Same Sex Marriage, President Obama, and the Church

In Christian RealTalk, Politics, Tough Questions by Antwuan Malone

The President is Right.

President Obama supports the constitutional right for same sex couples to get married.

It’s big news. Huge news for both sides of the aisle.

On one hand, the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans) community feels the thrill of victory. Their fight for equal rights for all Americans, regardless of sexual orientation, has taken a monumental step forward. With President Obama’s historic backing of the constitutionality of same sex marriages come a reward for their tears and trials. CNN news reports Chad Griffin saying, “[President Obama]’s words provide genuine hope that they will be the first generation to grow up with the freedom to fully pursue the American dream.”

And then, there is the other hand. The villainous hand. The perceived hand of tyranny with cross-shaped holes in them. The Christian, or “values” group will respond, no doubt, with great ferocity. To them, Obama has affirmed his place as the trailblazer of a modern Sodom and Gomorrah, as the head of the demonizing force against an otherwise “Christian” nation, under God. A spineless moral coward.

The Question Behind the Question

Needless to say, mass confusion abounds around the subject of homosexuality, let alone homosexual marriage.  This is largely the case because the two sides have different starting points. For the “right,” this is a biblical issue.  And thus, acquiescing the advances of this country’s increasing immoral community is equivalent to dragging the valueable and pristine Stars and Stripes through spiritual mud. But the community that backs same sex marriage sees this as a freedom issue. For them, the “land of the free” should, by definition, be a land sans all prejudices, including those involving sexual orientation.

So you see the disconnect. One side begins with the Bible. The other with the Constitution. Two documents which, despite popular opinion in the church community, were written to achieve very different ends.

To take a page from Rob Bell, getting to the real nitty gritty of the issue means asking  “the question behind the question.” No doubt Judeo-Christian values influenced the formation of the Constitution, but the question is to what degree. Where’s the line for bible-based legislation and governmental leadership? Just how much should we allow religion to influence legislation? 

The danger with purely religious legislation is just that. There should not be such a thing as religious legislation. To pass such laws would set precedence for any legislation to be made on the basis an any religion. While it is true that the Bible frowns on homosexuality, and by extension, homosexual marriage, such basis alone is not enough to pass a law in a democratic society where the voice of the people hold so much weight. Why? Because America is not a Christian nation in the sense that it exists to promote the Christian worldview. The Bible does not have a special place in legislative consideration.

So a line must be drawn.

The Line in the Sand

The shift in the governmental landscape is simple. Generation Next isn’t interested in divisive government. So when the Christian community seems so intent on imposing Christianity on others’ lifestyles in seeming divisive ways, they close their ears and hearts. Rather than hear the immobilized, stagnant Christian dogma of conservatism, they run toward the moving, impactful communities in society. The ones that seem to be listening, engaging, and participating as agents of real social change.

The Christian community must recognize this shift. Gone are the days when God’s people can expect the government to serve as a conduit for its Christian morality. Gone are the days where the best way to impact the community means writing letters to congressmen in hopes of prohibiting and censoring certain behavior.

Instead, the time is ripe for a new wave of Christian action and activity. The time is ripe for a new movement where Christians see the ratcheted up stakes and respond to them directly rather than through judges and congressmen. The time is now for the church to rethink its approach to the defining issues of this generation. To step down from our collective pulpits to mingle with the people we are meant to bring salvation to.

The time is now to realize that government is not the answer. It’s not even close to the answer. Jesus never told us to create governmental laws to spread the gospel. You can’t legislate biblical morality. True biblical morality is the result of the heart surgery performed by the Holy Spirit the moment we accept the extended hands of God — the moment we receive the truth of Jesus and his love for us shown on the cross.

So here is the line. If we can’t translate Christian values into language that shows the benefit to society, then we must accept that value as a fight we must wage on our own.

Homosexuality, even homosexual marriage, does not impose a social threat. As such, the church can’t lean on the government to sufficiently respond to the spiritual ripples speeding across the collective American pond. There is no constitutional basis for preventing same sex marriages. Only biblical ones.

Make no mistake, if the country is “going to hell in a hand basket” it’s because the Church has not found the way to reach the unsaved in an effective manner. Ultimately, the failure lies in our inability and lack of desire to evolve our methods and language to the changing challenges of this generation. The failures are in the lines we draw, the stubborn set in our ways, and in our lack of genuine interest in people. Do we really love people the way we love ourselves? Really?

I agree with the president. There is no American Constitutional reason for same sex marriages to be prohibited. I also believe homosexuality is a sin, and to vow that you will forever practice this sin “for as long as you both shall live” deeply saddens God.

Sure, the room got a little darker today, but that’s reason for God’s people to shine all the more bright. It’s time to step up and stop waiting for government to do our jobs for us. It’s time to take the reigns. Just think, if Christian would really start behaving like Christians the government wouldn’t have to pick up the pieces in economy and social issues like this. Imagine that, Christians really being Christians.

Where do you draw the line for how the religion affects governing legislation?

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Antwuan Malone is a Ministry Director at ELEVATE Young Adult Ministry ( where empowers young adults toward Christian leadership. He is passionate about seeing young adults take their place in church history by drawing near enough to God to hear his call on their life, and courageously living in obedience to that call.