I may not appease too many with this article, including some friends. All I ask is that no matter where you are on the political spectrum that you read with the hope of finding common ground where there are divergent cultural and religious views. Christians should be thinking people, as is our history from sciences to art. When it comes to politics we run to the right or left. I suggest we do not always have to make that choice. As the photo presents, our President made a very polarizing and political statement. I am attempting to actually have a discussion that is a bit less rhetorical and more practical and from my perspective as an evangelical Christian.
Civil rights are already given to gays who want to marry in most states. I am not sure it is fair to exclude those rights in a free society such as ours. What does anyone have to gain by that? Domestic partnership where all the legal rights of marriage exists perhaps is a worthy middle ground. Non-traditional views of family and marriage are en vogue, and yet some insist expanding the use of a word that really is reserved for faith-birthed traditional views of family. The state should preserve rights and protect all of us from intrusive or prejudicial treatment under the law. For the most part, we have accomplished this for race and gender, even though attitudes cannot be legislated. At least the law says that your race or gender or religious affiliation are invisible and protected.
As a person of faith, my belief as a Christian is that marriage is between one man and one woman. This comes from historical teaching out of the Bible that reaches further back than our great nation. The importance of rearing children and having an institution is practical and in the interest of the general welfare of all. People who are non-traditional and non-religious usually agree on this point. Time has changed the family experience in recent history. Some choose to raise children on their own. My family of origin was single parented for a period of time. Whether this style of family was by choice or not, we legally protect that family. From the message of my faith, orphans and widows are especially protected and valued. Vulnerable people need such protection.
For this reason, I believe that even though a gay couple should not marry in my religious view I am for the state and society in general protecting the children that may be part of that or any other family. Orphans should never be created. It is a worthy compromise to simply find a way to legally establish civil unions. However, why do some insist on using the traditional word “marriage” for such legal protection on the liberal left? And, why do my friends on the right insist on state-legislating the word marriage while saying their faith is the issue? Both are missing the boat in my opinion. It is easier to polarize people than synthesize solutions.
Here are some bullets-for-thought:
- The state does not (nor should not in our nation) determine my religious belief about marriage. So, why would it matter what they say? It matters if it oppresses. It matters if it excludes. It matters if it interferes.
- Liberals want to change what is traditional rather than define something “new” which in a pluralistic society is wrong on this issue. Come up with a new term or embrace the attempts of this with “civil unions” or “domestic partnerships”.
- Conservatives in some circles want a theocracy legislated about marriage. As a person of faith, I do not want the state to interfere with my beliefs. Period.
- Liberals would do well to appreciate the religious, historical, and practical existence of family. It is not just about choosing who to love, but being sure children and the vulnerable are protected under law. Selfishness is never a good selling point.
- Conservatives would do well to accept that the very small minority of people who might ask for these rights do less harm than the divorce rate of traditional families. Hypocrisy is true of us all. So, be more humble.
- Granting or protecting civil rights should be more important than a word. Emotions want us to define marriage a certain way. Emotions are warranted but not the whole picture for either side. It is not truly “progressive” to destroy an idea that in our society should still be allowed to thrive. It is not “conservative” to marginalize people when religious liberty is the fight.
I am wondering if anyone else out there is in the middle on this. This means you are neither for redefining the word marriage or denying rights to same sex couples.