The Gay Marriage Mandate?
Have Americans started to accept gay marriage, and what does it mean for the church?

It isn't news to anyone that Americans' views about gay marriage is shifting. Last month three states decided by popular vote to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples, and now the Supreme Court has agreed to hear two pivotal cases about gay marriage which could settle the legal issue in the U.S. for good.

Do these political victories, however, signal a shift in the views of the general population? According to a new set of polls by USA Today/Gallup that appears to be the case. 53% of Americans now support extending the same legal rights to married gay couples. Among 18-29 year olds, the support rises to 73 percent. Only one age group, those over 65, retain a majority who do not favor same-sex marriage. This fact led conservative commentator George Will to say, "Opposition to gay marriage is literally dying."

Among the minority who still oppose same-sex marriage, most cite religion as the reason. This raises many important questions for the church.

First, many evangelical churches and denominations are struggling to engage younger Americans. With the gay-rights/gay-marriage issue being overwhelmingly settled for those under 30, will the church's continued opposition to same-sex marriage end any chance of reaching these younger Americans?

Second, as more Americans and more states support gay marriage, how will the courts and the population respond to religious institutions that do not? In other words, how will the extension of rights to gay Americans impact religious liberty?

Third, even for those churches and denominations that do not change their theological understanding of marriage and sexuality, how will they adjust their discussion of these issues? Last week the Mormons drew attention to changes on their website about homosexuality. The Church of Latter-Day Saints say they have not changed their convictions about homosexual behavior, just how they are talking about it.

Should the recent election results and the polls be interpreted as a mandate for gay marriage? If it is, how should churches respond? Obviously many churches are not going to suddenly begin affirming gay marriage, but will Christian leaders still publicly and politically oppose government and social acceptance of it? Is the missional cost to opposition just too high? Can the church afford to alienate younger people, or is failure to speak out in opposition to same sex marriage a slippery-slope to wider relativism within evangelicalism?

For more analysis of the USA Today/Gallup polls, I suggest reading this article by Susan Page.

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December 10, 2012

Displaying 1–10 of 20 comments

Tracy

May 05, 2013  1:00am

God is love. There are a few things in the Bible that don't make sense from a moral point of view (women's rights, slavery...). If gay people want to get married I say have at it. Be blessed!

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bil_

December 28, 2012  2:42am

OK, so I'm a little late getting to this conversation, but I think another really interesting question, is what seems to be the question behind the question. The question of homosexuality has been long discussed here and elsewhere (btw, I thought Sheerahkahn's reply alluded to some of this, and also, I loved Lonnie's reply as well...really great stuff for reflection!). What stood out to me was the tone, implication, and ending of the article. "Is the missional cost to opposition just too high? Can the church afford to alienate younger people...?" This article, as well as many Christians, seems to believe the misconception that it's "our" job to save the Church. The undercurrent of fear is palpable: if we don't act now we're going to lose everything! But isn't that just the point? Will many local churches come and go–live and die–on this an other issues? You bet. But are any of these vacillations for relevancy going to be the undoing of the Church? Not according to God's Word. So the underlying premise–that we should all be anxious about this or any issue–seems unfounded in God's view.

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Anonymous

December 20, 2012  12:03pm

I will try once again to make this clearer. Sorry about the confusion. The Remnant: A few The undeceived Believe in God Upright The narrow way No unnatural sex Truth Wheat Lambs Good God Christ The Just Sodom and Gomorrah The masses Deceived by Satan The fallen The broad way Unnatural sex Lies Tares Goats

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Marilyn Taplin

December 20, 2012  11:55am

A remnant is left at the end. In the days of Noah there were only a few who were not given to unnatural sex. The few were in the Ark. The masses were in the water. The land was full of violence. Today the earth is full of violence and there is once again a perverse generation on earth. If it were possible for the remnant to live on their own planet they would have heaven on their planet. The list of what comes out of the minds of those given to perverseness would not occur on their planet. There would be no murder, child molestation, political corruption etc. However, the just and the unjust both live on planet earth and if we want to experience heaven on earth the unjust will need to return to the way of the just. This would be love for God, for self and for our fellow humans. The Remnant Sodom and Gomorrah A few The masses Believe in God Deceived by Satan Upright Fallen Holy Profane The narrow way The broad way No unnatural sex Oral and anal sex. Truth Lies Upright Fallen Wheat Tares Lambs Goats Good Evil God Satan Christ Antichrist Just Unjust

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Marilyn Taplin

December 20, 2012  11:41am

Man has departed from the way God instructed us to live. Then when we see all the evil this produces we blame God. There is a list of what comes from the minds of those given to sin. Maybe it is time to take a look at that list. ORIGINAL SIN When the peoples of earth do not understand the third chapter of Genesis, the story of Adam and Eve, and the sin that was forbidden for each and every one of us we cannot understand God, goodness, holiness, or the rest of the Bible. Departing from God and following the ways of Satan is established in Genesis and revisited throughout every story in Scripture. In the Garden there are only two powers available for man to serve. And today, as it has been since Eden, there are only two powers – God or Satan. This truth is restated in the story of Noah and those in the flood – the population of the earth divided into two groups. If Adam and Eve were placed in the story of Noah, they would not be in the Ark with righteous Noah. Adam and Eve would be in the water for they were deceived by Satan. Their sin was sexual for it was a sexually perverse generation in the water at that time and so it is today. Then the land was filled with violence as our land is today. If placed in the story of just and righteous Lot, the first couple would not have been delivered with righteous Lot. Adam and Eve would have been citizens of Sodom and Gomorrah. An understanding of this first sin that spread so rapidly is critical for the salvation and well being of mankind, for all sorrows ultimately come from the continuation of original sin. I believe the evidence will prove that oral sex was the sin in Eden. Adam and Eve had no one to sin with except each other. Romans 1:28-31 describes men with men and all those who give up the natural use of the body to do that which is not natural. This includes all the sexually perverse: same-sex partners and heterosexual partners married or unmarred who engage in oral and anal sex. This Scripture goes on to tell us what comes out of the minds of those given to the sex forbidden by God. "Being filled with" means their minds are filled with the list of evils that is then listed. Below is the list of what fills the minds of those given to unnatural sex. All unrighteousness: (If no one had sinned by this first sin in Eden, the earth would still be an Eden with no need for ten more commandments.) Fornication: (The name of the sexual activities of Sodom and Gomorrah, the Gentiles, the mount of Esau, and Babylon.) Wickedness: (The opposite of righteousness.) Covetousness: (Greed) A major problem within our society today. Maliciousness: (Spiteful and cruel.) Full of envy: (Greedy, jealous, full of malice, and resentful.) Murder: (All murder comes from the minds of the sexually perverse. If no one had committed original sin, oral sex, we would still be in a paradise without pain and suffering. When sin ends murder will also end. War will end. Original sin is the root of all that is wrong, all the evils that are committed. It is the root of society's problems, and until the root of all sin is acknowledged and removed these atrocities will continue. I am not saying all sexually perverse people will commit murder. But all murders come from the minds of those who commit unnatural sexual acts.) Debate: (Their main debate is with God, rebellion against God. They debate truth, leading to all the religions and divisions in religions. The lie they fell for is the opposite of truth, therefore, they change truth. The sexually perverse are the unjust. Jesus is just and the unjust debate with and oppose Jesus.) Deceit: (Lying, injustice, corruption. All corruption in the church, in the business world, and at every level of government comes from those who have disregarded this first law for all mankind.) Haters of God: (Regardless of what they claim; they hate God. To hate God is to break the greatest commandment - to love God.) Proud: (This is the pride God hates. God never walks i

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Mark

December 20, 2012  10:32am

If you support gay marriage, an issue clearly spoken against in Scripture, why preach the Scripture at all? Are we to use Scripture for our convenience or to somehow support the feelings/beliefs of a majority even if those beliefs are unbiblical? I don't get it. Why is this a question? If the majority of Americans believe salvation comes through living a good life and being a good person, should we begin to preach that message as well (which I suppose is already preached by some). Isn't this an issue that requires us to say, "We must obey God rather than men?"

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S.T.

December 20, 2012  12:28am

Sorry, I noted the wrong name in my comment (not Nate). Luv Lonnie's note about his/her life change and helping to change other peoples lives. Bravo!

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Ted

December 19, 2012  7:42pm

2 Timothy 4:3-5 New International Version (NIV) 3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry." Seems we can change the content of the Message to suit whatever the current culture finds acceptable.... a very dangerous form of religion it would seem. Such oscillating foundations are not a religion/faith many would live for much less die for. If our faith has to be culturally 'correct' to be relevant, I would reconsider that faith. 2 Peter 2:1-3 New International Version (NIV) 2 But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. 2 Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. 3 In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.

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Deni

December 19, 2012  3:39pm

Sheerakahn gave a lucid response. Church leaders have done a poor job of protecting us from the wolves and few Christians these are willing to take up the cross to follow Christ. Now it might be a case of too little too late. There was a time when Christians were willing to die a horrible death for their faith (Roman persecution). Even many centuries later Christians had the confidence to take up arms when Islamic hordes threatened to wipe them out completely. Christians were responsible for creating a society where life wasn't "nasty brutish and short". In Christian civilization learning flourished and Christians were the first to eradicate slavery from their lands. Although some Christians (like some today who support gay marriage) tried to twist slavery scripture against the obvious and always understood meaning they were defeated by a Christian society who didn't accept that nonsense. Until the 1930s Christians universally accepted that when God told the first married couple to be fruitful and multiply He didn't have any fine print saying "when convenient". However things started to change. Now only Catholics officially oppose contraception in marriage and most use it themselves. No line in the sand was drawn by Church leaders with no-fault divorce in spite of the Bible verses and the obvious consequences that it would have for marriage. Many Christians are aware that they shouldn't get divorced for convenience but get divorced anyway. Now with most married couples essentially practising something akin to gay sex (contrary to God's direction and the basic definition of marriage) and many are willing to destroy the fundamental unit of society. For those who are still open to God's Word it is hard to claim a moral platform to argue against further rejection of God's values when the world sees it as contradiction.

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John Mc Lean

December 19, 2012  11:58am

As a teacher of Religious Studies I must state what the Bible says on the subject and also if I am referring to the Koran. Both do oppose this practice and therefore there is no question of supporting same sex marriage.Will I therefore be condemned by the law and removed from my career because I present the teaching of either book for study and comment. Students will ask me for a personal opinion. Do I decline? I must be consistent to the material I present in class as the authentic teaching of a particular faith. It students disagree with the teaching then they must discuss alternatives. From a personal stance based on scripture I believe there is a direct correlation between what we do and the consequences of our actions. This issue will damage our society and there will be a case to answer before God.The institution of marriage, the union of a man and a woman is a creation ordinance and designed for the procreation and protection of children.The consequences of the breaking away to form other units of living is I believe very obvious in The United Kingdom and in the United States. We will be judged for this.

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