same-sex marriage is bad for liberty, especially religious liberty
same-sex marriage is bad for children
same-sex marriage is bad for public health
My hope when I wrote that was that pastors and other Christian leaders would learn to argue for what the Bible says by using evidence from outside the Bible, so that they would be able to appeal to more people instead of only appealing to the minority of people who accept the Bible. I think that Christians who argue for their views by citing the Bible only will only be convincing to people who already accept the Bible. But there is not a majority of people who do accept the Bible as an authority, so I think that pastors have to make another plan. They need to argue using the Bible to those who accept the Bible, and without the Bible to those who don’t accept it.
Now with that said, take a look at this article by pastor Kevin DeYoung that Dina sent me. It’s from earlier this week. The article makes the same exact three points as I made in my article last year. Let’s take a look at how Kevin does that.
My first point was liberty, especially religious liberty. He writes:
[I]n the long run, the triumph of gay marriage (should it triumph as a cultural and legal reality) will mean the restriction of freedoms for millions of Americans.
This will happen in obvious ways at first–by ostracizing those who disagree, by bullying with political correctness, and by trampling on religious liberty. Surely, Christians must realize that no matter how many caveats we issue, not matter how much we nuance our stance, no matter how much we encourage or show compassion for homosexuals, it will not be enough to ward off the charges of hatred and homophobia.
[G]ay marriage will challenge our freedoms in others way too. It’s not just Evangelicals, traditional Catholics, and Mormons who will be threatened. Once the government gains new powers, it rarely relinquishes them. There will be a soft tyranny that grows as the power of the state increases, a growth that is intrinsic to the notion of gay marriage itself.
My second point was bad for children. He writes:
[T]he state has an interest in promoting the familial arrangement which has a mother and a father raising the children that came from their union. The state has been in the marriage business for the common good and for the well-being of the society it is supposed to protect. Kids do better with a mom and a dad. Communities do better when husbands and wives stay together. Hundreds of studies confirm both of these statements (though we all can think of individual exceptions I’m sure). Gay marriage assumes that marriage is re-definable and the moving parts replaceable.
My third point was bad for public health. He writes:
The unspoken secret, however, is that homosexual behavior is not harmless. Homosexuals are at a far greater risk for diseases like syphilis, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, gonorrhea, HPV, and gay bowel syndrome. The high rate of these diseases is due both to widespread promiscuity in the gay community and the nature of anal and oral intercourse itself. Homosexual relationships are usually portrayed as a slight variation on the traditional “norm” of husband-wife monogamy. But monogamy is much less common among homosexual relationships, and even for those who value monogamy the definition of fidelity is much looser.
He also talks about the definition of marriage, and more.
I’ve criticized pastors before for dealing with social issues by only citing the Bible, like John Piper does. That approach won’t work on enough people to change society, because not enough people consider the Bible to be an authority in their decision-making. We have to use evidence from outside the Bible – like Wayne Grudem does in his “Politics According to the Bible”.
I think that pastor Kevin’s article is quality work, because it follows the pattern of taking an all-of-the-above approach to persuasion. He uses all means to persuade so that he might win some over to his side. I hope that many more pastors will do the same thing on this issue of marriage and other issues – even fiscal issues. Fiscal issues do have an impact on moral issues – think of how abortion subsidies and single mother welfare lower the penalties of recreational premarital sex. We can do this, we just have to do what works, instead of what makes us feel “holier-than-thou”.
The Boston College student newspaper reports. I won’t go over Anderson’s case for traditional marriage, because you all know that from reading my previous posts. I want to highlight what went on at the lecture itself.
Students sat on the floor, wedged between backpacks and pressed back against the walls. Brightly colored “Support Love” t-shirts were sprinkled liberally throughout the audience in Cushing 001 on Thursday night, as students gathered to hear—and question—Ryan T. Anderson, the William E. Simon Fellow in Religion and a Free Society at the Heritage Foundation.
Titled “A Case Against Gay Marriage,” Anderson’s presentation was arranged by the St. Thomas More Society (STM), a student-run group at Boston College. Rev. Ronald Tacelli, S.J., the group’s faculty advisor and a professor in the philosophy department, introduced Anderson, stating that the event would be more question-and-answer based, as opposed to the panel that had originally been planned. “When I see the size of the crowd, I think it was a better idea,” he said, eliciting laughter.
The large turnout for the talk can be attributed in part to a Facebook event created earlier in the week by BC Students for Sexual Health (BCSSH). The event, formed in opposition to Anderson’s talk after an email about it was sent out to students on the philosophy and theology departments’ listservs, encouraged students to show up wearing Support Love shirts and to participate in the discussion. “This is not the type of programming that fosters an accepting environment for students,” the event description read. “This event is going to have to rely on the audience for any hope of a balancing opinion presence.”
After Tacelli’s introduction, Anderson began by running down a list of things upon which he would not be basing his argument: morality, sexual orientation/homosexuality, religion, tradition. “I think frequently people have an expectation of what they’re going to hear,” he said. “I make a philosophical and policy argument about marriage.”
He then asked a question of the crowd. “From the looks of the t-shirts, this is probably a challenge for most of the audience,” he said. “I want to know what you think marriage is … that’s actually the question that people in favor of redefining marriage refuse to answer. And they refuse to answer that question by hiding behind what I think is a rather sloppy slogan: marriage equality.”
Anderson said that everyone involved in the debate over marriage is ultimately in favor of equality. “We all want the government to treat all real marriages in the same way. The question is, what type of relationship is a marriage?”
Eventually, they had to move to a bigger room and then they continued:
Tacelli interrupted to inform the crowd that BCPD had requested that the event be moved to a larger auditorium, McGuinn 121. The audience left Cushing slightly before 8 p.m., and Anderson resumed his point on government interest in marriage less than 10 minutes later.
[…]Anderson then concluded his talk and commenced nearly an hour of question and answer, with Tacellimoderating.
Nine students asked questions, with many challenging Anderson on various aspects of his argument, to applause from much of the audience. Most questions focused on his central point—that children who were raised by a heterosexual, married couple were better off than those raised by same-sex couples.
And the Q&A was interesting – it shows that even liberal Boston College students could be civil:
“If further studies came out that show these children are fine—they’re healthy, they grow up to be responsible adults and members of society—would you change your mind?” asked one student
Anderson replied that if the studies showed that there was no difference based on family arrangement, then he would not think that government should be in the marriage business. “I don’t think the government should be recognizing consenting adult love if ultimately it doesn’t make a difference one way or another to the common good,” he said. “If the science came back saying, actually, it’s a wash … then yeah, I wouldn’t care what the law or public policy would be about marriage. I would be surprised—and let me say that it wouldn’t change my opinion about what marriage is, that would just be a study of parenting arrangements.”
Brandon Stone, A&S ’14, asked whether, if the end goal was providing the best environment in which to raise children, that would also necessitate defining marriage along economic or class lines.
“The idea here is not that we should only recognize marriages that are socially valuable,” Anderson said. “The idea here is that marriage as an institution is a socially valuable institution, therefore the state tries to promote it. But when the state promotes marriage, it has to promote the truth about marriage. Poor people can get married, right—they can form the reality of that comprehensive unit. So it would be unjust to deny poor people the opportunity if they’re actually capable of forming a marriage.”
Further questions centered around legal rights, such as the transferal of property after death; the specific definitions of “mothering” and “fathering”; and whether a non-child-producing heterosexual relationship could be considered a marriage.
Post-lecture discussion organized by the campus gay student group:
After Tacelli ended the question and answer period, Alex Taratuta, chair of the GLBTQ Leadership Council (GLC) and A&S ’14, stood up to announce that GLC would be hosting an after-event discussion for any students who wanted to keep talking.
“Going into the event, GLC’s main priority was the mental health and safety of the students,” Taratuta said in an email. “This is one of the reasons that we held a post-event discussion afterwards; we wanted people to have some time to digest the conversation before going back to their dorms … I think it went better than I expected. I knew it would be well attended, but the amount of support from the student body for the GLBTQ community on campus and even the community as a whole, exceeded my expectations.”
Mike Villafranca, co-president of STM and A&S ’14, stopped by the GLC discussion to speak with the students there.
“I was concerned going into tonight’s talk because I knew nothing about Mr. Anderson, and I was worried that the student reaction would be visceral and angry,” Villafranca said later in an email. “Instead of that, I was impressed by the way that the students from GLC and BCSSH reacted to what Mr. Anderson said. It was clear that they came with ideas about what they wanted to ask, but that they listened to what he had to say, and they challenged him in terms of what he said rather than what they came expecting to hear. I’m glad that the Q&A stayed on an intellectual level and didn’t descend into emotional outbursts, which it easily and justifiably could have done.”
I think if you are going to discuss marriage face-to-face with people who are pro-SSM, then it’s probably a good idea to just stick with the Anderson script. I don’t think it’s safe to discuss this issue unless you are careful about who you talk to and how you talk to them. That’s why I am posting about this lecture – to show you how it’s done in hostile environments. We’ve had a whole slew of people from photographers, to sportscasters, to bakers getting into trouble for telling gay peope directly that they disagree with gay marriage. I don’t think you want to take a chance on that approach of “The Bible says…” because it doesn’t work. Ryan Anderson’s approach seems to work a lot better. The people who get hammered are the ones who don’t take the time to study anything except the Bible, who discriminate by appealing to the Bible, and who are not talking to people who have chosen to hear what they have to say – especially in an academic setting where they are there to learn. “The Bible says” ought to be perfectly legitimate in the United States, but thanks to the people in government, it’s not working any more, and we have to adapt.
If you’re going to discuss marriage with a pro-SSM person, then you should do it like Ryan Anderson does it. An academic setting is best. Talking about principles and policies instead of specific people is best. And a secular case for marriage is best. It’s better if your employer won’t be pressured to fire you. It’s best to stick with public policy and secular reasons for marriage, instead of quoting the Bible to non-Christians – that just makes them angry. When you base your position in facts and arguments, they are less likely to get angry because they can disagree with you more easily by arguing against your facts and arguments. Be ready to show the public, peer-reviewed data that supports your view of marriage. So again, if you insist on doing it, do it like Ryan.
Warning: your comment is probably not going to be approved, so don’t even bother, regardless of what side you’re on.
In 2006, Vanessa Willock asked Elaine Huguenin—co-owner with her husband, Jonathan, of Elane Photography in Albuquerque—to photograph a “commitment ceremony” that Willock and another woman wanted to hold in the town of Taos. Neither marriage nor civil unions are legal between members of the same sex in New Mexico. Huguenin declined because her and her husband’s Christian beliefs are in conflict with the message communicated by the ceremony, which Willock asked Huguenin to help her “celebrate.” Willock found another photographer for her ceremony, but nevertheless filed a complaint with the New Mexico Human Rights Commission accusing Elane Photography of discrimination based on “sexual orientation.” The commission held a one-day trial in January 2008 and then issued an order several months later finding that Elane Photography engaged in “sexual orientation” discrimination prohibited under state law. The commission ordered Elane Photography to pay $6,637.94 in attorneys’ fees to the two women who filed the complaint. Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys took the case to the New Mexico court system to appeal the commission’s ruling. The state’s Court of Appeals upheld the commission’s ruling, and Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys appealed it to the New Mexico Supreme Court.
The New Mexico Supreme Court ruled Thursday against a photographer who declined to use her artistic expression to communicate the story of a same-sex ceremony. In a concurrence accompanying the opinion, one of the justices wrote that the photographer and her husband, Elaine and Jonathan Huguenin, “now are compelled by law to compromise the very religious beliefs that inspire their lives,” adding “it is the price of citizenship.”
“The idea that free people can be ‘compelled by law to compromise the very religious beliefs that inspire their lives’ as the ‘price of citizenship’ is a chilling and unprecedented attack on freedom,” said Senior Counsel Jordan Lorence. “Americans are now on notice that the price of doing business is their freedom. We are considering our next steps, including asking the U.S. Supreme Court to right this wrong.”
A Rasmussen poll last month found that “If a Christian wedding photographer who has deeply held religious beliefs opposing same-sex marriage is asked to work a same-sex wedding ceremony, 85% of American adults believe he has the right to say no.”
In other statements in the concurrence, Justice Richard C. Bosson wrote, “At its heart, this case teaches that at some point in our lives all of us must compromise, if only a little, to accommodate the contrasting values of others…. That compromise is part of the glue that holds us together as a nation, the tolerance that lubricates the varied moving parts of us as a people…. In short, I would say to the Huguenins, with the utmost respect: it is the price of citizenship.”
Compromising your beliefs to avoid offending unstable people who think that the world revolves around them is “the price of citizenship”.
I was always surprised, during the Supreme Court trial on gay marriage, to find lots of Christians who had changed their Facebook profile image to an equal sign, indicating their support for redefining the definition of marriage. I suspect that they did this because they imagined that Christianity had nothing to do with what the Bible said, but was instead about telling non-Christians nice things in order to be liked by them. Just tell people that God is anything they want God to be. Just tell them that God isn’t holy and doesn’t care how they act. Just tell them that whatever they do in order to feel happy is fine with God.
I wonder what the people who supported the redefinition of marriage will say to Christians who were prosecuted by gay rights activists on Judgement Day? Here’s a pro-tip for non-Christians. You want to avoid making it harder for other people to know God and to follow him. When you make it harder for other people to know God and follow him God is not happy with you for doing that. In fact, making it harder for Christians to know God and follow him is about the worst thing you can do to offend God. It’s a bad idea to use the government to take away someone’s basic human right to religious liberty just because they disagreed with you. Feeling offended is not a good justification for you to force your views on other people using the power of government.