warning Hi, we've moved to USCANNENBERGMEDIA.COM. Visit us there!

Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

Where Christians Went Wrong On Marriage Equality

Calum Hayes |
March 24, 2013 | 7:39 p.m. PDT


Christians have missed the mark on marriage equality. (See-ming Lee, Creative Commons)
Christians have missed the mark on marriage equality. (See-ming Lee, Creative Commons)
As an Evangelical Christian, I am supposed to tell you that I oppose gay marriage. I am supposed to point you in the direction of Genesis 2:24, which tells us that marriage “is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” I am supposed to tell you that to allow homosexuals to marry is to go against God and his will and that as a Christian I could never stand for that. I am supposed to use the Bible as a reason for opposing gay marriage. As an Evangelical Christian, I can’t bring myself to tell you those things. I can’t bring myself to tell you something that contradicts the second command Jesus gave me.

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40. Those are the words Jesus gave us. As Christians, everything about us hangs on those two commandments. I have never once been embarrassed to say that I love and follow Jesus, but those who use Him as an excuse to hate others routinely embarrass me. Jesus told me to love those around me as though I were they. This means that any injustice done to them should hurt me as if that injustice was done to me. This means that any denial of basic rights to anyone, such as the right to marry, should impact me as if it was the denial of my basic right to marry. At some point along the way, we decided it was acceptable to misquote the Bible to prove whatever we felt like. It is in this that Christians have truly missed their mark.

In medieval times, each archer in a tournament had a spotter to tell them whether they had hit the target at long range. Whenever the archer misfired, their spotter would yell back “sin!” to indicate that they had missed the mark. Every time I hear a Christian man or woman preach against gay marriage, I want to stand up and yell “sin!” because they are missing the mark. We have forgotten that Jesus also told us in John 8:7, “He that is without sin among you let him first cast a stone.” Not a single one of us is perfect, therefore not a single one of us has a right to be throwing stones at homosexuals for simply wanting the same rights as heterosexuals. There is a difference between what I believe to be God’s will, and believing that my beliefs put me in a position to judge others. There is an even larger difference between what the Church deems to be acceptable and what the government deems to be acceptable. We live in a nation that practices a separation of Church and State; some of our Christian elected officials would do well to remember it.

As an Evangelical Christian, I am supposed to tell you that by voting for gay marriage to be legal you are enabling sin, which makes you complicit in that sin. As an Evangelical Christian, I am supposed to listen to Rick Santorum and tell you that to allow gay marriage would be to destroy the church and the American family. The only problem is that I can’t hear Mr. Santorum over Jesus’ commandments. There have been periods in our history when the Bible was used to justify brutal actions, along the lines of slavery and the crusades. We have the ability to look back on those times and say that we learned, that we changed and that we remembered that those actions are not what Jesus stands for. I can only hope that someday soon we are able to look back on this manipulation of the Bible to prevent homosexual marriage and say that we learned and that we changed.

We show our love for others by doing things for them, not just by talking about doing things for them (John 3:18). We show our love for others by treating them as we would like to be treated, not just by how we think they deserve to be treated. Any Christian will tell you that grace is given, not earned; God’s love is given freely, not earned. It is time we stopped the fight to prevent homosexuals from having the same rights we do. It is not a matter of debate in which they must earn the right to marry; it is to be freely given as a sign that we understand we have not earned the things given to us.

A God who judged me a sinner for wanting to grant people rights out of love would not be a just God, and I know that I love a just God. It is not our job to judge the lifestyle choices others make; that judgment will happen someday, long after we are gone, by One far more intelligent than us. In the meantime, it is simply our job to love others as we have been loved. It is our job to stand up and yell “sin!” any time we hear someone manipulating the words of Jesus to prove their own personal beliefs, to remind the world of the greatest commandments. It is our job as Christians to grant everyone the same rights we are allowed. Quite simply, everything about us, and eternity, hangs on it. If you’re not a Christian and don’t think this piece has anything to do with you, well, God Bless and love people anyway.


Reach Columnist Calum Hayes here; follow him here.



Craig Gillespie directed this true story about "the most daring rescue mission in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard.”

Watch USC Annenberg Media's live State of the Union recap and analysis here.