The recent outpouring of support for Chic-fil-a on Wednesday led my wife and I to a conversation last night about the role of Christians and the church in our society. Why should Christians care if the government permits individuals of the same sex to marry? Will it have any real, tangible impact on believers, ministers or churches as a whole?
Why do we as Christians expect those who are outside of the church, outside of a relationship with God, depraved, and dead in their sin—why should we be so concerned with their actions? Our aim as followers of Christ is not to get them to stop sinning, is it? I thought our aim was to love them and find meaningful opportunities to compassionately share the gospel. Why then do we see so much energy and focus aimed towards getting people to outwardly obey God’s law when inwardly they are separated from him?
If we successfully prevent same sex couples from attaining the government recognition of their commitment to each other, called marriage, what have we won? Will our society will earn bonus points with God and receive his favor for upholding his standard of marriage? Perhaps. Will we alienate an entire segment of the population from ever being receptive to the Gospel? Most certainly.
And why do we treat this issue so differently from others? The Bible says that drunkenness is a sin, but I don’t go around trying to bring back prohibition. The Bible says that fornicating is a sin, but I don’t see people protesting a person’s freedom to do so. We may teach our children it’s a sin (and a really bad idea) and we will teach our church that it is a sin, but why would we expect non-Christians to save themselves for marriage. The biggest sin of all, the one that Adam and Eve committed, what D.A. Carson calls the “de-godding of God”, placing ourselves on level with, or above God—we don’t seek to create laws against that.
These only become legal issues our government is willing to restrain when they endanger or harm another individual, such as drinking and driving, or sexual assault/rape. The truth is, if we stop and think about what we’re doing, we should think twice before we ask the government to legislate morality for us. The government’s job is (or should be) to protect individual liberty and ensure that other’s actions don’t harm me or take away my liberty. The government should not be telling me what is moral and what is immoral. And I certainly don’t want them legislating it!
So if we “win” this fight, we’ve not only badly hurt our ability to be effective witnesses to people who need the gospel, but we also opened the door to a government who feels free to tell us what is moral and immoral. Someday, when Christians become the minority (if we’re not already), we will find ourselves on the receiving end of governmental laws aimed taking away our religious and personal liberty. A “win” today will turn into a curse 20 years from now. Indeed a few more “victories” like this one and we’ll lose the war in no time.
So what about losing this fight? Well, not what you think. The answer is that we’re partly in the same spot we would be in if we had won the battle—we’ve alienated the vast majority of same sex couples from ever having an interest in the contents of this gospel we say we live by. In addition, we’ve put so much stock in this anti-gay marriage agenda, that if we “lose” we show our ineptitude to organize politically. I don’t want to see the entire Christian world get involved in an issue only to lose. I’d much rather see us put our efforts into issues that save lives and restrain evil (i.e. abortion, human trafficking etc…).
So if we “lose”, we’re weakened in our ability to fight for more significant issues and we alienated the gays. If we “win”, we have a government extending well beyond a role I’m comfortable with and we alienated the gays. That’s a lose lose fight.
All of this being said, there is one other area that I want to touch on. If you haven’t noticed yet, I am arguing for a libertarian government. However, I realize that there are those in the pro-gay movement who don’t want to see that form of government in power. They don’t want me to be able to say that I think homosexuality is wrong and it’s a sin. If I say that, then I’m a bigot or I’m hateful, or I’m something worse. But I’m not. I’m just saying what I believe to be true. I’m not saying it in a mean or hateful way and I’m not attempting to encroach on your liberty to live your life how you choose. But I still demand the right to teach my family and my congregation that homosexuality is wrong and against God’s desire for their lives.
Now that I’m sure I’ve made everyone on both side of the debate very upset, I’ll rest my case. Let me close with this: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Live your life in such a way that you honor God and show him to the world by your life, not your stances on external issues.