A good place to start? I thought that this would be the post that could pretty much divide any Christians who happen across this blog, and will likely give you all an idea of what I’m like so you know whether you’re wasting your time reading here. Here’s the thing about gay marriage, marriage equality, sanctity of marriage or whatever vernacular we’re using: it’s not a clear cut issue. I’ve been thinking and praying about it for years and honestly, I’ve come to a point where my prayerful position is… not to take a position. Really. As a political question, my vote is going to be decided by education, healthcare, government aid and the like. I won’t write letters to my MP in support of marriage equality, nor will I write them letters encouraging them to oppose gay marriage legislation. Why? What led me to this intentional “it’s not my problem” attitude? A few things:
1. There are two paradoxical arguments that I find equally strong. Homosexual marriage is something that involves two adults who are both making a choice and who understand the social, practical, economic, ethical, and yes in our society I would say even the spiritual consequences of their actions. God did not take free will from me, and I don’t believe it is my right to take it from somebody else. On the flipside, I cannot endorse something that God opposes. Where is the middle ground? For me, I think it’s in not endorsing, and not restricting. I will give advice to those who ask for it, to those who want to know what the bible says about it or who want to know what I believe. I’m not going to lie and I’m not going to avoid the conversation. But I’m also not going to go around forcing advice and biblical passages on those who don’t ask for it, those who have made their choice and have no interest in seeking God right now.
2. Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s. I live in a country governed by democracy. If the result of that democracy is that 70% of the people support homosexual unions (which they do) and that results in a particular vote, then so be it. I will not attempt to take from Caesar what is Caesar’s (i.e. I will not seek to take from democracy what democracy has decided). Likewise I will not seek to take from God what is God’s by actively supporting gay marriage. The issue here is that there are, I believe, two separate meanings of the word “marriage”. One is a legal definition, and covers an awful lot of marriages in our society that are not otherwise endorsed by the bible – you know, the ceremonies between two people who have been living together for years, already have children, get married by a civil celebrant and never mention God at all either in their ceremony nor in their lives. I believe that this definition “belongs” to “Caesar”. I don’t see any reason why the legal definition can’t cover homosexual marriage too, if that’s what society and the law wants. Then there’s another definition, the biblical definition. Whereby a couple make their vows before God and to God, where they ask Him to guide them to grow closer to one another, where they seek to have a marriage that models His ideal. It is my belief that there is a difference between marriage in the eyes of God and marriage in the eyes of the law. I believe that this definition “belongs” to God. The biblical definition cannot (and will not, no matter what anyone in parliament does) include homosexual marriage too. Thus I can’t stand up as a Christian and campaign for marriage equality until there’s a very clear distinction between the two definitions. So I’m just gonna stay out of it.
3. A good friend of mine is completely disinterested in politics (unlike me). And if people complain that she’s not making an informed vote or that she must care, her answer is always the same. Her circle of influence is at the micro level not the national level, and she’d rather spend her time with people and working out what is right and wrong on a personal level, than she would focused on widespread abstract laws where her voice is small. I know that in a democracy, every big voice is made up of a hundred small ones, but she does kind of have a point. I’d rather work on getting myself right with God and supporting those around me who want to do the same, than loudly demanding that society does or does not do something. Plus, if I keep my conversations personal, there’s less opportunity to be utterly misunderstood as spiteful and judgmental or as ungodly and heretical.
So there you have it. My feelings as a Christian about gay marriage are… leave it to those who have a strong opinion, because for the life of me I can’t work out what mine is. If you are one of those people who does have a strong opinion, I am by no means saying that you shouldn’t argue it. If that’s your prayerful position as a Christian or your well-thought-out position as a non-Christian, let your voice be heard.