I was up early this morning, earlier than I normally am on Sunday morning.  Over the weekend I’ve been thinking about what should I say to my church this morning, if anything about Friday’s Iowa Supreme Court ruling in favor of same-sex marriage.  Some thoughts (don’t know if I’ll share any or all of them this morning in church, but here you go)…

  • God is still on His throne.  None of this is a shock to Him.  He is not surprised.  Yet listening to some reaction from my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, I wonder if they believe that.
  • The world is not ending, it will one day when Jesus returns, but this ruling isn’t guaranteed to hasten His arrival.
  • We live in a broken and sinful world so why are we surprised when people act broken and sinful?
  • We need to make sure our own house is in order.  Critics of those who oppose same-sex marriage have a point when they discuss the divorce rate in traditional marriage and evangelicals in particular.  The divorce rate among Christ followers should be lower, but sadly that is not the case.
  • Those in favor of same-sex marriage are not the enemy, the Bible makes it pretty clear who the enemy is, (Ephesians 6:12).
  • As followers of Christ we need to speak truth in love, (Ephesians 4:15).
  • Do not look at those celebrating the ruling with disdain, if we were to put ourselves in their shoes we would feel the same way.
  • Political answers will never adequately address spiritual problems, if at all.
  • We have as a Church, by and large, failed to minister to the homosexual community.  When our only engagement with this community is political in nature we’ve missed the mark and are being disobedient.  That needs to change.  We should find ways to build bridges with the homosexual community to Christ’s love (and by that I don’t mean condone the lifestyle).
  • My friend over at Evangelicals Anonymous, who hasn’t been posting regularly but did post on this said something that we need to keep in mind when looking at potential consequences:

I believe most homosexuals simply want to be treated equally from their perspective and have no desire to sue churches, see pastors in jail, or cause a scene in any way.

  • Iowa Independent cited a recent University of Iowa poll that showed 60% of those under the age of 30 support same-sex marriage.  I would suggest it is pretty reflective of younger evangelicals as well.  Does this mean homosexuality is any less sinful?  Not at all.  It does show that by and large (and not on this issue only) parents are not adequately teaching kids to look at issues from a Biblical worldview.  I know I’m going to take some flak from some younger evangelicals on that, but I’m sorry.  Those opposing same-sex marriage have been wrong in not showing love to homosexuals.  Some (not all) younger evangelicals in their reaction to the other position are guilty of showing love, but never communicating truth on this issue.  It isn’t either/or, the biblical response is both/and.
  • While we shouldn’t just address this politically, it is not inappropriate to do so.  Christians who choose to contact their legislators need to remember – frame your argument from a civil point of view.  Talking about “God’s law” is not going to be effective.  We do not live in a theocracy.  We need to talk about societal pitfalls, etc., demonstrate social science evidence, etc.  Be winsome and respectful.
  • If an attempt at a marriage amendment fails, we are people who do respect the rule of law and democracy.  We need to obey our governing authorities provided doing so does not make us violate God’s word (if changes in the law later on requires churches to marry homosexuals, or not preach on homosexuality – like what you see in Canada, etc.).

There is more that could be said on this topic, and I’m sure I will post more as we get updates.

Update 4/9/09: Linked by Christianity Lived Out.

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  1. Shane I like the way you laid this out. Same Sex Marriages are indeed a downfall of society, but like many issues unfortuantely the Church has abdicated its responsibilty. Speaking the truth in love indeed is not condoning a lifestyle. I see this same issue with the Body of Christ with regards to abortion. We say don't, but we are not willing to walk with those the road after we say don't.

    Excellent post.

  2. Good overview. And to put things in perspective, the Iowa reversal will apply to probably fewer than 1% of all future marriages in the state. Many, many more more heterosexual marriages have serious problems. There are far more productive applications for one's angst.

    The sky is not falling.

  3. Simply awesome advice,I cannot understand how people think I am racist because I do not agree with the same sex marriage law. My stance in this issue is clear,and I have been called closeminded. Why couldn't the supreme court have labeled it a contract or union? It should never have been called a marriage! To remove the label of a bride and groom from the marriage license is a shame, it demeans the entire meaning of Holy matrimony. Love the sinner hate the sin.

  4. VERY well put Shane. Once our gut reactions fade, we can put this all in perspective.

  5. There is a great deal of wisdom in what you say here. I agree and disagree with your statement regarding speaking about “God's law” to legislators. It is true that our American law is BASED on God's law. I personally don't think we can ignore that fact, even in our discussions with legislators who are sometimes Godless. I wrote a piece about our founding fathers and our rights at this link that you might find interesting. Of course we can't just go saying, “Because God says…” and leave it at that. However we can't also ignore what our basic law comes from. I think if you'll read my piece you might agree with me.

    Have a blessed Palm Sunday!

  6. Why couldn't the supreme court have labeled it a contract or union? It should never have been called a marriage! To remove the label of a bride and groom from the marriage license is a shame, it demeans the entire meaning of Holy matrimony.

    If it's the same thing, why give it a different name? “Separate but equal” statutes have consistently been found to be neither. It turns out there is often a difference between theory and practice. Most recently, despite the fact that California has civil unions, some same sex couples still have had to sue to ensure that those unions were recognized in legal disputes within the state.

    Why not instead recognize that the state simply never has and never can license a religious union? All marriages certified by the state are by definition, civil marriages. Similarly all marriages certified by religious organizations are religious marriages. For instance, one may get a civil divorce even if the Catholic church doesn't recognize it. Likewise, the state will permit marriage between religions or divorced individuals even if the Catholic church will not.

  7. Thanks Mel, it certainly isn't where I as a Christian parent would like to see culture go for my kids' sake. We do need to do some self-correcting and make sure we address this not just through political means.

  8. No the sky is not falling. I'm not so sure about your 1%, what I'm leery about is the implications not talked about – like what is next. I know that you don't agree with me here, but with the agenda with some of the leadership of the gay rights activists groups goes beyond this even.

    Then who's next? It may seem ridiculous now, but if you were to tell somebody 20-30 years ago that we would have gay marriage they would have laughed at you.

    I also agree with you that heterosexual marriages have problems, and the Church has taken steps to address that problem within the Church and without. It will take time though.

  9. I see your point, and agree.

    My point is that it can't be the entirety of our argument. Which it is for some because they don't think through societal implications of same-sex marriage to form an appropriate apologetic. There are legislators who'll just shut you down or tune you out if that is the only basis you take.

    You have to raise civil issues as well.

  10. Oh my god … stop being so self-righteous!!! Open your mind and hearts to all people and stop being “JUDGE-MENTAL”.

  11. One more thing … Remember that NOT ALL CHRISTIANS are self-righteous and right-winged. Many gay people are Christians too and believe in Jesus and sing “Jesus Loves Me” just like we were all taught in Sunday School.

  12. I thought this was being tolerant. Tolerance means having a disagreement doesn't it? If we didn't disagree what would we have to tolerate? From the tone of your comment it seems like you are the one who is being judgmental.

    My mind and heart is open to all people, but that doesn't mean my mind and heart is open to all behavior. Nor should it. Think about whether or not you are practicing what you are telling me to do – is your mind and heart open to people with whom you disagree?

  13. Dear Reverend,

    If only more clergy would think like you! Yet, there's a point where I'd like to offer another perspective. Homosexuality is not a choice, so how can it be sinful? I have a dear friend who is a lesbian. She's a wonderful person, a true Christian, and, at this time, celibate. It's just this thing that she's made differently from, say, my wife: she could no more have sex with a man than I could. I'm sure if her entire body could be analyzed, they'd find some hormonal and neurological factors that make her just a little bit male. She's never made a choice to be a lesbian; she found herself that way in adolescence. Most all homosexuals are that way.

    I'd like to suggest for you to read my free e-book, Walkabout: The History of a Brief Century. I think you could handle it; you seem like an exceptional minister. In Chapter 28, there's a discussion on homosexuality based on my talks with the friend I mentioned. Another insight you might be interested in is the discussion on sin in chapter 33. In brief: Sin is not a set of actions; sin is a set of attitudes. All the best,

  14. Gregory,

    There is absolutely no evidence that suggests that, and even if there were scripture is pretty straightforward. The studies I know of that have been done have show this not to be the case.

    While homosexuality is a sin among many other practices labeled sin in the Bible it is still sin.

    Can't go there with you and still be faithful to God's word.

  15. OK, let me rephrase that. Only a change of attitude can get you saved. Once saved, past actions–though sinful–don't count. Attitude thus overrules acts, q.e.d.

  16. I wore a suit of blended fabric to my wedding. This is a sin of exactly the same severity as having sex with a man. Is my marriage therefore invalid? If not, why should the marriages of other sinners, no worse than I, be prevented or declared null and void? Should only those free of all sin be allowed to marry? Who's going to throw the first stone at me?

  17. Sure… depending on what you mean by “change of attitude.” Romans 10:9 says “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart God raised Him from the dead then you'll be saved.”

    John 1:12 says we have to receive Christ.

    So we see that their is genuine repentance and belief in Christ and receiving Him as Lord and Savior. You the accept Christ's work on the cross on your behalf. The penalty for your sin paid in full – past, present, and future.

    Now a couple of thoughts (man this could be a blog post all it's own):

    1. If a person refuses to repent of the lifestyle is that true repentance? I'd say no.
    2. God's calls us to holiness, not heterosexuality – so I have no expectation that a homosexual will suddenly be attracted to the opposite sex. The main thing is that they affirm God's design for sex and marriage, and depend on God to resist the temptation they face. Just like some have to with drugs, and others with pornography, etc. Just because we become a Christian doesn't mean that our temptations suddenly go away, but we are no longer a slave to it.

    Hopefully that makes sense.

  18. What the heck are you talking about “a suit of blended fabric?”

    Of course marriage is not limited to those free of sin, if so who could marry? Marriage however is between a man and a woman and that is God's design. Pretty clear in scripture.

  19. Thanks for the response to my question on attitude.

    Again, though, I must protest against your term “lifestyle.” Homosexuality is neither a lifestyle nor a choice. You're born that way, like you're born white or female. You either live a life of misery trying to be like the majority, or you realize you're different and live a life of discrimination and persecution for being yourself. People who happily eat pork and shellfish will hound you down and kill you for having a natural need to do something that was prohibited in the same book that prohibited eating non-kosher foods. We know that kosher is based on health needs in an unsanitary environment, and that today, we can safely eat pork without getting tapeworm. But the ban on homosexual relations, equally practical-everybody needed to produce children then–remains because it provides a vehicle for turning the majority against a defenseless minority, increasing the cash flow of the leaders maintaining the hatred. Not pretty. I wish somebody would break this curse on our society.

  20. Yes, our laws are a reflection of our morality, but Christ was clear that you can make all the laws you want and even follow them, but that is not at the 'heart' of the matter, and in no way will this save one's soul. (See 'Pharisee.') I am in total agreement with the notion of marriage being first and foremost a civil issue, not a religious one. The Pilgrims and Puritans, in fact, believed this, and did not think it proper for ministers to be 'burdened' (Wm Bradford, 'Of Plimoth Plantation) by performing marriages. If one wishes one's marriage to be a sacrament, then it should be done in church, where it can be made a sacred union. (My choice, BTW.)
    I do not believe that gay marriages/civil unions are an attack on heterosexual marriage. Good Heavens, we have far more pernicious forces attacking marriage and the family FROM WITHIN than we do FROM WITHOUT.
    I also personally know so many gay couples (male and female) who have stepped up to the plate to adopt disabled and troubled children that no one else seems to want. Those families deserve the all the honor and protection that civil society can afford them. And, God willing, some churches to take them in.
    I liked this post so much. It focuses and re-harnesses our spiritual energies in a direction of real promise, real change, real hope for the future. Human law cannot do that for us. Christ can. And Christ does.

  21. I've got to disagree on folks “having a point” when they say that marriage has some problems, so let's try to destroy it some more.
    (and yes, radically redefining something is a way to destroy it)

    They no more have a point than pro-abortion folks who argue that because there are children who are abused, every child that isn't “wanted” should be killed before they can be seen.

    A large part of why homosexuals often don't feel “engaged” by churches is that, if you identify yourself by a sin, it's going to be really hard to get you into communion with those who recognize that sin. (This isn't to denigrate the many good SSA support groups that are out there, or the very brave men and women who work hard to be good Christians in spite of their homosexual tenancies– but you have to admit that there's something wrong with homosexual activity before you can be reached. Even Alc Anon knows that.)
    Kinda like the lack of Jewish outreach to Bacon Eaters United.

    All we can do is try to be good sisters, brothers, parents, friends and neighbors– we can keep a hand out, but they've got to want to take that hand.

  22. I think it's one of the older, fulfilled laws– like not eating pork or non-scaled sea food.

    The daily show mentioned it a while back, might want to find the exact part in your OT so you can use it as a teaching moment.

  23. He says “lifestyle” because being attracted to the same sex isn't sinful. Acting on that desire is; thus, the “lifestyle.”

    I think you might want to do a little more research…this isn't a Jewish blog. Christians are slightly different.

  24. homosexuals have never been found wanting in any sector of society, compared to heterosexuals. they are not less a brother,friend, doctor, attorney soldier ,teacher, neighbor, father.

    jesus said you will know them by their fruit. what is the fruit of homosexuality that it would come against the 2nd commandment(the summation of all the law). what is in the essence of being homosexual that makes it a sin?

    belief which is centered around “”i”” ,that is without witness, or reason has no resemblance to the truth.

    it feels like iowans are in shock, because they are being forced to give up beliefs that they were not yet ready to give up. that they were suppose to have a couple more years top process all this…………… first.

    is the minority suppose to wait until the majority feels good and ready to give them their rights.

  25. “what is in the essence of being homosexual that makes it a sin?”

    I'm not sure what evangelicals who believe that birth control is permissible can ultimately say about this. Hopefully Shane will weigh in on this as well. But the Catholic Church has a pretty consistent and cogent answer to this question, even if most people who consider themselves Catholic do not accept it: that all sexual intercourse (heterosexual or homosexual) which is closed to procreation is a sin, and that intercourse between two people of the same gender is by definition closed to procreation.

    Our position is that when you have sex with another person that is not open to procreation, you are misusing sex and essentially treating the other person as an object, even if it is mutual objectification. Now, you may think this position is extreme, but it is logically consistent for everyone, and places a much more nearly equal burden on people of all sexual orientations. It doesn't give heterosexual couples free reign while calling people with same sex attractions to be celibate. There are two main objections to this position, aside from it being too “extreme:”

    The first is, “So is everyone supposed to have 15 kids then?” No, although it would be nice if society didn't look down on people who choose to do so and have the financial resources to raise that many kids without government help. But most couples are not called to have that many kids, and instead are called to employ Natural Family Planning, a sophisticated, completely natural method which is 99% effective when used properly. The time when a woman is infertile is just as much a gift from God as when she is fertile, and NFP helps you take advantage of that time. But the point is that it takes effort and *communication* and is still “open” to the potential conception of a child, rather than just popping a pill or putting on a rubber sleeve. There are lots of resources on the Web explaining how it works, and the logistics of it are not the main point of my comment here.

    The second is, “What about people who know they can never have kids, isn't that also closed to procreation?” And there are two points in response to this. The first is that if you are naturally infertile, it is not the same thing as actively and artificially doing something to render yourself infertile. The second is that there are a number of people who have been told by a doctor that they can't have kids naturally who end up doing so. For example, a couple I know was told that they would never have kids naturally, so they adopted a child. Soon after they did that, they also had a child naturally (which they wanted to do) so the doctor was obviously wrong.

    A final point, on adoption by same-sex couples– A gay male couple, by definition can never include a “mother,” and a a lesbian couple can never include a “father.” I don't know how many real life examples of this there are, but I certainly salute the same-sex couples who have adopted children with disabilities that no one else wants to adopt–but don't you have to admit that this is still a less-than-ideal situation for those kids? Don't you have to admit that it is better for children to grow up with both a mother and a father, and that society has an interest in maximizing the probability that children will do so? Certainly for this very same reason, society also has a huge interest in minimizing divorce to a much greater extent than we do.

  26. Who needs a father? Who needs a mother? Homosexual marriage further reinforces the answer of “no one” to those questions. The increase of out-of-wedlock births and divorce have already gotten us far down this road of dysfunction. Just a mother is good enough, with maybe a step-father or intermittent male role models. But this is a lie. For one, it puts children more at risk of being abused. (For example, see here Second, further degrading the nuclear family leaves more citizens dependent upon the government…that is, fellow taxpayers. (For example, see the Nordic countries…)
    Further, children suffer in school because of broken homes and then the state…fellow taxpayers, that is…must try to fix them. (See…) This is just the tip of the iceberg.

  27. By the same logic, then, we can say that among a blue-eyed majority, it isn't a sin to be born with brown eyes, but opening them so the blue-eyed can see them is cause for condemnation, discrimination, and lynching.

    Interesting how we can pick and choose which portions of God's law we need to comply with in order to be self-righteous. We just say, that one is fulfilled, but this one we can still impose on people. Like the Catholic church thinks that abortion to save a life is a worse crime than raping a little girl.

  28. Ten dollars says that the proportion of dysfunctional homes among gay couples with children is lower than among the general population. Ten more says that the incidence of incest and rape of children is lower too. Gay people don't get kids by accident; they have to work at it, and they know to value their kids once they have them. Yet, the churches don't want these people, because they're so good to pick on.

  29. I would disagree that same sex marriage is ' destroying marriage'. It gives SS couples necessary incentives and support without having to resort to much less useful legal and societal arrangements. It provides a model for stability and long-term relationships, and provides a large degree of reduced stress for some people that did not have this support in the past.

    Finally, it affects my marriage not one iota and changes nothing about my relationship with my spouse. There is no question that we remain married. The day SSM became legal in Massachusetts was just like any other day for other married couples in the state, accept perhaps for a small minority, their decades-long engagements finally turned into a wedding day.

  30. Your example isn't analogous.

    The opening of the eyes would be the action being compared to the disordered sex; there isn't anything inherently disordered with opening eyes.
    To phrase it differently, there is a difference between opening eyes of a different color, and engaging in unnatural sex.

    You really, really need to go find out what the folks you're trying to argue with believe– right now, you just sound like some college kid that's trying to get attention. The sheer ignorance of one of the largest religions on earth is either willful or sad, and breathtaking either way: it's not as if Christianity is quiet about why an what it believes!

    Your assumption that homosexual activity is sinful because of the same section of the Old Testament that has the Kosher food laws is incorrect; it's sinful because it's against the natural order; there's lots of folks who can say it a lot better than I can, if you're interested.

    Like the Catholic church thinks that abortion to save a life is a worse crime than raping a little girl.
    Now you just look flat ignorant– anyone who actually studies the issue knows that the one time the indirect killing of an unborn child is allowable is when the child's growth would kill the mother. Best example is the “tubal” pregnancy.
    (Aborting the child of a raped little girl would be victimizing her twice– and yes, we think that murdering a baby is worse than rape! Murdering two people is worse than murdering one, doesn't mean it's a good thing to murder “only” one!)

    Look, everyone here is willing to tell you what we believe, and why– how about trying to ask, instead of attacking your strawmen?

  31. My argument is that it destroys marriage by radically redefining it; you're welcome to argue with that, but if you disregard it out of hand, I'll just disregard your views, as well, and we don't get anywhere.

    Sorry for such a short reply, I'm about to hit the road for a very long drive.

  32. One percent is a guesstimate based on what has been seen in Massachusetts. There was an initial peak from pent up demand and worry about a reversal but it's been a few years along now.

    Who's next? I can't say. Half a century ago, one of my mother's friends said she was going to Hell for marrying out of her race and my parent's marriage was technically not 'legal' in several states. One couldn't foresee all the implications of mixed race couples back then, some positive, some negative.

    For that matter, who could predict what impact the internet and the WWW have on couples?

    We'll play it by ear as time goes by.

  33. No problem. I'm about to get busy here as well.

    If one wants to call linguistic redefinition 'destruction' , that's fine, at least within that narrow context. I also agree that civil marriages are not the same as religious marriages and that what passes the muster for civil marriages may not be accepted by all religious observers. For example, marriage of divorced people is not recognized by the Catholic church (at least in many instances).

    I also agree that covering SSM under civil marriages is a real change, at least legally, but from an operational perspective, I wouldn't go so far as to say that it 'destroys' marriage(s). There is no other married couple I know that noticed anything different after SSM became legal in Massachusetts. And it certainly didn't change church sanctified marriages. Churched marry the couples they choose and continue to bind couples in their own ways.

  34. Shane, thanks for supplying the details, which we both agree on. I think you can see my point, too: fire-and-brimstone preaching on the upcoming judgment for past sinful acts should take second seat to the gospel of salvation in Jesus. “You can't change what you've done, but you can change your attitudes.” That's a quote from my book. Here's another: “A code of behavior, even an onerous one, and the supervision needed to maintain it, can be sold for money, as long as the promised reward is attractive enough. Just look at the martial arts, as an example. On the other hand, who’s going to pay you for advertising a free gift? Well, that’s obvious from any marketing campaign: only the giver of the gift. So preaching salvation as a free gift by the grace of God and the blood of Jesus requires living on faith, something professional church leaders and clergy aren’t very good at.” Do read it.

  35. OK, my example with eye color didn't convey my message. I'll try again.

    What, pray, gives the majority the moral right axiomatically to define what's natural and what's unnatural? Let's take a better example: Until no more than a generation ago, and certainly still today in Muslim societies, left-handedness was defined as unnatural. The left-handed, born that way and unable to change their brain structure, were subjected to violence and coercion, and ended up traumatized and unable to reach their potential using their non-dominant right hands. Their oppressors, no doubt, cited holy scripture and sacred tradition just like those now persecuting homosexuals. Where is it written that what is natural to the majority must be imposed on the minority, because the majority has the right to dictate that its way is the natural way?

    Another example: Am I doing something sinister and unnatural because, out of consideration for my wife, I sit down to pee? The majority of men stand up and splatter. Should I be reeducated, forced to recant, or burned at the stake for doing something unnatural in the bathroom? Let's take a vote among the silent majority out there.

  36. In other words: My way or the highway. Accepted only on the condition of compliance with something that's unnatural to them.

    It seems that God's design for sexual relations has gone wrong somewhere, if we're to believe that only sex for the purpose of procreation is morally acceptable. The average person has something around 2.2 children during his or her lifetime, yet has sex thousands of times. Statistically speaking, sex, in truth, has the purpose of recreation. That's the way we're created. Yet those holier than I would have us believe that all but 2.2 times I've had sex have been sinful.

    If this is your position, then stop reading now; for the rest, I'd like to postulate that the way, the frequency, and with whom we have consensual sex for recreation is our own business and not that of those who would judge us for being different from their ideas.

  37. Argon, doesn't marriage of close relatives (incest) affect your marriage not one iota and change nothing about your relationship with your spouse as well? Why should it continue to be prohibited? I answered your question on the other blogpost. I'll respond here as well to help keep the discussion going without jumping around… My main reason for prohibiting incestuous marriage is due to Leviticus 18 (because God said not to do it). What would be your reason(s)?

  38. Hi Shane–

    I returned to this terrific post today after being contacted by a friend that was very angry about my public comments opposing gay marriage. My friend knows how I stand. When I asked, “what should I have done?”, the friend replied: “at least stay silent.”

    As you know, Shane, I am married to a woman who doesn't share my political beliefs and I have many friends who do not share my political or religious beliefs. Yet–this has been a blessing to me as I have learned truly to “speak the truth in love” by constantly engaging in loving dialogue with people who (passionately) disagree with me.

    I fear that many Christians often put themselves in an “echo chamber” and exclusively associate with those who reinforce their own religious and political beliefs–this is true on both the left and the right.

    The problem, then, is we don't get to practice “speaking the truth with love.” And we often are completely unaware how cutting our comments can be.

    While many my applaud their own “bluntness,” I always keep in mind that my main mission is, as Max Lucado says, “getting people into heaven.” I hope my words never actually slam AND lock the door.

  39. You know that contradicts every study I've seen. In that a nuclear in-tact family is bet. Kids need mom and dad. I've had several friends who have grown up in same-sex relationship homes, and they haven't had much positive to say about the experience.

  40. I'm with you on gay adoption. I don't think it is in the best interest of the child. Gay adoption is promoted more as an agenda and to promote the “rights” of a same-sex couple. The best interest of the child seems to take a backseat.

    Not saying that every heterosexual married couple make great parents… I work with too many dysfunctional families to know that is not true. But, a homosexual couple from the start is off on the wrong foot.

    I also wouldn't promote adoption with one parent household or unmarried heterosexual households either.

    Can't say I agree with you on birth control as I believe that God also created sex for intimacy between a man and his wife, as well as to pro-create. Also there are valid medical reasons why some couples refrain from having kids. For instance I know someone who got a vasectomy because his wife has rheumatoid arthritis and she needs to be on strong medicine in which she can't have kids once she's on. That's sinful? Where is that in scripture? There are a number of birth control devices that I am against because they have abortionfacient qualities.

    I would agree with you that a number of people who do take birth control do so for selfish reasons and are likely not seeking God's will in regards to family planning though. I also agree that we shouldn't look down on big families either.

    Regarding the homosexuality = sin question, I'm going to respond to that via a separate blog post.

  41. I'm going to answer you what makes homosexuality a sin question in a separate post.

    I think you make a very blanket statement in you opening statement… you make it sound as though homosexuals are superior.

    I don't think anybody here said that homosexuals were inept in professional roles, that isn't the issue here.

    Though as a former member of the Army, unless they address housing issues I object to homosexuals serving. If they address the housing issues that come along with it – fine.

  42. I change the definition of “primary color” to include orange, purple and green.

    You then are given a choice of “primary colors”– green and orange.

    Result: the thing billed as a primary color choice isn't anything of the sort; the word nolonger exists as refering to the three pigment colors which you blend to make other colors.

  43. What, pray, gives the majority the moral right axiomatically to define what's natural and what's unnatural?

    Truth is not a majority vote, as a rather smart man once said; if you're going to question the existence of a natural order, in a serious and honest matter, you might want to look for a philosophy group. If you'd really like, I can look for a good write-up of the general discussion?
    Really, really short version of why homosexual sex isn't natural:
    Sex, AKA the reproductive act.
    Homosexual sex: a mimicking of the reproductive act without possibility of reproduction.
    See also: chemical contraception, physical contraception, masturbation.

    This is a Christian blog: we believe in objective morality and an objective reality. (even if we, as humans, are highly flawed)
    A large part of your disagreement seems to come from a misunderstanding on why we believe what we believe.

  44. In other words: My way or the highway.

    What a succinct summation of the homosexual lifestyle activists perspective!

    I know that's not how you meant it, but it is still accurate.

    Accepted only on the condition of compliance with something that's unnatural to them.

    Refraining from sex is “unnatural?” Goodness, better turn out all those rapists and pedophiles– restraining their urges is “unnatural” and thus an unfair demand!

    What other desires is it “unnatural” to restrain?


  45. If this is your position, then stop reading now; for the rest, I'd like to postulate that the way, the frequency, and with whom we have consensual sex for recreation is our own business and not that of those who would judge us for being different from their ideas.

    And this is highly relevant, since the original posts calls for the immediate stoning of all those thought to participate in homosexual activities.

    Oh…wait… it didn't say that? It objected to redefining a religious union in a manner that's never before existed?

    And no argument claimed that ideas were sinful, only that actions were?

    Oh, what a relief!

  46. Thanks for checking back. I didn't see your response yesterday. My point about SSM not affecting my marriage was more directed at some who've said that it demean their marriage. But really, nothing outside one's marriage can do that. Nobodies marriage became any less.

    As for sibling marriage: I'll continue that discussion where it originated:

  47. Civil laws are subject to change, as can also happen with opinions within societies. Religious views can also change over time, but for the sake of the argument, let's assume they change very slowly or not at all. Although the civil and religious authorities use the same word, 'marriage' don't conflate the two: They've never meant quite the same thing. To be concise, one could call them 'civil marriages' or 'civil unions' distinguish them from 'religious marriages'. The Iowa Supreme Court didn't touch religious marriages.

    Even 'marriage' among religions can vary: Catholics might not formerly recognize the marriages of some Protestants, particularly among the divorced.

  48. Sorry, I don't understand. What appeals to authority? Could you reformulate your request?

    I agree that the ruling extends and thus redefines the classes of people who can get civil marriages. That is a change. I don't agree that the change 'destroys' the experience of marriage per se, particularly among those who previously could get married under the old interpretation. I likewise don't think marriages were 'destroyed' in the past when it was redefined by courts to allow mixed-race couples.

  49. Already happened. It works pretty much the same way as any other divorce. One problem is getting divorced in states that don't recognize the original marriage.

  50. when you have sex with another person that is not open to procreation, you are misusing sex and essentially treating the other person as an object

    I take it, then, that my wife and I have been sinning having monogamous sex these past 30 years since her hysterectomy?

    it is better for children to grow up with both a mother and a father, and that society has an interest in maximizing the probability that children will do so

    This is one point where one should remember the quote about lies, damn lies, and statistics. If you're going to apply statistics to gay couples with children, them for heaven's sake also apply them to straight people with children. How many children of straight people are growing up abused, traumatized, with just one parent, hungering because all the money goes to drugs and booze? These kids then are still better off than adopted or natural children of gay couples? Why are idealization and wishful thinking permissible arguments when putting down a discriminated minority, but not the other way around?

    society also has a huge interest in minimizing divorce to a much greater extent than we do

    Let's all become Catholics and that problem is solved!

  51. Yes, yes–I like a nuclear, intact family, too. But that's 50% wishful thinking these days: precious few nuclear families are intact anymore; they aren't robust enough. The natural, resilient family is an extended family, but we don't have those now since society decided that extended families had to go so we'd all get out there and consume more. A heterosexual union is no guarantee for a positive environment for children, and too many children are growing up without that environment. Is it then better that all these deprived children are left to their own measures or put in some kind of foster care than allowing interested homosexual couples to care for some of them? Misery isn't going to go away just because you know the prescription against it. Homosexuality isn't going to go away either: it's a fact of animal biology, and, failing effective action like they recently took in Iraq, it's going to be with us for the foreseeable future. Why do you keep telling us how it ought to be when neither you nor I can change the way it is?

  52. unless they address housing issues I object to homosexuals serving. If they address the housing issues that come along with it – fine.

    Segregate them so they don't defile you with their sinful presence. (Mt. 9-11.) Put them in their own unit that you can send off on the first suitable suicide mission. Seat them in the back of the bus. Nothing changes.

    Here's a quote from my book: “Woe unto you, pharisees, hypocrites.”

  53. Excuse me? Now look who is being judgmental.

    Do you even understand, no of course you don't…

    Soldiers have to share quarters, have common bunk rooms, share showers, etc. It would not much different than sharing all of that co-ed.

    I suppose you don't have a problem with that though either.

    I didn't say put them in their own unit, just not share the same dorm.

    Also to say that would be done to send them off on a suicide missions is offensive.

  54. Update:
    Vermont just became the first state to legalize SSM by legislative decision. The Govenor's veto was over-ridden, 23-5 in the senate and 100-49 in the house. I wonder where they got the additional five votes in the house.

  55. Great thoughts Jeff. I read that on your blog as well. For some reason I didn't get this comment until now since Disqus filtered it as spam. Strange, don't know why it would. I'll have to be sure to check the spam filter a little more often.

  56. I have often wondered why homosexuality is called out on the carpet as a sin so frequently. Can anyone address how homosexuality is 'more' of a sin than adultery, greed, promiscuity, etc etc – any one of the wide panoply of self-centered sins that should be commanding our attention. . .yet homosexuality some how attracts more attention than the sins that afflict us all? Good Heavens, if gays don't belong in church due to the 'a priori' argument that they are 'openly sinning' – the pews should therefore be emptied of the rest of us. Neither you nor I would have a seat before Christ. And clearly he came for ALL of us. Sin is the stamp on the admission ticket. . .or did I miss something?

    I find so little in the Bible regarding either homosexuality OR marriage, compared to the great expenditure some Christians spend on it (again, compared to other sins.) Neither marriage nor being gay apparently preoccupied Christ as much as it does us.

  57. I've never said that it was more than a sin than those other items, actually the contrary.

    I don't agree with you statement about “I find so little,” anytime you find the phrase “sexual immorality” in the New Testament – which is the Greek word porniea it is referring to homosexuality and marriage. Besides just because it isn't mentioned a lot as other topics doesn't mean it isn't important.

    I wouldn't say a lot of time has been spent on it either. In the 17 years I have been a Christian I can remember only one sermon on the topic. We'd probably focus a lot less on it if it weren't for activism done by homosexuals.

    Also you probably don't find much mention of it in the Gospels, because it wasn't exactly common in Israel. He did speak on lust and adultery, and they way he described marriage in Matthew 5 & 19 makes it a given that is meant to between a man and a woman.

    Who on this blog said homosexuals weren't welcome in the church?

  58. Tis is a VERY sad day. I can't believe the people have no vote as I'm sure there must be some pay off for the democrats in their decision.They are also afraid to let the people vote as they know the out come. People do not want this in Iowa or any other state!!!!!!!!! Have They Lost Their minds???? This has greatly lessened the value of marriage in Iowa.This goes against the laws of nature.What will They do to us next. Just think of 2 women or two men together makes me sick.No wonder society has been punished with AIDS. We need PRAYER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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