The Dilemma

Why is the question of gay marriage such a dilemma? To the majority of the world (85% Christian), it’s not, it’s simply wrong. Two issues arise from this dilemma. 1) Who are the lawmakers, and 2) why is it being debated? I am not going to address the first one (who are the lawmakers) in this post, but instead address the question of why is it being debated or contemplated at all.

From a religious standpoint the origin of marriage can be identified with the first two human beings, Adam and Eve. The father and mother of life. A man and a woman created in order to procreate and populate the world. A physical manifestation of God’s love. God outlined Adam’s duties and responsibilities to his wife, Eve, and also outlined Eve’s responsibilities and duties to her husband, Adam.

There is probably good reason why God didn’t create two men first and tell them to love one another as I have loved you and to go forth and procreate as well as not creating two women first and telling them the same thing.

Now Adam and Eve would be the symbolic origin of marriage, however, the sacrament of Holy Matrimony didn’t come into play until some time later. In the Old Testament, marriage is most frequently treated as a patriarchal institution for the perpetuation of the tribe. However, late in the history of Israel, we can see signs of a growing sacramental awareness in the creation stories of Genesis and in the prophetic literature. In the New Testament, all three Synoptic Gospels record Jesus affirming the permanence of marriage. In both Mark and Matthew, Jesus makes reference to Gen. 2:24 which speaks of the union of man and woman as part of God’s divine plan. Similar references are outlined in the Qur’an (Homosexual acts are condemned as unnatural. 7:80-81, homosexual activities are condemned as unnatural. 26:165-6, homosexuals commit abominations and act senselessly. 27:54-55).
One significant development which occurred in the Middle Ages, was the rise of ecclesiastical marriage ceremonies and legislation. Prior to this period, it was left to civil authorities to legislate marriages. The Church concerned itself with only the moral dimension of the marriage relationship. In the Roman culture, a marriage was legal and binding on the basis of consent between the spouses and their guardians. In the Frankish and Germanic traditions, a marriage was not considered binding until consummated by sexual intercourse.

Throughout the Church’s history, theologians have been somewhat skittish about the religious significance of the marriage institution. The attacks of the Albigensians and Waldensians on the goodness of sexuality, much like the Gnostics and Manichaeans of an earlier time, led the Church to speak explicitly of the sacramentality of marriage. It was included as a sacrament in Pope Innocent III’s Profession of Faith in 1208 and was listed definitively by the Council of Trent in 1563.

Now, I don’t know a single religion that recognizes or condones gay relationships or marriages, but I only say that because I can’t name one that does. There might be one out there somewhere, but there is always an exception to every rule.

Now for the social and legal ramification and basis of the socially acceptable union of a man and a woman. It is generally accepted that our civil laws are based in whole or in part on religious laws (i.e. the ten commandments, the bible in general). However, I see two significant reasons for the civil marriage (outside of religious grounds) and that is the importance of identifying a person as a “naturally born citizen” of a particular country, born of two citizens married in said country. The other issue being the legality of having sex as it pertains to the illegal act of sex called prostitution. This brings to mind a number of interesting situations. Outside of homosexuality being wrong to 85% of the population that has a Christian or religious upbringing, if gay marriages are made legal ( as has been the case in a couple of states) they can’t bring any children into this world (between two men) as natural born citizens. Obviously two gay women married to each other can bring a child into the world as a natural born citizen but wont be a product of their marriage, since one or both would have to be impregnated artificially or have sex outside the marriage constituting a natural act of heterosexuality. The only other option is to adopt a child.

It’s interesting to note that most prostitution is between a man and a woman. How often do you hear or read or see a situation where a man pays for sex from another man and is arrested for prostitution, or a woman paying another woman for that matter? Heterosexual prostitution, yes, child pornography, yes, rape of a woman by a man, yes, rape of a man by another man?(usually restricted to prisons) rape of a woman by another woman? Where are these stories?

There are a whole slew of issues and problems and situations that are going to be created from legalizing gay marriages just from a civil standpoint. Obviously from a religious standpoint it is and always will be wrong in the eyes of God. Probably a darn good reason for that. God said it’s wrong. Who am I to put myself above God and say otherwise. How much of an idiot would I have to be, not knowing what comes after this life, to take the risk of superseding, preempting, or rescinding God’s law?

Now, the judges, politicians, lawmakers who make a ruling from a legal/civil standpoint, what must be going through their minds if they are at all religious? Supposing there is nothing after this life, how important is their career or their job or their social status to use it to preempt God’s law if that judge or politician or lawmaker is a Christian or religious and takes that risk?

We all talk about separation of church and state. But how in the world does a judge, a governor, a president or ANYONE separate their religious belief and upbringing from civil law, especially if the law is in contradiction to the religion? This certainly sounds like a conflict of interest in view of the fact that civil law is based in whole or in part on religious law.

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4 responses to “The Dilemma

  1. I always find this side of the debate interesting.

    You’re assuming, one, that the Bible is God’s word, and (therefore), two, that God does not condone homosexuality.

    Not to get into a theological discussion on the validity of the bible’s origins, its translations, its contradictions, or its interpretations, but I think there
    are enough questions posed by all of the above to allow us to simply live and let live, and let God sort it out in the end.

    At one point Priests were allowed to marry and procreate until the church realized it was losing money when property and other assets were willed to the progeny instead of the church, hence the celibacy laws. God’s word?

    While American civil laws might be based on religious laws, America’s constitution was NOT. The first amendment specifically deals with this, not in granting the freedom OF religion, but instead, freedom FROM religion.

    Basically, “you believe what you want, but leave me out of it, and I’ll do the same for you”.

    In a country where all are considered equal, and all share the inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, why should any couple’s desire to marry (or not), whether hetero or homo, make a difference to anyone but them?

    If your religion does not condone same sex marriage, then you either break from your religion to marry, or you break from your partner to live among its rules.

    If your religion does not condone same sex marriage, but mine does, then why should I have to live by your religion’s rules (and vice versa)? Forced to live by someone else’s religious beliefs goes against my First Amendment rights.

    The issue of gay marriage (for most) is not the desire to seek acceptance of their union in God’s eyes, but to share in the same marital benefits granted to other members of American society; a visible sign of commitment, financial (tax) benefits, and protection “in the event of…”.

    To end the debate on gay marriage discontinue the civil rights granted in marriage to all.

  2. Those are all good spins, Mikki (and thank you for your comments), but in the end (and the beginning) the difference between animals and human beings is that animals don’t have the ability to choose or to make conscious decisions based on intelligence or will-power. They follow mother natures laws and are heterosexual in order to survive versus becoming extinct.

    Human beings, though animals at our core following mother nature’s rules to procreate in order to survive, we also have the ability to deviate from natures rules by will or choice. Having the ability to do so doesn’t make every decision right. It’s simply an ability.

    Now, if, as you say, “let God sort it out in the end” were a valid supportive statement to “live and let live”, then one would have to assume that you believed there is a God in order for him/her to sort anything out in the end. This being the case, God does not simply exists just to exist, therefore there must be some rules somewhere for his creation (us and animals) to follow in order for our creation to not be a pointless effort.

    That being said, ut of all the different religions in this world, the vast majority “believe” that God did not create homosexuals and tell them to go out into the world and procreate. That in fact they “believe” that he created life, created living things, in order for them to procreate and multiply. You can make a clay ashtray and sit it on a desk and it will sit there forever, without any rules, without destroying itself. Make a living thing, and it has to have some rules to follow so that it doesn’t destroy itself.

    Homosexuality is self-extinction. It’s a misfiring in the brain both in human and in animals. If a precedent is set to allow homosexual marriages in the church, in our societal laws, then what constraints will be used to stop bestiality becoming legal or worse allowing humans to marry animals? All will be allowed based on the “live and let live” concept, and the precedent of homosexual marriages.

  3. I appreciate your thoughtful and philosophical approach to this issue, which normally is argued at higher temperatures. I must, however, scratch my head at your opening assertion that 85% of the world is Christian, when it’s only about 33%. Assuming that you meant only the USA, your estimation is still high, since by last count it was only about 77%. (http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_prac2.htm)

    The numbers aside, it is fine and well to use a Christian worldview to argue that homosexuality is immoral — though as a Christian myself I respectfully disagree, this line of argument being based on two isolated verses that mean very different things in context. It is quite another to believe that a Christian majority in the USA stifles any debate about moral issues, and requires civil law to be interpreted only within the Christian moral tradition. This soon becomes a slippery slope; where do you stop? Shall we return to criminalizing immoral behavior? We don’t criminalize infidelity, an immoral act with an actual victim, as opposed to homosexuality. We don’t criminalize cohabitation, which is also brought in the two biblical laudry lists of transgression previously mentioned. We thankfully do not respect the Mosaic law which requires the leadership to stone children for disobeying their parents.

    The reason there is a debate, to answer your first question, is that even many Christians are not in agreement about homosexuality’s legal status, or even its morality. You may not agree with these Christians, but it would be disingenuous to conflate their numbers with the “Christian majority” you cite at the beginning of your post.

    Peace and all due respect.

  4. Thank you for your comment John, and enlightening at that.

    You got me on the numbers as I severely misspoke when in fact I meant 85% of the world population have a religious belief based on some type of God. I think I inadvertently combined the majority being Christian with the whole of the religious world.

    Not meaning to nitpick, but we still do criminalize immoral behavior to include prostitution, rape, infidelity (though mildly criminal does come out as grounds for divorce) child pornography and the list goes on. Though infidelity doesn’t carry a jail sentence, it is used as a basis for right and wrong in the divorce proceedings. From a religious point, all these I have listed including homosexuality is stated as being wrong in most religions and carries a punishment to emphasize.

    I think the moral of the story I was trying to culminate in was that even though civil laws do change, there are some that should never change and the later I think are based on some very good religious beliefs. No we don’t criminalize cohabitation civilly, but morally its still wrong to the vast majority of the world.

    I’m not saying we should criminalize homosexuality, however the laws on marriage are fine the way they are, both civil and religious. If homosexuals want to live together, I’m fine with whatever they want to do. If they want to marry each other in their own way, in their hearts, as Mikki said above, live and let live. If there is a disagreement about the legal status of homosexuality among Christians, I can certainly understand that from confused Christians.

    Moreover, the main point was that of setting a precedent in that as I said when President Bush offered a $700 billion bailout package, “Its going to open a door and set a trend to allow any failed company to get tax payer dollars as a reward for a business failure.” The same thing applies to legalizing homosexual marriage, prostitution, child pornography, etc. What’s next? A legal stand for bestiality?

    The legality or legal argument will be “Animals have feelings too”, “Animals can be loved and love back”, “Animals have rights”, which in fact there are several organizations that claim animals do have rights already.

    Its all just one precedent settings court case away.

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