I just watched a New York Times bloggingheads debate between Molly Ziegler Hemingway of Christianity Today Sarah Posner of Religion Dispatches over the matter of same-sex marriage.
Hemingway took what appears to me to be the most popular evangelical line, a case which insists it is not based on religion. Any person, religious or not, Hemingway said, can hold the position that marriage serves society best when it is heterosexual, procreative, and stable. At best, she implied, gay marriage is one for three.
As far as it goes, I agree with her case. But her case doesn’t go very far. It trades authority for a rapidly fleeting respectability. If evangelical Christians, of all people, are afraid to appeal to the authority of God Himself, then the only One who has the right to tell societies what to do with their bodies behind closed doors is left without a voice (except that of conscience, Rom. 2:12-16). Without God, let anyone marry anyone he or she wants, for tomorrow we die.
The reason I oppose gay marriage is not that “marriage is between a man and a woman.” I’ve always thought of that as a meaningless statement: just because something is a certain way doesn’t mean it ought to be. I oppose gay marriage because “God said in Scripture that marriage is between a man and a woman.” God also said that He has given every human being inestimable value by making each person in His image. So I love my monogamous homosexual relatives and my heterosexual philandering ones—and vice versa (you know what I mean). I oppose gay marriage and adultery—and pencil pilfering—on moral, religious grounds.
If I live in a nation which thinks it does not allow such grounds or which believes that our morality is entirely relative, so be it. I’d be dishonest if I pretended that my case isn’t ultimately religious.
Now, I’d like to counter that Sarah Posner’s case—along with that of every gay marriage proponent—is ultimately based on presuppositions taken on faith, too. But that’s another post.