The Gay Marriage Civil Rights Myth

A few days ago I watched a very interesting and balanced discussion on satellite TV about the introduction of gay marriage in the UK. It was interesting because for the first time I heard pro-gay civil libertarians arguing strongly against the gay lobby's push for marriage equality. Their objections were based on the belief that the forced cultural redefinition of marriage actually impinges on the rights and liberties of the wider population, as well as on children, religious minorities and religious educators.

I found it a little ironic that secular libertarians were arguing the case against gay marriage far more persuasively than many Christian apologists, and they had some very valid points to make. In the UK religious leaders and educational institutions have expressed concerns that teaching the biblical view that homosexuality is a sin, may lead to criminal prosecution. Although it is claimed that the current legislation protects religious groups, it has long been the fear of Christians around the world that once governments lead the way in defining social values, any individual who expresses an opposing religious belief about homosexuality, may face prosecution under so-called anti-hate and anti-discrimination laws. And in fact that is a very real concern.

Just recently, a report from the US revealed that an owner of a small business in California is facing charges as a result of refusing to make a wedding cake for a gay marriage. His objection was that to do so would violate his religious convictions, but local laws dictate that any business operator is not permitted to refuse service to anyone on the basis of their sexual preference. So is this a preview of more trouble to come?

The fact that the gay lobby has managed to make such progress in gaining such widespread community support for gay marriage reveals the extent of the social change that is currently underway. But why is it, in our generation, that a definition of marriage that has stood for thousands of years, and has spanned hundreds of cultures, is now on course to be redefined in our short lifetimes?

I believe that it’s because gay activists have been cleverly propagating certain myths that have gone largely unscrutinised and almost universally unchallenged. Let me explain:

The Civil Rights Myth
The primary argument from gay activists is that their right to "marry" achieves equality and corrects a great social injustice after a long history of marginalization and persecution. They have very effectively played upon the sympathies of the population to want to correct injustice, and have even gone so far as to equate their struggle with the American Civil Rights movement that overcame slavery and segregation. On the surface this is a compelling argument, but upon closer examination this comparison is actually ridiculous.

For nearly six centuries African men, women and children were forcibly removed from their home-lands and transported by sea in chains and were whipped, beaten or killed if they resisted. Enroute to their final destination the sick were thrown overboard and the rest were treated like animals to be bought and sold as possessions and worked like livestock for generations. And even when emancipated, they were segregated into separate communities and subjected to crushing poverty, treated like second-class human beings with limited rights and even less opportunity. Whilst it is undoubtedly true that many homosexual and lesbian people have sometimes been treated badly and have become victims of hate crimes, the comparison with slavery is disproportionate to say the least. It is also very offensive to many African people who, incidentally, remain the largest demographic that opposes gay marriage.

We need to remember that homosexuals don't have an exclusive claim to being victims of social marginalization, ignorance, prejudice and hate. In fact, as western society has increasingly become more openly secular, liberalised and permissive, sincere and devout Christians have increasingly become the minority and today are routinely marginalised from positions of power, influence and authority. Prejudice also abounds. Many Christians report that unbelievers who are ignorant of the theological differences between churches often lump all religions together, along with paedophile priests and gay-hating preachers. Or even worse, categorise all religious groups together along with radical terrorist groups.

I experienced this personally in Uganda in the 1990’s when I met a newspaper journalist from the UK who was reporting to the world that the murderous rebel leader, Joseph Kony, was a Christian fundamentalist. Yes, he was putting Joseph Kony in the same boat as me and Billy Graham! Profound ignorance. I did my best to set him straight on that point and, thankfully, he rather reluctantly conceded the point. But that is just one example of the kind of prejudicial ignorance that Christians are subject to frequently, being misunderstood and marginalized for our faith in Christ – and in an age of ‘political correctness’ and ‘tolerance’.

As a follower of Christ, what worries me the most is not that homosexuals want freedom to practice their lifestyle, but that gay activists appear determined to change the world to accommodate them, and with little apparent regard for the civil rights of others. And whilst my faith and beliefs about sexuality may be offensive to them, what about my right to believe and practice my faith? To teach my children what the Bible teaches about the world, including homosexuality? Will gay activists be content just to marry or will they set about wanting to recreate the world and re-arrange all institutions to accommodate their own values? There's plenty of evidence to suggest that this is actually their ultimate agenda.

In Australia homosexuality has now penetrated the education system to such an extent that young people in NSW are now being taught that to be “straight” is no longer normal and that it is "heterosexist" to regard heterosexuality as the norm for relationships. The "Proud Schools" pilot program, implemented in 12 government schools in Sydney and the Hunter, is designed to stamp out "homophobia, transphobia (fear of transsexuals) and heterosexism! And while homosexuals are free to promote their view of the world to our impressionable children, if any Christian teacher in a public school dares to make even the smallest reference to their faith to students, they can face reprimand. This actually happened to a friend of mine in a Victorian public school.

But what does this double-standard really teach young people about respect, diversity, acceptance and tolerance? The hypocrisy of this contradictory double-standard should be self-evident.

The lie that gay marriage is about social justice and civil rights has been tailor-made for a sympathetic and shallow-thinking generation who are eager to get on board with the latest trend. And as long as social activism doesn’t require any more intellectual rigour or commitment than signing an online petition, ‘tweeting’ a talk-back show or ‘liking’ something on Facebook, then everyone appears pretty happy to slide along with the moral drift.
 
The Marriage “Equality” Myth
Gay activists have tried to tell us for some time that same-sex marriage is a quest for equality under the law. Recent changes in Australia and elsewhere have actually removed many obstacles for same-sex couples to have their relationship legally recognised through civil unions, with all the legal implications that this entails. So the so-called "marriage equality” movement is actually not about formalising love or commitment at all. It's more about their quest to feel that they have attained social legitimacy and to silence those voices that maintain moral concerns about homosexuality.

Legislation that's designed to appease gay activists does not actually deliver marriage equality for everybody at all.  It effectively redefines the meaning marriage for everyone and it certainly makes no effort whatsoever to accommodate the marriage traditions of other cultures. Many African cultures, for example, accept that more than two people can marry. Polygamy among consenting adults has long been an accepted form of marriage for thousands of years and will remain illegal even if the proposed changes to accommodate gays are accepted. And whilst there may be compelling reasons to resist any changes that redefine marriage to accommodate other cultural demands, you simply can no longer claim that same-sex marriage delivers marriage equality for all – it’s just not true.

The “I was Born that Way” Myth
What actually makes a person gay has long been the subject of great speculation and conjecture. And whilst many gay people lay claim to the belief that they were “born that way”, this claim remains scientifically unsubstantiated and ignores the complex processes that are at work in the development of identity and sexual orientation during childhood, puberty and adolescence, or during periods of personal crisis. Even many gay people will admit that they were not “born that way” but environmental factors played a dominant role. Whilst in a world of possibilities it may yet conceivably be revealed that some genetic, or even epigenetic, factors may contribute something to sexual preference, overwhelming evidence currently confirms that a wide range of environmental factors are already known contributors to the development of gender preference.

Many homosexuals, for example, attribute their sexual disorientation to an experience of sexual abuse. That is not the case for all. Some homosexuals and lesbians report that they first began questioning their sexual orientation in adolescence when it first became evident that they were not being accepted by their peers and their sexuality was constantly being questioned by others. For others a seed of deep self-doubt was sown when they were constantly reminded by others that they did not fit the popular stereotypical male or female image because of their weight, body shape, personality, mannerisms or interests. Others have reported being coaxed into sex acts by peers that they admired or respected, and so begun their journey of sexual disorientation. For others a desperate quest for identity was the initial point of vulnerability... for others it was the family environment. And no doubt there are many possible reasons not covered here. But one thing appears to be true, once the developing psyche has accepted the imprinted sexual identity and orientation, it is not a simple, easy or natural process to change neural programming and emotional conditioning. But it is not a lost cause either... many former homosexuals have found freedom and transformation through Christ and have gone on to live happy lives.

It is yet to be seen what effect there will be on the population now that homosexuality is being openly accepted and embraced in society as ‘natural’ and ‘normal’. I strongly suspect that such ideas will open the way for increased self-doubt and insecurities, particularly among young, unfulfilled or unhappy people. I believe that many will come to question their own sexuality in ways that they otherwise would not have, were it not for these subversive factors that are now openly at work in society.

The “Acceptance is a Cure for Youth Suicide” Myth
It is true that bullying and social rejection does lead to youth suicide. And it is a very compelling argument that acceptance and tolerance is a universal panacea for bullying, depression and youth suicide among gays, however it’s not quite that simple. It is true that a tolerant and non-judgement society allows everyone to be a bit happier and that bullying should be challenged at every turn. But tolerance should never preclude ethical discussion, the free expression of opposing religious beliefs, or prohibit the regular recalibration of our collective moral compass through the exchange of ideas. And to suggest to a young person that acceptance of unwanted homosexual urges and embracing a homosexual identity will completely diffuse their inner angst is actually quite harmful and misleading.

Gay activists are often enthusiastic to advocate acceptance, perhaps as kind of a distorted ‘evangelistic zeal’ to propagate, reproduce and validate their own lifestyles. And those who are not gay, yet who advocate acceptance, appear quite unaware of the increased unhappiness that often results from a gay lifestyle: identity crisis, loneliness, isolation, singleness, childlessness, and the continuing social stigma that will inevitably continue, because you simply cannot transform society’s attitudes by a mere act of parliament.

Those who are locked in a struggle of conflict with their sexual urges need expert help – not to be told “Oh it’s ok... you can’t help that you were born that way!”. That’s actually no help at all. The gay lobby has gone hard at trying to attack and discredit Christian counselling organisations that specialise in helping gay and lesbian people to find healing from abuse and sexual disorientation. But whatever their critics say, the truth remains that many actually have found freedom in Christ. And as western society embraces homosexuality as “normal”, I predict that an overwhelming number of young people will tragically discover that being homosexual is not a very gay or happy prospect at all.

The “Our Gay Family is Normal” Myth
Whatever a child growing up in a homosexual household may experience, however loving, nurturing or beneficial, he or she will never be able to look at themselves as a product of their mother and father’s love, and it is a great crime to deny any child that opportunity and blessing. Just as past government policies have led to social injustices, like the stolen generation of aboriginal children, future enlightened generations may very well look back at today’s governments and ask why they opened to the doors for another kind of lost generation – children that were psychologically and socially disadvantaged as a result of being entrusted to same-sex couples.

The tragic truth is that the legalisation of gay marriage - the legal redefinition of marriage to accommodate same-sex couples - constitutes state-sponsored sexual confusion for this and all future generations to follow.  But in the true spirit of Martin Luther-King, these truths ought to be self-evident: Every child has a right, not only to life, but a right to have a mother and a father.

Whilst a gay relationship may superficially approximate a heterosexual marriage relationship, it can never do so in a comprehensive way by virtue of the holistic nature of human beings, and therefore is clearly not equal. The very first marital union in scripture is actually defined by biology and refers to maleness and femaleness. Whilst we know that maleness and femaleness are primarily biological, gender goes beyond physical attributes and biology. Gender differences are actually represented in the psyche of individuals too – not just in their bodies or in their social programming.

Furthermore, there is a significant difference in being a parent and being a guardian, or even being an adoptive parent. Beyond the obvious fact that men and women are capable of biological reproduction, what happens in family as a result of that reproduction cannot be replicated. It is profoundly deep and alludes to the special nature of marital union between a man and a woman. In my son, for example, I see the blending of my wife and myself... I see some physical attributes of myself and other family members. And even though at the time of writing he is only ten months old, I see in his behaviour mannerisms that I recognise in my wife’s father, even though they have not yet had opportunity to meet. I also see the character and behavioural attributes of other close and distant family members. As he grows we observe and learn things about ourselves through things that are reflected and highlighted in him. And we see uniqueness as well.

In our son, in every physical and emotional and intangible sense, he is the blending of all the people we love. And together, through him, we have both passed our individual uniqueness on to future generations in our DNA and also in our combined beliefs, values and experiences together. The procreation of a new blended individual is something that is simply impossible for homosexual couples. This is not the entire definition of marriage, but it is a huge part of it.

Historical & Religious Definition
I am prepared to acknowledge that gay people may very much value and love one another, co-habit, sexually interact, and be very committed and interdependent. But that in and of itself does not constitute a full and comprehensive definition of marriage – and certainly not from a biblical or historical point of view.

In many instances, both in the Bible and throughout the hundreds of cultures around the world, marriage has often been polygamous. But historically it has always been heterosexual, consisting of both male and female, and the bible asserts that there is something unique and sacred about this that reflects the image of God. As the scriptures declare, “In the image of God He made them, male and female He created them”, meaning that there is something about the combination of both male and female together that uniquely reflects the image and glory of God.

As previously stated, the definition of marriage between man and woman has stood for thousands of years and spanned hundreds of cultures and has formed the basic unit of all stable societies throughout recorded history. For millennia this definition has promoted and encouraged faithfulness, safe intimacy, good health, reproduction, family, co-operation, has recorded tribal lineage and fostered the trans-generational preservation of ideas, cultural values and deeply held beliefs. If we cast off this definition of marriage in our lifetimes we are not only guilty of rejecting the wisdom of our fore-fathers, we are embarking upon a dangerous and unprecedented social experiment that may even unravel civilisation as we know it.

One Australian Liberal MP, Cori Bernardi, recently suffered enormous ridicule and condemnation for suggesting a link exists between gay marriage and bestiality. Yet for all the unfair ridicule he received, no-one appeared to give any serious consideration to the core of his argument, which is actually quite valid: Contrary to what many misunderstood, he was not actually equating homosexuals with animals at all. I believe that he was making an observation about the true nature of moral decay that really merits further consideration. The fact is that there are actually today, in reality, people who are also calling for the decriminalisation of sex with animals. One woman in the US has even reportedly had a ceremony where she ‘married’ her dolphin! As absurd as this may sound, this should actually not surprise us at all. Why? The very nature of moral decline is that what seems unacceptable, absurd, or even obscene to a society today, becomes the accepted norm tomorrow.

And whilst you may argue that not everyone in society is a Christian and therefore ought not be bound by Judeo-Christian values, then perhaps a brief lesson in history is in order:

Most of the institutions and traditions that have made western civilisation influential, stable and prosperous, have actually had their origins in the ideals of faith. They have, in fact, been brought into existence by the determined actions of people of faith. Our laws and judicial system are founded on biblical morality, our independence and democratic system of government here in Australia, and in other parts of the world, was championed by people of faith. The abolition of slavery, the very existence of hospitals, schools, orphanages, aged-care facilities and charities were pioneered by visionary people whose motivation was their love and dedication to Christ and respect for the biblical commandments. These are irrefutable historical truths. So if anyone wishes to dispense with the most powerful force for social good that has ever existed in history, they had better be prepared for some undesirable consequences!

Persecution & Social Marginalisation
Finally, and perhaps it goes without saying, many of us who maintain a belief in the traditional definition of marriage are actually now ourselves experiencing social marginalization, persecution and being openly ridiculed for our beliefs. And it is not just sticks and stones that break bones... the impact of words actually goes much further. In today’s changing social climate Christians are being persecuted, marginalised, ridiculed and maligned for their views in the very same way that homosexuals previously were – and I am not only talking about young people in the school ground. Today there is a much greater chance that you be bullied in the workplace or miss out on a job opportunity for being a Christian than for being gay. Why? Because in today’s society, it is considered to be a far greater social embarrassment, a far greater sin, a far greater offence, to have faith-based moral objections to homosexuality, than to be a practicing homosexual.

Society today tolerates many things happily (gays in politics, gays in sitcoms, gays in the military) but the one thing that they will absolutely not tolerate is when Christians appear to be resolute in their views about sexuality. Apparently that is completely unacceptable! So much for tolerance.

We need to remember that homosexuals have never had an exclusive claim on being victims of social marginalization, ignorance, prejudices and hate. There are literally millions of Christians worldwide today that experience the same thing, and much worse, for their faith in Christ. And today the gay lobby is working hard to paint everyone who is opposed to the redefinition of marriage as mindless, bigoted and homophobic. So now we have come full circle... in their quest for social legitimacy, gay activists have actually now become the aggressors and the persecutors.

And so the struggle for stable and godly society continues. But where do we go from here? Is our cause just to re-assert our civil rights so that we and are children can have a better future? Well, we certainly have some work to do to try and educate our politicians and attempt to awaken their moral consciences.  But I think, more importantly, it all comes back to this: Simply loving Christ and making him known. That means reaching out to all unbelievers in love (including the gay community) and extending to them the grace and mercy and compassion that we ouselves have found in Christ.  Communicating the heart of the gospel message and winning souls is by far the greater priority.  And since so many people have promoted so much hate in the name of Christ, we have to be prepared to go the extra mile to make sure the world doesn't misunderstand our message. At the end of the day it was Jesus who said, "I came not to condemn the world, but to save it".

Editor

Wednesday, February 6, 2013   login to post comments | printer friendly version | 77329 reads