I’m back again with part 2 on Joe Dallas’ post about the Chick-fil-A protestor. Let’s get right to it:
First, the sign with the Bible verse. I’m glad you’re checking the Bible out, but please check it in its entirety, New Testament as well as Old. Since your sign quoted Old Testament death penalty proscriptions for sexual sinners, you no doubt think we’re hypocrites for saying we believe the Bible, even though we don’t condone executing adulterers, homosexuals or prostitutes like some verses in Leviticus advise. We also don’t comply with Old Testament ordinances calling for us to abstain from shellfish, mixed fabrics or contact with unclean animals. We’re therefore guilty, you say, of picking and choosing which scriptures we obey and which ones we ignore.
Well, score one for Mr. Dallas. Yes, those of us who support equality do indeed think it’s wrong to take part of the Levitical code without taking all of it. In fact, even Paul says much the same in the New Testament. Yes, we are accusing people of “picking and choosing.”
But the Leviticus code was written to and for the Hebrew Theocracy, a nation God created to be ruled through a Priesthood, not an elected government. The commandments within these laws do indeed express how God feels about certain things – adultery, witchcraft, and yes, homosexuality – but in a democracy like ours, these things become a matter of conscience, not law. So Christians can and do speak on them without demanding blood from people we disagree with. St. Paul, for example, told the Corinthian church that he had no business judging non-believers, limiting his judgment authority to the church, not the culture.(1 Corinthians 5:12)
Clearly, Mr. Dallas is not a biblical scholar, or he would know that it’s not the “Leviticus code” but the “Levitical code.” It’s a picky detail, but if one is going to style oneself as being knowledgeable, then at least do some research on terminology. Might also help, while you’re at it, to have a better grasp of the meaning of the Hebrew Scriptures. They weren’t merely an expression of “how God feels about certain things.”
I also love how Mr. Dallas talks out of both sides of his mouth on this one. He says that we live in a democracy, where all of these moral issues are a “matter of conscience, not law.” He goes on to cite Paul on not judging non-believers. Hm, I think he just made my case for me. What he seems to want is for his “matter of conscience” to trump that of LGBT people and their allies. We shouldn’t judge non-believers, especially those terrifyingly sinful gay people, but we should definitely make laws that prevent them from living our their convictions. Right? Riiiiight.
(But just for the record, there are clear prohibitions against homosexuality in the New Testament, written to people not under Hebrew law, but under God’s grace as believers, so the Bible’s condemnation of this behavior isn’t limited to Old Testament texts. Check it for yourself here (Romans 1:24-27) and here (1 Corinthians 6:9-11) and here) (1 Timothy 1:10)
Those “clear prohibitions” are not really so clear, if one wants to make the effort to study a bit on the matter. I would know; I’ve spent years on this.
That doesn’t mean we’re indifferent to the culture where vital issues are concerned. In fact, we take clear positions on abortion, violence, and the definition of marriage. We vote on them, and lobby regarding them, not just because of what the Bible does or doesn’t say, but because they’re basic issues affecting all of us, Christian or not.
No. No, these are not issues that “affect all of us.” If the two women who live down the street from me want to get married, it doesn’t affect my life even one little bit. (In my state, they can. So far, I don’t feel any different than I did last year around this time, when the law took effect.) In any case, Mr. Dallas is right about lobbying and voting on the issues that are important to us. I doubt that eating chicken is going to have that kind of impact, though.
So while it’s un-Biblical for a Christian to marry a non-Christian (2 Corinthians 6:14) we don’t want laws on the books criminalizing such marriages, because not all citizens are Christian, and don’t submit their lives to Biblical standards. It’s also un-Biblical to take an innocent life, but on that issue we seek legal enforcement, because people of any faith or no faith will generally agree that life should be protected. Likewise, we believe children are best raised by the complimentary male-female union, and that future generation’s emotional stability and productivity will be impacted by our protection or revision of marriage’s basic structure. That’s why we support traditional marriage, and we oppose its re-definition.
So, it’s okay to break “biblical” rules on certain kinds of marriage, but not on others. Wonder how he feels about interracial marriage?
Right after that, he shows his true colors. This isn’t about how the word marriage is defined. Marriage is marriage—two people creating a life together and enjoying all the legal benefits that entitles them to. This is about his personal definition of what it means to be in a marriage relationship. Citing complementarianism (which he spells wrong, by the way) proves that he has a pretty narrow view of what it should look like. I guess my kids are going to be emotionally unstable and unproductive as a result of having parents who are in a fully egalitarian marriage. Perhaps he would like to have the church come and discipline us so that we fit the definition of traditional marriage a little better. And don’t even get me started on whether or not same-sex couples make good parents. Instead of judging by what comes out of highly biased literature, why not get to know some couples with kids? Find out whether their kids are like?
I could write a whole blog post on the “redefinition” of marriage. The definition has changed in so many ways over the history of the world. Heck, even in the Bible variance was allowed. I wish people would be honest that what they mean is that they want a very specific kind of marriage: One man, one woman, first marriage, in which both people chose each other. I find it very interesting that the people who rant about redefining marriage don’t seem to want to outlaw divorce or prevent divorced people from remarrying. After all, doesn’t divorce supposedly prevent “emotional stability and productivity”? Don’t we all want what’s best for society?
That’s where you and I part company. You see same-sex marriage as a civil rights issue; I see it as an experiment jeopardizing our future health and well-being. Not much common ground there
Well, at least he’s honest.
But maybe we can find common ground on broader questions of fairness. When Chick-fil-A’s owner Don Cathy said during an interview that he opposes same-sex marriage, he was told “take a hike and take your intolerance with you” by Philadelphia City Councilman James Kenney. Chicago’s mayor Rahm Emanuel added that “Chick-fil-A’s values are not Chicago values”, and Boston’s mayor Thomas Menino, claiming the chain “advocates against people’s rights”, publicly opposed Chick-fil-A opening a location in his town.
Back up a second. All this, because a dude outside Chick-fil-A had a sign? For real? If the problem is what politicians are doing, then shut up about the one guy with a sign and go protest some actual people who are doing something wrong! (I may agree with the sentiment behind what those politicians have said, but my understanding is that they can’t legally refuse to allow a Chick-fil-A to set up business in their cities.)
Tomorrow, I’m wrapping up this series. See you all then!