Monday, October 03, 2011

Why the Christian Right Should Support Gay Marriage

(Even Though They Believe It's a Sin)

Conservative churches need to do everything they can to reconcile with the LGBT community. I have written about the paradigm shift that needs to take place for this to happen and how it occurred in my evolution from conservative to progressive believer. Interestingly, until yesterday, I thought the only argument to present to my evangelical friends in favor of a reconciliation, which in my mind should include acceptance of gay marriage, was to show that the traditional Biblical basis for rejecting all homosexual behavior is flat-out wrong. This is still a good strategy, because the case is so strong that those "clobber" passages have been mistranslated and misinterpreted and that the NT law of love prevails in such cases. One can be a practicing homosexual and a Christian.

But wonders never cease. Misty Irons, a young mother, seminary graduate, and conservative Christian, has made a brilliant case that conservatives should support civil same-sex marriage, even though they believe it's a sin. How can this be? Irons says it's simply an issue of civil liberties and supporting such liberties is always to the church's advantage.

Think about it. Even the Christian Right always argues for religious liberty and concedes that people like Buddhists and New Agers should have a right to practice their religion, even though they would call it an idolatrous practice (I would add they do this in countless ways, e.g. not calling for a legal ban on pre-marital sex even though they call it a sin). The reason is simple. To protect their own religious liberty, the church supports the liberties of others they disagree with. This is the American way, after all. So, why not support the liberty of the LGBT community on the gay marriage issue?

You must read Iron's rationale, which is really quite good. She says the church should allow homosexuals the right of same-sex secular marriage to affirm their civil liberties, but still have the right to keep the conservative church's religious marriage homosexual free. She doesn't concede that there are progressive churches that would choose to accept homosexual religious marriage, but then again, her audience here is conservative Christians.

I was pleasantly surprised to see her logic and candor. Of course, as to be expected the conservative church is not taking up her recommendation. In fact, her own church forced her and her husband to leave their denomination as a result of her plea. Not surprising. But also take note she is a speaker at the Gay Christian Network conference next January. Way to go, Misty. And thank you for your insight and showing me I have another tool in my arsenal with which to challenge my evangelical friends on this issue.


coeurhomme said...

Another excellent post, Michael. I strongly agree with all you (and she) are saying here. I'm saddened that her denomination has reacted this way. Jesus rebuked the self-righteous and dined with (us) sinners. How sad that some want to sit on God's judgement seat, but not at His Love Feast.

Your stuff continues to be most interesting and enlightened.

Michael Camp said...

I love the way you said that: "some wnat to sit on God's Judgment Seat, but not at His Love Feast." Indeed it is sad, but I believe most of them are well meaning, however misguided.