[guest by Dana]
Over at The Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf posts an interesting and compelling defense of traditional marriage from a self-described 23-year-old African-American college student and a strong Christian who believes in the Biblical definition of marriage. The young woman is tired of critics equating her to an anti-black racist.
Keep in mind that one day this 23-year-old African-American female college graduate might become an executive at a successful company, or perhaps even become the face of the company. Should there be an expectation for her to step down? Are we at the point where a person of faith (resulting in a now seeming unacceptable moral view), should be disqualified from professional advancement? Should there be a political and moral vetting done *before* any advancement or promotion to the executive level …just to make sure? Would an African-American woman be accused of bigotry in this situation? Should society stigmatize her as a bigot and punish her professionally for her expressed views and beliefs?
I realize the general issue was discussed on Patterico’s Mozilla thread, however, because I found the young woman’s correspondence so compelling in its thought and clarity, I wanted to share it with readers.
Personal opinion: I am not in favor of gay marriage. There are a lot of people who do support it, and I have read and heard their opinions so many times. I am aware of the fact that many of them think that if someone does not approve of gay marriage, that means they are a bigoted person who hates anyone who is different from them. This is a gigantic misconception and it’s absolutely crucial that this misconception is erased, because it’s overwhelming. Sure, there are some traditional marriage supporters who do dislike gay people. They imagine the idea of themselves kissing a person of the same sex, and that’s gross to them because they don’t have those attractions, so they see gay people and automatically think “gross,” “strange,” etc. I wish they would calm down with the knee-jerk reaction and understand that gay people are not some kind of strange, alternate, not-quite-human species. Gay people are just people. I don’t see gay people as different; I see them as fellow human beings who happen to have different feelings and different opinions than I have.
“Opinions” is key there. It’s not just that gay people have different feelings of attraction. They also have different opinions than I have on what marriage is and where it came from. Gay people, and straight people who support gay marriage, believe that marriage is something created by humankind. Government does play a big role in marriage, after all. (And like I said earlier, I’m not sure that’s a good idea.) However, I have a different opinion. I believe that God, who created all people, has His own intention for what marriage is supposed to be. I believe He deliberately created two inherently different, non-interchangeable types of humans so that one of each could permanently join together and start a family. In both Testaments, the Bible mentions that homosexual behavior is a sin- and in more places than I have room to mention, the Bible shows pictures of marriage, romance, and sex as things that are all wrapped up in God’s amazing design … and His design was intended for couples made up of one of each sex. My point is that when I say I am not in favor of gay marriage, I’m not trying to create my own definition of marriage based on what I do and do not think is “gross,” and based on which groups of people I do or do not “hate.” All of that is a misconception. The reality is that I am trying to show others God’s picture.
When I say “homosexual behavior is a sin,” people who react with “that’s hateful” don’t understand what sin is and why it’s important to speak out against it. My belief is that sin is anything that goes against God’s design and His rules. People who don’t believe in sin obviously do not see anything wrong with homosexual behavior and they don’t know why people like me speak out against it, so their reasoning is that what I say must come from hatred.
But if I hated all sinners, I’d hate myself.
There are lots of sins that exist, and in fact, everyone in the whole world has sinned. When either side of the gay marriage debate focuses only on homosexuality, they miss the bigger picture. I hope that non-Christians understand that the reason we Christians openly voice our opposition to sin is that our desire to be forgiven of our own sins is the reason we became Christians in the first place. We see sin as something that separates us from God, and we see Jesus as the one who took the punishment for our sins and saved us.
We can’t be silent about that; we must tell other people. We can’t explain who Jesus is and why His death is so important without also explaining what sin is.
Everyone sins. Everyone has an innate desire to sin, unfortunately. Some people’s innate desire is for homosexuality. I understand when gay people say that they can’t help having those feelings. I understand that hearing “you can change if you pray and try hard over time” is extremely difficult. Maybe we Christians haven’t talked enough about how we believe that everyone is a work in progress, including ourselves. Whoever chooses to believe in the Biblical definition of sin is choosing a sometimes difficult life of putting God ahead of themselves and their own desires.
I don’t want to give the impression that it’s only gay people who must learn to control their desires, and straight people are okay. I’m sorry for all the times that Christians have given that impression. Like I said before, I see gay people as people. They are just people who sin in a different way than I do.
My beliefs don’t come from hatred and an arrogant desire to feel superior. And many traditional marriage supporters have beliefs similar to mine. Yes, there are hateful traditional marriage supporters, but there are also traditional supporters who sincerely do not hate at all. Yes, we try to convince others to believe what we believe, but that’s because our beliefs are so important to us that we feel it would be wrong and clique-like to keep them only to ourselves. I wish that more gay marriage supporters would not automatically think of us as “hateful bigots” who are trying to “brainwash” other people into believing what we believe simply for the sake of becoming one of us, to add to our numbers and to make us feel superior. It’s not about us.
It’s about God.
I’m not trying to be mean to gay people. I instead want to reach out to gay people, and all other people. Let’s agree to talk to each other politely, and respectfully disagree about our different beliefs.