Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Hypocrisy shrouds the gay marriage debate -

Hypocrisy shrouds the gay marriage debate -

The issue of same-sex marriage has receded into the background during this past election cycle, mostly because voters are overwhelmed by the state of the economy. But the recent spate of gay teen suicides has thrust the issue of anti-gay bigotry back into the spotlight.

Even some Christian leaders are re-thinking their approach to this issue. Exodus International, a Christian activist "ex-gay" group, pulled its sponsorship of the annual "Day of Truth," where high school students are encouraged to express their disapproval of homosexuality.

But why did it take multiple suicides to make a Christian group realize that heaping condemnation and judgment on others is not its job? A reading of any of the Gospels would teach you that in about two minutes.

Let's remember, Satan wasn't kicked out of heaven for being gay: It was pride. The people who really ticked off Jesus were the Pharisees, who were self-righteous and hypocritical, which could fairly describe many of today's Christians.

The Bible or the Constitution?

When novelist Anne Rice declared this year that she was quitting Christianity — though remaining dedicated to Christ — in part because she refused to be "anti-gay," it struck a nerve with many Christians.

Many complained that they weren't anti-gay, that they just opposed same-sex marriage because the Bible, they said, defines marriage as between a man and a woman. Yet, we don't live in a theocracy. The Bible is not the governing legal document of the United States. The Constitution is.

Tuesday, for the first time in Iowa's history of electing judges, voters threw out three state Supreme Court justices for invalidating an Iowa law prohibiting same-sex marriage. It was a unanimous 7-0 decision based on the law, not ideology. What a novel idea. The $800,000 campaign to unseat them was led by Bob Vander Plaats, who ran unsuccessfully as the conservative Christian option in the Iowa governor's GOP primary. When Focus on the Family's James Dobson endorsed Plaats, Dobson lauded Plaats' Bible-based crusade against gay marriage.

But if people really want to use the Bible as our governing legal document, then we need many constitutional amendments, including one that bans divorce except in the very narrow circumstances the Bible permits it. This would be a tough one for evangelicals, since their divorce rate is almost identical to that of atheists and agnostics. This might explain why you don't see evangelical leaders pumping hundreds of thousands of dollars into campaigns to keep the government from providing divorce.

Why does this double standard and selective morality matter? Because it reinforces the idea among Christians that gay people are morally inferior and don't deserve to be treated fairly. Is bullying by teens that much of a stretch when you consider the same-sex marriage rhetoric?

Evangelical superstar Rick Warren (of whom I'm a fan when he sticks to preaching the Gospel) said in an interview, "They can't accuse me of homophobia; I just don't believe in gay marriage," but then he went on to compare same-sex marriage to pedophilia and incest. So, being gay is fine, just like it's fine to be a child molester?

Come on, people.

What about heterosexuals?

If this movement isn't driven by anti-gay bigotry, then where is the outrage and "Day of Truth" over heterosexuals who are engaging in sex outside of marriage? Why aren't Christians running around confronting their sexually active heterosexual co-workers and friends about their "lifestyle"? I guess because there is no "ick factor," to borrow a phrase former presidential candidate and Southern Baptist minister Mike Huckabee used recently to describe gay men and lesbians.

This double standard might have something to do with the fact that many Christians also violate the Bible's condemnation about sex outside of marriage with impunity. (I'm still waiting for the constitutional amendment banning extramarital sex.)

A few years ago, I attended a talk on the plague of pornography in our society at a New York City evangelical church. At one point, a speaker asked the group of about 300 young Christians, "How many of you are pursuing purity?" About 10 people raised their hands.

Has anyone noticed that there is this special little area carved out where the Bible's teachings must be enshrined in U.S. law, but only when it applies to others, i.e. gay people?

It seems as if Christians have enough issues to deal with in their own community on the issue of promoting marriage.

Perhaps Christian leaders such as Warren and Dobson should spend less time trying to prevent a tiny percentage of the population from having the right to marry, and help Christians get their own house in order.

Or, as Jesus warned: Take the log out of your own eye before focusing on the speck in your neighbor's eye.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Rick Warren should without a doubt do one thing: EXERCISE!!!!!!!!!!!