in Christ when asked. We cannot be honest with God if we are dishonest with the world.

Thus, when we as Americans take offices that require us to execute the laws of the State, and consider ourselves as citizens whose rights are protected by the State (not, please note, granted by the State), we are obligated to make and interpret the laws of the State in a spirit of honesty. And I cannot see how, honestly, we can deny the State the right to define legal marriage as long as we assent to the State’s right to grant changes in married couples’ right to hold property and raise children. If we deny it this right, then we are essentially lying. We are trying to make the State into the Church. I see nothing Biblical in this. It would be just the same as if I, in my capacity as an employee of a private business, took money from my employer and then used my time and effort to preach the Word of God. That would not glorify God. That would be fraud, and sin.

If we assent that a secular State is good, and that we, as the Church of Christ can partake of it, then we must assent to the State the right to make its laws, and its right to, within those laws, enforce them. Otherwise, we are committing fraud, and this we cannot expect the Lord to honor. Note that this applies to Christians regardless of whether you believe that the Bible teaches that homosexual acts are sinful.

If the Church is not honest about its contracts and its obligations as a citizenry, it is not really being the Church. It is being a den of liars and fraudsters. This cannot be a good witness. This cannot glorify God.

4 thoughts on “A Christian Case For The Legality Of Gay Marriage

  1. Well written Scott.
    What makes the acceptance (and celebration) of non-traditional marriage impossible for Christ followers, is one simple fact: a true Christ follower loves God more than anything (or anyone) else. They see the world through a filter that considers pleasing God above everything else, and therefore, a true Christ follower surrenders their own desires and chooses instead to live there life as best they can to please God. This is the heart of a changed and “saved” person. And thankfully there is much help out there for those who have chosen this path (most importantly the Holy Spirit, and of course the fellowship within the church).
    Contrarily, a person who is not a Christ follower, who does not love God above self, or a desired lifestyle, or their kids, or their dog, of their next slice of pizza – that person obviously has a different filter that they see the world through. It makes no sense for a person who does not personally know and love God, to blindly submit to Him.
    I believe that a government filled with true Christ following leaders fully surrendered to God could be a beautiful thing – and the grace and mercy and justice displayed within it would make no sense to a lot of people and would bring unbelievable glory to Almighty God. However, I’m also a realist and see how unlikely this is to happen. More likely is the steady progression we’ve seen throughout history of men moving away from reliance on God – and Christ followers acting in faith, living differently to show God’s love and grace and gift of relationship now, along with security for eternity.
    What should give today’s American Christ followers hope and perspective, along with (but certainly less significant than) God’s promises within scripture, is the thought that our government situation today is still much better than other governments have been to Christians throughout history. Persecution may yet come in various forms, but until there’s arenas filled with lions or stakes intended for fire, I’d say there’s ample room to live out your faith boldly and sleep well at night.

  2. The only thing I would change would be the bit about the Muslim practice. It seems extraneous to the point, and unnecessarily incendiary. A contrast to another faith-practice isn’t necessary when Christian scripture could just as easily be quoted to make a point about proclamation, honesty, and fidelity.

    Otherwise, this was a great read and I’ve shared it with some other people (and have drawn no small ire from them, very few of whom actually understood your point about our system of governance as they are, assuredly, too wrapped up in the existential crisis they’ve been fed by enough sources as to simply call them “The Matrix.”)

  3. Pingback: The Conservative Christian Who Cannot Make Voting For Donald Trump A Morally Good Choice: An Open and Respectful Fisking of Dr. Wayne Grudem | The Logoccentric Orbit

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