Welcome back to a Gay debate about Gay marriage! When I last left you, I had spelled out the need for objective moral values in order to take EITHER side in this debate. Now I intend to take a minute to explain how much we all have in common. If your mind is easily blown, you may need a helmet- or a mind diaper.
The debate over giving homosexuals the right to marry is one where both sides want justice- you know, like Batman. We all want the law to reflect what is right and true and good and we want the Jokers on the other side to stop trying to ruin our metaphorical Gotham City. As a Christian, I believe what God has said about morality and building a good society, and thus I want the law to reflect what is best for everyone as instructed by God. On the other side are those who feel their homosexual friends would be made happy if they were given the right to be married, and so they feel it unjust to keep such freedoms from their friends. In the end, we all want justice- but we disagree about the proper application.
We all want happiness.
This is universal. Everyone wants total happiness. However…This is one of those times where it’s hard to make everyone happy. The pro-side of this debate is under the impression that giving homosexuals the right to marry will make their gay friends happy, and thus decide it is the best choice. In a future post I will explain how making someone happy might not be the same as loving them. For now, just imagine you had the power to turn things into gold just by touching them. It would make you very happy in the short run, but not in the long run. The short version is, you celebrate, get rich quick, and then lose everything and everyone you ever loved until your empire crumbles and you wind up repairing mufflers and breaks. This happened to some guy named Midas. Still, good for him that he can find work in this economy. Just don’t shake his hand when you take your car in.
What many people on the pro side of this debate may find surprising is that I have- and have had in the past- friends who are homosexuals. And I don’t mean just that one guy at work who I say hello to when I walk past. I mean I have had diner, gone to parties, exchanged Christmas presents with persons who are living homosexual lifestyles. I and people who agree with me on these matters have friends that we love who are homosexual. So this isn’t a matter of “If you only got to know some gay people…” This is a matter of some things being more important than just making others happy. Again, I will explain this in more detail in the future. For right now, let’s just admit that both sides of this debate have some friends we love who will be affected by its outcome.
People are PEOPLE
Aside from the common good we share of wanting justice and wanting happiness, we also have a few faults in common. Both sides of this debate have forgotten something which would help clarify why both of them are often in the wrong: We forget that homosexuals are people. They are human first. And we forget that homosexuality is not a person- it’s a set of facts about a person. We’re all throwing out the babies with the bathwater, and that makes for unhappy babies.
In my experience, this mistake can be traced to those persons living a homosexual lifestyle who, for reasons I do not understand, wrap their identity in their sexuality. These are the people who introduce themselves by saying, “Hi, I’m Becky- I’m a lesbian,” or sometimes just, “Hi, I’m gay.” At least Becky remembered to tell me her name. I can’t remember what gay’s name was. But that is sort of my point. He wasn’t a Tim or a Steve or a Ryan- he was just a “gay.”
Many homosexuals will say “I AM GAY” in the same way a certain zoo animal might say “I AM A PANDA!” Naming one’s species carries with it certain explanatory definitions of appearance and behaviors which are phenotypes determined by inherited genotypes. All of that is nerd-speak for, “Of course I act like a panda- I AM A PANDA! What did you expect me to do? I can’t help what I am! I’m proud to be a panda! DON’T YOU JUDGE ME!”
Dr. Phil and the Gay Panda
Aside from accepting their lifestyle, the liberal side quickly starts seeing homosexuals as animals determined by their genetics- unable to make any choices. I offer as evidence, TV’s Dr. Phil. He had a couple on his show where the woman complained that her husband had cheated with her not once, not twice, but repeatedly with at least three different MEN. The husband had told her, before they were married, that he had engaged in homosexual activities in the past. Having chosen to marry her, he assured her that his gay life was all in the past. Now, a couple of years and a couple of kids into the marriage, she finds he has been cheating with men.
So Dr. Phil, being trained in the art of Oprah-style morality and relationship counseling SCOLDS THE WIFE FOR EXPECTING HER HUSBAND TO BE FAITHFUL. I could not believe this as I watched it. Dr. Phil flatly told her, because the guy admitted he had been gay, she should not have believed him when he said he would be faithful to her. Dr. Phil delivered this speech in the same manner I imagine Animal Control gives the “It bit you because it was a wild animal” speech to people who have tried to bring home a bear they found on vacation. The cheating husband got the slightest slap on the wrist, but the wife was told that this was basically her own fault. Once gay, still gay, always gay. He can’t help himself! He’s not a man who can choose to be faithful to his wife- he’s… a homosexual. They’re different. She (according to Dr. Phil) should have known better. Imagine this situation with the description “homosexual” being replaced with anything else- Italian, Chinese, a Cub’s fan, an alcoholic, rich, fat, tall, blonde… for what else would Dr. Phil have taken this stance? Nothing. Men and women are expected to keep their vows and promises. But homosexuals… they’re different.
What’s a Panda to Do?
This line of thinking treats men and women like animals. Not only is “Homosexual” their species, but (some believe) there is a gay gene that determined their lifestyle choice before they were born! The pro-gay marriage side basically feels like the Bible thumpers are hating on pandas for acting like pandas. What’s a panda supposed to do?
There are a couple of problems with this viewpoint. So far there is no evidence that a “gay gene” exists. After all, twins exist where one has homosexual feelings and one does not. But even if we decide there is a gay gene, that still doesn’t mean we ought to embrace the results of that gene. Do we celebrate down syndrome, sickle cell anemia, hemophilia, or color blindness? Can’t something be a genetic trait which is also a bad thing which we seek to cure? Knowing something has a genetic cause is not enough to determine something good or bad. To determine that, we have to know the purpose of the affected area. We know color blindness is bad because we know the purpose of the eye- to see the entire visible light spectrum. What was the purpose of sex again? I used to know, but I think we’ve thrown it out with the bathwater.
The Bible isn’t condemning Pandas for being Pandas. It’s condemning Pandas for eating the giraffes when they’re supposed to eat Bamboo. Even if the Pandas REALLY REALLY feel like they SHOULD eat the giraffes- it’s only going to make them ill and seriously freak out the zoo going children. God made a natural order to the universe, and that order included pandas being vegetarian. If a panda tries to eat the giraffes, it is right that the zoo should try and stop him, even if the giraffes are ok with the idea.
Giraffes are into some weird stuff.
Hating Pandas for the Love of Giraffes?
If a panda tried to eat a giraffe, the zoo keepers shouldn’t say, “We really hate pandas now. Cuz that’s wrong behavior.” And panda lovers shouldn’t say, “We love pandas, so they should be able to eat as many giraffes as they want.” Yet, this is what both sides of the gay debate have done. Neither of them is really in the right. What they should ALL be saying is, “We love the pandas, but it’s not natural for a panda to want to eat a giraffe. Let’s figure out what went wrong so we can help them.” Maybe they need more iron in their diet and can just have some spinach. I’m not a vet. All I know is, if you give the pandas a giraffe, you might make them happy for a while, but you aren’t going to make them healthy. It might kill them. And you certainly won’t have many happy giraffes at the end of the day.
We aren’t going to be able to solve the gay marriage debate by confusing the person for the lifestyle. First, we all need to stop labeling people as “gay” or “lesbian” as if it is their species. We are all human FIRST. They are not a sexuality in the form of a person, they are a human with feelings and desires- just as we all are. If we remembered that, we would all understand why Christians can condemn homosexuality without hating men and women, and Christians would understand why we should love men and women, even if they are living a lifestyle which is displeasing to God.
If we’re honest, we’ve all eaten a bit of giraffe in the past. That’s why we need Jesus in the first place.
Let’s end this chapter by reflecting on what we all have in common. First of all, we all agree that some things are good and some things are bad. We are striving to get others to know the truth, for we agree that truth is good. We want justice, and we want happiness, for we agree that they are good. We are- all of us- human. We are not different types of human- we are all simply human. One big, crazy, messed up family of humanity, with our own feelings and desires who each have left teeth marks in the local giraffes. We have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and we all need Jesus to save us from our sin – to save us from the food poisoning that comes from eating giraffe when we were made to eat bamboo.
I hope all of you on both sides of this debate have found some things you share. My goal here is to build bridges. Let’s continue the debate as family and burn as few of them as possible.
And remember- Jesus loves you.