Few issues divide our culture more than the topic of gay marriage. On one side of the divide people see increasing acceptance as an attack on marital institution and evidence of a degrading society, while the other believes itself to champion the latest step in the civil rights movement, and both claim persecution. In the struggle between these two camps, Christians are deciding which ledge to dive for and many find themselves on the opposite side of the chasm from loved ones. Not cool.
So, before continuing, please understand that this article is an exercise with certain a priori. For the sake of argument, sidestep the bulk of the discussion for a moment with me and assume the conviction of one side – that gay marriage is inherently sinful. Even if that were the case, as many claim, a question must still be asked and answered by Christians so inclined. That is, “how should these Christians vote concerning gay marriage?”
Well, Jesus laid down two powerful rules of practice for his followers, the likes of which should inform the choices of all Christians today; believers are to hold one another accountable to God’s standard and refuse to judge the actions of outsiders.
THE EXPOSITIONAL STUFF
“If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day…” John 12:46-49
“Judge not, that you be not judged…” Matthew 7:1
To be a “judge” involves deciding what is, and what is not, appropriate for another (the Greek word is κρινω for all of you nerds). Some other definitions from the Greek Lexicon (which can be found here):
- to separate, put asunder, to pick out, select, choose
- to approve, esteem, to prefer
- to be of opinion, deem, think, to be of opinion
- to determine, resolve, decree
MY AMAZINGLY PERSUASIVE CONCLUSIONS
*Please notice that “not judging” is not the same as “condoning.” Christians that believe gay marriage is sin do not need to say it isn’t, they simply need to realize that it is expressly not our place to mete out judgment; God takes care of those things (unless, of course, you have a dream about slaughtering thousands under the sign of the cross and believe yourself called to carry forth such a message of sacrificial love with brutal force, then by all means go for it).
When Christians vote against gay marriage, they impose their interpretation of God’s standards upon people that they believe do not know Him. They judge outsiders.
The usual set of questions that follow such a statement is something like the following: but what if someone tries to pass a law permitting the consumption of alcohol in kindergartens? What if they start spiking the juice at post-nap playtime? Am I suggesting that we refrain from voting against such insanity?
In a word… no.
I am only suggesting that we balk at imposing upon non-believers standards that directly issue out of special revelation. If the reasoning against imbibing toddlers issued mainly out of Scripture and not medical journals, that might be a different story.
Maybe there is a dichotomy here? Some Christians see “marriage” defined as God bringing together a man and a woman, mysteriously creating a picture of the Church and Christ. If those outside of the faith want to redefine marriage in their own terms, these Christians should respond in non-judgment. If fighting gay marriage, on the other hand, is a conclusion I happen to reach outside of God’s revelation, I’ll act on it as such.
WHAT HAPPENS IF WE DON’T CHANGE
If Christians continue to wage war on gay marriage and stem the tide of social “corruption” by creating theocratic laws that govern the action of non-believers, we will only further the greatest misperception of the Church in this century. Instead of being labeled “cannibals,” “atheists,” and “traitors,” like the early Christians, the only misinformed label we’ll perpetuate is that of “d-bags.”