Friday, July 10, 2015

On Gay Marriage, Reprise

Some of you may have read my original post on the issue of gay marriage. So why am I writing yet another blog post about this? How have my views changed, if they have changed at all?

Firstly, I feel that the Supreme Court of the United States grossly overstepped their bounds. How so? Well, our dear SCOTUS has decided that marriage is a right. Not just gay marriage, or any other kind of adjective marriage, but regular old marriage. They would have to decide as such in order to decide that gay marriage is a right. But marriage is not a right! I don't have the right to get married, if I did then I could potentially take a person to court for refusing to marry me, they are denying me my rights! I hope we can all see how ridiculous that is.

So if marriage is not a right, then neither can gay marriage be a right.

Along with this ruling the SCOTUS has also ruled ex nihilo, or made a law up out of nothing. I'm sorry, I know my civics class was years ago, but I am pretty sure that the Supreme Court's purpose is not to make laws, especially when they bypass the other branches of government to do so, but their purpose is to make sure that laws are actually constitutional. If a law isn't constitutional then they should veto that law.

Secondly, I feel like the State doesn't need to be involved in the marriage business. We already have the government invading into every little bit of our private lives, we certainly don't need anymore. I think that states like Alabama have the right idea; they are getting rid of marriage licenses all together. I do disagree with having marriage contracts, as I feel that marriage is so much more than a contract, especially so in the Orthodox Church. I would rather just issuing a certificate of marriage in place of licenses or contracts if the State is going to be involved at all.

So ideally, the State would not do marriages any longer. How would people then get gay married, or even just married? Well, judges should still retain the ability to perform marriages, as well as clergy. Heck, even a notary should do if all your doing is getting a certificate that says you're married.

Clergy of those religions and denominations that do not support gay marriage should be left alone. Period.

Thirdly, in my previous post I said I was neutral on the subject of gay marriage. If gay people want to get gay married then they should be able to. However, there were some other things I mentioned in that post such as not forcing people to go against their beliefs. This still holds true for me.

If we look at a recent case involving an Oregon bakery. The owners refused to make a cake for a gay wedding, and the brides-to-be took them to court. Now, one thing I read (though I have no sources to back this up), claimed that this lesbian couple had been customers for a while and had always been served as individuals - as is their right. Apparently the owners knew the couples were in a lesbian relationship and still served these people regardless. Bravo, and all, since gay people are a protected class that can not be discriminated against.
The problem arose when the couple was denied service for a function, not an individual. Do we see the difference? Individuals can not be discriminated against, and functions are not individuals, let alone tangible things.

Having supposedly been past customers they were never discriminated against, they were only denied service for a function that they wanted.

Fourthly, I am so sick and tired of seeing people claiming that this is it, the gay people are done since they have gained equal rights. There is no need to fear, the homosexuals are not going to take any of our freedoms.

Oh, except for the case of the bakers. Or the case where a gay man is filing a lawsuit against Bible publishers for their use of the word "homosexual" in the text. Or where a gay couple has filed a complaint against their pastor for "gender discrimination" even though the United Methodist Church does not allow for gay marriage and the pastor can be charged under church law for officiating a gay marriage. Or the case where a judge ruled that a Christian facility (also associated with the UMC) can not ban same-sex marriages.

Nope, they aren't hunting for our freedoms, except that they are.

Fifthly, I keep seeing on social media these calls for churches' tax-exempt status to be revoked. I also hear arguments that such a thing could never happen. Except when something like that did almost happen at Bob Jones University back in the 80's because the university was still racially segregated. Now, it would be very easy for the government to try the same thing currently with churches today. And before you say that Bob Jones could have never used religion as an argument for segregation may I remind you that in the United States we had this thing called slavery, and - although wrong - Christianity was used to proclaim that slavery was permitted. I'm also going to mention the Church of Latter Day Saints because of their views pre-1978 of black people being ordained and participating in temple services.

I am not saying that slavery is OK, or segregation. I am saying that religion was used to justify both in the past. It is also not too much of a long shot to believe that churches that are against gay marriage could also stand to lose tax exempt status.

Why do churches have a tax exempt status? Well because of this thing called Separation of Church and State. The government can't interfere with religion, just like a religion can not interfere with the government. Once you get rid of this separation, and the government starts tell churches to toe the line we have lost our 1st Amendment rights - rights which already exist and don't need to be created out of thin air.

Sixthly, stop saying that just because Christians believe that homosexuality is wrong due to teachings of the Bible also means that we think that mixing cloth is wrong, beating our wives is good, and a bunch of other things, and then telling us that we can't pick and choose.

That attitude is very ignorant. Firstly because it presumes that we as Christians are still bound by the Judaic Law, even though there was a whole council in Jerusalem stating which parts we are not bound to and which parts we are not bound to; this council can be read about in Acts chapter 15. 

"The council decided that Gentile converts to Christianity were not obligated to keep most of the Law of Moses, including the rules concerning circumcision of males. The Council did, however, retain the prohibitions on eating blood, meat containing blood, and meat of animals not properly slain, and on fornication and idolatry,"

The word fornication there means not just sexual impurity, but also homosexuality, as can be seen from 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 as can be seen in this quote,

"...St. Paul writing the most extensively on this subject. He condemns prostitution and homosexuality in 1 Cor. (6:9-10): "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the immoral nor the idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals (arsenokoitai), nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers shall inherit the kingdom of God."" (Orthodox Wiki)
By the way, if you take the parenthetical Greek word, "arsenokoitai", and put it as "ἀρσενοκοίτης" into Google Translate, it translates to "Poof, Pansy, Queer, Fagot, Sodomy."
So yes, the New Testament does speak out against homosexuality. And, no we are not bound to those things in Judaic Law such as slavery, beating a spouse, killing disrespectful children, and the like. To keep insisting that if we are against homosexuality means that we are for these other things is intellectual dishonesty.

Added to this number is also the whole, "Jesus never said anything against homosexuality." I mean Jesus didn't say that 2+2=4, but we still believe that. Also, "4 “Haven’t you read,” He replied, “that He who created them in the beginning made them male and female,” 5 and He also said: “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh?" (Matt 19:4-5 KJV). Jesus states here that marriage is for a man to become one flesh with his wife, a woman; God created a male and female.

Also, if you want to nitpick, the Church believes that Jesus is God (also, the Word of God), so if God has a prohibition against homosexuality in the OT then it is fair to say that Jesus did indeed speak against homosexuality on account of being God (and the Word of God).

Seventhly, I can not stand the just plain wrong claim that even the Catholic and Orthodox Churches have an ancient gay marriage rite. No, we don't; the ceremony of Adelphopoiesis is more like a blood-brother ceremony, not a marriage ritual. Such a claim became popular after a Yale historian, John Boswell, published a book with some terrible scholarship involved.

"Historian Robin Darling Young (herself a participant in a Syriac Oriental Orthodox adelphopoiesis ceremony)[14] and Brent Shaw, have also criticized Boswell's methodology and conclusions.[6]
Archimandrite Ephrem Lash criticized Boswell's book in the February 1995 issue of Sourozh. According to Ephrem, Boswell mistranslates, misinterprets, and tendentiously organizes texts, and his "knowledge of Orthodox liturgiology is, in effect, non-existent."[15] With regard to Boswell's central claim to have found evidence for the use of wedding crowns in the rite for making brothers, Ephrem notes that what the relevant text says, "somewhat literally translated," is this: "It is inadmissible for a monk to receive [anadochos is a standard Greek word for 'godparent'] children from holy baptism, or to hold marriage crowns or to make brother-makings.[16] 150:124]" In other words, "monks are forbidden to do the following: 1. To act as godfathers at baptisms, 2. To act as supporters of bridal couples, 3. To enter into brotherly unions. These are, of course, the natural consequences of a monk's having given up all ties of earthly relationships."[17] Turning back to Boswell's thesis, Ephrem writes, "What does Boswell make of this? Here is his paraphrase of the text given above: 'monks must also not select boys at baptism and make such unions with them'. There is absolutely nothing in the text to suggest that the three prohibitions are linked in the way Boswell implies, nor that the 'children' are 'boys' – the Greek has the neuter, paidia. In short, this first piece of evidence for the use of crowns in the ceremony of brother-making is not evidence for anything, except Boswell's ignorance, not to mention the prurient suggestion that Byzantine monks went round selecting suitable boys at baptism so as to 'marry' them later on."[17]" (Wikipedia)
So we see that a historian who went through this ceremony herself disagrees that it is for a homosexual union, and we see that someone who actually knows Greek disagrees with Boswell. In fact, we can see that Boswell made some pretty serious translation errors.

To keep claiming that the Church had a gay marriage right is hopeful ignorance, and lacks any real scholarship. 

Eighthly, I am so damned tired of seeing homosexuals and gays cry about intolerance and acceptance. If you want to be tolerated stop being so damned intolerable! If you want to be accepted stop being so damned unacceptable! What do I mean by this? Stop hating on everybody who disagrees with you. Accept the fact that people disagree, but we can still get along. I don't always agree with my wife, my children, family, or even friends, but we still tolerate and accept each other - not despite of our differences but because of them.

Stop labeling everybody who offers a different opinion as a bigot, because it is only making you look like a bigot. I personally know some people that were all for gay marriage and gay equality until they started seeing how much of the homosexual community is acting towards others. They knew that homosexuals said that they wanted equality, but they saw homosexuals instead becoming like the very bigots that they were fighting.

I have some gay friends. Maybe had by the time they read this post. I love them in a platonic way. They have been some of the greatest people that I have ever met; very open and straight forward (gay forward?). I love them and I accept them for who they are. If they choose to get married to their significant other then I hope that they do so, and I pray that their partnership lasts a lifetime. I would not, however, support them if they decided to act like so many of the gay and lesbian people (and their supporters) that I see all over social media. I would not support them if they wanted to take away my, or anyone else's, rights. I do support them in their daily endeavors, praying that they may live successful and happy lives.

In conclusion, tolerance goes both ways, and you can not gain it by force; you will only end up driving people away and creating more intolerance.

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