Friday, February 28, 2014

Gay Marriage: Earning the Right to be Heard

As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, this week a federal judge declared the ban on gay marriage unconstitutional in the state of Texas. U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia of San Antonio made the ruling as a result of a suit brought by two same-sex couples. 

the couples who sued - Phariss is on far right
Photo credit: NPR
I learned through the local news that one of the couples, Mark Phariss and Victor Holmes, live in the Dallas area. They were interviewed on WFAA in Dallas on Wednesday night, where they reflected on their 17-year relationship and their excitement about the ruling. Then Phariss said something that broke my heart. He explained how he knew he was gay as a young boy, and because he thought God didn’t love him, often went to bed at night hoping he wouldn’t wake up. “Now,” he says, “I realize that God didn’t make me gay to hate me.”

Later in the broadcast, the news posted some of the public’s Twitter responses to the interview. One responder, presumably a Christian, tweeted that the couple would surely “burn in hell” for being gay. I literally winced as the anchorman read the words aloud.

I couldn’t help but see the irony created by these back-to-back statements. “God didn’t make me gay to hate me.” “Burn in hell.”  On one side you have a person who wants reassurance that he is loved by God even though he’s gay. And on the other side you have a person who is supposed to be an ambassador of Christ’s love to a lost and hurting world. Sadly, the opportunity to speak up in love was instead squandered on cowardly words of hate. 

I believe in the Biblical model of marriage as being between one man and one woman. And I am saddened and dismayed to see the erosion of Christian morality taking place in our nation. But, it is also my firm belief that much more than just morality needs to be restored. What our nation needs the most is the love of Christ

All of us – gay or straight – long to know God’s love. Who will tell them if not us? How else will they know unless we show them? 1 Corinthians 13 says, “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing” (vs. 1-3). This passage explains that, no matter how right we are, if we don’t have love, we are just one big percussion section – a shouting din in the ears of the culture. It is not enough just to have the truth on our side. People need to know that we care. Do we? Do we just want to take potshots from a distance, or are we ready to roll up our sleeves, get out there, and love people to the point that it changes the world?

It's time we ask ourselves the question: do the gay people in our lives feel more loved by God as a result of being around us? Or less? If the answer is less, then I'm not sure we've earned the right to be heard. 

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