A friend of mine today sent me a link to a news item from the great state of Iowa explaining and exploring the ramifications of a landmark ruling that is essentially going to allow same sex marriages. The very nature of this topic of conversation is a fairly interesting one from all aspects. From a legal perspective, from a political perspective, from a cultural perspective and from a spiritual/religious perspective.
Within all of those areas of conversation their are some fairly hefty arguments on either side of the coin, some more compelling than others. What truly fascinates me about this topic, and the topic of homosexuality in general is that there seems to be no clear cut answer to it.
Here are some factoids (fact like substances that may or may not be true but are great for conversation):
- Homosexuality has been part of the human experience since probably the start of human existence (whether you believe in evolution or creation)
- Homosexuality has experienced different levels of social acceptance in varying degrees over time
- There is really no veracious account of why anyone may or may not be homosexual (and believe it or not there is room within both the Christian and secular viewpoints for homosexuality being either something people are born with or something that is learned/chosen – maybe it is both, maybe it is neither, interesting to discuss however)
What fascinates me about the news article and the decision made in Iowa (despite the fact that it is a state known more for crops than cultural relevance) is the simple questions my friend asked:
- What do you make of it? shouldn’t something this big socially be decided by the people and not the courts?
- Wouldn’t it be a suppression of a minority to let the people decide?
Before I go any further I would like to state that I am not going to be offering up my opinion or opine on this subject, rather I offer this blog as fodder for thought – something to ponder as you ponder this topic. I do have an opinion about this, but that is not as important to me as the conversation about this.
Rather than be simple and ask about the moral relevance of homosexuality and same sex marriages (lets see one side says it is immoral and one side says it is not…hmm no complexity there), I would rather discuss and focus the conversation on other topics.
The first question my friend asks begs us to look at this as a procedural/legal issue. What he is really asking is not whether or not gay marriage is morally okay, but something deeper: who has the right to decide on the legality of moral issues? Is it the federal government, the court system, the state legislatures or we, the people?
The second question my friend asked is not as simple. When he asked “Wouldn’t it be a suppression of a minority to let the people decide?” he made one assumption that I think is a vastly more interesting conversation to have. He made the assumption that homosexuality = minority. Now that is a topic of conversation!
If you hold that homosexuality is innate (whether it be genetic for you naturalists or sin that you are born into for you Christians) then yes, homosexuality would be just like any other classification that would grant minority status. From that perspective homosexuality is not something that you can change – one just is homosexual.
If you hold that homosexuality is a choice, then no, homosexuality would not necessarily grant someone minority status, after all other minorities are that way by birth, not by choice.
Regardless of your personal thoughts and opinions about this, I want to quote something here that I think gets lost in all of this conversation:
“One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, ‘Teacher [Jesus], which is the great commandment in the Law?’ And He said to him, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND. This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF. On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.'” Matthew 22:35-40
Regardless of your faith, your political leanings or your thoughts on homosexuality and marriage, I believe we all (Christians and non-Christians alike) have a burden to love one another. What are your thoughts?