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Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Real Debate Behind Prop 8

For full disclosure I should say that I am a Christian theologian who believes that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God; that God and Christians love gays; and that I have not just contradicted myself. There are many voices in the gay marriage debate. It is my goal to give voice to the biblical arguments in favor of Proposition 8.

Jesus taught, “[God] who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’” It is clear that what Jesus says is what Proposition 8 means: “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” In citing the creation mandate, Jesus confirms what God has required of all civilizations—that marriage be defined as being between one man and one woman.

Consequently, premarital, extra-marital, incestuous, polygamous, pornographic, and homosexual sex are all sin (Rom 1:26-27; 1 Cor 6:9; 1 Thess 4:3). Few problems have wrought more havoc than sexual desires loosed without boundaries. Therefore, real love sets protective limits over passions. God’s love is no exception. God gave the greatest gift, His Son, to guilty sinners in order to save us from the eternal consequences of our sin. To all who turn from their sin to trust in Jesus, God offers full reconciliation, forgiveness, and adoption as sons and daughters. Yes, God loves the people of the world, and Christianity is the record of the greatest love story ever told. So to fight fairly, proponents of gay marriage need to stop using straw men arguments e.g., true followers of Jesus are homophobic.

The real debate behind Proposition 8 is this: Is it morally right and responsibly sound to reject a reliance upon the Bible and in its place adopt a secular humanistic perspective as the basis for governance of our nation (Prov 14:34)? This is the real debate because the Bible is clear that God, who is love, opposes gay marriage, and gay marriage proponents openly reject a literal adherence to His definition of marriage.

So this great debate has led us to a fork in the road. With no pun intended, I pray that we will go straight. We have long historical precedence for relying upon biblical principles to determine matters of jurisprudence and governance. Consider the convictions of our founding forefathers:

  1. “Having undertaken, for the glory of God, and advancement of the Christian faith, and honor of our King and Country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia do by these presents solemnly and mutually, in the presence of God and one of another, covenant and combine our selves together into a civil body politic for our better ordering and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid . . .” The Mayflower Compact (Written by the first Settlers in  in November 1620, this is the first/founding governing document writer for our Nation). 
  2. “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports,” George Washington (From his farewell address, September 17, 1796; quoted by Johnson, George Washington the Christian, pp. 217-18).
  3. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other,” John Adams. Quoted in War on Religious Freedom (Virginia Beach, Virginia: Freedom Council, 1984, p. 1).
  4. “Religion is the only solid basis of good morals; therefore education should teach the precepts of religion, and the duties of man toward God,” Gouverneur Morris (writer of the final draft of the Constitution and author of the phrase “We the people of the United States”). Quoted Gouverneur Morris in America’s God and Country: Encyclopedia of Quotations p. 455 & Christianity and the Constitution John Eidsmoe, p. 188 note 34; Notes on the Form of a Constitution for France, uncertain date, Life of Morris, III: 483.
  5. “It is the duty of nations, as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions, in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord,” Abraham Lincoln (Spoken on the National Day of Prayer, March 30, 1863). 
So what does America lose if gay marriage wins? She loses much. She loses the brilliance of what has made her great—the basis for her moral reasoning; the guiding light of revelation, which has led her safely through many dark nights and perilous storms; the connection to her founding roots that has enabled her to withstand the strongest tempest-winds; and most tragically, the blessing of the One who has made her the greatest nation on earth—God—the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. With all due respect, I pray America recognizes, as her founding fathers did, that Jesus is wiser than even the wisest American judge, and that she will reaffirm the definition of marriage given by God to all people throughout all of history that marriage is the union between one man and one woman bound in a covenant commitment of companionship for a lifetime.

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