Monday, June 27, 2005

The Ambiguity of Homosexual Marriage

Sexual immorality - the epitome of disgusting sin, at least for too many in the Church. What is it about sexual sin that launches it to a hamartiological tower incapable of receiving compassion or forgiveness from God's own, the Church? Of particular political debate has been the polarized issue of legalizing homosexual marriage. What are the ramifications, who will be affected, why should homosexuals be allowed/disallowed to marry? For whatever reason, the flippant Christian response quite simply irritates me.

"Homosexuality is a sin, therefore, homosexuals should not marry."

1) The Bible is clear that homosexuality is sinful. You have to either remove portions of Scripture or do some grand twisting in order to assert the Bible says otherwise. Those who do so often have a predetermined commitment to a position which considers homosexuality natural.

2) Can we truly argue that just because homosexuality is sinful, homosexuals should not be allowed to marry?

The thing which irritates me about the common conservative Christian response is that it is extremely under-thought. If we are to disallow homosexuals from marrying because they are willfully sinning, where do we stop? Why is it that conservative Christians are not out rallying against the adulterer who wishes to marry, or the promiscuous, or the thief, or the habitual liar, or etc.....? Does it not seem a bit selective to only demand that homosexuals should not be allowed to marry when others who are willfully committing different sexual sins are free to do so? Where have we discovered this grand differentiation between sexual sins? While I am not one to assert an egalitarian theology regarding sin, I do find the chasm which separates homosexual sin from other sexual sin befuddling.

Those who assert homosexuals should not marry because it is sinful are, in a sense, allocating marriage only for the Church. In other words, unless you have repented of your sins and have confessed that Jesus is Lord it should be illegal for you to marry. I think the American Church needs to be a bit more honest with herself. In an ideal world marriage would be seen as the sacred bond which it is. But this is not an ideal world. Many marry without even the mention of sanctity which this act carries. There are, to an extent, to institutions which sanction marriage: the Church, and the state. Many omit the Church, but none are allowed to omit the state. Can we enact a law which prevents atheists from marrying? No, nor should we. Marriage improves a society, whether done with the acknowledgement of its transcendent nature or not. Why then do we feel we must enact a law which prevents homosexuals from marrying, some of whom are not even atheists? Which is worse, to reject God or to be a homosexual?

Let me be clear: I do not believe the Church should oversee homosexual marriages, nor do I believe the Church should ordain practicing homosexuals. There must be a distinction made between the Church and the secular in this issue. But I am not convinced that homosexuals should be prevented from marriage according to the tenets of the state. For the Church to ordain a person who is openly practicing something which the Bible clearly considers sinful would be antithetical to the mission of the Church. Why? Because a direct component of the Gospel message is freedom. It infuriates me when members of the Church attempt to use rhetoric which implies homosexuality is a part of God's diverse creation. When this is done the Church robs homosexuals freedom from sin. If Jesus can provide freedom for those struggling with other sexual sins He most certainly can provide it for homosexuals as well. Not that this always happens, and for some it is more of a battle than for others.

But let me be as blunt as I can regarding this issue. Sin becomes habitual. Sin becomes a prison. Sin becomes a small cell in which a person often becomes blind to their own bonds. I completely believe a homosexual when they tell me they do not feel "imprisoned". I have no doubt that my atheist friends actually do feel "free". But I also know from experience that one of most terrifying realities of sin is that it is a prison which often feels like a tropical paradise. And once the imprisonment is realized it can be extremely difficult for the bonds to drop. It is a fundamental duty of the Church to proclaim freedom, not to endorse slavery to sin. Whatever sin it may be, the Church must profess freedom.

The Church also must not ordain person's who are unwilling to repent of their sin. Again, a practicing homosexual should not be ordained and one who is risks clouding that freedom which Christ provides.

But I am quite unconvinced that simply because homosexuality is sinful homosexuals should not be allowed to marry. In a nation such as this, the state can endorse things which the Church simply does not. That's what makes this nation so great and so repugnant all at the same time.