Sunday, September 7, 2014

I was asked yesterday what I thought about “same sex marriage.” My basic answer is that I differentiate between acceptance and approval. That is an important principle in raising children. One ought to accept one’s children even when their behavior is unacceptable. One ought to extend acceptance to others, and even to one’s self, regardless of their particular bent. I don’t reject people because of their temptations; all of us are tempted, and I don’t think that there is a nickels worth of difference between the temptations of one orientation or another. But that is a hard principle for some to accept because what they want is approval, not just acceptance.

I am not interested in one’s sexual orientation; orientation is a non-issue, behavior is another matter. I don’t approve of “same sex marriage,” but I don’t reject people because of that. That was obviously the wrong answer to the question. What was wanted not mere acceptance, but approval. You will inevitably be asked the same question in today’s society.

Thinking about it later I realized that my questioner came to me with a common presupposition in the current debate, and understanding that presupposition clarifies the question. There is no such thing as “same sex marriage.” Marriage, by definition, is the union of one man and one woman, and has been understood so ever since the beginning of Creation in Genesis. The phrase “same sex marriage” presupposes that there is such a thing.

Inevitably we are faced with two statements of Jesus, “The one who is not against us is for us” [Mark 9:40], and “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters” [Matthew 12:30]. 

When you extend acceptance to others who want not acceptance, but approval, you will be rejected. The underlying question is not whether or not we agree with “same sex marriage” but, “Is Holy Scripture relevant to the issues we are faced with today?”