The most common form of marriage everywhere in the world is the marriage of man and woman, or heterosexual marriage. John Edmiston quoted the Holy Bible (New King James Version) to justify this kind of marriage: “a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 1:27).
In a Christian perspective, the Holy Bible always seemed to be one of the best references for issues concerning Christians, and non-Christians. In the Christian perspective, Edmiston further explains that the sacred union of the male and female reflects the perfect expression of God’s power, with His image as both man and woman. Thus it is justified that heterosexual marriage is intended for a man and a woman and is meant to be life-long. This union, he says, is characterized by sexual intimacy, a normal method by which a man and a woman bonds and interacts both emotionally and physically. It is especially because man and woman both correspond to each other’s bodies and this is the very way couples produce their own offspring.
Contrary to heterosexual marriage, homosexual marriage is highly debated ever since. Majority of Christian denominations do not allow same-sex marriages, deny sacred union between two men or two women. Rey Will discussed the institution of marriage as originating from religion, and not from the civil origin, justifying the major denial of marriage to homosexuals in the churches. But Edwin Lukens does not only refer homosexual or same-sex marriages to formal rites of the church or of civil marriage but it also refers to homosexual couples who live together and consider themselves as ‘married’ even if they are still unrecognized by the formal institutions of church and state.
As for most Christian denominations man and woman marriage is seen to be godly, sacred, as it is natural and biblical, and is hailed for its purpose of procreation. Homosexual marriage on the other hand is viewed as unnatural, immoral, and is damaging. It is also observed to cause role confusion in the family framework. As Lukens had put it, men and women were intended to be made different from each other, coming together in a balanced state. Rick Santorum in an interview stated that homosexuals advocating for equal marriage rights do not know what same-sex marriage can do to ecology, religious liberty, and the mental and physical health of children. The clash between heterosexual and homosexual marriages is echoed throughout the references being used for this project.
Homosexuality is basically attraction to the same sex. But where does this attraction come from? Mark Copeland discusses the origin of homosexuality. In his article he clashed two sides of homosexuality, genetic and environmental. In the case of the genetic side, homosexuals see themselves as ‘born’ homosexuals. They see their homosexuality as something natural. If it was so, homosexuality is just as acceptable to anything else and is not considered a sin to the Christian faith.
A study was highlighted in Copeland’s article, where 110pairs of identical twins were separated from each other and raised differently. It was observed that if one was gay, the other twin would most likely be gay too, only at a 52% chance. However, Copeland had a different analysis of the result. He said that if homosexuality is truly genetic in origin, both twins should always be 100% straight or gay, and just the fact that it does not, it means that there are other factors contributing to homosexuality. These factors may make it easier to become entrapped in homosexuality, he explains.
Copeland also discusses in his article the causes of homosexuality, based on a book by Tim LaHaye entitled “The Unhappy Gays: What Everyone Should Know About Homosexuality.” LaHaye listed components that may contribute to develop predisposition to homosexuality. Copeland discussed that the list mostly contains environmental factors such as permissive childhood training, childhood sexual trauma, childhood associates., which may begin early in life causing the person to feel that he or she was born in that way. However, this predisposition, as LaHaye puts it, must be added with other factors like repetitive homosexual experiences and pleasurable and positive homosexual thoughts.
Therefore, Copeland in his article defines a homosexual as someone who “already has a ‘predisposition…, exposure to homosexual experiences and pleasurably reflecting upon them.”
Another issue with homosexuality is health. A lot of studies has been done that proves that homosexual behavior makes homosexuals more vulnerable to disease and thus decreases their lifespan. Sexually transmitted diseases are known to be of high occurrence in homosexuals. This becomes another reason why they are seen as immoral and damaging to the society.
Christian Opinons on Homosexuality
It interests me to learn that Christians clash when it comes to their opinions regarding homosexuals. Some denominations see homosexuality as a sin while others do not see it as a sin but rather as something natural and acceptable. But most, according to Kelli Mahoney, fall into those who condemn the sin and not the sinner, or explained more thoroughly, homosexual behavior is condemned while homosexuals themselves are allowed and often encouraged to join as members of congregations.
Most Christian denominations view homosexuality as a sin, where homosexual behavior is immoral. Homosexual relationships are viewed to be something horrible and shameful. They point out to the story of Creation where God only created Adam and Eve for each other. As Copeland stated it, “if God made them that way, then it is not their fault they are homosexual and it must not be a sin to act out their desires.” Homosexuals then defend themselves as ‘born that way’. Rey Will said that the premise is that “gay [or homosexual] marriages or unions will not affect society as a whole and will only be like a normal union.”
Homosexuality, Bible, and Current Christianity
According to Lukens, the Bible says little about homosexual or same-sex marriage, but it says a lot about homosexuality and the immoralities connected with it. Denial of the marital union between homosexuals is justified by God’s plan for sexuality, in the Creation story in the Bible, where only man and woman are created for each other. Edmiston argues that if it was natural for homosexuality, our bodies would have been designed to be able to reproduce new offspring with the same sex, in a healthy and natural way.
In the Bible, homosexual passions and acts are posed as unnatural and shameful, immoral, and it denies the practitioner entrance to the Kingdom of God. Edmiston states that this, unity outside eternal salvation, is the reason why same-sex or homosexual marriage can never be sanctioned by the church. Edmiston further states that “marriage is a fundamental social institution that does not exist just for the emotional satisfaction of two individuals but for the greater good of the community which stands under the blessing or curse of God.”
As I have read from Religion Facts, the United Methodist Church sees that homosexual behavior and practice is not compatible with teaching, and that practicing homosexuals should not be ordained as ministers. However, some local congregations, especially those members of the Reconciling Ministers Network, have challenged this ruling of the church authority through putting certain homosexuals in minister power, and they have fought this policy in church courts. The Methodist Church has also supported civil rights for gays, but the issue of support for same-sex marriage is still not clear.
Another interesting Christian denomination regarding homosexual issues is the Metropolitan Community Church. According to Religion Facts, it is an international fellowship of Christian congregations, with a specific outreach to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities. An important aspect of its faith is the acceptance of homosexuality. They had challenged the legal heterosexual definition of marriage in Ontario. Two couples in Ontario used an old legal procedure to marry without a license. As soon as same-sex marriage was legalized in Ontario, their marriages were recognized. The Metropolitan Community Church has always been attacked by bombings, desecrations, vandalism, threats, and arson, mainly due to its huge membership of homosexuals and its views on homosexuality.
My last example of Christian denomination in the issue of homosexuality is the United Church of Christ, all facts again according to Religion Facts. It is organized according to congregational principles, causing views on controversial matters vary among congregations. A minority of the United Church of Christ has adopted an open and affirming statement that welcomes homosexuals in all aspects of church life. Other congregations on the other hand openly oppose homosexual practice, and many of them have no official policy at all. It had even publicized a TV commercial in 2004 promoting the policy of ‘radical hospitality’, which dramatized minorities and homosexuals that were turned away from a typical church. However, it was not able to persuade any major U.S. TV network to air the commercial. In 2005, they encouraged their member congregations to adopt wedding policies that do not discriminate gender, and to support legislation of same-sex marriage.
Homosexuals may see the approval of same-sex marriage as freeing of social and religious constraints. Jonathan Rauch said in an interview that homosexuals “need the same safety. They need the same caregiving anybody else does.” Pointing out to the unruliness of some Christians, he stated that “gay people are the only people in America who have to follow Biblical law” and “Gay people should deal with the same standards as straight people.”
Still, some people see the approval of same-sex marriage as damaging. Rick Santorum said that “marriage then becomes … meaningless. If anybody can get married for any reason, then it loses its special place.”
In Conclusion, Most of the Christians are against homosexuality, but some of them are not. “Are emotions a sufficient basis for marriage?” I think this question raised by Edmiston would help Christians think properly of their view of homosexuality and homosexuals. Christians may execute to follow the rules which are created by God. Different rules are set for different Christians. Different beliefs of sex and homosexuality are also given to them. At one point, it is not different from the non-Christians because there is moral opinion and the society. At another, it is different from the non-Christians because they always focus on the religious and biblical background of homosexuality.