Earlier in my adult life I probably would have supported the various state gay marriage bans. No longer. My reading of psychological science, my revisiting the biblical foundations of my religious faith, and my engagement with real people’s life stories have together drawn me to a different place. In the nine short chapters and an appendix of What God has Joined Together: The Christian Case for Gay Marriage, Letha Dawson Scanzoni and I together derive these ten conclusions for our audience: Christians who are wrestling with same-sex partnerships and the ordination of gays and lesbians to church offices.
• Our faith tradition beckons us, with humility and open minds, to discern and communicate truth (God’s truth, we say).
• All humans have a deep “need to belong”–to connect with others in close, intimate, enduring relationships.
• As one potent example of such relationships, marriage contributes to flourishing lives–to happier and healthier adults, and thriving children.
• Toxic forces, especially radical individualism and the media modeling of impulsive sexuality, are corroding marriage and the health of communities.
• Sexual orientation is a natural (largely biologically influenced) disposition, most clearly so for men.
• Sexual orientation is also an enduring disposition, which is seldom reversed by willpower, reparative therapy, or ex-gay ministry.
• Out of 31,103 Bible verses, only seven frequently quoted verses speak directly of same-sex behavior–and often in the context of idolatry, promiscuity, adultery, child exploitation, or violence. We infer that the Bible has nothing to say about an enduring sexual orientation (a modern concept) or about loving, long-term same-sex partnerships.
• The creation stories focus on human companionship, on the importance of relationship and the formation of new kinship units (most of which will be heterosexual, but some of which, we now realize, may be homosexual).
• A Christian case for gay marriage arises from the human need to belong, from the biblical mandate for justice, from the benefits of a culture-wide norm of monogamy, and from a refutation of popular arguments against gay marriage.
• Although not part of our argument (and therefore in an appendix) we also note–for those who may wonder how history likely will judge us–that attitudes on this sexual issue are rapidly changing, and becoming more accepting of gay rights and relationships. Moreover, there is a large generation gap, with most older adults opposing gay marriage and most younger adults supporting it. Given that the forces driving the attitude changes are likely to continue, and given generational succession, it appears that the culture war over gay marriage and gay ordination will gradually be resolved in the years to come, much as were previous culture wars over minority and women’s rights.
That, in a nutshell, is the essence of our marriage-supporting “Christian case for gay marriage.”
PsySR member and psychology professor David G. Myers, Ph.D., can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. This essay is adapted from an earlier online response to critics of his book.
December 10, 2008 at 12:22 am
I support everything you say, and although not a christian, I believe that everyone should have equal chance to commit and show love.
December 10, 2008 at 4:38 pm
I agree with much of what you say. However, I think there are still many challenges, and possibilties. The alternative I support for marriage as a whole, is at the policy level: why not simply remove government involvement in defining, regulating, taxing, etc. marriage, period. It is a cultural construct to begin with – why not let it remain so, in the libertarian fashion perhaps.
Relatedly, while we are opening up the pathways to greater inclusiveness, we are still acting in prejudiced and ethnocentric ways by promoting the prevailing cultural definitions of relationship. Monogamy is only one option (polygyny, polyandry, etc).
Lastly, there are many variations to christianity and so naturally there will be many adaptations to the understanding of the biblical texts. However, if we are going to pursue change or understanding amongst christians for gays, then we need to preach to the right choir. We need to use theological understandings that we may or may not be comfortable with, but we better be understanding of. No different than the emic and etic perspectives, we will not effect change externally (preaching from the outside in). I agree that the times are changing, and the cultural-generational shift will bring about some interesting adaptations. However, thus far I have not heard of an inclusive argument that most modern christians could realistically buy into, given the nature of the texts and the beliefs surrounding those texts. Nonetheless, there are many commands/sins that are ignored for other cultural reasons (i.e. divorce etc.), so perhaps it will simply follow this path.
Regardless, I personally believe the greatest effort should be aimed at building greater contact, understanding, and respect for our global differences, rather than trying to prozelytize or engineer change. Getting along in the next century will have more to deal with Us respecting our differences rather than relying on minimizing diversity. Diversity can be approached through conformity or acceptance; I prefer the latter. This may mean respecting that our christian brothers and sisters may never feel as we do. Asking christian’s to respect rather than accept is a much more culturally congruent oreintation, as well as more respectful of our phenomenological differences.
June 20, 2009 at 1:30 pm
Sorry but I do not agree. The truth of God is absolute. He even said not a single dot may be deleted from the Scripture. Heterosexual is not a tradition, it is made like that since the beginning of the world. For He is the one who made man, woman, and sex. We humans are the one who makes it deviate. The only thing sin becomes okay is because we tolerate it, or we often commit it even though at first we feel guilty doing it, but then it becomes a habbit, so the small voice inside our heart becomes dull. If we really study the Scripture, it isn’t written there how God hated so much about this homosexual thing. Sodom and Gomorrah were sample of the worst cities that practice this sin and were destroyed by God. From many experiences that I have seen, people becomes hermaphrodite, or homosexual for reasons, they are not created that way. If you learn well their past experiences or backgrounds, you will find wrong things that have happened through their lives that cause them to be like that. Such things like family education, community influences, rejections or betrayals may cause this. And when God came into their lives, they were restored. This is how it is supposed to be. Christ died to restore things. Some things might look good, but not always right, but right things will always good. Even the devil can disguise as an angel of light, beware of that. And marriage is not simply a desire to fulfill something like sex. As in the Scripture, marriage has a meaning and purpose. I will be posting about marriage from the perspective of Christianity soon. If you wish to learn more about it, you can visit my blog, http://aleipo.wordpress.com. God bless you!
July 17, 2009 at 9:06 pm
Well you post all you want, Aleipo! You still cannot change what love is to someone when they have a bountiful spirit of joy given to them from GOD above, when they are with the person they LOVE.
Ours is not to judge, and ours is not to judge the ways of love – you are not willing, clearly, to allow yourself at this time to understand that you did not choose heterosexuality – so why in the world would you think it’s something gay people can do? I can’t choose to be heterosexual – I would, and have, gotten ill even going near a woman’s privates. I’m thinking you would do the same thing if you were before a man that you were friends with and tried to do something with him, No?
Love is a beautiful gift that GOD provides two people who fall in it. And no one should stand in its way… do you want to stand in the way of love? I don’t and I won’t stand in yours… don’t tread into mine.
GOD bless you and your life…
October 20, 2009 at 12:16 pm
Which god do you mean and what source do you use? The topic here is in Christianity, that’s why I use Bible as the source and the teaching of Jesus Christ. I’m not writing from my own opinion, that will not be objective then. And did you read the blog that I link? It was written there clearly, we don’t have to argue. You ask me why some people born homo? It was written there. A love is beatiful of course when it is according to the truth. Not every good thing or everything that looks like beatiful is a truth. You can lie to someone with a reason to do good, but as for me it is still a sin. A lie will always be a sin even though it could look good. And in fact the post that I wrote here is not to judge, that’s why I said that I don’t agree, did I insult anybody here? If you want to do sin, it is your business, not mine. It is between you and God, that’s your responsibilty, not mine, why should I bother then. But when I know that something is not right (according to the Bible), of course I will tell what’s right, if not then I will sin. For if I know something is good and I don’t do it, I sin (this is written in the Bible). The matter of do you want to accept my criticize or not that’s your choice, I do not force someone, even to believe in Christ. Finally, I’m a bit curious are you a Christian? If you aren’t, then it’s fine with your opinion. But if you are, then my post above is yes for you, because I say that to Christians. While your writings here about love has no strong foundation, everybody can definite love differently. And do not bring God along in your opinion, because He might not think like you say here. Anyway thanks for replying. God bless…
October 20, 2009 at 12:32 pm
One more thing Akin, there is nobody born perfect in this world. In Christianity we were ordered to grow better everyday and perfected like Christ. After Adam and Eve fall into sin, yes, the world is broken. Our image as a man is broken. Then Jesus came to restore our image, to bear our sins, to bear our sickness, and our weaknesses. If you have weaknesses, it doesn’t mean that you can just let it go and defend yourself. I wanna be honest to you for I still have bad habbits which I know is a sin. But then I try to get rid of it everyday and fail everyday. But I dont let it just like that and say “Ah, its okay, thats just me, God would understand.” No, as I write to you like this, I do have friends which is ex-gay, until they choose to change when they know that isn’t right and now they’re changed. If you believe that God wants you to become something that is right, then how come He didnt help you. Less you’re the on who choose not willing to be perfected, well that’s your right, God wont force you anyway, thats why He give you the freewill. Anyway, dont give care to this post if you’re not a Christian.
And lastly, I really2 dont mean to insult you. I just tell what I feel like I have to tell. And if you ask me honestly, yes for me something is wrong with you and it has to be fixed, no to be tolerate, just like the weaknesses in me, they have to be fixed. God bless…
December 5, 2009 at 11:09 am
God, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ gives us His Word and common sense. Please answer this question. How can a man embrace another man from the back and say I love you when the other man can not embrace him at all. Think about that. A man and a woman can embrace each other and the flow of their love will increase. This is the way of the Lord; He created man and woman and said to the be fruitful and mulitipy. He did not say that to man with man or woman with woman, because it is impossible. God bless you and may He open your eyes to truth.
December 22, 2009 at 4:13 pm
extraordinary post , really good view on the subject and very well written, this certainly has put a spin on my day, umpteen thanks from the USA and retain up the good work
October 17, 2010 at 7:12 pm
Uhh, Linda, two men can embrace facing one another whilst making love.