As you are likely aware, the issue of gay marriage is front and centre on the national stage this week. As the linked article from the New York Times illustrates, there has been a dramatic shift in public opinion on the legal rights of, or restrictions upon, marriages of same-sex couples.
At this point in my life, I have met several members of the LGBT community. I have had the opportunity to hear some of their stories, to see first-hand the struggles, internal and external, which they have had to endure and find ways to overcome. Many have wrestled with their own same-sex attraction. For some, it has been ever-present, while for others it was something which they only came to realize and accept over time.
This week, I have also observed some of my Christian friends and colleagues speaking out in support of “gay marriage,” through their Facebook and Twitter posts, on their blogs, in interviews, and in person.
I write my own post this evening not intending to comment directly upon my support or opposition to the issue of gay marriage. I simply do not consider my involvement with the LGBT community sufficient to definitively put my voice forward in a public forum one way or the other, though I certainly have my own private leanings on this complex issue.
What I wish to address, rather, is sexual brokenness.
In the same way that straight men and women can find themselves adrift upon the sexual seas of dysfunction, so too can gay men and lesbian women. If my Christian brothers and sisters truly intend to support marriages between same-sex couples the same way they support heterosexual marriages, then we must carry that decision to its logical conclusion, and some difficult questions need to be put forward.
Do we, as the church, as a society – or even as human beings – recognize that some instances of same-sex attraction might be due to a sexual brokenness? That, occasionally, a same-sex attraction is not a sexual need at all, but rather a psychological need quite non-sexual in nature stemming from a tragic, hurtful, and abusive event in one’s past? My point here is in no way to suggest that every instance of same-sex attraction is generated in this manner.
What I do wish to suggest is that supporting same-sex marriages should not cause our churches or our society to become blind to a genuine need for healing and building up. I mean to suggest that we, as Christians, do our fellow men and women a great disservice by neglecting to offer the opportunity for the healing of the sexual self simply in the name of political correctness.
The societal winds have shifted under our feet in recent years, and as it should be. Discrimination against a member of the LGBT should rightly be condemned when it takes the form of cruel words, adverse hiring decisions, physical abuse, or any other number of offenses against one who is made in the image of God. Christians should be the first to offer words of support, words of building up, words of love from the Father.
But with words of love come words of loving challenge. In the same way we should be challenging our heterosexual brothers and sisters in Christ, if Christians truly intend to support “gay marriage”….do we also intend to encourage same-sex couples to abstain from sex until marriage? Do we encourage purity of mind and action the way we encourage hetero couples?
And, most uncomfortably, how do we handle the scriptures which seemingly speak against same-sex attraction? Do we wish them away wholesale, the same ways in which we wish away the Levitical rules on clothes made of differing fabrics? Or, do we invite same-sex couples, our brothers and sisters, into the discussion, as we push one another deeper into truth, digging into the cultural and linguistic features of these passages full-on, challenging one another to reach and live out God’s truths without the threats of harsh rhetoric and misguided fire and brimstone sermons as so many have sadly been subjected to?
Are heterosexual members of the church willing to engage in a thoughtful, thorough exegesis of God’s Word, admitting what we might or might not know?
I write this evening to caution against the tide of political correctness. Our LGBT brothers and sisters deserve more than to be pandered to by the masses. They deserve to be loved and to be challenged. To be urged towards sexual wholeness, to devote their entire selves towards the God under whom they were formed and breathed into. Is this not what we would urge for our heterosexual brothers and sisters?
Then let us not discriminate.