As a Californian, I voted yes on Prop 8. I regret that now. As a Christian, I don't think it's my place to promote a constitutional ban on the marrying decisions of other human beings.
Yes, my religious beliefs tell me that marriage ought to be between one man and one woman. However, my religious beliefs also compel me to act justly toward those whose religious beliefs differ from mine.
I suppose my change of heart also has to do with what I believe is the message of the Gospel. Living a life that is pleasing to God is difficult enough without standing as Judge in the lives of others.
And yet, minding my own business is a very lonely place to be. I have heard it preached from pulpits that my Christian duty requires me to vote in a particular way. I have heard many Christians say that it is our moral responsibility to "protect the institution of marriage."
I'm beginning to think that evangelical Christians have made a grave error by equating their Christian duty with political victory. Because if Christians really believe in protecting the institution of marriage–or, better, actually live it–then why does the Christian divorce rate rival that of unbelievers?
As far as I can tell, the institution of marriage isn't in danger. But marriages among Christians are. If we cannot keep our own marriages intact, how are we justified in passing judgment–legislative or otherwise–upon the unions of others?
The issue of same-sex marriage is often used as a convenient scapegoat for proving the supposed decline of Christianity in the West. This decline was precipitated by the "breakdown of the American family." If this is true, then Christians are just as much to blame–especially if we are the oft-vaunted "Christian nation" we Christians like to say we are.
I also find it disturbing that Christians are upset about "the will of the people" being overturned by a judge. Sometimes the "will of the people" is dead wrong. If the majority always ruled, then African-Americans and women still wouldn't vote. The reason we need the courts is to help protect the rights of minority groups.
Don't Christians realize that one day we might be the minority? How will we react if ballot initiatives restricting our religious freedoms are voted upon with overwhelming support? In that day, I hope there's a judge who overrules the errant majority.
I don't have all the answers for how to live out the Gospel in our culture. I do know that it's always easier to whip up fear and hysteria using urgent words, protests and voter guides. It's much more difficult to live a life of humility and brokenness.
I guess what I'm saying is that if our culture is broken, I am responsible. I pollute. I hold grudges. I am unforgiving, angry, sarcastic, vain and overly fond of flattery. I lose my temper. I am wasteful of resources.
I am broken.
The least I can do is to cease from perpetuating the pain.
The least I can do is not cast the first stone.