Daniel Kirk (no relation) writes an interesting post Regarding Amendment 1in North Carolina. It is interesting not only to people in North Carolina, or who consider it home, but to Christians worldwide, and especially here in the UK where moves to legalise same sex marriage are under consideration. This is because the core of the proposed North Carolina constitutional amendment is as follows:
Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State.
Daniel’s response to this is simple:
You don’t have to vote for Amendment 1, even if you don’t think God approves of homosexual behavior.
And this is the basis of his reasoning:
We have a responsibility to guard the morality of the church in a way that God has not given us responsibility to guard the morality of the entire world. …
When we hold positions for reasons that are clearly and fundamentally religious positions, we must take extra care not to impose these on our non-Christian neighbors–if, in fact, we would love them with our religious convictions in the same way we would have them love us with theirs.
In other words, as Christians we should not be seeking to impose our own moral standards on the world. If we try to do so, we are not showing Christian love to our unbelieving neighbours.
I agree. In fact I would take this a little further than Daniel does explicitly. If we seek to impose our moral standards on outsiders, we give them the impression that the Christian faith is a matter of obeying rules. That is a complete denial of the gospel proclamation to unbelievers, which should be that God loves them and gives them his grace even while they are still living sinful lives. As Craig Groeschel writes today for the Huffington Post, Rules Create Toxic Religion. And the sin of a homosexual relationship is no worse in God’s eyes than the sin of showing self-righteousness and of misrepresenting the gospel.
The issues here in the UK are rather different from those in North Carolina. Here we already have civil partnerships for same sex couples, and there is no question of abolishing them. So the human rights argument Daniel presents is not really applicable here. The pressure for allowing full same sex marriage seems to be coming more from the political correctness lobby than from the gay and lesbian community. So I will not come out in support of the government’s same sex marriage proposals. But I think Daniel has also given me good reasons not to oppose them.