Recently, I recieved an email from a guy who was struggling with a good response to Proposition 8 – the California vote to define marriage as between one woman and one man. He wrestled with a desire to have compassion and love toward the homosexual community and a desire to stand for what is true. The question expanded to questions of voting and homsexual rights in general. When it comes to the political arena, what should a Christian do? The following is my response:
The questions you raise are very complex and Christians differ on them greatly. So, what you get from me is just one guy’s opinion, not gospel truth and not an official church position…
When Jesus was on the planet, he invited a tax collector (Matthew) and a revolutionary (Simon the Zealot) to be on his team – people from both ends of the political spectrum. Despite this, you never hear Jesus promoting a political agenda or addressing either of their concerns. His politics are that of a higher loyalty – that of the Kingdom of God. It is not that we should ignore todays politics, but it is not the primary concern of the Christian. We seek to change the world, not through legalities and power plays, but through love and compassion.
The way of the world is to establish/increase power through gaining powerful positions and imposing your will on the people. The way of Jesus is to serve people and to give up power. By doing so, you are considered great in the Kingdom.
The complexity in comparing our lives to Jesus is that he was in a situation where the people were occupied by romans – a foreign dictator. We actually have the power to vote and I would argue that we have a responsibility to use that right well.
So, when it comes to the politics of homosexuality and prop. 8, I would contend that we should fight FOR many rights of gays and gay couples. Clearly, they should have the right to vote (I’m not sure if that is what you meant in your question…but I believe this for sure.) When it comes to insurance, I think that it is up to insurance companies as to whether they want to offer same-sex benefits, and not to the government. When it comes to the opportunity to make medical decisions, it makes sense that the person who is ill should be able to designate whomever he or she wishes, regardless of the relationship. (Spouse, parent, gay partner etc.)
I also believe that a marriage between a man and a woman is different than a union between two men or two women. This comes largely from my Biblical convictions and partly from common sense. Biblically, marriage is for one man and one woman in a lifetime relationship. Anything that deviates from this (polygamy, homesexuality, bestiality etc) is out of bounds. Biblically, homosexual activity is not considered moral. Pragmatically, it is obvious that sexuality is designed for a man and a woman to practice together. Sure, it can be done other ways, the the parts fit together well when there is one man and one woman. Further, procreation is possible in this format. God’s design is obvious in this case, even though our culture does blur this distinction whenever possible.
So, I would vote FOR the basic rights of homosexuals, regardless of their sexual practices. They are beloved people, created in Gods image and deeply important to him. They should be important to us. I would also vote FOR the traditional definition of marriage to be one man and one woman in a lifetime commitment.
I know that you are wondering about how to make your case based in secular logic, but when we vote, we do not vote based on secular logic alone. It can play a role in voting, but our basis is the worldview that we share with God be being conformed to the image of Christ. The rest of the world may not agree, or even understand, but we must stand on the solid rock of Christ.
I appreciate how you are sensitive to your friends in the midst of this struggle. That is what it means to have one foot in each world…that of the Biblical Truth and the reality of our culture.