Thursday, May 10, 2012

Homosexuality and the Evolution of Progress

The web is abuzz with responses to President Obama's statement regarding his position on homosexuality. Although in are day it is never far from discussion, it seems that in a number of ways and in a number of venues the topic has recently risen to the attention of many. With that in mine, I am reposting an short essay that was written by a pastor friend of mine named Davis Duggins. Pastor Davis is the Pastor at the Berean Bible Fellowship Church in Stroudsburg Pa. He posted this earlier today on facebook and I think it deserves a wider audience. I post it here with his permission.

I commend to you this essay by Pastor Davis.

The President’s statement on same-sex marriage stirred quite a bit of discussion this week. In many ways, his “evolution” mirrors the changing views of society.

In 1996, I was part of a smaller debate in Oak Park, IL. Municipal officials in that Chicago suburb were discussing a registry for same-sex domestic partners. Our community was one of the first in the nation to consider such a “progressive” step.

At a local hearing, I spoke out against the plan. I said such a registry would represent a major shift for government – no longer tolerance of homosexuality but endorsement. My comments were quoted briefly in the Chicago Tribune and on the local TV news. I suppose I was the token conservative included for balance.

A lot has changed in 16 years. Today the debate is not just same-sex registries or even civil unions. Today we are discussing marriage itself. 

The proponents of same-sex marriage say it’s a matter of equality and civil rights. Some even claim it’s a matter of moral necessity. They say the rest of us shouldn’t worry. Homosexual marriage is no threat whatsoever to heterosexual marriage. Besides, they point out, we heterosexuals don’t have the best track record for marriage ourselves. Who are we to tell other couples they shouldn’t be married? 

I’m not convinced. The radical changes of the past 16 years seem incredibly reckless to me. Are we so sure of ourselves, so confident in our moral superiority, so contemptuous of the past, that we are ready to experiment with this most basic of human relationships?

I’m not convinced that all sexual activity is equally beneficial.

I’m not convinced that all family structures are equally nurturing to children.

I’m not convinced that Biblical moral standards are no longer relevant.

I’m not convinced that the government has the right to expand the boundaries of marriage.

Some things are strengthened when boundaries expand. For instance, music often thrives when artists combine various styles and instruments. Other things, however, are weakened by expanding boundaries. If my concept of color blends green and red, you will say I am color-blind. I have lost something beautiful because I cannot see the distinction.

What makes us so sure that we won’t lose something by expanding the boundaries of marriage? No past society has pushed the boundaries this far. What if those old-fashioned boundaries are actually beneficial? What if they preserve something beautiful? Are we ready to risk that?

If marriage is nothing more than a contract between two people who love each other, then maybe same-sex marriage makes sense. But marriage aims higher than that. It’s something better and more beautiful. Marriage is supposed to be the union of two opposites, a partnership that combines the unique strengths of both genders. It creates a synergy that no other relationship can match. 

As a Christian, I see marriage as part of God’s creation pattern (Genesis 2:21-25). It was God who made us male and female. It was God who designed the synergy of marriage. It was God who instituted the rules governing sexual relationships. He gave us those rules for our good, to protect the beauty of marriage. Societies flourish when they honor marriage and define it by the Creator’s standards.

So no, Mr. President, I do not think your evolution on this issue is a sign of progress. I think it lowers our view of marriage and therefore weakens society.

Proponents of same-sex marriage claim that it poses no risk to the rest of us. What they fail to understand (or purposely ignore) is how much social norms affect individuals. If our society accepts homosexual marriage as the moral equivalent of heterosexual marriage, it will change the way individuals think about sexuality, relationships, the role of government, and even our Creator. Those changes will hurt us all.

by Rev. Davis Duggins.

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