Why do Christians act as though homosexual marriage will hurt them or damage their marriage in some way?
I just got back from a trip to Boston where I saw some of my relatives. While spending the day with my cousin, I got the opportunity to talk to a massage therapist about what I believe. She asked the above question after we had been talking about God and religion for a while. While I was attempting to answer the question, we got onto a tangent and I never did finish my answer. I thought I would try and complete it here.
I want you to try and imagine something that makes you very angry. Because the world around us every day hardens us to the plight of other human beings, let us imagine a crime against helpless animals. Let us imagine that a number of horrible people have taken some kittens and puppies out to a remote location to torture and kill them. Because they want to enjoy their activities for years to come, they make a video for their entertainment and post it to the internet.
On this video, the most sadistic things you can imagine are done to kittens and puppies. They are set on fire, their eyes are shot out with pellet guns, they are boiled. All the while, the young group of hooligans responsible are laughing it up and having a good time. How would you feel if you watched this video? Would you be upset? Why? They aren’t your kittens or puppies being killed. The video won’t make you a torturer of pets and doesn’t effect your life at all.
The reason I conjure up these horrific images is not to compare homosexuality with torturing kittens, but to attempt to establish an important point. The point is that if a person sees a principle that they believe to be important violated, that person will find that violation upsetting. Why? Not because it effects that person directly, but merely because that person believes the principles involved to be important and that the violation of those principles is wrong. This is a very natural, understandable and human reaction and the only people who don’t experience it are those who don’t believe that anything is important.
A Sacred Institution
Christians believe that God created us, that he provides for us on a daily basis and that he loves us so much that he sent his Son to die on the cross for our sins. We further believe that sex is a gift given to us by God and that it creates a sacred bond between men and women that teaches us to love one another and produces children made in God’s image. When some Christians see attempts to legalize gay marriage, it upsets them. This is not because they think it will effect their marriage in some direct or immediate way, it is because they believe that principles vital to our society and to our lives have been violated. They believe it to be wrong and they seek to prevent that wrong through legislation.
As I have written in a previous essay, I do not agree with the attempt to ban gay marriage using government laws. God gave us the ability to choose and forcing people to follow Christian principles using the law enforcement mechanisms of the state is morally wrong in principle and counter-productive in practice. On the other hand, I also believe that God’s gift of sex is sacred, that God intended marriage to be a sacred bond between a man and a woman and that human law cannot alter divinely ordained institutions. In my view, a homosexual couple married by the state would remain unmarried in the eyes of God.
**It is interesting to note that the reason I had to use the example of animal cruelty is that in our society nothing else is commonly considered to be sacred. I couldn’t use children because millions of children have been aborted since abortion was legalized. I couldn’t use sex because lewd sex is all over the Internet. Judging from the comments I read online when a news story describes cruelty to an animal, however, I feel confident that most people will consider the principle of kindness to animals important enough to qualify as “sacred”. Maybe it is because animals are helpless? Maybe it is because they are cute? Maybe it is because they are incapable of deception or guile? Whatever the reason, a person who does not get angry at the thought of wanton cruelty to puppies and kittens will not think anything is important.