by Matthew Hills
Editor’s Note: The issues raised in Leonard Benton’s article Gay Rights: Observations from a Heretic ignited a firestorm within our readership. Several people wrote in with their comments, positive an negative; Havok Journal reader Matthew Hills was one of them.
The SCOTUS’ recent decision regarding marriage in the United States has a lot of people in an uproar. Anyone who logs onto Facebook or Twitter will get their fair share of angry rhetoric from both sides of the coin. I will preface my point of view by first stating that I feel both sides are equally responsible for the anger and backlash, and BOTH are misusing biblical scripture to support their views.
Before I delve into theology or what the bible actually says, I would like to give you a little background on myself. By no means do I claim to be a biblical scholar, or even a good person. (I will get into that later on.) I am the son of a 4th generation pastor and at one point gave serious thought in becoming one myself. When I got out of the Army I went into seminary thinking I could turn from a heathenish grunt into a spiritual leader.
I attended seminary for two years before leaving due to a number of reasons.
After leaving I continued school at a state college and began to work several different jobs before beginning my career as a firefighter. I am also currently working on my doctorate of psychology in hopes to aid both veterans and public safety workers alike. Both careers deal with a lot of shit. Yes, I am a man of faith that isn’t afraid to use words that best describe the point I am trying to relay.
I learned a lot while in seminary. I studied things such as Biblical history, philosophy, applied interpretation, and hermeneutics. Hermeneutics is the study of theory and methodology of text interpretation especially biblical text initially applied to exegesis of scripture. That probably sounds Greek to a lot of you, but I can tell you from having taken Greek at 0800 three days a week, its much simpler than actual Greek!
So like I said, I’m no scholar, but I am educated and I have a pretty good grasp of what scripture means and whom it is meant for. Along with that, because I do not identify with any certain ‘Religious sect’, I am not clouded by dogmatic church doctrine and I can give a pretty unadulterated view.
Those fighting for gay marriage speak about tolerance and equality, yet scream “bigot” or “homophobe” to anyone who disagrees with gay marriage. That is not a very tolerant stance. I do not find this argument to have merit due to the instant labeling of another as a bigot or homophobe. People can simply disagree and not be a bigot. I do find that the majority of people who support gay marriage agree that those who don’t are bigots.
At one point I saw a gay pride celebration with people parading around as angels and even as Christ Himself while barely clothed and mocking Christians. Again, is this tolerance? I do not believe the majority of gay people share this feeling towards religious people or would participate in this behavior, but the squeaky wheel gets the oil(or TV time as it stands).
As for the use of scripture… Many who support gay marriage misuse Matthew 7:1-5 which states,
“Judge not, that you be not judge. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”
What other things does the bible say about judging? John 7:24 “Stop judging by appearances, but judge justly.” You see the bible doesn’t say you can’t judge, it says make sure you are not struggling with the same thing before you approach your brother and to judge justly. So the argument that the bible says not to judge is misused and inaccurate. But they aren’t completely wrong; they are just using the wrong scripture.
On the other side I hear the “religious” people speak about how being gay is a sin and those who are gay wont enter the kingdom of heaven. They feel it’s their personal mission to preach the gospel (or should I say the damnation of Revelations) to the masses via their Facebook pages.
I find those ministers and religious leaders fervor disingenuous and misguided. They have not grasped the true intentions of what the bible says or means and they themselves have cherry picked scripture to use. Their intentions might be pure and they are only looking out for people’s souls, but their approach is horribly wrong!
To those “Facebook Theologians” I will begin my verbal whipping with 1 Corinthians 13:1-3,
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that and move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possessions to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.”
Can you see a pattern beginning? The bible says, “Faith hope and love but the greatest of these is love.” How does condemning and shaming a person over what you see as a horrible sin show them love?
I’m sure some will try to use the “Tough Love” argument, but again, they are misunderstanding the meaning. Might I suggest reading 1 Corinthians 5:12-13,
“What business do I have judging those outside the church? God judges those outside. Expel the wicked and evil among you.”
So although the bible does instruct us to judge, it excludes those who do not call themselves believers. (This is the scripture the supporters of gay marriage should be using.)
That brings me to the hypocrisy in many religious people. In today’s churches, we seem to have a scale to measure which sin is worse than the others. Paul said, “ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” So we are ALL sinful in the eyes of the Lord and all sin is the same and is a separation from Christ.
So my sin is no more or less than anyone else’s. That includes murderers, thieves, liars, homosexuals, idolaters, and on and on. So if we are supposed to expel the wicked and evil amongst us, why don’t we? Sure we expel the murderer when they are arrested and the rapist when they go to jail, but what about all the rest? ‘Religion’ has taken the place of ‘Relationship’ and that causes man to take liberties he should not.
Why is it that preachers, priests, and pastors will speak out about gay marriage but not about the gluttony in the first pew, the idolatry in the second, thievery in the third, or lust in the fourth? Have you ever heard pastor Bill tell Aunt Peggy to hold off on the 3rd plate of food at the church potluck? Or confronted Todd about his arrogant pride at the church golf outing? Much less blast it on the Internet. Yet they have no issue damning gays to hell. Seems hypocritical to me.