Editorial: Gather facts before picking up stones
Everybody, it seems, has an opinion about Jack Phillips, the…
The Washington Post reports:
President Obama threw his support behind same-sex marriage Wednesday after years of “evolution” on the issue, and invoked Christ and the Golden Rule in detailing how he has changed.
In an interview with ABC’s Robin Roberts, the president painted his endorsement of same-sex marriage as an outgrowth of his Christian beliefs:
“ … [Michelle and I] are both practicing Christians and obviously this position may be considered to put us at odds with the views of others but, you know, when we think about our faith, the thing at root that we think about is not only Christ sacrificing himself on our behalf, but it’s also the Golden Rule, you know, treat others the way you would want to be treated. And I think that’s what we try to impart to our kids and that’s what motivates me as president and I figure the most consistent I can be in being true to those precepts, the better I’ll be as a dad and a husband and hopefully the better I’ll be as president.”
The Associated Press reports:
The evangelical pastor who President Barack Obama calls his spiritual adviser says he’s disappointed in the president’s decision to endorse same-sex marriage.
The Rev. Joel Hunter of Florida told The Associated Press that Obama called him before ABC News broadcast the announcement Wednesday.
Hunter says he told the president he disagreed with his interpretation of what the Bible says about marriage. Hunter says the president reassured him he would protect the religious freedom of churches who oppose gay marriage.
In a panel discussion on The Commercial Appeal’s Faith in Memphis section, Chris Altrock, preaching minister for the Highland Church of Christ in Cordova, Tenn., weighed in:
Many discussions about same-sex marriage in the United States are driven by issues of pleasure or profit; status or stability.
Some conversations state that gays should be permitted to marry so they may enjoy the pleasure of having the same status as heterosexual couples in our culture. They should be allowed to experience the joy of credibility and respectability in the community.
Other discussions stipulate that gays should be permitted to marry so they may be granted the legal profits afforded heterosexual couples. The federal government provides about 1,000 legal benefits and privileges to married couples. Gays should be allowed to have the same stability which comes with these privileges.
This, however, misses the Christian point of marriage. In the Christian faith, marriage is not primarily about pleasure or profit; status or stability. Marriage functions primarily as a powerful visual proclamation of the Gospel. For example, Paul urges the Ephesian husbands and wives to work sacrificially at their marriages because through such costly love the world sees a glimpse of the costly and sacrificial love demonstrated by Jesus for his bride the church. The steadfast and self-surrendering love between a husband and a wife becomes a mini-production of the original story of love between Jesus and his bride.
If we want to have a civil discussion about the status of homosexuals in our culture or about the legal privileges afforded to homosexuals, let’s do so by all means. Jesus would urge us to love our neighbor, heterosexual or homosexual, and to create a cultural climate in which all neighbors are treated with justice and mercy. But let’s leave marriage out of this discussion. From a Christian perspective, marriage has nothing to do status or stability. Marriage between a man and a woman exists to reflect the world-changing love between Jesus and his bride.
Dave Phillips, preaching minister for the Germantown Church of Christ in the Memphis area, also commented:
The President’s revelation to promote same-sex marriage is deeply troubling to followers of the Bible. Compassion for others notwithstanding, his view is contrary to the teachings of Christ, morally reckless and biblically indefensible. I continue to pray for our nation to honor God and his will.
CNN’s Belief Blog reports that the president’s support for gay marriage has riled religious conservatives but that the political effects are not yet known.
Read other coverage of the president’s announcement by Christianity Today, World and Religion News Service.
See The Christian Chronicle’s 2011 feature “Same-sex attraction: How should churches respond?”
Reader feedback: How should Christians respond to the president’s support for same-sex marriage? Please be sure to include your full name and home congregation, city and state in case we decide to quote you. The Chronicle blog welcomes and encourages feedback that promotes thoughtful and respectful discussion.
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