Many times I have found that the main objection to being an advocate for traditional man/woman marriage from some gay marriage advocates is that we Christians are imposing standards on a culture that does not recognize Christian Moral Authority. I think it’s a fair objection. How can we expect others to live up to Christian ideals when we ourselves fail to?
Let’s be clear. Christianity is demanding and I absolutely do not live up to the commands that God has issued for His followers. I can take some, even many, thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ. But can I take every thought captive? Nope. I can, and do, give God a percentage of my money. But, am I willing to give Him anything that He asks for and do it cheerfully? Hard pressed. I am very good at loving those who love me. I am especially good at loving people when I think it will benefit me. Loving those who will never give me anything in return? Challenging at best. I respect my husband in word and thought… most of the time. When I obey the command to bless those who curse me it’s only after I have spent a couple hours feeling angry and defensive. As I said, Christianity is demanding.
It’s unrealistic and naive to believe that law can affect internal change in people. Most people follow the law because it is simply prudent to, say, wear your seatbelt or not commit murder. When it comes to marriage I am in no way attempting to “legislate morality.” Morality has not and never will come from laws imposed by man on men. That didn’t work for the nation of Israel and it will not work now. What law does is establish a standard or ideal. This was the purpose of the Old Testament law. It gave Israel a level set- a sure measurement- that identified the right relationship with God and neighbors. Israel often did not live up to this ideal. But, because of the Law, they knew when they deviated and knew how to return to the true standard.
That is still the fundamental function of law today. Whether it applies to seatbelts or murder, laws define standards and idealize what, to co-exist in society, we should be striving for. When I advocate for traditional man/woman marriage, it is because there is an ideal- a standard- that has proven to benefit children. I do not do marriage perfectly. Nor am I the perfect parent. But that doesn’t mean that I throw out a standard because it reveals my shortcomings.
Consider the same philosophy regarding food. Sadly, people have tampered with our food- from amending it with all sorts of chemicals to altering the genetic structure of it. We seemingly can’t prohibit people from messing with food nor consuming the biologically altered products. However, I recently signed a petition to get a measure on the ballot that would force the food industry to label genetically modified foods. There is a social benefit to calling real food, “food.” We cannot by force of law make people eat well. What we can do is provide clarity, to set a standard, of what real food is.
We do not live in a theocracy. Regarding marriage, I am not advocating for outlawing alternative families or homosexuality. But, if in a democracy we can establish ideals for foods, professional licenses, traffic safety, broadcaster communication, etc., we surely can legally recognize the ideal environment for the rearing of children- truly the most fundamental social building block.
I do not expect those outside of the Body of Christ to live up to Christian standards of behavior. I myself cannot accomplish this- and I have the Spirit of Christ in me. This is not about my religion. I support man/woman marriage because the dual gender requirement, fundamental to how marriage has been understood across cultures and centuries, is the ideal for children, parents, and society. Courts, governments and schools need this standard as they grapple with an explosion of children born outside of an in-tact biological family and in a culture that is increasingly hostile towards marriage and casual with regard to child-rearing.
For more on why children need both and mother and a father, see the five-part post “You’re only against gay marriage because of your religion.”
13 thoughts on “You’re imposing your beliefs on me!”
Thank you for allowing me to read some of the opinions about our society attempting or not attempting to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. I am not a Bible scholar and therefore, I try really hard to follow the minister I depend on to define GODS word to me. Of course, this dependence, in my lifetime is quite matured. I simply cannot understand how anyone, even non-Christians can be so blind as to not be able to see what openly professing to be gay and actually trying to find a church to sanction this belief is beyond my wildest imagination. Unfortunately, some of my protesters consider me to be “just an old person” trying to live in the past. They want the older generation to accept all of the new theories of life, without question. I am VERY PLEASED that there are still some people like YOU and I who try really hard to live a Christian life and follow as good as we are able the WORDS OF OUR GOD. Anyone who thinks we can walk a PERFECT CHRISTIAN LIFE in our Society today, has their head in the sand. Speaking of Marriage. My bible does not accept divorce as a way to solve problems and yet in America, the latest statistic, I heard, is that 63% of Americans have experienced divorce. WOW
This is really a great post. I was thinking, people need to hear this. Would you like Todd to share your website with his twitter followers? They are 5,000 people mostly very conservative serving in politics or bloggers themselves .It would be a really easy way to get some quick recognition. Let me know. Great post as usual! Melanie
Thank you Melanie, for your comments and your support. I pray that this blog would serve to equip the church with not only information and perspective, but sensitivity as well. Please share in whatever venue you feel may forward that goal.
” is the ideal for children, parents, and society. ”
You are welcome to think that, but the fact is, that isn’t backed up by the evidence.
All studies have shown that a two parent gay household is the equivalent of a two parent straight household.
Thank you for your comment. I am not a scientist either but I think I understand scientific methods. For a study to truly be scientific, one would have to begin with evidence and have that lead to a conclusion. This would include random sampling, control groups, consideration of all data presented, repeated widespread studies that support the same conclusion, etc. The studies which cite that children raised in same-sex headed households fare equally as well as their peers raised within an intact biological home do not live up to that scientific criteria. For example, none of them used random samples. The study below sheds much light on the methods and outcomes of the studies that supposedly support the claim that there is no difference in outcomes for children.
If that assertion is true- that children fare just as well- then it would mean that a biological connection with a child’s birth parents is not important. If that is your perspective, I would love your thoughts on the study below titled “My Daddy’s Name is Donor”- on the impact of children raised without one or both of their biological parents.
Click to access Donor_summ_findings.pdf
If that assertion is true- that children fare just as well- then it either means that there are no genuine differences between male and female, or that gender differences do not benefit child development. Both of those statements defy logic. What we know is that the overwhelming evidence suggests, and a true naturalist would have to conclude, that the conditions under which a child is created are also the ideal conditions within which to raise that child.
“then it either means that there are no genuine differences between male and female, or that gender differences do not benefit child development.”
Or it means that the differences between a home with homosexual parents and a home with straight parents are neutral. There are differences, but the differences that exist aren’t negative or positive. They are equal.
Unless your idea of ‘perfect’ involves thinking that only men and women can be married. Then, obviously, a child of a gay couple wouldn’t be ‘perfect’. But I don’t accept that definition.
Thank you for your additional thoughts.
It sounds like you are saying that different genders don’t have a positive effect within childrearing. I wonder if you would say the same thing if the Supreme Court was made up of all men? That women on the court don’t add a distinct and valuable perspective? Or if an army were solely composed of women. Would they be at a disadvantage? Of course they would. Because gender differences are real and valuable. It’s silly to think that gender makes no meaningful difference in the context of any other organization- so why are we so eager to sweep away the biologically-initiated dual-gender component of parenting? I suspect it is because we love the gay people in our life and are trying to express that love in a way that is meaningful. I am proposing that we love them without changing the narrative about what is best for children.
I’m not sure I follow what you are saying about “perfect.” I don’t use that word by design. God is perfect. I have yet to find someone else who is.
Thank you again for the discussion. All the best to you.
” I wonder if you would say the same thing if the Supreme Court was made up of all men? That women on the court don’t add a distinct and valuable perspective?”
Sure they do. As would some openly homosexual men and women. And if you think that a child will only have their two parents in their life, you’re mistaken.
Do I think it is positive for a child to have multiple different perspectives from their parents? Certainly. Do I think it is necessary for a happy and healthy development? Not particularly. Of course, I also don’t think that any couple, gay or straight, involves two people who are exactly the same.
” It’s silly to think that gender makes no meaningful difference in the context of any other organization”
It makes a difference. But nothing you have presented has yet to suggest that the difference would be negative. It would merely be different. Different, in and of itself, is not automatically bad.
“so why are we so eager to sweep away the biologically-initiated dual-gender component of parenting?”
I’m not. No one is trying to outlaw opposite-sex parenting, or make it so they can’t be parents. No one is trying to turn you gay. Not that it would be possible to do so, anyway.
” I am proposing that we love them without changing the narrative about what is best for children.”
I am proposing that we actually investigate what is ‘best’ for children, instead of merely assuming that the way things have been done are automatically preferable.
You say: “But nothing you have presented has yet to suggest that the difference would be negative. It would merely be different. Different, in and of itself, is not automatically bad.”
Thanks for the opportunity to provide additional support. Here is the largest study (also the only one that stands up to truly scientific criteria) on
outcomes related to children raised in various parenting arrangements; including children whose parents had same sex relationship. What you say are “merely different” this study unambiguously identifies as negative. If you are serious about “investigating” what’s best for children, then I’m sure you will appreciate the huge random sampling, and adequite control groups, and unmanipulated presentation of data that this study has to offer.
You say: “Do I think it is necessary for a happy and healthy development? Not particularly.”
Here you state an opinion. This opinion runs up against an institution that is so fundamental to the human experience that nearly every culture and faith has something that resembles man/woman marriage. Your opinion is in stark contrast with truly unbiased data. You are entitled to your opinion. But the burden of proof is on those who would like to redefine the family. When you have a study (or better yet, many studies) that withstand scientific scrutiny, and which declare that there are no differences in outcomes for children raised in alternative families, then let talk.
” What you say are “merely different” this study unambiguously identifies as negative.”
No it doesn’t.
That study compares straight couples in stable relationships to parents who have had same-sex relationships at some point in their life…be it before they were married to an opposite sex person, or as adultery. That is not the same thing.
What the study doesn’t do is compare a stable straight couple with a stable homosexual couple. Any studies that have done so have shown them to be equal in raising children that are both happy and healthy.
I assume you have just misread or misinterpreted the study, and are not trying to mislead.
The NFSS study above was ground-breaking because it employed large, random samples. 15-20+ years ago, children who lived exclusively with their same-sex mothers or fathers were rare. And because this study was trying to hone in on long-term outcomes, there were fewer of those children that could be surveyed. As you pointed out, many experienced various family living arrangements. I’m sure some of the respondents had a childhood like mine- intact biological family, divorce, then split time living with mother and partner, and father. I have several friends who also lived this scenario. What the NSFF study tells us is that things are not as rosy as the pictures painted by the smaller, less-than-rigorous ‘studies’ point to. Regenerous states that the conclusions of the NFSS identify the need for more long-term far-reaching studies.
It’s precisely because this is all new that I look with suspicion on the “studies” to which you keep referring. They had to “go find” couples to participate. It was often volunteer based. The participants were composed of what is known a “convenience samples”- small and non-random. It will be YEARS before a random, large sample of children from exclusively same-sex homes will be surveyed and long-term outcomes for this population determined. And then, as is the nature of scientific theory, the results will have to be reproduced through several similarly rigorous studies.
Until that time, pro-gay marriage supporters have no business making an assertion that is backed up by social science. Rather, they are up against a mountain of evidence (and any honest observation of children and life) which tells us that stepping away from the in-tact biological family results in genuine pain and loss for the child. This loss often manifests in long-term social, physical, and emotional health, as the NFSS and numerous other studies identify.
Let me take this opportunity to be clear. I am not saying that all children raised outside of an in-tact biological family are doomed. I proclaim that the gays and lesbians I know who are raising children have love, gifting, and commitment which are necessary components for child development. But, what we know is that children raised outside of an in-tact biological home are more susceptible to all manner of risks in childhood and adolescence. Why? Because their loss is real. Because they long to be known by their mother and father. Because disruptions at any time during a child’s life is significant. Because children were made for the long-term involvement of a man and a woman. Fragmentation within families is a reality of this world. It’s one thing to recognize the brokenness and strive to strengthen the parents and children living in those situations. It’s another thing completely to call “whole” that which is incomplete.
Again, if you would like to continue this discussion, please bring a rigorous study composed of large, random samples with adequate controls to support your position. Until then, you have only your opinion. And you are going up against centuries of human culture and tradition, biology itself, logic, and the most credible social science data available on child development.
Some Churches would very much like to join their gay members in marriage. Your church does not, but why is reasonable for you to deny those folks their religious freedom.?
Thank you for the question, Keith.
A growing number of churches are uniting their gay congregants in religious marriage. Their members have voted to allow gay marriage and thereby endorse it. They have the religious freedom to make that distinction with their community.
A growing number of people within the US support gay marriage. We are voting on the issue to determine if the “members” of the State of Washington want to endorse same-sex marriage.
The distinction is not what a church says (because there is great diversity on the issue among churches), but what the state will say, and thereby endorse. As a resident of the State of Washington, I am one voice in this great membership that we all share.
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