Yesterday I began this discussion of homosexual marriage and other moral issues by outlining why I don’t think that standing in favor of homosexual marriage entails selling the farm with regard to opposing abortion. Today I want to outline the closer parallel: opposition to interracial marriage.
When I read the arguments against homosexual marriage, I find myself mentally replacing the concept of homosexuality with the concept of race–because God is being invoked in our contemporary debates in almost identical ways to how God was invoked in the arguments against race (and interracial relations).
The arguments made against racial unions were, above all, Christian arguments. They went/go something like this:
God made people different (choose one: different races or same gender) therefore God has indicated that people of (choose one: different races or same gender) should not be joined in marriage.
To be so joined with someone of a (choose one: different race or same gender) is a violation not only of the specially revealed law in the Bible, but the law of nature by which everyone can see that people are not meant to come together.
Since this is God’s law, then the nation and marriages and marriage in general will flourish to the extent that it is enacted and upheld, and societies and marriages will be weakened to the extent that we deviate from it.
The reason why Christians demand a certain sexual ethic comes down to something we believe about ourselves as Christains: our bodies are not our own because we have been bought with a price; our bodies are not ours to do with as we please because we are a temple of God’s Spirit; our bodies are not ours to join to whomever we please because they are joined to the body of Christ.
These are the grounds of full participation in and acceptance of the Christian story. They are not the grounds of jurisprudence in a pluralistic, secular society.
In asking us to carefully weigh whether a Christian theological and ethical position against homosexuality might also carry with it the imperative for the freedom of our homosexual neighbors, I am not only asking us to better imitate our Father who causes the rain to fall and the sun to shine on the just and the unjust alike.
I am also asking us to look history squarely in the face, acknowledge our failures–and stop repeating those mistakes of old.