California Proposition 8 and the teachings of Jesus Christ


With friends and family in California, I watched the recent election battle over Proposition 8 with interest.  However, we humans are complicated creatures, so I suspect that for many people (not just me) opinions and feelings about gay marriage are complicated too:

1.  As a Christian, I believe that marriage is an eternal institution established by God to be between one man and one woman, and that no government can legitimately alter that.  I supported Michigan’s 2004 constitutional amendment and favored passage of Proposition 8 this year.

2.  As an American, I believe in democracy and the supremacy of the people.  In the U.S., laws are established by the people (through referendums like this one) and through the people’s elected representatives in Congress and state legislatures.  The liberal activism of the California Supreme Court offends me.  It is not the place of the judiciary to make laws, and it is certainly not the place of a judge to stick his or her finger in the proverbial winds of culture to decide cases.  The law is the law.  It is the role of judges to enforce the law, administer justice impartially, and limit interpretation of the law to those instances where the intent of the legislature is unclear from the text and where a law may violate Constitutional limitations on government power.

3.  As a person with a close family member living a homosexual lifestyle, I was happy to receive word that he and his long-term domestic partner had decided to marry in San Francisco.  Long ago I welcomed his partner in as part of the family, and I love my family member no less because of his lifestyle choices.  I’m glad that they have chosen to take this step to further their commitment to one another.

I don’t find any contradictions in these seemingly conflicting ideas.  As a complicated human being, I can hold these apparently opposing beliefs simultaneously, because they are all grounded in the Gospel of our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ.

Christ taught that we must abhor sin, but love the sinner.  He taught that we all sin, and we all can be forgiven of our sins if we repent and come unto Him.  It is through our behavior that we sin, not our feelings.  We all are tempted to sin (including those that have feelings of same sex attraction) – to be tempted is not the same as sinning.  We sin when we give into temptation, including homosexual sex.

I am a Christian, and I work to keep His commandments and follow His example.  I believe that as the United States keeps close to the intent of our Founding Fathers, as expressed in the Declaration of Independence and Constitution, we will prosper as a country.  We are at heart a Christian nation founded on Christian principles.  When we fall away from those principles as a nation, we will fail.  Being a Christian nation does not mean an autocratic theocracy, but it also does not mean that we should accept the redefinition of sin into virtue.

I love my family member who is living a gay lifestyle, I could not forsake him anymore than I could cut off my right arm.  He knows my beliefs and I know his, and because we love and respect one another we have a good relationship.  My love for him and my happiness for his decision to marry does not change my belief that these gay marriage court decisions are undermining the foundations of our constitutional democracy and damaging our American culture.  I accept the will of the people who elected Barack Obama our next President, and those protesting the approval of Proposition 8 should accept the will of the majority there too.  

Apparently the large majority of voters in California still agree with my view.  After all, in the year of Obamamania, gay marriage proponents had the best chance they may ever have to succeed, and they came up short.

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13 Responses to California Proposition 8 and the teachings of Jesus Christ

  1. Jesurgislac says:

    I’m sorry that you don’t believe in freedom of religion/separation of church and state. I suspect you probably would suddenly discover the value of it should campaigners want to annul your marriage because it was against their religion.

    As a person with a close family member living a homosexual lifestyle, I was happy to receive word that he and his long-term domestic partner had decided to marry in San Francisco. Long ago I welcomed his partner in as part of the family, and I love my family member no less because of his lifestyle choices. I’m glad that they have chosen to take this step to further their commitment to one another.

    Wow. The hypocrisy, it burns. You wanted their marriage annulled on November 5th, yet you pretend you were happy for them?

    My love for him and my happiness for his decision to marry does not change my belief that these gay marriage court decisions are undermining the foundations of our constitutional democracy and damaging our American culture.

    You didn’t take any civics classes in school, did you?

    The foundations of the US’s constitutional democracy are based on a system of checks and balances. The Founders were concerned that a representative democracy would mean tyranny of the majority – what just happened in California, where 52% of the electorate got to decide that a minority group wouldn’t have the same civil rights as others. The protection provided in a constitutional democracy is that the courts shall protect the rights of minorities/individuals from majority rule. It is the anti-marriage opposition to this protection that the courts provide that undermines the foundations of constitutional democracy, and attacks American culture of fairness, respect, and freedom.

    I’m sad for your “close family member” that he has a relative who is such a hypocrite.

  2. Jesurgislac says:

    Jesus never said a single word in any of the gospels about homosexuality – not even the doubtful translations from Paul’s letters.

    But here’s what he had to say about hypocrites who set themselves up to be better than others:

    “But woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites; because you shut the kingdom of heaven against men, for you yourselves do not enter in; and those that are going in, you suffer not to enter.”

    “Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites: because you devour the houses of widows, praying long prayers. For this you shall receive the greater judgment.”

    “Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites; because you tithe mint, and anise, and cummin, and have left the weightier things of the law; judgment, and mercy, and faith. These things you ought to have done, and not to leave those undone. Blind guides, who strain out a gnat, and swallow a camel.”

    “Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites; because you make clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but within you are full of rapine and uncleanness. Thou blind Pharisee, first make clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, that the outside may become clean.”

    “Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites; because you are like to whited sepulchres, which outwardly appear to men beautiful, but within are full of dead men’s bones, and of all filthiness. So you also outwardly indeed appear to men just; but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.”

    Judgement, and mercy, and faith. What you lack. And yet you call yourself a Christian. Jesus Christ…

  3. Bits says:

    Jesurgislac, most of the battle is actually over words and civil rights is one of them. The blacks by the resounding majority you demand reject the hijacking of this word. There can be no progress until opponents of Prop 8 are willing to sit down and honestly represent why it passed and part of that is being honest about CA’s domestic partnership law that grants couples all the rights that a married couple has. (It is the Federal gov. that throws a few kinks in when having to interface with federal laws, not CA. ) So again we are back to battling over a word.

  4. Jesurgislac, thank you for your thoughts. It’s a bummer that the spiritual meaning of Christ’s words went by without touching your heart. It’s good that you’ve read the scriptures for yourself – I encourage you to spend much more time prayerfully pondering them. You may be surprised (pleasantly or not) with what you find when you do.

    Using Christ’s words to judge me faithless and a hypocrite is fairly ironic actually. Good luck with that….

  5. Simply put – the Mormons have proved with their complete obsession with PROP 8 to be a Tax-Exempt Hate Group.

    Heterosexuals – You better wake up. Instead of pondering a cerebral concept like how gays want the “1,138 rights of marriage”, you need to educate yourselves about the CONSEQUENCES when one or more of those 1,138 rights are denied. GOOGLE “Freeheld” or “Tying the Knot”; watch the DVDs. Write it down now.

    Your laws HATE us, and we’ve had it! Yes, I did said HATE – I stand by it. Because how else can you explain these 3 realities?:

    A police woman loses her life in the line of duty; her wife of 13 years is denied all pension benefits.

    A rancher loses his husband of 22 years; his inlaws evict him and try to take the home he built and lived in with his beloved.

    A detective spends 25 years risking her own life while protecting society; she has to spend her remaining days on this earth worrying whether her earned pension will be transferred to her wife (while living with terminal cancer).

    YES, H-A-T-E. And your silence on this matter is a serious affront to our families’s safety and security. FAMILY – isn’t that a cherished concept in the U.S.A.?

    So now after decades of disinterest, some of us in the LGBTI community have AWAKENED. And we will refuse to pay one penny of income tax to the IRS until the government (i.e. – you) decide you WANT our tax dollars as EQUAL CITIZENS.

    This ain’t a vote.
    This ain’t a debate.
    This ain’t a popularity contest.

    You will PAY OUR TAXES until we have what your family ALREADY HAS; your apathy is costing you money as you read this.

    GAY TAX PROTEST!

  6. pastorron7 says:

    I suggest a book to read… written by Christians to Christians. It is titled “unChristian.” It is a critique of how our society views us who are Christians… what we say and how it conflicts with what Christ taught. It is worth the money and time.

    By the way… good post.

  7. thejollypolemist says:

    in 50 years we will look back and be shocked at how we allowed this discrimination to exist. You will be held in the same contempt as Wallace for denying the rights of children to be equal. Less time in the Bible, more time in common sense would be nice people.

  8. Examples of gay marriage thugocracy in action:

    http://www.lansingstatejournal.com/article/20081112/NEWS01/811120369

    http://www.ldsmag.com/familyleadernetwork/081107protest.html

    Those that supported Proposition 8 respect the will of the people in a democratic society; those that oppose it should too. If you don’t like the result of the election, go lick your wounds, regroup, and start building support for the next election.

  9. cross posted from Larry at http://myviewmytake.wordpress.com/2008/11/12/gay-marriage-now-legal-in-connecticut/:

    You make a very good point, DC. The voters always defeat gay marriage at the polls, so the courts have to take up the slack and allow it over the will of the people.

  10. UPDATE: The LDS Church has been the focus of much of the anti-Proposition 8 ire over the past week. The church has put out an eloquent statement on the Proposition 8 protests, which can be found at http://newsroom.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/.

  11. Cross-posted from Emissary at http://messengerandadvocate.wordpress.com/2008/11/12/the-nos-doth-protest-too-much/:

    In the aftermath of the passage of Proposition 8, the supporters and opponents have reacted very differently. Opponents have staged protests around the country filled with anger and frustration. From supporters, the main emotion I feel is puzzlement. They don’t understand why Prop. 8 should have provoked such an enormous response. I would like to share both sides of the issue in the hopes that it will contribute to the understanding of others.

    The main problem is with the definition of “marriage”. In its core is the “husband-wife” relationship (”the word “marriage” means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife” — US Legal Code). So when you enter into marriage, you become part of a husband-wife relationship. However, there is also a set of cultural behaviors attributed to this word — the most common are love and commitment. (Note that the behaviors change between cultures; arranged marriages don’t require love, but they do form the husband-wife relationship.)

    With this background, let me address the different sides.

    For supporters trying to understand those who oppose:

    Proponents of same-sex marriage have been taught that marriage is not a husband-wife relationship, but a set of behaviors. Since the word “marriage” is seen as societally-recognized love and commitment, a “domestic partnership” must be something else; a “separate but equal” version that makes them second-class citizens. This is why there is so much anger and frustration over it being taken away.

    For opponents trying to understand the supporters:

    Supporters of Prop. 8 honestly believe that marriage is just as it’s defined: a husband-wife relationship. Since no same-sex union will ever create a husband-wife relationship, they don’t see it as discriminatory to call the union between two men or the union between two women as something else. It honestly puzzles them why domestic partnerships with all of the rights and responsibilities of spouses under CA law is not enough.

    I hope this helps.

  12. Dan Weston says:

    It does not help. Your last comment tries to bridge the gap between pro- and anti-same-sex-marriage, but you lack credibility and standing.

    It is bizarre that you quote a U.S. Law to define “marriage”, when clearly no one in this country thinks of marriage as a primarily legal construct.

    Marriage is not taxes, or funding a new school, or creating a new holiday. The law was made for humans, not humans for the law, Inspector Javert. It is useless to use the law to advance your point. It is the law that must bend to human dignity, not vice versa.

    Unless you are gay, you will never understand. Flatter yourself into thinking you do, if you want. It makes no matter to me. Equality under the law is what I want, not your understanding.

    And if you honestly do want to understand, start with this: it’s not a lifestyle. And no one who is a close family member of mine would call me a “close family member”.

    And if you respect the law so much, then until the Supreme Court rules on pre-Prop 8 marriage, the current law in California is that your “close family member’s domestic partner” is a spouse, not a domestic partner: Prop. 8 was not retroactive. Show some respect to the law, if not your family.

  13. Dan,

    “Close family member” is an awkward phrasing, I agree – it is that way for reasons beyond my control.

    My “close family member’s partner was a member of our family long before they decided to register as domestic partners and even longer before they got married this summer. Whether they call themselves “spouses”, “partners” or “in a LTR” makes no difference.

    Even if the California Supreme Court finds that Prop 8 renders his marriage void (a very unlikely result, in my opinion), I’m sure they will continue to respect their marriage vows, and I will too.

    Thank you for your thoughts.

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