Following last weeks post about the billboard apology, it got me thinking... wondering... questioning... and wanting your input.

So here it goes.

Should we as Christians be concerned with legislating our set of morals, in particular our definition of marriage?

What is the upside of doing so?

What is the downside of doing so?

Are we being so right that we actually become wrong?

If you believe legislating our definition is right, how do you at the same time speak love to those who will inevitably feel hatred from you?

If you don't believe in legislating the Christian definition, don't you fear losing a key foundation to life - the family unit?

What is so sacred or special about our definition of marriage? More pointed, why is divorce in the church as bad as outside of the church?

Are we kidding ourselves?

I guess the greater question I'm struggling with is, should we expect others to live by the morals we subscribe to, base on the teachings of Jesus?

If you are not a follower of Jesus, or call yourself a Christian - how did Prop 8 strike you and the 'religious' voice that is always attached to it?

This is the new Sean Penn movie, MILK - and adds to the conversation.


Kevin Davis said...

I just posted this and then my reader sent me this link;

which asks some similar questions too.

Anonymous said...

My only issue with this is, I do not want to see the State mandate anything on the church and vice versa. Stopping a definition change on a state level should threaten nobody.

sharkiepatronus said...

What you said about how do we show love, was and is my key issue with the whole issue of legislating morality.
Do I think that the government should be legislating gay marriage? No.
Do I approve of the hate filled manner in which people were campaigning for Prop 8 in California? Extra No!

It really breaks my heart to see people be so hateful toward one another.

And we as a whole should be aware, if the can legislate morality one way, it could be legislated the other way too.

Nicky said...

As a Californian, this whole topic hits home with me on many levels. I had a lot to type out but it got very rambley, so I just deleted it. *grrrr* I'll just say that I voted Yes on Prop 8. In all honesty, I felt conflicted about it at times, but in the end, I feel like it was the right decision.

Kevin Davis said...

N8 - thanks for your thoughts and I agree with you. I'm all for equality, but don't want one decision or redefining to equal an infringement on others beliefs.

sharkiepatronus - I have the same concern on the topic.

Nicky - just ramble, who cares - I would have read it.

Denise said...

i am very conflicted about my decision to vote yes on 8, i agree very much with Sharkiepatronus a.k.a Stacey.

Matty said...

Being a Coloradan who was outside the country for a good portion of this election season, I approach this having very little knowledge of how the this legislation was marketed, pushed and passed. I suspect - because I don't have much faith in humans to behave humanly of their own accord - that there were probably a lot of hurtful and hateful things said and done during this campaign. There, that's my disclaimer....

Now for my opinion regarding the legislation itself. First; what is law but the legislation of morality? What major law do we have that isn't taking a stand on what is right and wrong (a simplistic definition of morality)?

Thus, if members of a given religion have a general set of moral values and vote accordingly, that is not religion being forced on the state... it's democracy. Obviously the laws that the majority pass must be declared legal against the backdrop of the constitution, but that is another issue than the popular passage of legislation.

If the populace of the state of California determines that a civil relationship should be given preference over another, I think that is democracy in action.

Also, when people call Christians judgmental often times they're right. That said, sometimes we are labeled judgmental for making a judgement call. To berate a person for their sin is judgemental; to call a sin a sin (as it's our Biblical duty) is simply making a judgement between right and wrong.

This must be done within the context of loving the person, or it gets dangerously close to judgementalism and will certainly be called that by those who have a different moral compass.

That's all for now but I must reiterate that I have no idea (other than anecdotal evidence) how this campaign was waged and what kinds of words and tactics where used on the opposition.

Matty said...

Oh, I almost forgot. Kev, you asked for a non-Christian perspective and I have a perfect one for you.

My Uncle's falls into that camp and he's discussed Prop 8 at length (in post and comments) on his blog. Our completely different belief systems aside, he is a deep thinker and a well written political junkie. Check him out here:

and here

Bob said...

Is it possible to not tolerate sinful behavior and still love the sinner? 26 years in LE has taught me that you can't legislate morality.
But you also have to look at the "Agenda" Polls have shown us that the vast majority of gay individuals do not want to marry - just have the right to marry - It's an attempt to make homosexuality "normal".

What is the next step? Watch the slipery slope - always look for the next move.

just_me_tiff said...

I wanted to post a comment, and i'm not trying to take the easy way out necessarily, but Matty said it so perfectly...i couldn't agree more.

Kevin Davis said...

Denise - I feel your conflict and thanks for the clarification on Stacey - I looked all over her blog and profile for a name.

Matty - I agree with Tiff - well said. Looking forward to hanging out with you and some coffee when you're in the great, cold Michigan.

Ryan Billings said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ryan Billings said...

Before you prevent others from obtaining rights based on YOUR perception of morality, maybe you should look in the mirror and worry about how to strengthen your own morals based on rights you already have.

Matty said...

Good point....

I am no less worried about how purported Christians are destroying the institution of marriage than I am about court-imposed gay marriage.

That said, please don't make the mistake of saying that just because Christ followers aren't perfect, we can't take a stand on something that we believe.

Also, despite you're having deleted your original comment I think bigot is a pretty strong word. Kevin's been kind enough to host this discussion so let's stay civil here.

Cassi said...

Bob has touched on the issue that moved me the most... the agenda behind the whole proposition. I feel that this is MUCH bigger than just being able to marry... if it was JUST about that then maybe I might have been swayed the other way. But when I heard the stories about the teachings in the schools in Mass and the events already happening here in Cal - I had to take a stand. Just like I took a stand against the school teaching my son to perform yoga (it's an Eastern religion - it is not a form of exercise!) - it is my right and my duty as a parent to take a stand against what they are wanting to teach young and very impressionable children. Yes - I now homeschool my son - but I don't know that my sons will choose to homeschool their children.

Yes, Bob - It IS possible to love the sinner and hate the sin... I have a brother that is openly gay. He has lived this lifestyle for as long as I can remember... I love him (and his partner) dearly... doesn't mean that I think that what he is doing is right.

And to reiterate what Bob said - gotta watch for the next move... this is indeed a slippery, very slippery slope.

Ryan Billings said...

Bigot- is a prejudiced person who is intolerant of any opinions differing from their own or intolerant of people of different ethnicity, race, or class.

- Wiki

My original post did include this word (religious bigot) because I thought it was pertinent to the topic. I guess I should have left it.

"That said, please don't make the mistake of saying that just because Christ followers aren't perfect, we can't take a stand on something that we believe."

No one is perfect, but not seeing your own faults regarding marriage (divorce rates teetering at 50%), you diminish any argument that marriage is the foundation of our society, therefore requiring some kind of mandate to be defined by a union of a Man and a Woman.

Not to mention all the ridiculous underlying effects of this moral justification including partners' hospital visitation and medical decision making and partners' inability to be included on insurance policies.

The latter is a perfect example someone wanting to a responsible citizen by paying their own way; two people willing to buy coverage instead of either going completely without or milking the government for it.

Everyone wants to make everything so black and white. It's not. You can't see it any other way because you already have all these rights. You can practice your religion (one that is not a majority and which many disagree with) without fear that it will be taken away.

I don't agree with everything the bible says and everything the Christ followers believe, but I don't try to inject my beliefs and morals on them.

Matty said...

I'm not trying to make this a you vs me, Christian vs non thing. Your points are coherent and well written but I do have a few counterpoints.

1. I think there is a significant difference between being intolerant of a lifestyle and wanting maintain a traditional definition of a civil arrangement. To outlaw homosexual relationships would clearly be intolerant. To make a decision as a society regarding the distribution of government benefits to a given relationship is not intolerance.

2. While ad hominem attacks may be pertinent, they are rarely useful to a conversation (and they make the user sound - dare I say it - intolerant).

3. You accuse me of not seeing the faults in marriage within the church, but I was the one who first brought up these failings. I concede that we haven't been a beacon of morality in this arena, but that doesn't logically justify eroding it further.

4. Most of the marital privileges (they are not rights) you mention are available through a legal document that is not any harder to get than a marriage license. Google actually turns up a pile of insurance providers that allow for same-sex couple policies.

5. You also contend that you don't try to inject your beliefs and morals on Christians but what else would you call judges in Massachusetts mandating same-sex marriage over the disapproval of the citizenry?

These are just a few areas where I respectfully disagree with you (I hope it comes across that way), but as I said above, I'm not trying to make this an "us vs them" argument. I appreciate your point of view you willingness to have a little friendly debate.

Kev, sorry to monopolize your comment section.

Cassi said...

Found this article today... thought you might find it interesting: