NC Amendment One and President Obama

I usually avoid political discussions, or at least I try to do so more often than I did in my late teens and early twenties. In college I would argue with anyone who didn’t walk away – my hope now is that I point to Christ more than I do to politics. I’m sure I inevitably fail at this, but I at least try to make sure that my hope and message are Christ and not any political party or stance.

The last 24 hours, however, have had my thoughts in overdrive, and I think the same can be said for the rest of the country. I can’t help but respond here.

(If you live under a rock, NC passed Amendment One, defining marriage as between one man and one woman, and President Obama announced today that he is in favor of legally acknowledging same-sex marriages.)

I’m both troubled and provoked to thoughtfulness because of a number of things concerning both Christian and non-Christian responses in the last 24 hours.

First, I am struck by the lack of biblical literacy from virtually every voice in this discussion. Let me start with Christians. It seems that we have little sense about what politics does and does not achieve. My brothers and sisters, “we won” is not an appropriate response. Patting ourselves on the back is silly. Moving forward with anything less than continual proclamation of the gospel of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ with the somber realization of the lostness we face is simply missing the point. Politics does not bring victory over sin, death, hell, and the grave – Jesus does. Laws do not change people’s hearts – the Spirit of Christ does. Elections will not bring this country to be a picture of God’s Kingdom – God the Father and his electing purposes will do so when he sends his Son to restore all things at the end of the age. Don’t get me wrong, we ought to vote in a way that reflects God’s Kingdom, and in doing so perhaps some will be confronted with the reality of God and his created order. But please don’t act like temporal laws in a temporal government will ever bring about the true spiritual change that’s needed to redeem hearts, minds, souls, and bodies for Christ.

On the other hand, for those who support gay marriage, there is one camp  that says “who cares what the Bible says.” There is another, though, that seems to think that the Bible actually supports homosexual marriage, relationships, etc. I saw one man post that God gave the Ten Commandments but Moses gave Leviticus, so we just need to look to the Ten Commandments and not the rest of the Law. That clearly indicates a lack of understanding about the purpose, both historically and literarily, of the Law in the Old Testament. Leviticus is not so easily dismissed. Then our President says today that he is being biblical by paying attention to the Golden Rule, to love our neighbors as ourselves. What the President seems to forget is that the first part of the Golden Rule is the Great Commandment, which is to love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength. The clear command there is to love not just any God, but the God of the Bible, and the God of the Bible has very clear things to say on how he made men and women and what kind of relationships he intends for them.

Second, it makes me sad how angry everyone is. Responses that I have seen from all sides are bitter and resentful at best and angry and hateful at worst. My first prayer is that everyone will walk and talk with more respect and kindness towards those who disagree than they have in the past 24 hours.

On that note, what I truly do not understand is the condescension happening from those who support gay marriage towards those who want to be biblically faithful. There are those who ridicule evangelical Christians, comparing them to slave owners, racists, and bigots. The comparison to slave owners is just silly – no one is forcing homosexuals to do hard labor for no wages, beating them for not doing their job correctly, etc. Yes, homosexuals have been killed for their orientation, and that is absolutely reprehensible. But those crimes happen not through a government-approved oppressive institution, but because a proportionally very small number of individuals in this country are actual bigots and homophobes who cannot deal with anyone different from them other than through violence. They are not Christians, and they do not represent all those who oppose the legal recognition of gay marriage. And as far as racism and bigotry are concerned, yes there are those who act as if homosexuals are less than human, and again that is absolutely reprehensible. But that is not representative of the evangelical Christians I know or of Christ’s teaching that we attempt to follow. So please, let’s stop the comparisons with the Confederacy, Jim Crow, and Bull Connor.

Furthermore, this condescension comes not only from non-Christians but from Christians, with sarcastic comments about how terrible NC (and the Christians in it) are. Christian who do this, where does your condescension come from? My sense is that it comes from the fact that you don’t, in some way, see the Bible as our foundational document as a people. If believing that the Bible ought to guide our faith and practice is a ridiculous notion and worthy of your condescension, then you ought to level that accusation at Jesus as well. Look through the Gospels and see how Christ continually affirms the full and complete authority of the Word of God.

Even as I say this, though, it is no surprise to me that the Church is ridiculed for taking biblical stands – we should expect this. We should expect to continue filling up the afflictions of Christ, to be rejected for following him, and to only persevere through the power of the Holy Spirit. Nevertheless, I hope common sense will prevail in the rest of this conversation moving forward.

Third, we appear to be attempting to define marriage around romantic love. If you feel emotionally, erotically, and romantically strong for someone, that must mean you’re “in love” which means you should be committed for life. This is not the biblical picture of marriage. Marriage is messy, hard, lovely, and wonderful at the same time, and for a specific purpose – to glorify God in Christ by being a picture of Christ’s relationship with the Church. Marriage is not about romance, but about redemption. And that is precisely why it must be recognized as God intended, not as we attempt to redefine it.

Fourth, and related, the Church needs to stand up for all marriages and proclaim that the gospel has the power not just to redeem your soul but your relationship with your spouse as well. We ought to be pouring our energies into sustaining and cultivating healthy marriages in our own congregations as signs of the power of the gospel.

Lastly, sexual attraction does not define who we are as persons. Being able to have intercourse with who we want is not what the image of God in us is about. It is about reflecting God’s image to the world, about being fruitful and multiplying God’s image bearers throughout creation, and taking care of the creation he gave us. I think we have put too much stock in where our libido leads when we think about what it means to be human.

I’ll end by saying this – my hope here is not founded in political action but in the power of Christ to redeem sinners. All kinds of sinners. Heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, asexual (I’m looking at you, Sheldon Cooper). Addicts, murderers, liars, slanderers, dividers. Christ came to save sinners, of which I am the foremost. I pray that our focus will not be on political action for its own sake, but for spreading Christ’s Kingdom through the proclamation of the gospel.

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80 thoughts on “NC Amendment One and President Obama

  1. Pingback: Christians, homosexuality, and the President of the United States. « Near Emmaus

  2. Thanks Matt. I’ve been conflicted about my feelings regarding gays and marriage for a while now. It’s hard to reconcile scripture with people who say “they just want to be happy”.

    I think this blog post sums it up perfectly. We’re not “pushing our own agenda” we’re following our consciences and trying to advance God’s Kingdom. My wife says it nicely…how, and why, should we expect nonbelievers to live Godly lives when they’re not in a relationship with Him.

  3. The argument falls apart for me here:
    ” Marriage is .. for a specific purpose – to glorify God in Christ by being a picture of Christ’s relationship with the Church.”

    By that logic, a Christian man (believer) and non-religious woman (or vice versa) cannot be married then either. Being married has more than just a religious impact that I think both straight and gays are trying to achieve.

    • Hi gweinhold, I would say that yes, marriage ultimately looks most like what it is supposed to be when it is between one Christian man and one Christian woman (see 2 Cor. 6:14). But for that picture to even be possible regardless of whether both parties are Christian, marriage has to at least start out with one man and one woman.

      Additionally, it still sounds like you are saying that the purpose of marriage is romantic love and satisfaction. This is not, though, what marriage is biblically about (see my comments above) or what it has historically been used by society for. Marriage has always been, even when not recognized as the redemptive institution it is intended to be, the way that populations increase and the core of societal advancement and relationships. In other words, the “other” function that of marriage that you mention does exist, but it is to bear children and raise them. The first part of that is simply impossible without defining marriage as between a man and a woman.

      I would still say, though, that by far the most important argument here is still how God made men and women to relate in the beginning and what he intends marriage to be.

  4. Hi Matt,
    I appreciate your post and this is the first time Ive encountered your blog through a friend on Facebook. I’m a theology student as well and struggle with my conservative views but my apparent more toleration (possibly bad choice of words) of homosexual people. Not tolerance of their choices in sin but in respecting them as people. Humans in need of salvation, in need of love, in need of redemption.

    I also have lost hope long ago in a Christian America or Christian government. I give this background because I have a question. I believe Marriage is a act, sacrifice, symbol designed by God. So when I discuss this with gay friends I often ask can they see my point of view that a Biblical ceremony is not the appropriate marker of a relationship between two individuals not planning to live by that design.

    I want to know what recognition homosexuals are looking for in seeking marriage In The eyes of the state? Really I’m asking. Recognition as a romantic couple? I don’t look to the state for that or for any advice on marriage either. I look to the Designer. A far as the state, I’m looking for a tax break or for legal right for the acquisition of property in the event of my spouses debt. Perhaps the government doesn’t deserve to even recognize marriage at all for anyone. Perhaps they should just give us certificates of partnerships. Financial planning strategies.

    My point is this, I do not have a problem with the government recognizing homosexual couples. Because they are there and they are choosing to be couples. They are buying homes, living in relationships, and raising children. I do have a problem suggesting that they are living in the Bibically designed marriage and therefore I’m not in support of Gay marriage.I don’t have a problem with the government defining a new way to define units they give tax breaks etc too. I haven’t heard this idea anywhere else and generally am afraid to even say it for fear of misunderstanding. The government has to govern non Christians too. Perhaps we should start realizing what little role the government should actually have in anyone’s lives no matter what sexual preference.

    • I really appreciate your questions and your thoughts. Thank you. I hope that you get a response from the author of the blog. I am interested in his thoughts on your reply. I am more liberal minded, but do identify as Christian. The blog post was very well written and was non-judgmental. I hope to see more from both of you.

    • Hi Lacey, yes I agree that the issue at hand is the definition of marriage, not having the government give the same rights and privileges to same-sex couples (e.g. tax breaks, visitation rights, etc.). I’m more concerned with the former.

    • Lacey: you are not alone in these sorts of thoughts. I’m a fan of reformed theology and am not at all a fan of dominionism / dominion theology; I think it’s a terrible corruption of Francis Schaeffer’s late ’70s / early ’80s thoughts on civil engagement. I’m not sure the idea that marriage is a ward of civil government has any real basis in Scripture. To that end, I had my pastor omit all references to the state (e.g., “by the powers invested in me by the state of…”) in my own wedding ceremony.

  5. Thanks, Matt. I’m in full agreement with everything, except that I’m still very uncomfortable with even having been given an opportunity to vote on this. I don’t expect unbelievers to live lives that match up to God’s standards. And I don’t expect the state to be a perfect representation of God’s kingdom. I don’t even expect the church to be a perfect representation of God’s kingdom until Jesus returns. As a Christian, I’m very comfortable with voicing the truth that God has spoken. But I’m not comfortable with requiring others outside the church to live in accordance with it (1 Cor. 5:12-13).

    At the same time, I had to think about the many Christians who might be impacted by leaving the door open for a judicial activist to change marriage laws in NC. Teachers who might be handed specific curricula and ordered to teach it. Magistrates who might be expected to perform marriages for people whose marriages they conscientiously object to. And those same verses that tell me not to judge those outside the church (1 Cor. 5:12-13) ask a question that had a different answer in Paul’s day: “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church?” In his day, the answer was “None. You are not a part of the government and you should just wait for Christ to return and set things right.” But in our day, in a democracy, we have each been entrusted with a vote. So we are a part of the government, and even though each vote is only a minor part of that government, it is part of our duty and responsibility to this country to cast our vote regarding our representatives and, in some cases, our laws.

    To me, that makes for a very awkward tension. I’m interested in your thoughts.

  6. At its core its a Kingdom issue, is God and his Standard King or is Man(Humanism) King? If man is King then Law(morality) is arbitrary and what ever individuals decide at any given time. At which point we might as well legalize Polygamy and Bigamy…and incest and so on.

    NC voters came together and on Marriage declared God to be King and his revealed word to be the Standard.

    • There’s no question that God is King. The question is whether those of us who recognize Him as King should or should not force others to live as if He is King when He Himself is waiting until Jesus’ return to do so.

      On the flip side, the question is whether those of us who see God as King in our lives are honoring Him appropriately if we participate in giving people legal freedom for immoral behavior.

      • He’s Sovereign over every square inch of the Universe….

        “When the Supreme Being formed the Universe and created matter out of nothing, he impressed certain principles upon that matter from which it can never depart without which it would cease to be… Man considered as a creature must necessarily be subject to the laws of his Creator… It is necessary that he should in all points conform to his Maker’s will… This will of his Maker is called the law of Nature… Hence it follows that the first and primary end of human laws is to maintain these absolute rights to individuals.”

        ~ Sir William Blackstone was the most quoted individual by our Founding Fathers followed by John Locke. They relied heavily on his “Commentaries on the Laws of England” to guide them while forming the government of this nation.

      • Matt, all law is forcing a particular behavior. What law isn’t? There is no way to escape this fact.

        Frankly, we have so many laws on the books now that people are probably breaking laws they don’t even know exist.

        So why not have a practical and good law that protects the biblical definition of marriage?

        We know that activist judges have been pushing their radical views on people in other states — and have been making gay marriage legal AGAINST the will of the people. The fact remains that NC became the 31st state to allow the people to vote on and pass biblical marriage. With all the moral decay around us, isn’t this a good thing?

    • JP- Neither man nor law is king. The Declaration of Independence clearly stated that truth and all our rights are from God, not from government. Then, at the conclusion of the writing of the Constitution of the United States of America, Samuel Adams stated that, “…Today we have recognized the only Sovereign to whom men shoud bow.” Sad that we have allowed venal legislators, executive usurpers, and an activist judiciary to reduce us to a secular government that has lost its soul.

  7. Matt and Lacey, I am in agreement with you and it’s caused a little bit of consternation for me in the past couple of days. I absolutely adhere to what the Bible has to say about marriage and homosexuality but I am not sure that the government has a right to prevent their unions. Let’s just stop calling it marriage and move on.

    On the other hand, it seems that throughout history whenever a society loses its moral fiber that it also loses its standing. I’m just not sure where to draw the line, but I’m confident that nothing will get accomplished by screaming at each other. It feels as if I am in a very small minority on this issue because mostly it just makes me sad.

    Anyway, I’m glad you guys brought up these points.

  8. Hey Matt, this was a superb post on what’s been going on, with very helpful pastoral thoughts. Thanks for writing it.

  9. This was the Supreme Court outlawing polygamy and Bigamy. Which we might as well legalize along with incest and anything else if Gay Marriage is to be legal and accepted.

    In Reynolds v. United States (1878) the Supreme Court determined that “[Polygamy] is contrary to the spirit of Christianity and of the civilization which Christianity had produced in the Western world.”

    In Davis v. Beason (1890), a similar ruling was made: “Bigamy and polygamy are crimes by the laws of all civilized and Christian countries. . . . To call their advocacy a tenet of religion is to offend the common sense of mankind. If they are crimes, then to teach, advise and counsel their practice is to aid in their commission, and such teaching and counseling are themselves criminal and proper subjects of punishment, as aiding and abetting crime are in all other cases.”

    In The Late Corporation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints v. United States (1890), the court determined that “the property of the said corporation . . . [is to be used to promote] the practice of polygamy — a crime against the laws, and abhorrent to the sentiments and feelings of the civilized world. . . . The organization of a community for the spread and practice of polygamy is, in a measure, a return to barbarism. It is contrary to the spirit of Christianity and of the civilization which Christianity had produced in the Western world.”

  10. Hi Matt,
    Nice Article. FYI, North Carolina just passed our 6th Amendment by public referendum to our current NC State Constitution (of 1971). There are now a total of 29 amendments to our state constitution. The Opposition who do not recognize other aspects of our law coined the name “Amendment One” and, the lilberal media who care not to check the facts has propetuated the name. I have not yet found a reason for calling NC Bill 514 “Amendment 1”.

  11. Thank you. Someone finally put in to words the jumbled mess that was in my head. I agree 100% with what you’ve said. Thank you.

  12. Marriage under the eyes of God is a sacrament, and is meant for man and woman. However, legally in this country most benefits are recognized by marriage between two people making that institution NOW a legal matter. We as people-of God or not- have NO RIGHT to legally tell someone they may not marry another person of the same sex just because we or anyone believea that God does not intend for it to be that way. While I believe God to be the Father and Almighty, there are many who do not. I do not want my governments lawa determined by the wants or declarations of any God or savior my nonChristian friends believe in, so why should they have to obey laws influenced by the teachings of God? Imposing laws based on scripture will never expand Gods kingdom, infact, it will push those who doubt farther from our God. Spreading his good news does not need the help of laws, it needs pure hearted christians who are truly ready to love like Jesus did. To hold hands with the sinners even when mocked. To support the poor in spirits even if it does not convert them. i respect the bravery and conviction of evangelical Christians, but I respect basic human dignity first. At the root of all life should be LOVE. For me its the unconditional love of a Father who blessed me with so much life. For other’s, if not the love of a Father, I pray its the love of a people- of mankind, and the general aense

  13. *sense to respect all people. If allowing two women or two men to marry legally affects your faith and your religion…then you have bigger problems, your selfishness for example. Many people are lucky to find someone to spend the reat of their life with, and the divorce rates are so high between MEN AND WOMEN that this should not be a legal issue. Matters of faith, and matters of the legal world do have appropriate times to intersect. Same sex marriage is not one of them.

  14. Anonymous, where we disagree is in how the government relates to God. I would say that our government should wherever possible reflect God’s created order. For me this includes protecting the dignity of life, defining marriage properly, and caring for the poor and needy.

    • Our government has no authority for “defining marriage properly, and caring for the poor and needy.” God has defined marriage and he has charged us, not government, with caring for the poor and needy.

      • “…and he has charged us, not government, with caring for the poor and needy.”

        Yeah, ’cause we do such an awesome job of it.

      • Why the distinction between “us” and “the government”? If the government is our elected representatives, aren’t “we” caring for the poor and needy when “they” use our taxes to do so?

    • When you said “us,” I assumed you meant Christians in general, and the Church in particular. Did I misunderstand?

      • Government does not act out of charity or benevolence. Politicians do not spend their own money. Politicians expect a return on their actions — they expect those that benefit from their actions to cast votes for them in the elections. What government gives to some it has to first take from others, by the force of government. There is absolutely no power or authority in our constitution to support the redistribution of personal wealth no matter how great a cause may be claimed. The power to tax is the power to control to to destroy.

  15. Thank you for writing this! This meant a lot to me to read this perspective, as a recent college graduate and a Christian who voted for the Amendment (based on my Biblical views) while I felt as though I was the only one of my peers who voted for it. I’ve been reading so many posts by my friends who are increasingly inflamed about it within the past few days, and becoming very discouraged. This was such a refreshing encouragement to read! I wish it wasn’t painted as hate but that they would know I still love these people–just voting according to my principles. Thank you for writing this and sharing it!!

  16. Great conversation going here. Read this blog post after a friend posted it on Fbook. But I’m still wondering about all those other really neat commands mentioned in Leviticus (if, according to Matt, they cannot be “so easily dismissed”).

  17. This is a long winded reaction that starts with: “Let’s stop being hateful”. But the majority of people who oppose this amendment for the some, define this amendment at its core, hateful. Of course the person who voted “for” doesn’t want to be seen as a bigot, but that doesn’t change his stripes, either. It’s about limiting freedom, and that’s exactly what is happening.

    Just because the statement is well thought out, also doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt society. The correlations to black oppression are reaching a bunch, for sure, but also people who are now deeply hurt by North Carolinian christians will read this as, “I didn’t hang the gays, I just told them they couldn’t have what I have, that their lifestyle isn’t acceptable.” I counter that with this:

    This decision is unacceptable. This decision galvanizes. This decision is the opposing view of any god I would care to know. These times are shameful. Trying to say, “We didn’t mean it that way.” doesn’t heal the wound, it entrenches it. Hurt is always preceded by anger. I’m angry and ashamed of my friends.

    This blog entry doesn’t legitimize any single person’s decision at the polls.

    • Hi Terence,
      Thanks for commenting.

      I hope that I did not claim, or sound like I was claiming, that there is no offense given by opposing gay marriage. My point was that the offense is not bigotry but about the gospel – God makes clear statements in the Bible about how and why he made men and women and about what he expects from them. My goal is for the offense given to be simply in repeating what God has already said and not in my attitude or actions towards others. The gospel of Jesus Christ is offensive – declaring that we are all sinful and in open rebellion to our Creator, and that we can only be saved through the death and resurrection of the incarnated Son of God, is offensive. But my hope is that in declaring that boldly, but also in kindness and humility, some might come to know that God through repentance and faith.

      • Jesus, if he decided to come back a second time would be gay. He would ask you to come hang out in his gay colony, and some in that gay colony would be married to people in their same gender. He would ask you to come and be a part of his gay struggle, and hug you with his gay arms. Your response to his invitation would be, “I’m sorry, I’m following Jesus.”

        Christians who stick to their guns on biblical merit, read about wizards and snakes, and it gets in the way of their core belief: Love. Nobody loved on anybody who voted yes, People who voted yes, de-legitimized kid’s parents love for each other, took away visitation rights, health care. That’s hateful. That’s bigotry. You don’t want to walk over to that mirror, and see your own face, and tell your face, “that is the face of a bigot”. Hence this didactic mess you’ve written above, which has been lovingly “liked” by some of your readership.

        When you got into the sexuality of it, it became really messy. I’m married with a kid, and sex is about nineteenth on the agenda over the myriad of hurdles we call adulthood. Same goes for my married gay friends. The argument actually softened the global agenda of the piece, which was to say, “Hey everybody, we’re not bigots, we’re just Christians.”. You’re actually closer to that Jim Crow flame than you’d like to believe, and so the argument that you aren’t gets louder, and more focused to he biblical argument to do terrible deeds.

    • Finally an appropriate response to the “long-winded” reaction and all the responses. I find the reaction and responses are only an attempt to justify one’s entrenched hatred and discrimination, and use religion as scapegoat. I find this discriminatory amendment to also directly correlate with black oppression and women’s oppression. It seems that the reaction and responses have no idea what oppression is nor what equality feels like. They have never examined their own privilege and how it impedes others. If you don’t examine your own hatred how would you ever except to experience god. The only thing I know about god is for me he equates love and is love in all things.

      I completely agree with the response that “the decision is the opposing view of any god I would care to know.”

      Thank you for articulating your response terence

      • Terence and familycycling, thanks for commenting. While I refuse to capitulate to the idea that by defining marriage as God does I am acting as a bigoted, hateful person, I appreciate both of you engaging in the conversation. God bless.

      • Maybe you missed this part dear,
        “On that note, what I truly do not understand is the condescension happening from those who support gay marriage towards those who want to be biblically faithful. There are those who ridicule evangelical Christians, comparing them to slave owners, racists, and bigots. The comparison to slave owners is just silly – no one is forcing homosexuals to do hard labor for no wages, beating them for not doing their job correctly, etc. Yes, homosexuals have been killed for their orientation, and that is absolutely reprehensible. But those crimes happen not through a government-approved oppressive institution, but because a proportionally very small number of individuals in this country are actual bigots and homophobes who cannot deal with anyone different from them other than through violence. They are not Christians, and they do not represent all those who oppose the legal recognition of gay marriage. And as far as racism and bigotry are concerned, yes there are those who act as if homosexuals are less than human, and again that is absolutely reprehensible. But that is not representative of the evangelical Christians I know or of Christ’s teaching that we attempt to follow. So please, let’s stop the comparisons with the Confederacy, Jim Crow, and Bull Connor.”

  18. I read a great article on this today that takes on the issue from a non-religious point of view specifically so that Christians can evangelize non-Christians on gay marriage without using the Bible and starting a holy war with people who don’t believe the same as we do. They’re not going to listen to us if we can’t talk to them in their own non-biblical, non-religious ways. http://catholic.org/politics/story.php?id=46135

  19. Pingback: Laws Do Not Change People's Hearts | Jeff Ling

  20. I am not comparing this amendment to bigotry. I am saying it is direct bigotry.The fact that it is remains a mystery only to people who think they are carrying out Jesus Christ’s will by voting FOR, confounds me. I am saying they are not carrying out any god or bible’s will. It’s a civil rights violation, and it’s a lot like other civil right’s violations in the sense that a the majority of religious people are using the name of their version of god to justify hatespeek, and stripping or limiting rights. They are shameful people. They don’t deserve their own marriages if they push to strip anyone else of theirs. They are hurting, HURTING their neighbors, This isn’t tough love, it’s intrusive and not of god. I’m not saying I’m going to even change their hearts, they are being led by pastors and church leaders to act this way.

    • Terence, I’ll let this be my last reply to you, because I don’t think we’re getting anywhere. Nevertheless, I think you probably should think through what constitutes hatespeak and bigotry. I am not asking to deny anybody any rights, nor am I suggesting we place laws on people that oppress or harm them. I am not calling them vile names, acting in violence towards them, or calling for their physical harm.

      Again, as I said above, I would be hurting them more if I decided to stay silent when God calls me to proclaim his love AND holiness to all people. I seriously question your ability to determine who God is and who he isn’t based on your own opinions. I’d suggest you look for those determinations not from how you feel about things but from what God has already said about himself.

  21. Pingback: NC Amendment One and President Obama | Secundum Scripturas « CHRISTIAN PARENT HUB- CHRISTIAN PARENT NEWS AGGREGATOR

  22. What makes the vast majority of people upset about this amendment is not the constitutional ban on homosexual marriage. Rather, it is the effect it will have on ALL non-married couples and their children. By banning all civil unions and domestic partnerships, protection against domestic violence for unmarried women is removed. Child healthcare (for those in need) is removed from children of unmarried parents. All non-marriage partnerships and the privileges associated are removed, such as visitation in hospitals. Even aside from the unnecessary discrimination of those that have already been alienated by the church, this amendment will have wide negative effects on those that the law was never intended to harm.

    • Eric, I think those are valid issues to bring up and ones that the government needs to work through. My sole concern is that marriage is defined properly per biblical standards, not stripping away government protection, benefits, etc.

    • Where did you find all the red herrings that you floated in your post. I don’t believe you can support your statements at all. Civil contracts can still be entered into, visitation rights are established by the patient and the hospital and can also be part of a comprehensive will and testament and the various documents associated with it. Also, no support programs for children require any proof of parentage relationships.

      The various definition of marriage amendments are not anti-gay, they are pro-man, woman positive statements.

      I firmly believe that we need to treat all person the same in the application of federal or state laws and regulations. I don’t believe the government should be establishing protected groups of any kind. Any such designations are contrary to, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, …”. We need instead to reaffirm the promises of the Declaration of Independence, remove all laws and regulations that establish any special privileges based on any unique or common characterizations. Only then will be restore the true Liberty that would serve us all.

  23. C.S. Lewis has some interesting comments on whether the state should be in the business of regulating marriage (specifically by prohibiting divorce):

    “Before leaving the question of divorce, I should like to distinguish two things which are very often confused. The Christian conception of marriage is one: the other is the quite different question—how far Christians, if they are voters or Members of Parliament, ought to try to force their views of marriage on the rest of the community by embodying them in the divorce laws.

    A great many people seem to think that if you are a Christian yourself you should try to make divorce difficult for every one. I do not think that. At least I know I should be very angry if the Mohammedans [Muslims] tried to prevent the rest of us from drinking wine. My own view is that the Churches should frankly recognise that the majority of the British people are not Christians and, therefore, cannot be expected to live Christian lives.

    There ought to be two distinct kinds of marriage: one governed by the State with rules enforced on all citizens, the other governed by the Church with rules enforced by her on her own members. The distinction ought to be quite sharp, so that a man knows which couples are married in a Christian sense and which are not.”

    While I would not want to put words in C.S. Lewis’ mouth (since he may view divorce and gay marriage as two very different beasts), I’m wondering what people think of this line of reasoning as it applies to the state’s involvement in regulating gay marriage.

  24. C.S. Lewis has some interesting comments on whether the state should be in the business of regulating marriage (by prohibiting divorce):

    “Before leaving the question of divorce, I should like to distinguish two things which are very often confused. The Christian conception of marriage is one: the other is the quite different question—how far Christians, if they are voters or Members of Parliament, ought to try to force their views of marriage on the rest of the community by embodying them in the divorce laws.

    A great many people seem to think that if you are a Christian yourself you should try to make divorce difficult for every one. I do not think that. At least I know I should be very angry if the Mohammedans [Muslims] tried to prevent the rest of us from drinking wine.

    My own view is that the Churches should frankly recognise that the majority of the British people are not Christians and, therefore, cannot be expected to live Christian lives. There ought to be two distinct kinds of marriage: one governed by the State with rules enforced on all citizens, the other governed by the Church with rules enforced by her on her own members. The distinction ought to be quite sharp, so that a man knows which couples are married in a Christian sense and which are not.”

    While I would not want to put words in C.S. Lewis’ mouth (since he may view divorce and gay marriage as two very different beasts), I’m wondering what people think of this line of reasoning as it applies to the state’s involvement in regulating gay marriage.

  25. Pingback: A Mile in Our Shoes « Boundless Treasures

  26. “The one pervading evil of democracy is the tyranny of the majority, or
    rather of that party, not always the majority, that succeeds, by force or
    fraud, in carrying elections.”

    ~Lord Acton, English historian, 1907

    • Clearly why the Founders did not establish a “democracy!” This is a Constitutional Republic, ruled by laws based upon the “self-evident” truths of our Creator. There have been a few amendments, like the 16th, and many laws (unconstitutional, thus of no validity) that have been passed to take us on the road to a democratic socialist government. We must reverse this trend or we will soon lose our Creator endowed freedoms, including the freedom of religious practices.

  27. For the love of god, please realize that NOT everyone is Christian, nor is the U.S designed to be a religious nation. If that was the case, there would be NO need to separate the power of church and state. Keep your religion out of the government. There are atheists, agnostics, etc. who marry OUTSIDE the church, without YOUR version of “redemption”. Why force your values on secular society and government as a whole? Your value only applies to you. Secular society need a set of values based on logic and rationality that applies to everyone, without discrimination toward anyone based on their skin color, sexual orientation, race, etc. Judge a person by their character, NOT something superficial.

    • Ben, I’m with you in a lot of ways. I struggle with the idea of voting for or against a position purely on the basis of my faith, because people who don’t share my faith will have to live with it. And I’m glad that there’s no particular state-established religion that we all have to follow.

      On the other hand, it’s impossible to separate church and state to the extent that you’re talking about. We can keep the state from establishing a particular church, and we can keep a particular church from running the state (or faith, or philosophy). But part of the greatness of this country is that each person has a vote, and that vote is informed by his/her conscience. And that’s why there will never be a total separation of church and state – because the very people who are part of various religions and philosophies are the people who make up the state. It is a government “of the people, by the people, for the people” of the entire country. So that includes secularists, atheists, and agnostics. It includes liberals and conservatives. It includes Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus. It includes a number of minor faiths and cults. And yes, it includes Christians. And note this – not all Christians voted the same way on Amendment 1. But no matter which way they voted, they exercised a right that they would fiercely defend for any people who disagreed with them to exercise (or at least, I hope they would): the right to vote their conscience.

      Freedom of conscience is probably the most fundamental right we have in this country. Some people’s consciences are formed without reference to a particular faith, but there’s still some kind of guiding philosophy involved. On the other hand, those who follow some faith or other have their consciences formed partially through that faith. Like me, many of us who consider ourselves to be Christians take the responsibility of voting very seriously because we know that our votes impact other people’s lives. I, for instance, tried to examine my vote (and no, I’m not saying which way I voted because I think the point I’m making applies either way and I want everyone to catch it) very carefully to make sure that, no matter which way I voted, I had reasons that I considered to be based in common experience and not just in my particular faith for voting the way I did. I realized that both sides were fighting for my conscience, but it was still MY conscience. It was informed by my faith, but it was also informed by my reasoning and by my love for my fellow citizens. And I voted my conscience.

      So long as religion helps to shape consciences, church and state will never be entirely separate. Laws will always be formed based on people’s consciences about what is best for our society. Some people will vote in ways that are more closely aligned with their own religions, and some will vote in ways that deny morality altogether (yes, there are some philosophies out there that lead in this direction), but all will vote their consciences. It’s okay to disagree with people about their decisions, and it’s even okay that your conscience says that their consciences are wrong. But at the end of the day, no matter how much a religious philosophy (or a secular philosophy) influenced someone’s vote, the vote that wins is enforcing one group’s philosophy on a dissenting group. That’s the beauty and danger of a democracy.

  28. Many of the marriages of the great men of God of the Old Testament looked very different from the NC constitutional definition and yet were apparently blessed by God. (The people of Israel may have had one father, but a good handful of mothers.) To suggest that the ‘holy’ definition of marriage has always been the same and is separate from the culture around it seems a bit facile. Attitudes towards child-brides and inter-racial marriage have also changed within the Church as they changed in broader society. This doesn’t, of course, mean that you must therefore accept gay marriage as potentially blessed, but it does seem like the Church needs to either acknowledge that God can bless a variety of marriages, or that its own view of what makes a holy marriage has evolved over time and, by extension, may continue to.

    • Just because men through the history as recorded in the bible chose to ignore God’s dictates doesn’t mean God blessed their choices. God’s dictates as relate to marriage have not changed from Genesis 2 where it is stated that, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.for this reason and man shall leave father and mother, cling to his wife and the 2 shall become one flesh.” Gen. 2:24 ESV. The history of the bible records many individuals, cultures and governments have gone their separate ways, then God judges, man repents and pleads for mercy, and God restores the relationship. The cycle began in the beginning and continues today.

      • Excuse my goof above. I started to make the statement from Genesis from memory, then decided to copy it from Blue Letter Bible and ended up with a bit of a mishmash. I’ll be more careful in the future. Most, I’m sure noticed the error. It makes no difference in my statement over all.

      • I don’t see any indication in the Bible that Abraham, Jacob, David et al. were judged for or had to repent of their multiple wives and concubines. God judges them for plenty of other things, but that is never mentioned. As for blessing, through Jacob’s second wife comes Joseph, who saves his people from the famine. Through David’s seventh wife comes Solomon who restores the temple and, of course, ultimately begets Jesus. Of course, I’m not advocating polygamy– today, most of us recognize that it is not compatible with complete equality between the sexes– but the writers of the Old Testament do not speak against it. I don’t expect to change your mind at all on this, but that is relevant to me when considering the relationship between biblical texts and marriage. ffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff

  29. The scriptures are painfully candid about the various men and women we read of where their characters are concerned. But, do you consider the dissension in Abraham and Jacob’s families or the death of David & Bathsheba’s child blessings? Certainly God’s purpose is always accomplished. I certainly don’t consider what I went through during the 3 years that I ran from God to have been years of blessings — they certainly were not! Only by God’s grace did I even survive that time.

    Please don’t assume what God has in his mind about the failings of his children nor put thoughts or words into his mouth that are not recorded. We really get into deep trouble when we start trying to add or subtract things from God’s revealed truth in the bible.

    • “Please don’t assume what God has in his mind about the failings of his children nor put thoughts or words into his mouth that are not recorded. We really get into deep trouble when we start trying to add or subtract things from God’s revealed truth in the bible.”

      Exactly. I think we have found a point of agreement.

  30. Pingback: NC Marriage Amendment and President Obama - Christian Forums

  31. SB. The comments I have read here concerning the original article by Matt Emerson are thought provoking to say the least. The first issue I would like to address concerning the article and comments is the fact that people other than Christians voted yes on this amendment. There are those of different religions, opinions passed down from families of origin and those with understanding of the financial and social burdens that would occur if there were a redefining of marriage also voted yes. So lets please refrain from placing sole blame of the passing of this bill on Christians. Lets also remember that 30 other states have passed this amendment before N.C.
    Secondly, I would like to address Christians. I am most impressed by the way Matt continues to stand on his stated desire to be loving even in his reply to those who disagree with the article. Christ is love and the word of God states that they (the world) will see we are Christians through our love for one another (John 13:34). Unfortunately we as Christians have lost sight of this fact. There is much anger and hatred in the church today. I ask forgiveness for my part in any of the hatred shown to any person or people group who I or the church which I am a member of has inflicted on those of you who are hurting. All of us are sinful creatures saved by grace and many of us in the Church are desiring for God to change us to reflect more of His image in a messed up world. I would now like to share with you a part of my story which is changing my heart.
    I am a Pastors wife and one of our children thinks He is gay, I say thinks for he has not acted on these feelings as of yet. We love our son dearly and will continue to love him no matter what his final decision is. He is very much aware of what God says about homosexual behavior and that his parents stand firmly upon the word of God. In all of this our love for each other remains the same because of God’s love in us. We also have friends who are homosexuals whom we love very much. My point in sharing all of this is that we can love homosexuals (and any other sinners) without agreeing with their behavior regardless of our religious convictions with the help of God. Even though we stand firmly on the word of God and desire for all to do the same, there is no room for hatred of people only of the sin. It is important to remember there is no sin barometer to measure which sin is worse than the other according to the word of God. Sin is sin. We all sin. True Christians see the sin within ourselves and the need for a Savior so that our sins are forgiven. Finger shaking and accusations from others or judgement from Christians did not have a thing to do with my decision to become a Christian. Gods word and His love did.
    Lately I have been reflecting on the contrast presented in the bible passage in Luke 18:13 where the Pharisee ( a very pious and religious man who followed laws without a true relationship with God and a heart full of pride) stands on the street corner and says to himself, “God, I am so thankful that I am not like other people, swindlers, unjust, adulterers or even like this tax gatherer. I fast twice a week and pay tithes of all that I get.” In contrast the other man mentioned, a tax gatherer (a very hated man in those days known for cheating many people and pocketing profits) is so aware of his own sin and is so humbled that he was unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven. He was so grieved by his sin he is beating on his chest and cries out to God “Lord, be merciful to me a sinner!” If we all took the stance of the tax collector and focused on our own shortcomings there would be no time for judging others. The truth is we can only deal with our own sin. We can not fix others. Let’s concentrate on the things we are responsible for (ourselves and our own sin) and quit focusing on the sin of others and trying to set them straight. I suggest then we will make much more progress in becoming the Church described in Revelation as “Without spot or blemish”. I must remember that I am only responsible for my sin and my actions when I stand before God. I am called to share the good news of Christs death for our sins (pure love) and not to beat up on others for their sins. We share His love and Gods Holy Spirit takes people to change of heart and dealing with their sin. I am praying for all of us. Wouldn’t the church and the world we live in be a better place if we could practice this? Thanks for allowing me to share this response.

  32. Matt you have done a great job addressing this tender issue. I am most impressed with your deep abiding faith. You speak to the issue without persecuting, putting down or humiliating any person regardless of their personal choices. You speak TRUTH…your faith in Christ is evident and your words and thoughts reflect your obedience to the Lord.

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