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#Prop8Debate. He Reigns.

Spencer Traver

The sole purpose of this post is not to belittle or discriminate, but to shed a light of truth on the current issue over Proposition 8, concerning the DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) in California. I do not write to force my opinion on you, but simply to share with you what God has pressed upon my heart. I am compelled to bring truth and justice to this mess.

I have followed this Supreme Court case concerning Proposition 8 for quite some time now. As the months have passed and more criticism has risen over the banning of gay marriage, I have realized that there is a greater issue at stake. The issue is not about same-sex marriage; in fact, the issue has little to do with same-sex marriage. If same-sex marriage were the issue, we would have made a decision before the year 2013. Same-sex attraction and relationships are not something new to this century. A similar debatable topic at stake today is the argument over whether it should be legal or not to be able to abort a baby. The issue with our society today is not centralized on these debatable topics, but rather the lack of morality and justice in the hearts and minds of those who formulate their opinions towards these topics.

I firmly believe that many of us fall prey to confusing the words "lawful" and "just". What is lawful may be just. For example, it is lawful to punish murder, which is considered unjust according to Biblical and moral principles. On the other hand, what is lawful may also be unjust. For example, the usage of marijuana may be legal, yet rather conflicting with Biblical standards and moral principles. Clearly, the words "lawful" and "just" are not necessarily synonymous. The apostle Paul adhered to the law and adamantly discussed the conflict between the words "lawful" and "just" in his letter to the church at Corinth. He wrote, "All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be enslaved by anything" (1 Corinthians 6:12). He emphasized the same message later on by writing the same message word-for-word in 1 Corinthians 10:23. What many miss though is that following his letter to Corinth, Paul connected the rest of his message in his letter to those in Rome, whom he longed to visit.

Paul captures the idea of community so incredibly well in the book of Romans. He constantly is referring to the greatest community ever to exist, those who dwell in the kingdom of God. Paul encourages this community of believers to seek out the same mission in all of their endeavors by writing, "For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval" (Romans 14:17-18). Paul is calling us under one roof, one that serves Christ and seeks to live a life of righteousness, peace and joy, in Jesus' name. He then gives an action step for those who seek to live this life, "Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification" (Romans 14:19). Our sole purpose for creating laws should be to lead to peace and mutual edification in line with the laws of God. This includes abortion, marijuana use, and same-sex marriage.

For this very reason, it is important to discuss same-sex marriage. Allow me to remove religion from the picture for a moment and focus in on the morality and ethics of same-sex marriage.

It is commonly argued that same-sex marriage should be legalized for those seeking to be in legal marital relationships that are of the same sex. The most common argument that I have personally heard is that people should have the freedom to love whoever they want to love, whether that is someone of the opposite or same sex. If this were the case, then what difference does it make to then allow incest or the marriage of a 9 year old girl to a 60 year old male? If a father loves his daughter, and she loves him, then why would he be denied the right to marry her? If a 9 year old girl claimed to love a 60 year old male, then what makes their case for marriage different than people of the same sex? You may say that these are two preposterous and unrealistic claims, but consider how similar these cases are to that of same-sex marriage. The case of incest and the case of the 9 year old girl marrying the 60 year old male both violate the DOMA, just as same-sex marriage does. Why should something that was unjust years ago be just today? For the shifting sands of society? No!

The main flaw behind same-sex marriage is that at the core, it truly is not marriage to begin with. The definition of marriage according to the DOMA is, "a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife." And the word 'spouse' refers only to "a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife." The DOMA is not a Biblical or religious act, but rather a political act. However, I firmly believe that the laws and standards of God found in the Bible triumph and withstand those that are established my man. According to the Bible, sexual relations between two people of the same sex is an abomination, and therefore sinful. Leviticus 18:22 states, "Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable." Likewise, Romans 1:25-27 states, "They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised...Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error." Same-sex marriage clearly is not even marriage in the first place because it is not between a man and a woman. However, that is not the final straw.

Same-sex marriage has many faults to it. First, it violates natural law. God created sex to work between a man and a woman. Our founding fathers intended for marriage to be between a man and a woman. There is nothing lawful about same-sex marriage in any way, shape, or form. Second, it denies the right of a father or mother to a child. If the child is adopted by same-sex parents, they will either be two fathers or two mothers, neither of which have a blood relationship to him. Thirdly, it violates the principle of "family" and introduces a rather sterile union. If the spouses desire to have a child, they must do it through artificial (and rather costly) means. While these are three of many reasons that same-sex marriage is immoral and wrong, there still lies one that defeats all:

Same-sex marriage and homosexuality breaks the heart of God.

Yes, I said it. Same-sex marriage and homosexuality are detestable to God and are beyond offensive to Him. He created sex for the pleasure and reproduction of man, yet by amending the DOMA and allowing same-sex marriage, we are spitting in the face of God. In fact, this breaches upon breaking the first amendment listed in the Bill of Rights: the freedom of religion. If we have the freedom to be religious, then why are Catholic hospitals being forced to perform abortions? If we have the freedom to be religious, then why must Christians have the defense of marriage, undefended? There is nothing in the Islamic, Buddhist, or secular lifestyles that requires one to be homosexual. However, Christians and Muslims are required to avoid homosexuality and same-sex marriage at all costs. Not to say that Christians and Muslims deserve a special treatment, but the passing of this law would violate these religions and therefore violate the first amendment of the United States Constitution.

At the end of the day, our politicians can reverse the definition of marriage in America, and it will prove to be unjust, but they will never be able to change the definition of marriage given by God. In the eyes of God, marriage will always be between a man and a woman. He is unchanging, everlasting in truth. This is where my faith in the laws and love of God triumphs those of this world. I am not perfect; I fail daily. However, I will not compromise on this issue.

While I do believe that same-sex marriage and homosexuality are equally immoral and wrong, I believe even more in the love of God covering our sins. While studying Romans 8 with my discipleship group, I read one of my favorite verses in the entire Bible. I honestly believe that it is not a coincidence that I came across this passage during the Supreme Court's review of Proposition 8. I also believe that it is not coincidental that this case is being reviewed during Holy Week, leading up to Good Friday and Easter Sunday. God's timing sure is perfect.

Back to Romans.

Do I hate homosexuality? Absolutely. Do I hate same-sex marriage? Absolutely. Do I hate those involved in lifestyles of homosexuality and same-sex marriage? Absolutely not. As Christians, we are called to hate the sin but love the sinner. Cliche? Yes. But it is very, very true. Amos 5:14-15 teaches to, "Seek good, not evil, that you may live. Then the Lord God Almighty will be with you, just as you say he is. Hate evil, love good; maintain justice in the courts." While these issues are pressing today, there is something even greater than this. The abundant love of God is alive today and among all of the peoples, believers and non-believers. Paul shares this message in Romans by writing:

Romans 8:31-39

"What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?

As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

So at the end of the day, what truly matters? Yes, this Supreme Court case is incredibly important. However, it is all a wash. While the DOMA may be amended, the love and grace of our God shall never be. His love is deep; His love is strong. His grace is abundant beyond all measure. No homosexual, bi-sexual, or heterosexual male or female is deserving of God's love. Yet, after He searches our hearts to its deepest points, He loves us anyway. Wow.

The end of Romans 8 brings me to one thought: HE REIGNS! Forever, Your kingdom reigns!

What a convicting, yet perfect thought to conclude with during Holy Week. As Good Friday nears, we approach the celebration of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Why is it a celebration? Because it is not the end of the story. The cross was enough for us, but death and its grave could not hold back the power of our Lord and Savior. Neither the life He provided us or the death that came about Him for three days time could hold back His love and His grace. As we go about Holy Week, I pray that we would take seriously the love of our God. I pray that our judges would be convicted with the love and grace of God in their decision over the Proposition 8 case. Whatever the result, may God be glorified. May God's love be revealed. May the grace of our Lord and Savior be shown to all, the believers and the non-believers. I pray that this Easter season would prove to open your eyes to the love of our God. It is astounding.