Why I regret voting yes on Prop 8

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.

  • http://www.jillofalltradescraft.blogspot.com kelsyc

    Thank you so much for sharing. You should be proud! The world would be a wonderful place if more people were as insightful as you.

  • http://terrybreathinggrace.wordpress.com terry@ bretahing grace

    While I appreciate the spirit with which you expressed this, EE, I draw the line at voting in favor of something I believe is against biblical teaching.

    One of the reasons I have refrained, by an large from pontificating- ever, on same sex marriage is because I agree with you about the mockery that Christians have made of marriage. It feels wrong to be “up in arms” about gay marriage for that reason. But I can’t vote for the law to change the definition of marriage. To me, that would be sinful.

    As for what will happen when we are in the minority, I have been steadily weaning myself from the idea that the political arena in this country has anything to offer Christians. We will be in the minority, we already are. And at the current pace, the laws will turn against us.

    But we are supposed to be expecting that and all the trouble that comes with it, according to the Scripture.

  • http://www.ignoremeitseasier.blogspot.com AmyDe

    Thank you for sharing something so politically HOT. This is an issue that as a Christian I feel VERY strongly about, but my STRONG opinions are NOT popular in the Christian community. It’s so good to know that I am not alone.

    Like you I have heard from many pulpits about MY Christian Duty – I always feel the need (though mostly refrain from) to stand and scream “MY Christian Duty is to GOD NOT to YOUR PULPIT!!!!”

    People in general make me crazy and most of the time I find that my opinions are quite too much on the fringe for most Christians. Thanks for being a kindred spirit in this realm.

  • http://prayingthroughchaos.blogspot.com Cassidy

    Well said. I am a Christian, and don’t believe certain things are right, but even in that I don’t believe it is my job to judge another. I have an aunt who is married to a wonderful woman. They are both very kind and love each other very much. I do not agree with their life style, but I love and support them anyway. It’s much like my parents didn’t agree with me getting married and having a baby at 18, but they loved and supported me anyway. Loving support, no matter if you agree with the way a person has chosen to live, in my opinion is the best way to handle these things. Especially since judgment is up to God, not us.

  • http://terrybreathinggrace.wordpress.com terry@breathing grace

    I think you might appreciate this, EE. It’s called Christianity is a faith, not a culture.

    http://religionnewsblog.blogspot.com/2010/08/christianity-faith-not-culture.html

    Like I said, I appreciate the spirit of your post and I do. It’s why I appreciate what this guy has to say as well. We Christians do need to be more careful about trying to enforce our moral agenda through secular means.

    But do you really think the majority of Californians who voted for Prop. 8 were Christian? I doubt it.

  • http://www.ayoungmomsmusings.blogspot.com Young Mom

    Amen!! I have been writing a post about this for 3 months. Hopefully I will be able to finish it soon, although I’m not sure I will say it as well. :)

  • http://www.kathleenbasi.com Kathleen@so much to say, so little time

    I am so conflicted on all issues associated with homosexuality. I don’t know how I would have voted if I’d been there. As it is, all I can say to your thoughts on Christian responsibility and Christian marriage vs. Christian politics is: Hear hear, hear hear!

  • http://www.bigmama247.com Alise

    What a beautiful post, Elizabeth.

    I personally don’t find that my religious beliefs require me to define marriage as between a man and a woman any more than I find that it requires me to believe women are inferior to men or that slavery is acceptable or that the earth is flat and the center of the universe, but I understand that this is still an area where people disagree. But yes, as an American, it saddens me that we might allow the majority to determine the rights of the minority.

    I mentioned last night to my 12 year old daughter that the passage of Prop 8 seemed like bullying to me. Her response? “Mom, that IS bullying.”

  • http://www.thepilotswife.org Emily @The Pilot’s Wife

    I really love how you tackled this subject! Have you ever read The Myth of a Christian Nation by Greg Boyd? I think you’d really like it.

  • Angela

    Very well said and insightful! I was raised Catholic, and while I still have the same beliefs I always did, I haven’t found a church for me since I moved here, so I don’t attend one. But, my religious background and beliefs did not stop me from voting a big NO on Prop 8.

    I know what is says in the bible, but that doesn’t mean it’s my job to enforce it, or to judge how other people choose to live their lives. Not only do I tolerate “those kind of people”, but I welcome them into my life with open arms. I don’t think being friends with a gay person makes me less of a Christian, and I certainly don’t think that letting them marry their partners ruins marriage for everyone else. I think what ruins the sanctity of marriage is the people who get divorced and remarried like it’s their job, or the people who habitually cheat on their spouses.

    Sorry for the novel, but I really enjoyed your post and I couldn’t help share my two cents as well.

  • Karen

    Angela,

    Thank you for this comment. The same sentiment could have been written by me, a cradle Catholic, who feels the same way you do!!

    Thanks for taking the words right out of my mouth.

    Karen

    Elizabeth (my middle name, BTW), of all the daily messages that reach my Inbox, I look forward to yours the most!

  • Brianna

    You are smart to recognize that many of the arguments the religious use against gays and lesbians will eventually be used against yourselves.

    I will eagerly vote “yes” on any future ban on Christianity or religion should one appear in my country/region.

  • amber

    Yep. I love your writing and views. This just sealed the deal.

  • http://cindyholman.wordpress.com Cindy Holman

    I am also a Christian – and find your insights to be thoughtful and refreshing. I’ve always believed in a ‘live and let live’ for only God is the final judge of our hearts and motives – but seem to be in the minority when it comes to ‘hot bed’ topics such as this one – and the one you also touched on – divorce. Thanks for being authentic – great writing.

  • http://www.dezello.blogspot.com Dori Overman

    Amazing post! I wish I had known you when I took that Ethics class…it would have been great to pick your brain.

  • Barbara C.

    I see two big problems with your take on things and the supportive responses you’re receiving.

    1. It is true that it is not our job as Christians to judge others, but it is our job to stand up for what we have been told by God and his appointed leaders what is right and what is wrong. So, we can’t hide behind this “I have no right to tell others what is right or wrong”…this is how people do the mental gymnastics it takes to find abortion abhorrent but still allow others to murder what they clearly understand to be a baby. Christianity is very clear that homosexual acts are immoral.

    2. This isn’t just about the legal rights of gays. This is about religious rights, too. Because if gay marriage becomes a constitutional right than it leaves religious groups open to discrimination lawsuits for refusing to allow gay ceremonies to use their facilities.

    The ruling judge also reflects the true beliefs in his passage about religious groups who do not support gay marriage as harmful to gays and lesbians. This isn’t just about equal rights and tolerance it’s about trying to enforce an ideology that any squeamishness about homosexuality is intolerable and should be eradicated.

    But it’s like others mentioned, practicing Christians are a minority. This is not a judgment so much as a description. I know many people who would say they were raised Christian but haven’t been to Church, cracked open a Bible, or really prayed in years. Most Christians in this country are Christmas, Easter, and foxhole Christians. And what does it say when the majority of people in one of the most liberal states in the country votes down gay marriage? It means that people innately know there is something wrong with it.

    I have friends who are gay. But I can not condone them acting immorally any more than I can condone my straight friends acting immorally. This does not mean that I have to get in their face and say they’re going to hell. But it also doesn’t mean that I have to cheer them on. And I can not vote in good conscience for laws that would condone immorality or keep from voting for laws that would discourage immorality.

    And although I disagree with your assessment of this issue, I’ve really enjoyed reading your writing.

  • KatR

    I’m so glad you wrote this, I think this is my new favorite post.

    If Christians were really interested in using the law to enforce morality, all of these “family values” politicians would be clamoring for divorce to be outlawed. But since several of them would then be criminals, I don’t see that happening.

  • KatR

    So are you in favor of laws making homosexuality against the law? How about divorce? Sleeping with someone you aren’t married to?

  • http://thinkinggrounds.blogspot.com Christian H

    Thank-you. You are, of course, entirely right about this. This is a moral issue which does not threaten anyone in any real sense (outside of those doing the marrying), which means that individuals must make their own decisions about this without the interference of the law.

    Furthermore, I think it’s fairly clear that this sort of behaviour drives people away from Christianity. If we had to pick between having gay marriages and lots of Christians, or no gay marriage and few Christians, what would the best pick be?

    Lastly, how can you claim to love someone when you support institutional limits on love? Whether we like it or not, at the heart of this issue is whether or not we acknowledge that what people wanting same-sex marriage feel for each other is love.

  • http://thejunia.berkeley.edu junia

    I voted no on Prop 8 because I felt like gay marriages were inevitable anyway, and I was frustrated that so much time and money was being spent on this issue… especially in the Christian spheres. I also didn’t like the wording of the prop. It felt narrow.

    With that said, upon closer examination of myself and what God’s call for me in life, I realized I should have voted yes. As the call to be the SALT of the world, I (singularly me!) am to prevent decay in this world… and publicly sanctioning homosexual behavior goes against this. In action though, this is really difficult to do, and it’s embarrassing to say that I would vote yes for Prop 8 simply because my friends are such strong and fervent Nos. They see me as a vehicle of Christian intolerance and scoff at my ideas of morality since morality is subjective to society’s dictation (in their point of view).

    I think one way that Christians can show their seriousness about doing this out of LOVE for society, would be to give up their own marriage benefits in terms of taxes. I feel like that’s a hot button topic, and if it’s economical reasons, then Christians should give that up.

    Giving up moral grounds, however, is cowardly..

    I can’t say much for those who voted Yes and aren’t Christian… I do know, though, that some of my nonChristian peers who voted Yes did so on economic grounds.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/elizabethesther Elizabeth Esther

    Thanks, Barbara, for your civil reply. I think you probably represent a large number of Christians who believe similarly. Your input is appreciated.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/elizabethesther Elizabeth Esther

    Junia: thank you for sharing your experience. Perhaps the root idea underlying this whole issue is the concept of Christians demonstrating their saltiness by how they vote in the voting booth. I wonder if this is something that would strike ancient Christians as bizarre. Do we really shine our light to the world by how we vote? Can spiritual ends be accomplished via secular means? I used to believe this. I guess I don’t anymore.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/elizabethesther Elizabeth Esther

    Brianna: I apologize that Christians like myself have shown you a poor example of what Christianity is really all about.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/elizabethesther Elizabeth Esther

    Angela: I’m curious if at your parish, members were publicly encouraged to vote for Prop 8? At my parish, I never heard it publicly, but there were Yes on 8 signs posted outside.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/elizabethesther Elizabeth Esther

    Thanks, Terry. I think maybe where you and I most agree is that politics aren’t the answer. :-) I appreciate you.

  • teagirl

    The issue IS the attempt to change the definition of just one small word.
    The issue is not fairness, the issue is not love, the issue is not individual rights or privileges, the issue here is the one word: “marriage”.
    Civil unions and equality for those in committed relationships regarding workplace benefits and consideration of relationship status in the case of sickness or death, should not be confused with the definition of the one word: “marriage”.

    As a comparison, think of the changes over the last two decades in the immediate response to the word “conception”. What would have been a common understanding twenty years ago, is now a Thesaurus hunt.
    I for one, cringe at the change that has been wrought over the definition of the word “conception”, to appease the guilt and shame of Reality.

    We must remain clear on what is the core issue.

  • KatR

    This brings up another thought for me. Jesus, with all the power in the world, didn’t march into the Rome and change the laws so that everyone would be forced to live (at least outwardly) as his follower.

    I mean, you could take this argument to the extreme and say why vote at all. My feeling is that given the opportunity to give input, I’d like to use it. I’m just leery of saying that my Vote is Approved by God.

  • http://www.reflectionsofaprincess.com Jessica

    Your question about “do we really shine our light to the world by how we vote?” got me thinking.

    #1 – Our votes are private…how many people really share how they voted. And usually if they do it’s to like-minded people.

    #2 – I recently heard someone share how the influence of Christians in ancient Rome changed the world. They went from an underground subculture to being considered a threat against the empire and in a few hundred years Christianity became the dominate religion. That happened because how they lived was so different…probably didn’t have much to do with how they voted.

    I did vote yes on Prop 8 and I don’t regret it, but what I’ve found come out of it that makes me want to turn my head is Christians using politics as a mechanism for fear. The whole ‘if we don’t fight this for our “freedom of religion” then we’re going to be persecuted.’ Part of me always wants to say…isn’t that what Jesus said to expect?

    The more I think about it the more politics and religion seem like they shouldn’t go together.

  • Sherry

    I am no longer a Christian, but I was raised a Southern Baptist, went to a Southern Baptist university, and planned to be a missionary. I originally walked away from the faith because I had some supernatural barrier of belief. I just could not believe. Now that it’s been more than five years since I last had a glimmer of belief, I can’t imagine returning to Christianity because of the narrow worldview so prevalent in Christianity–the inability to think outside of the box. To me, this is a civil rights issue that’s become clouded with fear and knee jerk reactions. The idea that a few short decades ago I could not have married my black significant other makes issues like these very real to me.

    After reading so many “My vote obviously doesn’t count” status updates on Facebook, I wanted to scream at my computer screen, “The majority’s belief in something does not make it just!!” Thank you for saying the same thing without screaming ;) I wrote an angry e-mail that made me look foolish to a Christian friend, and after reading your post, I’m reminded that there are much more gracious ways of disagreeing.

    This is beautiful, Elizabeth. Your sensitive, spiritual heart gives me hope for Christianity. Thank your for sharing your thoughts so eloquently and so gently.

  • Barbara C.

    No, I’m not. Immorality that happens between two consenting adults is between them and God. However, I can not stand back while immorality is normalized through the legal process when the opportunity presents itself to take a stand, especially if legal processes might be used to force the acceptance of said immorality on others.

  • Barbara C.

    There have ALWAYS been institutional limits on love in addition to religious ones. Even the hedonistic old Romans didn’t have gay marriage even if gay relationships were not that taboo. Then again they didn’t believe that marriage had anything to do with love…marriage and divorce was done to bind political and financial relationships between people.

    And according to your logic, then we can’t limit polygamy, either. That would be limiting love. After all, polygamy was allowed in the Old Testament. And we don’t want to discriminate against the polygamist minority, now do we?

  • Barbara C.

    I totally agree teagirl. By the way I, as a practicing Catholic, defines “marriage” most heterosexual marriages wouldn’t fit the bill, either.

  • KatR

    But wouldn’t divorce fit this definition? Why not try and outlaw it?

    I would hazard a guess that a lot more people have been harmed by divorce than by gay marriage.

  • http://www.mamabean.ca Mama Bean

    Thank-you so much for having the bravery to share this. And share it so succinctly and cogently. Hooray! So refreshing to read a different Christian perspective on this issue :)

  • mary ann

    I agree with everything Barbara c said and don’t know if I’ll be visiting here again for a while.I’ve enjoyed reading your blog,Elizabeth.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/elizabethesther Elizabeth Esther

    Your argument presumes that there was a standardized definition of marriage to which all Christians adhered. I’m not sure history bears this out. Even today, there are heterosexual marriages between just one woman and just one man which would not be considered valid by certain Christian authorities.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/elizabethesther Elizabeth Esther

    Thank you for the time you’ve spent reading here, Mary Ann.

  • http://www.bigmama247.com Alise

    Churches are not currently required to marry anyone, so why would this change if (rather, when) gay marriage becomes legal? Our pastor refuses to marry people fairly regularly without fear of being sued. What would change if the couple was gay?

  • http://profile.typepad.com/sadiemotta JoAnn Motta

    Good for you, friend! I can barely read through the comments without wanting to rip my own hair out, but I have to say…..I am so proud of you for realizing this, and all of the realizations you have been coming into as you age…you are growing up to be a wonderful, non-judgemental, smart, accepting, woman and (you’ve always been this) mother and I am so glad to know you!

  • caryl

    Karen & Angela:
    I, too, was raised Catholic. However, we were always encouraged by our mother to be open minded towards all people and to not discriminate. I credit my moms open mindedness for who I am today.

    At my parish, we were encouraged to vote yes on Prop. 8. I am proud to say that I voted no on Prop. 8, and that many of my Catholic friends did, as well. I could not vote for that discriminatory act, no matter what.

    Caryl

  • http://faithandfood.morizot.net/ Scott Morizot

    I guess someone forgot to tell Nero that, then Barbara … ;)

  • http://profile.typepad.com/elizabethesther Elizabeth Esther

    It’s so easy to get angry about this topic, isn’t it? I know that my tendency is to rant. I have often indulged that tendency. Thank you for confirming that kindness and gentleness is always the better option.

  • Mark

    I agree that evangelicals (at least those that have done so) have made a grave mistake in equating Christian duty with political victory.

    But I have to disagree with at least one statement you made on a factual basis. I’ve seen it made a lot in this whole debate. You say:

    “If the majority always ruled, then African-Americans and women still wouldn’t vote.”

    That is not true. In fact, the 15th amendment gave blacks the right to vote in 1870. The 19th amendment gave women the right to vote in 1920. In both cases, at least 2/3rds of both houses of Congress passed the law, and then at least 3/4ths of the states had to pass it. That is a strong majority. The Congress followed up the 15th amendment with the Civil Rights Act in 1875, outlawing segregation.

    It was a Supreme Court decision in 1883 that said the federal government doesn’t have the right to ban segregation. Without the courts overturning the majority, the Jim Crow era would not have been possible. Unilateral decisions of the courts that overturn consistent majorities has a generally bad record in American history.

    In the 1960s, again, it was the majority of Congress passing legislation like the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act, and then a vast majority of America passing the 24th amendment that finally ended legalized segregation in the South.

    Courts didn’t give these rights. Instead, people were able to argue and persuade through the democratic process, and eventually the truth won out. That is a much safer way to go. In Roe v. Wade, the courts took this right away form the people, causing a far graver injustice than anyone is claiming is being done to homosexual couples today. Democracy has its problems, but historically, it does lead to greater justice than the rule of a political or judicial elite.

  • Leslie

    There was a time when (1)it was much more difficult for a married couple to get a divorce, and (2) there was social stigma attached to divorce. These two things kept the divorce rate very low. But laws changed and societal acceptance of divorce grew (thanks in large part to television and movies). As a result, the divorce rate skyrocketed and, yes, more people have been harmed by divorce as a result (me being one of those people). And in 20 years or so, just as we have seen with divorce, we’ll begin seeing the devastating effects of legal homosexual marriage on our society.

    Drawing a moral equivalency does not make a strong argument for homosexual marriage anyway.

  • Kristi

    Thank you for your gracious handling of this topic. You said that you don’t have all the answers for how to live out the Gospel in our culture. I was wondering if you happened upon the story of the Christian guy at Chicago’s Pride event (you know, the one where Christians usually show up with cruel and abusive signs letting participants know how much they hate them) who held up signs apologizing to the gay community for how they as individuals and Christians in general had treated them. It was beautiful, and for a few folks, there was reconciliation. I think that might be one way to live the Gospel. Definitely better than telling people how much we hate them, when we don’t even know them.

  • http://faithandfood.morizot.net/ Scott Morizot

    Interesting post, EE. I’m also bemused by those (including vocal conservative Christians like Al Mohler) who make a big deal over a judge overruling majority opinion. It’s either deliberately disingenuous and thus fits the standard definition of propaganda (which seems to fly in the face of letting your yes be yes and your no be no) or displays a staggering degree of ignorance about our constitution and the way our government functions. One of the fundamental reasons the judicial branch is a coequal branch of our government rather than a function of another part is precisely to try to protect against the tyranny of the majority. While people were franchised as the results of amendments to our Constitution (as they had to be), their civil rights were first enforced judicially and often over and against the popular, majority opinions and the elected governments of the states.

    As far as gay marriage itself goes, I have a hard time grasping the visceral reaction some seem to have. But then, I can’t really recall a time in my life when I was isolated or separated from that aspect of our reality. “Gay” whatever has never been an abstract idea to me as it seems to be to many of the more vocal sort. When I hear about “gay marriage”, for instance, I don’t really think about it as some sort of abstraction. I think about the gay friends my family and I have had over years. I think about the couples I know, some of whom have been together longer than my wife and I have. I hear names and see faces. And that probably shapes my reaction.

    Moreover, it seems to me that from a Christian perspective, sexuality is hardly unimportant, but it’s not the sort of overriding, headlining concern some seem to make it. I see many things that could be more important in certain situations. But then, I’m not one who believes we are instantly healed. Our healing and any growth in communion we experience is more than a lifelong process and I’m hardly qualified to judge what others should be doing. That’s the sort of thing that seems most appropriately handled between a Christian and their spiritual father or mother.

    I also trust God and believe his goal is not to find a reason to punish us, but to heal and restore us. He works with a lot of things when it comes to the mess we make of the sexual aspect of our being. I look at all the knots I’ve made in my own life and it seems to me that at least some of the gay couples I’ve known have managed their intertwined sexual and relational life better than I have.

    I also look at some of the things I hear Christians say and they make me wonder if they’ve thought them through. Let’s say you have a gay couple with children. That’s not particularly unusual in my neck of the woods and my experience, so it’s not a strange scenario at all. Again, I could put names and faces to it. Then let’s suppose that somebody is drawn to Christ. Doesn’t really matter who. Could be one of the adults. Could be one of the children. If you become their spiritual father or mother (or are a busybody who feels inclined to tell them what they need to do now as a Christian), what exactly are you going to tell them to do? Go home and start acting in ways that rip apart their family? Really?

    If that’s what the God of some of those who would do things like that actually wants, then it’s pretty clear to me that we don’t worship the same God. Such things are complicated and there are rarely easy answers or one size fits all solution. Mostly, I trust that God will sort things out, that he is eager to heal and save us, and that he acts for our good, not our destruction.

    I’ll also note that there was never any chance that somebody behind a pulpit ever could have had any influence of my decisions on politics and how to vote. I won’t say that lots of things haven’t changed since I became a Christian. They have, but certainly not from any influence by pulpit pounders. The most significant change is that I’m much less the sort of social darwinian, hardcore free market, personal freedom libertarian that I once was. And I was never as hardcore as many along that political spectrum. (But then, I had been desperately poor and appreciated some forms of social safety net even then.) In other words, becoming Christian actually moved me away from some of the favorite political positions of conservative Christians today. I always find that somewhat odd.

    Anyway, just a few of my rambling thoughts and reactions. Take them as you will.

  • http://www.elizabethesther.com Elizabeth Esther

    Scott: once again, your words are a balm to my soul. I’ve been hoping you would chime in and I want to tell you that your words and your thoughts have been a positive influence on me in the past year. So, thank you for taking the time to write. I always see a new perspective and learn something new from reading your words. So, thank you. So much.

  • http://www.elizabethesther.com Elizabeth Esther

    Kristi, I did see this story. It was remarkable and convicting. Thank you for reminding me of it.

  • http://www.elizabethesther.com Elizabeth Esther

    I stand corrected. Thank you for taking the time to point out my historical inaccuracy. I understand that getting my facts right is important. I wonder if it’s more important than getting my heart right?

  • http://faithandfood.morizot.net/ Scott Morizot

    Mark, the Court has a mixed history of good and bad decisions over the course of the past couple of hundred years. Such is the fate of any human institution. But most of the acts involved in the 1883 decision was in the midst of reconstruction. Let’s not pass the 1875 act as majority decisions of the population of our country or the result of reasoned discussion. Times were a little more complicated than that. And we were at the height of the 19th century corruption and railroad baron rule when the 1896 Plessy v Ferguson decision was issued.

    From that point on, though, it’s a steady trend against popular opinion and law and the development (or restoration) of the Court into a body more like our Constitution had envisioned.

    Guinn v United States – 1915
    Moore v Dempsey – 1923
    Murray v Pearson – 1935
    Chambers v Florida – 1940
    Smith v Allwright – 1944
    Morgan v Virginia – 1946
    Sipuel v Board of Regents of University of Oklahoma – 1948
    Shelley v Kraemer – 1948
    McLaurin v Oklahoma State Regents – 1950
    Sweatt v Painter – 1950
    Henderson v United States – 1950
    Hernandez v Texas – 1954
    Brown v Board of Education of Topeka, KS – 1954
    Bolling v Sharpe – 1954
    “Brown II” – 1955
    Browder v Gayle – 1956
    NAACP v Alabama – 1958
    Boynton v Virginia – 1960

    I think that’s plenty to illustrate the point. Let’s not pretend the Supreme Court was not instrumental to the Civil Rights Movement in striking down laws that the majority in those places enacted and strongly approved.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/sortacrunchy Megan@SortaCrunchy

    I could have written this WORD FOR WORD (except the part about voting on Prop 8. I live in Oklahoma, after all.)

    Thank you, Elizabeth, for putting such eloquent, powerful words to such an intense issue. I’m out here on the prairie, clapping and cheering you on!

  • Katharine

    So, when homosexuals seek to marry in a Catholic Church what then? How far will you bend to the world?
    I understand your compassion, but feel it is misplaced.

  • http://www.emilymacon.blogspot.com/ Emily M.

    My response to people when saying that it shouldn’t have been overturned because of the popular vote was this:

    If the United States had gotten the Germans of the 1940s to vote to free the Jews from the concentration camps, it probably would’ve been voted down by a vast majority. Why? Because they had been conditioned to believe that the Jewish people were a detriment to society and that they were a lower class of people.

  • Faith

    I also have the same question as Katherine. Using your logic here, you could condone just about anything. A vote in favour of traditional marriage does not mean you are standing in judgment over gay people. Sigh… Christians are NOT in the majority right now, either.

  • teagirl

    Scott’s “rambling thoughts” have concisely wrapped some arms around this emotional subject. It has ceased being religious or political, it is human and has a face.
    A certain “face” came to my mind all the while reading Scott’s comments. The “face” of one who no longer shares this Life with us. A “face” who was rejected by those who call themselves Christians, but yet who could not muster compassion for his neediness because his choice in Life threatened their pulpit reputation. Has our zeal to be “right” become our deception?

  • http://faithandfood.morizot.net/ Scott Morizot

    Well, thanks. I’m not entirely sure my thoughts and experiences are ones from which anyone (other than me, of course) should learn. I enjoy your writings because at times they make laugh and at other times they make me think (or sometimes both at once). And I comment because the process of writing my thoughts helps me give them form and work out ways to try to communicate them better. I do hope my ramblings are truly helpful and not harmful to others.

  • http://faithandfood.morizot.net/ Scott Morizot

    Huh? Your last statement confounds me? By what possible measure are you making it? We have tons of population studies on religious belief and practice in the US and though more people today feel free to say they have no religion or religious association, that’s still only 10-15% of the population. (It varies some according to the way the study is worded or conducted.) Of the rest, the overwhelming majority of Americans still report that they are Christians of one sort or another. I’ve lived as a non-Christian in our country and have many friends and acquaintances still who are not Christian. You can’t be that and miss how much Christianity (in some sense, at least) remains the cultural norm in our society.

    If you meant globally, then it’s true that Christians are not the majority, but today they are a plurality and the next largest world religion, Islam, is still pretty far behind.

    There are certainly plenty of countries where Christians are a minority and even a persecuted minority. But the US is definitely not one of those countries.

  • KatR

    Why not? God states in the Bible that he is against divorce. As you said, the effects can be devastating. It directly threatens heterosexual marriage.So why are politicians and conservative Christians not leading the charge to make it against the law?

    I know my answer to this question. I think its much easier to feel righteous by trying to legislate morality for others, but don’t tell ME I can’t do what I want.

  • http://faithandfood.morizot.net/ Scott Morizot

    Part of the problem in these discussions is that in our country we as the people collectively participate in the exercise of the power of the state — for good or ill. And it seems to me that has a number of implications that a lot of Christians don’t really seem to consider.

    First, it means that to one degree or another, we are a part of the Powers as described in our NT text. We are all the ones in our country responsible for exercising the power of the sword for the good of all of those within our domain. And that means we are accountable for the way we exercise that power. If Paul wrote that about pagan and sometimes brutal Rome, how much more does it apply to us all? I find that pretty daunting, but when I perceive reality through that lens, I try to see beyond my own desires and I try to exercise that power justly.

    It’s through that lens, the lens of being the power, that I find the action of depriving a portion of our population the benefits contained within the legal context of our nation (and there are tons of legal and often financial benefits to the legal institution of marriage that are difficult or impossible to reproduce outside it) unsupportable. I have long tended to think that part of the knot of the conundrum has been that we have made the priests, ministers or other leaders of any sort of defined religion the agents of the state for executing the legal contract of marriage. If we separate that and make legal marriage something that is obtained solely from the state for everyone, then we resolve part of that tension.

    In many ways, that would be more like the way the church has traditionally functioned in non-Christian nations. There wasn’t even a marriage ceremony of any sort for some centuries. Originally, after a couple had been married, if they were both Christian, they would then go to the church and together and in front of the laos receive the eucharist. In other words, they brought their marriage into the Church. I think a similar approach would work better in our country today. Legal marriage would be a contract with the state, obtained solely from the state by everyone (no ministers of any religion signing licenses on behalf of the state).

    People who read things I have written know that I don’t believe that the secular/spiritual dividing lens accurately describes reality. The above may be looked at through that lens, but that’s now how I see it. I see it as overlapping and intermingled spheres and, now as a Christian, I see my responsibility to God for the power and function I have been given. Doesn’t mean it’s the right approach, just that I don’t have any better ideas to toss into the arena.

    The history of the church and its interactions with the spheres of the powers of the state is richer, deeper, and more convoluted than many people (on both the anti-church and pro-church sides) seem to warrant. There have rarely been easy answers and sometimes the church has acted well and sometimes it hasn’t. I do think it helps if you try to understand what the church has done in the many varied situations and circumstances in different places over the centuries. None of those are exactly the same as the challenges we face today, but valuable nonetheless. Always, though, our goal is to heal and restore people and through them entire cultures. Laws and order are important. Without them, we devolve into the tyranny of the strong over the weak. But they provide the context within which the church operates. They are not and should not be the goal of the church. You can’t impose healing through laws. Things just don’t work that way.

    I don’t think it’s very likely, but it’s possible that the majority of this country could decide that churches (Protestant, Catholic, or Orthodox) had to accept the legal definition of marriage, act as agents of the state instituting, or lose their legal benefits and protections. It’s possible, though even less likely, that the majority could even decide it’s criminal for a priest to decline to act in such a way and impose jail sentences. So? There are all sorts of flights of the imagination and worst case scenarios we could pull out. By and large, they won’t happen. And if they do, the church will continue to proclaim Christ as Lord as it has every century. The 20th century in terms of raw numbers was probably the bloodiest for Christians. And yet the Church grew and is rebounding in the very places it was even most brutally repressed.

    I guess I trust that the church won’t fail and find the doomsday scenarios from some corners of the US church more histrionic than helpful.

  • http://www.havingleftthealtar.com/ Katherine

    If you really believe that marriage was instituted by God between a man and a woman then why would you legally support the undermining and disintegration of it? If you say “Yes” to one thing, you are inevitably saying “no” to something else. If you say that homosexuals can get married, then you are saying marriage need not be between a man and a woman and either that God was wrong, or that you don’t believe God designed marriage to be between a man and a woman. You cannot have it both ways.

    You say your religious beliefs compel you to act “justly” to those who believe differently than you do. If you believe that homosexual marriage is immoral, how are you being “just” to those who would embrace immorality? How is helping someone to do wrong, Christian charity or justice? It is misguided at best.

    I do not see how saying that marriage can only be between a man and a woman judges anyone. How does saying that only a man and a woman can be married damns anyone to hell?

    Certainly, many Christians, and many more so-called Christians, don’t live perfect lives. Who has since Christ? Were the Apostles perfect? Does the fact they were human mean no one should have listened to them? What about the Early Church Fathers? Augustine had a mistress and a child out of wedlock – is everything he said therefore not worth considering? The fact human beings fall short of perfections should never stop us from fighting for the truth or seeking to share it with others. It means we should fight for the truth and share it with others IN CHARITY and MERCY.

    I haven’t read all the comments, but I agree with Faith and Katherine, by your argument, anything and everything should be legal since no one can live a perfectly holy life as an example for others and, by your interpretation of “just” we should let every other different view have everything it wants.

  • Mark

    Scott, all of those cases had the 15th amendment to work off of, and the 14th, which were in fact passed by a majority of the nation’s population. You are right that it was during Reconstruction, but those amendments were passed by a large majority of the country. And the majority of the country was persuaded in that direction largely by Christian persuasion.

    The rhetoric that African-Americans and women still wouldn’t be able to vote is loaded, but is not true. Those movements gained ground because of persuasion in the public sphere — marches, boycotts, freedom rides.

    You are right that the Civil Rights movement was greatly aided by Supreme Court decisions. But they were working from the Constitution — amendments passed by a majority of the country — and a majority of the country not only voted, but fought to bring those about.

    In this case, the democratic process has been short-circuited, as a right has been found in the Constitution that neither the founders, nor the voters, nor the majority of legislators think exists in the Constitution. I’m not sure that is the way the American political system of checks and balances was intended to work.

  • Mark

    I guess I think it is both/and. Both are important. Truth, and love.

  • http://www.aspergersmom.wordpress.com Rachel

    Then let us make all unions civil unions. Whether they are same-sex or opposite sex, let them all be civil unions. Then there is no difference. If you want to be “married” by your church, do so, if you want a union recognized by the secular government, let it be a civil union for everyone. Why should we insist that the secular (separate from faith) government separate between the two?

    I am a married, heterosexual, christian woman and I would have no problem with that.

    I personally want less government. I don’t believe legislating morality works and quickly leads to oppression.

  • http://www.aspergersmom.wordpress.com Rachel

    No church should be required by law to violate their doctrine, just as no church should be allowed to legally require nonbelievers to follow their doctrine. Flip side of the same coin.

    Besides, the Catholic Church has always separated between their marriages and the secular government’s marriages. To date, no court or law has changed that despite over a century of Catholics divorcing and remarrying without Church recognition.

  • http://www.aspergersmom.wordpress.com Rachel

    Elizabeth,

    I am thrilled to see this post. Regardless of whether people agree or disagree, I see this as you living, growing, changing and being honest about the process. I am thrilled to see your courage. I am also thrilled to see you watching for core patterns that caused so much pain in your childhood as they play out in our broader society. The need for people to use their beliefs to oppress is tragic and reoccurring.

    I love reading here. If nothing else, it is thought provoking.

  • http://www.threeinonemakesfive.blogspot.com Rachel

    Thank you for posting this in such a kind way. And I’m so impressed that you admit you did one thing and then changed your mind. That takes character. :) I just blogged about this too – who hasn’t??? – and linked to a great blog on the topic. You might be interested…

  • http://www.sohappytolove.blogspot.com Heidi Stephen

    Hi Elizabeth!

    I was just thinking about this topic a couple days ago at the gym while watching the news on tv. I mentally wrestled with my decision to vote Yes on Prop 8 and wondered if I made the right one.

    To be honest, I would still vote Yes. I just strongly feel that the way I vote should be goverened by what God says are the correct moral laws. That’s my personal conviction. I could go on with my reasonings…but some of the commentors that I line up with have already explained the reasons…

    But even though I disagree with you (and lots of the other commentors on this one) I really appreciate you being willing to talk about something SO touchy and relevant on your blog! You are so stinking BRAVE!

    I also really appreciate the way you make me think. The new perspective you give me. Seriously…it feels like every time I visit your blog (which is everyday…:-) I feel like my brain has to work a litte harder to get out of the box I am in and trying to get out of. Even if I disagree with you, I have to really ask myself WHY. You challenge me.

    I appreciate that you allow people to agree and to disagree with you and with each other on your blog and I appreciate the spirit of grace that you moderate with. :-)

  • Beth

    LOVE THIS PART: 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

  • Mark

    Elizabeth, thank you for courageously stating your position and your thoughts on this very emotionally charged issue. While I think you and I agree about our brokenness and need to be a forgiving reconciling presence, I am personally troubled with voting no on this issue. Not because of a hatred or fear of the persons to whom it applies but because I fear the unknown repercussions for all of us in tthe futture. I agree that an important question we all have is “can’t we just get along” and yet, if I were a voter I would choose as a personal vote to say no. I too am very broken and do not say any of this lightly. I praise you for bringing it up here. It will be this type of dialog that eventually brings reconciliation to our country regarding abortion, immigration and a whole host of societal issues that have a moral component that we would sometimes prefer not to see. Bless you and all of your family!

  • http://www.bigmama247.com Alise

    I am going to recommend this to my children if they choose to marry. Let the civil stuff be done by a JoP and then celebrate with your faith community. This is an entanglement of church and state that should absolutely be severed.

  • Barbara C.

    Church pastors do not have to marry anyone, but there has already been one lawsuit in Canada where gay marriage is legal because the Knights of Columbus (a Catholic organization) refused to rent out their facilities for a gay ceremony.

    Legalizing gay marriage opens the door for more of these lawsuits, especially by gay activists who see organized religion as the enemy. What better way to destroy churches than by attacking them with costly legal expenses.

  • Barbara C.

    Well-said, Leslie!

  • donny

    {Donny, thank you for your input. I have edited your comment here because I do not allow name-calling on my site. Feel free to disagree, but I do request you keep your tone civil. Thank you. EE }

    The persecutors ALWAYS seem to have a righteous cause behind them – I would reccommend re-reading silly book for understanding this time – all those supposed “enemies” of christianity thought THEY were the righteous ones :)

  • Barbara C.

    This is how it is in Mexico.

    Of course separating the two will put a hardship on the state leading to higher taxes. I’m not making a judgment on whether this would be a good or bad thing…just stating a fact.

    Then there are more personal issues as to when someone was really married for celebratory purposes…the civil marriage or the religious ceremony. But I guess this would really only matter to Catholics, Orthodox, and other denominations that hold marriage as a sacrament.

  • donny

    and anyone care to analyze why polygamy is so wrong? After all, seems to me that the majority of the time it is abused is in the name of god.

    Seriously, why is “consenting adults” a legitimate argument to have sex with multiple partners, but making the arrangement permanent illegal? Reeks of more christian certaintude to me.

  • Barbara C.

    I think what Faith means is that there are people who identify themselves as Christian in polls but do not really adhere to basic Christian doctrines, attend service, read the Bible, or even pray regularly. For many people, being a Christian is being apart of a social club or owning a special outfit that they like to pull out at Christmas, Easter, during times of distress, or when they want to pick on others.

    I am not making a judgment of individuals, because I know a lot of Christians who are trying their best to live their faith and still make lots of mistakes (that’s part of being human) and only God knows a person’s heart. But a lot of people aren’t really trying…the underlying idea for most of society, Christian or not, is that if it isn’t illegal than it must be ok.

    And to many Christians who take their faith seriously, they can feel like a minority between the loudness of anti-Christian secularists and those who have redefined Christianity to coincide with their personal opinion.

  • http://www.intaglio.com Rea

    Excellent post. I think that many times we as Christians get confused about what it means to be salt and light. As someone said earlier, Jesus did not come and march into Rome trying to overthrow the political and legal system. He worked with individuals to sow a life-change in their HEARTS. When I look at the things we are commanded to do throughout the Bible they are things like loving our neighbor, caring for widows and orphans, doing justice and loving mercy, living in humility, etc. I do not see a mandate on how we should vote on issues. We are called to come out from the culture, to be different from it. And sometimes I think that contentious arguing about what the correct ‘Christian’ vote would be flies in the face of the unity that we are called again and again to live in.

    Thank you for posting with such grace and humility.

  • http://www.dirtygirlsministries.com Crystal Renaud

    beautifully said.

  • http://thisjourneyismyown.wordpress.com Kass

    Great post.

  • mister person

    As a gay who was born and raised Catholic (but left the institution later in life for obvious reasons) I have to thank you for this focused and thoughtful post. You’re willing to do something a lot of others are unwilling to: express self-examination. An attempt to think beyond what the church of man is prescribing for who knows what motivation. I’ve shared it with many friends and family members as a (very, very rare) example of live and let live, of being considerate and finding a balance that allows two opposing groups to live harmoniously. It’s refreshing to find this gem amidst a sea of words claiming that I am less than and inhuman for being in love the way I was designed to love (which in turn only affects myself and those who know me personally). Your words remind me of what I used to think Jesus’ example meant to everybody, back when I was a young Catholic being taught I was a hideous, hideous sinner going to hell for the way God made me when I was born. It’s comforting to read your words and some of the other words of support on your blog. I’m certain your example will incite thought and demonstrate a very Christ-like example of compassion and understanding.
    From the bottom of my heart, thank you thank you thank you <3

  • Kristi

    I know the comment was a bit off topic. I have just been personally convicted recently of not letting my political opinions become more important to me than living out my faith. I do know that I will never, ever have the politically perfect answers, or even intelligent ones like some of your amazing commenters! However, through God’s grace I hope to love my fellow man as He loves them. This, I am convinced, will never happen through the political arena. It happens through building relationships with people that are difficult for us to relate to, like the 35,000 homeless people in OC, or the women sitting at my local coffee house who are in the outpatient 12 step program upstairs. We all have that person or group of people whose humanity we would prefer to simply ignore. I am trying choose to get to know them where they are, and let God work through me.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/cincodenada Cincodenada

    Terry, I do think that the majority of Californians who voted for Prop 8 were Christian, simply because nationally a large majority (65%) of Protestants oppose gay marriage, while only 35% of non-Christians oppose it. That alone implies that a majority of persons opposing it are Christians.

    Why do you doubt that is the case?
    (source: http://pewforum.org/Gay-Marriage-and-Homosexuality/Majority-Continues-To-Support-Civil-Unions.aspx)

  • http://terrybreathinggrace.wordpress.com terry@ breathing grace

    While I have no doubt that most committed Christians voted for Prop. 8, I question whether there were enough committed Christians in California to push the initiative over the top. It is, after all, the most liberal state of the 50.

    So my point was not that Christians didn’t comprise a significant portion of the voters, but that there was also a significant number of non-religious people in the general population who voted for Prop. 8.

    By the way Muslims are anti-gay marriage, too. Why are Christians always the whipping boys?

  • Shannon

    I haven’t read all the comments but I think that Pope Benedict has the best point Christianity is about an encounter with Christ not about “christian morality” which only leads to hyprocisy. It is so hard to say a homosexuals are wrong and still believe they are created in the likeness and image of God. And yet I always feel how will I explain homosexuality as normal to my children, if the church teaches it is wrong? Hate the sin not the sinner doesn’t seem to cut it. Mary mother of God pray for us sinners.

  • Heather

    Thank you for this post. I too vote yes and have regreted it from the moment I walked out of the polling place. As a Christian I have struggled with many political issues but I am so thankful for other perspectives outside the very conservative Christian church. I also appreciate that I am not the only person struggling with these issues.

  • Kim

    Elizabeth, I would urge to you research, think, and pray some more about this issue. I truly believe that there is much more at stake here than whether we are being fair or judgmental of others.

    Some excellent, thought-provoking issues are presented here: http://www.insidecatholic.com/feature/five-ways-to-talk-to-the-left-about-same-sex-marriage.html

  • http://fromthepulpitofmylife.blogspot.com/ Ruth Ann

    This idea of a civil marriage or union followed by a religious ritual sanctioned by one’s faith community is commonly done in some countries. We may be headed that way.

  • http://fromthepulpitofmylife.blogspot.com/ Ruth Ann

    Thank you for this informative link, Kim. There is lots there and in this post to ponder.

  • Laurie

    You are a brave woman to speak openly like this.

    Homosexuality had nothing to do with the destruction of my former marriage. My former-husband’s heterosexual affair did – and there was nothing illegal about that….

  • Pam Leding

    Dear Elizabeth,

    I think you might reconsider what you have written. It’s not a matter of your religious
    beliefs or anyone else’s religious beliefs, but more importantly it’s a matter of God
    speaking His truth through His Word. God instituted and designed marriage to be between and a man and a woman, Genesis 2:22-24. Further more homosexuality is abhorrent to God, Leviticus 18:22, Romans 1:26-29. We do not throw out God’s law when we become Christians, but rather we desire now to keep his law and we hate what he hates. Yes, we love the lost and desire to see them saved, but we are also told to “come out from among them” 2 Corinthians 6:17. Jesus said, “If you love me keep my commandments.” We either love Him and His commandments or we don’t. There is no middle ground. I pray that you will search the scriptures and see the truth.

    Blessings~ Pam

  • http://blog.perfectedperspectives.com Andrew Rodgers

    I am really impressed with your attitude as a Christian. Christians oftentimes complain about others not respecting their beliefs without realizing the lack of respect for others that they typically have. I hate to load all Christians in the same boat, but my experiences have aligned them there. It is very refreshing to see a Christian as humble and righteous as you have portrayed yourself here.

    I also don’t consider those christians that I put in that boat to be true Christians, that is following the works/life of Christ, rather they are the modern pharisees.

    As to Terry, the law does not change the Christian definition of marriage, rather the state ran institution of a contract between 2 individuals to enter into a long standing relationship.
    However I also don’t believe that particular sects or organization that don’t approve of same-sex marriage should be forced to perform those marriages.

    BTW I don’t agree with marriage as a concept anyway. The Christian version of marriage is definitely better than the state version. I don’t need a contract to tell me that I am in a deeply committed, long-term relationship.

    Kudos again Elizabeth!!!

    Andrew Rodgers

  • http://blog.perfectedperspectives.com Andrew Rodgers

    Please scream that just once!!! Please!!! I grew up in a man-rule/egocentric sect/cult and I have been turned off to christianity (lowercase intentional) ever since. It seems most modern christians have no idea what being a Christian is.

    Andrew Rodgers

  • http://www.emahlou.blogspot.com Elizabeth Mahlou

    Scare tactics and false information were a major part of the campaign for this proposition. I did not vote for it. I was amazed that many people fell for the scare tactics (e.g., kids would be taught to become homosexual by school programs if gay marriages are allowed). While most churches of a wide number of denominations teach that gay marriage is wrong, I don’t believe that the church has the right to regulate the state. That would make us a theocracy, not a democracy — and I have lived in a theocracy. (There are positives in that one can talk openly about faith everywhere and with everyone; it also has its negatives in that the state legislates both law and morality and one religion only dictates behavior and thinking.) I don’t think you need to have any regrets. We are not a theocracy, and I am pretty certain that the proposition will not stand up to a legal test of human rights and constitutionality (already, the first step to nullify the proposition has succeeded legally). Whether we like it or not, people have a legal right to sin (if you consider gay marriage a sin); they don’t have the right to break the law. A sin is between God and the sinner, not between the State and the sinner. Good post; obviously controversial.

  • http://thehomespunlife.com Sisterlisa

    I totally understand what you are saying here. Here is where my head goes..IF the right wing ‘Christians’ insist that ‘marriage’ belongs to God, then WHY did they EVER allow it to get ‘licensed’ by the STATE? Are they going to allow them to license baptism too? IMO, I think religion and the state have rolled in the sack together for far too long. Not so sure Christ likes his Bride playing the harlot again. :/

  • http://www.mrmemitchell-badcatholic.blogspot.com Mark Mitchell

    Elizabeth,

    You are not judging other people in the sense of judging their salvation when you judge the nature and quality of their acts. If this were not so, no Christians would ever be able to serve as judges and jurors.

    I serve as a criminal court judge. As such it is my responsibility to sentence people to probation and jail for their actions. I do not believe that I am running afoul of Jesus’ command to “Judge not lest ye be judged,” when I am exercising the legitimate power of the State in this manner.

    You have a constitutional right and an obligation as a citizen to vote your conscience. Do not be ashamed of it.

  • Todd_B

    Great post Elizabeth, and really a tremendous conversation with intelligent commentary and opinions. It is wonderful to see this type of thoughtful dialogue, thanks in no small part to your courage in writing this post and to the tone that you seek to cultivate here.

    Reading all of these posts I am struck by the perhaps intentional skirting of the issue of choice. I guess most Christians still believe that homosexuality is a choice made by the practitioners? It must be deemed a choice if it is to be deemed as a sin, right? As far as I am aware there is no credible scientific evidence that this is the case, and I believe that recent moves towards tolerance of homosexuality in the Catholic church specifically cited this as the key issue.

    Having a gay man as my best friend, and watching he and his partner for the last 18 years build a home and a “marriage” and a family together, I have been struck by how many times it was obvious that if he could have possibly chosen any other path he would have gladly done so. He was raised a Christian and is still a staunch Republican, and these cultural and ideological forces have caused him pain and self-loathing and degradation over the years that no one would choose to endure.

    Because I believe that gay people are gay because that is who they are and not a choice they can just make, I believe that denying them the right to marry and all of the financial and cultural benefits it brings is a simple human rights issue. It is about fairness and decency. And as a straight man I believe it is critically important for me to use my position in the majority to defend the rights of this minority in our system.

    And at the end of the day we are fighting about love! There are so many challenges in this world and so many tragedies to overcome, but the fact that we make a problem and a war out of who loves whom just strikes me as so misguided and sad.

    Thanks again Elizabeth. I don’t always agree with you either (I was raised in a strict Christian home but do not consider myself a Christian now) but I love your writing and intelligence.

  • http://marykathryntyson.wordpress.com mary kathryn tyson

    elizabeth,

    i grew up in a family full of ministers and i am proud to say that they set the example for me of how to love everyone…especially the ‘unlovable’ (because no one is ‘unlovable’.) my grandfather and all five of his brothers were ministers and most of their children ended up divorced and addicted to one or more substances…all were/are broken and still love jesus and i know that jesus loves them…most of them are serving god in some capacity, even in -because of, i suppose- their brokenness.

    one of the more prominent ministers in my family has two daughters who are both lesbians. one is an ordained minister. both love jesus and i know that jesus loves them. their capacity to love is immeasurable. i have tons of friends who have alternative lifestyles and i just want to wrap them up in a love burrito when they talk about the ‘christians’ who have burned them and love them the way jesus means for us to love each other – without condition or measure.

    you are right, being a christian isn’t a political statement. as far as judging, the two biblical references i can think of in this moment are ‘judge not lest you be judged’ and ‘get the log out of your eye’. so, i’m not sure how to ‘judge’ appropriately or biblically. i get why people are turned off by christianity – i am, too. but i sure love jesus.

    the truth is, we’re ALL broken. ALL of us. married, gay, straight, single, childless, widowed, alcoholic, sex-addict – we ALL need a savior, but i think it has so much less to do with our lifestyle choices than we think that it does. (it’s just what i think.)

    in the end, i think we’re all going to be surprised at who we see in heaven when we get there. in the meantime, i just have to keep it simple: love god and love people. that’s my only real job as a christ-follower. if i can do that well, then i can just trust god to do the rest and be available if he needs me. (something tells me, though, that he doesn’t necessarily *need* me…)

    thank you so much, elizabeth, for being both bold and humble enough to share your heart with us on this. i know a lot of christians who believe like you and i do (and others who shared in your comments) but not anyone who is courageous enough to put ‘it’ out there like you did, which makes me a little ashamed for not making a stand sooner. so, thank you.

    xo

  • http://delesmuses.blogspot.com/ Jenny

    Interesting thoughts. I was torn myself about what was the best thing to do, but I’m glad I decided to vote for it. The unfortunate thing about Christians deciding not to impose their own morality legally on others is that others are perfectly willing to so it to them.

  • inlovewithGod

    Voting against same-sex marriage is not “casting the first stone.” It is an act of love & respect for the dignity of persons who have same-sex attraction.

    This is why: By voting against same-sex marriage we are saying to our brothers & sisters who have that attraction: “We believe that you are more than your sexual orientation. We believe that God created you as you are and that means what you are is good. We also believe that, just as married couples are given the grace to be committed to one another only, God will give you the grace to live a celibate life and thus show his glory to those around you.”

    Anyone can look at how God made men’s bodies & women’s bodies & figure out how they’re supposed to go together. This means that each gender is graced by God. Further testimony of this grace (if any were needed!) is the fact that this “going together” results in the creation of a new person sometimes. Therefore, simple observation shows us the intended path. This is called Natural Law. This can no more be denied than the law of gravity. It is what it is.

  • http://abbyp27.wordpress.com abby

    I believe that if we are to love our neighbor as ourselves, we would want the best for them, have their best interest in mind in accordance with what God says is best.

    I don’t think it is loving to vote on something that God has a specific command against. It is true Elizabeth that the “Christian” marriages are not doing as well as those of unbelievers, but regardless of who stands for God or not– we need to be obedient to the true God of the bible.

    I appreciate your honesty, and truthfully I used to think like you. I have been reading your posts for months now and i thoroughly enjoy it, but this one really hurt my heart. I believe God knows whats best for us and a homosexual relationship is not God designed.

    Thanks for reading my comment.

  • http://www.sugartails-glowingirl.blogspot.com GlowinGirl

    I appreciate your thoughts on this because I’ve struggled with this as well. I have friends who are gay and have empathy toward their feelings about this. But I also believe that I have a right to vote for or against what I believe to be true or right. I don’t have to set aside my beliefs to vote any more than any other person has to.

  • Agnes

    I believe that marriage and civil partnerships are two different things. Here in the UK, civil partnerships are legal but they are not considered marriage, which I believe is the union of a man and a woman for the purpose of procreation (I am well aware how many marriages don’t fit that description). I think that if people want to legalize their partnership, then it’s fair they should get to do so, so I suppose that addresses your post EE.
    In terms of a sacrament, it is not Biblically possible for two men or two women to receive that blessing under God, I don’t believe, and I couldn’t in good conscience celebrate someone trying to do it. We have gay couples in our church, and one of the couples had their ‘anniversary’ celebrations in the church basement. It tore my heart that I couldn’t go and eat cake and tell them, people I care about, how great it was, however much I care for these guys. Because I’d be lying, and to be honest I felt angry as a Christian to be put in that position. This is the reality when you are torn between loving someone and being asked as a Christian to prove it by celebrating what you believe to be wrong. Obviously love should win but sometimes it’s not so easy to figure out what that should look like. Sorry if I’ve gone off track a bit from your post.

  • http://www.minthegap.com MInTheGap

    I can certainly sympathize with the emotion of your post– it feels hypocritical to say that one person’s behavior is wrong when we are also guilty of wrong. However, in this case, this is not what’s going on here. You, EE, are not standing in judgment of another sinner– God is. As you and other commenters have stated, God stated “one man, one woman” = marriage, nothing but.

    A vote for proposition 8 was an affirmation of God’s truth, not a judgment against someone else’s behavior, lifestyle, etc.

    It would be the same as if there was a proposition up there that said that murder was wrong. Would you feel guilty because there were some murderers out there that really killed for what they thought was a good motive? No, you’d be voting because murder is wrong.

    Certainly, those that name the name of Christ have to look at themselves first. Yes, they need to clean house. Definitely they need to fix what marriage means– banish divorce, work on fostering love and submission, etc… but that doesn’t mean because they are doing it wrong, permitting other wrongs is therefore tolerable.

    Lastly, there’s a logical problem with the constitutionality argument. Those that oppose the recent ruling on Constitutional grounds make the argument that the judge has basically said that no state make make a law based on morality. That is a scary precedent.

    I also fear that the coming government may not be as kind toward Christians as the past one is– but perhaps that is what’s necessary to get Christians to focus on Christ and His mission rather than they current lifestyle.

  • http://preparationmeetingopportunity.wordpress.com/ Christy

    Liz~
    This is one of those times when I am really glad I don’t live in your beautiful state. I am glad to see you putting yourself out here with thoughts that I’m sure are not welcome by many. I am a sad, sad girl, because if I had the opportunity to vote on this, I think I would have passed. I wouldn’t feel I could vote no, but I also don’t think I could vote yes. This issue is one of those few things that gives me REAL pause in thinking about my role. Love you for once again sharing your true thoughts.

  • Darren

    This is very encouraging, EE! Thanks for being bold enough to post your heart, and your opinion. Not always easy in the Evangelical crowd (when you’re not towing the party line, that is).

    To all those who have a problem “voting for something they know is against God’s will”, consider the fact that my marriage and my love should NOT be up for a vote in the first place! Just like yours never was (unless of course you are in an interracial marriage, that is).

    How would Evangelicals like it we put up a “no divorces allowed” referendum? After all, Jesus himself – who said nothing of homosexuality, but had some VERY harsh words towards those who want to divorce – would probably like to see this on the next ballot. At least (a little more than) half of you married Evangelicals should have a major problem with that – considering you divorce like ya gotta get it done before the Good Lord comes back!

    Preposterous . . .

  • http://thejunia.blogspot.edu junia

    I don’t think spiritual ends will be accomplished by secular means.

    I do believe however, if as salt, we should prevent moral decay, when given the opportunities to vote and instill rules that deal with morality, Christians should vote.

    I think in terms of “light shining” I’d put that more with lifestyle and you know, being a light of the Gospel, but in terms of “being salty,” it would mean being an agent of stopping decay.

    I hope that clarifies things a bit?

    Anywhooz, my main point is when it comes to issues that sanction homosexuality, abortion, euthanasia, and other morally clear issues, Christian US citizens SHOULD exercise their rights to vote.. even if it’s unpopular or feels like it doesn’t change hearts, because it keeps others from those dangers of sin…

    (i think that last statement might’ve opened a whole new discussion, but I hope it makes sense/is clear/ or at least understand where I’m coming from)

  • Jack

    If Christians, especially pop-evangelicals, were REALLY serious about “defending traditional marriage,” they would work to make divorce very difficult and remarriage afterwards almost impossible.

    But that would step on too many of their own toes.

    Remember, there was a time–and it wasn’t that long ago–that the same arguments against same-sex marriage today were used against divorce and re-marriage, especially in Christian circles.

  • Catie

    First time commenter here – I know this thread is somewhat old, but I wanted to reply to your statement here: “I do not see how saying that marriage can only be between a man and a woman judges anyone. How does saying that only a man and a woman can be married damns anyone to hell?”

    I for one am very, very glad that defining marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman cannot damn anyone to hell – I am glad that the power of eternal judgment lies solely with God, and not with any person.

    But defining *civil* marriage in this way can and does greatly circumscribe the lives of gay men and women on this earth. We are essentially saying that a gay person who falls in love, and finds someone with whom he wants a lifelong romantic relationship with, will never have the legal right to have that partner be named his next of kin, to be regarded as a member of his family, the one with automatic hospital visitation rights, survivor benefits, etc. I cannot agree with the idea that it is our job as Christians to make sure that the power of the state is behind this kind of extreme limitation of personal liberty, freedom, and happiness.

    I absolutely believe the state can and should regulate morality in any number of instances – pedophilia, prostitution, drug usage, polygamy, etc. – because these actions greatly harm innocent victims. But to me, even if homosexual acts = immorality, it would be the kind of immorality akin to worshipping other gods – not Christian, but also not something that a democratic state prohibits.

    In addition, I don’t think that legalizing gay marriage equates to helping people engage in immorality. There are gay and lesbian Christians who have bravely chosen to lead celibate lives, because they believe that God does not condone homosexual acts. This will remain the case even if gay marriage becomes legal.

  • Rob

    Thank you! It’s (the few) people like you who help to dispel the stereotype that Christians are scared, bigoted, hateful people.

  • Rob

    It took you two whole paragraphs before getting to comparing same sex loving relationships to murder. And you wonder why “christians” are thought of as nuts…

  • http://gtapestry.blogspot.com/ DougT

    >By the way Muslims are anti-gay marriage, too. Why are Christians always the whipping boys?

    Simple. Christians are the majority in this country whereas Muslims are a tiny minority. Christians are flexing considerable political muscle to fight gay marriage and other gay rights legislation. You can be sure that if Muslims were being as significant a factor in forestalling equality for gay folk then you would be hearing a lot more complaints about them.

  • TruAgape

    I wanted to share this article with you responding to Mike Huckabee’s false claims. I hope you enjoy it. I’d like your feedback. Thx!

    “I have opponents in this race who do not want to change the Constitution. But I believe its a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living God. And thats what we need to do – to amend the Constitution so its in Gods standards rather than try to change Gods standards so it lines up with some contemporary view” – Presidential Hopeful: Mike Huckabee

    Mr. Huckabee uttered these words amidst a Michigan audience Monday January 14th 2008. I, for one, welcome his statements. They open a door to the scattered debris buried throughout history regarding the word of the living God and changes. As a result, one might therefore ask: “How would history respond to Huckabee? Would it support Huckabee’s claim that its easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living God?” Lets consider just two examples.

    Approaching the 13th century, the story about Sodom and Gomorrah had already developed a history of being altered. Now, it was officially adopting this more contemporary view – one which associated it with homosexuality. Initially, the reasons for those cities’ fate were confined only to the reasons given within Scripture. Not one biblical reference equated the cities with homosexuality. Nor could it, after all, the victims in the Genesis account were not even human. They were materialized angels, or as Jude 7 terms it sarkos heteras, literally “flesh different”.

    After the erroneous authorization of homosexuality as one of Sodom’s sins, came defined derivatives of its name: sodomy, sodomize, sodomite – manufactured terms whose influence dates during the 13th century. Ancient New Testament records, the Septuagint, and ancient Hebrew texts contain both the Greek and Hebrew words for both Sodom and Gomorrah. But they do not contain original Greek or Hebrew words for sodomy, sodomize, sodomite or any derivative of the name Sodom. History confirms that it was the traditions of men that furthered this misleading addition along with its artificial definitions because according to the word of the living God, as some of the earliest manuscripts record it, the term sodomite is nowhere to be found. But according to the word of the living God as succeeding translators translate it, its scattered throughout both the Greek and Hebrew scriptures! This introduced into the text misleading notions and false conclusions. Because the city of Sodom, whose name formulates the word sodomite, could now be biblically associated with same-sex activity. Such an alteration provided a bridge for importing into scripture dishonest ideologies and words such as: homosexuals, homosexual offenders, those who practice homosexuality, and homosexual perversion just to quote a few bible translations.

    First Corinthians 6:9 contains two Greek words: malakoi and arsenokoitai. Bibles such as the Wyclif (1508), Young (1898), Interlinear Greek-English New Testament (1958), Jerusalem (English) (1968), New King James (1979), New Jerusalem (1985) and the New Revised Standard (1989), all change one of the Greek words, arsenokoitai, to either “synn of Sodom” or “sodomites”. Others, such as the New World Translation with References (1984) supply a footnoted reference containing “sodomite” to justify its faulty rendition. On the other hand, bibles such as The New American Standard (1963), the New International (1973), the New American Catholic (1987), and the New Living Bible (1996) change arsenokoitai to “homosexuals”, “homosexual offenders”, and “practicing homosexuals”. The New King James (1979) opted instead to change the Greek word malakoi, which literally means “soft”, to “homosexuals.”

    Some editions of the same Bible use entirely different choices for arsenokoitai. Compare the 1st and 2nd editions of the NIV. Other translations such as The Amplified Version (1958), the New English Bible (1961), Today’s English Version (1966), and the Living Bible (1971) opted to combine both Greek words to render a synthesized phrase involving the word “homosexual” in some form or another.

    Even more astonishing is that some translators, while combining both Greek terms to render a reading in 1Cor.6:9, will footnote their reason, and then, without any explanation, provide the exact reading at 1 Tim. 1:10, where this time, only one of the Greek words arsenokoitai(s), is used. The New World Translation with References (1984) allows the addition of the “s” to manipulate its rendition at 1 Tim. 1:10. Not surprisingly, this action goes unreferenced. In fact, study the differences by comparing the two scriptures as translated in The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the GREEK SCRIPTURES (1985). Still, others such as the NIV (2001) use two different translations for the same word and yet, provide no footnote at either location. This shameful stunt easily goes undetected! Then you have the NET Bible (2005) providing extensive commentary to colorfully excuse its predisposed decisions. It does a savory job creating the illusion of being scholastically conclusive.

    While the English word for homosexual didn’t come onto the scene until around 1869, the Greeks already had such specific terminologies and employed them (ironically, “sodomite” was not one of them). None of those terms, however, occur in the Genesis, Romans, Corinthians, or Timothy passages as recorded in both the Septuagint, or in modern-day Greek copies of the New Testament even as written by such consulted scholars as Wescott and Hort. But as history has shown, with the stroke of a pen, the word of the living God can be changed, and has been! Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville, KY, publicly justified such a change on his radio program January 2, 2008 by referencing, albeit erroneously, Romans 1, saying.. “female-female homosexuality”, a phrase that passage never contains. Thereby, in Mr. Mohlers view, it paves the way for homosexual (both sexes going after their own sex) to perform as a viable translation for arsenokoitai, which literally means “male-bed”. In fact, take a listen to him for yourself http://albertmohler.com/radio_show.php?cdate=2008-01-02 within the elapsed times of 26:30 – 30:20 min.

    Carelessly, anyone attempting to justify arsenokoitai being changed or even compared to homosexual, male or female (especially based on the ‘Scripture interpreting Scripture’ approach, as Mohler suggests) has first failed at recognizing the cohesive relationship the Scriptures maintain, and then, simply put, failed to translate! The first red flag should have been the fact that arsenokoitai, unlike the word homosexual, does not bear any reference to females. That’s interesting, especially when one considers that so-called Christians try to co-relate Romans 1 with the 1 Corinthian passage to support their erroneous claim. But despite such an unscriptural effort, a glaring omission inadvertently arises. Because while the Romans passage uses a Greek word translated by most as likewise to compare the rebellion of both sexes (addressing those women who exchanged the natural use of themselves), it’s actually only the men whom the passage records as being burned out with lust after one another after leaving women. More importantly, however, is that the account in Romans never once uses the term malakoi or arsenokoitai. And by the same respect, neither 1 Corinthians nor 1 Timothy utilize the wording found in Romans 1. Yet, coincidently, the same writer, Paul, wrote all three of these books! In fact, it’s worth noting that not even the early Church Fathers used 1 Cor. 6:9 or the two words found there in conjunction with homosexuality or Romans 1. That dishonest practice had yet to formulate, and it wouldn’t become a part of Sacred Tradition until centuries later. All the while, not even the structure of the words themselves ever allowed for such a comparison, this fact even being realized by modern translators as early as the penning of the Latin Vulgate which literally interprets arsenokoitai as “liers with males”. And interestingly, contrary to Albert Mohler, the father of Protestantism – Martin Luther, interpreted arsenokoitai as “child abusers.”

    All along, however, it was the original biblical setting of the Romans 1 passage itself that provided the framework and dimension to Paul’s words found there to give it its perspective; because even history contextualized this passage in association with rampant orgies, bestiality, and idolatrous sexcapades. In fact, even within the Mosaic Law, the Levitical Law Code remained contextually accurate regarding the Canaanite culture of its day by addressing the idolatrous sex rituals its male priests engaged in. Hence, the absence of any reference to females. And the Explanation of the Law, also known as the book of Deuteronomy, emphasizes this idolatrous theme by this time specifically warning both male and female Israelites against becoming temple prostitutes and cross-dressing, inturn, keeping itself apart from the pagan practices that lay ahead. So fittingly, Paul’s denunciation in Romans for their “passions of dishonor” is something all Christians, gay, straight, or transgendered, agree with! All of this, however, presents a sharp contrast to the reaction Jesus had towards the faithful centurion who asked that his “pais” be healed; or the interaction between the Gospels and the Ethiopian eunuch (or as some presume to hastily finalize: court official).

    The fact is, the mess religion has made throughout the ages by being more exacting than the scriptures, and ripping apart text from its context concerning the issue of homosexuality is without debate! Even more unfortunate is that such influential people as James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, have chosen to hide such scriptural exploitations, by using terminologies as “the traditional Christian understanding” and “pro-family” to mask the facts. And to make matters worse, the latest trend by many so-called Christian leaders is to pacify their guilty past of distortion by using compassion and love as their Trojan Horse.

    The truth, however, is that the sad consequences of such scribal manipulation are far from innocent, revealing certain aspects of the Judeo-Christian alliance to by anything but pro-family! The division and discrimination each group has been responsible for throughout every segment of their influence is unparalleled. Many actions and teachings branded with their seal of approval have influenced bible based weaponry and merciless isolation against certain types of individuals all because of their orientation! History well documents how these ones have been tossed out by their families, societies, congregations, and in various cases, themselves. Imagine the constant heartache of being in love with your soul-mate only to believe God is rejecting you as a result. Indeed even the fundamental desire for love and companionship has been trivialized and reduced to merely a tendency to be dealt with! And while a few may appear to, its at the peril of giving society false, generalized expectations and simplified conclusions regarding others. Ask yourself, how would all of this make you feel? Regrettably, some, trying to escape the mental torture have been stumbled into denying God and his Word altogether, while many others have sadly gone out searching for comfort within the arms of suicide!

    But not all changes to the word of the living God had the veneer of merely being variations of translation. Consider slavery. What was God’s standard regarding that Mr., Huckabee? According to his statements, any contemporary view should be trumped by the word of the living God. Was it?

    The Bible chronicles history throughout the maturity of humanity. So naturally within its pages, one finds the institution of slavery becoming progressively nullified. Prior to Jesus, the regulation of slavery by the Mosaic Law was a relief in comparison to the conditions of societal norm. But with Jesus came the new commandment to love one another just as I HAVE LOVED YOU. So while in the Old Testament it’s regulated, in the New Testament its woven into the background of biblical settings. And it would soon be made clear that there was no distinction between freeman or slave, Jew or Greek, nor male and female in Christ. Thus, escorting the understanding that all, from the womb onward are created equally and should be treated as such. It was this “spirit of the law” that Jesus introduced to those early 1st century Christians, and it was also this same law that was to be written upon their hearts.

    However, on June 21, 1844, Baptist minister Basil Manly, president of the University of Alabama, gave a sermon entitled National Stability. In it, he supplied many convincing errors that proved effective at keeping guilt and slavery at opposite ends. Several scriptures were quoted in efforts to give owners justification. He attempted to decorate the institution with Christian principles and accent any benefits slavery provided. His biblical references, in his opinion, projected slavery as a divine ordination. And in a warped pattern of thought, he reasoned that such an ordination was especially beneficial in that it gave slaves the opportunity to hear the Gospels.

    True, during the 1st century, the decay of slavery had yet to be fully excavated from the early Christian congregation. They were still in their formative years! Despite this, Christians were not relieved of their obligation to uphold tenure or to walk two miles when told to walk one as Jesus prescribed. Even more so, Christian principles were not off limits. As a result, the bible records Onesimus, himself being converted to Christianity, ultimately heeding Jesus’s example by allowing Paul to return him back to his master. Pastor Manly, however, taught that this and other biblical references implied approval and condoned slavery. As it was, not even a year after his sermon, the Baptists, divided over the issue of slavery, split; and the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) was officially formed on May of 1845.

    Illiteracy for slaves was encouraged. It was feared that if God’s word were studied, their liberation would be realized. That seemed like an odd concern if, according to the word of the living God, it was sanctioned. Such an apprehension revealed the Southern Baptists’ awareness of what the word of the living God was actually communicating. For although the “letter of the law” may have remained unaltered, it was certainly the religious leaders’ “spirit of the law” that was highly tainted. Not surprisingly, Jesus issued a similar indictment against the Pharisees, who too exploited doctrine for personal gain.

    The consequences of the SBC’s decision to promote slavery would play a major role in furthering racial relations in America to extreme lows. Their actions would serve as a critical reminder of one of the greatest and simplest commandments expressed by Jesus: Love your neighbor AS YOURSELF. More than a century would pass, however, before the Southern Baptist organization as a whole would admit any wrongdoing. Hence, in 1995, in a decision referred to as the Declaration of Repentance…, an apology was officially declared. No longer able to deny the scriptural facts, their conservative, contemporary view was finally renounced; and regarding slavery, the word of the living God had been restored. Such biblical hic-cups, however, would mar the SBC as having a racist and tragic past. All the while, the odor of the racial excrement the SBC polluted America with would continue it’s stinch as methods to stabilize racial equality remain hotly debated on the political stage today.

    The Constitution, by comparison, denounced slavery nearly 130 years before the SBC’s public apology. And in due course, Jesus, through his perfect example, would confirm that the word of the living God never even supported it! Even with its 27 amendments, the Constitution has remained remarkably consistent with its intent as expressed in the Preamble. Amending it entails a two-thirds vote of both the House and the Senate and a three-fourths approval by the States. It ultimately has to win the hearts and minds of a nation before it can be altered. Not so with the word of the living God. As history unmistakably confirms, by merely having the clout, the committee, and the hope that most will be too uniformed to notice, it most definitely can be changed, with ease and with devastating effects! Such actions are a disgusting insult to human dignity and above all Truth!

    Mike Huckabee’s scene in Michigan presented a subtle reminder of the power of prestige and the prestige of power. If a former Baptist preacher hands it out, well then it must be true! His cheering Michigan audience didn’t seem to have a problem with it. History, on the other hand, does. Without a doubt, Huckabee’s statements were a masquerading facade. They veil the un-Christian details of some of the religious rights positions and rhetoric, both past and present. The fact is, it’s not easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living God. Clearly, the word of the living God has easily been changed. It is therefore not any surprise to find that in more place than one, its loving Author, aware of the possibility of manipulation, sternly warned against it!

    Authors Pen Name: Tru Agape

  • TruAgape

    “one man one woman”? Show me one instance where Jehovah God, ever used this fact to render Moses’s, Solomon’s or David’s marriages invalid due to their MULTIPLE WIVES.

  • LK

    There is another option. If you feel it is sinful to “vote in favour of something [you] believe is against Biblical teaching,” you don’t HAVE to vote in opposition to it if you don’t feel comfortable going to the other extreme. As an American citizen you are perfectly at your leisure and within your rights to abstain from voting. If you cannot decide either way, don’t make matters worse by voting for the sake of voting. When it comes to the liberty of your fellow human beings, who – whether they care to accept and embrace it or not – are also children of God, there ought to be a certain conscience employed in voting.
    Silence is not always acceptance. Silence is sometimes a concession that you cannot in good conscience support either major view of an issue. There is no Scripture that I can recall that compels us to vote, and for all Americans take pains to tout their wondrous freedom, it would be awesome if many would use it to abstain from trumped-up politics.

  • Jason D

    “2. This isn’t just about the legal rights of gays. This is about religious rights, too. Because if gay marriage becomes a constitutional right than it leaves religious groups open to discrimination lawsuits for refusing to allow gay ceremonies to use their facilities.”

    This is patently false. Time and again the issue was raised and been shown that a church has every right to decide what ceremonies it will hold and what ones it will not. A catholic church, for example, is free to refuse to perform a wedding ceremony for non-catholics. This is established legal precedent which no LGBT rights group that I know of interested in changing.

    And before you bring up Ocean Grove New Jersey Camp Meeting association out, here’s a few facts:
    1) They voluntarily agreed to be involved in a special government program. In exchange for allowing free use of their boardwalk pavillion to members of the general public, they received a special tax break on that building.

    2) In violation of this agreement they refused the commitment ceremony of a lesbian couple, when they had allowed various marriage and other ceremonies of other groups on the same property.

    3) Because they broke the agreement they lost the EXTRA tax incentive on ONLY the boardwalk pavilion. The rest of their properties retain the usual tax benefits.

    Check out the states where marriage equality exits, you won’t find one case of one gay couple even trying to sue to force someone to perform their ceremony. If you did, you’d also find where they lost the case.

  • Jason D

    “I haven’t read all the comments, but I agree with Faith and Katherine, by your argument, anything and everything should be legal since no one can live a perfectly holy life as an example for others and, by your interpretation of “just” we should let every other different view have everything it wants.”

    I think you don’t quite get the point of religious freedom. It’s in your last sentence:
    “We should let every other different view have everything it wants.” Yep!

  • Mariah

    This is a lovely sentence… and so very true. “It’s much more difficult to live a life of humility and brokenness.”

  • Catgal

    I view my marriage as a sacrament, granted to me by the Catholic church. Having said that, from a legal (not religious) point of view, I do believe that non religious people have the right to those same benefits my marital status grants me in the eyes of the state and federal government. So yes. Let’s all fill out our marriage licences and have them signed by the state. But I, by the teachings of my faith, view any marriage not performed by the Church as being invalid in the eyes of God. The law if approved will not change anything in the eyes of God.

  • Kristen

    Elizabeth is quite right, in my opinion– If nothing else, the Great Commandment tells us that we must listen to GLBT people, take their concerns seriously, and have compassion for their pain. This is what “do unto others” is all about. If we would want to be listened to, taken seriously, and treated with compassion, we must do the same.

    As for marriage, it is both a religious and a civil matter. The two need to be distinguished from one another. The way things are now, everyone who presses for the civil right for same-sex couples to marry, runs up against religious ideas which are not about civil rights at all. And everyone who presses for their own religious beliefs, runs up against the fact that one set of religious beliefs was never intended to define civil rights for everyone else. That’s what “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion” is all about.

    I say we distinguish civil marriage from the sacrament of marriage, and let any two consenting adults have the same civil rights. If the two were properly distinguished, then GLBT people who are religious could also have the sacrament performed by their own religious groups, without affecting the sacrament as performed by other religious groups, at all.

  • Emily

    Thank you for your comments on this matter Elizabeth. I have to interject and share that the Barna research poll stating Christian divorce rates are equal to non-believers is more than 10 years old. Also, the stats do not reflect on the frequency of church attendance or “fruit” of the Christian. Many people say they are Christian but do nothing or very little in proof of their love for Christ. Newer studies (from General Social Survey 2000-2004) show Christians with a frequent and healthy church life have significantly lower divorce rates. i.e. believers who are committed to following Christ are generally more committed to working things out with their spouse.

    That being said, maybe same-sex marriage is just a small part of a much, much bigger problem: the fact that there are “Christians” out there with no real desire or intention to truly follow Christ. I do believe that we need to vote our convictions, but I don’t think that will help change America for Christ. I think real change and revival will come one person at a time as real Christians choose to take time to invest in and disciple individuals to become real committed followers Christ.

  • Anne Marie

    Thank you Catgal, you have made the point perfectly.

  • Anne Marie

    Whoops ment to post the Thank you Catgal comment HERE.

  • Tru Agape

    Emily what means more to you, religious “convictions”, or the scriptual “facts”? Many Southern Baptist’s voted thrir religious “convictions”, and allowed themselves to be blinded to the scriptual “facts” regarding slavery. It’s one thing to clothe your vote withing the garments of “beliefs”, “convictions”, “doctrines”, and “teachings”. It’s quite another to have to substantiate those in agreement with the the scriptual “facts”. And in regards to homosexuality, when scripture’s content and context measures your “convictions” against the scriptural facts, your beliefs are forced to be examined and exposed revealing that there indeed is a disconnet between what facts of scripture say, and what your beliefs fail at making them say. As an example, consider fact 1:
    Scripture nowhere equates Sodom with homosexuality. Nowhere! Jude uses the term “Sarkos Hetras” confirming the scriptual fact that Lot’s 2 visitors were not human. Therefore regardless of what the townspeople knew or didn’t know about the make-up of the two guests, the potential for such an encounter to be a homosexual one isn’t even plausible. Even the ancient Jewish teaching didn’t equate this city with homosexuality. God never equated this city with homosexuality. Jesus never equated this city with homosexuality. Not one biblical writer ever equated this city with homosexuality. This is scriptual fact. It dosen’t require an intrepretation to be realized.

    On the other hand your “convictions”, say otherwise. And left unchecked, and unexamined they’re perceived as true. They are not. Such convictions rely on an interpretation. And not just any interpretation. But one that must ignore the fact that materialized angles + humans does NOT equal homosexuality. It ignores the fact that God himself in Ezekiel specifically outlined the sin of Sodom and mentioned absolutely nothing about homosexuality. It ignores the fact that Jesus never associated this city with homosexuality. It ignores the fact that Jesus associated Sodom in the same manner God himself did in Ezekiel. It ignores the fact that no biblical writer ever equated, referenced, or even mentioned this city with homosexuality. Yet your “convictions”, very loudly, ignore the scriptual facts, while adding it’s own interpretation to say just the opposite of what scripture, its facts, its history, its content and context have said all along.

    You as a “Christian” are certainly welcome to whatever “conviction” you so choose. But when that conviction consists of depriving Truth its due especially at the expense of discrimination then it’s no longer about conviction. It’s about bigotry. And there is no legislation for that.

  • http://cuteconservative.wordpress.com Dani

    Hey E -
    I appreciate your heart, and reading through all of these comments have been enlightening. But I think that we’re missing the point. I think there’s a sense here that Christian views are not worth standing up for, lest the consequences be too strong for the view, which I disagree with. I wrote this here (http://cuteconservative.wordpress.com/2010/08/05/everybodys-been-asking-me-what-i-think-about-prop-8-ok-fine-you-twisted-my-arm-ill-talk-about-controversial-things/):

    “Ideas have consequences. Marriage is a divine idea, set clearly in the New Testament as one man and one woman. I wish that all people would have freedom to live their lives as they see fit without government intrusion, which is why I support civil unions for all, and marriage only as a religious or cultural ceremony, in which individual churches and communities may search their own hearts about who can marry. Until such equality is allowed, however, I cannot support the intrusion of government into my religious beliefs, and I do not think that such a quiet but firm stand is anything but loving – toward my fellow man, my church and my Lord.”

  • Susan

    As a Catholic, but most importantly as a mother, I cannot justify supporting and VOTING for an institution that leaves children with obligatory and permanent motherlessness or fatherlessness. Some may say there is just no difference in the genders but after 10 years of marriage and almost seven children I just cannot agree. If asked to VOTE on the situation, I could never support same-sex mariage as an equal good for children and society.

  • TruAgape

    Susan I’m sorry but your position is one-sided. You take into account gender while at the same time completly ignoring sexual orientation.

    Children DO NOT fare well in a mother-and-father household where the parent’s sexual orientations are different. And the same people whose rights you vote against are the same people you encourage to enter such an unstable union.

    Your comment leaves those whose sexual orientation isn’t “hetrosexua”l without the prospect of a happy stable relationship. A relationship built on mutual attraction, mutual respect, and mutual love. And it is that relationship that makes a stable family.

    If you along with your husband weren’t willing to deprive yourself of such happiness, then you have no right to deprive anyone else from it. For the love of God couldn’t you (at the very least) treat others the way YOU would want to be treated?

  • susan

    Give me the common sense notion of boy meets girl boy and girl fall in love they marry and their love creates the next generation of human beings…I know gay relationships exist but why in the world should we ALL have to say they are the same as a marriage. These relationships are different than marriage. So what! I am a homeschooling mother of seven…I sick out like a sore thumb, my extended family thinks we are nuts, I am different SO WHAT! I say leave marriage as it is. My “mutual love, respect and attraction” to my husband makes babies. The state has an interest in protecting this idea…SO WHAT! You say my ideas deprive others of happiness..and next you will call me a bigot. I hope the “live and let live” crowd is following this.

  • Tru Agape

    Thank you for your response to my post. I agree with most of it: Gay relationships are different, everyone shouldn’t be forced to accept them as marriages just as everyone isn’t forced to accept interracial relationships as marriages. I agree with you too that we should leave marriage as it is – opposite sex couples shouldn’t suddenly be denied to marry. I agree with you that the state does and should take an interest in your “mutual love, respect and attraction” to your husband in making babies. I agree with all of that. However after all of that there is still nothing that you have stated that refutes my post that you have responded to. The fact that you say what you say at the expense of discriminating against those who are gay continues to make your point one-sided, and yes bigotted. I’m not seeking to legislate change against any of the views that we both agree on. I’m seeking to legislate change that opens those freedoms to everyone – not just straight individuals such as yourself. But more importantly, as a Christian, I seek to uphold the truth of scripture and the love that Jesus left us the example to follow and loving thy neighbor as THYSELF. It’s one of the two laws that every other law hangs upon.

  • susan

    To believe that marriage should remain a union between one man and one woman is not discrimination. The relationship that exists between two men or two women is not a marriage it is something different. It should be called something different. I am not sure why you bring up interracial marriage. There is no law against interracial marriage nor should there be. The african american community overwhelmingly supported prop 8. If you want to compare laws that sought to separate the races and laws defining marriage, I just don’t see how this arguement holds. I am not a bigot. I don’t hate anyone. I feel that proponents of SSM who use these words against those who seek to uphold tradtional marriage are wrong. In 31 out of 31 states, where this matter was put to the people for a vote, the people have voted to uphold tradtional marriage. Are all these people bigots? I don’t feel that there are any easy answers but I cannot agree that this is just a matter of extending rights to a group of people. This is about changing the very idea of what marriage is. You say I should love my neighbor as my self. Cannot I not love my neighbor and disagree with them at the same time? God loves all of us more than we can ever fathom and yet he still sends some of us to hell. Harsh, but true.

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  • Craig

    Many times, Real love is telling someone that you care about, that their actions are Biblically wrong. To say nothing, or to agree with a position that is in error, is to allow a person to think the direction they are headed is safe when, in fact, they are heading for destruction.

  • Jmurray

    Hi, this is my first time commenting and my first time reading this blog.  I have to tell you, it was an enlightening experience.  I can’t even tell you how appreciative I am of your strength and understanding of others who are different from you.  I’m young, just few months over the age of 19, and I love Christ more than I will ever be able to fully express.  With that being said, I love my friends, including my gay ones, with a real fervor.  In my opinion, love is love.  I respect it, no matter who is partaking in it.  If the love is real, then there is a purpose for it.  I am the product of two divorced parents, and an alcoholic and abusive stepfather who has left more scars on my family and myself than I will every understand.  Do you mean to tell me that the marriage my mother had to him was of God, while the marriage between to loving, respectful and supportive homosexuals is not?  I refuse to accept that. 
     My refusal of that belief is a choice.  Their homosexuality is not.  One congressman was quoted saying, “How many more gays does God need to create before we start accepting that they belong here?” One of you said to accept them so long as they are celibate- that is quite frankly ridiculous.  I have seen more homosexual relationships that are functional and healthy than I have heterosexual ones.  How many gay couples do you all know that separate after years of being in a committed relationship?  I’m willing to wager that those numbers are a lot smaller in proportion to the straight couples you know who have gotten a divorce- I know that is the case for my life and the people in it.  Many of you are using the Old Testament as your back-up for why homosexuality is wrong. Well, let me bring you to my favorite verse, Psalm 139:14-16 “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” God knows who will and will not be gay, He made them.  He created their inmost beings.  (Psalm 139:13) Our Awesome God is Omnipotent, Omnipresent and Omniscient.  Perhaps it is not God’s distate for the gays the fuels this argument, but a very human disposition to resist change and to be complacent within social norms.