Explaining an accepting evangelical position to gay marriage- any tips?

(66 Posts)

Just trying to think how I can explain an accepting evangelical position with regard to gay marriage.

Does anyone have any tips?

PedroYoniLikesCrisps Thu 16-May-13 19:09:14

I think if marriage itself gives you a spiritual drive to stay with one partner then fair enough, but I'd argue that you don't need it if your relationship is strong enough.

There are three reasons I think gay people want to be able to marry. Firstly, there are those who consider it a special union which they would like to enter into. Secondly, it's about equal rights, why shouldn't they be able to get married. And thirdly, there are legal benefits to it.

When I say I don't think it has any bearing on a relationship, I mean I don't think that a relationship necessarily improves or is damaged by marriage.

So honestly, I don't see that marriage itself has any bearing on the success of a relationship, if you are genuinely committed to each other then your relationship will flourish, if you are not, then it probably won't.

Pedro clearly in light of the fact that gay people would like the chance to get married it has some bearing on a relationship. I grant you it's 'power' has been misused and to some degree it has lessened over time as it has become easier and easier to not be married having been married (which I don't see as a bad thing). However, the ideal would still be for me, and I expect for many others, to be married to the same person for a long time, to raise your kids (if you have any) with that person. It is to some seen as a gage of how committed people are, although clearly that is not always the case, either in the amount of commitment found in it or the lack of it, or the amount of lack of commitment found outside it.

Marriage is an entirely human invention. It doesn't occur anywhere else in the animal kingdom.

Pedro, I am not sure what you mean by the animal kingdom example. My response would either be well... dah (with all respect wink... animals don't use flush loos or books or eat soup, so what, it doesn't devalue those things for me as a person! Or I might say 'how do you know they don't marry? When a herd of elephants get to chatting who knows what is said!

Clearly for humans marriage is very important and that must be one of the reasons gay couples want to do it.

I think marriage has an important role in society, if nothing else it gives a definition and boundary to a relationship which is very clear and some people I know have found it to be very important (although I would not hesitate to say as before that it can be misused and abusive etc and in that sense it certainly cannot be a guarantee of any kind of relationship other than a legal and in some cases a spiritual (some would define it as such) decision to stay together with one partner for as long as you stay married.

PedroYoniLikesCrisps Wed 15-May-13 10:25:24

I can see your point about long drawn out divorces and I think that the reason God is keen on commitment is for our protection, not to get our hearts stompped on, and not to tie us into unhappy long term relationships.

I think it's important to step back for a moment and look at what marriage actually is.

Marriage is an entirely human invention. It doesn't occur anywhere else in the animal kingdom. Sure, you have animals who mate for life (and others who don't!) but that's all to do with evolved survival techniques. You'll find that animals who pair up for ever will tend to share the care for their offspring which is clearly beneficial.

Marriage though, is a tool of law. It binds two people legally. This brings benefits within human society. But it's also a tool of security. The perception is that if some agrees to marry you, they are committed to the relationship. The perception comes from two angles, one is the vows which you take to commit to the your partner (though in the end, these are merely words and anyone can say them as part of a ceremony whether they mean it or not) and the other is that legally it's a PITA to separate from marriage so why would anyone bother marrying if they intended to end it.

That is a very cynical view of marriage, granted, and it's far from the commitment I made to my wife, but that's a very personal commitment which one makes to oneself.

So honestly, I don't see that marriage itself has any bearing on the success of a relationship, if you are genuinely committed to each other then your relationship will flourish, if you are not, then it probably won't. As such, I don't treat marriage as anything particularly special to my relationship. Not that it didn't mean anything to me to marry my wife, it did. But if we hadn't, I wouldn't feel any differently about her. It's a social statement to marry and carries some legal benefits. But to suggest that it would be wrong to live with someone or to sleep with them before you marry, to me makes no sense whatsoever.

RufflingFeathers any thoughts?

Just remember you said you ad no time to write properly. PM me if you would rather, if you want to I mean!

Pedro how goes it?

Shockers how are you doing? Did you get any further in your thinking?

madhairday Mon 13-May-13 19:50:13

I like the caterpillar and butterfly analogy, green - that describes something of my experience - I remember the days of wanting everything to be so black and white, and gradually emerging into a deeper and fuller understanding with more fuzzy lines (but much more fun).

wrt translation BoB, that's why the church must teach people to look at the bible exegetically and hermeneutically, and not take it word for word literally - to use their God given brains, in fact. Nowt wrong with a bit of textual and contextual criticism and understanding. I believe the bible is inspired by God, and also believe God expects me to do all I can to understand what it is saying, to appreciate each genre, each analogy, each story and each nuance. A lifetimes work, really...

Sorry either *way8 from individual passages....

Pedro re living together I have to emphasis again that this is my view for me. I married a few years back and I have been truly blessed with most amazing (and at times amazingly annoying!) husband. I know lots of people have had a shitty deal from marriage and relationships and would be in no rush to get married again but would not want to be alone either. My friend is in just such a situation. She is not a Christian and has never asked for my views on sex before marriage and I have never sought to offer them (as far as I remember). When things were on the rocks if she asked my advice I tried to give it as best as I could to her situation, neither encouraging her to marry nor to stay single nor to live with him. Just to do what is right for her. I can see your point about long drawn out divorces and I think that the reason God is keen on commitment is for our protection, not to get our hearts stompped on, and not to tie us into unhappy long term relationships.

Back you said For those who think the bible was not dictated directly by god there is room to choose an interpretation. Christians tend to talk about the Bible being God-breathed and not 'dictated by God', people under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit wrote it (not God sent it by fax). Just my view.

I am truly amazed that they are basing it on something the bible doesn't even say... I don't know what you mean at all, Back. The parts that speak about homosexuality are in the old and new testament, you can Google and read them. They appear to clearly say no to homosexual sex but there are various arguments about the meaning might be in context. I can see how easily and clearly it would be possible to make an argument either may from individual passages. What Ninnypinny and others are talking about is the context they are set in (or so I believe).

PedroYoniLikesCrisps Mon 13-May-13 18:28:15

And, as I said before, since Christianity has love at its centre, the only question that is really relevant is 'are gay people able to love selflessly, to be faithful, and sacrificing in their relationships?' If they are -- and my own knowledge of the lives of my family and friends tells me that it is, then that is all the answer we need.

Except that's your opinion and there's a ton of Christians who disagree with you and take a different interpretation.

niminypiminy Mon 13-May-13 12:46:52

(PS I'm going to be offline now for a couple of days so can't join in the discussion till I'm back)

niminypiminy Mon 13-May-13 12:45:55

I'm not biting. Engage with what I am saying, if you like.

niminypiminy "without any regard to context or scholarship".

I pointed to a scholarly disagreement in the translation and expressed my surprise.

Italiangreyhound fair enough. (I'm taking a look at the links ty) When I say 'homophobia' I'm mostly thinking of those who thump the pulpit and say that homosexuality is the work of the devil and must be stamped out. I am truly amazed that they are basing it on something the bible doesn't even say (unless those translations I have seen are direct lies. After all I don't speak the language so I can't check).

It's always been possible to work around the passages in the bible by talking of metaphor and such, but I thought the bible literalists were at least being consistent. After all if you genuinely believe that these are your god's direct words - that the creator of the universe has told you to do something - it must be hard to disagree. If they know the bible may not even say it in the first place then my estimation of them drops further.

For those who think the bible was not dictated directly by god there is room to choose an interpretation. That many are looking for a way not to see it as an order is a good and hopeful thing.

niminypiminy Mon 13-May-13 11:08:41

Backonlybriefly: I think you are playing the 'let's interpret selected Bible verses absolutely literally and without any regard to context or scholarship, and then say that any Christian who does not do the same is not a real Christian' game. That's not a game I am willing to get into.

As Greenheart has said the Bible is a complex document. I suggested a way forward is to weigh the fairly small number of verses that deal with sexual acts against the large number of passages that set out the ideal of fidelity and love in human relationships. I stick by that, and I am prepared to defend that theologically.

It's easy for this kind of conversation to get stuck in details, like the B&B example. But the real test is what we do. Do our gay family and friends see us a Christians living out kingdom values? do they see us welcoming the stranger? do they see us loving our neighbour as ourselves? If they see that it will because we are building the kingdom where we are: we are welcoming them and loving them.

And, as I said before, since Christianity has love at its centre, the only question that is really relevant is 'are gay people able to love selflessly, to be faithful, and sacrificing in their relationships?' If they are -- and my own knowledge of the lives of my family and friends tells me that it is, then that is all the answer we need.

PedroYoniLikesCrisps Mon 13-May-13 09:24:22

I agree, but the evidence seems to be that living to gether first doesn't stop you breaking up, or make it less likely, which you 'seemed' be suggesting up thread.

I don't think it makes you less likely to break up, but stops you spending a lot of money on a wedding if you discover you are not compatible.

Compatible to get married?

Compatible full stop.

But there may be a lot of people who lived together and then broke up, maybe many years later. This may well have been devastating for one or other of them and the lack of legal clarity around kids/property/money etc may have made it worse.

Might also be easier when there's no legal matters involved. I know a girl who's been getting divorced for nearly three years now and there's only a house to deal with no kids, no other complications.

I meant gay people running a b and b for other gay people and being unhappy to find it being used by hetrosexual couples.

I don't think it would be right to only allow gay people to use the b&b, that would be exactly the age discrimination.

I mean they would want to run it for the benefit of gay people....

That's ok, and you can do things to promote the place as somewhere for gay people to stay, but they shouldn't be able to stop straight people staying if they wanted to.

Of course they want people staying but that is not the same as renting out rooms to people who they would feel uncomfortable having stay. You can say no smoking in your hotel room, for example.

Smoking is very different. Apart from there being laws around it, it has a detrimental effect on the room and would put off non-smokers using the room afterwards.

You can certainly have things which shouldn't be done in the room for legal reasons (drugs, etc.) or for reasons of maintaining the property (smashing the tv, smoking, etc), but purely based on someone's sexual orientation is just wrong.

Pedro thought I had replied to you but it seems to have gone astray!

I think people break up for all kinds of reasons. I agree, but the evidence seems to be that living to gether first doesn't stop you breaking up, or make it less likely, which you 'seemed' be suggesting up thread.

living together first is finding out whether you are compatible. Compatible to get married? And there's a lot of people who manage to avoid marriage precisely because they have lived together first. But there may be a lot of people who lived together and then broke up, maybe many years later. This may well have been devastating for one or other of them and the lack of legal clarity around kids/property/money etc may have made it worse.

Firstly, I'm not really sure why you'd run a b&b specifically for gay people unless there's was some other agenda I meant gay people running a b and b for other gay people and being unhappy to find it being used by hetrosexual couples. I mean they would want to run it for the benefit of gay people....

No I am not making a point against discrimination from Christians.

If you didn't like driving people you didn't know around in your car you wouldn't be a taxi driver, so why run a b&b if you don't want certain people staying in your house...

Of course they want people staying but that is not the same as renting out rooms to people who they would feel uncomfortable having stay. You can say no smoking in your hotel room, for example.

In the case of the couple who were turned away, it did hurt them because they'd explained the situation to the owners at the point of booking, but weren't turned away until the arrived. There was nowhere else to stay and it cost them additional travel costs and I think they lost money from something they'd booked to do which they were unable to go to.

I don't know which case you are talking about, specifically. Can you supply a link. I was just talking about it in general.

Well, that's what they said, but it's hard to tell. If you are that prejudiced against a gay couple that you stop them staying at your b&b then there's likely to be some deeper feeling against it than just having sex in your house. I don't know the case you are refering to so could not really say about that.

Can you think of any situations where it is OK to discriminate (you personally think not you personally descriminate)?

Good night Pedro. wink

Shockers I hope you find the answers you are searching for.

Back I would certainly not call those who I know and love for are Christians and who feel the Bible forbids gay relationships are 'homophobic'.

sorry that should read ...

Back I would certainly not call those who I know and love WHO are Christians (AND who feel the Bible forbids gay relationships) 'homophobic'.

Back hi grin, will let someone wiser 'enlighten' you, there are more passages but not tons.

Some fabulous Christian accepting websites, like this one.

canyonwalkerconnections.com/ten-things-i-wish-i-knew-ten-years-ago-about-gay-people/

If you really want to look at the argument against and for 'gay' relationships presented in an evangelical way with references this long but fascinating sermon actually manages to present both sides of the 'arguement'.

www.upworthy.com/every-biblical-argument-against-being-gay-debunked-biblically?g=2&c=go1

Back I would certainly not call those who I know and love for are Christians and who feel the Bible forbids gay relationships are 'homophobic'.

My dear old friend Wickipedia says of homophobia it is "Homophobia encompasses a range of negative attitudes and feelings toward homosexuality or people who are identified or perceived as being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT). It can be expressed as antipathy, contempt, prejudice, aversion, or hatred, and may be based on irrational fear.... Homophobia is observable in critical and hostile behavior such as discrimination and violence on the basis of sexual orientations that are non-heterosexual."

As I said before many evangelical Christians would feel living together without being married is wrong but would not act in a non-loving way to those who do.

But I am aware the evangelical part of the church has for the most part seemed (I know there are exceptions) to take a very strong stand against equal marriage and this is part of a feeling I think of making a stand and a fear of negative repercussions that they then may be required to marry gay couples in church or employ gay married clergy. I think these fears are understandable which is why I said upthread that I think fear is a factor. Clearly fear is mentioned in the description of homophobia above but the fear that I think is mentioned in the wickipedia description is fear of gay people or homosexuality in general. I wonder if in certain parts of the church it is more a fear of repercussions about what will happen to churches, which is a different thing.

God Bless everyone, perhaps a note to any atheists and Christians reading this who do not agree with me, it is only because I and those like me who are thinking all this through, because we are passionate about God and passionate about people that we who are struggling to make sense of these 'issues' bother. It would be easier to say no to everything or yes to everything but of course we are all working through what we believe and I hope we can do it with love and compassion for all.

It suits me fine if more Christians come to the conclusion that homophobia is wrong, but I wondered if the bible was really that ambiguous. Much as I dislike the religious position on homosexulality they were basing it on a real quote that I'd read for myself.

Leviticus 20:13 KJV seems pretty straightforward.
If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death

I've just been reading that the literal translation says something like.

"a man who will lie down with a male in beds of a woman."

Or more comfortably in english:

"a man who will lie down with a male in a woman’s bed"

This suggests several things to me.

#1 That god thought it was ok to have same sex, but if you did it in a bed which belonged to a woman you must be killed. A bit harsh?

#2 If this is what the mainstream church has been using as justification of homophobia then they have been extremely dishonest.

#3 if the rest of the translations are like that then Christianity is based on soap bubbles and wishful thinking.

I always knew there were subtle differences of opinion over certain words. I never used translation as an argument because I felt it would just be pointless nit-picking, but that doesn't say anything like what the KJV says. Can I expect the rest of the translations to be just as loose?

shockers Sun 12-May-13 16:27:37

I have been giving this a lot of thought today. I didn't go to church last week or this week as I am pondering a response to a request for prayer for the 'right' decision to be taken on this matter.

This is what I've jotted down so far...

Love your neighbour as yourself... I have a secure and loving relationship with someone who understands me and whom I wish to spend the rest of my life with. Is it my decision to allow or deny others that? Not if I'm loving them as I love myself.

If my child came to me and said that they were gay, would I want him/her to be alone and unhappy, serving the Lord, but struggling with feelings of resentment toward an entity who is loving and compassionate and yet punishes them for being 'different'?

I have always thought of God as the ultimate parent... in my mind he would act with fairness, love and compassion, as would I.

PedroYoniLikesCrisps Sun 12-May-13 16:02:33

correlation doesn't necessarily mean causation - is this case what (do you think) is the reason then? No I have no idea who split up without getting married. But I think living with someone and then splitting up could be just as devastating to some as getting divorced.

I think people break up for all kinds of reasons. But my point here was that just looking at divorce rates of living together before marriage and not doesn't show the whole picture because the key thing about living together first is finding out whether you are compatible. And there's a lot of people who manage to avoid marriage precisely because they have lived together first.

Wouldn’t a gay person or a gay couple running a b and b wanting to attract other gay singles or couples be rather disappointed to find their rooms filled up with single straight Christian couples? At what point would they say, actually this b and b is for gay people? Just wondering.

Firstly, I'm not really sure why you'd run a b&b specifically for gay people unless there's was some other agenda there or you were making a point against discrimination from christians. But I really I don't think it would be an issue. Besides there's plenty of ways you can put certain demographics off staying with you. Pictures of Satan in the hallway perhaps.....

In some ways it doesn't really bother me if Christians are allowed to run a b and b and turn away a gay couple or not but in another way I think that for people running a b and b like that it is their home and their business and as far as I understand they may well not allow unmarried straight people to stay there together either.

If you didn't like driving people you didn't know around in your car you wouldn't be a taxi driver, so why run a b&b if you don't want certain people staying in your house, especially when it's a topic like. Fair enough if you don't want an escaped convict, but just because someone is gay? You would clearly be in the wrong business.

It seems hard to understand in the moral climate of this day but why should they not be allowed to say this. Does it really hurt people to have one less place to stay in this world?

In the case of the couple who were turned away, it did hurt them because they'd explained the situation to the owners at the point of booking, but weren't turned away until the arrived. There was nowhere else to stay and it cost them additional travel costs and I think they lost money from something they'd booked to do which they were unable to go to.

Actually this is something I disagree with, but that's perhaps for another discussion sometime! What single sex schools?

Yes. Don't agree with them. Don't agree with faith schools either. Personal opinion though.

I am not sure this is asexual orientation question in the case of the b and b; I think it was two people staying together and having sex together in the b and b, that was the concern, not their orientation. But I could be wrong.

Well, that's what they said, but it's hard to tell. If you are that prejudiced against a gay couple that you stop them staying at your b&b then there's likely to be some deeper feeling against it than just having sex in your house.

correlation doesn't necessarily mean causation - is this case what (do you think) is the reason then? No I have no idea who split up without getting married. But I think living with someone and then splitting up could be just as devastating to some as getting divorced.

There's certainly nothing wrong with attracting a certain clientele, but actually discriminating against those who are not your target market is breaking the rules. Wouldn’t a gay person or a gay couple running a b and b wanting to attract other gay singles or couples be rather disappointed to find their rooms filled up with single straight Christian couples? At what point would they say, actually this b and b is for gay people? Just wondering.

That is fair enough. However, you presumably wouldn't have any problem with a lesbian couple staying in the women only b&b? Well my B and B doesn't exist and it isn't for women only confused if it did and if it were then no, I wouldn't have a problem with a lesbian couple staying.

In some ways it doesn't really bother me if Christians are allowed to run a b and b and turn away a gay couple or not but in another way I think that for people running a b and b like that it is their home and their business and as far as I understand they may well not allow unmarried straight people to stay there together either. It seems hard to understand in the moral climate of this day but why should they not be allowed to say this. Does it really hurt people to have one less place to stay in this world? I think it is about the bigger picture and maybe there is a lot of hurt felt by 'the gay community', hurt they received from the church, and for that I am very sorry. I kind of feel this sort of lawsuit and this kind of ruling about a b and b does not remove he hurt or make up for it, it simply may add to perpetuating the hurt.

Actually this is something I disagree with, but that's perhaps for another discussion sometime! What single sex schools?

I am not sure this is asexual orientation question in the case of the b and b; I think it was two people staying together and having sex together in the b and b, that was the concern, not their orientation. But I could be wrong.

PedroYoniLikesCrisps Sun 12-May-13 09:48:34

The divorce rate of people who marry having not lived together before-hand has traditionally been lower than for those who divorce having lived together. Now, according to the Huffington Post, those things have levelled out, although it still makes a difference if the couple were committted (as in engaged) when they lived together, so it seems living together before getting married is no assurance you will be able to stay married.

Ok, well firstly, correlation doesn't necessarily mean causation. Couples are notoriously bad at staying together. But have you looked at the rate of couples not yet married who lived together but split up because they couldn't live together and managed to avoid getting married because of it?

I would guess the Christian B and Bs are not at all worried about people who are gay and staying alone, they don't want gay couples to stay. I don't agree with them, I am just explaining it from what I think may be their viewpoint. Don't 'gay' B and Bs want to attract gay couples or singles? I would think that was what they wanted. I looked and certainly they wanted to attract gay people.

There's certainly nothing wrong with attracting a certain clientele, but actually discriminating against those who are not your target market is breaking the rules.

All I am asking is if some people want to attract gay people to their b and bs could some others want to attract married couples.

As above, attracting is fine. Discriminating is not.

Please hear me, this is not my view, I have no problem with whomever is staying at the hotel gay or straight

I hear you!

I am asking if it is wrong. I would certainly say it is wrong to disciminate but there are for want of a word special interest groups where they do have restrictions - Brownies are for girls etc. I totally believe in equality but think it is OK to have girls or boys only clubs. But I don't want those boys (or girls) only clubs running the country.

I agree!

Do you think it would be OK to run a B and B and not let women stay? Yes. I do and I would be very happy for men who wanted to stay in a male only B and B do so and I would be equally happy for there to be a cab company or b and b that was women only.

Ok, you make a valid point and perhaps gender issues are a slightly different beast now I think about it. But these companies would say "women only" as part of their advertising. These b&bs don't seem to say "no gays".

as a niche market I can see that as woman, maybe travelling alone, I might well want to stay in a female only B and B or travel by female only mini cab

That is fair enough. However, you presumably wouldn't have any problem with a lesbian couple staying in the women only b&b?

or may wish my child to go to a girls' school (I do not want my daughter to go to a female only school, but we do have them in this country and I have heard they are quite good for girls achieving well).

Actually this is something I disagree with, but that's perhaps for another discussion sometime!

I would see these minor niche areas where limited discriminations are allowed to acceptable, just as I am very happy to use women only toilets in public and I would feel quite uncomfortable using unisex toilets.

Yes you're right, I think in terms of men vs women there are sensible occasions when this is necessary. But sexual orientation should not be an issue.

I don't see why it is different for children. Are you saying it is OK to discriminate for children but not for adults?

There are protection issues with children. So I do think it's different. Although not with very young children, more the 6-16 range (slightly arbitrary ages, but I think very young children don't have much of a problem with genders, but as you approach puberty, this can become an issue)

pedro you are being very gentle on me! Are you getting soft in your old age!

I've always been soft (opinionated perhaps, but soft) smile

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