This Just In: Christian Takes Right Side Of Argument For All The Wrong Reasons.
More than one blog that I have visited in the last few weeks has responded to this article from the HuffPo by a Presbyterian Minister in which she claims to want to attack “the feeble lie claiming that same gender love is a sin.”
I would normally have let this stand, as any of my friends know, I am an ardent proponent of gay marriage and LGBT equity. I applaud Rev. Edwards stand in support of extending the institution of marriage to all loving and consensual couples. Yet there is something profoundly wrong, in my mind, with trying to claim that same gender love is not a sin from a biblical standpoint.
The problem with taking this stand will show us one of the few places where Christians and atheists should agree.
As an atheist, I really do not want Christians to be able to whimsically pick and chose which doctrines they agree or disagree with. The bible comes out firmly against homosexuality, and I consider this to be a fundamental liability to the faith. Just as I want to be able to keep Christians scrambling to explain away God’s apathy toward slavery, I want to continue to question how you can argue against homosexuality from any place other than scripture. I also want to be able to expose the logical flaw of affirming the Bible and being progressive.
As a Christian, you should stand against this too. If homosexual love is not a sin, then several passages in scripture are called into question. We all, by now, know which ones. I suppose that you might take the stand that this falls under OT law, which was fulfilled by Jesus and therefor does not apply. Then, though, you also have to affirm that the gospels authored by Paul are also not applicable to modern Christianity. Paul affirms the law as it applies to homosexuals in Corinthians 6. For all the “judge not” and “love thy neighbor” rhetoric in the gospel, homosexuality is still a sin.
Christians can, I think, take the tack that their job is not a legislative one, that Christians have no inherent right to force their values on a pluralistic society. They can argue that the bible does not impel them to stand in defiance of society’s right to have logically consistent laws. I do not believe that Christians can say that the bible is ambivalent or supportive of homosexuality. My issue is not with the stand Rev. Edwards takes, but the reasons she claims to take that stand. Here is how I see it:
1. IF there is a God,
2. IF He inspired the Bible, it is the Word of God
3. THEN homosexuality is a sin, and,
4. You cannot SUPPORT gay marriage, or the gay lifestyle.
It really is that simple. You can take the position that you don’t wish to force your religious position on others. You can take the position that you will reserve that judgement to a higher power. You cannot take the position that it is not a sin. You cannot take the position that the bible does not unambiguously condemn homosexuals.
My preference will always be that Christians take the position that they have no right to project their values on others or legislate their doctrines. This is an enlightened and reasonable opinion. I think it is also a biblical one. I don’t think that we should argue that homosexuality is not a biblical sin.
I think, as well, that this issue will unintentionally hurt progressive Christians. If you make arguments that are fallacious, as I believe this one is, you make mainstream Christians less likely to listen to those arguments that are constructive. You risk having them write off all progressive thought and critique as being a perversion of scripture, you rob your faith of possibility.
I would love nothing more than to live in a world where the rights of LGBT people are not just respected, but unequivocally equal. I just don’t think that comments like those of Rev. Edwards take the debate in the right direction.
Other reactions to the HuffPo article:
From a fellow Atheist-Somemusician has a post (and a number of comments)
From a Christian- John Barron Jr., of Truth in Religion & Politics