I am not at all interested in imposing on the Sate or Legislator a Christian worldview. I realize that in a pluralistic nation differences must be respected within lawful boundaries. As a citizen, however, I am committed to pursuing what is best for society as a whole and engaging in robust discourse about it. In a democracy, we should not oppose any group of citizens who bring their desires to the table for discussion and debate. But, at the end of the day, some people will have to live with limits to individual liberties for the general good. This is simply how ordered and civilized people must live.
Those who prefer something different from heterosexual relationships, understandably feel slighted because they face limits in ways that heterosexuals are not limited. This may seem like injustice but someone will always be able to make that claim because absolute freedom for all would destroy civilization.
Those who want rights and privileges for gay marriage should obviously be permitted to make a case for why they want the same rights or benefits that come with heterosexual marriage. Yet they should acknowledge that they are asking for significant changes from how things have been for centuries. I am not saying that history should trump all change but it should at least be respected. It places a more significant burden on those asking for a change. The case must be made for why it is in the best interest of society to expand the definition of marriage and those making the request must realize that their voice cannot be the only one permitted at the table. Coercion and manipulation do not promote freedom.
As I have tried to listen to the case being made for gay marriage, some of the arguments are just difficult to validate. If, for example, I am asked to view homosexuality as an unalterable condition of birth along the lines of race or gender, I cannot rationally or pastorally accept this way of seeing things. I believe that a better case can be made to treat sexuality of any kind in a context of choice.
When resolving ethical and legal questions about expressions of sexuality, individual choice must be considered as a primary factor. Arguments for sexuality based on possible genetic predisposition do not advance discussions about right or wrong or what is best for society. Although it’s possible to be physiologically inclined toward many different types of behavior, such impulses cannot be used to define personhood or to justify behavioral choices. On purely rational grounds, a society that intends to condemn certain forms of sexual conduct as illegal must treat sexuality in general in a context of human choosing – not as a predetermined condition.
Consider, as an example, an adulterous woman who complains that her act of adultery (i.e. her wrongful heterosexual behavior) was because of her distant and uncaring husband. While feeling truly compassionate toward her for the difficulty she faced in her marriage doesn’t require validation of her act of adultery as the morally right choice.
Further, what should be said to those who (on principle) left a homosexual lifestyle? If these individuals have chosen to see their former way of life as wrong and immoral (as many have), how can they articulate their choice? How can we respect their decision as valid? Are they free to hold their view of homosexual behavior?
If we accept the suggestion that being gay is equal with being of a particular race moral opposition to homosexual behavior will be forbidden. In fact, if being gay is an unalterable condition of birth equal with race or gender, we should not be permitted to morally renounce it. But this comparison is faulty. There is simply no conclusive evidence that supports it. Personally, I see it as offensive to actual civil rights issues to demand that one’s sexual preferences be included with them.
The majority of citizens in this Country believe that anti-discrimination cases should be limited to unchangeable issues of nature like race, gender and matters of disability. Religious based discrimination is viewed as a separate issue addressed by the first amendment. Most Americans are either hesitant or strongly opposed to including people’s sexual desires and behaviors under anti-discrimination law.
The push on the part of homosexual activists to widen laws and ordinances to include their sexual orientation is perceived as an effort to force their lifestyle on others. People are fearful that a widening of laws and ordinances to include people’s sexual desires and behaviors is to acquiesce to an agenda designed to force the sexual lifestyles of a few on many.
Consenting adults are free to live in a homosexual relationship in this nation. If they make this choice, even though I disagree with the morality of it and I do not believe it is best for them, it is not my place to impose that opinion on them. If those who choose to live in homosexual relationships are mistreated by others, existing laws are adequate for restraining and punishing wrongful treatment. If we promote the true virtue of tolerance than those who disagree with the morality of homosexuality will learn to treat respectfully those with whom they disagree. Forced agreement is not true tolerance and will only backfire in a nation dedicated to freedom. I fully support more instruction and promotion of the true virtue of tolerance.
Although I morally disagree with homosexual relationships, I don’t look down on those who choose them as if they are inferior or below others. I am well enough aware of my own need for grace to restrain such self-righteous attitudes. Yet this should not mean that I cannot speak my viewpoint and live according to it. Since we’re talking about morality and not matters like race and gender difference of viewpoint must be respected when held respectfully.
If the State chose to give gay couples the same benefits and rights associated with marriage as heterosexuals without any legal obligation for this who morally oppose homosexual behavior, it’s not my place to impose on the State my morality. Like all other citizens, I should be permitted to voice my concerns if I don’t believe this is the best choice for society and, in a democracy, the State should not impose things that trump the wishes of majority of citizens.
If, however, the State exalts the sexual choices of those who want gay marriage to civil rights status (comparable to race and gender), it will open a social and legal Pandora’s box. Citizens will not be permitted to morally oppose homosexual lifestyles without risking accusations of discrimination and racism.
Teaching respectful treatment of everyone is essential, but forced affirmation of sexual preferences will threaten liberty in significant ways and cause unnecessary social unrest.
Millersville Bible Church
58 West Frederick Street
Millersville, PA. 17551