This article takes a different approach from that of the previous two, presenting a more biblically defined case.
A December issue of Newsweek featured a cover story entitled “Our Mutual Joy” that purported to offer a “religious case” for gay “marriage.” Author Lisa Miller claimed, “Opponents of gay marriage often cite Scripture. But what the Bible teaches about love argues for the other side.” Really?
It is interesting that apologists for the homosexual lifestyle typically say, on the one hand, that religious conservatives don’t really understand Scripture; if they did, they would see that there is no prohibition against homosexual love or marriage. On the other hand, they tell us the Bible is not to be trusted as a modern-day commentary when it speaks on moral issues—particularly sexuality. As Miller put it, “the Bible is a living document, powerful for more than 2000 years because its truths speak to us even as we change through history. In that light, Scriptures give us no good reason why gays and lesbians should not be married.”
Newsweek editor Jon Meacham was even more direct in his commentary on Miller’s article, saying that “to argue that something is so because it is in the Bible is more than intellectually bankrupt—it is unserious and unworthy of the great Judeo-Christian tradition.”
In light of these statements, it is obvious that homosexuals do not want to be held to the biblical standards of faith and practice, yet have no trouble embracing some form of religiosity in order to feel sanctified in the eyes of God. As the apostle Paul put it in 2 Timothy 3:1-5:
This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
In her attempt to justify what is scripturally unjustifiable, Miller, either consciously or unconsciously, has made a number of grievous errors:
MARRIAGE IS A HOLY ORDINANCE
First, marriage is not a triviality, but a holy ordinance ordained by God in the Garden of Eden. He declares to Adam and Eve in Genesis 2:24, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh,” which is His model for the union of male and female. Although some patriarchs strayed from this model following the Fall, it was not without consequences. David, for example, lost the son that was born as a result of his affair with Bathsheba.
Jesus is described by Miller as being “indifferent to earthly attachments,” but He reiterates God’s ordinance in Mathew 19:3-5 when questioned by the Pharisees on the matter of divorce:
Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife and they twain [two] shall be one flesh?’ Wherefore, they are no more twain [two], but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder.
Miller further claims that the “fact” that Jesus was single indicates that the Bible has no model for a “how-to” script on marriage. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, Jesus was married—to His church (the community of believers), and His life is an allegory of traditional Hebrew marriage rituals.
In the Hebrew ritual, the father or his emissary would pick out the bride for his son. Next, a price was established for the bride to be paid by the groom. When the bride accepted the proposal, they were legally betrothed, but the marriage was not yet consummated. Gifts were exchanged between the bride and groom and the groom departed to prepare a place for his bride—often in his father’s house. The groom may have left for an extended period, but eventually he returned to claim his bride, take her to the place he prepared, and consummate the marriage.
Similarly, God the Father selects the bride (believers) for His Son (“All that the Father gives me shall come to me and I will in no wise cast out”—John 6:37). Jesus pays for His bride by His sacrificial death on the cross. Believers who accept Christ are sanctified, but not yet in His presence.
Upon a believer’s commitment to trust in Christ, he or she is given the Holy Spirit, who provides each believer a gift of the Spirit. Jesus leaves His bride (the church) to go to His Father’s house, but prior to His departure, says, “In my Father’s house are many mansions. If it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:2-3). In the end times, Jesus will return to the earth to gather His church and consummate his relationship with believers, who will then remain in His presence forever.
Accordingly, marriage is reflective of Christ’s relationship with His church and as such, is not a matter of “indifference” to Him, as Miller suggested, but rather has meaning beyond any other earthly institution—it is holy. In a Spirit-guided Christian marriage, the bride and groom mirror in many ways the relationship Christ has with His church. As noted in Ephesians 5:21-25:
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything.
For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her.
Therefore, whatever two persons of the same sex wish to call their mutual relationship—partnering, co-habiting, or sharing a household—one thing is certain: It is not a marriage in the biblical sense nor in common sense.
COMPARING SLAVERY TO THE ISSUE OF GAY RIGHTS
Another fallacy of the gay rights movement is comparing America’s experience with slavery with the battle for gay rights. Miller accuses opponents of same-sex “marriage” of using Scripture “as the foundation for their objections,” in similar fashion as 19th-century supporters of slavery. Jon Meacham states this case most succinctly: “The analogy with race is apt, for Christians in particular long cited scriptural authority to justify and perpetuate slavery with the same certitude that some now use to point to certain passages in the Bible to condemn homosexuality and to deny the sacrament of marriage to homosexuals. This argument from scripture is difficult to take seriously.”
The difference is that Scripture does not support slavery and recognizes it as evil, although it was a reality of the times. Persons who looked to the Bible for support on this issue were guilty of the same proof texting as Miller and Meacham. Paul states the biblical view quite clearly in 1 Timothy 1:8-10:
We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.
Those who identify homosexuality as an issue of civil rights and equate it with racial discrimination are both insulting and irrational. Issues of race, ethnicity, national origin, or gender are all real and provable human characteristics. Homosexuality is a behavior that is learned and changeable, unlike the other characteristics, which are innate and immutable. There is not a person on earth that can prove he or she is a homosexual—it is a declaration that can change as evidenced by innumerable persons who have abandoned the lifestyle.
The most common factors in those who have entered the homosexual lifestyle are childhood sexual abuse, a poor relationship with the same-sex parent, or seduction. These classic causes were noted in the story of Lisa Miller (not the author) who left her lesbian relationship with Janet Jenkins convinced that the relationship was sinful. She later repented and reaffirmed her Christian faith. It was also revealed that “her mother sexually and physically abused her as a child and later, forbade her to date, telling her ‘men were evil.’” It is easy to see how she could fall into the homosexual lifestyle.
Miller is not alone in this circumstance. Many gay celebrities have admitted they were victims of childhood sexual abuse including Rosie O’Donnell, Ellen DeGeneres, Anne Heche, Julie Cypher, Melissa Etheridge, swimming star Greg Louganis, and Chastity Bono, who disclosed how she was seduced as a child into the “gay” lifestyle by one of Cher Bono’s lesbian friends. Additionally, many of the young boys seduced by priests were drawn into the homosexual lifestyle by the experience.
Gay-rights activists and their apologists have waged an effective brass knuckles campaign to portray homosexuality as inborn and unchangeable and therefore deserving of acceptance, affirmation, and codification into law. Nevertheless, declaring something to be true doesn’t make it so, nor does it make it right.
SCRIPTURE AND HOMOSEXUALITY
Contrary to the opinion of Newsweek’s Miller, Scripture is clear and distinct about the subject of homosexuality no matter how hard gay activists would like to wish it away. Beyond the Old Testament condemnation of homosexual practice as an abomination (which Miller refers to as “throwaway” lines), Paul writes in Romans 1:25-27:
Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.
In view of the above, it is interesting to note that Miller claims, “Nowhere in the Bible do its authors refer to sex between women.” Evidently, neither Miller nor her source, the Anchor Bible Dictionary, has ever read Romans.
Miller uses certain peculiar passages in Leviticus, which have no modern application, to suggest that statements condemning homosexuality need not be heeded: “[Leviticus is] a text that devotes verse after verse to treatments for leprosy, cleanliness rituals for menstruating women and the correct way to sacrifice a goat—or a lamb or a turtle dove. . . . Most of us no longer heed Leviticus on haircuts or blood sacrifices. . . . Why would we regard homosexuality with more seriousness than we regard its advice . . . on the best price to pay for a slave?”
It is important to understand that there are three types of laws in the Old Testament: moral laws, ceremonial laws, and codified civil laws. Under the New Covenant, the ceremonial laws were abolished, since Jesus Christ Himself negated the need for the sacrificial system (see Hebrews 9:1-15). The moral laws remain timeless and permanent.
God imposed the codified civil laws on the Israelite nation during its formative years in order that the people not be corrupted by the practices of the pagans.
The punishment these laws invoked were not intended to be permanent, as can be clearly seen in Jesus’ encounter with the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11). Although the Pharisees wanted to stone her to death in accordance with the Mosaic Law, Jesus challenged her accusers to show that they themselves were without sin. Jesus then forgave the woman and sent her on her way with the admonition, “Go and sin no more.” Clearly, her adultery was sinful but not a justification to stone her to death.
As Christians, we are called to follow Jesus’ example and be witnesses—not executioners—for the redemption of sinners through entering into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Allan Dobras is a freelance writer on religious and cultural issues and an electronics engineer. He lives in Springfield, Virginia.