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Many Christians do not see same-sex marriage as an issue of ‘fairness’

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The reason humans have not fulfilled the role of imago Dei on their own is because of human sin, beginning with a literal Adam and Eve and continuing through the generations.

David Philip Norris recently wrote an op-ed piece in MinnPost (“Determined opposition to same-sex marriage shows indifference to human hardship”) in which he claimed that those who oppose same-sex marriage for faith-based reasons are “indifferent to human hardship.”  While his commentary was eloquent, it was also a now-familiar emotional appeal that misused Scripture and subtly painted those who oppose his viewpoint as imperialist tyrants.

I would like to offer a different view of the situation. The argument over same-sex marriage does not start in the political realm but in the philosophical. Many of the proponents of same-sex marriage with whom I speak assume that we agree on who we are on a basic level and therefore the way we should plot our political course forward.  That’s where they’re wrong. Many Christians still hold to the truth of Scripture, often called inerrancy, and believe that God created humanity in his image (Genesis 1:27). These Christians reject the theory of macro evolution as an explanation of human origins.  We see the role of image-bearing, generally called imago Dei, to be what defines us. We also believe Jesus, as Messiah, to be the only human in history to correctly fulfill that role and that we are to follow his example with the help of the Holy Spirit.  Most would admit we don’t often live that perfectly, but that is our goal. 

The reason humans have not fulfilled the role of imago Dei on their own is because of human sin, beginning with a literal Adam and Eve and continuing through the generations. Because we believe in the truth of Scripture, we also believe its condemnation of all human sin, including homosexuality. Adherence to Scripture, for us, trumps any emotional appeal to what is condemned. We see homosexuality as a departure from the way God created and commanded humans to live. God created man male and female and commanded them to be fruitful and multiply (Genesis 1:27-28; 2:21-24). Therefore homosexuality is rebellion against his character and will.

Does this lead to emotional indifference among Christians? In some it may, but it certainly should not. Scripture portrays homosexuality as only one of many brands of rejection of God. What Norris sees as indifference may only be a defensive reaction that many Christians have assumed when dealing with those who have often abusively disagreed with them. There has been, unfortunately, abuse from both sides.

Commands for Christians within the community

Norris insinuated that these Christians are not living up to the Scriptures and used a couple of scriptural phrases written by the apostle Paul. Yet these phrases were misused because, in their context, they are meant only for life within the believing Christian community. These are not commands for Christians necessarily to offer directly to outsiders. His quotation of Christ is somewhat misused as well. Jesus was asked by an expert in the Hebrew Law, “what is the greatest commandment?” To which he replied, “The first is this, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind and with all your strength’ and the second is like it, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ” In his response, Jesus summed up the entirety of the Hebrew Scriptures in two tenets – a loving relationship with God and a resulting loving relationship with other people. The latter is based on the former. Therefore our love for the rest of humanity, and it should be great, is predicated upon and shaped by our love for and obedience to God. We cannot separate them. 

So our view of human dignity and human rights must be developed by our adherence to Scripture — not by kinship in an evolved species. Humanity apart from God reflects as much dignity as a severely broken mirror reflects the image of the one who holds it. There are only glimpses in the shards. The problem with Norris’ view is that he implicitly equates love with acceptance of lifestyle. We can accept people as fellow broken image-bearers, and we can love them in spite of sin – everybody sins – but we cannot accept sinful behavior by calling good what God has called sinful. My love for other people, whether homosexual or heterosexual, is the same, but it would be disingenuous to attempt to overlook sin, whatever the form it takes. I would respond similarly toward those who were trying to ensconce laws in order to protect cohabitants.     

This brings us to rights under the law. Same-sex marriage is considered by some to be the great civil-rights cause of our day and the direct descendant of the 1960s’ racial struggle for equality. Yet the philosophical roots of the two movements are very different. The struggle for racial equality started long before the 1960s with the Abolitionist movement.  Abolitionists were largely Christians who based not only freedom for but also equality of all people on the notion that all were created in the image of God. Theirs was an appeal to not only Scripture but also to the faith of the Founding Fathers built into the U.S. Declaration of Independence, “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” 

Same-sex marriage cause has a secularist bent

This life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is not talking about doing whatever one pleases because it is predicated on an understanding of Scripture, but it is referring to the government-supported ability to be free from slavery, have rights to make a living, and make one’s lot better. The same-sex marriage cause, on the other hand, has a secularist bent. Rather than appeal to the image of God, it has appealed, in numerous articles, to evolution. The argument is that since all are the result of evolution, and there has been no God to speak, no one group has the right to dictate to another group what is right. 

Fairness, in this view, is the acceptance of anything that anyone wants to do. Laws can and will be changed to accept that which was recently unacceptable. Same-sex-marriage proponents are not carrying with them the heart of the 1960s struggle for equality. This is something more akin to Marxism.

Both proponents of same-sex marriage and opponents are put in a difficult position to make and enforce policy. For proponents, the laws on the books were created from a generally Christian-informed perspective, before the overall rise of evolutionary theory or of culturally accepted homosexuality. Most of our states’ and nation’s laws are from this perspective. There is much to attempt to overturn. For opponents, we have to realize that our nation was also founded with the perspective of freedom of, and even from, religion. Because we are all citizens of the United States, we must make some room for those who believe differently, even if we vehemently disagree. This is ground to tread lightly for both sides. We need to acknowledge our great disagreement in philosophy and principle, but we also need to communicate.

A moral issue involving underlying beliefs

When it comes down to voting on the constitutional amendment this November, which proposes a constitutional ban on performing and recognizing same-sex marriages within the state of Minnesota, everyone must vote according to their conscience, but please recognize that many Christians do not see this as an issue of “fairness.” Most people like to be fair and heck, we’re Minnesotans; we love to root for the perceived underdog. Instead, we see this as a moral issue in which Minnesotans are deciding to codify laws based on underlying beliefs.

Do we believe that God has spoken? Do we believe that our laws should be based on his revealed will for humanity? Should we create laws that uphold God’s Law, or laws that protect and encourage sin? Will we finally push God out of our understanding of the basic pillar of the family just as we have attempted to do in our courthouses, our community assemblies, and our schools? If we reduce this to emotional sentiment about fairness, which is what Norris has done, we will fail to recognize ourselves as image-bearers and accept that we are here for no greater purpose than to fulfill our own desires.

Steven Douglas, of Edina, is a pastor.

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Comments (67)

  1. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 10/16/2012 - 06:19 am.

    Very eloquent

    I would add that the notion that homosexuality is the product of evolution reveals a profound ignorance of nature. Evolution does not create in living things, attributes which are harmful to the species as a whole… Quite the opposite, in fact.

    • Submitted by Bill Gleason on 10/16/2012 - 11:28 am.

      Whether homosexuality is a product of evolution or not

      is immaterial to the marriage amendment argument, Mr. Swift.

      The existence of homosexuality is fact prima facie and this has been recognized by making same sex marriage legal in many states in the US as well as abroad, e.g. Canada.

      Trying to muddy the waters by dragging in arguments about evolution is rhetorically what is called a red herring.

      • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 10/16/2012 - 02:10 pm.

        Of course it is; to you and your ilk

        “Whether homosexuality is the product of evolution or not is immaterial”

        Science and biology is the same quicksand pit to the sand-is-food crew that religion is to people of faith…an untenable position to argue from.

    • Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 10/16/2012 - 01:54 pm.

      Evolution

      I think you have much yet to learn about evolution. Nature does not create perfect species. You are anthropomorphising (or deimorphising?) nature, which highlights the irony of your post.

      • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 10/16/2012 - 02:17 pm.

        You make my argument, Rachel

        I have maintained that homosexuality is a deviation of the norm. A flaw that proves your statement.

        • Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 10/16/2012 - 02:56 pm.

          Eh?

          A deviation from the norm is the very tool of evolution. I make no argument in support of your proclamations. You have no scientific evidence to back up your assertions. Don’t put words in my mouth. Just because you say it doesn’t make it true. No matter how many times, with however much conviction, and stomping your feet doesn’t help, either. You have lost your argument.

    • Submitted by Patricia Gerleman on 10/18/2012 - 06:56 pm.

      One would think its a dead end.

      However, they are finding now that evolution with homosexuality is an advantage. They are studying this now. think about it. they are finding that gay men have a certain gene that may cause attraction to men. An evolutionary dead end? Well, no. Because if this gay man’s sisters have that same gene for attraction to men, the tribe (way back when) had more children. they also had more grown men to protect the tribe and bring home more food. so therefore, the tribes with homosexual men that had no children of their own, were safer and had more children because of the additional men. so if you think about it that way, it does make sense.

      Also, there is an old Church down in Mexico, I will try to find the link, but its been awhile since i read this, that has a picture in the basement of two male priests marrying, and the one presiding over the marriage is Jesus.

  2. Submitted by Pat Berg on 10/16/2012 - 08:29 am.

    “God’s Law”

    Whose god?

    Currently there is a 14 year old girl laying in a hospital bed with a bullet hole in her head because someone took it on themselves to decide what constitutes “God’s Law” and that it was up to them to uphold it.

    “The Taliban said they targeted her for ‘promoting secularism’.”

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-19954043

    This is what can happen when one group decides that it is THEIR view of “God’s Law” that holds ascendancy above all others, and why this is about so, so much more than “fairness” when it comes to the Catholic Church or any other religious spokesman bringing theological arguments to bear in this country where “separation of church and state” is supposed to be one of our most basic principles.

    Practice your beliefs to your heart’s content, but don’t presume to declare that what you believe is “right” is automatically and undeniably right just because YOUR God says so. There is so, so much more to it than that.

    We don’t have Shariah – or any other religiously-based law in this country. Yet.

    And we need to keep it that way.

    I don’t want to see any American 14 year olds fighting for their lives just because they were courageous enough to speak out about what they believed – whether the theologians disagreed with them or not.

  3. Submitted by Bill Gleason on 10/16/2012 - 08:54 am.

    In a word, no…

    Do we believe that God has spoken? Do we believe that our laws should be based on his revealed will for humanity?

    This is a democracy, not a theocracy.

    • Submitted by Neal Krasnoff on 10/22/2012 - 05:01 pm.

      No it isn’t.

      This is a constitutional republic, not a democracy.

      • Submitted by Pat Berg on 10/22/2012 - 06:02 pm.

        The basic point remains

        This is not a theocracy.

        • Submitted by Neal Krasnoff on 10/22/2012 - 07:28 pm.

          The basic point remains

          Bill Gleason wrote:

          “This is a democracy, not a theocracy.”

          Mr. Gleason can answer for himself and have the intellectual honesty to admit his error, if he so chooses.

          I corrected him by identifying the nation is which we live as a constitutional republic. Please refer to The Constitution of the United States, Article IV, Section 4: “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government…”

  4. Submitted by Tim Walker on 10/16/2012 - 10:04 am.

    I say “Amen!” to the commenters who decry the attempt to inject the beliefs of one particular faith into our secular laws. This is dangerous territory that could unravel our democracy by making second-class citizens of those who don’t adhere to that particular faith. This is completely abhorrent to me and unacceptable in a democracy.!

    But I would like to comment on this phrase that the Rev. Douglas uses: “So our view of human dignity and human rights must be developed by our adherence to Scripture.”

    Note that the “sin” of homosexuality is in the Old Testament.

    So, Rev. Douglas, are you also in favor of adhering to other OT Scripture, such as Exodus 35:2, which mandates that those who work on the Sabbath be put to death?

    How about the ones permitting slavery?

    Or that one prohibiting the lending of money with interest?

    Or that one that says a widow has to marry her brother in law?

    Rev. Douglas, do you encourage your flock to adhere to these Scriptures? If not, why not?

    If you believe that homosexuality is a sin, which comes only from one mention in the OT, you should be equally adamant that these other OT commands be considered as “adherence to Scripture.”

    Do you?

    • Submitted by Neal Krasnoff on 10/17/2012 - 06:42 am.

      Minnpost Torah scholars

      Curious phenomena: when progressives hostile to Jewish belief seek to criticize Torah, they form their argument against it using Christianity. They dare not attack a religious or racial minority, so they go after the Christians, especially white Christians. It is overt bigotry.

      If you wish to bring Pastor Stevens to his auto-da-fe, it would help your credibility to know under what conditions the 613 Mitzvot are applicable. Go to a legitimate Halachic source.

      • Submitted by Tim Walker on 10/17/2012 - 07:33 am.

        I am most certainly not criticizing Torah.

        I am merely pointing out the hypocrisy of Christians who selectively grab onto only those OT commands that fit their prejudices (in this case, the “sin” of homosexuality) while conveniently ignoring others that are, shall we say, inconvenient to defend.

        How Jews have debated these Torah commands and their evolving understanding of them throughout history is a separate debate.

  5. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 10/16/2012 - 10:55 am.

    The Easy Way Out

    For many Christian leaders, denominations, and individuals (such as Mr. Douglas) is just to stick to the old aphorism,

    “The Bible says it. I Believe it. That settles it.”

    But this perspective is, as we used to say in the 60s, a “cop out.”

    The first problem with this approach is the problem of what the Bible actually says. Because of the nature of ancient Hebrew, many key passages can say two very different things depending on which vowels you insert (written Hebrew has only consonants). Hebrew has verb tenses that don’t exist in English which only means that it would sometimes take an entire paragraph to spell out what a particular Hebrew word means, something translators are reluctant to provide.

    There are many examples where New Testament authors write (or quote others referring to) Old Testament passages, but more often than not, those passages meant something quite different in their original context and the ways they’re MISquoted substantially changes, even contradicts their original meaning. Which version of a passage should we take literally, then? The original Old Testament Passage or the borrowed, substantially-altered New Testament Version?

    In the end it’s most important to remember that the idea of biblical inerrancy stands outside thousands of years of Judeo-Christian tradition and was only invented a little over a century ago when the very limited scientific understandings common early in The Enlightenment threatened to wipe away all forms of religious faith as mere superstition and myth.

    No matter what we “believe” to be truth, if we will but go to the trouble of examining history (even the history of our own denominations) we will discover that what previous generations “believed” to be absolutely true have often changed substantially, been reinterpreted by our own ancestors in the faith so as to be unrecognizable from the original forms of that “absolutely true belief” or, have vanished entirely.

    In the end, I, and many people like me, regard faith to be part of the process of God’s relationship with humanity over the eons, with God being eternal, but God’s relationship with humanity changing and growing in response to the nature of the human societies God was working with at any point in history. God is, indeed, the same, yesterday, today, and forever, but WE are not, hence God’s approach to humanity has and will continue to change with us as humanity’s ability to comprehend what God has in mind for us expands and develops.

    “Faith,” therefore, must also be a process of change and growth throughout my own and each of our lives.

    Whenever any of humans seek to plant our feet and our understandings in one place and come to the conclusion that we or our leaders or our interpretations of scripture (which must always BE interpreted in order to be understood) are correct for all eternity,…

    we, in effect, make the claim that God said everything God would ever say to humanity some two thousand years ago. We then step out of relationship with God and forever after fight against God’s call for us to move into the future toward more adequate realizations of what God is seeking to bring into the human society which surrounds us, through our own actions and attitudes

    Based on my own awareness of God’s presence and guidance and on my knowledge of human nature, it strikes me that to set my feet, and my mind in concrete on this issue would not be an act of faithfulness. It would be an act of fear.

    In making this choice, I choose faith in the God who calls me toward the future, over fear that the way I live my life and understand the lives of those around me might need to change.

  6. Submitted by Susan Rego on 10/16/2012 - 11:43 am.

    Not evolution

    To assert that biological evolution does not “create” attributes that are “harmful to the species as a whole” is to totally misunderstand evolution. There is no end game in evolution, and natural selection doesn’t work at the species level, it works on the population level. But this debate is not about evolution.

    Contrary to the author, I have not heard any arguments asserting that evolution has any bearing on the rights that our founding documents say were bestowed upon us by a creator. We Americans did not at first believe that the “creator” bestowed upon black people “life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness”, or the right to property, for that matter, much less the right to vote. Women were also denied the status of full citizenship by the creator, as determined by our founders. We Americans later decided to amend the concept of who gets these rights.

    However we got here, we are here, we are Americans, and we believe in liberty and justice for all. Your religious views may inform your own opinion, but if our rights as citizens are determined by religion, how do we decide which of hundreds of religious views to guide us? They often contradict each other.

    One genius of our Constitution is that it is secular. Religion is stronger for it, and Americans are granted freedom of conscience.

    • Submitted by Bill Gleason on 10/16/2012 - 01:30 pm.

      Thank you for the first paragraph above.

      I tried to make the same points as in your first paragraph in an earlier – rejected – comment. This was just as well since it was a little over the top.

      So I tried again and only pointed out that evolution is actually irrelevant in the argument. But I agree that Mr. Swift has a shaky conception of the way evolution works, particularly at the molecular level.

  7. Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 10/16/2012 - 12:47 pm.

    Isn’t that nice

    Sir, you may speak some truths, but you don’t speak for Christians. While some may see the amendment as a matter of voting their conscience, most see it as a way to enshrine their prejudices and force their religion on others. (After all, there are a lot of things in the Bible conveniently ignored by these same people.)

    If these Christians were to literally follow the teachings of Christ, this wouldn’t be an issue. They may tsk tsk, but recognize that only God can judge others perfectly, and by codifying their beliefs, they’ve judged other people by applying their view of God’s law on others.

    The very concept of claiming to know the will of God is the literal “taking His name in vain” (contrary to popular belief that a cuss word defines the act). And forcing those beliefs on others takes the ability of others to come to the supposed “right” conclusion and behavior on their own. To obey God is not a simple matter of DOING, but of doing with all their heart and without coercion.

    You’re not “saving” anyone this way, whether it be those who commit the ‘sin” of homosexuality or your children who eventually may decide that it’s not their business to define marriage. You are coercing them into doing what YOU want, and if it truly is the will of God, then you are condemning them to simply follow orders and not their heart as commanded by God.

    In any case, if this amendment fails, nothing changes. Absolutely nothing.

  8. Submitted by Beryl John-Knudson on 10/16/2012 - 01:41 pm.

    …casting another stone…

    In a philosophical mode,of course: If the suggested authoritarian god of Douglas-the-pastor with all those attendant certainties ( Douglas himself too I suppose ), does he believe that the church has supreme authority over citizens in the voting booth?

    Here lies the irony: why trust the Douglas-god to reach out in a democratic society and make judgment calls on the issue of gender preference, considering that even the son of D-god, in no book nor document has it been revealed that particular son’s gender preference? Don’t ask don’t tell is it…who knows?

    Is not this article shining on the ugly face of theocracy trying to insert a non-democratic power grip into the civil arena?

    However no certainties here…just wondering, wandering…

  9. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/16/2012 - 02:11 pm.

    Huh?

    Gay rights is Marxism?

    The good pastor has obviously forgotten that his freedom to practice his religion a guaranteed by the secular nature of our government. For some reason religious people always that if the government were to promote a religion, it would obviously be theirs. That same secular government also prohibits any religion from forcing it’s beliefs on everyone else, or at least it’s supposed to.

    Mr. Douglas has provided here an explanation of his beliefs, what is completely missing is his explanation for he thinks his beliefs should be enshrined in our secular constitution.

    The more these people explain their religious reasons for wanting this in our constitution, the clearer it becomes that it does not belong there.

  10. Submitted by James Hamilton on 10/16/2012 - 03:35 pm.

    I appreciate readers’ efforts

    to instruct Mr. Swift on the finer points of evolution, but find the whole argument irrelevant.

    Whether sexual orientation is biologically based or a “lifestyle choice” (as some would have it) is irrelevant in my view. If biological, discrimination makes no more sense than do racial or gender-based discrimination. If cognitive, then it’s entitled to the same protection extended political and religious choices, in that it is an equally fundamental aspect of human life.

    What is not acceptable, in my mind, is to codify the religious beliefs of one group and require that all live by those tenets. Denying a church which accepts gay relationships the right to extend marriage to its gay members in order to comport with the religious dictates of another church is nothing less than religious discrimination.

  11. Submitted by James Hamilton on 10/16/2012 - 04:09 pm.

    As an atheist

    I reject Pastor Douglas’s argument in its entirety. Concepts such as imago Dei, sin, God’s will, and the rest are as meaningless to me as the pronouncements of a priestess of Diana, except for the fact that believers in the former far outnumber believers in the latter at the moment.

    I have waited months for arguments in support of this proposed amendment which are not derived from religious beliefs. Few have been offered and those, frankly, universally have been rationalizations intended to support a result dictated by the author’s religious beliefs.

    Marriage may serve both or either civil and religious purposes. Our laws are concerned only with the civil aspects, aspects which pervade our lives. We do not require that Roman Catholics be married by priests, though we permit them to be, provided that legal requirements are satisfied. We do not dictate the rituals to be used by any faith, but require only that they do not contravene our laws (e.g., those prohibiting the marriage of children).

    Permitting civil marriage between two adults, of whatever gender or sexual orientation and for whatever purposes, does not limit in any way the religious choices of anyone.

    Permitting civil marriage between two adults, of whatever gender or sexual orientation and for whatever purposes, will not compel any faith to do anything that its doctrine proscribes. (It is beyond any reasonable dispute that our present constitutional provisions will prevent any faith from being required by law to extend its blessing to any union it does not choose to bless. Of course, some will raise this banner of fear for their own purposes.)

    Perhaps the answer is to break the link between civil and religious marriage completely, by depriving priests, ministers, rabbis and others of the power to perform civil marriages and leaving them to perform only their religious rituals. Civil marriage licenses can then be issued at a counter at our local city or county offices.

  12. Submitted by Rachel Weisman on 10/16/2012 - 04:38 pm.

    My excpectations

    Once again I am disappointed by a pastor who promotes bigotry. People! We have seen these arguments before. We recognize these attempts to marginalize our own citizens. We know what happens next. This is not a benign amendment, this is a step in a bad direction.

    In response, I ask all Minnesotans in general and all Christians in particular to repudiate this call to discriminate against our own citizens. Vote no to this amendment.

  13. Submitted by j Grinols on 10/17/2012 - 07:58 am.

    Self Evident

    Nothing is more self evident by form and function than that sex was for male and female. I have no objection to two men or two women loving each other. I do not think it intellectually honest however to say proper sex is for two people of the same sex.Male and male or female and female with each other is love with friction. We do not need a better definition of marriage but another word for the act of orgasmic friction between same sex partners. This interaction is not sex is but something else and we need another word for it.

    Marriage is more than sex but it is not the ideal marriage without it. It makes no difference if one approaches the discussion from science and evolution or religion and revelation it is self evident sex is male and female. Pollen from one flower falling on the pollen of another plant is not sex or reproductive. In plant life we easily see it as simply a fruitless act. Homosexuality is not sex in the Biblical or really the scientific order. In the Bible marriage requires male and female for all of the earthly physical purposes but also because the two become one flesh. This is the reason prostitution or multiple partners is prohibited. The design spiritually is for the two to become one and the design requires one man and one women and no more no less. Anything else must be called by another name.

    • Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 10/17/2012 - 09:40 am.

      Why?

      Why must we define sex? And what has that got to do with the law, let alone marriage law? Are you proposing that we ban marriage that can’t result in reproduction? If this really is about reproductive couplings, then let’s go ahead and stick that in the constitution. I dare you and Mr. Swift to tell me that you support banning marriages that can’t produce children.

      As for the Bible–there are lots of examples of multiple partners. No matter how often you say it, the Bible still includes polygamy (oh, and sending daughters out to be raped, too).

    • Submitted by James Hamilton on 10/17/2012 - 11:15 am.

      I trust you realize

      that your entire argument is based on your religious beliefs. Your first sentence, for example, presupposes purposeful design: “Nothing is more self evident by form and function than that sex was for male and female.”

      As I’ve posited elsewhere, marriage has evolved as both a civil and a religious institution, in our culture and others. Each plays a different role. Conflating the two, and limiting one on the basis of the principles supporting the other, is simply impermissible in our society.

      Those who believe as you do, sir or madam, are free to engage in and celebrate the religious and spiritual aspects of marriage as you see it. You have no moral or ethical right to deny the benefits of civil marriage, including the intangibles, to those who do not share your beliefs.

      Finally, I cannot let slip your reference to “the act of orgasmic friction between same sex partners”. Not sex? Some might say, “Don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it.”

  14. Submitted by Susan McNerney on 10/17/2012 - 09:13 am.

    I’m not sure Mr. Douglas

    realizes how much his column is a near-parody of pro-amendment views. This doesn’t help his cause, and in fact much of the rhetoric here is exactly what the pro-amendment forces have been trying to hide in their weird “voter choice” advertisements.

    Given Minnpost probably attracts more than a few indies who might be on the fence, this is basically free advertising for the “No” side…

  15. Submitted by Beryl John-Knudson on 10/17/2012 - 10:00 am.

    Michaelangelo I assume…or?

    .

    The Sistine scenario that introduces this article is a puzzle…and my sympathy certainly goes out to the one wrapped, swaddled by the snake…and what one can assume is the henna haired creature…is she/he, an angel tickling or thrusting her sword on the retreating couple

    …then too none in the picture ever had the right to vote…Vote No if only to detach the archaic nature of this mural and all do respect to any artist who can paint looking up for such an extended period and do so well, yes sir

  16. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/17/2012 - 12:22 pm.

    Gay sex doesn’t fit?

    There’s a hilarious video about this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlQvf7IVxao&list=PLsolewfmUXE_e84o38n-YdAzL8e0ORc_t&index=9&feature=plpp_video

    I’m sorry but anyone who suggests a there is such a thing as “proper” sex simply has no business messing around with out constitution. If you don’t know why people have sex, you shouldn’t be dictating the conditions of honest or dishonest sex to anyone.

  17. Submitted by Sara Fleets on 10/17/2012 - 12:25 pm.

    Not a defect

    As Rep. Steve Simon said in last April, “How many more gay people does God have to create before we ask ourselves if he wants them around?” See: Genesis, Psalms, Jeremiah

    If you believe we are all made in the likeness of God, then people who are gay are also made in the likeness of God. There is no caveat to that. It is not a defect. Would God really create a person with the intention that they would not be able to be authentically true? That they would not be welcome and entitled to a loving, committed and intimate relationship?

  18. Submitted by Jackson Cage on 10/17/2012 - 01:08 pm.

    More inconsistency…

    I’m struck by the number of times the Pastor uses the terms “many” and “most” when describing certain beliefs. He’s very accepting of “many” Christians believing in inerrancy, or “most” Christians would agree that they don’t live up to the standards set by Jesus. And I could list others. So why is there the implicit admission there that not “all” Christians have the same beliefs, and why doesn’t that admission extend to this issue as well?

  19. Submitted by Steve Sundberg on 10/18/2012 - 07:28 am.

    Re: Abolutionist Christians

    There were more Christian slave owners than there were Christian Abolutionists; the former justified their “property” by Biblical means, too.

  20. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/18/2012 - 07:46 am.

    Jackson

    Even if “all” Christians believed something, that would not provide an argument for putting it in the constitution. For instance, consider putting a definition of “Jesus Christ” in the constitution. It really doesn’t matter how many Christians believe something as far as our constitution is concerned. Such things are debates for and amongst Christians, not everyone.

  21. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 10/18/2012 - 02:57 pm.

    Hopefully the final word

    on evolution.
    Evolution selects packages of traits, not individual ones
    (see Stephen Jay Gould on ‘spandrels’ and ‘exaptation’ for the selection of non advantageous traits that ‘hitch a ride’ with advantageous ones).
    Some evolutionary biologists even feel that selection works on the species level rather than the individual one.
    Finally, natural selection does not produce ideal species (that is a religious concept, not a scientific one), it simply selects species variations that outcompete competing ones in terms of the propagation of the species (that is what ‘fitness’ means in evolutionary terms).

  22. Submitted by Neal Krasnoff on 10/18/2012 - 04:46 pm.

    rejected Mr. Walker wrote:”Note that

    Mr. Walker wrote:

    “Note that the “sin” of homosexuality is in the Old Testament.”

    Vayikra 18:22. Torah.

    Mr. Walker wrote:

    “So, Rev. Douglas, are you also in favor of adhering to other OT Scripture, such as Exodus 35:2, which mandates that those who work on the Sabbath be put to death?”

    Shemot 35:2. Torah.

    Mr. Walker wrote:

    How about the ones permitting slavery?
    Or that one prohibiting the lending of money with interest?
    Or that one that says a widow has to marry her brother in law?”

    Do you have the relevant cites from Torah?

    Mr. Walker wrote:
    “If you believe that homosexuality is a sin, which comes only from one mention in the OT, you should be equally adamant that these other OT commands be considered as “adherence to Scripture.””

    You are citing Torah.

    Mr. Walker wrote:
    “How Jews have debated these Torah commands and their evolving understanding of them throughout history is a separate debate.”

    Because you have asserted an argument against a Christian whose faith includes reverence to both Torah and their New Testament, it is not a separate issue.

    • Submitted by Pat Berg on 10/18/2012 - 07:27 pm.

      rejected Thread highjacking

      You’re really determined to highjack this thread, aren’t you?

    • Submitted by Matthew Levitt on 10/19/2012 - 01:37 pm.

      I’ll bite

      “Or that one that says a widow has to marry her brother in law?”

      Devarim 25:5-6,9-10.

      “Or that one prohibiting the lending of money with interest?”

      Ezekiel chapter 18 is pretty good, doncha think? (18:13 and 18:17) But if you really want only Torah…

      Shmot 22:25–27, Vayikra 25:36–37 and Devarim 23:20–21.

      “How about the ones permitting slavery?”

      Too easy. Do you really want to make this argument?

      “Because you have asserted an argument against a Christian whose faith includes reverence to both Torah and their New Testament, it is not a separate issue.”

      1. It is a completely seperate issue. 2. If a Christian is going to cite the Torah for their argument, it’s perfectly valid to ask if they hold fast to the rest of the mitzvot.

      The word that the Torah uses to describe sex in the context of Adam/Eve, Abraham/Sarah etc… is not the same word used in Vayikra 18.22. These are not about the same thing. Now, go study.

      • Submitted by Neal Krasnoff on 10/20/2012 - 08:49 pm.

        Torah was explicitly mentioned by Pastor Douglas.

        Therefore, including it in my comments is not “hijacking” the thread”.

        • Submitted by Pat Berg on 10/21/2012 - 08:34 pm.

          I did a search of the page

          The first time the word “Torah” was used was when you used it.

          The Old Testament does not belong exclusively to those of the Jewish faith.

          Other religions also draw on it, discuss it, and in various ways lay claim to it. Doing so is does not constitute some sort of attack on or misuse of or blasphemy with regards to Torah just because you want to claim every reference to Old Testament scripture as your own and therefore claim some sort of victimhood as a result.

          And no – this is not “anti-Semitic”. It’s simply noting that the Old Testament as scripture belongs to more than just those of the Jewish faith.

          Insisting that any discussion interpreting Old Testament scripture represents a disrespect of Torah is indeed hijacking the thread.

          • Submitted by Matthew Levitt on 10/22/2012 - 12:45 pm.

            It all depends

            The Jewish people wouldn’t refer to an “old testament” to begin with.

            However, you points stand. And Neal did attempt to hijack the thread, and has changed the subject when confronted with the points he asked for.

            • Submitted by Pat Berg on 10/22/2012 - 02:19 pm.

              Exactly

              Neal specifically said that Pastor Douglas brought up “Torah” and I pointed out that it was Neal who brought up “Torah” and then tried to make some kind of point that apparently only those of the Jewish faith were allowed to discuss/criticize anything out of that particular part of the Bible.

              Torah /= Old Testament for those of us who are not Jewish.

              And since Pastor Douglas isn’t Jewish (at least I don’t think he is), insisting that him bringing up Old Testament references somehow equates to a discussion of Torah just makes no sense in this context at all.

              • Submitted by Neal Krasnoff on 10/22/2012 - 07:19 pm.

                Welcome to deconstruction

                Sometimes Winston, sometimes they’re five, sometimes they’re three, sometimes they’re all of them at once.”

  23. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/19/2012 - 09:55 am.

    Biology?

    What we’ve seen here is the end result of a bunch of people who don’t believe in evolution or science attempting to create biology based arguments for putting their religious beliefs into the constitution. The result is simply gibberish.

  24. Submitted by Neal Krasnoff on 10/20/2012 - 08:51 pm.

    Is the Minnesota Constitution gibberish?

    “We, the people of the state of Minnesota, grateful to God for our civil and religious liberty, and desiring to perpetuate its blessings and secure the same to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution.”

    Preamble, Constitution of the State of Minnesota.

  25. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/21/2012 - 10:48 am.

    Neal’s gibberish

    Note, it does NOT say “Jesus Christ”, nor does name any other particular god. Furthermore this is the Preamble, the constitution itself does not mention God or the Bible as a justification for any laws or rights. So no, the constitution is currently NOT gibberish. However the marriage amendment threatens to turn it into gibberish.

    By the way, constitutional scholars and historians refer to these references to god as ceremonial deism. This is not an endorsement of religion per se it’s simply an acknowledgement that following document was a product of inspiration. Authors of period would consider it immodest to attribute such inspiration to themselves alone.

    • Submitted by Neal Krasnoff on 10/22/2012 - 07:33 pm.

      The Preamble of the Minnesota Constitution

      is the introduction to the rest of the Constitution. It is considered to be part of the Constitution. Anything else is a rejection of objective fact and truth.

  26. Submitted by Kenneth Kjer on 10/22/2012 - 05:19 pm.

    Marriage amendment

    No matter what you call it, it is still a violation of the equal rights clause in the US constitution.

  27. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/23/2012 - 12:44 pm.

    Neal,

    The “rest” of the constitution is the part where our rights and the nature and function of the government are actually spelled out. There is no doubt that the either US constitution, nor any of the state’s constitutions were intended to be secular documents, not endorsements of any particular religion. To deny this is simply dishonest. Likewise, any claim that the constitution should be used to enshrine or codify a religious belief is simply dishonest.

  28. Submitted by Paul Landskroener on 10/23/2012 - 04:16 pm.

    I think many commentors are being unfair to Pastor Douglas. The argument in his essay is far more subtle and positive than may appear from reading his conclusion in isolation. As a fellow Christian, I appreciate his devotion to following God’s way rather than his own.

    That said, his argument is nevertheless flawed in several fundamental respects. Perhaps the most obvious flaw is the conclusion he draws in the following syllogism: “God created man male and female and commanded them to be fruitful and multiply (Genesis 1:27-28; 2:21-24). Therefore homosexuality is rebellion against his character and will.”

    First, we know as a matter of biological fact and observation that individuals of many species of plants and animals are both male and female, not one or the other. Most especially, many human beings are born with ambiguous sex traits and cannot be classified as either male or female, or perhaps can be classified as both. This is indisputable, and while such individuals may be a minority, they must be taken into consideration.

    Therefore, the point the author of Genesis is making is that BOTH men AND women are created by God, not that God ONLY created males and females (because, obviously, he didn’t). Properly understood, the passage can be better understood as saying, “God created male and female, tall and short, fat and thin, black and white . . . ” To which we would add, “straight and gay.”

    Second, I cannot believe that Pastor Douglas means to suggest that the quoted passage means that a man or woman who does not have children is for that reason “in rebellion” against God’s character and will, despite what he appears to say. Was the Apostle Paul rebellious because he remained unmarried and fathered no children (as far as we know)? Once again, the passage must be properly interpreted as a command to the SPECIES to be fruitful and multiply, not to any individual.

    Third, we also know as a matter of social fact and observation that a certain number of us are born with sexual orientations towards individuals of the same sex, just as the majority of us are oriented towards the other sex. Perhaps Pastor Douglas disputes this assertion, but he should not do so until after listening deeply and sympathetically to the stories of gay and lesbian persons in his congregation and neighborhood. Then, and only then, can he understand what God is really intending to say in the Bible.

    It may be necessary sometimes to make conclusions about the world from reading the rulebook, but at some point one must test the hypothesis with the data. I believe that if Pastor Douglas did so, he would, like me and thousands like me, alter his hypothesis and discover a far more life-giving message in the Bible than he apparently has so far.

    As I can testify from my own painfully slow conversion experience, a careful and sympathetic consideration of the coming out stories of gays and lesbians will gradually and eventually enlighten one to the fact that sexual orientation is as deeply seeded a personality trait as, say, left-handedness or introversion, and that it is as cruel as it is foolish to think that it can or should change, or that any person having that orientation is any more (or less) sinful for that reason alone than any other person. Furthermore, witnessing the Godly lives of many gay and lesbian friends — single people as well as married couples — reinforces the conclusion that sexual orientation — of whatever variety — is a gift from God that when properly used and exercised testifies to the glory of God and his salvation and strenghens God’s kingdom on Earth.

    As a previous commentor stated, if human beings are created in the image of God, the fact that some human beings are created with same-sex sexual orientation must mean that such an orientation is encompassed as part of God’s own essence, just as God encompasses maleness and femaleness. I’m afraid what Pastor Douglas has done is to create a diminished God into his own image. As he put it himself, “Humanity apart from God reflects as much dignity as a severely broken mirror reflects the image of the one who holds it.” He is apparentlhy holding only the hetrosexual shard and mistakenly assumes that the image it reflects is that of God in God’s entirety.

    Consequently, the Christian response (or, at least the response of this Christian and my congregation) to proposed legislation that discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation is one of vigorous defense and support of those being victimized, not to defend or apologize for the advocates of oppression.

    I’m voting No.

    • Submitted by David Norris on 10/27/2012 - 05:56 pm.

      Thank you.

      I wish that there were more Christians like you in this conversation. As Virginia Mollenkott has said, “Apparently the Creator likes diversity a lot more than we human beings do.”

  29. Submitted by Dave Bender on 08/21/2014 - 08:01 pm.

    “Should we create laws that uphold God’s Law…?”

    Hell no. We are a secular society, not a theocracy. You are free to believe whatever you want because we’re also a free society. But you’re not free to impose your religious beliefs on those outside your cult. So keep your religious beliefs out of our law.

    We do have common ground. Where your God’s “Law” has adopted basic human morality — don’t steal, don’t kill, don’t be mean — great. Let’s agree that’s the rules we play by. But we don’t need any god for that.

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