Gay Marriage: time to come out

It may be many years before gay marriage becomes law but it seems to me that the battle is lost. We are trying to hold back the tide, but as Christians, our priority is telling people about Jesus and living a life full of his love. We need to explain how God’s way is best, but accept that not everyone agrees. We need to speak the truth about morality but speak it in love. We need to make sure that we welcome everyone to hear and believe the gospel and not ask them to sort their lives out first.

Get used to it

We need to get used to living with suffering as a consequence of being public Christians and stop trying to hold on to the notion that we are a Christian country. We need social and political engagement but with an acceptance that seeking to do good with a biblical framework puts us in the minority. We need to think carefully how our words are heard in a society that has corrupted language – where words like tolerance and equality and homophobia have a particular meaning that we may not accept but have to deal with.
We need to make sure we equally value, love and affirm all people without needing to value, love and affirm all behaviour.

Coalition for Marriage: good but…

I supported the Coalition for Marriage (C4M). Its aims are laudable – campaigning to preserve what is a good institution for society. As good citizens we want to protect people from making laws that damage individuals and society. Of course, the government’s approach on this has been undemocratic and the law change practically unnecessary. But to be realistic, marriage as God intended has not been practised by most people in this country for generations. Moreover, I’m not sure that the approach taken allowed a clear Christian voice to be heard.

I may be wrong but I suspect that the majority of people leading the opposition to gay marriage think that heterosexual, monogamous, lifelong marriage is best for society and best for each of us.

Many among those would be Christians, who believe God made us man and woman and that he calls us to follow his instructions. But for tactical reasons, they haven’t generally been saying that (unless they’re Catholic Priests). Watch and listen to the majority of Christians interviewed who oppose gay marriage. Do they ever say: “God commands us” or “because I love and follow Jesus I want to do his will in this area of my life.”? I’m not saying they are hypocrites or hiding anything. Surely some did make clear Christian statements which perhaps have not been reported. But it seems there was a tactical decision about how to win the argument. It doesn’t appear to be working.

I’m probably being very naïve but it seems like a position of weakness – a minority with no moral authority.

Are Christians just Traditionalists?

Even worse than that, it reinforces the idea that Christians are just traditionalists with little compassion or integrity.

It’s not that people are wildly in favour of gay marriage, but they’re just not going to oppose it unless they have a compelling reason to do so. Appealing to people’s sense of tradition and fair play, or frightening them with legal nightmare scenarios is not enough. Although 150 Tories voted against the bill and so there may be some hope the law is delayed, there is not enough general public opposition to stop it in the long term. We need masses of people to have a change of heart. Perhaps appealing to their consciences would have been a better approach. Perhaps saying God does not like immorality of any kind is politically foolish but at least it’s getting the truth out there.

Minority on a Mission

Christianity began and thrived when Christians were not proud members of the ruling elite but rather a maligned minority on a mission to tell people about Jesus – calling them receive his forgiveness and to live under his rule. Let’s focus on that. It’s time to get out of the bunker defending marriage and put our energy into releasing the lion of the gospel in our words and deeds.

2 Comments

  1. I think this is a really helpful piece. It reminds me to make the proclamation of Jesus central – something it’s so easy to forget once we get into (important!) political discussions. Thank you!

  2. The Keep Marriage Special campaign tried to focus more on a Biblical campaign rather than focussing on pragmatic arguments:
    “The Christian answer is that there is a God; that he does know what is right and best for society; and that he does want what is right and best for society – even a society that has largely rejected his authority. The Christian will accept that ‘the church’ does not own the definition of marriage, but will be in no doubt that God does.
    The primary argument against the proposed redefinition of marriage is therefore theological: what God has ordained in his written word, neither society nor any government is free to redefine. Christians will not be able in good conscience to accept or live by a definition that is inconsistent with what God has ordained.
    That there are strong pragmatic arguments for retaining the Biblical definition of marriage will be of no surprise to any Christian. God’s ordering of society will be best for a healthy society. It is good for society to uphold the distinctiveness of marriage as a God-ordained holy institution. It is good for couples to live in God-ordained relationships, even if they are not Christians. It is good for children to benefit from the greater relative stability of families in which the parents are married, compared with the instability of families of unmarried parents, even though many marriages still fail. It is good for children to benefit from having a mother and a father, even though marriage does not guarantee that that ideal will be maintained through their childhood. The empirical evidence is strong, that marriage as defined by God is good for society. But pragmatic arguments can only be secondary arguments for the rightness of the biblical position.”
    http://www.keepmarriagespecial.org.uk/main/why-kms

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