40 Eye-rolls from a Christian who’s been waving that rainbow flag for years

Kevin DeYoung wrote “40 Questions for Christians Now Waving Rainbow Flags”, because he was apparently *shocked* and *horrified* when a bunch of people rainbowed their profiles in support of same-sex marriage. So, now he needs to reassert the tribal boundaries and point out how we’re not real true Christians. As far as I can tell, the whole article boils down to “I don’t think you’re a real Christian, so I don’t have to take anything you say seriously. Prove to me that you’re a real Christian who can check off the list of appropriate beliefs. Oh, by the way, no matter what you answer, I will still not think you’re a real Christian.”

It reminded me of a conversation I’d had on Facebook on the same topic. When I didn’t suddenly change my carefully thought-out beliefs because he threw some Bible verses at me, he felt the need to give me the third degree about what church I go to and how often I read the Bible. The implication was the same: you’re not a real Christian, so not only do I not have to listen to a thing you say, but it’s my religious duty to browbeat you back into the fold.

There have been responses to the 40 questions, a lot of them really good. I particularly like Matthew Vines 40 questions of his own. Getting straight to the point, there’s also 1 Question for People Who Won’t Wave the Rainbow Flag. That one question is “When are you going to listen to the answers to your questions?” The author points out that it’s arrogant to constantly expect LGBT people and allies to explain, and defend, and justify. Particularly when they’ve answered those questions again and again and had those answers brushed off and ignored every time.

I’m certainly tired of what feels like shouting at the top of my lungs about things like LGBT teens living on the street because their “good Christian” parents kicked them out, or someone sitting in a waiting room while their partner of decades breathes their last because the hospital didn’t want to recognize their relationship. Without fail, that gets brushed off. I’ve never, never, never, been debating gay rights with a supposed “good Christian” who has said “Wow, that is a serious problem,” or “I didn’t know that; that’s awful.” They just literally do not acknowledge it at all, so they can go back to quoting Bible verses at me. Or, like the last guy, they actually have the gall, when I say that if Christianity loved gay people so very much, it would quit hurting them, that “sometimes love hurts” and bring up someone who’s in love with someone they’re not married to. Because unrequited affection is totally the same thing as having your parents disown you and sleeping on a park bench. If I’m fed up just *talking* about it, imagine living it.

Maybe I’m just cynical because I’m frustrated, but I think the answer to Alise’s “When are you going to listen?” is “Never.” So, at this point, I don’t have the patience for well-reasoned, carefully thought out answers to the 40 questions. I do, however, have snark. Lots and lots of snark. So here’s my deeply sarcastic, eye-rolling take on the 40 questions.

For evangelicals who lament last Friday’s Supreme Court decision, it’s been a hard few days. We aren’t asking for emotional pity, nor do I suspect many people are eager to give us any. Our pain is not sacred. Making legal and theological decisions based on what makes people feel better is part of what got us into this mess in the first place. Nevertheless, it still hurts.

There are many reasons for our lamentation, from fear that religious liberties will be taken away to worries about social ostracism and cultural marginalization. But of all the things that grieve us, perhaps what’s been most difficult is seeing some of our friends, some of our family members, and some of the folks we’ve sat next to in church giving their hearty “Amen” to a practice we still think is a sin and a decision we think is bad for our country. It’s one thing for the whole nation to throw a party we can’t in good conscience attend. It’s quite another to look around for friendly faces to remind us we’re not alone and then find that they are out there jamming on the dance floor. We thought the rainbow was God’s sign (Gen. 9:8-17).

If you consider yourself a Bible-believing Christian, a follower of Jesus whose chief aim is to glorify God and enjoy him forever, there are important questions I hope you will consider before picking up your flag and cheering on the sexual revolution. These questions aren’t meant to be snarky or merely rhetorical. They are sincere, if pointed, questions that I hope will cause my brothers and sisters with the new rainbow themed avatars to slow down and think about the flag you’re flying.

Okay, first off, you’re afraid that religious liberties will be taken away because you define religious liberty as “treating gay people terribly and getting away with it because Jesus.” You want to be able to turn people away from your business because they’re gay, but you’d never stand for it if someone wanted to deny service to Christians. Your church isn’t going to have to marry gay people. Much like the Catholic Church doesn’t have to marry divorcees.

Also, that feeling of isolation, of being alone, of having what you thought were friendly faces not be so friendly? Congratulations, you’ve just experienced a tiny sliver of what it’s like to be a gay Christian. Except that instead of just changing their Facebook profile to something you don’t like, they were saying you should burn in hell, and that if you’re bullied, beaten, and mocked to the point of committing suicide, it’s your own fault.

Also, as far as “slow down and think,” wow, I’m so glad you said that. I totally haven’t read and prayed and considered this for *years.* I just saw that all the cool kids had rainbow profile pictures and I wanted one too.

1. How long have you believed that gay marriage is something to be celebrated?

Most of the last decade. And I’m actually *late* to the party. Take the Quakers, for example. There were Friends meetings affirming same-sex relationships in the *sixties* and *eighties* for Pete’s sake. But, please, continue trying to convince yourself that this is just some wacky thing somebody came up with later.

2. What Bible verses led you to change your mind?

Wow, that’s totally not a loaded question at all. What Bible verses led you to believe same-sex relationships were sinful? And I’m sure you totally read them in isolation and came to that conclusion all on your own, rather than believing same-sex relationships are sinful because it’s what you’ve been taught.

3. How would you make a positive case from Scripture that sexual activity between two persons of the same sex is a blessing to be celebrated?

“Sexual activity.” Way to make love and commitment sound dirty. But you’re totally not trying to dehumanize people by reducing whole lives and relationships to sex acts you find icky.

4. What verses would you use to show that a marriage between two persons of the same sex can adequately depict Christ and the church?

And again with the prooftext game. Never mind that it’s a shallow and simplistic way to read the Bible, let’s just grab some verses out of context to prove a point.

5. Do you think Jesus would have been okay with homosexual behavior between consenting adults in a committed relationship?

Well, he had the opportunity to throw a “Go and sin no more” at the centurion who asked for healing for the servant he may well have had a sexual relationship with (the word pais can translate as “male concubine”). And he didn’t.

6. If so, why did he reassert the Genesis definition of marriage as being one man and one woman?

Okay, since we are playing the proof-text game, how about you show me where he said *anything* about the quantity of wives. Jesus said you couldn’t toss your wife aside to marry someone else, but polygamy was practiced in Israel, and he didn’t say a word against multiple wives.

7. When Jesus spoke against porneia what sins do you think he was forbidding?

If we’re still talking about the same verses, the context makes it pretty clear that we’re talking about cheating on your spouse.

8. If some homosexual behavior is acceptable, how do you understand the sinful “exchange” Paul highlights in Romans 1?

Or, how about you explain to me how you understand Romans 2:3? Was that just tacked on for the heck of it, and the real point of the passage is “don’t be gay”? While we’re at it, let’s totally ignore the fact that people in the first century didn’t know that sexual orientation was a thing that exists, and thought that same-sex sex was the result of an excess of lust.

9. Do you believe that passages like 1 Corinthians 6:9 and Revelation 21:8 teach that sexual immorality can keep you out of heaven?

Do you believe that Romans 8:39 teaches that *nothing* can separate us from the love of God? Because, you know, that’s what the verse says. While you’re at it, maybe go ahead and explain why you’re so eager to grab verses that condemn something you have no interest in doing but don’t focus on verses like Luke 6:35 and or 1 Peter 3:34. If you’ve ever put on a nice suit for church or said no to someone who wanted to borrow $500, maybe you’re not in a position to judge.

10. What sexual sins do you think they were referring to?

Does it matter what I think? Like, really, I could go on for paragraphs about a consistent sexual ethic of mutual care and consent, and back it up with relevant sections from the Bible, but I’m not going to convince you that every mention of sexual sin ever isn’t referring directly to those icky, icky gays.

11. As you think about the long history of the church and the near universal disapproval of same-sex sexual activity, what do you think you understand about the Bible that Augustine, Aquinas, Calvin, and Luther failed to grasp?

Dude, for real? First off, I’m not a “you must not think or do anything unless you can cite chapter and verse to support it” kind of Christian. I’m much more partial to overall themes and ideas. But for starters, Augustine, Aquinas, Calvin and Luther *all* had a pretty deplorable view of women. And yet Jesus pretty clearly taught that women are valuable. So, if their being such awesome Christians couldn’t overcome their culture’s sexism, why would it overcome their culture’s homophobia?

12. What arguments would you use to explain to Christians in Africa, Asia, and South America that their understanding of homosexuality is biblically incorrect and your new understanding of homosexuality is not culturally conditioned?

I never claimed my understanding *wasn’t* culturally conditioned. You’re the one who’s claiming that we know being gay is bad because the church condemned it, even as you presumably condemn things the church approved for 1800 years, like slavery.

13. Do you think Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were motivated by personal animus and bigotry when they, for almost all of their lives, defined marriage as a covenant relationship between one man and one woman?

No, I think that they grew up in a heterosexist culture and somehow, magically, were untouched by that bigotry.

14. Do you think children do best with a mother and a father?

Of course. That’s why we should require divorcees, widows, and single parents to remarry. Also, instead of carefully screening potential adoptive parents, we should pass out kids to random opposite-sex couples.

15. If not, what research would you point to in support of that conclusion?

Let me freaking google that for you.

16. If yes, does the church or the state have any role to play in promoting or privileging the arrangement that puts children with a mom and a dad?

See my answer to question 14. *Obviously* we should push gay people into the closet and convince them to marry people of the opposite-sex. Certainly, those relationships, based on lies and fear, will be perfectly healthy for the resulting children.

17. Does the end and purpose of marriage point to something more than an adult’s emotional and sexual fulfillment?

Of course not. Who needs emotional and sexual fulfillment? Married people should be miserable.

18. How would you define marriage?

As a sacred and divinely ordained relationship between one man and as many women as he can afford to buy from their parents. Or a commitment between two people to love each other and build a family. But that second one isn’t “traditional” so it can’t be right.

19. Do you think close family members should be allowed to get married?

Ooh, we’re getting into the “slippery slope” questions. Awesome! Are you going to ask if I think someone can marry a toaster? Or a tree?

20. Should marriage be limited to only two people?

I can see valid arguments either way, but strangely enough, the Bible doesn’t have anything negative to say about polygamy.

21. On what basis, if any, would you prevent consenting adults of any relation and of any number from getting married

I like how you throw “consenting” in there when talking about incest. Because someone who’s spent their whole life being sexually abused by a parent isn’t under any pressure to consent or anything.

22. Should there be an age requirement in this country for obtaining a marriage license?

Yes. Obviously no one should get married until they hit puberty, as is Biblically ordained.

23. Does equality entail that anyone wanting to be married should be able to have any meaningful relationship defined as marriage?

From a legal point of view, the relationship doesn’t even have to be meaningful. There’s no legal bar to me divorcing my husband, running off to Vegas and marrying the first random man who buys me a drink. So, yeah, equality entails that we not discriminate on the basis of gender when two people get married, whether in a church or by an Elvis impersonator. I’m sorry this is hard for you.

24. If not, why not?

25. Should your brothers and sisters in Christ who disagree with homosexual practice be allowed to exercise their religious beliefs without fear of punishment, retribution, or coercion?

Maybe someday your LGBT brothers and sisters in Christ will be allowed to *exist* without fear of punishment, retribution, or coercion. Or, you know, physical assault. And murder.

And it depends on what you mean by “exercise their religious belief.” Rant on Facebook, attend an anti-gay church? Knock yourself out. Refuse to do their job as a clerk of the court and sign a gay couple’s marriage license? Not so much. Run a business that’s a public accommodation and deny service to members of a protected class based on their membership in that class? How about no.

26. Will you speak up for your fellow Christians when their jobs, their accreditation, their reputation, and their freedoms are threatened because of this issue?

Not “if” but “when.” Not fear-mongering at all there, are we? The gay mafia is coming for you! I will defend anybody’s right not to be fired from a job for religious beliefs that don’t adversely affect their ability to do the job. I will defend a priest’s right not to marry a gay couple, in whatever alternate bizarro world that that happens. But if people criticize your beliefs, you’re just going to have to put on your grown-up pants and deal with it.

27. Will you speak out against shaming and bullying of all kinds, whether against gays and lesbians or against Evangelicals and Catholics?

That depends. Are we talking about actual bullying or the fake bullying where Evangelicals don’t get everything they want?

28. Since the evangelical church has often failed to take unbiblical divorces and other sexual sins seriously, what steps will you take to ensure that gay marriages are healthy and accord with Scriptural principles?

I don’t know, but I do know that preaching against divorce keeps people in abusive relationships. So maybe we could stop fixating on everybody else’s sexual sins. Nah, that’s crazy talk.

29. Should gay couples in open relationships be subject to church discipline?

Sure! Because “church discipline” totally isn’t code for an authoritarian church browbeating people into toeing the line.

30. Is it a sin for LGBT persons to engage in sexual activity outside of marriage?

Considering that they weren’t allowed to *get* married until about 10 minutes ago, I’m not going to judge.

31. What will open and affirming churches do to speak prophetically against divorce, fornication, pornography, and adultery wherever they are found?

See previous statement about divorce.

32. If “love wins,” how would you define love?

Love is patient, love is kind. Love is probably *not* trying to push gay people into pretending they’re straight.

33. What verses would you use to establish that definition?

Ooh, we’re back to prooftexting again! Let’s go with 1 Corinthians 13.

34. How should obedience to God’s commands shape our understanding of love?

Oh, I know this one! This is the gotcha where you get to abuse, demean, and discriminate against gay people and call it “love” because you were just warning them about their sins.

35. Do you believe it is possible to love someone and disagree with important decisions they make?

I tend to think yes, but all those people who decided to take food out of the mouths of poor children rather than have them fed by a married gay person would probably disagree.

36. If supporting gay marriage is a change for you, has anything else changed in your understanding of faith?

Well, I no longer try to force all the parts of the Bible that contradict each other into some kind of sense. Nor do I assume that because Paul said it, God ordained it.

37. As an evangelical, how has your support for gay marriage helped you become more passionate about traditional evangelical distinctives like a focus on being born again, the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ on the cross, the total trustworthiness of the Bible, and the urgent need to evangelize the lost?

As a what now? You never said anything about “evangelical.” You said “Christian.” But, let’s move the goal posts a bit, shall we? I hate to break it to you, but running away from evangelicalism was the best thing possible for my spiritual growth and mental health. See previous statement about mental gymnastics to make the Bible not contradict itself. Oh, and living in deep soul-crushing fear of hell, either for myself or for loved ones, that was fun too.

38. What open and affirming churches would you point to where people are being converted to orthodox Christianity, sinners are being warned of judgment and called to repentance, and missionaries are being sent out to plant churches among unreached peoples?

Gee, I don’t know, how about the Episcopalians? Not orthodox enough for you?

39. Do you hope to be more committed to the church, more committed to Christ, and more committed to the Scriptures in the years ahead?

Nah, I’ve decided to become more committed to orgies and recreational drugs. Seriously, thanks for implying that I’m *not* committed to Christ. Way to love those who disagree with you.

40. When Paul at the end of Romans 1 rebukes “those who practice such things” and those who “give approval to those who practice them,” what sins do you think he has in mind?

I think he was making a larger point. Hence Romans 2. But, you know, let’s stop quoting where it’s most convenient.


Romantic Love and Double Standards

Out of all the arguments I see against same-sex marriage, the “kids need a mother and a father” argument seems to me to be one of the most specious, because it’s grounded in a massive double standard. We don’t force divorcees, or widows to marry again “for the sake of the children.” We don’t require it of single parents. There are plenty more examples—people in long-distance relationships with no specific plans to move in together, people with dangerous jobs or serious illnesses that make it more likely that any kids they have will lose a parent. Those people are absolutely allowed to get married. For that matter, people who are serving life sentences in jail are allowed to get married and could conceivably have children. Conjugal visits are only permitted in about six states, but if you live in one of those states, no one is going to prevent you from marrying and having a child with someone who’s extremely unlikely to be in that child’s life. (And in the other 44, prison doesn’t necessarily rule out artificial insemination.)

To my knowledge, there aren’t any campaigns to require single parents to marry or remarry, or to prevent people who can’t be around for their kids from having any. If they do exist, they certainly don’t have the same fervor, or the same financial backing, as campaigns working against same-sex marriage. That’s the double standard I’m talking about. If one of you has an M on your driver’s license and the other has an F, and you’re legal adults, not married to anyone else or related to each other, your freedom to marry is largely unrestricted. But if you’re a same-sex couple, suddenly we have to ask more questions. Suddenly we’re so worried about the children not being raised in “ideal” families.

Today, I read an Examiner article that took the “kids need a mother and a father” argument a little further. (The article was written by someone I’ve known online for more than a decade, and a good guy, so I’m going to shoot for very respectful criticism. Not that that isn’t *always* a good goal—I think “pretend the person you’re arguing with online is someone you actually like” would cut down the amount of vitriol on the internet substantially.)

Anyway, the central premise is that girls need a father figure to form a romantic attachment to a man. There’s a study mentioned (though not cited or described in enough detail to make it easy to find):

A recent study of women has made a connection between romantic love and the relationships they had with their fathers. There is a tendency for women to have this attractive reaction to men who exhibit personality traits consistent with those of their fathers, whether or not they had good relationships with those fathers, and in fact for women with bad father relationships to fall into bad relationships of a very similar sort.

The argument from this is that, without a father as a template for the kind of man she’s supposed to be attracted to, a woman won’t be able to form romantic attachments, or at least will have that ability somewhat hampered. The exact phrasing is “It suggests that for women to have a romantic attraction of that sort toward a man, she has to have had a male father figure in her life.”

But that’s not what the study actually says. For a study to show something of that nature, the logical thing to do would be to compare the romantic relationships of women who grew up with a father in their life and those who didn’t and see if the women who didn’t had weaker attractions or were less likely to have romantic relationships. If I were designing that study, I’d want to try for a good sample of children of divorce, children of single parents, women whose fathers had passed away, and children of lesbians to try to eliminate any confounding variables related to family upheaval. I’d also want to track whether the women whose fathers were absent had any other paternal figures, like an uncle or grandfather, they were close to. There’s no indication that the study even looked at women without a father or father figure, so it’s really stretching to attribute the idea that women need a father figure to form romantic attachments to it.

What it does say is that we get our ideas of what makes a good partner—and what’s normal in relationships—from our parents’ relationships. As the summary puts it:

“There is a tendency for women to have this attractive reaction to men who exhibit personality traits consistent with those of their fathers, whether or not they had good relationships with those fathers, and in fact for women with bad father relationships to fall into bad relationships of a very similar sort.”

To me, this absolutely does not say that any male-female relationship is automatically a better place to raise children than a same-sex relationship. How could it, when it doesn’t even address same sex relationships? What it does say is that women are frequently attracted to men with similar personality traits to their fathers. To me, this suggests that if a woman marries a jerk and has kids with him, her daughter is likely to view “jerk” as the male default and (if she’s straight) probably end up with a jerk herself.

As another issue, if we’re assuming male-female relationships are the ideal, we’re hoping, as our ideal, that gay people will marry members of the opposite sex. Since reparative therapy hasn’t shown any indication of being able to change people’s orientation, this means that a marriage where one partner has no attraction to the other and the relationship is based on a lie is viewed as a good thing, because no matter how dysfunctional or dishonest it might be, it fits the ideal family structure. (I know people who’ve been in mixed orientation marriages, and it’s not anything like an ideal. In one woman’s case, it shredded her self-confidence horribly, which is about what you’d expect for anyone who found out their partner had never been attracted to them.)

But I get the impression that the anti-gay-marriage argument isn’t terribly concerned with whether any of these individual relationships are happy. After all, if it’s for the good of the children, that outweighs any concerns like whether their parents love each other. However, the study itself suggests potential fallout for the children of those relationships. It would indicate that women whose parents were in a mixed orientation marriage will pick partners with traits like “lies to me about really important things” or “isn’t attracted to me at all, but wants me to fix him.” The one thing the study does indicate is that girls whose parents have bad relationships are likely to have relationships that go off the rails in a similar way themselves. So in light of this study, the absolute *last* thing to encourage is that any male-female pair, regardless of the quality of the relationship, is inherently a better place to raise children than a same-sex one.

Since I made a pretty strong statement about “don’t marry a jerk” a few paragraphs back, I don’t want to imply that I think a gay person who marries someone of the opposite sex, even dishonestly, is automatically a bad person. It’s a harmful decision, I don’t think there’s any question about that, but it’s also a decision with a huge amount of social pressure behind it. That’s not to let someone who lies, cheats, or emotionally abuses their partner off the hook for their own actions either—just to say that there are multiple victims and plenty of blame to go around.

But all of that is just assuming that the study was well designed, well controlled, and that it’s findings were significant. Depending on which personality traits you use and how you’re measuring them, you might get very different results. Since I don’t have the study itself, I have no idea if they did a good job of that or not.

There’s also a huge amount of gender essentialism in the article (no surprise, since the “traditional marriage” argument is all about gender roles):

We might suppose that such a girl attaches to one of her two female parents and identifies that one as the putative “father”. That would mean that her romantic baseline would be looking for a man who had the qualities which attracted her to a female parent. It is not even clear at this point that a young girl could make such an identification of a female parent as the surrogate father. Nor is it clear what kind of man might have those qualities.

The implication is that men and women are such completely different sorts of people that marrying a guy with a similar personality to your mom is about as likely as getting a dog with a similar personality to your first cat. And yet, while trying to find the referenced study (with no success), I found several articles about the idea that women are attracted to men like their fathers (or vice versa with men and their mothers). (One from CNN, one from the Daily Mail, and one from The Telegraph.)

These studies talked about either facial similarities or about pretty general aspects of personality that apply to both men and women. The CNN article, for example, describes one woman whose husband shared her father’s “emotional distance” and his angry temper, another whose husband and father are both interested in politics and the stock market, and a third who has a very similar sense of humor to her mother-in-law. None of these are sex-specific traits, so not having a parent of the opposite sex doesn’t necessarily prevent looking for a parent’s traits in an opposite-sex partner. If the study had actually included same-sex families, there might have been some data to see how or if that happens.

For that matter, I don’t know if the study controlled for the *mother’s* personality at all, and people do often marry similar people. You would need to demonstrate that women are attracted to men who have characteristics of their fathers that are *not* shared by their mothers to demonstrate that women go for men who are like their dads, rather than women choose partners who remind them in some way of one or both parents.

Another quibble I have with this article is the way it talks about same-sex families with a lot of “We might suppose” language, as though there aren’t actual same-sex families on which sociological research could be (and has been) done, rather than making assumptions based on opposite-sex parents. That level of supposition implies that there isn’t any research out there on children of same-sex couples, and we have no idea whatsoever how they might be affected. That ties right into the conclusion, which has some pretty dramatic rhetoric: “We do not know what kind of impact a different model will have on children. Is it worth the price to our children to change to another model without examining it more carefully first?”

First off, the default for child-raising is still very likely to be opposite sex couples, both because straight people outnumber gay people by 9 to 1 or more, and because having a child “the old-fashioned way” is a lot easier and less expensive than anything involving artificial insemination. If Wikipedia is accurate, same-sex marriages make up about 4% of the total marriages in Massachusetts, a pretty tiny minority. The idea of “changing to another model” totally ignores those demographics. At 4%, same-sex couples are likely even a minority of couples without a parent of each sex in the home, once you take divorce, death, and single parenthood into account.

Secondly, there’s again the implication that same-sex couples aren’t already raising children, that this is some new thing that has never been done, something with completely unknown consequences. Vermont has had civil unions since 2000, and Massachusetts has had same-sex marriage for more than a decade, and it was the sixth jurisdiction to allow it, not the first. (That distinction goes to the Netherlands, in 2001.) Not to mention that raising children and being legally married aren’t the same thing. The first gay couples who petitioned for the right to marry in the US did so in the *1970s*, and I seriously doubt that none of them raised kids. There are a number of studies on children of same-sex couples, and the only one that found anything negative, the Regnerus study, was dodgy to say the least.

And again, even if outcomes *were* better for children in opposite-sex families than in same-sex ones, those couples are still the only ones expected to “prove” that their relationship is “ideal” before they’re allowed to get married. The chance of divorce is higher for young couples and lower for college graduates, but that doesn’t mean the legal marriage age should be 25, or that people should be required to finish college before getting married. No one is pushing to ban any less-than-ideal opposite-sex marriages. In a free country, individuals should be able to make personal decisions based on what they want for their own lives, even if it doesn’t meet someone else’s ideal.

Why I’m in Favor of Same-Sex Marriage

I posted on Facebook why I don’t eat at Chik-Fil-A (i.e., because of this), and I got slammed, snarked, and condescended to by one person. My first thought was to reply in kind, my second was to inform them of the location of the useful little X button on Facebook posts and suggest that if they don’t like what I have to say, they avail themselves of it. But then I decided to try for something more like Amp’s approach here. I’m not sure I was successful, because I wrote a huge essay that I doubt the other person will do more than skim through, and because I didn’t really do enough to tie it to the other person’s experiences (though I tied it to mine), but I can hope.

Anyway, here’s what I wrote:

Now that that’s* out of the way, I don’t think they’re bigots for believing, in good faith, that homosexuality is a sin. I think they’re bigots for actively fighting against marriage equality and for denying LGBT people the use of their facility.

I think that even if you are fully convinced that homosexuality is a sin, it’s still wrong (and unChristian) to try to continue denying gay people equality under the law. It means real tangible harm and cruelty, like not letting people visit their sick or dying partner in the hospital, or taking kids away from people who’ve raised them. This happens even when the couples in question have seen a lawyer and spent the tons of time and money to get the legal documents that were supposed to be “just as good” as legal marriage. It also means letting kids languish in foster care or group situations when there are adoptive parents who would give them a loving home, but happen to be gay.

The second reason I’m in favor of SSM is that America is not and was never meant to be a theocracy. I also don’t see anything in the Bible to suggest that it’s the job of American Christians to try to make it one. This isn’t Old Testament Israel, where our nation’s laws came straight from God, and nowhere in the New Testament do I find a word about how we’re supposed to force our non-Christian neighbors to live by our beliefs. There’s a lot of turning the other cheek and shaking the dust off your feet and showing love.

And if America wasn’t meant to be a theocracy in 1776, when it was inhabited mostly by Christians and a handful of Jews, how much more wrong would it be to make it a theocracy now when it’s a country of people of every religion and no religion. We’ve been effectively a theocracy in a lot of ways because of a Christian majority and because of some deep-seated prejudices toward people who aren’t Christian, but that’s changing. As a Christian, it makes me happy, not sad, to see that change, because I believe that matters of faith are between an individual and God, not something to be shoved down their throat by whatever majority happens to have power.

I also find it telling which beliefs we feel we have the right, even the imperative, to make others live by. Tons of marriages happen every day that many Christians would define as not Biblical for one reason or another. But we’re not rushing to invalidate the marriages of the divorcees, or the people marrying outside their faith, or the people who have had premarital sex with someone other than the person they’re marrying. Heck, if we want to give all of Paul’s directives about marriage legal force, my marriage to [my husband]** should be just as illegal as the marriage of any two men or two women, because it’s an egalitarian one–I promised to love and honor, but not obey. And on the flip side, there are plenty of Christian denominations that have no problem with same-sex marriage. Even if we were to be a Christian theocracy, whose brand of Christianity gets to be in charge?

Finally, I never said that Chik-Fil-A deserves to go bankrupt and frankly***, if the few bucks I might spend on fast food is going to do in my local chain, they’ve got bigger problems. But I don’t think I’m somehow obligated to have my money go toward things I think are wrong. If it’s okay for Christians who are against homosexuality to boycott Disney for having gay pride days, how is it not okay for me to do the same based on my deeply held beliefs?

I *like* the fact that Chik-Fil-A is closed on Sundays. I like the fact that a lot of the restaurants play Christian music. I would love to be able to support them, but this is an issue that’s important enough to me that I would not feel right eating there.

*”That” was telling him that I didn’t appreciate his sarcasm or condescension. Just because I’m trying to have a better conversation doesn’t mean I won’t tell the other person when they need to knock off the rudeness.

** Hubby’s full name redacted, since this is a public blog and not my “some vague semblance of privacy” Facebook page, where everything I posted is limited to my two-hundred-and-ninety-something “friends”

**He said, among other things, that I was arguing that Chik-Fil-A’s owners are horrible people and deserve to go bankrupt for “acting on what [they] know to be true.”