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What is the church to do about gay marriage?

June 30, 2015

The decision by the Supreme Court to legalize gay marriage is an issue of civil rights and not one of religion. Religions do not need to change their views on gay marriage because of this decision, although I feel maybe they should have changed their views on gay marriage long ago for another reason; namely compassion.

To explore how the church should approach the LGBTQ community on the issue of gay marriage, I would like to first look at another issue that challenges traditional marriage: divorce. Divorce is not a secular issue. Divorce is rampant in the church and those who have been divorced are treated with acceptance that is downright unBiblical. In Matthew 5:31, “Furthermore it has been said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual morality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery” (The Nelson Study Bible NKJV). These are the words of Jesus Christ himself. The word of God. Every person that you meet in the church who has been divorced for any reason except sexual immorality is not divorced in the eyes of God. If he or she is remarried, both the divorcee and the corresponding spouse are adulterers. All children from the second marriage are the bastard children of adulterers. Sinners. Dirty rotten sinners. And the church allows these sexual deviants to be church members, to serve in the church and even to teach in the church. This is downright heretical!

So why? Why does the church allow divorced people in and why are we not telling them daily to turn away from their sin and to leave their adulterous second marriages?

Because of compassion; beautiful, beautiful, Jesus inspired compassion. Somehow we were able to see that even though Jesus only gave the out of sexual immorality to have a divorce, that living in a marriage where one spouse is brutally abused is not what our God wants. Staying married to an addict who drinks or gambles away all the money for food is not what our loving God wants for us. Staying married to a person who causes immense pain is not the will of our loving Father. We have compassion on the hurting and we allow them to be free. And then why do we let them remarry? Compassion again. Being alone is hard. Even Adam in the Garden of Eden had a hard time being alone and so God gave him a partner. We, as people of God, know that life is just really, really hard sometimes and people need compassion more than rules.

This compassion must translate onto our LGBTQ brothers and sisters.

The current system of dealing with gay persons in the church is rather cruel. We tell them they are sinners and refuse to allow them to serve on the children’s ministry because somehow adulterers are ok to be around our children but those who love someone of the same sex are not. We give them very few options. One is to remain celibate and the other is to deny their attractions and marry a person of the opposite sex. Now, both seem to be ones that we would not require of heterosexuals. We have already established that adulterous persons are allowed to remarry because being alone is hard, yet we will not allow a gay person to have life partner of his or her choosing and we the church tell them to stay alone or marry someone to whom they are not attracted. This is a discriminatory and shows compassion for one type of God’s children but not for another.

The United States government has made a step towards equal treatment of gay persons. Now will the church take a step towards providing equal grace towards the homosexual community that we give to the heterosexual community?

I do hope so.


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