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Old 07-09-2015, 07:27 AM
veritywritten (Offline)
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Default Christianity and marriage equality


   I met The One when I walked into a cellphone store to buy a cellphone. I capitalized “The One” because when you find it, you know it, and it is epic. I knew it. He knew it. This was it. He paid his coworkers his entire day of commission to take me as a customer. I called my friends the minute I left the store, ecstatic that this devastatingly handsome guy had asked me out. We spent a summer in love without even realizing it. My mother says I was scared by how much I loved him and because of my fear I ended things. We parted ways. I eventually got married and had two children. After five years in a tumultuous and detrimental relationship, I ended my marriage. Then one day I serendipitously ran into that same devastatingly handsome guy. It had been ten years since I last laid eyes on him. That is the beginning of my happily ever after. We reconnected and I discovered he was also divorced and had three kids of his own. He had always wondered what had happened to me. He said he always knew I was the one. Perhaps that is part of the reason we never found true happiness until we found each other again. We married and have spent the last six years living life with our five crazy kids. I truly cannot imagine a world without him. He is the love of my life. Now imagine he had an accident and died. Imagine that our relationship was never recognized by law. We were never married but we loved each other and he died. Imagine if his next of kin took his body and banned me and my children from saying our last goodbyes. Imagine me being banned from attending his funeral because his family does not agree with our relationship because we were never married and living together in sin. My heart breaks at the thought of this. What would you think of the people who would ban me from the funeral of my soul mate?
The fact of the matter is that this, my friend, is a reality. This is what happened to Tom and Shane. They were in a relationship for six years. Then Tom fell from a rooftop while taking pictures of his friend and died. Tom’s family came and collected his body when Shane was sleeping. Then they banned Shane from attending his funeral, saying they would attack him and beat him up if he dared show his face. I cannot imagine or fathom the heartbreak and pain Shane must have felt, nor do I want to. You can follow their story on America blog or watch the documentary “Bridegroom” if you want to further rip your heart out of your chest. (Aravosis) Or check out an ICU nurse’s heart breaking story of a loving partnership that ended in tragedy. A man was in an accident and in the intensive care unit. The first next of kin they were able to track down was his mother who had been estranged from him because of his homosexual preferences. Before they could find his partner, she set up limitations to the visitor list and would not permit his partner of twenty years to see him. They had a house and furniture…a life together. Yet this woman who had not spoken to her son for twenty years made all the medical decisions for him while his partner sat in the waiting room completely wrecked with grief. (Garcia) However, thanks to the new decision on marriage equality no one will ever have to endure this unnecessary and tragic heartbreak. I feel that we as Christians should make a concerted effort to learn how to accept this reality the way Jesus would accept it. What would Jesus really do?
I was baptized and raised in a Lutheran church. My parents were elders at our church. I was in the youth group. I went on mission trips. I helped out at vacation bible school in the summer and when I graduated high school I attended a Christian college. As an adult I have continued to attend church at a non-denominational church. I have also returned to my Lutheran church to teach vacation bible school once again. This year we taught that God has the power to provide, comfort, heal, forgive, and love forever. I believe in the way Christ lived his life on earth. I want each of my five children to try their hardest to live like Christ. Even if you aren’t Christian you have to admit that the humility, compassion, understanding, and forgiving nature of Christ made him a pretty good guy. He might have overturned a table or two but haven’t we all? I want my kids to live like that. That is why I chose to be a Christian. I chose to believe in what he was doing here on earth and what is promised after death. So, what do we do as Christians when such a hot button issue is shoved in our face with the new ruling on marriage equality? This is what I want to address in this essay. I want to find a way to reconcile our religious views with the reality of our nation and our community.
Science. That word deserves its own sentence. Because really…science. Some might say homosexuality is unnatural. Allow me to lay down some facts concerning nature and the naughty bits. Currently 450 different animal species worldwide have demonstrated homosexual tendencies. (Fereydooni) In the animal kingdom, this means the findings of Baily and Zuk demonstrate an evolutionary paradox. (Fereydooni) Scientifically speaking, a culture of heterosexuality promotes growth of the community. Without male and female parts cumming together there would be no more babies. Makes sense right? So, it would seem to logically follow that a culture of homosexuality would be detrimental to the promotion of the species. However, studies now show that there are certain benefits to the homosexual relationship. For example, studies of the Laysan albatross show a benefit to same-sex pairings. They apparently have a shortage of males. Oh, to be a male albatross. With the guys getting lucky left and right the females are often left to care for the offspring on their own. Same-sex pairing allows the mommas to have more freedom and gives the offspring a better chance at survival with superior care. I have yet to meet a single momma who can tell me, “You know what I don’t miss? Free time!” Yeah, no. A happy mommy is a better mommy. This also takes the pressure off the males and reduces competition among the bird community and strengthens social bonds. (Fereydooni) I’m not saying males are completely unnecessary. They do carry half of the secret ingredient to life so there’s that and some do make great dads. I’m just saying clearly there are some benefits, even in nature, to forming same-sex pairings. Score one for flying homosexuals.
Now let’s talk about humans. According to the Williams Institute there are more than 9,000,000 LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) individuals in the United States. (Williams Institute) According to the Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, children of gay couples do just fine and, in fact, might just be doing better than the children of heterosexual couples. (Perrin and Siegel) According to the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, there are 397,122 children living without permanent families in the United States. Globally there are an estimated 153 million orphans. (CCAI) Do you think maybe we need to take that into account? We have more babies than we know what to do with and an entire community of people, previously unable to adopt these uncared for babies as a married unit, who apparently make really good parents.
Who is to say that the prevalence of homosexuality in today’s culture isn’t nature’s way of balancing out the ecosystem? After all, an article written by Dennis Dimick says there are more than 7 billion people on earth and nearly 1 out of 8 of us is starving. The article continues to reference an ongoing Global Footprint Network study that says, “We now use the equivalent of 1.5 planets to provide the resources we use, and to absorb our waste.” The same article cites a study by the Stockholm Resilience Institute as having identified a set of "nine planetary boundaries" in which our race could survive and thrive for generations to come. Guess what? According to these smarty pants we have already passed the point of no return. We have exceeded our limits and our population is ever booming with a projected population of 9.6-12.3 billion Homo sapiens walking around by 2100 guzzling air and precious resources. (Dimick) What is the end game here? From my point of view it does not look promising.
Maybe the reason for homosexuality is a scientific one. One with benefits to our culture and the sustainability of our planet. Did you ever think of that? Even as a Christian, I have to acknowledge the danger our planet is in and the impact humans are having on it. We, as Christians, are tasked with the care of our planet. With population out of control, it is becoming harder and harder to do that. Maybe homosexuality today is nature’s way of caring for our unwanted young, fostering loving relationships, promoting social growth and less competition. Maybe those birds are onto something.
Now that we have covered possible scientific reasons for the acceptance of homosexuality let’s get into the nitty gritty religious aspects of homosexuality and the Bible. Most Christians will cite the Bible when asked to defend their stance on marriage equality. They will cite Leviticus 18:22 “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman: that is detestable,” or Leviticus 20:13 “If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.” Let’s address Leviticus. Did you know that Leviticus 19:28 also says you shall not get tattoos? Have you ever had a ham sandwich? Because Leviticus 11:7-8 says no to the other white meat. Mark 10:11-12 says anyone who gets divorced and remarried commits adultery. Uh-oh. I am in trouble and so is my hubby. All those women out there who escaped with their lives from an abusive relationship have no hope of ever finding happiness again. Did your wife leave you? Yeah, don’t try to find a new lady love. Otherwise you will be denied by God himself. Also, don’t wear a garment made of two different kinds of material or sow your field with two different kinds of seeds. Do you have an herb garden? You in trouble man.
I think maybe some of these rules are a little outdated. There are those who say that the verses in Leviticus were part of the old law. Apostle Paul wrote in Galatians 3:10 that we will not get to heaven by following the law but only by faith. Most of the “law” in Leviticus seems to be meant to distinguish Jews from the Gentiles. I know there are other parts of the Bible where homosexuality is mentioned. Sexual sin is addressed in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 but seems to be addressing homosexuality in connection with idolatry not in the context of a loving relationship. Romans 1:26-28 also talks about God giving man over to a depraved mind and addresses homosexuality. But in the following chapter Paul condemns those who judge others.
I get it. The Bible is hard to interpret. That is why people get paid to study it. I do hope that my fellow Christians will take the time to address the context of the Bible and the verses it presents. After all it is a book written by man and man is clearly flawed. I cannot believe that my God would deny love to any of his creations solely based on gender preference. The context for homosexuality today is much different than when it was written into the Bible. This is not an issue of sexual preference born of perversion. These are human beings wanting to be free to love who they love. I think the most important thing we can learn from the Bible is written in Matthew 22:37-40. Jesus tells us to love God with all of your heart, soul, and mind. The next most important command is to love your neighbor as yourself. He says these are the two commandments all other laws hang on. This, to me, is the foundation of Christianity. This is why I chose to believe in this religion. I want to teach my children tolerance and humility and acceptance. I want them to live like Christ. I want my fellow Christians to find a way to reconcile their beliefs with God’s message of love and acceptance. The leaders of our judicial system have recognized the importance of this issue. Justice Anthony Kennedy said it so eloquently in his closing remarks:
"No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right. It is so ordered. (OBERGEFELL ET AL. v. HODGES, DIRECTOR, OHIO 28)"
In conclusion, whether you believe homosexuality is natural or unnatural, whether you take the Bible literally or literarily, whether you are gay or straight, marriage equality is now a reality in our country. It may go against what we once thought of as natural in our world but evidence now points to the contrary. There are children who are born one gender and identify as another as early as age 5. What are we to make of those innocents? Do we condemn them to hell? Pray for their souls? Do we inflict shame and suffering on them for something they feel in the very core of their being? We, as Christians, need to address this with caution and care. I plead with you to revisit the Bible with an open heart and an open mind. Look at the research and the facts available to us today. I commend anyone trying their best to live like Christ. Let us not be judgmental. Let us not be indifferent. Let us show love in every way; mind, body, and soul. Let us be accepting. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should have eternal life,” as it is written in John 3:16. He does not say whoever, except gays, or tattooed people, or adulterers. He very simply states “whoever.” That is it. If you believe, you will have eternal life. So…

What would Jesus really do?

Works Cited
Aravosis, John. America Blog. 17 October 2013. Web. 1 July 2015. <http://americablog.com/2013/10/worst-parents-in-the-world-2.html>.
CCAI. Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute. November 2012. Web. 1 July 2015. <http://ccainstitute.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&id=25&l ayout=blog&Itemid=43>.
Dimick, Dennis. News National Geographic. 21 September 2014. 1 July 2015. <http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/09/140920-population-11billion-demographics-anthropocene/>.
Fereydooni, Arash. Yale Scientific. 14 March 2012. Web. 1 July 2015. <http://www.yalescientific.org/2012/03/do-animals-exhibit-homosexuality/>.
Garcia, Adrian. Gaily Grind. 5 July 2015. Web. 8 July 2015. <http://www.thegailygrind.com/2015/07/06/nurses-heartbreaking-facebook-message-explains-why-equal-marriage-is-so-important/>.
OBERGEFELL ET AL. v. HODGES, DIRECTOR, OHIO. No. No. 14-556. Supreme Court of the United States. 26 June 2015. Web. 1 July 2015. <http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/14pdf/14-556_3204.pdf>.
Perrin, Ellen C. and Benjamin S. Siegel. Official Journal of American Acadamy of Pediatrics. 2013. 1 July 2015. <http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2013/03/18/peds.2013-0377>.
Williams Institute. The Williams Institute. 2 May 2015. Web. 1 July 2015. <http://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/datablog/just-the-facts-data-overview_2015/>.

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