Gay Marriage and the Biblical Response

On May 9, President Obama became the first sitting President to endorse homosexual marriage.

The issue of gay marriage has become one of the key flashpoints in American politics.

Liberals generally believe homosexuality is a genetic trait and that gay marriage is a fundamental right. They would generally say that marriage is the union of people who love each other, and it should be legal for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals, to ensure equal rights for all.

Conservatives generally believe that homosexuality is a personal choice and that gay marriage is an oxymoron. Requiring citizens to recognize same-sex relationships as marriage violates the moral and religious beliefs of millions of Christians, Jews, Muslims and others, who believe marriage is the union of one man and one woman for life.

In announcing his endorsement of same-gender marriage, the President framed his view as a Christian belief:

“This is something that, you know, we’ve talked about over the years and she [Michelle Obama], you know, she feels the same way, she feels the same way that I do. And that is that, in the end the values that I care most deeply about and she cares most deeply about is how we treat other people and, you know, I, you know, we are both practicing Christians and obviously this position may be considered to put us at odds with the views of others but, you know, when we think about our faith, the thing at root that we think about is, not only Christ sacrificing himself on our behalf, but it’s also the Golden Rule, you know, treat others the way you would want to be treated.”

Mr. Obama paraphrases the Golden Rule to claim his position is “Christian.” However, pulling a single Biblical concept out of the context of the whole of Scripture, while ignoring the rest of the Bible, does not make a belief “Christian.”

The Bible and Homosexuality

Is there any Biblical basis for gay marriage? Some supporters, like the President, would argue, yes there is. However, when one looks at the Biblical text in a straight-forward manner (no pun intended), the text clearly condemns homosexual practices, and defines marriage as being between one man and one woman for life. Consider the following:

Leviticus 18:22

22 You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.

Leviticus 20:13

13 If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.

Romans 1:26-28

26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.

These verses have been dissected, debated, reinterpreted, and argued for years. I’m not going to get into all the arguments and minutia – they have been covered ad nauseum in numerous other websites, books, and journals. The bottom line is, when taken at face value, these passages all clearly state that homosexual behavior is a sin. The Bible is the Word of God; and God, being omniscient and omnipotent, is perfectly capable of communicating His truth in a plain, straight-forward manner that doesn’t require one to have a degree in Greek or Hebrew grammar to understand. God doesn’t need our help to explain what He was actually trying to say; He has already said it plainly.

Not only is homosexuality a sin, but all sexual behavior outside of marriage is sin. Jesus defined marriage very clearly in Matthew 19:4-6:

4 And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”

Very clearly, when one looks at the Biblical passages without inserting one’s own preconceived notions into the text, the Bible teaches that in God’s eyes, there is no such thing as gay marriage. Marriage is between one man and one woman for life, period. All extra-marital sexual behavior is sin, whether heterosexual, homosexual, bestiality, adultery, pre-marital, rape, incest, or other.

A “Christian” Nation?

There is a popular misconception that the United States was once a “Christian Nation,” and that we no longer are. I contend that the United States has never been a “Christian” nation at all. The First Amendment of the United States Constitution contains two clauses pertaining to freedom of religion.  The first, known as the Establishment Clause, reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…”  The second, known as the Free Exercise Clause, reads, “…or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” The Establishment Clause makes it clear that the United States has never been a “Christian” nation. While it is true that the vast majority of the Founding Fathers were Christians, or at least had a worldview based on Biblical principles, the United States was never based on the Bible itself; it was actually based on religious humanism. The Bible was never the authority; human understanding has always been the ultimate authority. Over the years, as human understanding has shifted away from the Biblical foundation it once had in this country, our morality, behaviors, and laws have also shifted. The problem is not that we are no longer “Christian;” the problem is that the country has always been humanistic, believing that human understanding is our final authority. Human understanding is relative; it changes over time. In the United States, the predominant worldview is shifting away from a Biblical foundation. This is the reason for the “culture war” over gay marriage, abortion, euthanasia, drug usage, pornography, and other moral issues. Because we began with the faulty foundation of humanism rather than the Bible, the foundation has crumbled.

Should Same-Sex Marriage be Legalized?

As a Bible-believing Christian, my answer is a resounding NO. Homosexual behavior is sin, and marriage is defined as between one man and one woman for life. In fact, divorce, pre-marital sex, adultery, and all other forms of extra-marital sexual behavior should be illegal.

The problem is, the United States is not a Christian nation. We are a humanist nation. Our legal system is only loosely based on the Bible; in reality, it’s based on human reason. God is but one small factor out of many in our legal system. Within the humanistic framework of the United States Constitution, there is no basis for defining “marriage” as anything other than however the prevailing worldview at the time decides to define it.

Same-sex marriage is not the problem; it is merely a symptom of the problem. The problem is that the vast majority of Americans have suppressed the truth of the Word of God. Consider the following from Romans chapter 1:

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them…
Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. 26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.

Because our country has rejected and suppressed God’s Word, God has allowed us to suffer the consequences of our choices. The turmoil over same-sex marriage is part of that consequence. The chaos and unrest that has been escalating for the last few generations is a direct result of our abandonment of God. Romans 1 continues:

28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.

We have reaped what we have sown.

While Christians need to stand firmly against issues such as same-sex marriage, abortion, and euthanasia, we need to understand that the moral decline of the United States is only a symptom of a more foundational problem: We have rejected God. This problem cannot be solved through the political process, because the political process is built on the wrong foundation. The solution is to change the foundation. And, the only way to change the foundation is to bring people to a relationship with Jesus Christ. The problem is a heart issue, not a political issue. The only way to change people’s hearts is to bring them into a relationship with the Living God through placing their faith and trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Only then can the foundation of people’s thinking be shifted from the shifting sands of humanism to the solid rock of the Word of God.

The issue of gay marriage will not go away, and Christians need to continue to fight against it. But, the real battle is for the souls of the lost. God is judging our country for rejecting Him. The solution is to bring individual people to a relationship with Him, so that they can willingly submit to His authority.

Governmental Attacks on Religious Freedom

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

~ The First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America

The First Amendment has been under attack for a long time.

The First Amendment contains two clauses pertaining to freedom of religion.  The first, known as the Establishment Clause, reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…”  The second, known as the Free Exercise Clause, reads, “…or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;

The Federal Government has been gradually stripping away the rights of most religions, including Christianity, while at the same time granting and establishing special protection for other religions, especially Secular Humanism.

The U.S. Supreme Court cited Secular Humanism as a religion in the 1961 case of Torcaso v. Watkins (367 U.S. 488).  This allows Secular Humanists the same rights as any other religious people under that Free Exercise Clause.  Secular Humanist organizations are tax-exempt as religious organizations.  Followers of Secular Humanism cannot be required to take oaths to God, and can file for conscientious objector status based on their religious beliefs, and are otherwise free to exercise their beliefs free from governmental intervention.

Yet, in Peloza v. Capistrano Unified School Dist., 37 F.3d 517 (9th Cir. 1994), the 9th Circuit Court ruled that Secular Humanism is not a religion under the Establishment Clause.  This means that Secular Humanism can be taught in public schools.  Public school teachers can actively attempt to convert students to Secular Humanism during instructional time, but are prohibited from initiating any discussion of other religions.

The courts have absurdly determined that Secular Humanism is a religion for free exercise clause purposes, and it is not a religion for establishment clause purposes.  This, in effect, allows the government to establish Secular Humanism as the de facto state religion, which it has done.

This is why evolution is taught in public schools, but creation and intelligent design cannot be; why relativistic morality is taught, but absolute morality cannot be; why teachers can assign readings from Darwin, Freud, Dawkins, and Asimov, but not the Bible; and why commencement speeches can be on any topic, except belief in God.

The recent Obama administration ruling requiring all employee health care plans, including religious organizations, to cover birth control, including drugs that induce abortion, is another example of the attack on religion by the government.  This ruling is a direct attack on both the Establishment Clause – the government is establishing access to birth control as a right – and the Free Exercise Clause – the government is forbidding religious organizations from freely exercising their belief that providing birth control is immoral.  In effect, the Obama administration is usurping the free exercise of certain religions by establishing the values of the religion of Secular Humanism as law.

Some people would like to frame the attacks on religious freedom as a conflict between Democrats and Republicans, or liberals and conservatives.  I disagree.  It is a battle between God‘s people and the Devil:

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Ephesians 6:12, NKJV

I do agree that, as Christians, we must use the political process to defend our rights under the Constitution of the United States.  The pressure from religious organizations and from constituents in both the Republican and Democratic parties seems to be forcing the Obama administration to back down from its policy of mandating coverage for contraception in the health care plans of religious organizations.  However, when the fickle winds of public opinion blow in a different direction, there is nothing to prevent this administration – or another – from reinstituting this policy in the future.

I believe that it is far more important to remember that, ultimately, the problem is not political, but spiritual.  Satan has declared war on God’s people.  In order to halt the attacks on religion and reverse the decline of Christianity in America, Christians need to be on their knees, in repentance and supplication before God, and must actively and persistently work to change the hearts and minds of those around us, to lead people to a relationship with Jesus Christ, and to help them become His doctrinally sound, mature disciples.  This is the only viable, Biblically-sound solution to the attacks on Christianity.