Monday, 11 March 2013

The Gay Marriage Issue


As time progresses and technology becomes more and more advanced, many people think that the Bible becomes less and less relevant to modern life. What does the Bible say about genetic engineering? The Bible doesn’t tell us anything about whether Dolly the Sheep has a soul or not. Being one of the three authorities in the Christian Church, it is referred to less and less by modern-day Christians and they are listening to their priest or their conscience much more often. Should a book written over 3500 years ago still be listened to, when there are thousands of questions left unanswered inside?
Leviticus, the third book of the Bible condemns a number of actions, claiming they are an ‘abomination’. This part of the Bible has been used as a central argument against gay marriage. Here is the passage I refer to:
“You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.” – Leviticus 18:22
So there you have it: homosexuality is not allowed in Christianity, and it can be easily extrapolated from this that gay marriage should not be allowed. However, as I mentioned above, Leviticus condemns a huge number of actions that the majority of Christians have done on a number of occasions. Here are just a few of them (taken from www.sodahead.com):
“Everything in the waters that has not fins and scales is an abomination to you.” – Leviticus 11:19
“And these you shall have in abomination among the birds, they shall not be eaten, they are an abomination...” – Leviticus 11
“All winged insects that go on all fours are an abomination to you.” – Leviticus 11:20
“But all other winged insects which have four feet are an abomination to you.” – Leviticus 11:23
“Every swarming thing that swarms upon the earth is an abomination; it shall not be eaten.” – Leviticus 11:41
“Whatever goes on its belly, and whatever goes on all fours, or whatever has many feet, all the swarming things that swarm upon the earth, you shall not eat; for they are an abomination.” – Leviticus 11:42
So has anybody here ever eaten a bird...? Or indeed a shellfish? Or an insect? Well then you, my friend, have committed an abomination. So why are we allowed to eat the above in England and throughout the majority of the world – but gay men and women are still not allowed to be married? The reason that, nowadays, most people ignore the exhortations in Leviticus about what one should not eat is probably because they do not find them relevant in the modern world - but gay marriage is still not accepted. So why are people so much less broad-minded about the passages about homosexuality?
“God does not want two men to be together.” Yes, it does say in Genesis that God made woman to be with man – but if God so dislikes homosexuality, then where did it come from? As a Christian, I believe that everything comes from God and is created by God – including gay men and women. So what are the other legitimate arguments against gay marriage (please comment below) – because I see no legitimate reason why this bill wasn’t passed a very long time ago.
It is easy to get bogged down in Biblical arguments (people who don’t approve of homosexuality will say that the Bible supports their view, while there are just as many who will say that you can’t read all these things out of context); but surely what is more important than interpreting ancient texts to decide what is right, is to ask ourselves what is compassionate and fair?
Many people argue that gay marriage is not ‘natural’. What does ‘natural’ mean? Natural: “Something that exists or has evolved within the confines of an ecosystem.” So the argument that homosexuality is not natural is highly suspect. It’s not as if homosexuals came from another ecosystem, and they definitely do exist. So the argument that two members of the same sex being together is ‘unnatural’ is certainly flawed.
In its Gay Marriage Bill the government proposes that couples who are the same sex can get married. However, the change will not be forced on religious organisations (such as the Church of England, who would be legally banned from conducting gay marriage services) but they will be able to opt-in or opt-out depending on their decision. Although the majority of Churches still refuse to marry people of the same sex, the bill will bring a huge change to our society, and will be one step closer to equality between homosexuals and heterosexuals. That is the main reason why the bill has been passed – why should same sex couples not be entitled to marriage, but be ‘given permission’ to get a civil partnership, which is only a legal document? Where is the equality in that?
"Give to every other human being every right that you claim for yourself - that is my doctrine."
The Bill, when it is put in place, will hopefully mean a gravitational change in the way that same sex couples are viewed in our society full of stereotypes. Gay men and women are, even now, often attacked, victimized and humiliated in our country so that they feel alone and ostracised. Why should people be treated any differently from others due to their sexual preferences? As demonstrated in films such as Victim or Brokeback Mountain many gays feel pressured into living part of their lives in secret and not being able to be themselves. There are people all over the world that feel scared to come out, and are driven to suicide rather than letting their sexuality be known to their peers –and indeed in some countries (many in the Middle East and Africa) you risk capital punishment if you engage in homosexual practices. We, as a nation must join others such as Spain and Norway in setting an example for countries throughout the world to start making changes. This bill won’t change everything, but as Macklemore says in his song Same Love, “It’s a damn good place to start.”In the context of the gay marriage issue, I believe that the time has come for change.
“All the forces in the world are not so powerful as an idea whose time has come.” – Victor Hugo

3 comments:

  1. This is great, Tom. Have you seen this wonderful video by Matthew Vines? He pursues many of the same ideas. Worth passing on to anyone who is still not convinced by your excellent arguments! Tx

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezQjNJUSraY

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  2. Thank you very much!
    Yes, I have seen the video - we watched parts of it in RS (I think) and mum sent me the link!
    Tom

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  3. I think the concept of separation of church and state is important. But the issue of civil law aside, that video has been widely criticised as being one-sided and misleading. Google lists many critiques of it.

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