Marriage Equality Opposition: The Bonfire of Vanity
Last month, Washington, Maine, and Maryland legalized same-sex marriage. They are the first states to have done so by popular vote. They joined six other states—New York, Iowa, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont, as well as the District of Columbia—that had already enacted laws or issued court rulings permitting same-sex marriage.
Chris Gregoire, Washington’s governor, and Sam Reed, its Secretary of State, certified the election results of Referendum 74 on Wednesday afternoon, and marriages began happening this Sunday. Same-sex couples who previously were married in another state that allows gay marriage, like Iowa, will not have to get remarried in Washington state. Their marriages became valid here as soon as the law took effect.
The referendum asked voters to either approve or reject the state law legalizing same-sex marriage which legislators passed earlier in the year. That law was signed by Gregoire in February but was put on hold pending the outcome of the popular vote. Nearly 54 percent of voters approved the measure.
And that’s the thing: most people support marriage equality. Even conservative commentator George Will, appearing Sunday on ABC, said opposition to it is “quite literally” dying off.
A new survey by Gallup shows that the majority of people who oppose marriage equality do so on religious grounds or on the vagaries of homosexuality being “against nature”, which is one of the stupidest phrases the human race has ever invented. If something occurs in nature (and where else could it occur?), it is natural. Homosexuality is not only a facet of humanity, but one that also occurs widely in the animal kingdom. The only difference between homosexuality and heterosexuality is that, statistically, one is less common. Blue eyes among us humans are less common, too.
Gay people have always existed, of course, but a true gay subculture didn’t emerge until the 1690s, about the end of the Reformation era. It happened in London and Amsterdam, Europe’s two most pluralistic cities at the time. The promises of real Reformation during that time, however, were lost due mainly to the heinous concept of Sola Scriptura (Latin for ‘by Scripture alone’).
Protestants during the Reformation came to view the Pope as an Antichrist and usurper for proclaiming himself “head of the church.” But instead of dethroning the Pope and acknowledging the lordship of Jesus (Col. 1:18), they installed the Bible in place of the Pope as infallible and supreme authority over the church. Thus we have the irony of the Bible being thrust into the role of the Pope, the Protestant Antichrist and usurper.
Sola Scriptura is merely a book-shaped Pope. The Word of God was now “the letter that killeth” (2 Cor. 3:6) and the iron rod with which the clergy wielded authority over the flock. Ultimately, the Reformation failed.
The problem, then, in viewing the Bible as inerrant, infallible, as the All rather than that which was given by the All, is that your particular interpretation of it, which is merely opinion, becomes inerrant and infallible as well—vanity, in other words.
No two interpretations of Scripture are alike. This is why there are so many divisions and paths within Christianity. Not all but most are certain they have a monopoly on truth, but really they are just prideful of their own take on truth. Thus they are legalists, the new Pharisees, lovers of an inert, dead letter law that does nothing more than give them certainty in their own opinions and informs and feeds their own personal vanity and, in the case of opposition to marriage equality, their own personal bigotry.
True, one could surmise that Paul was opposed to homosexual behavior, but not so with Jesus. The Son of God and Man said nothing of it. Paul was also very accepting of institutionalized servitude, including slavery. Christians get around this by interpretation. They speak of “in Paul’s time” or “what Paul REALLY meant”. Their personal vanity and bigotry won’t allow them to do this with his statements on homosexual behavior, however. Those statements they choose to interpret as set in stone—in dead, cold, inert stone.
Jesus said the greatest commandment was to love our neighbors as ourselves. Therefore, it is our Christian duty to allow our neighbors to live their lives as they see fit, especially in matters as personal and private as conscience and love. That’s what we do for ourselves, right?
People who oppose marriage equality should get over themselves, should get over their vanity and their bigotry. They should stop using Scripture like a whore to justify themselves.
If a person is opposed to gay marriage, fine. We should all respect personal conscience. But all that person has to do is not get gay married. Simple.
We live in a free country that is, at least in the area of civil rights for homosexuals, getting freer by the minute. If you truly believe other people should live their lives according to a certain interpretation of a sacred book, perhaps you should move to Afghanistan and get to work trying to re-establish the Taliban. Everybody, after all, needs a spiritual home.
Oh, and congratulations to all the happy couples!
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