The Gay Marriage Debate: Winning, Losing or Dropping Out? (Part 1)

Every Friday we’ll take a break from topical posts and will post some random personal thoughts. 

The Gay Marriage Debate: Winning, Losing or Dropping Out?

(Links to all four parts at the end of the article)

If conservative believers have been trying to convince the public that same-sex marriage is wrong, then we’re not only failing; we’ve failed. Look at virtually any poll on the subject and you’ll see growing support for Adam and Steve, whether in statistics from CNNThe Washington Post or Gallup. In fact, according to a recent Christianity Today survey, attitudes within the Christian population are changing along with those of the culture, with only 59% of Evangelicals disapproving of same-sex marriage, compared to 85% in 1988.  The age gap on the issue is especially notable, showing a clear minority of young Evangelicals ages 18-35 (44%) opposing the move towards redefinition.

But you don’t need polls to tell you this, just eyes and ears. Whereas America’s last President called for a constitutional amendment protecting the heterosexual definition of marriage, today’s Commander in Chief not only sanctions same sex marriage, but has also been christened “The First Gay President” by Newsweek Magazine.

Likewise, the secular institutions most likely to influence public opinion, including the American Psychiatric and Psychological Associations, the news media, the entertainment industry, the public school and the state university systems, have all adopted solidly pro-homosexual positions, an adoption reflected in every visible part of modern culture. Yes, a number of states have passed laws banning same sex marriage. But a Supreme Court showdown over such laws is inevitable, and there’s no predicting the outcome under the current justices, much less a future court with new appointees. Meanwhile, public sentiment against gay marriage, which was the driving force behind these laws, is shifting, meaning some of the very states who voted for the protection of marriage’s traditional definition may actually reverse their own votes to reflect a new, pro-gay viewpoint.

Marriage in America will be redefined, culturally and legally, to include homosexual coupling, and the redefinition will probably come sooner than later. Public opinion calls for it, the call will evolve into a demand, and, as Abraham Lincoln noted, “our government rests in public opinion. Whoever can change public opinion, can change the government.”

Three questions are raised in light of this:

  1. Do we have a mandate to influence the culture?
  2. Is change an indicator of progress?
  3. Where do we go from here?

Over the next three Fridays I’d like to address each question, with an eye towards better understanding our role in the world of 2012, and either a strengthening or rethinking of our approach.

This is, to me, far from academic. I did at one time identify myself as openly gay, celebrating my homosexual relationships and, at one, time, seriously considering a lifelong commitment to a man. At the time, had same sex marriage been legally accessible, my partner and I no doubt would have availed ourselves of it, inviting friends and family to witness our union. And, no doubt, I would have felt outraged, perhaps even shattered, to have someone I cared for tell me my union was one they couldn’t celebrate. That is the sad reality of life in this fallen world, a world where tensions between Biblical truth and worldly wisdom often clash, the emotions of the people involved being the first casualties in all such collisions.

So while admiring the efforts of the many organizations who stand firm for the Biblical definition of marriage, and with a willingness to continue to stand for that definition regardless of surrounding trends, I can’t help but recognize the reality that the codification of same sex marriage is inevitable, just as I recognize the emotional volatility the issue can’t help but evoke. So in the interest of responding in the most God honoring way, I hope you’ll join me over the next three Fridays while we discuss this, beginning with next Friday’s post on our role in influencing the culture.

Meanwhile, have a great weekend. And happy 4th!

Love, Joe

Check Out the Entire Series, “The Gay Marriage Debate: Winning, Losing or Dropping Out?”

  1. Click here for Part I of this series
  2. Click here for Part II of this series
  3. Click here for Part III of this series
  4. Click here for Part IV of this series
  5. Click here for Part V of this series
  6. Click here for Part VI of this series
  7. Click here for Part VII of this series

Comments

David Van Huisen | Jul 3, 2012

I'm wondering why the authentic Christian community cannot seem to take a stand on this issue. My personal opinion is that when they "have no dog in the fight". They really and truly do not care. For those of us who do...we need to take a stand and convince our allies who have turned on us to help make a difference.

Joe Dallas | Jul 3, 2012

I think, David, that many Christians do care deeply, but aren't sure what to do with their concerns. Others simply think it's an "out there" problem that will never affect them, and of course they're wrong. At any rate, please do continue taking a stand. As I hope to show in my next post, we're commissioned to uphold and express a clear standard, regardless of how well or how poorly that expression is received. God bless.

Warren Lamb | Jul 3, 2012

Thanks, Joe, for this timely series. What I keep running in to within the Christian community is what you expressed when you wrote: "I can’t help but recognize the reality that the codification of same sex marriage is inevitable". Folks seem to sense a tsunami-effect over same-sex marriage being embraced and codified and an accompanying powerlessness to have any effect on diverting (let alone changing) the tide.

Joe Dallas | Jul 3, 2012

Good observation, Warren. And to a point, yes, I think there is a tsunami-like movement towards legitimizing same-sex marriage, but I personally don't feel powerless.I know there will always be those God calls to resist the tide and to even emerge from it, and, despite the culture's deterioration, our calling is to stand firm and clear. If God turns the tide around, wonderful, but if not our joy should stay intact, because fildelity to Him and His standards is what we'll be judged and rewarded for.

The Gay Marriage Debate: Winning, Losing or Dropping Out? (Part 2) | Joe Dallas Online | Jul 8, 2012

[...] In Part I of this discussion I cited surveys affirming a shift in the public’s view of same sex marriage, a shift raising three questions that I hope to respond to each Friday for the next three weeks: [...]

The Gay Marriage Debate: Winning, Losing or Dropping Out? (Part 3) | Joe Dallas Online | Jul 16, 2012

[...] Three of a Four Part Series. Click Here for Part One, Here for Part [...]

The Gay Marriage Debate: Winning, Losing or Dropping Out? (Part 4) | Joe Dallas Online | Jul 28, 2012

[...] trends show a tilt in public opinion towards a redefinition of marriage, (Click here for Part I of this series) a trend the Church can’t ignore without likewise ignoring Her role as salt and light (Click here [...]

The Gay Marriage Debate: Winning, Losing or Dropping Out? - One Church | Jul 29, 2012

[...] Click here for Part I of this series [...]

The Gay Marriage Debate: Winning, Losing or Dropping Out? (Part 5) | Joe Dallas Online | Aug 3, 2012

[...] likewise evolve from majority disapproval to a fairly even split between naysayers and advocates (Click here for Part I of this series) a split that’s likely to morph into majority approval. That spells cultural [...]

The Gay Marriage Debate: Winning, Losing or Dropping Out? (Part 6) | Joe Dallas Online | Aug 15, 2012

[...] Click here for Part I of this series [...]

The Gay Marriage Debate: Winning, Losing or Dropping Out? (Part 7) | Joe Dallas Online | Aug 20, 2012

[...] Click here for Part I of this series [...]

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