Same Sex Marriage (Part One – The Social Landscape)

Over the past four months we have watched a cultural landslide as one public leader after another (political and yes even pastoral) has voiced his or her support for same sex marriage.  This sweeping nature of this change has been nothing short of amazing.   I’m partly surprised at the dramatic turn.  On the other hand have we not seen this coming for years, even decades?

landslide

Looking back, this is has been in the works for along time.  Here’s the recipe: begin with a little sexual revolution (’60s-70s), stir in a cup full of no fault divorce (’80s), and sprinkle with media half-truths and jokes about being gay, and season with pride marches and corporate posturing.  Let simmer for 10 years.  Next, pour contents onto a hot skillet called American Civil rights and you have a recipe for social revolution.

Socially, we have reached the “tipping point” (to borrow Malcolm Gladwell’s term) where a magical number of a vocal minority have made everyone else feel as though they are now the new minority.   Suddenly, marriage defined as the union between a man and a woman has gone from cool to kill just in one lifetime.  Like bell-bottoms, neon sweaters or the Swatch Watch, what was once esteemed by your peers has now become ridiculed.

I’ve got a lot on my mind.  Enough to get me back into blogging.

But I bet you do too.  I want to end by giving you a couple of questions and soliciting your comments.   I’d love to hear from you on the following questions:

  • How do you feel about the social change that has transpired in our lifetime?
  • Do you think that that approval of same sex marriage is now inevitable in view of recent developments?  How does that lead you to respond?

Please feel free to leave a comment.  Keep it brief and keep it civil.  I’ll post more in a few days.

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42 Comments

Filed under Same Sex Marriage

42 responses to “Same Sex Marriage (Part One – The Social Landscape)

  1. “How do you feel about the social change that has transpired in our lifetime?”

    This particular change is morally correct and good.

    “Do you think that that approval of same sex marriage is now inevitable in view of recent developments? How does that lead you to respond?”

    Yes. And I now have more hope for our culture.

  2. Deanna Wenzel

    Regarding social change~…. I’m very saddened what has happened to and in the USA. We have become a nation that has chosen to call evil good and good evil. I fear for my grandchildren, great grandchildren, what kind of society are they going to have live with. God save America from our sinful pride.
    Regarding ~ same sex marriage…..it’s only the beginning of the end of our God fearing nation. The slippery slope and the same moral decay that most nations have fallen into. Sodom and Gomorrah, in Gen. 19:24, brought the wrath of God. Without a real awakening of our nation to seek The Lord Jesus Christ, for His deliverance and change….we are doomed. 4/12/2013

  3. Utterly delighted. I thank God. It is wonderful. I was born when “buggery” was illegal in England, and now we are about to have same sex marriage. The liberation in that is Godly.

    I interpret the Bible in particular ways and believe that interpreting it to condemn all same sex relationships is ridiculous and cruel. My page http://clareflourish.wordpress.com/bible-gay/ has handy links to the arguments for my interpretations.

    How could there be a tipping point if my side were not the majority? Many people have no strong opinions one way or the other- then they become revolted by the Oppressors, and support the Oppressed.

    Even if you are one of those Christians who thinks that gay lovemaking is always sinful, and therefore gay people must remain permanently celibate (or deny the overwhelming evidence that we are indeed “born this way”) do you really think Jesus wants you to enforce what you think is Biblical morality by law? Is there anything in the Gospels which leads you to this conclusion? How is a gay man behaving morally if out of fear of criminal prosecution, like in Uganda, he remains celibate?

    • revtimbrown

      Hi Clare, thanks for posting. I think your comment and the one above demonstrate how divergent the social landscape has become. Like any sports competition, one team’s elation is another’s saddest day.

      As for the tipping point, I believe Gladwell says that a cultural tipping point happens when 17% awareness is achieved. Culture has always been led by a small minority who are committed to a cause.

      I won’t respond at length to your question because I plan to do that in future posts. I do want to answer your question about Jesus. In my opinion, Jesus has spoken clearly on this issue when he said, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Matthew 19:4-6)

      What is evident in this passage is that
      1) God established and ordained marriage, not mankind.
      2) God is the one who joins people together this is therefore a supernatural event.
      3) The man (and woman) leave their family of origin which was a heterosexual marrirage–father and mother. And
      4) The man is joined to his wife since God created them male and female.

      Whether or not you consider yourself religious, this is the world that was made for us to live in and God has described what he expects.

      • Oddly enough, immediately after that passage comes the healing of the Centurion’s pais. But I expect we interpret that wee Greek word differently too.

        And in Christ there is no Greek nor Jew, slave nor free, male nor female- straight nor gay?

        On culture, there is the issue of commitment. Many of us are excited and delighted by civil rights, and many of the former opponents are saying- “Oh, I didn’t think of it like that. That makes sense. OK, then”. How informed and committed are the positions?

        • revtimbrown

          Clare, I know Greek adequately well. The word “pais” which you refer to can not be used to establish that the Centurion had a servant who was gay (let alone lover). First of all, the word pais is very broad. It is used to mean: son, child, boy, maiden, slave, servant, attendant. To say that this singular example demonstrates that Jesus healed a homosexual person cannot be read from the text. It simply is in no way implied or inferred here.

          If that were the case, many other uses of the word “pais” would be totally out of place and make no sense. For example: Did Herod kill all the male homosexual children (pais) two years old and younger in Bethlehem (Mt. 2:16)? Hardly. Was Jesus a pais (in your reading) of Luke 2:43? Not possible. You simply cannot establish your case, no matter how well intentioned from a single word with such broad meaning.

      • “Whether or not you consider yourself religious, this is the world that was made for us to live in and God has described what he expects.”

        No, not whether or not.

        If you consider yourself religious, you might think that you know what the god you believe in expects.

  4. M. Sobetsky

    How do we choose to live? With any issue, whether it is homosexuality or finances, priorities, etc… the key is to decide if you are going to live based on culture-driven opinion or on what Jesus says. Why should one care about what Jesus says? “Who do you say I am? Jesus asked. Well, He’s either a liar, a lunatic or the Lord God. It is a brave thing to seek out this all-important answer. Then, rather than living by opinions, such issues take on a settled clarity. Author Josh McDowell was determined to once-and-for-all decide about Jesus, yes or no. Read his honest quest in the book “More Than A Carpenter”. Tyndale Publisher. ISBN 978-1-4143-2627-6

    • revtimbrown

      Thanks, M. If Jesus is who he claimed and really rose from the dead the evidence of God is certain.

      • M. Sobetsky

        Yes: The evidence of God is certain in Jesus Christ, and thus, He is the Authority to Whom we should align our decisions and choices.

  5. How does being “born this way” automatically make it normal and good? There are plenty of issues people are born with that are not normal, good, or healthy. How do we determine which “born this way” situations are normal and which are not? If you take the religious aspect completely out of this discussion and look at homosexuality strictly through a scientific lens, it doesn’t look normal at all. Why has it been deemed normal simply because someone is “born this way?” Wouldn’t it be more compassionate and caring to try to help someone out of this situation instead of cheering them on and encouraging them down this path?

    • “Why has it been deemed normal simply because someone is “born this way?””

      It’s deemed normal because it causes no demonstrable harm.

      • Do you mean harm to others or harm to those who are homosexual? There are plenty of health issues related to homosexuality — particularly with male homosexuality.

        • revtimbrown

          Just FYI, I’ve made the comments able to nest to eight levels instead of three. Hopefully that helps keep some of your comments in the right place on the thread. Once it get’s that deep (7 replies), it’s likely getting unproductive.

          runninghardforgood, see notascientist’s reply to you at the very bottom.

          By way of reply to both of you, there is notable discussion about the detrimental health effects of homosexuality in the social sciences. Unsurprisingly the results fall according to the position of the group behind the study. I believe neither of you would change your position if evidence was demonstrated contrary to your position.

          Homosexuality, at the end of the day is not primarily a scientific issue, but an ethical issue. We must get to the broader realm of philosophy and use science as a supporting issue. I’ll address the ethics in a future post. Right now, this post (Part One – The Social Landscape) was only meant to answer the two primary questions I raised: personal response and the inevitability question.

          • I completely agree that homosexuality is not primarily a scientific issue. I see it as supporting the broader philosophy, and supporting how God created us. Science can be a gift — it can help open our eyes. When we see the science of anatomy/physiology it’s stunning and just amazing. I added it to the conversation hoping it might help some look beyond an initial response of emotion/defense. For those who support homosexuality, sometimes their first response is only emotion-filled defense, and claims of unfairness, etc. I’m hoping they can look beyond that and see more. I truly hope they will look beyond and see God, who created us so beautifully.

  6. “Okay, Who is your God?”

    I don’t have a god. I’m an atheist.

    • revtimbrown

      What is your ultimate authority?

      • In relation to what?

        I don’t look for authority when trying to determine right and wrong, moral and immoral. I rationally look at consequences, and harm and benefit, as a result of actions.

        • revtimbrown

          Then it sounds like you are your own authority.

          • Everyone is their own authority. They have to be.

            You are your own authority, simply due to the fact that you have decided that the Bible is good and trustworthy. If you weren’t your own authority, then you couldn’t make that decision.

            As my own authority, I know what will sway my opinion. And that is only evidence.

  7. Btjngljp8

    Tim I would be interested to hear your thoughts on the Protestant church’s embracing of birth control and how that contributes to the “church’s” change of position on gay marriage. The fact that marriage, sex and children were intended to be a package deal, but are are now completely independent of one another has to be a contributing factor in the shift of position by many claiming Christ.

    • revtimbrown

      It’s probably a factor somewhere the shaping of our whole culture. Evidence for that is the unflinching predictability of the Roman Catholic church to define marriage biblically, and we know their stance on birth control.

      However, it would be an overstatement to say that someone who believes in birth control looses the moral high ground to link reproduction to marriage. In other words, I believe one can be permissive on birth control but still have a consistent argument for heterosexual marriage exclusively.

      • btjngljp8

        I wasn’t saying they lose “moral high ground” either. I am questioning whether the separation subconsciously begins to affect our philosophy of the intended package deal making it easier to accept same sex “marriage” because marriage is not about building a structure to raise children. It is about personal fulfillment first and children if we so choose. I guess we need to clearly define what is marriage…AND why is marriage.

        • revtimbrown

          Sounds like you said it! I couldn’t have said it better myself.

          If we miss the primary purposes for marriage, we have trouble demonstrating why marriage exists in the first place.

          Here are five reasons for marriage:
          1. Companionship (Gen 2:18)
          2. Formation of family (Gen 2:24)
          3. Sexual fulfillment (Song of Songs, 1 Cor 7)
          4. To pursue sanctification (Eph 5)
          5. Model Christ and the church (Eph 5)

  8. Dan Olds

    I am sick to my stomach. I believe the social change that has been corrupting our society has been going on well before the 1960’s. Early progressive thinkers such as John Dewey and Lester Ward planted the seeds to what has become a more centralized governmental control in education. This progressive movement in primary education and in the University environment I believe took root in the early 1900’s. The fruit of those seeds of change took place in the 1960’s. Many of the 1960’s radicals have been teaching in the public school system and University halls for 40 plus years teaching an anti-biblical theology and a progressive world view further corrupting society.
    Look at current polls. Most polls show that 70-80 percent of the population call themselves Christian; however the true view of biblical truth that these so called Christians hold does not exist in how they think, act, walk or raise their children. This social change has been insidious in nature. Sadly it has infiltrated all levels and areas of society including the church.

    Yes, I believe same sex marriage is inevitable unless there is a miraculous intervention by God.
    How I need to respond is stand firm to true biblical teaching. I also need to do it in love which is hard to do because the attacks from the progressives will be painful to take. I also need to teach my young daughter truth and help her navigate what is going to be a more hostile environment for believers in Christ.

    • revtimbrown

      Thanks for your comments, Dan. What can we learn from the last 100 years of social change to inform how we might affect the culture for good? In other words, are Christians waiting for a revival when we are called to advance the true purpose of education in ways that will have an impact 60 years from now?

  9. Thanks for such a well-crafted article on this crucial topic! I’m in shock and awe at the response from Ms. Flourish, and appreciate your calm, factual responses. How sad that apparently intelligent people can be so unaware of the HUGE social cost of our drift away from the value system on which this great country was founded, totally independent of the religious and moral issues at stake.
    Regarding your questions, I am mostly disappointed in much of the social change that has taken place in my lifetime. Disappointed that we (the conservative majority) have allowed a shrill, insistent minority to dominate the cultural debate, and swing public opinion (particularly the “low information” voters) to their side. Also disappointed that our judiciary have so far over-stepped their bounds, and practiced much “legislation from the bench” at all levels to over-ride the clear intent of so many of our long-standing legislative guidelines, and even the Constitution itself.
    Regarding same-sex marriage, I am not quite ready to concede inevitability to that one. Seems to me that a well-crafted legislative proposal that allows for “civil unions” that are NOT called “marriage”, with the attendant financial and social benefits of such unions, should appease that shrill minority, and allow the DOMA and similar guidelines to remain. Clearly, “marriage” per se is God’s idea, and it is not up to man to re-define it. Since the godless segment of our society will not be impressed with that argument, they may be appeased with an effective alternative.
    My personal response will be to apply all of the pressure I can to the legislators who represent me to support “civil union” legislation, and to resist any re-defining of the sacred relationship that God calls “marriage”. Also, to encourage those I can influence to enter actively into the sphere of public debate, and to exercise influence over their elected representatives as well.

  10. nmcdonal

    As far as the social landscape goes, I’ll say at least one of the reasons same-sex marriage has gained steam is that our generation hasn’t seen models of healthy marriage demonstrated. We’ve lost faith in marriage as an institution, right or wrong, because the generation before didn’t show us it was beautiful.

  11. “Do you mean harm to others or harm to those who are homosexual? ”

    Both.

    “There are plenty of health issues related to homosexuality — particularly with male homosexuality.”

    No, I’m sorry, but you’re wrong.

    There are plenty of health issues related to violent, rough or unprotected sex.

    That is not unique to homosexuals.

    • There absolutely are negative health issues related to male homosexuality. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) has data analysis regarding this: Here are two examples directly from the CDC: 1) “the rate of new HIV diagnoses among men who have sex with men (MSM) is more than 44 times that of other men and more than 40 times that of women.” 2) “The rate of primary and secondary syphilis among MSM is more than 46 times that of other men and more than 71 times that of women, the analysis says.” If you truly care about this issue, please look into it. You can start here: http://www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/Newsroom/msmpressrelease.html This is just one source of information. There are plenty more that go into very specific anatomical detail about why this is not healthy and was not meant to be. Clearly, our body parts were not meant to be used this way. It is unhealthy and not how God wants us to be. Romans 1:26-27 : “26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. 27 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 …” I will pray for you, and for all who think this way. I truly hope you will turn to God for help.

      • Debra White

        I am so glad someone finally brought Romans 1 into this conversation. The entire chapter speaks to the believers in Rome at the very time that they struggled with a society degenerating and falling apart because of these things. It lists all of the types of sin that will mark the end of a society that has God’s blessing unto His wrath. All types of perversion are covered right alongside gossip, disobedience and murder. What God was describing was a society that suppressed the truth to have their own way; who would take these matters into their own hands, thinking they could decide what was right and wrong, even as we are right here. Now, I am not saying it is wrong to discuss these things, WE MUST. What I am saying is that it is wrong to believe we can DECIDE these things. The believers in Rome here were being encouraged and praised because they were trying “to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles for His name’s sake,” v 5. You see right and wrong is already decided and it is up to believers to obey this truth.
        Non-believers; like the ones responding here declaring atheism, are given over to their thinking to suffer the results of it in some very strong words. Believers should take strong heed to the last verse. Here they are warned that God’s wrath is not only for those who do such things but for those who give their approval yielding the precious ground of truth over to people who have exchanged it for lies. I will not approve. I will not support these things. Let us, as Christians clean up our own house first. Trying to win over people given over to these ways by God is never going to happen by approval or support of their sin. We can only help if we remain in the truth and obedience to His ways and show forth the fruit of obedience to Him. It does not surprise me that most LGBT are atheist; they have already figured out that their choice does not line up with His ways and rather try to deny He exists. What does surprise, (DISAPPOINT!), me are Christians who roll over and get on board with them, casting aside the truth and the glory of an incorruptible God by acting ashamed of the gospel, altering it to fit this, instead of standing up for it!

        • revtimbrown

          Thank you for you well written comments, Debra.

          Just one clarification: I believe Romans 1:32 does not speak a warning to believers who do not practice but approve (though approving the wrong is certainly bad). Rather a closer reading, I believe, reveals that it is a warning to those who practice lawlessness brashly and unapologetically, approving of evil in public. “They not only do them but (also) give approval to those who practice them.” (ESV) In other words, it is one thing to do a shameful thing in secret, it is another thing to seek public approval and march for the cause.

          That being said, I agree with your second paragraph. The most disappointing thing to me is indeed Christians (especially Christian leaders) who disregard God’s word, which I believe is very clear on the issue of homosexuality. That defection is stunning. To whom much is given, much is required. I don’t think Paul believes any true believer could approve.

  12. Joan Reams

    God considers homosexual behavior an abomination. Same sex marriage is a symptom of a society in moral decay. Past civilizations have died from the inside out through disobedience to God’s rules for holy living. Same sex marriage may be inevitable but I believe God expects christians to be outspoken against all immorality. If we dont speak out it will be the same as giving our seal of approval to promote this sinful conduct. This will guarantee the demise of our society. We should rest in God’s promises.
    Joan

  13. Jean Porter

    How wonderful of you to bring up such a controversial subject, Tim.
    I am 77 years old and I have seen a lot of social changes in our society in my lifetime. Most of them are not for the good. My thinking on this particular subject is vey simple.
    As Christians, we cannot take any part of the Bible and dismiss it because it “doesn’t fit” our ideals. It is almighty God’s Word, Sovereign and it means exactly what it says. Marriage is between a man and a woman, simply put, like it or not. Do I think homosexuals will burn in hell? Far be it from me to judge them. That’s God’s job.
    I do, however, have a viewpoint re the civil benefits of those who live together, homosexual or not. I think there are times when two people who are not man and wife but have lived together for “x” number of years should have some rights, especially when one or the other is at the end of their life.
    As for “Not a Scientist”, I will pray for that person. I find it interesting that an atheist would be following a Christian blog. Is the reason to try and persuade we Christians to their way of thinking? To justify their beliefs?
    It is very possible that same sex marriage will be approved. My response to that is that all things are possible with God, and we must join in prayer to avoid any contradiction to His Word.
    In Him,
    Jean

    • revtimbrown

      Hi Jean, Thanks for writing. I welcome all who want to read and post. As long as it is civil, I want to hear from all sides. I don’t know if “not a scientist” is following per se, but he (or she) did read this post and joined the conversation. One of my goals is to listen well to how people are thinking in this debate. You will see more of that in future posts.

    • Debra White

      Civil medical advocates and inheritance issues are already able to be declared without redefining marriage, though……

  14. G.Knechtges-Marshall

    It is my understanding that since the fall of Adam and Eve, the world has started on a downward spiral. It is Rebellion against God, Period! Have we not all left our First Love? (those of us that are claiming to be Christians) just one turn of the head as to not take action against sin is just that sin! I am not shocked at what this world has become! and neither is GOD. I Pray that all of us who call ourselves Christians will wake up and get down our knees in prayer for this world, not to save it, but to be a true witness to those that are called but not yet there! We need to stand tall and fill in the gaps where ever they are and not be afraid to speak in Love to the sinner about the sin, not just join in on the name calling band wagon. It is time to get into the trench and let God send us to whom He wants us to. We all see the changes in this world! most worship the creation instead of the creator! our view is skured at times. Death of Children by guns, death of children by suction, rape, I can go on and on, just look to who really celebrates the sin in the world and they go out of their way to make it available to all via the tv. Hollywood will have a special place in statan’s lair.

  15. Todd

    I do feel on a level that God is faithful to His word, and as to the condition of the heart of man when we see things like this. I know that as long as sin remains in the world, some hearts will to do things like try to make such laws be put into action. Upon contemplating the word “never,” and others in these words, one thing it means is that we are able to know the hearts of some fallen people will always seek to do such things;
    John 8:12 NIV
    [The Validity of Jesus’ Testimony] When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

  16. Ruth Ronish

    I do not have a strong opinion as to whether same sex marriage is inevitable in our present culture. I still thing that reason says that if same sex marriage was good God would have designed our bodies to fit it. It reminds me of what we used to say when I was a kid: if we were meant to smoke, God would have put a chimney in our head. I think that there are just a lot of people today who are confused about the issue since they think that we are depriving people, are mean-spirited and hateful if we do not agree with same sex marriage. I wonder about the reasoning power of parents who find out their child is a homosexual would excuse them if they found out their child had committed murder??? In God’s eyes they are both sin and equal since all sin is equal in God’s eyes even as if we break one commandment we have broken them all. I pray and trust that if God wills, we can find a way to reconcile the people who feel that as homosexuals, they were made that way. How do they understand behavior??? The age-old dialogue hasn’t changed: nature vs. nurture and in my opinion behavior comes from nurturing rather than nature. Let’s pray for revival and that God will send His Holy Spirit to bring conviction and then reconciliation. He will not fail His promise!!