To start, one may want to read Tyler Huckabee’s article in Relevant magazine, entitled “Why I Support Gay Marriage” at http://tylerhuckabee.com/2015/07/07/i_support_gay_marriage/.
Mr. Huckabee presents the clearest and [in my humble opinion] best argument for why a Christian who disagrees with a homosexual lifestyle can still support adoption of gay marriage laws. Most arguments have long been on the public table, which the reader will not be surprised by.
This response will not deal with Mr. Huckabee’s article in whole. Rather, there are three assumptions Mr. Huckabee makes that I need to point out. The first two he talks about, the third he does not.
As in all of my posts, my intention is to be respectful and committed to mutual discernment. While I do not know Mr. Huckabee personally, I expect he is an incredibly committed Christian brother. I do not intend to be antagonistic to him personally. I do, however, take issue with his position on supporting gay marriage.
Mr. Huckabee assumes that a homosexual relationship is a true expression of God’s love. Not supporting gay marriage, he claims, is “a life condemning others for something they can’t change about themselves,” and “a life judging love.”
Mr. Huckabee never defines love.
Scripture contends that homosexuality is not love. Love cannot be sin. Everyone knows exactly what the Bible teaches, but Mr. Huckabee’s argument makes Scripture teach something else. Such a position requires much work separating the Bible’s teaching from Christian practice. For Mr. Huckabee’s assumption to be true; the Old Testament, and the New, must be interpreted through his own definition of love, which includes homosexuality. So, even Paul must be opposed to what God actually wants to teach us.
Those who disagree with his dubious rubric for Scriptural discernment are not allowed by Mr. Huckabee to have another one. According to his article, either we discern Scripture his way (which he claims is loving), or we must adopt every rule and regulation from the Old Testament without question. Either we are loving, or judgmental.
The book of Romans sets up a masterful way to understand what the Old Testament law means for those who live in New Testament times. And no, Scripture doesn’t use an undefined notion of “love” to reinterpret all of Scripture. Neither does the book of Romans stay silent on the issue of homosexuality.
Mr. Huckabee separates Scripture from Christian practice by placing undue importance in pre-determining what is, and is not, appropriate for a “modern conversation.” By this he prevents any Scripture that disagrees with his position from being used at all.
I get the feeling we are expected to nod our heads and say, “Yes, yes; we modern people are very different from everyone else. We need a new set of rules. We need a redefined way for our Scripture to speak to us.” I reject the very premise, that a modern conversation must needs to be different from those taking place in Scripture.
The argument is terrible, and the proof is in the pervasiveness of the word “perhaps.”
“[P]erhaps when Jesus came, he truly did free us from the law. Perhaps he didn’t free us from it in a complicated way, but a simple one. Perhaps the burden of our law is love. Perhaps the many, many scholars who believe Paul’s writings about same-sex relationships referred to a cultural practice no longer applicable to our modern conversation around homosexuality are right.”
And… wait for it… wait for it…
“Perhaps. It could be true.”
The entire reliance of his argument upon the repeated use of the word “perhaps” is indicative of his persuasive style. Christians cannot accept gay marriage unless we all “perhaps” together, just repeating the mantra as if the Bible doesn’t actually teach on it; wearing down opponents by having conversation after conversation filled with nonsensical notions of what God might have intended if we don’t care about what the Bible teaches.
There is no room for “perhaps.”
The Bible is incredibly clear on the issue of homosexuality. Homosexual love is not love. The Bible expressly teaches this. The Bible says homosexuality is “vile passion.” Teaching that is not mean-spirited, or judgmental. It’s true. That is the very words Scripture uses in Romans 1:26, while specifically discussing homosexuality.
Mr. Huckabee’s argument relies on questioning the validity of what the Bible expressly teaches. Let’s just call it what it is. It upsets me that Mr. Huckabee dismisses Scripture for a clearly secular definition of love. It is crazy.
We don’t need to have conversation after conversation. There is one decision, with two paths. Either we believe what Scripture clearly teaches, or we don’t. Let’s not pretend that Scripture “perhaps” wants us to believe something different.
Mr. Huckabee assumes that God judges people however we wish Him to. As he urges people to believe in the manner he does, he rightly must talk about judgment day. He states:
“But I’m not scared of it. I won’t be damned for this. I don’t fear judgement, because I do not think God is some strict old schoolmaster who means to check beliefs against a divine answer key at the pearly gates. The secret to salvation is not a pass/fail exam in which doctrines are lined up, weighed and measured.
And I don’t believe you’ll be damned either, if you believe God forbids same-sex marriage and it turns out you are wrong.”
We do get judged based on God’s standard of holiness. Nobody gets a free pass—not even if they imagine God is a cuddle-bear.
The book of Jude teaches us, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.”
I’m not sure what to say to such a brassy interpretation of judgment day. While Mr. Huckabee is certainly an intelligent brother, his position is ludicrous. Christians do not fear judgment because we have Christ as the propitiation of our sins; not because we simply deny God the ability to judge!
Mr. Huckabee does not talk at all in his article about legal ramifications. I assume it does not fall under the scope of his intended argument. I contend that it should. We must consider the ramifications of such laws on our society. His article does not address the most important aspect of a legal decision; legal ramifications.
The real point of contention (Christian or not) with gay marriage is not theological. The real problem is the secular state being able to dictate to any individual, business, or organization what marriage is. Get this; our government is dictating to us what the sacraments are allowed to be.
This, combined with anti-discrimination laws, ensure a collision course between church and state. We already see it in the private sector, and we will see it in the religious sector soon enough. It is inevitable. The plain truth is not being talked about. Supporting gay marriage is not the conversation that needs to be had. The conversation that needs to be had is about whether the state can dictate to the church what it is lawful for the church to believe. I am absolutely shocked that Mr. Huckabee would support such legislation.
The whole aim of the legislation is not to allow homosexual couple equal protection under the law (which everyone with half a brain watt is fine with), but rather to disallow any conviction that homosexuality is vile. The aim of the radical legislation is to penalize those who believe homosexuality is immoral.
So now a private citizen, with a private business, cannot opt out of supporting an institution that they believe is immoral. This is wrong. A person should not have to support an institution that violates their conscience. It’s insane. Nor should a private business be required to violate an individual’s conscience or religious beliefs. While the state may go so far as to require a business to not discriminate against individuals, it should never require business to violate religious conviction.
I’ll illustrate by talking cakes. We all love to talk about cakes.
The law does not simply defend the right of a gay person to have a bakery provide a cake on their birthday. Nobody is going to trial over that. Gay people are not being discriminated against. Gay weddings are, because the institution of homosexual marriage is immoral to many people. We cannot, in good conscience, support the institution of vile passion.
Acting on individual conscience has been outlawed. When we are talking about gay marriage, we are not simply giving freedom to homosexuals to follow their own sense of morality; we are writing into law the enforcement of their beliefs on every person, business, and institution (religious or not).
Christians have the obligation, the duty, to stand up for what is right. So do non-Christians. Mr. Huckabee’s inability to discuss those ramifications is unacceptable. Standing up for what is right may look different for each individual. If we believe in Scripture, we cannot support the state’s enforcement of gay marriage. If we do not believe in Scripture, we still cannot support the state’s enforcement of gay marriage.
Doing the right thing does not mean being a judgmental turd, nor does it mean throwing stones at others who are struggling with God’s design of right and wrong. It does not mean condemning anyone. But, it certainly does mean being clear eyed about what is right and wrong, and for us Christians: teaching the truth of Scripture.