Sometime ago I started a series, which I haven’t completed, on what should be the Christian’s perspective on same-sex marriages. My attention has been brought back to this topic thanks to Pastor Gideon Fontil’s analysis of the religious right’s attempt to theodicize the United States through legislature, and the overturning of the California same-sex ban by a San Francisco Judge. This recent ruling does not signal the end of the debate. Rather, more fuel have been added to the fire.
Pastor Fontil’s point was that the separation of church and state that America was founded upon is not a policy that is pleasing to some of the religious right. In fact, he quoted statements of popular protestant leaders arguing for a sort of re-christening–I’m aware that this is not a word–of the American government, forgetting, or perhaps ignoring, that religious persecution in Europe played a major role in the exodus of those who would later form this country. Because they were denied the right to worship as they choose, the American colonists, who early on committed the same sin as their European fathers by persecuting those who weren’t of the same faith, decided that the best way to prevent this from occurring is through the separation of church and state.
If you were to ask Adventists do they believe in the separation of church and state you would hear a thundering yes. However, I think often times our actions betray what we claim to be convinced of. Today I dare to venture on dangerous grounds. This is not a post for liberals because it will emboldened them to go further then the suggestion that I’m about to propose. In fact, some of them argue against the biblical evidence forbidding same-sex unions. It is not a post for conservatives either because they will become enraged and conclude that I’ve left the faith. Regardless of what some will conclude, I will attempt to present my own perspective in a way that doesn’t conflict with the position of the church on same-sex marriages and relationships. Why? Because the Bible is the foundation upon which that position is based. Therefore, it is also my position.
What is at the heart of this controversy is whether or not Christians should influence the state to create laws that are based on our religious beliefs. If this reasoning is followed all the way through it becomes important to identify which form of Christianity should have the most say-so in these considerations. Next, what other things should be changed in order to align with that faith community’s perspective? What if it is not Christianity, but Buddhism or Islam? The separation of church and state prevents the enforcement of religious beliefs by the nation.
Back to Fontil’s argument, he suggested that the breakdown of the separation of church and state will be like the tumbling of the Berlin wall in the religious world. Sure, the unification of church and state has happened before, but it didn’t result in the fulfillment of Revelation 13, the United States and the Papacy–I do plan to write a thorough presentation on why Adventists believe that those prophecies are referring to the two listed. Thus, even though it may seem that arguing against abortion and same-sex marriage is a great idea, there are consequences down the line that few realize.
I believe that Christians have lost their focus. They have become more involved in nation building instead of evangelism. I’ve argued this many times before, America is not a Christian nation and it shouldn’t be. Our objective should be to educate the world concerning Jesus’ death, resurrection, second coming, and how the Bible teaches us to live in light of these things.
All this does not mean that I approve of same-sex marriages/relationships, but that I see it as the church attempting to use state power to enforce it’s belief. Same-sex marriages and relationships are wrong and we shouldn’t be afraid to write about it and shout it from our pulpits. However, let us remember how the Christian churches of various denominations have used the power of the state and how that has affected not only other faiths but other Christians as well.
I suggest that we start preaching the gospel instead of trying to argue for and against laws like political pundits. These people who we hope would not go in the direction of same-sex unions should be hearing about God’s love and His ways. They view us as religious zealots who are trying to get the state to enforce what we believe. Instead we should be seen as people who are always talking about Jesus. That is the message and accompanying lifestyle that will do the most good. We should preach Christ crucified, risen, and coming again, the threefold truth that will shake the halls of congress and the world.