DOMA: Gay marriage, the culture, and the church

By Kersley Fitzgerald

As much as I'd like to say something insightful and important on the Supreme Court's recent overturn of DOMA, so many people have already said it much more eloquently than I ever could.

First, perhaps, an overview of the GotQuestions' thoughts on homosexuality:

- Same-sex attraction and gender confusion is a wounding of the human heart by the Fall. It may be physiological, it may be developed; it may manifest itself early on or later, after exposure and/or abuse. If it is physiological and manifests early, this is not validation for homosexual behavior according to the Bible.

- God can heal any wound, but that doesn't mean He will. It is possible for a devout Christian to struggle with same-sex attraction. If a church-goer consistently gives in to that attraction, it is likely he is either not a believer or is an immature believer in need of love and support.

- Homosexual behavior (to include indulging in same-sex attraction fantasies) is a sin, like many other sexual sins, and is to be avoided by those who wish to follow Christ. But it is not any worse of a sin than any other.

- Homosexuality is more difficult than many other sins because of the identity factor. We do not believe one's sexuality is the truest part of an individual. Being a Christ-follower is the truest part of any Christian, and living out of that identity is what all Christians should strive for.

- We acknowledge and understand the "culture war" that many in the LGBT community are waging against traditional Christian values. We stand against it, but we do not expect the culture or the government to display Christian values any more than Christians are reasonably able to influence them.

- As an organization that provides articles and answers for individuals, our main emphasis is on speaking with individuals about issues and problems; not redeeming the culture.

Now for people who say things good.

Andy Crouch's article "Sex Without Bodies" talks about the Gnosticism of LGBT. Gnosticism is an ancient Greek philosophy that says the physical is evil and the spiritual is good. These are the people Jesus and Paul ran up against who denied the physical resurrection of the body. Andy explains that when people insist that their identity is unrelated to or counter to their physical body, that is a form of Gnosticism. We as a Christian community need to determine if God meant something by creating us male and female. And we need to figure out how to graciously communicate this to the world.

I also appreciate how Andy uses the words of LGBT, validating their feelings without validating the conclusions they derive from those feelings.

Probably to the horror of many other Christians, I am not of the belief that Christians can or should control the government. I believe that as a constitutional republic, we collectively choose how much we will obey God and, therefore, how much God can bless us as a nation. But my primary identity is as a Christian and a part of the Church—which means Jesus promised me persecution as I spread His truth.

Ed Stetzer, President of LifeWay Research, agrees. In "Prop 8, DOMA, and the Christian Response", he has this to say:

"…courts don't determine biblical morality, and regardless of what government does, churches shouldn't stop their mission."

"We must realize that believing what the Bible says about sexuality will increasingly put us at odds with our culture."

"For those Christians seeking to witness real cultural impact, our public conversation should not begin with opposition to homosexuality—but with our witness for Christ in word and deed."

"After all, we can't hate a people and reach a people at the same time."

Writing like that threatens to turn this E-Free girl full-on Pentecostal.

Marty Duren, also of LifeWay Research, comes at it from a slightly different angle in his blog post "Religious liberty as idolatry?". He points out that although the constitution promises religious freedom, Jesus never did. The Bill of Rights was written with the understanding that they are God-endowed, inalienable rights. But the Bible never says we have the right to practice the religion we wish without persecution. In fact, it says the opposite.

At the risk of alienating many of my own friends, I would extend this to the entire Bill of Rights. God never promised us freedom of speech without persecution (Acts 5:17-42). Nor does the Bible say we have the God-given right to bear arms. Whether we choose to break the law and worship what we believe/say what we believe/own a semi-automatic is an issue between us and the Holy Spirit. And we are perfectly allowed to point out the hypocrisy of a government that tramples on the rights it has promised. But the government is filled with humans who sin and make mistakes, so we shouldn't get our panties in a twist when they sin and make mistakes.

As we face these political and cultural changes, we need to remember that the Bible has already given us the blueprint. The Apostles lived in a hostile culture and still the Gospel spread. They reached others with love. They worked within the system when they could (Acts 25:11) and took advantage of the situation when that system was abused (see Paul's prison epistles). And we should take the example of churches around us. As Ed Stetzer observed:

For example, I was preaching at Pathway Vineyard Church in Maine on the Sunday after the state of Maine legalized gay marriage. After such a strong statement and shift in the culture around them, what did the believers there do? The same thing they did the week before: loved people, served the hurting, and preached Jesus.

Photo Credit: Sheila Guevin

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Published 6-27-13