Rick Warren, Gay Marriage, and the Word “Lifestyle”

It turns out that mindless Facebook lurking can uncover some pretty fascinating blogging material. Yesterday I stumbled across a fairly innocuous Rick Warren quote posted by a friend of a friend:

“Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.”

Immediately below this quote, someone had left a scathing comment, accusing Warren and “the Religious Right” of bigotry and homophobia for wanting to ban gay marriage and deprive homosexuals of equal protection under the law. He argued that true compassion would require compromising convictions, since the convictions of people who oppose gay marriage are based in hatred and prejudice akin to that of the Ku Klux Klan.

that escalated quickly

(I should briefly interject to point out that the quote makes no mention of homosexuality, and is applicable to an enormous range of behaviors and lifestyles. But given that this was posted during the Supreme Court hearings on Proposition 8, I think the commenter can be excused for jumping to that conclusion.)

What I found particularly interesting was the problem that this individual had with the phrase “someone’s lifestyle”. He argued that this was a belittling phrase, since it failed to recognize that practicing homosexuals are unique and diverse, and shouldn’t be reduced to a single “lifestyle”.

I found his objection interesting because it’s one that I’ve encountered a couple times before, and I want to take a shot at clearing up the confusion surrounding the word “lifestyle” in the context of homosexuality.

i do not think we mean

I’ll illustrate with an analogy.

Two of my biggest hobbies are backpacking and ultrarunning. At times, my mother is convinced that I’m going to die of exposure, fall off a mountain, or get eaten by a grizzly. One might say that she disapproves of my “outdoors lifestyle”…but this clearly says nothing about her love and acceptance of me as a person. She isn’t defining me by (or reducing me to) my “outdoors lifestyle”, but she does voice her disapproval of what she regards as high-risk behavior.

In the same manner, I think most Christians who express moral disapproval of certain sexual “lifestyles” are trying to delicately affirm Scripture’s moral teachings on sexual ethics. Many Christians might even find the Bible’s teachings on sexual ethics in conflict with their own preconceived ideas, opinions, and desires…but are nonetheless willing to conform their views to Scripture (rather than twisting Scripture to conform to their own views).

Furthermore, since the Bible doesn’t condemn “homosexual orientation” (defined as “being tempted by attraction to the same sex”), it should be noted that the only moral issue at stake here is voluntary sexual thoughts and behaviors, not a person’s innate or acquired predisposition toward same-sex attraction. Ironically, it is the very people who insist on combining sexual orientation and sexual behavior into a single, legally-recognized “identity” who are guilty of pigeonholing.

[Footnote: The legal question of gay marriage goes beyond the scope of this post, but I’ve written on it previously.]

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38 thoughts on “Rick Warren, Gay Marriage, and the Word “Lifestyle”

  1. Matt, I am a Christian and I disagree with you on this issue. I wish we as a society could work more on our problems like half the male/female marriages failing. It is so ironic to me that society wants to deny civil rights to couples who want to badly to be together that they will do almost anything, while we willingly adjudicate divorces to just about anybody. I appreciate your perspective, but I want my gay friends to have what I have, full civil rights, marriage equality and a lifelong, loving partner of their choice. Peace.

    • I agree that certain *civil* rights ought to be extended to same-sex couples – most notably hospital visitation rights. I also agree that we need to work more on problems that we agree on, like poverty, the divorce rate, etc. Repealing no-fault divorce laws would be an excellent place to start.

      I do, however, question much of the terminology being thrown around – specifically the phrase “marriage equality”. Currently, a gay man and a straight man enjoy identical marriage rights, as far as their *actions* are concerned. Both men are allowed to marry a woman; neither man is allowed to marry a man. Both men are being treated equally under the law.

      So the question isn’t one of “marriage equality”, but rather of “the definition of marriage”. Why should marriage be defined as the union of two consenting adults, rather than a man and a woman? Why should it be limited to two? Is it discriminatory to tell a man and his 5 girlfriends that they’re not allowed to marry whom they love (namely, all of each other?)? Why shouldn’t *any* two people who love each other romantically (a mother and her daughter, for example) be allowed to marry? As Justice Sotomayor stated in the testimony yesterday: “If you say that marriage is a fundamental right, what state restrictions could ever exist?” Where do you draw the line?

    • Matt,

      What an abysmal argument. Listen to this.

      It’s worth listening to the whole way through, but your particular point is addressed at about 4:16 in, or there abouts, and continues up until about 4:40’ish, with the paraphrase of the point:

      “Gay people can’t have gay sex. But neither can straight people. Gotcha!”

      We as humans have many behavioural traits that are related to our animal past. We are still driven by biology.

      There are clear different biological differences between the genders, and not just in genitalia but also in psychological influences from chemicals such as hormones.

      And clearly some people are heterosexual, and yes it will be the dominant biological behaviour because for evolution to work in sexually reproductive species that is necessary. But homosexuality is just one of the many variabilities within normal human variation. Get over it.

      But it’s quite common for humans to exhibit many features of our biological ancestry that we now, consciously and upon reflection about how we want to live together and love each other, that we can and should subdue many of our urges.

      The trouble with relying on scriptures from ancient religions is that they don’t get to enjoy the benefit of our increasing understanding of human variability. So women need not be stay at home moms, and can hold positions of power in business, and can be on an equal footing with men. We can subdue our male urges to dominate because we can recognise.

      And there is no reason now why gays shouldn’t marry. It’s not like we as a species are in desperate need for heterosexual reproduction to keep the species going.

      As an atheist I have no need for the religious ceremony of marriage and would be quite happy with a civil ceremony. I happen to have been married in a church because my wife was religious at the time, and her family were too. So can’t you look again at your principles and see where they can be adapted?

      Isn’t it about time you buried some of these ancient proscriptions. I mean, for Christ’s sake (of all sakes) religious belief has changed in so many ways over the centuries that modern forms of Christianity have no resemblance to what it was. It seems particularly un-Christian to stick to your bogus scriptural agenda on this.

      Did you learn nothing from parables about Jesus and the way he welcomed those considered unclean by the rest of the community? Wouldn’t the Christian thing to do be to say, well, that’s the old tradition, but we’re following the lead of Jesus and welcoming gay couples into our marriage ceremonies, because the ability to share and love, and to communicate the principles of Jesus, is far more important than the old ways? Wasn’t Jesus’s whole point about opening up and welcoming in those that are different? For yet another Christ’s sake, isn’t that why you are Christian now, because some early Jewish Christians welcomed in the unholy heathen gentiles?

      Do you really need these lessons from an atheist? For Christ’s sake, again, do the damned right Christian thing and get it done. No wonder we atheists hold so many religious people in so much disrespect.

      Thankfully there are some decent Christians, like Amy, who really do get the message. I might not believe a damned word of the religious stuff I presume Amy believes, but her take on this comes as close as I can tell to anything good that is supposed to have come out of Christianity.

    • Ron,

      Obviously my views differ from yours immensely on this issue. I normally screen out comments that include profanity, but I thought you raised some noteworthy arguments (even if I disagree with them) that don’t deserve to be censored. I do respectfully ask that you keep the language clean in the future, though.

      I think I indirectly responded to a few of your points in my most recent comment to Amy (below). I would only question your using the example of Jesus as a reason for why Christians should support gay marriage. While I strongly agree that we ought to follow Christ’s example of being compassionate and “[welcoming to] those considered unclean by the rest of the community”, I don’t think this entails changing the definition of marriage. To the best of my knowledge, gay marriage wasn’t legally recognized in first-century Palestine…and nothing in the writings about Jesus indicate that he took an interest in legally redefining marriage to include homosexual couples. Jesus was remarkably apolitical, all things considered.

      Did Jesus reach out to, eat with, and minister to these individuals? Absolutely. Did he preach acceptance of behaviors defined as sinful by OT law? No. If anything Jesus prescribed an *even stricter* moral code (see: Sermon on the Mount). Jesus was accepting of *people*, but not sin.

      ^That’s not to say that a Christian can’t conceivably 1) view homosexuality as immoral, and 2) allow that gay marriage should be tolerated *legally*. But I’ve explained in my previous post why I reject that view: https://wellspentjourney.wordpress.com/2012/12/17/steelmanning-the-christian-case-for-gay-marriage/

    • Matt,

      “Currently, a gay man and a straight man enjoy identical marriage rights, as far as their *actions* are concerned. Both men are allowed to marry a woman; neither man is allowed to marry a man. Both men are being treated equally under the law.”

      This absolutely ridiculous argument you make is a dishonest ruse and you know it. By allowing gay marriage both homosexual and heterosexual men would still be equal under the law, in that heterosexual men could then marry other men if they wished too, and homosexual men could marry women if they want to. This is clearly a wider freedom and a more equal equality, because the equality you profess exists is biased against homosexuals.

      What if the law were changed so that only homosexual marriages were allowed? You as a heterosexual Christian would be free to marry, as long as it was someone of the same sex. You would still of course be able to have heterosexual civil partnerships, and protection under the law for your family unit with regard to the rights of your partner and your children.

      You’d be howling persecution from the roof tops. And quite rightly. This equality under the law ploy is entirely bogus, and clearly dishonest in intent. Shame on you. What an unbelievably poor argument.

      But of course, again, this is typical of many of the dishonest religious. They are busy bleating persecution and discrimination by secularists when secularists want nothing more than freedom of belief and freedom from the persecutions the religious impose on others. In the meantime the religious are quite happy to dictate how others live their lives. Nobody is actually asking to force heterosexual Christians into homosexual marriages, or limiting them to only that option. It is you heterosexual Christians that want to force others to abide by your rules.

    • Ron,

      “This is clearly a wider freedom and a more equal equality, because the equality you profess exists is biased against homosexuals.”

      It would be a wider equality, I agree. But I still haven’t heard any compelling reason for why this new definition wouldn’t be discriminating against polyamorous relationships, sibling-sibling relationships, etc. By redefining marriage in the manner you propose, wouldn’t it be biased against 3-person romantic relationships?

      If we’re going to change the legal definition of marriage, I think the first step needs to be to spell out – precisely – what marriage *is* and what marriage *isn’t*. There must be some limitations, or else the word “marriage” loses all meaning. We can’t just “widen equality” indefinitely.

      “Nobody is actually asking to force heterosexual Christians into homosexual marriages, or limiting them to only that option.”

      You’re correct. I think the concern of most Christians is that, by redefining marriage to include same-sex couples, the government opens the door for treating religiously-grounded moral statements against homosexuality (from the pulpit, for example) as “hate speech”. As Richard pointed out, we’re already seeing this happen in other countries. So in this manner, the legal changes you’re advocating for would “increase freedom” in the realm of marriage, and simultaneously “decrease freedom” in the realms of freedom of speech and freedom of religion.

      Even though I disagree with your political objective in the strongest terms, I do very much respect your freedom to express and promote your opinions. I won’t try to shame you or accuse you of being cynical or dishonest, because I really do think that you have nothing but good intentions, and only want to improve society in the way that you think best.

      Cheers,

      Matt

    • Matt,

      “But I still haven’t heard any compelling reason for why this new definition wouldn’t be discriminating against polyamorous relationships, sibling-sibling relationships, etc. By redefining marriage in the manner you propose, wouldn’t it be biased against 3-person romantic relationships?”

      But allowing homosexual marriage would still be less discriminating than one that allows only heterosexual marriage. And not removing all discrimination is no reason for not removing a specific discrimination. And you still haven’t responded to how you would feel if only homosexual marriage was available to you, irrespective of these other, rather desperate alternatives. Are you admitting that the current law is discriminatory, to homosexuals and these other combinations? Would you accept discrimination against heterosexual marriage? Can you see that the argument that current marriage laws are equitable for both heterosexuals and homosexuals is a bogus one?

      But, if you insist, let’s look at these others.

      I have no moral objection to any of these others, and if people wanted such marriages I would not wish to stand in their way. I presume you would, but that should come as no surprise to me as you explicitly want to prescribe and proscribe for others according to your own feelings on the matter.

      Again, biologically we should expect that monogamous two-person heterosexual relationships might be the ‘norm’, the ‘mean’, in the human species. But we are sufficiently varied that we should expect variation in these other respects too, as well on sexual orientation. You note of course that a three-person marriage has to include a homosexual element. Three or more person relationships, or sibling relationships, is quite a natural state of affairs and should be considered ‘normal’ in that respect, even if it is less common, or even a rarity.

      The problems regarding siblings do have a genetic aspect whereby siblings having children might endanger the health and quality of life of any child. But first cousins already have this problem to a lesser degree. Cultures where first cousins marry often do show more problems occurring in their births, statistically. The term ‘inbreeding’ instils some apprehension for good biological reasons perhaps; and it may be biology that makes one regard one’s siblings as distasteful prospects as mates – we have quite a few taboos that seem to be determined biologically, and then re-enforced by cultural pressures. Sin is, after all, one of religions greatest inventions for controlling behaviour, and changing a biological aversion into a religious sin seems to have been quite handy.

      But variation again should be expected to sometimes overcome this biological taboo. So there will be instances whereby adult siblings live together and have sexual relations, but just as used to be the case with homosexuals they have to hide that fact because their acts would be stigmatised by the self-righteous.

      O the matter of children, well currently homosexual partners wanting children have to adopt the indirect methods of surrogacy or adoption to overcome their incapacity to conceive as a couple. Siblings could too. But I can imagine a time, perhaps 100, 1,000 years from now where there is greater equity all round and both males and females can become pregnant, and siblings can have healthy children. By that stage our mastery of genetics will be introducing many more problems for the religious to grind their teeth on, of course. Just think of the all the religiously inspired prescribing and proscribing that opens up for the religious then.

      On the issue of three or more person relationships, they have been experimented with, and occasionally we hear about quiet and private success stories where they make that arrangement work, at least for some time. To many people organising all the details of a two-person relationship is quite challenging enough. But for those that want it I’m sure there are quite straight forward civil agreements can be arranged to meet everyone’s needs. Lawyers manage to have multiple person partnerships, so if they can do it, it is at least possible. These are pragmatic issues for those people to resolve.

      In a way it’s a bit like the two and three body system in astronomy. A two body system follows quite simple rules, but a three body system becomes disproportionately complicated. Is a three person marriage one where M1-M2-F1 is a single marriage, or does it consist of three marriages M1-F1, M2-F2, M1-M2? What about a relationship of M1-M2, and M2-F1, but not M1-F1? I await people wanting this sort of marriage coming forward to explain what they want precisely. Again It’s no business of mine if such parties think they can make it work; and it’s not really yours either, is it.

      But of course we’re talking about marriage, and in the context of your post I guess it really boils down to Christian marriage. Homosexuals who are also Christians are in a bit of a bind at the moment, and though Christian bias might oppose sibling and polygamous marriages I guess Christians are less worried that these will come about, and so they’re not as much an issue right now. I’m sure if they were proposed then you would want to act prescriptively and proscriptively there too.

      Generally though, slippery slope arguments are a desperate attempt to bypass the immediate and imminent for some imagined future consequential danger.

      “If we’re going to change the legal definition of marriage, I think the first step needs to be to spell out – precisely – what marriage *is* and what marriage *isn’t*.”

      That’s a good idea. And since marriage isn’t a Christian invention Christians don’t get the sole say in the matter. Your opinion is as valid as anyone’s of course, even if I find it distasteful and your excuses for wriggling out of gay marriage support based on scripture rather lame.

      “There must be some limitations, or else the word “marriage” loses all meaning. We can’t just “widen equality” indefinitely.”

      OK. How about limiting it to humans, for now. Say, until we meet some intelligent alien species who is able to give consent, in which case we might extend it to them too. Because consent and private wishes seems about the broadest scope that is easy to put into a definition of marriage, is the least limiting. Your current restrictions, as I’ve said, are rather superficial in wanting what is the traditional ‘norm’ to ignore the range of what is ‘normal’. This simple definition also means we rule out current earth animals other than humans, since the other animals we don’t consider capable of giving consent. And we continue to rule out minors on the same basis of requiring consent.

      “You’re correct. I think the concern of most Christians is that, by redefining marriage to include same-sex couples, the government opens the door for treating religiously-grounded moral statements against homosexuality (from the pulpit, for example) as “hate speech”.”

      Well, that would be the doing of the religious then wouldn’t it, since the religious have been most vocal in protesting criticism of religion by claiming that it is hate speech. I must say that Muslims tend to be most committed to this angle, but it isn’t passed Christians to pull the same stunt. And many would like to see strong blasphemy laws too. I find it hypocritical that Christians are concerned for free speech when they think their freedom of expression and freedom of belief threatened, which of course it isn’t despite the common misrepresentation of secularism among the faithful, and less interested when the freedoms of others are limited by the insistence of the religious that everyone lives by their rules.

      “As Richard pointed out, we’re already seeing this happen in other countries.”

      Yes. Driven by the religious! See here, for the UK: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hate_speech_laws_in_the_United_Kingdom. Note that the intent is about hatred toward someone. Cleary from your own writing you are not directing hatred against homosexual persons, so I’m not sure how your personal disapproval of their lifestyle would be any worse than me disapproving of your practicing of your religion for yourself. I think you are devoting much of your life to a myth, and I feel free to say so. I disagree intellectually with your beliefs, and feel free to say so. But I do not want to support laws that would prevent you believing what you want, and I would not direct hate speech or threatening behaviour towards you – both of which are very commonly expressed in religious rallies, where signs such as “Kill the fags!” is seen in Christian groups, or “Death to those that criticise Islam!” at Islamic rallies. It’s the religious that tend to want the hate speech laws while being the most guilty of hate speech.

      “So in this manner, the legal changes you’re advocating for would “increase freedom” in the realm of marriage, and simultaneously “decrease freedom” in the realms of freedom of speech and freedom of religion.”

      They most expressly would not! You are just as free to carry on the same heterosexual restriction in your religious practices, for yourself. You would just be restricted from imposing your restriction on others. And none of this is about free speech. If it were then clearly we wouldn’t see signs saying “God hates fags!”

      If you genuinely want freedom of speech whereby you can criticise the beliefs and practices of others then don’t support restrictions on the freedom of speech sponsored by religious groups who don’t like their religion criticised. You can’t have it all your own way.

      Perhaps you personally Matt do not object to the criticism of religion – you are after all allowing me to post here. But surely you see the extent to which many Christians would love to shut up their critics. Not least some of the Christian hierarchy: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/former-archbishop-lord-carey-attacks-david-cameron-for-aggressive-secularism-in-the-governments-approach-to-samesex-marriage-8554864.html I know some Church of England priest in the UK who are deeply embarrassed by this man and his bigoted views.

      If you support free speech then make your point loud and clear to your fellow Christians, and join secularists, as many Christians do, in arguing for freedom of thought, freedom of belief, and freedom of expression. And let homosexual Christians get on with it.

  2. “it should be noted that the only moral issue at stake here is voluntary sexual thoughts and behaviors”

    So you can love someone. You just can’t marry them or ever be with them physically.

    And you think that’s a GOOD thing?

  3. “Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.”

    I should start by saying that I am a Christian. Now the problem I see with this quote in relation to gay marriage is this:

    1) Most people have no problem with you (‘you’ being anybody) disagreeing with someone’s lifestyle.

    2) Most people do not think that you have to agree with everything somebody does in order to love them.

    You see, the two “huge lies” referred to here are actually NOT the stance of most advocates of gay marriage. The implication in these “huge lies” is that the position of anti-gay marriage individuals is simply one of disagreement. It is not. If you simply disagreed with it and allowed that disagreement to govern your own moral choices in your life, nobody would have a problem with that. What gay people (and advocates of their right to marry) do not like is when people who disagree with them try to influence legislation in such a way that it interferes with THEIR ability to make their own choices.

    How can anybody possibly make an argument about their own right to disagree with homosexuality, and simultaneously ignore that the flipside of this is that homosexual people also have a right to disagree with you – and that the responsibility of the State is to protect their rights to the same extent as yours? You have a right to disagree with homosexuality, and your sexual predisposition towards women is protected by the State; you can marry a woman. Homosexual people have a right to disagree with YOU, and there is DISCUSSION about whether the State should protect them. This is what is discriminatory.

    The problem for somebody who is against gay marriage is that they must learn to accept that the State is not supposed to be a representative for their religious beliefs exclusively. It’s decisions are supposed to ensure the well-being for all in society, and rights granted on the basis that:

    1) Somebody is asking for said right
    and
    2) Said right will not interfere or curtail the rights of another

    There is a wealth of evidence that same-sex couples are capable of both stable, monogamous relationships, and also raising healthy, well-adjusted children. Ergo I fail to see how anybody can propose STATE intervention (through legislation) against gay people being allowed to marry; in order to be consistent they would have to also believe the State should have a right to enforce Sharia Law over all citizens including those who are not Muslim. That is, unless you and I believe our Christian religion is entitled to some sort of State-favouritism?

  4. “Both men are allowed to marry a woman; neither man is allowed to marry a man. Both men are being treated equally under the law.”

    This argument assumes that sexuality is arbitrary; one can simply choose to be straight or gay. What makes the law unequal is the fact that one of these men is ATTRACTED to men and so would likely not be inclined to marry a woman. It’s like if a law was passed that said “only black people can get on buses”; you would be trying to argue that the law treats everybody equally because if a black person was white then he could get on a bus. Well, that’s true…..but that assumes race is arbitrarily ‘chosen’. I don’t think that black person would feel they were being treated equally, as they cannot choose their skin colour. Similarly, I don’t think gay people feel they are being treated equally, as they cannot choose their sexuality.

    • “What makes the law unequal is the fact that one of these men is ATTRACTED to men and so would likely not be inclined to marry a woman.”

      Why should we define marriage in terms of attraction? I would suggest that this exact attitude toward marriage (that it should be built upon feelings of romantic attraction, rather than something deeper) is what’s left us with an epidemic of divorce and single-parenthood. Do we really have a legal right to marry *anyone* we happen to be attracted to? I would hope not.

  5. “Why should we define marriage in terms of attraction? I would suggest that this exact attitude toward marriage (that it should be built upon feelings of romantic attraction, rather than something deeper) is what’s left us with an epidemic of divorce and single-parenthood. Do we really have a legal right to marry *anyone* we happen to be attracted to? I would hope not.”

    When I used the word “attraction”, I was referring specifically to sexual orientation and the fact that like it or not this DOES predispose us towards seeking partners of a particular gender; e.g. you sexual orientation is heterosexual, and so it is unlikely you would marry another man as your sexual orientation makes it so that you would be HIGHLY unlikely to seek out a male partner. But let’s remove the word “attraction” then. The point is that whatever you believe marriage is built upon, gay people report that for them this deeper feeling is one which they have towards the same sex. Their sexual orientation leads them to seek out relationships with members of the same sex, who they then sometimes fall in love with and wish to marry.

    The point of my argument there was to show that the law definitely does NOT treat people equally when it places a restriction on a portion of society that is essentially arbitrary; there is currently no evidence that allowing gay people to marry would hurt anybody else, restrict anybody else’s rights, or indeed have any negative impact of straight people at all. It is simply a cultural relic, a remnant of a time when we were far more inclined to let prejudice infect our legal system – we have made great strides in removing other such relics by allowing women and black people to vote, and permitting interracial marriage. It is worth noting that many of the same arguments that are today levelled against gay marriage were once levelled against interracial marriage.

  6. The whole “debate” on this issue is obviously at this time wildly aflame. But who is fueling the fire? Not pointing fingers, just asking.
    I suggest as something of a NT “scholar” and advocate that we ought all to slow down, catch our breath and then stand back and try to gain at least a degree of objectivity.
    Then if we can overlay (to be a bit crass, I suspect) a chart or graph of the New Testament, or just narrow it to the Pauline corpus, burden with our own, or even do this exercise culture-wide, I think we’d all see how wildly afar our innate passions have run.
    At this point we could then consider the relevant statements and come to more sane, perhaps even workable conclusions. In the fire of passion, all objectivity is sacrificed.
    In fact we ought to do this with all things, not just the issue at hand.

  7. Hey Matt not bad writing for a “straight dude” hehe. Kidding aside, I deeply appreciate your way of explaining the difference between the “lifestyle” and the orientation as you have done here. Especially since, as you know well, I have in various times in my life been a part of both groups.

    When I came out in the early 1990s, there was a running PBS TV series about the LGBT world called “In the Life.” That was a common term back then and not considered pejorative or attacking in the least. But no one was fighting for marriage or at least very few were then. Mainstreaming was not the goal of most in that world, but rather simply living and being left alone. Thus the terms keep changing. Just as the times do.

    And it is true that there is no one particular “lifestyle” among those of us who carry same-sex attractions. But the word lifestyle is a very natural demarcation between active homosexuality and those who are celibate but with underlying attractions. At least I think so. The reason it has come into such disfavor of late is that many heterosexual folks delicately use it to separate themselves subtly from the “gay community.” And that becomes hurtful to those on the “receiving end” (yes all puns fully intended) . It feels like everyone is extremely busy compartmentalizing. Maybe true, maybe not, but it is probably no longer the best way to express it due to that.

    Incidentally, during my active LGBT years, I once had a huge issue or argument going regarding the term “community.” My argument was that we, even within that “life” or “lifestyle,” were many different communities, not just one. I think it is the same kind of irritation I once had that Rick Warren and others are recipients of in this case. I am not saying it is fair, but it is what it is.

    Personally I think the better way to differentiate is to call those who are sexually active, or willing to be identified within the subculture, as “actively LGBT.” But that is my own personal way of defining the difference to others, and I am sure someone, somewhere, would object to that as well. The real objection is to Warren not supporting a political position that is suddenly taking hold and no matter how carefully he may explain it, he will be labeled by those who hate labels. Ironic.

    Bottom line I am simply a believer in our Lord Jesus Christ who has, as some part of my make-up, an attraction towards other men. No more, no less. And I sleep alone every night and have since late in the last century. Lucy Swindoll (sister of Chuck) wrote a book on single Christianity entitled “Wide My Word, Narrow My Bed.” Sounds okay by me.

    • Thanks so much for your added perspective, Richard. Building on what you say about how you prefer the phrase “actively LGBT”, I think it’s important to at least make an effort to adopt terminology that’s acceptable and inoffensive to the other person, when discussing issues like these.

    • That goes both ways, Matt. You are a tremendous and courageous man who does not need to speak from principle, especially at this time in your life when it would be far easier not to, or just to “fit in.” I generally do not refer to myself as “gay” but I find it interesting to be the person here who agrees with you most, and I lived 15 years in that world. It was not quite as glamorous and fun as “Queer As Folk” and “Will and Grace” tend to imply. There is a lot of heartache within the LGBT communities, and not all of it is because of mean homophobes. I will write more on this in the future but I think I just found my next blog post. I do have some stories to tell. God bless!

  8. I believe that there are medical reasons that relatives should not marry, though Rocky Horror Picture Show said “incest is best,” of course it isn’t. And the argument about whether the Boston Red Sox (my analogy) can marry a herd of goats or plural marraige can exist is a red herring. I think it is reasonable to believe that the law refers to a couple. This is a civil issue, and was inherently settled WHEN Lawrence was passed and we’re as a society experiecing the evolution. I was astonished by Alito’s comments that this is a “new thing.” No it is not new, long-term gay couples just stayed in the closet.

    The court is bumbling and fumbling on this issue and needs to get rid of DOMA and move on to other more important things. On the religious aspects, let God be the judge.

    I read a quote by Kennedy from the Lawrence trial and now I can’t find it, but I will find it and share it. Peace and Blessed Easter. He is risen Indeed.

    • “I think it is reasonable to believe that the law refers to a couple.”

      But if we redefine marriage in terms of “feelings of love” between consenting adults, then by that logic isn’t it discriminatory to tell three people who “love each other” that they aren’t allowed to be married like their 2-partner friends are? What precisely is special about the number “2”?

      “On the religious aspects, let God be the judge.”

      I can’t do that, in good conscience. Setting the *legal* issue aside for a moment, to talk about this on a personal level:

      If I actually believe Scripture when it says that homosexual acts are immoral, then how is it an act of “kindness” or “compassion” to support and affirm gay relationships? If I sincerely believe that this is a sin, then for a Christian like myself to support my friends in these actions/lifestyles demonstrates the worst kind of cruelty and indifference.

      Believe me: if it were up to me, I would *want* to support gay marriage and gay relationships. It would make life a lot easier, because speaking out on this issue doesn’t exactly make me popular, as a 23-year-old in my position. But I can’t do that in good conscience, because I sincerely care about my gay friends (both the “practicing ones” and the “celibate ones”). When *I* fall into sinful patterns and behaviors, I would only hope that my Christian friends would have the courage and compassion to confront me about those decisions, rather than affirming and supporting them.

    • Matt,
      Good for you. If we think of all the examples from the Life of Jesus where He took the right but lonely path, and of how much God was honored because Christ’s singular and persecuted obedience, we can see that even though we feel alone, we are in good company.
      You never walk alone.
      God bless, and have a blessed Easter

  9. Amy A–Having been a pretty dedicated LGBT activist at the time Lawrence versus Texas was overturned by the Supreme Court (which, in my opinion, very rightly struck down anti-sodomy laws nationwide and thus legalized homosexuality in all 50 states), I can only say I was nothing short of astounded when that Court victory was, probably 2 weeks later or at most a month, used by leaders in the LGBT communities as a springboard for what is now commonly called “marriage equality.” Making something legal, as Lawrence did, and enshrining it with huge and binding layers of protection and societal approval are simply not the same thing.

    So perhaps that is the fear within the Christian and other more conservative communities, and I tend to very much agree. One moment something simply becomes legal, “live and let live” you could say, and the very next those with a whole other agenda take it over and up a notch and then attempt to foist it (in this case civil same-sex marriage) upon the world. ALLOWING something under the law is a long, long ways from inserting it, part and parcel, into societal norms. To me that is a big jump, and I thought so even then.

    The fears that a nationwide passage of what is now called “marriage equality” could bring back Utah’s polygamy (something already being worked on by a significant number incidentally) or to forcefully change the approach religious organizations must have when even discussing these issues from the pulpit, schools, and other venues is not unfounded. If we look to our northern neighbor Canada we can see this. Since Canada established this as national law, a number of Christian ministers and Catholic bishops have been taken before their court tribunals for simply speaking against homosexuality. This too is discrimination but is summarily dismissed by HRC and other LGBT rights groups here as propaganda when brought into the conversation on this topic. Even here in the United States some religious groups, Catholic Charities for instance, have already had to close their doors due to the Catholic stand on gay adoption. Religious groups should be allowed to have religious criteria and this is fast eroding.

    We can argue or disagree on the right or wrong of the adoption issue as mentioned above, or the morality of being actively LGBT (as stated above I have been on both sides of the issue over the years), but I believe we have to at minimum allow groups who sincerely believe otherwise to exist, particularly ones doing tremendous works such as Catholic Charities and so many others who would be affected by this. Yet clearly Lawrence, which you cite, is the quintessential example of not doing so. It was struck down to right a wrong. Now many wish to use it to make what others of us believe to be wrong a “right.”

    We as a society and as humans in general tend to always take things to another level. If you tell people that the speed limit is 55 they will likely drive 80. It is not shocking then when telling them it is now 65 that they begin driving 90 instead, and accidents increase. Just an example. Another example is the “right to choose.” When Roe v Wade was overturned in 1973, and I am old enough to remember this well as I was then a junior in high school, the fear among many then was that it would lead to approving such things as legalized euthanasia/assisted suicide and a huge increase in, rather than simply a protection of, abortion rights. And in both cases the “fanatical” fearmongerers had it right.

    I am not comparing homosexuality to abortion nor speeding. But my point–why would this be an exception? My belief is that it will not, and so-called “marriage equality” will not stop until it redefines traditional marriage into something unrecognizable. That is my fear, and I do not think I am a crazed fanatic on the topic.

  10. Hi, I randomly came across this searching for something completely different, and I wanted to say thank you for this post. You explained this issue and perspective similar to the way that I explained it to my contemporary issues class I teach at a local Christian high school. And I was actually someone who did post that quote by Rick Warren as well. I believe the way you explained this was done very well and was even slightly humorous. I think I may direct the students in my class to this post for further reading.
    Thanks again.

  11. It does take courage to stand on the truth of God’s Word in this matter. And it is a difficult position to articulate clearly before the shouting gets too loud. Well done!

    I find it interesting how many of the lies of our culture get wrapped into this debate – evolution, absolute freedom, law not being a moral statement, Scripture is faulty, etc. Almost too many to tackle at once. Really enjoy your work here. Keep contending for the faith once delivered.

  12. Amy A. You cannot hold to that view and be a Christian – it is directly in violation of what Scriptures say. “If you want to be part of the club you have to play by the rules”.

  13. It is the will of men verses God will, hence, there won’t be any debates or arguments or propositions on ballets, nor will political correctness exist on judgement day!

    • David, I think the big problem here is the judgemental behaviour of Christians (and other theists) here on earth right now. If only you would leave it for God to do the judging on judgement day. That way, whichever of us is mistaken will be set straight. After all, you already have the cards stacked in your favour, according to Pascal’s wager: if you’re wrong and there is no God or life after death then you merely look stupid to those that figure this out some far distant time in the future; while if you’re right you get to enjoy the same self-righteous pleasure in the after life telling all us atheists and other sinners in the queue for the fiery pits of hell , “I told you so.”

      Of course I do see a lot of Christians being quite ‘Christian’ about this particular issue. You might take a leaf from the book of Kevin Rudd: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVJsIWRUKkk

    • “If only you would leave it for God to do the judging on judgement day. That way, whichever of us is mistaken will be set straight.”

      But see, if someone

      a) genuinely believes Christianity to be true, and
      b) has an ounce of compassion

      then she’s not going to be satisfied with passively standing by and watching people march to their judgement.

      “…while if you’re right you get to enjoy the same self-righteous pleasure in the after life telling all us atheists and other sinners in the queue for the fiery pits of hell , “I told you so.””

      That’s an absolutely horrifying image. For anyone to gain *pleasure* in another person’s eternal damnation is the antithesis of what it means to be transformed by Christ.

    • Matt, I do believe that we as Christians need to respect the freedom that God has created us with, however. That’s the part that I feel you left out of your equation; by your logic, everybody with every differing belief who also has compassion must endeavour to interfere in each others lives to bring them towards their own viewpoint. E.g. Muslims also then have an obligation to try and bring us Christians to Islam, and so on. But what of respecting people’s right to choose? If somebody chooses not to believe in Christianity, it doesn’t mean that I am lacking compassion if I choose to respect that. Even if I sincerely believe that they might be choosing the wrong path, what on earth gives me the right to try and make human, earthly legislature reflect my choice to believe over somebody else’s choice not to believe?

      That’s the crux of it to me; when I see other Christians being so judgemental about homosexuals, wanting to pass legislation banning this or that, it just seems so self-righteous/sanctimonious to me that somebody would feel they have a right to have their choice to believe in something reflected in legislation that does not only apply to believers. It is a way, albeit a limited way, of enforcing personal, private beliefs on others.

  14. Matt,

    Of course I’m being flippant when directing that interpretation of Pascal’s wager at nice theists such as yourself. But you only have to look online for images of demonstrations by Christians telling us how god hates fags to see that it represents how many Christians actually feel. Which goes to show that religion and goodness are not as strongly correlated, and certainly it isn’t as causal a link as I expect a theist would hope.

    Which illustrates why your (a) and (b) is so faulty. Whatever your compassion rating it’s the total disregard for another’s self-determination, their own intellect, their own personal biology of how they are, that completely negates that compassion. It’s the height meanness, arrogance and anti-democratic tyranny to take your religious interpretations of ancient books and suppose you have it right and everyone else is wrong, to the extent that you want to impose your beliefs on others.

    This is the whole point of secularism: freedom of belief. Though I disagree profoundly with your logic, reasoning, evidence regarding God and engage in debate with you about it, I would not for one minute want to impose my beliefs on you the way you wish to impose them on homosexuals. Gay marriage does not require you to marry a man. Your preferred imposition is one that does not change what you believe. Any religious disagreement you have with it should be no more offensive to you than is the religion of any other believer – or do you want to outlaw Islam and other religions the way you want to outlaw gay marriage, because you love Muslims – is that sufficient?

    You are still free to believe gay marriage is sinful, as mean spirited and un-Christian as that is, and you are still free to believe and to go worship what I consider one more false god, and I would defend your right to do so. The only way in which my beliefs would impact your behaviour at all would be in supporting a very respectable golden rule to the extent that I cannot support your victimisation and discrimination against homosexuals. I would be intolerant only of your intolerance and impositions on others.

    It doesn’t matter at all how compassionate you think you are being. How would you like it if out of pure compassion for your sanity all churches were closed and religious congregation outlawed. Of course you think that would be wrong because you think your beliefs are on the money and it would be unreasonable to prevent you living your personal life how you see it should be lived. Well others that disagree with you think they are right too, and do not take kindly to your claims of compassionately guided tyranny.

    This compassion business is a duplicitous bogus fraud of an uncompassionate religious meddling by prescription and proscription. Warren is as duplicitous as they come: http://zwingliusredivivus.wordpress.com/2012/01/21/a-list-im-not-on-but-rick-warren-and-creflo-dollar-are/.

    He very conveniently lines his own pocket while spouting inane drivel on twitter:

    “Prayerlessness is arrogance.”

    “Like a tethered kite, if you’re grounded to God’s unchanging Word,opposing winds don’t defeat you but make you soar higher.”

    “Every time you are kind, you bless others, you honor God, and you grow more like Jesus.”

    I wonder what Jesus would think of Warren (you know, the Jesus we are supposed to think existed, the all loving rebel that would have taken Warren down a peg or two).

    • “But you only have to look online for images of demonstrations by Christians telling us how god hates fags to see that it represents how many Christians actually feel.”

      Many? Are you referring to the 40-member Westboro Baptist Church? I don’t mean to nitpick, but I would actually agree with this sentence if you replaced “many” with “some”. Of course, I would also assert that such an individual has likely not been truly transformed by Christ (inb4 teh true scotsman).

      “Whatever your compassion rating it’s the total disregard for another’s self-determination, their own intellect, their own personal biology of how they are, that completely negates that compassion.”

      What leads you to believe that I have such disregard? The fact that I believe marriage consists of “one man and one woman”, rather than the no-less-arbitrary standard “two consenting adults” or “two non-related consenting adults” or “three or fewer non-related consenting adults”? You have to realize that, as a libertarian, I fully support the legal right of two same-sex individuals to have their own “marriage” ceremony and live as a couple undisturbed by the government. I have absolutely no desire to force or coerce anyone into accepting my beliefs. But no, I don’t think that the *legal* definition of marriage should be changed from its current definition of “one man and one woman”. I see no reason why a gay couple is any more entitled to the legal status of marriage more than two elderly twin sisters who love each other (in a platonic sense) and live under the same roof.

      “It’s the height meanness, arrogance and anti-democratic tyranny to take your religious interpretations of ancient books and suppose you have it right and everyone else is wrong, to the extent that you want to impose your beliefs on others.”

      The imposition goes both ways: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/sep/2/christian-bakers-who-refused-cake-order-gay-weddin/

      And particularly relevant: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/trevinwax/2013/09/07/why-is-it-when-i-think-im-right-im-intolerant-but-when-you-think-youre-right-youre-just-right/

    • Matt:
      The last link you posted asks the question “why is it when I think I’m right I’m intolerant, but when you think you’re right you’re just right”.

      This question stems from a basic misunderstanding of what is being objected to. In this context, when a person says that your behaviour is intolerant, it is not simply for believing that what you think is correct. On the contrary, the basis of the whole secularist position stems from a full and healthy respect of your right to believe you are right.

      It is more related to the fact that in order for you to live in a society where your individual freedom is preserved, and your right to think “I’m right” is respected, there is a very general position that you must tacitly accept. Namely, the position that you will allow others this same freedom. It is one of those times where individualist freedoms require collectivist agreement. When you begin to try and have legislature reflect your OWN personal beliefs that “you are right”, you go beyond simply thinking “I am right” and into “I am right, and the law should reflect that I am right by telling others they are wrong”. I’ll come back to this at the end.

      You say that you cannot see what “entitles” a gay couple to the legal status of marriage – I am curious if you can tell me, from a SECULAR perspective, what precisely “entitles” one man and one woman to the legal status of marriage? You and I might be Christians and believe that is what creates that entitlement, but again, our personal beliefs have no place in this discussion. Other people choose not to be Christians, and their beliefs deserve as much representation in legislature that is going to affect them. I think the question should be reframed: it two people of the same sex WANT to be afforded the legal status of marriage, and there are no good secular reasons against it, then why should they NOT be afforded that status? Since when do we insist people argue as to why they SHOULD have a certain right, rather than insisting opponents demonstrate why they should NOT be allowed those rights?

      You say that you are a libertarian and do not wish to impose your beliefs on others, but can you not see that by pushing for the law to reflect your beliefs (ONLY your beliefs) that is precisely what you are doing? The law is secular; it is not “the law for Christians” and “the law for non-Christians”. If the law is based upon Christian teaching and thought, then by definition it is being used as a way to impose Christian values on non-Christians. This is intolerant because it does not allow for the presence of values other than Christian values that you support – it is not tolerant of alternative beliefs. On the other hand, the view advocated by the likes of myself and Ron is not intolerant because it completely allows for the presence of different values; Christian values are tolerated, as are non-Christian values, and the law would reflect the existence of both so that neither are prevented from being able to freely live in a way consistent with the beliefs they choose.

      Yes, this position does require that you accept some things you do not like (such as other people being able to get married when you do not believe they should be allowed that right) – but that is why it is called tolerance and not acceptance. You TOLERATE it because you are aware that there are things you believe that other people also disagree with and don’t like, and you would like them to tolerate those aspects as well.

      It is a form of social compromise which can succinctly be summed up:
      “Do to others as you would have them do to you” – Luke 6:31

    • completelybeing:

      “When you begin to try and have legislature reflect your OWN personal beliefs that “you are right”, you go beyond simply thinking “I am right” and into “I am right, and the law should reflect that I am right by telling others they are wrong”.”

      But you seem to be forgetting that the *entire purpose* of laws – even in a secular society – is to make moral judgments and enforce a certain minimal level of moral standards. It’s my personal belief that murder and theft are morally wrong; the law enforces those moral standards upon society.

      The real question – and you get to this later – is *to what extent* society ought to legislate moral standards, and from whence it draws these standards (religious and philosophical underpinnings, natural law, popular consensus, etc.).

      “I am curious if you can tell me, from a SECULAR perspective, what precisely “entitles” one man and one woman to the legal status of marriage?”

      I don’t believe there’s a legal “entitlement” per se. Historically, societies have recognized and encouraged “man + woman” marriage because it provides a stable family structure that allows for reproduction and the benefit of society as a whole. A secular case:

      http://winteryknight.wordpress.com/2012/05/08/a-secular-case-against-same-sex-marriage/

    • Matt:

      I’d have to disagree that the entire purpose of the law is simply the enforcement of a minimum level of moral standards. Well, perhaps not disagree, but rather point out that this is only half of the story. Laws are also supposed to reflect, rather than dictate; this is particularly true when a piece of legislation will affect one minority group directly, and nobody else.

      I think it is a mistake to say that societies historically recognized only heterosexual marriage because of what heterosexual marriage DOES, rather than what they believed it did to the best of their knowledge. Yes, there was a common BELIEF that only heterosexual families could provide a stable family structure. However there is much present-day evidence to suggest that not only are heterosexual families often NOT stable environments for children (it varies), but that homosexual families often ARE stable environments. Again, reproduction is somewhat of a non-issue as we already allow infertile couples to marry – whether one believes the analogy between homosexuals and infertile couples is fair, it stands to reason that clearly we are not considering reproduction to be key when it comes to how the law defines marriage. And as for the benefit of society as a whole, there is no evidence to suggest that all homosexual relationships are bad for society as a whole (or that all homosexuals who raised children would contribute to a general loss of benefit for society).

      As for the secular case, there is a lot there so I will say what I have time to say: a google search will reveal that many of the studies presented (such as the one showing that same sex unions do not last as long as heterosexual marriages) have counter-studies that purport to show the opposite (e.g a look at the stats from the Office of National Statistics in the UK suggests that same sex unions in fact last longer). Much of the commentary also relates to psychological and sociological opinions about which “family configuration” is “best” for children; again, there is a wealth of evidence (spanning 30 years at least) suggesting that same sex family configurations are not harming children:
      http://www.bu.edu/today/2013/gay-parents-as-good-as-straight-ones/
      http://www.salon.com/2013/06/05/worlds_largest_study_on_gay_parents_finds_the_kids_are_more_than_all_right/
      http://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/research/parenting/goldberg-smith-jpf-jul-2013/

      There were also examples cited of discrimination in the opposite direction, and the argument was made that this demonstrates that gay marriage would actually REDUCE civil liberties. To put it bluntly, people such as myself are just as against that as we are against other discrimination. I am not arguing that churches should be FORCED to carry out gay marriages (for example), so it is simply a strawman to argue that this is a reason why gay marriage should not be allowed. I am supporting choice, on both sides.
      He cites an articles by Dr Frank Turek; with the best will in the world, even the first paragraph of that excerpt is complete speculation and requires the reader to make massive assumptions; why should I grant that the law is the primary teacher of children on the meaning of marriage? That is a massive premise to grant, especially when the entire rest of his argument is dependent on it.

      He moves on to talk about health, and within the first sentence there is a further strawman; who exactly is seeking to “encourage” or “normalize” same sex marriage? A fundamental misunderstanding seems evident here: there seems to be a belief that advocates of SSM are in some way taking a prescriptive view of the matter. Make no mistake: I am not trying to tell people “you should be gay”, or “you should be gay and get married”. It is not about ENCOURAGEMENT – gay people wish to marry regardless of my “encouragement” on the issue! He cites some correlative statistics as evidence that homosexuals are more likely to smoke tobacco, for example…….all I can say is that correlation=/=causation. There might well be a correlation within America, but that does not suggest that their homosexuality is causing them to smoke more.

      The fact of the matter is that he presents none of the contrary evidence to his position – so nobody reading his post is going to receive a balanced representation of the existing evidence that is relevant to the issue.

    • For a Christian, there is no real division between secular and sacred. Everything is part of our relationship with the Creator. I understand the goal in trying to separate things for those not in a Christian frame of reference. However, Christians are giving up something already when dividing into categories like this.

      Matt is right. There is always a moral basis behind the law. The argument here reflects the very different moral perspectives. It is self-evident to one who believes in God and His creation that marriage (one man and one woman) was part of the design from the beginning. It should thus be preserved as the pillar of family and society. It does not matter what any studies might suggest. Potential outcome is not the measure. The goal is to keep with original purpose and design.

      You may try to dismiss Christianity as one belief system equivalent to many others. However, it makes objective truth claims (as do other religions) backed by evidence. It should be evaluated as such. Weigh the evidence. I find that Christianity is the most reasonable explanation for the world we observe and demonstrates its ultimate truth in the historically proven Resurrection of Jesus Christ. So, laws based on that Truth are not just principles drawn from a random, ancient text. They are based on the Truth from the Creator of this world.

      Sean Durity Latest blog entry: “New Bible Translation (Humor) ” “We are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.” 1 John 1:4

      On Tue, Sep 10, 2013 at 6:08 PM, Well Spent Journey wrote:

      > ** > completelybeing commented: “Matt: I’d have to disagree that the entire > purpose of the law is simply the enforcement of a minimum level of moral > standards. Well, perhaps not disagree, but rather point out that this is > only half of the story. Laws are also supposed to reflect, ra” >

  15. Wow Matt, you sure pick your links.

    First Wintery Knight plucks a host of claims out of his rear and does not support most of them with facts. When he does provide support the sources are suspicious.

    From the http://www.frc.org/about-frc site’s About page: “Our vision is a culture in which human life is valued, families flourish, and religious liberty thrives.” Well, not the least biased or selective then. Try this as an alternative to the selective bias, in which it comments on not just one study: http://blogs.channel4.com/factcheck/factcheck-is-gay-marriage-bad-for-children/13864

    How about his claim “It turns out that same-sex unions are not as good for children as traditional marriage, on those measures.” based on the study of students? Well, the study of students (children?) is of students, without reference to the marriage type they are children of. And as students they are un-married. So, he is making a duplicitous move here. He is equivocating the same sex unions in these students with adult same sex marriage, using the student/children notion as a ploy. It may be that these young same sex unions have coincidental disproportionate difficulties, but it doesn’t mean adult same sex marriage has. And there may be other causes for the difficulties these homosexual students suffer: how about the bigotry they suffer that drives them into predatory groups, isolation, bad choices, victimhood, etc. I think this was the point of the study – that mainstream education does not support these vulnerable adults. That couldn’t be because of the systemic bigotry in the wider teacher/student/parent body could it?

    And what was the recommended action? “Effective state and local public health and school health policies and practices should be developed to help reduce the prevalence of health-risk behaviours and improve health outcomes among sexual minority youths. In addition, more state and local surveys designed to monitor health-risk behaviours and selected health outcomes among population-based samples of students in grades 9-12 should include questions on sexual identity and sex of sexual contacts.” – Yes, help the students. Not add further to their problems by diminishing their sexual orientation, or by using this study as a prejudice tool against any loving gay marriage they might hope for.

    On the ‘bad for public civil society and business’: it is about what he sees it as a threat of increasing state law. This is dumb. If all religions were appropriately tolerant they could just agree to gay marriage, and then the law could fly through on the nod, so it’s hardly state interference to legalise what should be an equality. Sadly, bigotry is resistant to change, and as with the race discrimination it requires the law to make the pious religious bigots do the Christian thing they should have been doing anyway. It’s more about removing discrimination, rather than imposing some unjust law. But really, it’s a poor argument against gay marriage. Note that in his long list of other supposed infringements it’s all in response to a prior bigotry that the pro-gay proponents are responding to. Is the law an ass sometimes? Sure. Just look at Scalia, the idiot that comes out with this stuff: http://www.policymic.com/articles/31095/7-awful-things-justice-scalia-has-said-about-gay-people. And you think gays are not discriminated against in business? You want a list? Here’s a list: http://guydads.blogspot.co.uk/2008/12/anti-gay-companies.html

    But none of this explains why gay marriage is bad.

    And try Wes McMichael’s comment on why the whole post is suspect.

    I’m surprised you’re so easily drawn to such drivel. Could it be your bias that is stopping you spotting the biased post of a bigot? And though that was supposed to be a secular perspective it’s odd how much the religious bias comes through. How could a secular perspective be so biased? Oh, wait, Wintery Knight’s strap line: “…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square”. I wouldn’t have guessed it.

  16. For a Christian, there is no real division between secular and sacred. Everything is part of our relationship with the Creator. I understand the goal in trying to separate things for those not in a Christian frame of reference. However, Christians are giving up something already when dividing into categories like this.

    Matt is right. There is always a moral basis behind the law. The argument here reflects the very different moral perspectives. It is self-evident to one who believes in God and His creation that marriage (one man and one woman) was part of the design from the beginning. It should thus be preserved as the pillar of family and society. It does not matter what any studies might suggest. Potential outcome is not the measure. The goal is to keep with original purpose and design.

    You may try to dismiss Christianity as one belief system equivalent to many others. However, it makes objective truth claims (as do other religions) backed by evidence. It should be evaluated as such. Weigh the evidence. I find that Christianity is the most reasonable explanation for the world we observe and demonstrates its ultimate truth in the historically proven Resurrection of Jesus Christ. So, laws based on that Truth are not just principles drawn from a random, ancient text. They are based on the Truth from the Creator of this world.

  17. Okay, so I spent the better part of an hour reading all of this. Now I would like to give my take on all of this. First off I am gay, however to most political issues I am pretty conservative. Now I believe that “separation of church and state” is not a two way street. If the government outlaws teachers from leading their students in prayer because of this separation, then don’t quote the bible as justification for the definition of marriage and if you are going to quote the bible to keep gay marriage from being passed then prayer should be allowed in schools. Simple, its one or the other. Complete separation of church and state, in which religious beliefs are not quoted for governing law, or a country that incorporates religious law into all aspects of governing law without restrictions such as school prayer, religious monuments in front of court houses, etc. Honestly I don’t feel like anything is taken away from me because I live in a state that doesn’t allow gay marriage, I still live with my partner and we are one another’s emergency contact and beneficiaries for insurance. Both our names are on our apartment lease, our bank account, and our phone bill. The only luxury we are denied is filing our taxes together, but who likes filing taxes at all? Also, I’m not a fan of the term ‘lifestyle.’ I don’t live any differently than anyone else besides the hour a day I spend in the bedroom with my partner. Being homosexual doesn’t affect any other aspect of my life, I don’t take it into account when making political decisions (mostly because I believe that both polar ends of the spectrum are crazy) it has no effect on my job performance, nor my educational performance. I guess what I’m trying to say is that my sexuality is far from being a major part of my identity, and it is something I rarely ever take into consideration in any situation.
    And: “But if we redefine marriage in terms of “feelings of love” between consenting adults, then by that logic isn’t it discriminatory to tell three people who “love each other” that they aren’t allowed to be married like their 2-partner friends are? What precisely is special about the number “2″?”
    I think what’s special about it is monogamy , you know the word based on the Greek words monos=one gamos=marriage. Do I want kids someday? Sure I would like to. Will I get married to a woman to have them? Why should I? There are hundreds, if not thousands of children that need parents that are ready to be adopted.

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