Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Why I Support Same Sex Marriage

Frequently I am asked why, as a Christian pastor and person who professes a strong Biblical faith, how can I possibly support Same Sex Marriage?

The simple answer is that it is the right thing to do!

I can argue scripture to fully support my beliefs and those who disagree with my opinion will use scripture as well. We will not agree. 

I can legitimately appeal to church tradition and history to demonstrate the importance of affirming gender equality and justice. However, all those who legitimately understand the tradition differently will counter with their own historical justifications. We will not agree. 

I can claim my personal experience of having worked in Christian ministry for and with many people directly impacted by gender issues. Yet, for those whose experience of Christianity and gender issues is fundamentally different from mine, we will have a much more challenging time finding common ground and points of experience upon which we will legitimately agree.

I support Same Sex Marriage because I faithfully believe it is the right, holy, and Christian thing to do.

Marriage is, fundamentally, a sacred and holy covenant between two people. It can be broken, and unfortunately often is. Marriage is about making a conscious, intentional, and binding covenant that two people will be united in a sacred union of love that is defined in love, intimacy, mutuality, affirmation, affection, and sacrifice. It is neither defined by sex, nor the production of children. It is defined by love. 

Personally, I see no reason why two people who are willing to make—and hold to—that covenant with each other should be prohibited through laws that understand marriage strictly in sexual, reproductive, or strictly religious terms. Unfortunately, there are many fully legal heterosexual marriages that find the full blessing of the traditional church teachings on marriage that never manage to live up to this standard. Before we make it illegal for same sex couples to marry, perhaps we should spend more time, prayer, Bible study, and preaching on affirming the sanctity of the marriage among ALL who enter into this sacred and blessed union!

Some churches will disagree with me. Some Christians will not understand my beliefs. Some pastors will preach and teach theologies that absolutely refute my beliefs. Of this reality I am neither afraid or ashamed. I would never presume to have an exclusive claim on the Truth.  I also recognize and respect that there is not universal agreement on this highly volatile topic. We may simply have to agree to disagree and in that case I do so prayerfully and lovingly because Christ demands no less. In Jesus Christ, I believe we are called to the singular faith we share in Jesus Christ and affirm the validity of one another’s faith experience in spite of our differences.

This vital reality remains unstated that I believe we must say out loud. 

Biblical interpretations, church teachings, legislative actions regarding gender issues, and diverse understandings of Same Sex Marriage are important, but they must never become the focus of idolatrous worship. God is bigger than any political, religious, or social agenda. Let us serve the One God even when we disagree over matters regarding sexuality and forget the sinful practice of letting beliefs about sexuality define our legitimacy as Christians. There is vital ministry to be done so let’s stop shouting at each other and get back to work!