In light of the Supreme Court decision
July 29, 2015
Guest Reflection by Kristen
Kristen is a reader and supporter of this website.
Over the past week, I have seen and heard many comments by friends who are celebrating the recent Supreme Court decision, and many who are lamenting it. Almost all in the latter category are Christians. I have also seen comments asking why Christians, who theoretically preach love and acceptance, are the most avid opponents of gay marriage and often the promoters of discriminatory activities. I have thought a great deal about these issues, prayed, and consulted with multiple priests. The following opinions are my own. I am sure these opinions will be rather unpopular with many people I know, but I do not care. I have been an Orthodox Christian my entire life, and attend church regularly. I have taken adult theology courses, read Christian authors (and, of course, the Bible), taught Sunday school, actively participated in youth and young adult groups, sang in choirs and volunteered I strive every day to follow the example of Christ, though being human fall short.
I am mystified by the “obsession” of many Christians on the issue of gay marriage. The bible lists many actions or behaviors as sins, including sex outside of church-sanctified marriage. We are all sinners (imperfect, fall short of the example of Christ, -a Greek word for sin–hamartia– means literally “missing the mark”) and commit actions which the Bible describes as sins every day. There is no sin that is “worse” or “better” than another, and all can be healed through repentance and the perfect forgiveness in Christ. Thus, I would think that Christians would all consider themselves sinners as I do, and recognize that God is the only judge. As humans we do not know how God judges, and by the example of Christ, we should not judge each other. So even if one were to believe that homosexual acts are sinful, this belief should not promote hateful words and actions, or even Christians going around saying that gay people or relationships are in some way fundamentally just wrong — they are people, too — and it is incredibly damaging to their well being to be constantly told they are fundamentally and irreparably “wrong.”
Christ’s primary message was of love. He practiced love with all He encountered, and spent significant amounts of time with the most unpopular people of his time. He did not judge, but left judgment to His Father. I believe that if Christ were around today, He would not act towards gay individuals how many Christians do today. He would not tell them they are fundamentally wrong. It is so damaging to gay individuals to be told they are doomed for being gay and unworthy of a happy family life.
In the Old Testament, homosexuality was an abomination, at least in part, because at that time it was not helping the survival of the Jewish people (procreation). St. Paul says a lot of things, including items that most Christian people do not follow anymore (such as wives must obey their husbands). One must place the Bible in the context in which it was written with recognition that the authors were writing to very specific audiences and tailoring their message to the problems amongst the civilization at the time the books were written.
I am guessing the reason for the over focus on this issue is that humans are obsessed with sex and many think the idea of two men or women doing so is icky. Certainly many straight couples who go to church have had sex before or outside of marriage – but no one talks about that as being a big deal. It greatly disturbs me how hateful many who call themselves Christians are regarding this issue. It also seems to be commonly assumed that if a person is gay he or she is having sex or engaged in promiscuous activity – I would assume that a gay couple could just be dating, not necessarily in a physical relationship, and just like anyone else wants to develop an emotional, spiritual, mental relationship with a partner and have a happy family life. It also seems like it is commonly assumed that gay individuals are not religious or Christian, whereas one of the most Godly minded men I know is gay (as well as many others). It is sad because gay Christians are being driven away from churches or do not feel welcome there. A church is a place everyone no matter what should be welcome.
There are many children in this world that could benefit greatly from having two parents in a healthy, loving relationship. It hurts me deeply when people make comments that imply that gay individuals are somehow damaged or freaks or not what people should be – God made them in HIS image, just like He made everyone else.
In conclusion, love but do not judge. As St. Paul also says, love never fails. I love and accept all gay individuals and pray they will find acceptance, peace and love, and happy relationships and family lives.