Speaking Truth to Hidden Power: A Christian Response to the Legalization of Gay Marriage, Government Morality, and Other Important Hidden Issues
By Cara J. Turner
There is a trend these days. A scroll and judge trend. A watch and decide trend. Scripted debates with a multiple choice answers. Well primped professionals regurgitating indisputable facts and indisputably important topics. And then there is the ever looming impulse over us to express our opinions and show support for picture ideas and concepts that we find agreeable. It seems to me like people still sort of want to care these days.
Gay marriage was legalized yesterday across America. And I’m seeing basically 3 responses everywhere (in no particular order)…
1- DISAPPOINTMENT 2- VICTORY 3- SILENCE
I guess that means we’ve pretty much all bought the “there’s-only-two-ways-to-approach-social-justice-issues” lie- through the red and blue filters. Piles of celebrities, politicians, professionals, friends, and family members have probably all decided by now how to respond to this landmark supreme court decision to legalize gay marriage in the USA. Has the division of our nation ever been so obvious? Even our friends who are silent on the issue could easily be pegged for one side or the other if we really spent the time to consider it. Why? Because when we are presented with multiple choice questions with only 2 answers, there’s always a 50-50 chance of nailing it. Are you blue? Or are you red? But wait… are we allowed to choose another color?
As a devout Christian, my faith and spiritual journey are hugely defining to me, yet, I do not believe for a second in the necessity of a “moral government” to forbid civil unions of any kind. What business is it of any entity what two people do behind closed doors or how two consenting adults choose to form or label a committed relationship? In a truly free country, it is no one else’s business at all. Our moral judgments on other people’s activities are irrelevant. Human sexual expression and relationships between consenting adults are things which we should all have the liberty to pursue and label as we so choose. Now, we have been granted state approval to pursue these endeavors. Why does this have to be so horribly disappointing to so many fellow Christians? And why do conservatives feel a burning need to rely on an all powerful government to enforce moral objections or forbid covenant permissions to other human beings? Is the power of the love of Christ and the true church not enough to reach, compel, and love souls of all kinds in all journeys? The church does not need the American government as an enforcer.
I can’t think of a single individual or group of people who is totally cool with a different group’s moral agenda being pushed on them. It is easy to support the ushering in of your personal moral law when it is popular, but what about when the tables are turned over a course of decades of moral decay, and the popular “public opinion” is that your own religious lifestyle is repulsive, offensive, or wrong? The legal protection of an individual’s victimless endeavors are a necessity in a truly free society- that goes for sexual choices AND religious choices.
Christians do themselves a disservice to relegate final moral authority to a man made institution, whether or not that institution was founded on Christian principles. Who do we ultimately answer to?
Laws do not change hearts.
The power of conviction does not reside in well-written legal rhetoric. Laws can influence behavior out of the notion that people want to selfishly protect themselves from adverse situations (like jail, prison, fines, criminal records, etc). But if the will to partake in a given illegal activity is greater than the perceived consequences, people will ultimately do as they please (based on a varying individual moral compasses that every person maintains). By reacting as if we have “lost” ground on this topic, we act as if laws can spiritually save us from ourselves. But where does the authority of salvation truly rest? Is our government where we derive a most stirring sense of meaning and approval? The LGBT community fought for approval and recognition of marriage through the state, and it has finally been granted. Applying reverence to human constructs is a mistake by Christians who answer to God before mankind. The Kingdom of God will stand when all other kingdoms have become ruins. So take heart, my friends. The foundations of our faith will prevail and ground can and will be scaled as we continue to do what we are really called to do in this world.
If you are feeling deeply disappointed and uneasy over this supreme court decision, I challenge you to re-examine how you understand marriage.
We Christians acknowledge that the biblical definition of a marriage covenant is between a man and a woman. We seek out the blessing and approval of marriage by qualified Christian officiates whose views align with our own. Even still, there are officiates who can choose not to marry a heterosexual couple based on a variety of factors. For example, the pastor who married my husband and I will not marry two people who are spiritually unequally yoked or even marry two people who don’t go through with a prescribed set of counseling sessions- that is his prerogative based on his beliefs as well as the participating couple’s beliefs. Really, and truly, a covenant concerns only the participants (in the context of Christianity, it also concerns God whom we invite to witness and bless). This notion that we must receive approval by the state is really deceiving us into continually handing back our autonomy to make personal decisions to the ones who give us notarized papers. Yet the precedent and law has been set and enforced that we must have legal documentation. So here we find ourselves in a society that has to reconcile this concept of a “right to marry.” Do we reserve a “right to marry?” The real question is, “Do we reserve a right to freely engage in victimless activities and make covenants with other consenting adult human beings without the approval of government?” YES. Don’t fall into the trap of believing that the state who “grants us approval” with fancy documentation is entitled to redefining our moral choices and beliefs within our personal lives. The power of a bully can be relinquished when the victim ceases to acknowledge the self-elevating demands or proclamations of the oppressor.
Social issues such as this freedom-to-marry topic matter, but there is deception in the exaggerated importance of these things over others. American history has been made as we enter a new era of freedom in marriage choices, but we cannot relax in a state of victory, nor retreat in a state of disappointment when there is so much at stake regarding the ongoing pressure and growth of our current power structure. Our natural human rights and autonomy are being continually challenged. Let us please begin to examine the precedent that we even need authority and oversight from the government regarding personal lifestyle choices. The mainstream media will perpetuate the lie that there are only 2 sides of the fence to land on. Let’s get an aerial view and see that we don’t even need a fence at all to peacefully coexist. Gay marriage is only political because our government has stood in the way of it. The powerful media corporations that filter these concepts are utilizing things like this to separate us into neat little red and blue groups while we fail to question the “need” for institutional authority over personal victimless endeavors. It is plain to see that we are all being conditioned to believe that trending social topics take priority over other extremely important things such as:
-Actual abuses and growth of government power and the necessity for greater accountability by its constituents like you and me.
-The preservation of religious freedom to practice peaceful lifestyles, protected from the demands of minorities OR majorities who claim offenses out of spite for mere variation in belief systems.
-The continual threats upon personal liberty and human autonomy in the name of the greater good of society.
-The secret oversight of private exchanges and collection of private personal data in the name of terrorism protection, which can and will be used against us when the authority sees fit to silence voices of objection.
-The misuse and pure waste of tax dollars (literally, our time and energy) that we quietly hand over for the use of illusory superior political endeavors.
-The stability of the American dollar (upon which our livelihoods rest) which is directly contingent upon the actions of an instution called the Federal Reserve which is literally immune to legal accountability or of oversight of any elected officials.
-The right to know whether or not the foods we consume have been genetically adulterated.
-The preservation of our right to have easy access to independent research on a variety of topics- research that is not special interest funded, unchallenged, and considered factual based merely on origins from authoritative entities.
-The preservation of true history and access to all historical accounts no matter the level of ugliness- how can we learn from history if we don’t know what really took place?
These are just a few extremely relevant issues to every citizen that our generation simply must unite over in order to affect positive change and to preserve our basic human rights. These are the things that are being ignored by mainstream media with purpose. It is time for us to realize that division is an incredible tactic used to further the advancement of special political interests. There ARE more than 2 lenses to look through. There ARE more filters to look through than blue and red. There ARE more ways to solve big issues than the multiple choice answers we are offered. Let us unite, preserve, and champion liberty over every person’s endeavors.
Cara J. Turner is a wife, a mother of 3 young children, and a seeker of wisdom and truth. She longs to break down the barriers that this world has placed over us and empower people to see through the illusions so that we can unite to affect sensible change.