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Where Would Jesus Stand On the Marriage Amendment?

I can almost see it in their eyes from fifty feet away.  It’s the fire of political dogmatism when they ask me, as a pastor, where I stand on Amendment 1 – better known as the Marriage Amendment. In order to figure out where I stand, I’ve tried to put myself in the shoes of Christians who are on both sides of the argument.

My Christian friends to the right are doing all they can to rally the troops and bathing their argument with specific Bible passages. They argue the Bible is clear that homosexuals should not get married and they believe that to allow them to do so will be the continuation of our country’s descent into a Sodom like arena where we’re all in danger of turning into salt at any moment. They don’t believe the law North Carolina already has on the books, recognizing marriage as the union between a man and a woman, is strong enough.  They want an iron-clad guarantee that marriage will be defined the way they believe the Bible defines it. The way I see it, their main idea of God is One who is just, and homosexuals getting married is not just to them.

My Christian friends to the left argue that if this amendment passes, there will be tremendous unintended consequences including women and children being hurt. They are pulling out all the stops by getting as many doctors’ groups as possible to say this is a bad idea. Just this morning I saw that the Board of Directors of The Carolina Chapter of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists are against the amendment. How people who deal with thyroids have an official opinion about marriage escapes me. I believe this side’s main argument is that God is love, and there is no way a loving God would be against people who are in love getting married, adopting kids, and the like.

I’ve pondered and prayed about both sides; I have given a great deal of thought about which side Jesus would take. The answer I have come up with: Neither. Where do I think Jesus would be standing?  At our local food pantry giving out food to kids who are hungry. Or our battered women’s shelter comforting those who have been abused. Or in downtown Winston with the homeless. Or showing those who are lost a path back to wholeness.

It always saddens me when Christians get all up in arms about political issues and forget that Jesus very rarely talked about our trying to impact the government. He spent most of his time telling us to bring the Kingdom of God to earth by helping the least, the last, and the lost. What would our state look like if we took all the time and money being spent on this Amendment and instead used it to help alleviate poverty among children? Maybe the greater Winston-Salem area wouldn’t be ranked the worst metro area in the United States in having families with children that have a hard time putting food on the table, and a lot of kids wouldn’t go to bed hungry at night.

What if each of our churches resolved to do all we could to transform the communities we live in instead of burning our energy trying to gather votes on this issue, or fighting about Christians flags, or demanding “In God We Trust” be put on the side of Courthouses? My guess is that our churches would grow instead of continuing in a state of persistent decline. Young people who are fleeing from church in droves because they see the church as irrelevant and out of touch might actually get excited and be open to hear our message.

My prayer as a Christian pastor is that we all vote after prayerful consideration of the Amendment. But by giving this issue a prominence it doesn’t deserve in our faith, we all lose – the right, the left, and most especially, those who need us the most.

Comments

  1. LAS says:

    That is right on target. In fact, I think you should submit to W/S Journal in the editorial section. Maybe folks would stop, at least for a brief moment, and consider your words – what I consider words of wisdom.

  2. Beautifully stated Scott! I am often amazed at how UNPOLITICAL Jesus was in the midst of the abusive, corrupt Roman Empire. He sought to change the world by changed hearts, love and grace that crashed through all the barriers and labels that would divide us. He knew the transforming power of the Spirit, enabling once-selfish people to reach out in humble service to show His amazing love. I believe that political agendas always distract us from the real mission Christ gave us.

  3. Alan Allis says:

    Well, this amendment effects more then just LGBT couples. It effects heterosexual couples as well. Those who only have civil union, which does happen often with heterosexuals, are being targeted by this Amendment One. While the rest of the country is moving forward, North Carolina is moving back! I am completely for LGBT rights! Marriage is a basic human right, and as United Methodists, we are told by the Book of Discipline that was are to fight for basic human rights of all people: no matter race or sexual orientation.

  4. Wendee says:

    I am so weary of all the name-calling, news, incomplete or twisted “facts” on both sides of the debate. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you . . . I do believe Jesus might have written this through you! 🙂

  5. CR says:

    AMEN…Well Said!!

  6. DA says:

    “Only your identity as God’s beloved child can protect you from the pressures to conform to ungodly values.” Michael Youssef

    Has too much time and money been spent on this vote? Yes. Have things been said from both sides that didn’t need to be said? Yes. The fact is, we are where we are and it is being presented to the voters. Christians are being called intolerant and hateful if we stand up for our Christian values and don’t comform to the world’s beliefs. We are supposed to love and support sin? Really? And when I hear people saying this is not important, I just have to shake my head. If we don’t ever stand up for our beliefs just so that we can be called tolerant and diverse, then one day we will lose all of our freedoms as Christians. If the agenda continues to progress and become accepted as normal, get ready for churches to be forced to have to perfom marriages of two men or two women and there will be nothing we can do but sit back and watch.
    Are there other issues that are more important, yes, many. But this issue is present and not going away and we need to stop being afraid to stand up just so we can conform to the world.

  7. Ron Hopper says:

    I agree; well said. But as a Christian, a Christian with gay friends I might add, I do think Jesus would take a stand. Jesus always took a stand for what was morally right and what was He and His Father’s will. He took a stand in the market place when he drove out the buyers and sellers. Jesus teaches us to love the sinner because we all are sinners. But never does He in His word tell us to keep silent about what His word says. He tells us to go into all the world and preach the gospel. And His gospel is against homosexual marriage. I have not said one angry word during all this, but I will stand for God’s word and His love for us until the end. Bless us all. We sure need it.

  8. Scott Osterberg says:

    I think several of the above comments demonstrate the point I was trying to make in my blog post. There are Christians on both sides of this issue, and both sides can reasonably use the Bible to further their points. So, instead of tearing each other down and calling each other heathens, let’s instead agree to disagree on this issue and get to the work that Jesus told us to do – feeding the hungry, befriending the lonely, and telling people that they can be a part of a New Story. That’s what our church is trying to do.

  9. Stan Barnett says:

    Most Christians focus on the gay issue in the amendment. I fear they are missing the real point. Marriage is a sacrament of the church. In our country, the government and the church are held separate. Why should the government have anything to do with marriage? Yes, there is a civil law connection involving inheritance, medical care and the like, but this law is about marriage. Once the government obtains the right to regulate marriage, what is the next ordnance of the church they will try to regulate? Equal rights for gays is a red herring in this.

  10. MS says:

    I don’t usually get involved in political arguments but when it goes against My Lords laws then I have to speak up. You are right when you say Jesus didn’t get involved with mans law…but he did take a stand when the laws that the Bible stood for were being ignored. Yes…he did things in a loving way nut he did take a stand. Christians have tried to be silent before …and now the Bible has been taken out of schools…the pledge is gone…the ten commandments banned from court houses…and now we cannot pray in Jesus’ name in a public setting …isn’t Jesus worth taking a stand…didn’t he die on the cross for us?? That was taking the ULTIMATE stand for our sins…yes I love sinners but I don’t love the sin and I won’t treat it as acceptable!

  11. Kristina says:

    Scott,
    I think you said that absolutely beautifully. I have had the honor of attending HUMC on several occasions with my wonderful parents, and have even enjoyed one of your sermons there. I think you are an awesome individual, and are doing great things.
    I’m saved, I was baptized when I was younger, and now, I have been in a committed relationship for 3 years with my girlfriend. Yes, there are passages in the bible that concern homosexuality, but my peace comes from 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
    4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
    God is Love….
    Thanks Scott for everything you do, hope to see you at New Story!
    KC

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