“Is gay marriage a reality? Has the train left the station?” That’s the question I’m being asked more and more as every day seems to bring news of another victory for same-sex marriage supporters.
Last week, leaders of the Presbyterian Church (USA) voted during their General Assembly to change their Book of Order to describe marriage as being between “two people.” Their decision opens a path for same-sex marriage in the denomination’s 10,000 churches. Now a majority of the church’s 172 regional bodies must approve the decision before it becomes final, a process that may take up to a year. The body also approved a measure to allow pastors in states where same-sex marriage is legal to officiate such weddings.
Meanwhile, three gay Republicans running for Congress are featuring their same-sex partner or spouse in campaign ads. According to The New York Times, this is a first for a gay congressional candidate from either major political party. And the mayor of Louisville, Kentucky has announced that he now agrees with supporters of same-sex marriage. If churches, Republicans and mayors in the South are joining the movement, its momentum is clearly on the rise.
However, Ralph Reed, founder of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, had a different view when he addressed the issue last Friday. He stated that only six of the states that have legalized gay marriage have done so through voter referendum or by state legislature. In every other case, it was imposed by the courts. Over time, judicial fiat is often overturned by public conviction.
It may be that the court of public opinion will eventually move this issue back toward traditional marriage. Whether it does or not, my view is that Christians should not see the debate over same-sex marriage as a battle but as an opportunity. Most Americans do not know what Scripture actually teaches about sexual purity and the covenant of marriage. They do not know that Jesus loves them, whether they are gay or straight. They do not know that he paid for their sins, whatever they are, and that he offers hope and a new life. They deserve to hear the truth spoken in love.
Jesus did not die for America, but for Americans. Millennia after the nations are forgotten, every person you know will have just begun an eternity either with God or separated from him. Let’s teach biblical truth on sex and marriage with courage and clarity, but let’s love those we seek to persuade. Satan rejoices when we win an argument and lose a soul.
Last Saturday, I attended Les Miserables on Broadway in New York City. The play brings tears to my eyes every time I see it. Its central character, a convict named Jean Valjean, is transformed when a priest gives him the silver he has been arrested for stealing. In turn, he forgives a policeman who persecutes him, redeems a prostitute, raises her daughter, and rescues the man who becomes her husband. What the priest did for Jean Valjean, he did for others.
What has Jesus done for you?