Marriage Politics and the Gospel

Posted by Karen Soole Karen Soole
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I signed the petition produced by the Coalition for Marriage. I wrote to my MP prior to the first debate in parliament and listened to large chunks of the debate.[1] However I don’t want to threaten not to vote for my MP (which would get me nowhere because the opposition agree with him anyway) or in the words of Christian Concern to use my vote tomorrow to back real marriage. My reason is this: it makes it look as though as a Christian my prime concern for society is how people conduct themselves sexually when my prime concern is the freedom to proclaim the gospel to our society and the opportunity to hold fast to biblical truth.

The more this issue goes on the sadder I become. I fear that somewhere in this debate we are missing the point, saying things that we will regret and alienating people from the gospel. Running a political campaign based on adherence to scripture is fraught with difficulty. Politicians do not acknowledge scriptural authority so Christians try and persuade by adopting a range of arguments from sociological rather than theological positions. I find some of the logic used disturbing for example is it really fair to suggest that by introducing gay marriage the floodgates will be opened to all sorts of unconventional practices such as marrying more than one person? I can see why the gay movement find this offensive – they want the right to marry one person in law – for them it is about equality and they believe passionately that this equality is morally good and they are not advocating anything else. In fact if we are worried about polygamy we should support Baroness Cox in her work to bring in an equality bill - Sharia law already allows for the practice of polygamy in this country.[1]

I confess as well to something that feels almost unspeakable to say - I believe that some gay couples can make great parents. There I said it – is it heresy? Children have been brought up in all sorts of mixed up family units throughout history – we live in a fallen world. In a society that has rejected God is a child worse off in a family with gay parents than heterosexual ones? I don’t think we can make those sorts of judgements. My lesbian neighbours are bringing up a delightful boy who is coping well in the very masculine and competitive environment of an all boy grammar school – are they failing as parents? I admit he is soaked in a worldview that presents sexuality in a very different way from God’s intended purpose but is this any different than my husband being brought up in a passionately atheist household? The value judgements we make on sexual sin as opposed to other expressions of rejection of God scare me.

I confess to it scaring me because I am left struggling to work out my friendship with my gay neighbours. It is not that I don’t like them, I do! I am afraid they will think I hate them! I don’t! I’m afraid that they will hear us saying God hates them. He doesn’t.  

Why did I sign the petition for marriage? I believe that God created marriage between one man and one woman for a unique relationship that mirrors Christ’s relationship with the Church. Do I expect society to take this on board? Sadly no I don’t because the key issue is one of acknowledging God as God and our society despite its official links between the Church and the State has rejected God as  ruler. I signed the petition because I fear that publicly holding onto God’s revealed purpose for sexuality as outlined in scripture will eventually become illegal. I don’t want to fight with my gay and lesbianneighbours over this issue afraid it may distort the gospel and somehow gay and lesbian people will hear us saying that Christ only came for those who are straight. I’m wondering if it is time for us to shut up about marriage, live with the consequences of our societies rejection of God and quietly work out how to get alongside our neighbours, praying for opportunities to tell them about Jesus. Please pray for me as I try to do this because this feels really hard!

[1] See http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01s46rr/Jemima_Khan_and_the_PartTime_Wife