I voted yes on Prop 8. Today, I’m thankful Prop 8 was ruled unconstitutional.

I voted yes on Prop 8. I lived to regret that vote and I wrote about it here. I also ended up apologizing to my gay neighbors. In my case, loving my neighbors as myself really meant loving my literal neighbors.

Today, a California appellate court ruled that Prop 8 is unconstitutional. I’m thankful for the appellate process which is, as one of my lawyer friends noted, “luxuriously embedded in hindsight.” Ah, if only there were an appellate process for every area of life (for one thing, I’d like to appeal this piece of pie I just ate–can’t we rule calories as unconstitutional?).

The great thing about hindsight is that it gives you a chance to fully re-examine the ways your actions affected other people. For many Californians, loving our gay neighbors as ourselves isn’t an abstract idea. It’s real. It’s here. It’s right next door.

There’s nothing like the immediacy of an idea to drive its meaning home. Which is to say, when I vote to deny someone else the same rights I enjoy, there’s nothing quite like seeing that person every day to realize what exactly it is I’ve done.

Quite honestly, I was unable to reconcile my voting yes on Prop 8 with Jesus’ command to love my neighbor as myself. Ultimately, I had to ask myself this question: is it spiritually consistent for me to vote on a measure that would deprive my neighbors of rights I wouldn’t dare be deprived of myself?

For me, that answer is no, it’s morally inconsistent to deny others the same basic rights and freedoms I enjoy as an American citizen.

I appreciate what Daniel Kirk, a professor at Fuller Seminary, wrote in his new book Jesus Have I Loved, But Paul?

“It is incumbent on us to show the homosexuals in our communities that we will work tirelessly for them to have what we would never stand to be deprived of ourselves…Have we loved and served the people around us, have we worked for their good, with sufficient passion that someone who is not part of our community would come to us and ask for help? Do we show the world that our deepest concern is to spread abroad the love of God?” (p.190)

When it comes to loving our gay neighbors as ourselves, it’s not enough to simply do no harm. Kirk points out that it’s not a “sufficiently faithful enactment of the Christian story to refrain from going out with the ‘God Hates F*gs’ sign.”

In other words, Christ calls us to positive action on behalf of our neighbors, particularly those who are disenfranchised members of our same society.

The sad truth is that the Christian church has done a very poor job of loving our gay neighbors. Indeed, not only have we failed to show God’s love, we’ve done substantive harm. Christians have often withheld love and community. We’ve condemned and excommunicated. We’ve shunned and cast out.

Regardless of our religious beliefs about the sanctity of marriage, I daresay Christians have much to answer for in how we’ve treated our gay family members and neighbors.

I want to live a better, more faithful enactment of the Christian story than one that majors in shunning and minors in positive actions of inclusion and love. All I know is that I can’t truly love someone while simultaneously condemning them.

“Love the sinner, hate the sin” sounds like a nice little Christian-y loophole, but in my experience it simply doesn’t work. Mainly, it sounds like a good excuse for keeping far, far away from the difficult work of actually loving others.

And loving others is precisely my mission in life. I’m starting small. My gay neighbors just had a baby girl. I think I should take them a pie to celebrate.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/F6HM7F57W2IPVAJ2O6363Q6GE4 Jessica

    I agree that we should love our gay neighbors, but allowing homosexual marriage isn’t truly loving them.

    God is love. If God is love, and He condemns homosexuality, and we ourselves shun the practice of homosexuality in response to the knowledge of God’s love, shouldn’t we consistently offer that same standard to others? Shouldn’t we also offer even more encouragement to those who have a harder struggle with this particular sin?

    Voting “no” for allowing two individuals of the same sex to marry is not denying them rights that we ourselves enjoy. Under the marriage laws that have been in effect, every person has the same theoretical opportunity to marry, as long as they marry someone of the opposite sex. People in heterosexual marriage did not have the “right” to marry someone of the same sex, either.

    I agree with many of your posts, but God clearly condemns homosexual behavior in the Bible…and Christ’s call to be set free from sin is just as valid for our neighbors who practice the sin as it is for us.

    • http://www.alise-write.com Alise Wright

      Of course, these are the same arguments that were used prior to Loving vs. Virginia, complete with how “clearly” the Bible condemned interracial marriages.

      Being denied the right to marry the person that you love IS discrimination. 

    • http://prosario2000.myopenid.com/ Pedro M. Rosario Barbosa

      Unfortunately this is the sort of argument that confuses the legal with the ethical.

      “Voting ‘no’ for allowing two individuals of the same sex to marry is not denying them rights that we ourselves enjoy. Under the marriage laws that have been in effect, every person has the same theoretical opportunity to marry, as long as they marry someone of the opposite sex. People in heterosexual marriage did not have the “right” to marry someone of the same sex, either.”   And yet, it is denying rights … by defining marriage as being between a man and a woman.  In the end, marriage (legally speaking) is a contract which grants benefits under the law to those parts.  Prop 8 was using *legal* means to dictate that some legal contracts have to be between two different sexes, not same sex.  This is actually discrimination.

      All of the arguments against gay marriage can be reduced to three arguments:

      *”There cannot be any same-sex marriage because, it is somehow, perverse or bad for society.” Yet, this statement itself is question-begging.  It is not clear in what way it is harmful for society.  The reasons range from health concerns, to abnormality, to influence on children, to the fact that marriage is declining in Europe.  Yet none of these reasons stand scrutiny in the end, at least according to available data.

      *”Same-sex marriage is unnatural.”  In ethics, we are familiar with the “naturalistic fallacy”.  You cannot derive a norm from natural behavior in the world.  You should not act as predator against your neighbor just as a cheetah chases the gazelle.  On the other hand, there are artificial means we use every day which arises no ethical concern:  agriculture, taking artificially made medicines, writing with a keyboard, inventing new words.   You cannot derive an “ought” from an “is”.  Nature “is” a certain way, that does not mean that as rational people we “ought” to act the same way. Unless there is a rational reason to state that same-sex couples are a special case different from all of these, there is no reason why two grown-ups, adults, rational persons should not decide to marry.

      *”The Bible says so”…  I don’t have to argue much here.  Much has been said by Elizabeth Esther and people in comments here.  Yet, the only thing I have to add is the fact that if *this* is the main reason to forbid same-sex marriage, then it is unconstitutional because it violates the separation of Church and State.  The vast majority of people who argue against gay marriage are using religious reasons, and by voting in favor of Prop 8, you are making the state enforce a religious conviction on everyone.

      That’s all I have to say.

  • http://mamapsalmist.com/ mamapsalmist

    Do it.  Then bring some here!  :)

  • http://www.fromourfrontporch.net Sherri

    Elizabeth, I really appreciate hearing your thoughts on this… and your honesty. 

    But I am curious… and maybe you’ve touched on this before… if so, I apologize for my redundancy…
    How do you feel about this idea WITHIN the Church… i.e. the Ordination of practicing homosexuals?  

    (I know that you are now part of the Catholic Church, but I figured that you are well aware that it is a hot topic within the Protestant denominations…)

    Thanks again for sharing what you’ve come to understand about this topic!

    • Kimberly

      Hmm, I know I’m not Elizabeth, but since the Catholic Church doesn’t permit the ordination of practicing heterosexuals either, this isn’t really a hot topic in the Catholic Church. :)

    • Anonymous

      As Kimberly noted, for Catholics like us, the ordination of practicing gays is not a hot topic because it’s not even a topic of discussion. It’s just not going to happen.

      I still do believe Scripture and Christian tradition have consistently required that ministers live within certain sexual boundaries. I find this right and proper. Of course, various Protestant denominations have been changing their requirements for awhile so it’s not surprising they’re facing this difficulty now.

      Catholics require a lifetime of celibacy from their priests—which to many Protestants seems unfairly harsh–but I’ve always seen the benefit to it, not the least of which is that it demands the same kind of scrupulous sacrifice regardless of your sexual orientation. Furthermore, priestly celibacy insures that no child will ever suffer the neglect of his/her father. I’ve known so many pastor’s kids whose father neglected them for the sake of the “work of the Lord.” This simply doesn’t happen within Catholicism. But now I’m straying off onto another topic–perhaps I need to write a new post! ha!

      • David Bates

        (Roman Rite Catholic priests – I met a 
        married  Eastern Rite Catholic priest last Wednesday) :-)

        • Bpbasilphx

          Not only do I know several married priests of Eastern Catholic Churches (not “Eastern Rite,” btw), but one married priest of the Latin Church with children.

      • Fallaya

        Yes, please write a new post!!

      • Shadow Spring

        Thank you!!  You are so right!  My husband was a missionary/preacher’s kid and he was totally neglected by his parents “for the work of the Lord”.

        Also, I do not believe being gay is a sin.  It just is.  Gay people can conduct their loves with holiness just like straight people can, and they should have the right to enter into sacred unions like straight people can.  So there is no “love the sinner, hate the sin” about merely being gay.  It’s no sin to be who you are. 

  • http://www.alise-write.com Alise Wright

    This is beautiful. Not hating is not the same thing as loving. 

    Thank you for your bravery here. Changing our minds is hard. Apologizing for our actions is hard. Going against what we’ve been taught is hard. Recognizing one’s position of privilege is hard.

    But pie is delicious and I’m sure your neighbors will appreciate it a lot. Give that baby’s head a sniff for me. 

  • Lindsay

    I appreciate your ability to realize and allow yourself a change of heart. Because I disagree with much of the Christian faith as it exists in America (and Canada), but I certainly love to see people who THINK these things out, then practice the love and ACCEPTANCE touted by Christ while leaving the judgment for one better suited to judge.

    Thank you for being brave enough to write this.

  • Mclanaha

    Thank you for voicing this side. Too often people are afraid to speak out about what they know in their hearts to be true. I’m glad you’ve lifted your voice for the purpose of loving instead of tearing down. 

  • http://somuchshoutingsomuchlaughter.com/ suzannah {ShoutLaughLove}

    amen. thanks for writing this.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kara.murano Kara Murano

    loved this post and went back at read the links! you have an amazing voice in the blog world! 

  • MattPT

    I appreciate your story about this and I agree with what you said. I come from this perspective, if the Church in general ministers to those in prison and everyday people on everyday things (struggles, economy, family, etc.), what excuse does the Church in general have against the gay community? Are they beyond the spectrum of people who are condemned by their actions in prison and everyday folks who have had their fair share of situations in their life? We show ministry, love and compassion to both extremes of people but somehow, the gay community is the exception? It’s frustrating to see all sorts of time, energy and money go towards the “gay agenda” for the “good of America” when there are a great many more needs out there that can easily make a much more positive influence of Christ throughout the world, including interacting to the gay community.

    I have to tell a story so I apologize if this is tl;dr:
    Back when 9/11 happened while I was in college, I said something to the effect of: “We need to send a nuke bomb to those Arabs.” At the time, I was high on my statement and some of the US followed along with me on an act of retaliation. Over time (more like years due to stubbornness), the Holy Spirit reacted  to what I had said then and wouldn’t let it go. It kept creeping up on me out of nowhere and I had to deal with it finally when I learned my lesson. I had usurped God as righteous judge (not all of God’s character, only partially) in the great white throne with myself. I am in no way qualified to impartially judge men and women. I am to be a witness, an example, a representative of Christ to everyone I meet, whether it’s 5 seconds or 5 years. I know I will be held to an account for what I said then and I fully accept that knowing that that mistake was a way for me to grow and see people as God wants to see these people and help me grow as a representative of Christ here on Earth. I said all that to say this, I know you feel Elizabeth. God broke me of my stubbornness and after a few, too long years, I finally listened. I am glad you did too. God bless.

  • sarah

    Sorry EE, but I disagree with you here. If you want to love your neighbor, bake them a pie, have them over for dinner, have your children play together. Involve yourself deeply in their lives, like you’ve been trying to do. Love them for the wonderful people that they probably are. But don’t confer a title on them (like “husband and wife”) that is not yours to bestow in the first place. 

    Marriage is not a right. It is a vocation and a privilege that is open to one man and one woman exclusively. I dearly love my gay neighbors and my gay family, but that is a fundamental truth that can’t be changed, no matter who I love or how I vote. 

    • SC

      1. Your definition of marriage excludes several of the marriages in the bible – marriages that were planned and blessed by God Himself. Maybe you shouldn’t be the arbiter of who gets to get married either?

      2. Spiritual marriage is not in the power of the state to provide anyway. The state does not make you and your husband (if you have one)  “One flesh” – God does. If God objects to Gay marriage, then God will not enact the sacrament on those couples. Whether or not the state gives them legal recognition is not a religious issue, because the state does not have power over the actions of God.

    • Bill

      Regarding marriage not be ‘a right…’

      The Supreme Court of The United States has publicly disagreed with you.

      14 Times.

      You are uneducated.

  • http://grace-filled.net/ jen

    i’m seriously glad i didn’t live in california at the time because i honestly don’t know how i would have voted.  i have too many people whom i love dearly on both sides of the issue and i think i would have skipped over it because i wouldn’t have been able to make a decision.

  • Lamdin

    Gay people should have the right to be married and miserable just like the rest of us!

    • LizzyZ

      This made me laugh!

  • Anonymous

    Elizabeth, this one is spot on. Seriously. Spot. On. Love!

  • Jennifer

    So say we all!

  • Sarah Roberts

    I’m conflicted. I also voted yes. I also regret it. I don’t regret it because I think homosexual marriage is okay, but I do regret it because I think it is absolutely wrong that two people who wish to bind themselves to each other in a committed fashion are barred from some of the legal rights I enjoy as a married person. That is discrimination. Absolutely. I think where I end up now is that Prop 8 asked the wrong question. I believe marriage is a church affair, it should be defined by your church and faith, and NOBODY has the right to tell a church who can or can’t be married. I would much rather that any couple, homosexual or heterosexual, who wishes to enjoy the legal benefits of marriage, be regarded simply as “domestic partnerships” or whatever term we come up with. Is this realistic, given the cultural predisposition and preference for “marriage”?…. oh, probably not. But I just can’t seem to wrap my mind around voting for something that denies people rights OR voting against something thatleads to a discussion that goes against what I believe the design for marriage is. I just wish we’d asked the right question to begin with.

    • http://www.alise-write.com Alise Wright

      I agree with you – I don’t think that the Church ever should have been mixed up with legal/civil marriages in the first place. I know that if any of my kids get married, I’m going to encourage them to get a civil marriage from the state and then, if they’re believers, have a separate, religious ceremony. 

      The way it is now, it would be like baptism being where you get your child’s legal birth certificate (since baptism is a rebirth of sorts) and then denying birth certificates to people of different faiths or no faith.

      Regardless, I’m happy for this step in CA and I hope to see DOMA on the chopping block before too long.

      • joy

        I like the analogy of birth certificate: baptism to civil marriage: religious marriage.  We wouldn’t deny someone a birth certificate, so why would we deny them civil marriage?

        • David Bates

          I like this comparison. I also empathize with the internal conflict expressed in the main post.

          However, the consequences of Prop 8 being overturned are of epic proportions  (particularly with regards to education and what can and cannot be preached in pulpits). It also sets a rather worrying precedent for the future.

          I completely agree with what EE says about the difficulties of “Loving the sinner, hating the sin”, but, if I may, could I also offer another proverb which must also be held in tension? 

          “Love the sinner, but do not condone the sin”

          For example, I’m still in contact with some of the kids I taught for Confirmation years ago, many of whom are now in their early twenties.  Some of them are making extremely questionable life choices at university… 

          I have really made the effort to communicate to them that I am on their side. I have their backs. I only want their good. If they need help, I will do whatever I can. However, at the same time, I do hope I have made it clear that I do not agree with many of their choices.

          It is a tough line to walk, excruciatingly so at times. I regularly find myself conflicted as to how I should respond, balancing truth with love. However, I believe I would be doing them a disservice if I neglected either one.

          • Herewegokids7

            At first I was all, “Marriage is a sacrament & the gov’t sanction of gay marriage doesn’t affect that at all so we should stay out of it!” but now I’ve come to see that though sacramental marriage is a church matter, defining marriage *itself*, as a social institution , as between one man and one woman, is pretty vital.  Civil unions, yes.

          • Sarah

            What precedent are you worried has been set? 

          • David Bates

            That congress has the power  to redefine words, and to do so without the approval of the people.

          • Bill

            You have no right to diminish another human being’s civil rights.

            No matter what God tells you.

            Dude, you’re pathetic.

          • Sarah Roberts

            I agree that the consequences are extremely profound. But frankly, I blame the far right for asking the question to begin with. We now have federal opinion that states that relationships between two people of the same sex are considered socially, marriages. We can’t undo that. We brought it on ourselves by lumping the whole thing together instead of realizing that all people deserve equal rights, and that we need to keep religious marriage out of it.

          • Bill

            David Bates, you are every bit as sinful a human being as any homosexual in existence.

            It’s written right there in your Bible.

            You are really ridiculous.

            Maybe we should start treating black people as the Bible mandates.

            I’m sure you’d be totally, totally down for that, you dig, brother?

    • Tony

      Marriage doesn’t belong to the church. It belongs to everyone. Not everyone in this country is christian or even religious.  Or are you saying that divorce belongs to the church as well? Marriage law is backed by marriage law court cases that go back a very long time. Why this constant attempt to take ownership of that which is not yours? You may own your marriage, you do not own everyone elses.

    • Bill

      In other words, this is none of your f’ing business, and you now it.

  • Sarah

    Thank you for you comment on “Love the sinner, hate the sin”, it’s a tiresome cop-out and it’s always disappointing when people think that’s all they need to say. 

    I’d like to point out another thing. The separation of church and state is vital to democracy. This ruling only helps that separation further. The church can dislike homosexual marriage all it likes but since the US is not a theocracy it can’t interfere with what the state rules. The state represents all people and should not discriminate against a particular demographic. 

    Given that there are an awful lot of things in the Bible I’m sure many Christians are pleased aren’t enshrined in modern law, that separation should suit Christians too.

    • http://twitter.com/MInTheGap MInTheGap

      I’m unsure as to where this ruling has anything to do with Congress establishing a church.  It certainly has a lot to do with the free exercise rights of a church if a homosexual couple sues to have their ceremony in a church because of equal protection.

      • anon

         As a lawyer, I had to jump in here – the First Amendment protects churches from compulsion to certain acts by federal and state governments.  For example, despite federal laws (e.g. Title VII) prohibiting employment discrimination on the basis of sex, the government cannot force the Catholic Church to ordain female priests. 

        It is every church’s right to refuse to conduct spiritual marriages for same sex couples. Prop 8 was all about civil marriage, and I would argue is more damaging to free exercise because it affirmatively declares that the same sex marriages conducted by churches which believe in the sanctity of homosexual and heterosexual marriage are not marriages.  Prop 8 enforces a single group’s view of marriage, largely derived from a single religious group, upon a very diverse population.  It is discrimination of a majority against a minority – which was exactly what the First Amendment and its religion clauses was intended to prevent.

        • http://twitter.com/MInTheGap MInTheGap

          “Prop 8 enforces a single group’s view of marriage, largely derived from a single religious group, upon a very diverse population.”

          I’m not sure this is correct.  I have yet to find any religious group that specifies in its holy works that same sex marriage is approved, nor do I have any historical information to state that, up until modern times, recognized marriage as being anything but a heterosexual pairing (albeit, some have defined it as multiple women to a man).  Therefore, I would conclude that your statement is backwards, and that a minority of the people are trying to enforce their desired pairing on the majority and established custom.

          Now, the majority can be wrong, but the current mode of government is a majority based system, as long as there is equal protection under the law.  Correct me if I’m wrong, but there are civil unions and other mechanisms to receive the same protections in this state setting.  Therefore, it’s simply the term “marriage” which is more closely aligned to the ceremonial terminology than the civil.

          To recap, one side wants to force people to recognize their coupling via a ceremony that’s used by the other couple to signify a civil agreement.

  • http://annewithane.net/ Anne

    I thought of you when I saw the news about Prop 8.  And I thought about my own gay neighbors.  We get along swimmingly with them (though I’ve never taken them a pie) but they’ve gone to court to get a restraining order against one of our other neighbors, because of truly vicious behavior targeted at them because they’re gay. 

    I can see Jesus taking your neighbors a pie.  Well, maybe not a pie.  But perhaps a nice big jug of wine? 

    • Anonymous

      To love one’s neighbor doesn’t mean to condone sinful behaviour. God’s word says what does light have to do with darkness? So are we at a place where Christians should go in the closet? God forbid! The only time Jesus talked about the closet, way to pray, he knows how much power we need to endure in this wicked fallen world. We are the salt of the earth. There’s a reason Jesus said “shake the dust off your feet” as he knows bad company corrupts good behavior. If a sinner isn’t willing to repent, to hear God’s truth then Jesus isn’t welcomed in that house.

      Jude 1:7

      And don’t forget Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighboring towns, which were filled with immorality and every kind of sexual perversion. Those cities were destroyed by fire and serve as a warning of the eternal fire of God’s judgment.

      • http://campuskritik.blogspot.com/ Malte Ringer

        “Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were
        arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me.” (Ezekiel 16:49-50a).

        So much for Sodom – and for Christians’ sometimes strange priorities: why do we find it so much easier to attack gay people than to insist on helping the poor and needy?

        Nobody is demanding that Christians should go ‘into the closet’. The notion that marriage equality means Christians aren’t allowed to speak their mind is false, as shown by the countries that allow gay marriage.

      • Tony

        Which is just great! It’s your religious opinion. It belongs in your church, your life, your home.You and your religion however to not own this country. It doesn’t belong in everyone’s church, life, home. Why is this so difficult for you and others to understand? By all means, live by your creed. You may even try to convience me of it. Just don’t demand that I live by what you religiously believe. Remember our fight for independance, why many people came to America? Allow me to refresh your memory. It was to escape religious persecution. To escape nations that were using civic law to force people to conform to their religion. Good grief do we not teach history in school anymore?

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

    Personally, I’ve never felt like it’s a good idea — at least the way the social and legal framework in our country is structured — to withhold legal rights from people who may not conform to your particular religious views. Isn’t that, after all, one of our concerns about sharia in Muslim states?

    I have never yet seen anyone capable of ‘hating the sin, but loving the sinner’ in a manner that was not perceived as hate by the recipient. I know for certain that’s how it felt as a teen parent when I was told to leave because my sleeping infant daughter was “disturbing” the service.

    Most of us know love when we encounter it. And most of us know when we don’t.

  • Charity

    I have NO problem with prop 8. I believe marriage should be for all. That being said, I have a HUGE problem with HOW prop 8 was handled. I value my right to vote & have my vote be counted. Even if the majority of voters are wrong, the right to vote is a fundamental right. Prop 8 supporters should have continued working to change the publican mind, educate on this topic & simply pushed for another vote in a few years. Instead, a judge took the right to vote away & judged since the public obviously had no clue what is right and wrong.

    The fact that prop 8 supporters are so ready to exchange their right to vote for a speedy process is wrong & scary. We have given up a greater right in exchange for something that would have happened anyways, just not as quickly as we would have liked. To me, THAT IS WRONG.

    • http://www.alise-write.com Alise Wright

      I assume by Prop 8 supporters, you mean people who support gay marriage (who actually oppose Prop 8)?

      I am glad that Loving v. Virginia went beyond public opinion and was settled in a court. The majority should not be allowed to vote on the rights of the minority.

      I encourage everyone to read the opinion from Judge Reinhardt on why it was declared unconstitutional. It’s good stuff and it clears up why this was absolutely the right way to go.

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

       Moreover, I live in the South. Civil Rights were imposed here (actually are still being imposed) and overruled the majority — a much larger and stronger majority than the sliver by which Prop 8 passed in California. I’m not sure I see any distinction. Following your logic, civil rights for non-white minorities in the South should have waited until they had majority white support.

      Of course, if you look at the demographics of support for gay marriage across the country, it’s clearly inevitable. The younger the demographic, the stronger the support. And even the opposition in older demographics is steadily weakening over time.

      Still, those who structured our country were just as concerned about the tyranny of the majority as they were of a monarchical tyrant. That’s why we don’t have a pure democracy.

  • KatR

    Applause, applause!!!

    I wish Christians who favor “love the sinner, hate the sin” would realize how arrogant and condescending it sounds. “Yes, I in all of my holy goodness, will hold my nose and lower myself to love you, because that’s what Jesus commands.”

    Gee. Thanks. Can’t wait to meet for coffee.

  • Charity

    **should have been NoH8 supporters.

  • http://twitter.com/MInTheGap MInTheGap

    My question is, where does it end?  “Righteous Lot” lived in Sodom, and was so effected by the sin around him that he offered his virginal daughters to the men outside when they wanted to “know” the two angels that had arrived to meet with Lot– the only one that followed God in the town.  From what we read of Lot, his family was infected by the sin that surrounded them– his wife longed to return, his daughters became pregnant by their father, etc.

    While I’m wholeheartedly with you on loving your neighbor, I notice the words of Jesus when the woman caught with adultery was brought to Him– I do not condemn you, go and sin no more.

    Love doesn’t always mean giving people what they want, sometimes it means telling people no.

    • HippieGramma

      Arghh!  Why do people always miss the first part of that story? 

      FIRST Jesus said “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”  That was the FIRST lesson he was trying to teach.  “Stop throwing stones!” He cried.  And then HE dealt with the woman and her sin.  It was between her and God, Jesus was quite clear on that.

      • http://twitter.com/MInTheGap MInTheGap

        And He also stooped to write something on the ground.  Perhaps it was the sins that they had committed.  Perhaps it was the law, which stated that in the case of adultery the man should have been there to receive punishment as well.  Perhaps it was a drawing, we don’t know.

        What we do know is that Jesus is God, and as such, made the rules for Israel that defined the law, and also inspired the words of Paul in Romans 1.

        The fact of the matter is, God hated sin so much that in order to quench that anger He had to sacrifice His One and only Son for us to pay the penalty.  His love was that great, and none of us deserve it– me, you, or EE’s neighbors.

        That said, God’s opinion of sin doesn’t change simply because we should love them, and what we’re talking about in the case of Prop 8 is not me loving my neighbor, but what the state should recognize as marriage.

        Taken another way, if there was a man that murdered his wife that lived next door, would you say that we should outlaw murder because we need to love the neighbor next door?  Certainly not!

        So why is it that we should say that this one sin is something the state shouldn’t say is morally right in the culture (especially if a majority in the culture believe it to be morally wrong regardless of Christian heritage), and another is not?

        • HippieGramma

          I was enthralled at the lengths one must go to in order to defend the idea that this story is about the sanctity of judgment, but after awhile I got into it.

          Perhaps He wrote: “I’m sure you can figure this out, but homosexuality is not in the same category as murder.”

          Or maybe:  “Work on love first.  Then forgiveness.  Two things I’ve devoted my life to teaching and which sure apply here.”‘

          Actually I’m convinced it was something along the lines of:  “Reality TV is Satan’s playground.  If you hear the word ‘Kardashian,’ RUN!”
          :)

          • http://www.facebook.com/jenniferalyce Jenn Murray

            I literally love all that you just said. And I laughed out loud in a library.  Kudos to you for what you’ve said here!

          • Anonymous

            Three cheers for laughing in the library! :) Thanks for reading!

  • http://profiles.google.com/jenn.w.fox Jenn Fox

    Well said. 

    Once upon a time I was a Christian but I just could not understand how the church as an institution could set about these rules that pitted humans against humans.  The Bible says that it is not our place to judge others, that is up to God when they meet him and yet, from my persepective, the church has taken it upon itself to judge everyone who does not follow what they say is truth.  It is so said to me that people who say they are followers of Christ don’t actually follow his lead . . . he cared for and loved all that came before him without judgement.

    I am teaching my children that love is love.

    • David Bates

      I think there’s a distinction here that needs to be made. Not judging others and avoiding all moral judgments are not the same thing. 

      I was reading the beginning of Matthew’s Gospel this morning where John the Baptist calls the Scribes and Pharisees “vipers”. Was he not making a judgment on their previous behaviour? 

      Didn’t the prophets judge the conduct of the people?  
      Didn’t St. Peter call people to repentance at Pentecost? 
      Didn’t Jesus say “Go and sin no more”?

      Loving someone does not simply mean approving of everything they do. A loving person does not remain silent while a friend does something destructive. 

      (Whether or not you believe a certain behaviour is destructive is a separate issue)

      Love is seeking the good of the other, even if it is to your own expense.

      • Sarah

        How is it to your own expense, as you say in your last paragraph, to allow to same-sex people to marry? 

        • http://www.loxpopuli.blogspot.com/ brawkalicious

          Because we are branded as bigots by expressing the truth, which benefits ‘the other’. It’s our duty to be charitable but honest when led to share on these topics. We have to be willing to suffer the social consequences of admitting what we know to be true. I’m sad to read all the equivocation and moral relativism on this page. Buck up, people! Know what and why you believe.

          • Sarah

            Awwwww, poor Christians!!! Boo hoo. 

            You are branded a bigot because, and this may shock you, you are a bigot! 

            You don’t know it to be true, you believe it to be true. Don’t ever confuse the two concepts. 

          • http://www.loxpopuli.blogspot.com/ brawkalicious

            Your belief that anyone who opposes your view is a bigot, *that’s* verifiable truth though. Makes perfect sense now! You’re the aggressive one here, after posing a question which I took at face value. Do whatever you want, but don’t wait around for my approval. Evil predictably begs for confirmation that its actions are right and true ~ so yammer on, honey. Ditto EE and her skeevy cult of personality. Not a fan.

          • Sarah

            Oh you said ‘honey’, using cutesy names is got to be a sure sign you’re rattled. 

            Win for me! 

            Also, this is our argument. It might be on Elizabeth’s blog, but don’t drag her into this. 

            Aggressive? Yup. And proud. But I suppose you think meekness is a virtue?

          • Jesus

            Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the Earth.

          • Anonymous

            I’d let you keep up with this whole awesome line of comments but my skeevy cult of personality just blacklisted you. Yammer done, honey.

          • David Bates

            The “skeevy cult of personality” comment was over the line, but being labeled a “bigot” wasn’t that classy either…

          • http://www.loxpopuli.blogspot.com/ brawkalicious

            and … that’s actually the definition of love, that the person offered. So ~ my unnecessary and clumsy defense notwithstanding, I think they intended “good of the other” in the broadest possible terms. Peace.

          • http://www.alise-write.com Alise Wright

            Denying rights IS bigotry. It was bigotry when people had “the truth” about interracial marriages, and it’s bigotry when you have “the truth” about same-sex marriages. 

          • David Bates

            Prop 8 was about semantics, what words mean. On what basis is it a “right” to call the union of two people of the same gender “marriage”?

          • http://www.alise-write.com Alise Wright

            Because that’s what we CALL a union of two consenting adults who want to spend their lives together.

            My husband & I don’t share a faith, so our marriage isn’t a strictly spiritual union. And if someone tried to take that title away from us based on that, I would fight them tooth and nail. And I would call the behavior bigoted, without any remorse.

      • http://profiles.google.com/jenn.w.fox Jenn Fox

        I whole heartedly agree that loving someone does not mean that you approve of everything that they do.  However, it is ultimately up to that friend to make the decisions that they feel is best for them. 

        Choice, the ability to make that decision, is what is at stake here.  Whether or not you approve is not the point.  The point is that a portion of the population is being denied their ability to make a choice based on the fact that they happen to have found love in a way that not all understand.

  • http://parentingmiracles.net/ JessieLeigh

    You are so brave, Elizabeth, and so well-spoken.  I wrote about the topic of same-sex marriage and was hurt tremendously by the backlash I received and the number of people who stopped reading/following/etc.  I am, perhaps, too sensitive to delve into the deep stuff.  I admire you for doing it so well.

  • http://twitter.com/btsuchiya Brenda Tsuchiya

    Thank you for this perspective Elizabeth.  As someone who lives in Massachusetts, this is an issue I have had to wrestle with myself.  
    I have come to look at it from another perspective.  I think that the morality of gay marriage is a completely different issue than whether or not gay marriage should be legal.  Christians don’t  “own” the “institution” of marriage.  It is not something that belongs to only Christians.  Atheists, agnostics, Muslims, and Jews all get married.  How can we say that we have the right to legislate what marriage should and shouldn’t be?

    Just my two cents, for what they are worth.

    • http://twitter.com/btsuchiya Brenda Tsuchiya

      Oh, and I love what you said too :)

  • SarahinBoston

    Hi Elizabeth. I found your blog via Rachel Held Evans’, have been
    following for a few months and – let’s be honest – think you’re pretty great. :) Thank you for your openness here.

    In response to this post: I voted yes on the Texas Definition of Marriage Act in 2005 (which passed by a large margin) and have likewise regretted my vote as a result of my faith. I now live in Massachusetts and am thus pretty far removed from the folks directly affected by the TX DOMA, but I still feel sad about my complicity in extending the scope of discrimination and oppression in my community.

    “Loving others is precisely my mission in life.” Beautiful. I believe that the message of Jesus is primarily about reconciliation – between ourselves and God, others and the created order – and that we are invited to partner with him in this reconciling work by essentially becoming the manifestation of his healing, saving love in the world. *and I have chills*.

  • http://www.downtoearthwomen.blogspot.com/ Tracey

    I’m of the opinion if they didn’t like what the people might say about it, why did they bother asking people to vote on it in the first place? 

    Next up….legalization of polygamy and polyamory.  Pay no attention to the constituency or the fact that Utah had to denounce polygamy in order to become a state. 

    We’re so much MORE enlightened now than our great grandparents were….

    • http://www.alise-write.com Alise Wright

      This isn’t how it went at all. LGBT people never asked to have the rights that they were ALREADY GRANTED voted on – it was people who opposed those rights who called for proposition 8. They took away the right to marry. Not prevented it in the first place – took away what was already given.

      This is bullying of the worst kind. Telling people that they were too uppity to expect the same kind of treatment, then lying about them to win votes. It’s appalling and that it was done under the guise of family values just adds insult to injury.

    • Bpbasilphx

      \Next up….legalization of polygamy and polyamory.  Pay no attention to the constituency or the fact that Utah had to denounce polygamy in order to become a state. \

      You’ll have a very difficult time condemning polygamy on the basis of the Bible.

      And with the revocation of laws against adultery and fornication, polyamory is legal.

  • LizzyZ

    Years ago I thought this was a very black and white issue but not any more but I’m certainly not sure what I think yet. I really like what some of the other commenters said about a “civil” marriage and civil right versus “religious” marriage and Christian definition of marriage.

    At this point I’m mostly hung up with the concept that the government is intended to “hold the sword” so as to “punish the wrongdoer (Rom. 13).” If we are of the opinion that homosexuality is wrong then shouldn’t we vote that the government not support such activity? The lifestyle is clearly dangerous from a medical perspective, putting aside the correlation vs. causation discussion for now. On the other hand, society as a whole does not necessarily view homosexuality as “wrong” so should our approach toward the issue change? As you have pointed out, how can you “love the sinner” while willingly putting yourself in the box with all the other typical judgmental religious fanatic meanie-head killjoys?

    Right now I’m left with two questions: Should our religious convictions shape our civil policy? And how does the Lord want us to reach our culture at this time?

    • Sarah

      “Dangerous from a medical perspective” is just flat out wrong regarding homosexuality (you’re thinking of AIDS aren’t you? Yea, most AIDS cases are transmitted by hetero  sex.) 

      And if we’re going to make illegal things that are “dangerous from a medical perspective” there’s really precious little left that still legal…

      I can answer your first question – NO. And I suspect the answer to your second question is that since the Lord reached our culture by living among even the worst parts of it, perhaps we could get down off our high horses this once and reach out to others too?

      • LizzyZ

        Sarah, you should probably know who you’re commenting to before you make condescending personal remarks. FYI, I am a medical professional. I have worked with the homeless, the imprisoned, homosexuals, heterosexuals, polygamists, cheaters, cheated, druggies, clean, youth in pregnancy crisis, both in my own city and abroad, besides my family experience with all of the above. My oldest brother committed suicide a few years ago after a short lifetime enslaved to drugs, alcohol, and psychiatric issues. Just to name one example.

        My life verses are Luke 4:18-19. I have traveled to three continents, ministering to and treating bodies and hearts in, but not only in, the slums of Reynosa and Tijuana, Mx., various parts of Belize, and  the poorest of the poor: the dalits of Kolkata. To the best of my knowledge, “though by that I am not in itself acquitted,” I am not on a “high horse” with this topic. I have honest questions. And, like I mentioned earlier, I am continuing to question my understanding of how the Lord wants us to regard our culture and our activity in it. But thanks for your cutting remarks. That makes me so much more open to people with a different perspective. *sarcasm*

        Your statement about AIDS transmission is incorrect. People like to quote the statistic that AIDS transmission is rising highest in the middle income white women population. That is of course true, but just because it is the highest RISING rate does not make it the GREATEST rate. The greatest rate of transmission of AIDS nationwide is in the population of homosexual men who also are IV drug users. The next lowest population: homosexual males. Psychosocially, those who identify themselves as either bisexual or gay are many times more likely to suffer from mood and anxiety disorders than the general population. Again, we could go on forever about correlation vs. causation but that isn’t the topic here.

        I’m afraid your answers didn’t help much in regard to my questions. Maybe someone else will care to help me on my journey.

  • Fallaya

    Good for you, Elizabeth!  

  • Toni Wilson

    I will be sharing this on my facebook. My husband, raised a Christian, said it best: If you want to make gay marriage illegal, you cannot have the
    government, any government, issuing marriage licenses. And that, in a
    nutshell, is it ladies and gents. You (Christians) want a marriage?
    Then they (LGBT) are entitled to a marriage as well. You(Christians)
    don’t want them married? Then you cannot be married either. It’s as
    simple as that. Kudos to California, once again, for doing the RIGHT and
    JUST thing.  And Kudos to you for recognizing this.

    Toni

    • Toni Wilson

      And let me add that marriage IS a right–one given to us by the Government.  Religion has no business being in anything the Government does.  Marriage IS a right that I and everyone else is entitled to have, but one that MUST be handled equally in order for it to be truly RIGHT.  Some people just don’t get that. And I find that sad. 

      Try this little exercise–remove the word “gay” and insert the word “black” into the sentence. If you can stand there and honestly state that the sentence still remains true, then you are a bigot and just flat out wrong.

      If you substitute the words and find yourself appalled at denying black people the right to be married, then you should also find yourself appalled at denying gay people the same right. Both are human beings and both, at one point in time, were denied that very simply right. Only one is truly accepted today. And it’s because people can’t keep their religion out of my business.

  • gooddaysunshine

    This really touched my heart.  Thank you so much for sharing this. Its all about being good to people. And whats good about being separative.  Not a thing. In fact,  heres what Jesus said about gay people ”                                                     ”

    Yep, nothing.   I think we are all gonna be OK when gay marriage is allowed.

  • http://southernxyl.blogspot.com/ Laura

    Good for you, Elizabeth.

    I keep coming back to the fact that there’s no record in the Gospels of Jesus saying anything about homosexuality, but he had some very harsh words against divorce and remarriage.  If Brittney Spears’ first hours-long marriage was legal, and Kim Kardashian’s weird event, then I don’t see how anybody can talk about “the sanctity of marriage” with a straight face.  Yes, let the government do whatever and let the various churches do what they feel they have to do.

    I think a lot of that stuff, including the parts about women submitting and covering their heads and so on, was part of the culture in what today is the Middle East.  Notice that Jesus didn’t take part in it – he didn’t even bite on the gender policing Martha tried to get him to do, to put Mary back in the kitchen.  Paul wasn’t divine but Jesus was/is.  As to the difficulty of pulling out eternal truths from those cultural artifacts – that’s probably part of that whole “work out your salvation with fear and trembling” thing.  In my opinion.

    • http://twitter.com/MInTheGap MInTheGap

      How do you know what Jesus did or didn’t say?  Through Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.  Yet John says that he didn’t have time to record everything (because it would take books to fill) and none of these were God.  As far as we know, Jesus never wrote a bit of the Gospels with His own hand.

      The argument from silence is weak, because you just don’t have enough data.

      Is the test for whether a book of the Bible is true whether or not we except what it teaches?  I mean, who am I to judge whether something that’s in the Bible is God’s Word– except it testifies that it is.

      Furthermore, when God made a statement Himself to Moses in the law, He clearly stated homosexuality is wrong.  He showed it to be wrong in Sodom and Gomorrah.  How much more do you need?

      • http://southernxyl.blogspot.com/ Laura

        Well, M, you can make up all kinds of stuff that Jesus probably said or should have said if you want to.  I’m not starting down that path, myself.

        I wear my hair short and have spoken up in church, and asked questions directly instead of waiting and asking my husband, so I have already deviated from the path Paul laid out for me.

        As to the OT stuff, everybody’s sick of hearing it, but we don’t follow all of the rules there, do we?  Do you check to see what the linings of your garments are made from?

        • http://twitter.com/MInTheGap MInTheGap

          You miss my point.  You’re trying to place levels of importance on Scripture by assigning higher value to the words of Christ as recorded by human authors in books written to reach primarily a Jewish audience testifying about the coming of their Messiah.  Then you summarily reject parts of Paul’s writing (who also claims to have heard Christ speak and have visions of Christ), but only in those areas that are culturally inconvenient to you.  You stand in judgement of the Bible, but are inconsistent in your application.

          As for the OT stuff, why is “everybody sick of hearing it?”  Jesus stated that came to fulfill the law, not to overthrow it. Do I check my garments, no.  The law was not given to me to follow– it was given to ancient Israel, a country that no longer exists.  However, I do not believe that the whole clothing thing is in the same league as something that was determined to be an abomination to the Lord.  Somehow I doubt He changed His mind there.

          • http://southernxyl.blogspot.com/ Laura

            “(who also claims to have heard Christ speak and have visions of Christ”

            Speak during his life on Earth, no. Visions, yes, on the road to Damascus and maybe after. And it’s not recorded that Jesus said anything to Paul on that road much beyond “it’s hard to kick against the pricks” referring to Paul’s putting legalism ahead of accepting Jesus.

            I supposed that you, like I, am tired of hearing that whole litany of OT things that we don’t do. Maybe it started on West Wing, I don’t know, don’t watch TV. I’m tired of hearing and seeing it b/c it’s everywhere. But it’s still true.

            But “somehow you don’t believe” that the whole clothing issue is in the same league? Somehow? How?

            There are gay people who refuse to go to church at all because they don’t want to be browbeat. Is that right? I would hate to face Judgment Day having driven my fellow sinners away from the Cross because I thought their sins were worse than mine.

  • MichelleG

    Would Jesus vote affirmatively for something He considers an abomination? Even the name of love? I think not.

    • HippieGramma

      Jesus never mentions homosexuality. If He’d meant for Christians to get in such a tizzy about it, wouldn’t He have brought up the issue at some point? I think so.

      • http://twitter.com/MInTheGap MInTheGap

        In Jesus’ day the law was still in effect.  That law stated that homosexual sex was sin, punishable by death.  We don’t see Jesus talking about things made with two types of clothing, rape, incest, and other parts of the law.

        This is what’s called an argument from silence.  It proves nothing.

        What Jesus did say was that He did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill the law.  And we know from Romans 1 that homosexuality, recognized by the culture as morally upright, is one of the last steps on the slide to depravity.

        • HippieGramma

          Actually the fact that an omniscient God —

          …who knows events in time forward and backward and therefore knew homosexuality was going to be a big bugaboo in 21st century modern society….

          … and sent His Son to deliver what would stand as His last direct message to His people for thousands of years…

           – would stay SILENT on the matter of homosexuality, either directly through His Son or through the “God-breathed” words of the men who penned the accounts of his life, SCREAMS proof of a hell of a lot.

          • http://twitter.com/MInTheGap MInTheGap

            I would suppose that you would also have liked Jesus to talk to whether or not going over 55 in a 55 speed limit zone is considered a sin, or perhaps His thoughts on when life begins, human cloning, IVF, and all sorts of other topics an omniscient God would know about the 21st century society would want answered.

            But let’s cut to the heart of the matter, shall we? 

            - At what point in time did the unchanging God decide that sex between two men was not an abomination unto Him? (Lev 18:22).

            - When did the God that created male and female and stated that marriage was the union of two opposite sexed individuals for the purpose of joining them together to make them one flesh should be extended to same sex individuals? (Gen 2:24, Mat 19:5-6)

          • HippieGramma

            Nah, I don’t need God to directly address any of those things, nor homosexuality… because I can follow what He DID consider important timeless truths (love God, love your neighbor, etc.), important enough to mention anyway, and miraculously everything is pretty much covered.

            -As far as the “heart of the matter,” at what point did God specifically reverse each of the other commands He gave in Leviticus?

            -When did God hand down marriage and the accompanying ceremony between two opposite sexed individuals?  Before or after p0lygamy?  And since the “slippery slope” is said to lead us directly from homosexuality to polygamy, when did God state that polygamy was an abomination?  When did He state that it should not be the law of the land?

            -No matter what we determine is the Christian doctrine on homosexuality, what gives us the right to impose our religion’s rules on America, the land of the free?

            One more thing:  I doubt I’ll make it back to this forum for a few days, and I am absolutely certain you’ll have a response to all my questions, and since we’re probably the only two left reading and discussing, I’ll probably leave it as the last.  How do you believe we as Christians SHOULD treat homosexuals?  Can we be friends with them?  Can they come to our churches?  Or do we send them to detox camps and hold protest signs at their funerals?

            And do you personally know anyone who is gay?  Do you discuss these points with them?

          • Claire

             Not all opponents of same-sex “marriage” want to send homosexuals to detox camps and protest at their funerals.  We just don’t want the definition of marriage to change.

  • Caroline

    I love what you say here, and I too, have a big turnaround on how I think about homosexuals. EXCEPT. Except the “marriage” part. 

    Yes, we should be doing everything we can to foster community and love with homosexuals. Right on, Elizabeth. But it’s not marriage between two people of the same sex, even if they want to call it that. I just can’t get past that.  It goes against natural law. Can I accept that two people of the same sex love each other deeply? Yes. But I just can’t label it marriage.

    Sorry

    • http://timothy.green.name/ Timothy (TRiG)

       I don’t care. I honestly don’t care what you consider marriage. Define words however you want. But you don’t get to force other people to live by the rules of your imaginary friend. It really is as simple as that.

      TRiG.

  • Claire

    Love the sinner but hate the sin isn’t my favorite expression, but the truth is that it’s what we’re called to do, whether the sin is murder, stealing, dishonesty, etc.  We are called to love everyone, but we don’t always like every choice that they make.  The definition of marriage as one man and one women is universal across all cultures, societies and religions.  Once that definition is changed, it opens the doors for all kinds of other “marriages” such as threesomes, etc.  As far as your neighbors with their new baby, of course the Christian thing to do is to support them and the baby.  But that doesn’t mean that you have to condone their lifestyle or the way that baby came into existence (which I’m hoping wasn’t IVF, as this could have resulted in surplus embryos that might be destroyed, adding even more immorality to the situation).  

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=11018683 Elizabeth Larson-DiPippo

      You should then recognize that all of the Patriarchs in the Old Testament weren’t really married since by your definition of one man, one woman their successive wives obviously invalidated their first marriages.  Pretty broad brush you’re painting with “universal across all cultures, societies, and religions.” That broad brush isn’t even supported by our own scripture let alone an informed look at anthropology.

      • Claire

         It’s not my definition.  Until recent years, it was the definition found in Webster’s dictionary, as well as the vast majority of contemporary religions and societies.  Furthermore, the tone of my comment was not rude, but the tone of your response to me was, and that is unnecessary.  It is possible to state an opposing opinion without rudeness or sarcasm. 

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=11018683 Elizabeth Larson-DiPippo

          Just because I’m pointing out a huge hole in your arguement doesn’t mean I’m being rude. It *IS* possible to state an opposing opinion without rudeness and I’m sorry you read more into my comment than was intended. I was merely trying to point out that you’re using a definition that isn’t supported by history or even scripture.

          • Claire

             There is not a huge hole in my argument, as I explained in my subsequent comment.  In any case, I did not read into anything.  The sarcasm and condescension were obvious from your wording.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=11018683 Elizabeth Larson-DiPippo

            so anyone who disagrees with you is *obviously* sarcastic and condescending? How convenient that you’re the victim here. 

          • Claire

             That definitely sounded like sarcasm to me.  Like I said, it is completely possible to disagree without resorting to sarcasm.  My original post, for example, was not in agreement with Elizabeth, but it was also not sarcastic.  Your responses to me, however, were unnecessarily rude.  This last one even had a hint of hostility. 

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=11018683 Elizabeth Larson-DiPippo

            well I was being sarcastic in the last post because you’re being a db. Take that as hostility if you want. I don’t feel hostile toward you. Just pity.

          • Anonymous

            Alright, ladies. Simmer down a bit, will ya? :) I think we all understand now that you disagree with each other. How about a margarita? :)

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=11018683 Elizabeth Larson-DiPippo

            sorry for the last post. That was over the line. I think I will take you up on that margarita. Hope you have a good night, EE. Thanks again for this post, I thought it was brilliant.

          • Claire

             I don’t know what “db” stands for, and I don’t think I want to know.  But I can assure you that I don’t need your pity, or your pettiness.

    • Kutab

      Claire said, “The definition of marriage as one man and one women is universal across all cultures, societies and religions.”  I’m afraid this is entirely inaccurate.  For example, if you consult the Ethnographic Atlas, a survey of anthropological data on 1231 human societies, you will find that exclusive monogamy occurs in about 15.1% of the sample, polygyny in 84.6%, and polyandry in less than 1%.  Alternatively, you could use the Standard Cross-Cultural Sample (Murdoch & White, 1969), which is a sample of 186 preindustrial societies from around the globe, selected to avoid the issue of cultural/ historical non-independence found in the Ethnographic Atlas.  The percentage of monogamous societies in the Standard Sample is 34%; however, White (1988) looked more deeply into the Standard Sample to make finer distinctions, and found that monogamy was only truly prescribed in about half of the 34%, while in the other 17% it was merely preferred, and coexisted with some polygyny. Monogamy is very advantageous, and contributes to the greater success of societies that practice it, but it is historically and cross-culturally the exception rather than the rule.  (Not to mention the example of the Bible itself, in which polygyny is clearly the practice of all the patriarchs.)

      References provided upon request.

      • Claire

         Only the ancient patriarchs.  By Jesus’ time, monogamy was the norm, as it is with contemporary Jews.

        • Kutab

          True enough.  Perhaps when you said, “The definition of marriage as one man and one women is universal across all cultures, societies and religions” you actually meant to say, “The definition of marriage as one man and one woman was the norm among Jews by Jesus’ time”?

          • Claire

             What I meant was contemporary religious times and, again, I don’t appreciate the sarcasm or the condescension.  The original basis for marriage in the Bible was one man and one woman (Adam and Eve;  I’m not saying I take that scripture literally, but I do see it as the basis for the marriage covenant).  Due our wounded nature from original sin, this became distorted during Biblical times, but thankfully returned to the standard of one man/one woman.  Today we have our own distortions of marriage, but so far polygamy hasn’t been legalized, and I hope that it won’t be.  But broadening the definition beyond “one man and one woman” could certainly open the door for that.

  • Alaina

    This is beautiful.

  • Nurse Bee

    I don’t agree.  Absolutely take your neighbors a pie, or a whole dinner.  Treat them with love, kindness, and respect.  And if Prop. 8 is ultimately dismissed than absolutely respect it.  But just because our society is moving towards the secular does not mean we have contribute towards it and cheer it on. 

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

       “Moving towards the secular”?

      That statement confuses me. Our society was intentionally designed to be a secular society from the beginning –the first one ever so set up. (The idea that you could have a nation without an established religion was ground-breaking and novel.) Our culture is and has always been deeply and thoroughly secular.

      Heck, the particular shape of much of peculiarly American iconoclasm and Zwinglian shaping of perceptions even about religion (that water can “just” be water and bread “merely” bread) flows directly from the secular nature of our culture.

      Perhaps you had something besides “secular” in mind?

      • Nurse Bee

        It’s debatable exactly what was intended when our country was founded. But  let me put it this way:  I’m not going to cheer on and vote towards something I believe to be morally wrong. 

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

          That’s a clearer statement. In our country, at least, no-one forces you to either.

          Much is “debated” (using the term very loosely) about the various beliefs and practices of individual “founding fathers” (a term of which I’m not particularly fond), but that’s separate from a discussion of the secular foundation of our country.

          I’m of the school that words mean things, and while language is ever-shifting and subject to interpretation, if you abandon all shared understanding of words, phrases, and sentences, you cease to communicate with one another. That happens a lot in a lot of discourse I read. But I wasn’t aware of the commonly and widely understood meaning of ‘secular’ shifting.

          At it’s root, ‘secular’ captures the idea that some things and some spheres of human endeavor are ‘natural’, not ‘sacred’, and separate from God or the gods. Expressed in terms of a state, it’s the concept (a radical one in the 18th century) that the state will not establish a religion and will treat all religions neutrally to the extent possible, favoring no one religion over another.

          So stating that we were founded as a secular is not an opinion or speculation. It’s fact. Whether or not you think that’s a good thing (personally, I think it’s been mixed, but prefer it over the alternatives governments have attempted over the millenia) is an opinion. But the fact that ours is a secular state lies at the heart of, among other things, the first amendment religion clauses.

  • Amanda S Wright

    Should we also work tirelessly to help those who seek abortions receive them? Hmm. Something exceptionally flawed in logic that says “Yes! This is against what God says so let’s work tirelessly to help people get it!” I think (and practice) love toward those in the gay community, but that does not mean what they are doing and living is any less wrong. Jesus spoke with love and compassion and met the woman at the well where she was, but he did not encourage, endorse or work tirelessly to promote her behavior. He use his love and compassion to tell her to stop what she was doing. Yep, let’s actually follow Jesus’ example. If you want to say that religion has no place in the federal governments right to choose who is legally allowed to get married, fine. Then don’t use Jesus as an example of how that is acceptable because you are flat wrong.

  • Guest

    I think you/we need to ask the question, “Does it do my homosexual neighbor spiritual harm to socially validate and religiously validate homosexual relationships?”  

    If we don’t ask that question then we will not understand what it means to love our neighbor. 

    If I wonder if Jesus puts his stamp of approval on homosexual relationships then I cannot in faith approve of and vote in favor of  Prop 8.

  • http://www.ayoungmomsmusings.blogspot.com/ Melissa @ Permission to Live

    Thank you. Just thank you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jenniferalyce Jenn Murray

    I love reading your blog, you always have something wonderful to say.  I mean, even when I don’t agree with you, you seem to be constantly stretching my mind to think of situations in a different light.  I truly appreciate the person you are and have become.  Also, I love this post.  I love the honesty and sincerity that jumped off my screen when I read it, and I think that you are a truly brave individual.  I’ve always been in favor of gay marriage for the exact reasons you’ve listed here.  That, and I’ve known the children of gay parents and gay people in general to be some of the most loving and faithful people I’ve ever known in my life.  There is a saying that goes something like, “We accept the love we think we deserve” It’s no wonder that many homosexual people do not attend church because the Christians there tell them they are unworthy of love.  It may not be said in so many words, but rest assured the message gets across. Shouldn’t we love and welcome them?  Shouldn’t we show them that they are loved by a community of faith and that the God who created that community loves them just as much? Jesus’ most important commandment was to love God and love your neighbors as you would want to be loved.  In the words of Casting Crowns, “If we are the body, why aren’t His arms reaching? Why aren’t his hands healing? Why aren’t His words teaching? Why is His love not showing them there is a way? Jesus is the way.” The problem isn’t them or Jesus, the problem is us.  We as a Church need to get out of our own way. 

    • Anonymous

      All sinners are welcome at the cross and Christians are called to overcome evil with good. Bit when sinners such as the lgbt movement desire to change what Gods word says about homosexuality, God has a problem with that. Homosexuality is a battering ram against the righteous foundation. God’s word says the devil clothes himself as an angel of light. Share what God’s word says about homosexuality and see people’s true colors. Many are being led to hell in a compromise basket, as they set aside their love for Jesus, for love of theirs sinful neighbor’s applause.

  • Anonymous

    Genesis 2:18,

    And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. (God’s idea, plan of a helpmate is a women)

    24:Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

    (as a result of the fall, God revealed how Satan and his seed would be hostile to God’s order)
    Genesis 3:15 KJV
    And I will put enmity(enmity
    noun, a state of deep-seated ill-will syn : hostility, enmity, antagonism) between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

    Do not homosexuals who refuse to admit their error, operate in ill will? That’s because they have seeds of despite for God and His children.

    Homosexuals who refuse to repent are hostile to God’s plan, they are at enmity against Gods purpose of the women…as they are of the seed of Satan. indeed all have sinned and fall short of God’s glory, but homosexuals are relentless in their seeking to call evil good. And you best believe “true” Christian’s the more rights homosexuals get the less you’ll have. If your not one to share your faith, then your not going to be one to understand why God’s word says STAND in the evil day.

  • Anonymous

    To love one’s neighbor doesn’t mean to condone sinful behaviour. God’s word says what does light have to do with darkness? So are we at a place where Christians should go in the closet? God forbid! The only time Jesus talked about the closet, way to pray, he knows how much power we need to endure in this wicked fallen world. We are the salt of the earth. There’s a reason Jesus said “shake the dust off your feet” as he knows bad company corrupts good behavior. If a sinner isn’t willing to repent, to hear God’s truth then Jesus isn’t welcomed in that house. And if you’re truly rolling in Jesus light, Jesus said “they will hate you” If people who abhor Jesus are comfortable with you, then Jesus is missing from the picture.

    Jude 1:7

    And don’t forget Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighboring towns, which were filled with immorality and every kind of sexual perversion. Those cities were destroyed by fire and serve as a warning of the eternal fire of God’s judgment.

  • http://timothy.green.name/ Timothy (TRiG)

    I suppose I should be feeling grateful? Meh. I don’t see why “I don’t have to live by the laws of your imaginary friend” should be such a big revelation, myself. Glad you got there, though.

    Perhaps I’m just in a bad mood.

    TRiG.

    • Anonymous

      Yeah, I’m going with: you’re in a bad mood. :)

  • Bill

    When you entered a voting booth feeling as if you held within you the power over another living human being to decide things for them you had no business deciding, what did you feel?

    Righteousness?

    Piousness??

    Shame???

    Embarrassment????

    All 3????

    How does a human being enter a voting booth and believe they hold within them some sort of power over another human being.

    And how does one leave that voting booth feeling anything less than complete shame and revulsion.  FOR THEMSELVES?

    Where did heterosexuals of the ‘christian’ variety get the idea that they are allowed to diminish and brutalize the lives of all the gay children they created?  Via the law? And our Constitution?

    And more importantly, how do you intend to make amends and ask forgiveness to the human lives you have hurt, and often, completely destroyed?

  • Tony

    Oh Good Grief! Reading all the uneducated  holier than thou comments on this blog is enough to make one sad at the state of ignorance in our country. If you to whom I am speaking love reading books so much, please, pick up a college level history book. You don’t have to read the whole thing, but I would suggest it. Just jump to the part where it explains the reason for most who originally came to this country, fought, died for it and founded it. Here, let me help you out. Religious oppression. They were being forced to follow the religious doctrine of their origin nations. Ergo freedom of religion. Not everybody follows “my” religion.

    And the oppressed become the oppressors.

  • Tony

    Oh yeah…and the oppressors? They end up losing more than they started out with. In history, that’s what usually happens over and over and over again. You’d really think we’d learn. But I guess if you ignore history, just like not taking responsibility for and learning from your own mistakes, we can expect no less. What was it that Einstein said about insanity again?