How an Evangelical came to support marriage equality

It’s election season up here in Maine, and the hottest issue on the ballot is gay marriage. See, our legislators voted to allow gay marriage earlier this year but the anti-gay marriage folks decided they were not happy with that and long story short it’s now going to be voted on by all the good folks here in Maine next week.

I must say this is perhaps even hotter than the presidential election with passions running high on both sides, hell even my neighbors have signs in their lawn letting the world know they are only down with traditional marriage meaning one man and one woman. I find their signs funny in a sad way because while I like my neighbors well enough, I have heard enough of their fights to know if they were the poster children for straight marriage, I would drop the Spousal Unit real fast and find myself a lovely lady. To say their relationship is dysfunctional is an understatement, so why they care about what two consenting adults do seems silly when they really don’t even do their marriage well. (to the neighbors, please close the windows next time you have one of your arguments)

Anyway close personal friends know that I call myself an Evangelical Christian despite the fact that my present membership is with a very liberal United Church of Christ church…old habits die hard I guess.

I am going to say that once upon a time, I was against gay marriage. Why? Well because in the churches that I used to attend it was said to be a sin and totally against God’s will. Well a few years ago, when I was feeling the pull to apply to seminary (still grappling with this but that’s another post) I started to truly read and study the bible on my own. After all if one is going to seriously consider seminary I figured I need to get real intimate with the Bible.

Well after a couple of years of studying, my own conclusion and I admit for the sake of writing this post in the time I have available I am not going to quote specific scripture but if anyone wants to know where I am getting this from, let me know and I will come back with verses that I am getting this from. It’s only in the Old Testament that speaks explicitly against same-sex relations, there is no denying that the Old Testament came down pretty much in what today would be called the anti-gay camp.

However using the bible as the basis for being anti-gay and if one is a Christian then we cannot ignore Jesus and the New Testament. Jesus was radical, his purpose in coming was so that salvation was obtainable to folks by belief in him. (yes, I know I am simplifying this) At the end of the day Jesus was about love and very much against the hypocrisy that was running rampant in his day and still runs rampant in many Christian communities today.

Yes, there is talk in the New Testament that marriage is an act that is between one man and one woman, but at the same time I think the New Testament is not scripturally clear and at best is ambiguous on the issue of gay marriage. But at the same time the overarching theme to love one another is very clear.

So for me from a scriptural basis, I cannot come down and stay silent and use my faith as a tool to mistreat each others. I told the Spousal Unit the other night that maybe I am misreading scripture but I just cannot get myself worked up about gay marriage. Not when I see so much abuse and mistreatment in the world.

Here in Maine, gay marriage opponents are saying what about the kids, if gay marriage becomes law? Well I say what about the kids now? In my professional work, I see a shitload of kids who are the product of heterosexual unions and frankly their lives are not so great. Funny because I can say personally the kids I know whose parents are gay or lesbian, often times have parents who are a lot more loving and attentive.

The other reason why I as a Christian, have a hard time with this issue is that as part of an interracial couple, it wasn’t that long ago that folks used the Bible to prohibit marriage between people of different races. Often times sounding the alarm with the question “What about the kids?” Well my kids are just fine, thank you very much. A couple years ago my son liked a girl who liked him, but her Dad was against interracial unions and he told my son that he had to be messed up because he was half white and half black. Yes, my first marriage ended in divorce but we were young and not compatible, race was not that much of a factor in the demise of our relationship and it most certainly has not hindered my son’s development in any way.

So when I go to the polls here in Maine, it will be No on 1 all the way because marriage equality is about equal rights and in America no one has the right to shove their religion down anyone else’s throat.

10 thoughts on “How an Evangelical came to support marriage equality”

  1. I loved this post, Shay. I remember when you and I were having frank conversations back in ’04 about the elections. It seems like you and I have taken a similar political shift on the issue of marriage.

    One of the most enlightening moments for me as a Christian–albeit one who is struggling at the moment–has been to step AWAY from the dogma and man-made doctrine and understand Scripture for myself.

  2. BGIM’s Spousal Unit, excellent points. But at this point it seems, “Churchianity” is so synonymous with the term Christianity such that true Christians need to coin another term to capture the personal strive to be more like Christ and let the Churchians have it.

  3. This is a nation of Churchianity and faith-based bigotry, but it isn’t a Christian nation. It’s a secular one that has some powerful and vocal people who want to legislate “biblical” behavior.

    If this nation was “Christian” it would be more Christ-like, and we wouldn’t be off trying to force-feed our philosophies and politics on others, or dictate what two consenting adults can do here.

    I want the term Christianity back from all the narrow minded dingleberries who don’t act a bit like Christ and ignore his teachings in favor of enforcing the very hypocrisy and intolerance he preached against.

  4. Big cheers, Shay, you know I support equal marriage rights and your willingness to reconcile your Christian heritage and beliefs with the gay marriage vote gives me hope that others will do the same. Spread the word!

    xo Amy

  5. Chi-Chi, I totally agree with you. This is indeed a Christian nation. I didn’t realize it until I looked at the country from my Jewish husband’s POV.

    I have always been for gay rights, especially marriage. It was just recently that people of different races could marry–and the same arguments were used to dissuade those unions.

  6. Black Diaspora, that was a great comment!

    I heard a commercial against gay marriage on the radio the other day. It talked about what “they” are teaching your kids in school. About kids having two dads or two moms . . . and how terrible and awful that is. Made me wonder . . . suppose a child with two dads or two moms were listening to that radio broadcast?

    No, in word the U.S. is not a Christian nation, agreed, but in deed, it really is. You only have to spend a couple of days as a non-Christian in the U.S. to realize that even though this is supposed to be secular society, even though this country was founded by non-Christians (Deists), Christianity and Christian ideals permeate every aspect of American life and politics. Just try to get a non-Christian holiday recognized at the job or at school. Right after the president comes into office, the next question is what church the first family will attend. Imagine if the president said, “No, I’m going to be attending a Buddhist temple”. See, that’s what gives people the courage and the permission to try to use their Christian framework to dictate what others can and cannot do. Those little things that are traditionally Christian like certain holidays and church attendance and adherence to the tenets of the Bible that are presented to everyone like those are the default and the normal while everything else is “diverse”.

    How exactly, in tangible terms now, does gay folks being allowed to marry affect straight folks? If it offends your moral sensibilities, that’s fine and I get it. But the hubris to think your moral sensibilities ought to be everyone’s moral sensibilities because God said so . . . it’s mind boggling. In some folks’ minds, it seems, God only speaks to some and not to others.

    And BGIM, I do like your point about the kids. I always believe that it’s better to be raised by two people who love you with their everything whether they be two people of the same sex or not than to be raised by a “proper” couple who puts you absolutely last.

  7. You’ve stated your position so well–and because it meshes so well with mine–I have very little to say, except, brava!

    I wonder sometimes if the religious opposition to same-sex marriages goes beyond that of believing that it’s a sin.

    How much of it stems from how those folks (gays and lesbians) indulge their sexuality that’s got Christians in a uproar?

    Thou shalt not kill doesn’t bring out a similar opposition to war, where killing is so commonplace.

    Curiously, the Ten Commandments doesn’t address homosexuality at all, but it does address “adultery.”

    And where is the righteous outrage over working on the sabbath.

    It appears that we Christians cherrypick our way through the Bible, honoring some “thou shalt nots,” while ignoring others.

    And should we impose our will upon others simply because we deem something a sin and, therefore, seek to enforce it using the legal framework of this country?

    It was abortion, and a few other government sectioned acts that angered Christians and politicized their message from the pulpit.

    If we look to our Constitution as our governing document, we shouldn’t make exceptions to it on the basis of our perceived religious duty, and seek to compel the actions of others who have protections under the same Constitution, although they may not believe as we do.

    I would say put a vote in for me on No on 1, but that would be illegal. But know: I support your position, and will be voting in spirit.

  8. Oh…one more point… that notion that so many Christians embrace… that only Christians get to “define” marriage and get to establish for the world what marriage consists of …. is also beyond ridiculous…

    Just had to mention that!

  9. Hi Shay!

    I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve come across someone who asked me about my stance on gay marriage – just because I am a minister who teaches that homosexuality and lesbianism are identified in scripture as sins!!

    I tell them that the United States IS NOT a Christian nation. While there are many Christians who keep insisting that it is, turning on television, the radio, or reading the popular magazines will prove that they are operating with delusions of Christo-supremacy for America.

    We are not a Christian nation.

    That leads me to my next point… since we are not a Christian nation…it can not be against the law to refuse to live by Christian principles or teachings.

    This is very hard for many Christians to swallow. They honestly WANT laws to be enacted that make it illegal to disregard Biblical teaching. I think they are beyond ridiculous for even entertaining such a notion.

    I don’t believe that this country should create separate laws and rights for one group of adults that do not apply to another group of adults. That is preposterous. Of course, that is not what these folks who ask me about gay marriage expect me to say…

    Oh well…since when have I cared about saying what’s expected? *smirk*

    Peace, blessings and DUNAMIS!

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