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July 8, 2011

The Surge in Sexuality Debates

President Obama had declared June as national “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month,” just in time for heated debates over same-sex marriage and similar issues.

1. Social Conservatives: New York Gay Marriage is Harbinger of Civilization's Decline

By far, the most important event—symbolically and substantively—in June was the extension of marriage to same-sex couples in New York. Social conservatives were not reticent in expressing their concern. CBN's Pat Robertson compared the America to Sodom, warning that God may withdraw his favor for the United States because of laws like the New York marriage law.

“In history there’s never been a civilization ever in history that has embraced homosexuality and turned away from traditional fidelity, traditional marriage, traditional child-rearing, and has survived,” Robertson said. “It’s not a pretty world we live in right now, and we need all of God’s help we can get. And I don’t think we are not exactly setting ourselves up for His favor.”

prop8_response_L.jpg

Breakpoints's Chuck Colson said the redefinition of marriage would lead to “social pathologies of every sort.”

“Redefining marriage and family is precisely what the same-sex 'marriage' debate is all about … If same-sex 'marriage' advocates are successful in spite of their meager support, make no mistake, [social] pathologies will only grow, just like I've seen in prisons for 35 years,” Colson said.

Family Research Council president Tony Perkins said the New York law was the result of political arm-twisting and possible vote buying.

"Enormous political coercion has resulted in a profound failure of moral courage in the New York Senate. A clear majority of the people of New York oppose counterfeit 'marriage,' but Gov. Cuomo and anti-family lawmakers have shown that their allegiance is to a small but vocal minority seeking to redefine marriage and family,” Perkins said.

Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, said the greatest concern was the lack of a residency requirement. Couples do not need to live in New York to receive a marriage license. Land said this would mean that same-sex marriage throughout the country.

“This is probably the biggest challenge to traditional marriage that we've seen. New York, what happens in New York matters. Probably even more than what happens in California when it comes to the culture. Particularly since there is no residency requirement to get married,” Land said. “I guarantee you this action by the New York State Assembly and Cuomo has already signed it will bring same-sex marriage to a house near you."

Land's warning echoes his concern with same-sex marriage became legal in Iowa two years ago, when he said Iowa would become “the Las Vegas of same-sex 'marriage' for America.”

“And you know those folks won’t be resettling in the Hawkeye State, but will be heading back home–perhaps to your state,” Land said.

2. Al Mohler Targeted for “Appearing to Pander to the Homosexual Lobby”

Al Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, responded to a question during the Southern Baptist Convention's annual meeting on comments he made to the Christian Science Monitor. Mohler was quoted as saying that Christians had practiced a “form of homophobia” by not being truthful about the nature of sexuality. Mohler said it was wrong to say that sexuality is only a choice.

“We have said to people that homosexuality is just a choice. It’s clear that it’s more than a choice. That doesn’t mean it’s any less sinful, but it does mean it’s not something people can just turn on and turn off. We are not a gospel people unless we understand that only the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ gives a homosexual person any hope of release from homosexuality,” Mohler said.

The American Family Associations' Bryan Fischer said Mohler “appeared to pander to the homosexual lobby.”

“Evidently, according to Rev. Mohler, if you don’t believe gays are born that way, you’re either a homophobe or right next to it,” Fischer said. “He did not elaborate on exactly what he meant by 'more than a choice,' but what else could it mean but that he’s urging SBC’ers to accept the bogus claim that homosexuality is innate and that people can be homosexual from birth.”

Brian McLaren called the comments by Fischer and others “vitriolic.” McLaren wrote an open letter to Mohler. He empathized with being accused of pandering. He also thanked Mohler for his stand.

“On behalf of my gay family members and friends who face real homophobia from far too many churches far too often … often within Evangelical churches more than anywhere else, thank you for taking a risk and saying some things that needed to be said,” McLaren said.

The Wall Street Journal published a piece by Mohler today where he says, “We have often spoken about homosexuality in ways that are crude and simplistic.”

3. Comments by Michele Bachmann's Husband Raises Questions

Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann (Minn.) has been deflecting questions on what she thinks about homosexuality—not same-sex marriage but her understanding of the nature of homosexuality.

The questions are coming, in part, in reaction to comments made by her husband last year on a radio show. Marcus Bachmann is a counselor who has described himself as his wife's political strategist.

In the radio interview, Marcus Bachmann discussed how parents should react to teens and children who are questioning their sexuality.

"We have to understand: Barbarians need to be educated. They need to be disciplined. Just because someone feels it or thinks it doesn’t mean that we are supposed to go down that road. That’s what is called the sinful nature. We have a responsibility as parents and as authority figures not to encourage such thoughts and feelings from moving into the action steps," Marcus Bachmann said.

It is not clear who he was referring to with “barbarians,” though most media outlets have interpreted him as referring to all homosexuals as barbarians. Regardless, the comment is bringing attention to his wife. 

“I am running for the presidency of the United States,” Michele Bachmann said to questions about whether she thinks homosexuality is a choice. “I am not running to be anyone’s judge.”

Comments

"I am running for the presidency of the United States," Michele Bachmann said to questions about whether she thinks homosexuality is a choice. "I am not running to be anyone’s judge."


And YET, Mrs. Bachmann has become the first major GOP candidate to sign a pledge entitled, "The Marriage Vow – A Declaration of Dependence upon Marriage and Family," which was created by The Family Leader, a prominent Iowa group that promotes Christian conservative social values.


Signatories to this pledge vow, among other things, that they believe that homosexuality is a choice. A footnote to the pledge claims that Gay people have a life expectancy of 40 years.


Good luck with that campaign, Michelle!

If Michelle Bachmann IS the Republican nominee and takes part in debates against President Obama, it will be interesting to see whether she offers concrete, Constitutional arguments for denying Gay couples the same legal benefits Straight couples take for granted ... or if she just quotes Scripture.

Why can't we call it a "civil union" and not "marriage"? Why is it that the leftists want so badly to bring down Christianity and the family and traditional values? I have no problem with a gay couple wanting to have legal rights to each others possessions and to be able to set next to them in the hospital. I have gay family members that I love dearly that choose not to "flaunt" their lifestyle but accept it as something they were born with. I would hate to see them spend the rest of their lives alone and die alone just because sin caused them to be born loving the same sex. I understand where their needs are coming from. I just have a major problem with it being called marriage. God didn't create marriage for homosexuals.

On a side note, I've often wondered why it is that Conservatives are called the "right" and Liberals are called the "left". By chance I stumbled across this verse in the Bible: "The heart of the wise inclines to the right, But the heart of the fool to the left."...Ecclesiastes 10:2 (NIV)Thus sayeth the Lord. Amen.

This debate is a settled question in the liberal minds of progressives...I now live in a state that has legalized sodomy and the next step will be the indoctrination of my grandchildren to veiw this vile stupitity as good and honorable what trash!! Now forced down our throats by a bunch of moralphobes. Those who betrayed families and God for political reasons i hope will reap that what they have sown.

I would say that Bryan Fischer should learn to read and understand more clearly. He should no grace and actually misrepresented Dr. Mohler. Re: http://hereiblog.com/transcript-commentary-al-mohler-on-homosexuality-sbc/

Mark...I don't know about how Bryan represented Mohler, but, for me, as an evangelical Southern Baptist, I think Dr. Al Mohler misrepresented me when he said I exhibited a form of "homophobia" and have "lied" about the nature of homosexuality. He does not know me...yet he calls for me to "repent". If this is the case, that we have had it wrong for 2,000 years, then I would like to know specifically where we need to speak correctly. He has been silent on that issue. His vague explanations and re-defining "homophobia" is not specific enough to dispel the confusion. If I have been so wrong, and am such a homophobe, I want to know how to change my ways since President Obama finds it necessary to declare a month to honor what God calls abominable.

And also, I'm wondering when President Obama is going to delare a "pride" month for Heterosexuality, Sanctity of Marriage between a Man and a Woman, and Celibacy and Abstinence? Hmmmmmmn?

DEAR JESSICA:

Is it REALLY just the word "marriage" that you are concerned about?

Let's say, for the sake of argument, that the Supreme Court ruled that there was no Constitutional justification for denying Gay couples the same legal benefits and responsibilities that Straight couples have always taken for granted, but that those benefits and responsibilities could be granted to Gay couples under a different term ... such as "civil unions." The rights under tax law, Social Security, etc. would be EXACTLY the same for Gay and Straight couples; only the terminology would be different. Opposite-sex couples would be allowed the option to "marry," and same-sex couples would be allowed the option to enter into "civil unions." Social conservatives could keep the term “marriage” for themselves, and Gay couples would be granted equal protection as specified by the 14th Amendment.

Frankly I think most Gay couples could live with that. But in every place where such a compromise has been proposed, it has always been viciously opposed by the Religious Right.

So again I ask: Is it just the word "marriage" that concerns you?

As a homosexual, I know that I am born that way. I am sad to say that ignorance of this FACT is what perpetuates most homophobia. That will not change. The arrogance of those who attribute the last 2000 years as the proof of wisdom floors me. I would call most of the past 2000 years Dark Ages strewn with ignorance and murderous oppression. I expect this argument will continue for centuries. Because whether or not you accept the truth of the matter, gays will continue to be born into every generation. Maybe they will once again fill the roles of the eunuchs of old. Maybe they will be accepted as a norm. Either way you can never hope to eradicate homosexuality. I will pray that people will accept that the love that gays share is better than any of the death and destruction being taught in some churches. And I will thank God for my church, where people are loved for being good people and not condemned for loving their lover.

There is no, NO constitutional basis for denying multiple spouses if it is constitutional to allow homosexual marriage. There is far more societal and legal history for polygamy than homosexual marriage.

The court in the nertherlands have found exactly this after homosexual marriage became legal there. They agreed that they cannot justify denying a man multiple wives if they allow the same gender to marry. After all, who are we to judge, or limit, someone's "love?"

Let's not forget that, as Christians, our lord and savior specifically defined marriage as between one man, and one woman. Mark 1:1-12

eddie rahn,

Your argument is no different, at all, than a married man cheating on his wife with his secretary that he is attracted to. After all, he REALLY wants to do it, and it's how he feels. Shouldn't he be true to himself?

All of this is the exact opposite of Christianity, which says to FIGHT the flesh. You would turn it on its head and say give in to every sinful desire. Have you forgotten the point of the cross? Just to justify your sin?

@ James Duffy: The reasons we need to call it "marriage" are both practical and emotional. First the practical: there is no such thing as a "Civil Union" under federal law, and almost surely never will be, so the federal benefits of marriage will never come from a civil union. Therefore our only way to get the legal rights of marriage is with the word "marriage." The Defense of Marriage Act section 3, that says that even where states recognize same-sex marriage the federal government will not, so all we can do is get that overturned in court -- which looks very realistic -- and then live in states that recognize marriage. Besides, everywhere civil unions exist, they have consistently proven unenforceable. Hospitals, employers (for purposes of health insurance, etc.) and many other places refuse to recognize them because they are not marriage -- which is why anywhere they have been tried they fail. The emotional reason, on the other hand, is that we want the word for the same reason you do not want to give it to us: because it puts us on par with straight people. No civil union will ever be a marriage and have the stamp of approval from society that straight people take for granted. If Republicans want to reserve the word "marriage" they need to allow for civil unions at the national level, but they never will. In New York, Republicans signed on to "Civil Unions" once it was clear they were going to lose, but by then it was too little too late. If Republicans allowed for "civil unions" at the national level but not marriage, New York and states with marriage would switch to civil unions so that we could get the federal protections, but Republicans at the national level are bound to make the same mistakes as Republicans in New York and wait until it is too late for compromise, so marriage is the inevitable outcome.

"No civil union will ever be a marriage and have the stamp of approval from society that straight people take for granted."

No "marriage" between homosexuals will ever have the stamp of approval of Christians who believe the Bible. God said that homosexuality and sodomy are an abomination. It doesn't matter what you call it, but it's a sin, an abomination to God, and that's all that matters.

"If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God." Hebrews 10:26-27

hariette, I believe I answered your concern in my post. Mohler did not specifically name Southern Baptists. And he was speaking generally which means there are going to be some who don't necessarily fall in with everyone. However, I also gave examples of similar attitudes toward homosexuals from the ERLC website showing that Mohler isn't alone in his thinking.

To further make my point, have you fully repented of either intentionally or unintentionally practicing racism? (Note the SBC racism resolution.)

iMark,
Dr Mohler is attempting to encourage a paradigm shift in the evangelical world. He along with Johnathan Meritt and Jim Daly, focus on the family, are trying to make neo-evangelicals more kinder and gentler. I say that is the reason that God culd very well be removing his hedge of protection on our great nation.

I will always stand firmly in the belief that marriage is between a man and a woman. I must say I was glad to hear my 22 year old son tonight proclaim that he intended to be a virgin when he marries and he intends to marry in a white tuxedo. I told him I was proud of him for having the courage to stand for his convictions that he believes scripture clearly teaches regarding God's plan for sexuality.

I guess my question would be why so many times when you see grooms in a tuxedo is it promoted to them to marry in black, such as you are promoting in your monthly edition of Christianity Today? What if brides started getting married in whatever color the groom gets married in? That is an interesting thought isn't it?

I just thought you might be interested to hear the thoughts of a 22 year old young man that is trying to be a positive influence in the culture and as he has been taught by his family and scripture he will look forward to having a fulfilled and satisfying sex life within the boundaries of marriage. Come to think of it those are the guidelines scripture clearly teaches us.

The US prohibits gay marriage for the same reason it prohibits polygamy, incestuous marriage b/t adults, beastiality, polyamorous arrangements, etc. If the US gives gays the right to marry, it has no reason to deny marriage rights to those other groups.

As a homosexual, I know that I am born that way. I am sad to say that ignorance of this FACT is what perpetuates most homophobia.
===================
What a dogmatic mind you have! I think you display an enormous amount of ignorance about human psychology and sexuality. Not to mention that at the base of your "inborn homosexuality" dogma lies the idea that homosexuality is determined by an inexistent gene... So much for ridiculous claims...

It's your obsession with normalizing homosexuality that leads you to push any knowledge of how you came to develop a homosexual psychology out of your mind.

I'm interested to understand better what kind of arguments can Christians use in a public policy debate, since they can't just simply quote the Bible (like its the 18th century).

I've heard the 'slippery slope' argument already, which I think has some merit.

With respect to all those who may disagree, I will offer an argument.

I think that there simply is not an equality between all relationships. Since nature (or God) has ordered that it takes one man and one woman to have the capacity to reproduce, would not that make their relationship unique and essentially more important to humanity than others?

There is no other relationship that matches the potential procreative power of a relationship between humanity's two genders. Nature forces the genders to work together, hence marriage exits between them.

Equality before the law for all citizens is valued by all Americans, but that does not convince me there is equality between all relationships. So why should the law recognize other relationship as equal or important as male-female marriage?

But, I also acknowledge political compromise is an important consideration too when dealing with issues that can become complex. Dee's comments are interesting on problems behind 'civil unions'.

I also appreciate reading and having a more educated opinion by many here from both sides of the debate.

Correction, I meant the comments posted by 'shevmaster' assuming the info is reliable.

In NYS our rep resigned a week after the vote to "work for a Cuomo organization". The rep after promising to vote no, voted yes. We now have no rep. The media had so much stuff about how wonderful homosexuals were, those against the vote were bigoted, racist, didn't know the Constitution on equality, not Americans, etc. The homosexuals poured millions into this vote. The public wanted the vote stopped, the Constitution changed to allow the public to vote on this issue of changing the definition of a word which politicians are not given the right in the Constitution to just change the def of a word. Cuomo called those against into conferences, etc. bullying them, telling them to vote yes and the public would forget their vote by the next election. The media accused those leaning to no as poor citizens, etc., etc. It was a paid for yes vote. Now it's all about how homosexuals should move here because they're wonderful workers, tax payers, good citizens, homeowners, family oriented, etc. Never mind that plants were killed thus jobs killed, playground lands given to the gov't, etc. to drive families out in the first place thus killing our economy in NY. NYS also allows sex offenders to practically live at the school doors. Our city thanks to a democrat has more sex offenders in proportion to voters than other cities and they move here welcomed by the gov't. Everything is about sex here. The vote was all about who's got the money and a governor who lives with a woman unmarried in front of his kids, without morals and hoping the homosexual media goodness will make people not realize what he is. I want to stop getting our paper but there's only one paper in town now thanks to the democrats economic decisions. Our schools are turning out kids who can't read to get a job but our legislatures are all concerned about taking care of the homosexuals and not whats affecting the rest of us. Democrats who can't get to run for office, quit and join the republican party which welcomes them with open arms and lets them run as repubs and than are "surprised" at them voting with the democrats. NYS is getting creepy, believe me.

@John at July 9
Here is a nonreligious argument against gay marriage. http://tech.mit.edu/V124/N5/kolasinski.5c.html

"...at the base of your "inborn homosexuality" dogma lies the idea that homosexuality is determined by an inexistent gene..." All of our physical traits and a good deal of our psychological traits are genetically determined. You should have paid more attention in biology class.

For all you straight people out there: When did you decide and settle on an opposite-sex attraction? At puberty, perhaps? Maybe around age 5 or 6? Or maybe it was even earlier than that, earlier than you can even remember. Say, about the time you chose to be right or left handed.

The idea that people would choose to be homosexual in a society that treats them as second-class citizens and routinely claims they are unwelcome in the church is absurd on its face.

There are many good and valid reasons to vote against same sex marriage - natural order, religion, public morality, philosophy, law and behavior theory, child development, preserving American tradition, preventing the collapse of western civilization, parental instincts, protecting the true meaning of marriage, among others.

Whoever goes around saying it’s about "hate" and “homophobia” purposefully misrepresents the true nature of the issue, and such a person is trapped in their own anti-religious bias and bigotry.

"All of our physical traits and a good deal of our psychological traits are genetically determined." But I hasten to mention so is alcoholism in some cases. But we don't legitimize or normalize the alcoholic lifestyle. We tell them to get treatment. Also, we don't sit around speculating whether or not it is genetic. We just say, "Get help." True for the gay person as well.

Maybe it is not a "choice" issue.

Consider the cases of Kris.

~ Kris is not one of those persons who became a Christian late in life at say some Crusade or evangelistic event.

Rather, Kris comes from a Christian family, went to Christian elementary, middle and high schools & college also. Most of his friends and family are and have been Christian.

Here is the thing:
~ Kris cannot remember a specific time when he came to the understanding that he was a sinner headed for Hell and thus in need of a Savior. No, as far back in life as he can remember, what he has always known and accepted is the Good News of Christs death. There was not a Damascus road moment.

So given that Kris has no memories of having a non-Christian orientation, can we say that it is heredity or genetics or instinct that Kris was born this way?

~~~~~~~~~~~~

That said and asked, I think Christianity's failure w.r.t. the Sexual Revolution has been a failure to teach a balanced Christ-centered celibacy. Lets face facts, singles have been viewed as halves, not singles. They have been viewed as handicapped or something.

The thing is ... look at Jeremiah, Ezekiel (after God takes his wife away), Paul and most of all Jesus. Many Christians - heterosexual or homosexual - are called to live celibate lives. That is the heavy cross that some are to bear. Jeremiah was told in the prime of his life that he could not marry. His sexual orientation did not matter. This was God's tough love. It was not easy but grace abounded. This has been true for me and will be true for you too!

God Bless,
~ RR

Regarding Jessica and Chuck's debate of civil union and the word "marriage":

I've long supported the idea that separation of church and state, fully realized, would lead to the government granting "civil unions" and only that. From a very young age, it struck me as odd that an ordained minister would end the marriage ceremony by saying "by the power vested in me, and by the state of Pennsylvania" (or whatever state you're from). Talk about an unholy marriage!

So here's the solution: heterosexual marriage, homosexual marriage, even polygamy, all of these things could be granted "civil union" status by the government. But the government should not be in the business of handing out marriage certificates of ANY kind, nor should they be endorsing any one view. Conservative churches would be free to limit their marriage ceremonies to one-man, one-woman heterosexual marriage. Other congregations can have ceremonies for homosexuals, or for polygamous situations. And religious institutions are free to fight about which is legitimate and the debate can and will continue.

But let's get our government out of it, okay? Let's not legislate *how* we handle this.

(while on the subject, the government didn't fix racism by trying to pass bills. That was a cultural shift, a shift and hearts and minds, with the law barely catching up.)

Ron Paul 2012

All these comments refer to homosexual, gay or homophobia, and the picture is of two men in tuxedos. The focus is on men. What about the women? Nothing about lesbians in the comments. Its seems very odd that only homosexuality gets the attention.

There is no debate. There are two sides shouting at each other and doing political maneuvering.

There can be no rapproachment between evangelical Christians and gay advocates on the issue of gay marriage. There is no common ground; there can be no common ground. The belief systems are polar opposites. Gays belief in same-sex marriage has no precedent in the history of the world - neither in religious history nor in secular history. But they are desperately trying to gain cultural acceptance of their perversion through any means necessary. The legal consequences for passing gay marriage are unknownable, but predictably far-ranging: an all out legal/legislative assault on conservative/traditional Christians will ensue is my guess - but heck that's already happening. But do the math: evangelical Christians and traditional Catholics make up almost 150 million people in this country, so politicians - at least in my part of the country - need to count the cost. They will find their political careers screeching to a halt if they vote the wrong way.

For us, Christians, the issue is about people, and we shouldn't be surprised when people choose to do things that are contrary to the will of G-d. The world does what it does...why do you act so surprise when the world does it's thing?

As for the one commenter...no, you were not made "homosexual." You are a human being first and foremost with all the excuses and condemnation that goes with that title, and thus a reflection of the living G-d; And when you have chosen to engage in a sexual act with another person...whether that person is the opposite gender or same is irrelevant, you have chosen to engage in that sexual consumation of your own free will.

The structure of Marriage has been defined for us followers in Genesis, and has been repeatedly mentioned by G-d. Any sex act performed outside the bounds of marriage between a man and a woman, be it heterosexual or homosexual, is fornication, and a transgression against the will of G-d. There is no wiggle room, and there is no excuse of ignorance. The only excuse is that we're human...and there is an abundant amount of Grace to overcome that excuse of ours...all we have to do is want that Grace.

Those who refuse to defend a principle when it doesn't serve them will be hard pressed to call on it when they need it.

Those people supporting a governmental definition of marriage along religous lines because of scripture need to accept they are trashing Freedom of religion.

Further it makes no sense if atheists or Hindus can marry, or if people can legally divorce that same sex couples can't marry because it would be unchristian. A Hindu ceremony is not Christian either.

In a free country marriages that your GOD disapproves of are permitted or to put it another way if you don't like gay marriage dont have one.