Category: Same Sex Marriage

Christian evangelicals in Iowa are suffering malaise, as reported in an interesting New York Times article. Deeply troubled about the direction taken in recent years, they suddenly feel isolated, and abandoned by the mainstream culture:

The change in America seemed to happen so quickly that it felt like whiplash, the Odgaards said. One day, they felt comfortably situated in the American majority, as Christians with shared beliefs in God, family and the Bible. They had never even imagined that two people of the same sex could marry.

Overnight, it seemed, they discovered that even in small-town Iowa they were outnumbered, isolated and unpopular.

…“It all flipped, so fast,” said Mr. Odgaard, a patrician 70-year-old who favors khakis and boat shoes. “Suddenly, we were in the minority. That was kind of a scary feeling. It makes you wonder where the Christians went.”

The election coming up is another source of frustration. They feel that neither of the presidential candidates reflects and represents their values:

So, in a year when many voters see nothing but bad choices, many evangelicals feel deeply torn. Long part of a reliable Republican voting bloc, many are appalled to find Donald J. Trump their only alternative to Hillary Clinton. They say he has taken positions all over the map on same-sex couples and abortion and does not have the character to be president. Others are still bewildered that Mr. Trump defeated not only Mr. Cruz — a pastor’s son who made “religious liberty” a signature issue — but also half a dozen other conservative Christian contenders they would have gladly supported.

You may read more at New York Times.

I read a fascinating article on gay marriage from “the inside”. Doug Mainwaring, a gay man who has no quarrel with gay rights, nonetheless has come to see marriage in a new light since his conversion to Christianity.

Marriage, says Mainwaring, is essentially a spiritual and theological concern. It is not primarily a problem of rights or politics or liberty; It is not a peripheral issue that is negotiable. Rather it is at the core of the gospel.

I am now a Christian, and even though I am same-sex attracted—or, more likely, because I am same-sex attracted—I marvel at the extraordinary significance of marriage in God’s eternal plan. Marriage is under siege because it stands at the heart of the Good News of the Gospel.

He elaborated further on this toward the end of the essay:

Marriage represents to humanity a taste of heaven, a blueprint of the eternity that awaits all who belong to Jesus Christ. Complementarity has never been incidental to God’s eternal plan. It is central, revealing the intentions of the heart of God

He marvels at the rapid capitulation of the culture on this issue. He asks, and answers, an interesting question:

Where does this tyranny, this powerful fury, this fierce, unearthly will to enforce such a novel idea come from? Why is same-sex marriage appearing in our nation and, in fact, all around the world so suddenly? Just a few years ago it was a laughable, ludicrous idea. Why is this strange new trajectory gripping the planet, and at such a frenetic pace?

…As a gay man, allow me to make what is perhaps a startling declaration: same-sex marriage is a great coup for the devil, far greater than individual homosexual acts or relationships ever were or ever could be. Same-sex marriage mocks Christ’s relationship with his Bride, the Church. That is the source of the fury being hurled at those who speak out against same-sex marriage.

The entire essay is interesting and highly readable. You may find it all online at The Public Discourse.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his party have proposed new legislation to expand Canada’s blasphemy laws, er… hate speech laws… to cover transgender issues. Anyone who dares to speak wrongly on transgender issues could face penalties of up to two years in jail. You can read favorable mainstream media coverage, for example, at

Canada is no stranger to using hate speech law to curb religious expression. The Christian Post has bundled with this story a mention of the following chilling example:

An identical ban on anti-gay “hate propaganda” has been in place for several years and has caused problems for Christians who oppose gay marriage. In 2013, the Canadian Supreme Court upheld the conviction of a Christian street preacher for distributing fliers denouncing homosexual behavior.

The court justified the preacher’s conviction on the grounds that he used “vilifying and derogatory representations to create a tone of hatred” against homosexuals. The court held that the pastor’s religious freedom did not excuse him from violating “hate propaganda laws”.

The case in question from 2013 was Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission v Whatcott, which ruled against a street preacher named Whatcott, an activist who had been convicted and fined in Saskatchewan Province, for hate speech. He had handed out fliers denouncing homosexual acts and the promotion of the same among public school students.

Justice Rothstein described hate speech as describing:
“…the targeted group as a menace that could threaten the safety and well-being of others, makes reference to respected sources (in this case the Bible) to lend credibility to negative generalizations, and uses vilifying and derogatory representations to create a tone of hatred.”

(Source: Atlantic Canada Legal Examiner)

Now, to be fair, the opinion did take pains elsewhere to clarify that religious texts aren’t to be regarded as hate speech. Furthermore I am not going to claim moral or spiritual solidarity with Mr. Whatcott, as I haven’t read his brochures. He appears to have had numerous prior run-ins with authorities, who have found his statements to be “polemical and impolite”–I will even presume that to be understatement.

Still, to those who hold to orthodox Christianity, the message is clear. The notion of freedom of religious expression will no longer afford anyone in Canada protection against hate speech censorship.

In a move that can be characterized as resembling discipline, the majority of primates (archbishops) of the Anglican Communion today voted to suspend the U.S. Episcopal Church over its acceptance of gay marriage.

From BBC coverage in England:

Anglican leaders have barred a liberal US branch from decision-making for allowing same-sex marriage.
Anglicans have been divided on the issue since the US Episcopal Church ordained an openly gay bishop in 2003.
Leaders said the church’s stance was a “fundamental departure” from the faith of the majority in what is the world’s third largest Christian denomination.

…The decision – made at a four-day meeting of 39 Anglican primates in Canterbury – means the Church will be suspended from participating in the life and work of the Anglican communion, the BBC’s religious correspondent Carol Wyatt said.

…A statement from the primates at the meeting says that the church should “no longer represent us on ecumenical and interfaith bodies, should not be appointed or elected to an internal standing committee and that while participating in the internal bodies of the Anglican Communion, they will not take part in decision making on any issues pertaining to doctrine or polity”.

The Church leaders added that the majority of those gathered at the meeting – which was described as “really tough” – would “reaffirm” the teaching of scripture that “upholds marriage as between a man and a woman”

Read more at BBC.

The communique issued from this conference can be read here.

Despite a resolution that aims to protect dissenters from the Episcopal Church’s recent embrace of gay marriage, an orthodox priest in the diocese of Kentucky was forced to resign for refusing to perform gay weddings at his church.

On Dec. 23 the Rev. Jonathan M. Erdman announced his resignation as rector of Calvary Church in Louisville. Erdman, rector of Calvary since 2010, wrote that his resignation would be effective Jan. 10.

“After prayer and study of scripture, I am not able to approve same-sex marriage as rector of Calvary. In order that all have the care they seek, I have provided for same-sex marriages at our cathedral,” Erdman wrote.

“The vestry opposes my position, and the bishop does not support me in holding it. Therefore, I have no choice but to resign, or contradict my conscience. The love of Christ will always bind us together, but with the current leadership, I cannot stay.”

The Rt. Rev. Terry Allen White, Bishop of Kentucky, disputed Erdman’s understanding in a statement he released to TLC.

More information is available at The Living Church”.

Despite public statements to the contrary, the bishop not enforce the resolution that is supposed to protect dissenters from persecution. He not only did not back up his priest, but betrayed him, according to this information from Anglican Ink:

Bishop White told Fr. Jonathan he had two choices, go on a lengthy sabbatical (one the bishop agreed would not achieve reconciliation with the vestry and one which when suggested prompted one vestry member to ask if same-sex blessings could begin as soon as the sabbatical started) or simply allow same-sex blessings to be performed at Calvary Church.

The recent Supreme Court decision, Obergefell v. Hodges, has for now closed (perhaps we should say foreclosed now) the debate on marriage that has been raging in the secular world, and has legally redefined marriage to include relationships other than heterosexual couples.  In light of this landmark ruling, some are jubilant, others dismayed.  The temptation for us is to say nothing, let our progressive friends have their day of rejoicing, and remain focused on our core ideals.  However, we would be remiss to refrain from commenting on so important a moment.

Unfortunately, the media’s full court press on this issue has left Christians being pilloried as being “against” something that is now seen as wonderful.  I will sidestep the temptation to speak of what we at this site may or may not be against, in order to affirm instead what we are for.

1. We are for love.  Love between people is a reflection of God’s love for us.  “God is Love” declared St. John the disciple. Love is a gift, and a very great one.  Love is about something deeper than romance and genitals, as I have written elsewhere.  Love at its best is “other elevating” rather than “self gratifying”.  It sacrifices all for its beloved.

2. We are for gay, bisexual, lesbian, and transgendered persons, as well as those who have other kinds of sexual appetites.  We love you as we would any other brother or sister.  Love means, however, that we cannot offer you a poisoned gospel.  Blessing and absolving anything that God has not condoned is an act not of true love, but of love’s opposite, and it does you no favors in eternity.

3. We are for sexuality, which is a gift from God.  It is a garden of delights.  However it is clear from sacred scripture, which we recognize as God’s revelation, that for our own good, and for that of our children who need stable families, God has put a wall around that garden. We recognize that we are not above our Creator, and therefore we respect that wall. We respect it even to our personal detriment. We respect it even in the face of a potential loss of fellowship with those who now find such a stance to be outrageous. Obeying God has never been without cost. We have always been asked to “surrender all” for the cause of Christ.  Again, that is the result of our love for God–we honor our Beloved.

4. We are for marriage.  We believe, with scripture, that marriage is sacred and holy, instituted by God.  We believe that it is a pillar of civilization.  We mess with it at our own peril. Marriage has been understood for millennia as the union of man and woman. Let me be clear on one point–it is heterosexuals, and not homosexuals, who have done the most damage to marriage.  And the church, the institutionalized body of Christ, has also let the world down on this one.  We have contributed to the confusion about the definition of marriage. We should repent of the bigger sins that we have allowed to slip by us in the 20th century, and put the “holy” back into “holy matrimony.”

  • We have not created stable and loving marriages.
  • We have been complicit as the culture cheapened and redefined “love” itself as something other than the sacrificial love that is advocated in the Bible.
  • We should have refrained from blessing terrible relationships between abusive heterosexual couples when we were aware of them.
  • We (mainly Protestants in this case) should not have caved on the issue of mixed faith marriages if we knew full well that means a loss of children to a foreign god.
  • Better premarital counseling and guidance might have helped some couples avoid making mistakes, or else given them tools to improve communication, reduce stress, and remain committed during the rocky times in a marriage.
  • We must be honest and admit that no-fault divorce and easy remarrying has done more to shred the institution of marriage than anything gay marriage could do.

We already have allowed society to redefine this institution from a lifelong stable union into an intellectual fig leaf for transient sexual gratification between consenting adults. It is a short step to either lose the fig leaf and just fornicate, or to extend it to other kinds of relationships. Both of these have happened, and often the church has been complicit.

5. We are for children.  We believe, as is also demonstrated in numerous studies, that they thrive best and prosper most when raised in a stable two parent family with a mother and father who love them.  I would go further and say that they should be in a loving Christian family.

6. We are for the U.S. government.  As people who love God, we would hope that our nation would seek after Divine blessing rather than curse.  Still, we know that we enjoy the fruits of liberty and have lived under a more benign government than most in history have known.  Christians in Ancient Rome were under a hostile regime, yet sought to be best citizens they could be, except where conscience forbade it (such as in the worship of Caesar as a god).  We also aim to be our nation’s best citizens.  We will continue to pray for the U.S and its leaders.  We can and should pray for revival. We should always ask that the holy Spirit of God would blow through our land, to refresh the churches and to bend the hearts of the people back toward their God.

7. We are for truth.  We must not give up on speaking the truth for the sake of popularity or other personal gain. The civil definition of “marriage” has changed, but God’s definition of “holy matrimony” has not. The corollary of “what God has joined together let no man tear asunder” is “what God has not joined together, let no man try to do so.”

8. Most of all we are for God, the maker of all things, to whom we owe our very existence.  God didn’t merely flick us into existence and go away, but has loved us and offered us a relationship.  We have been invited to enter the divine dance.  We are still to be witnesses to God’s love in a hostile world. We must “walk in love as Christ loved us”.  We must stand fast to our calling to share the good news. That hasn’t changed.

From the Living Church comes this sad news:  “The Rt. Rev. James Jelinek, interim rector of St. Paul’s Parish, K Street [in Washington, DC], since August 2013, has written about the parish entering a phase of discernment about women’s ordination to the priesthood and same-sex marriage.”

Up until this time, “…in order to keep our focus on what unites us — the centrality of the Eucharist and our mission as the Body of Christ — we have tended to avoid addressing some critical issues, including the role of women clergy at St. Paul’s and the blessing of same-sex unions/marriages. During the current transition, we have begun to explore these questions.”

I think it is probably foregone how the discernments will conclude, and there is probably no stopping the progressive steamroller here as has been the case in other churches that have fallen.  Still, we should pray for this church and hope that they can keep that centrality of focus on Eucharist and mission to which they had been holding up to this point.

Read it all here:’s-k-st