In the last edition of A Frank Conversation about Homosexuality, I concluded by saying that I believed it was the Christian’s duty to love our neighbors as ourselves so that people outside of our community might come to know and believe the truth that they are fearfully and wonderfully made by God and deeply loved by this Creator. Today, I want to explore the most often used defense for protesting against same-sex marriage. To do so I want to look at a statement released by the organization One Million Moms in response to the new television show A New Normal. On their website this organization writes, “NBC is using public airwaves to continue to subject families to the decay of morals and values, and the sanctity of marriage in attempting to redefine marriage. These things are harmful to our society, and this program is damaging to our culture.” They continue, “NBC’s ‘The New Normal’ is attempting to desensitize America and our children. It is the opposite of how families are designed and created. You cannot recreate the biological wheel.”
To be fair to One Million Moms they do not only go after shows that feature same-sex relationships. In general, they oppose most risqué commercials and TV shows in an attempt, in their own words, to clean up the airwaves. I chose their quote because it’s relevant (it was released recently) and it mentions the two most frequent reasons cited when Christians oppose same-sex marriage. Namely, it leads to moral and ethical decay, and Christians must protect marriage by keeping it between one man and one woman. First let’s talk about marriage.
The idea that marriage is between one man and one woman comes from Genesis 2:24, “Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh.” There is no mention of the institution of “marriage” nor are there instructions for how this should take place. When my wife and I got married there were two parts. First, we went to the courthouse, swore we weren’t cousins, signed some papers and paid some money; it was soooo romantic. In the eyes of the government that’s all we had to do to be “married,” but for us that wasn’t enough. So a few weeks later we had a ceremony in front of our friends, community and family officiated by a pastor and entered a covenant marriage with God. Neither part of the two step process we went through can be found in the Bible. The religious ceremony that has developed around weddings has done so through tradition; not because it is ordained by God. I do believe it is important and necessary, but I don’t see why Christianity and the government must agree on what marriage is. (More on government and religion in Part 3)
Additionally, a brief survey of marriages throughout history shows that the nuclear family unit so commonly referred to by groups such as One Million Moms is actually quite uncommon. Let’s look at the Bible. In 1 Chronicles 3:1-9 the text lists several wives of King David and the children he had by them. Verse 9 reads, “All these were the sons of David, besides his sons by his concubines.” So, only the sons are listed and NOT even from all his concubines. David hardly represents the ideal. But hey, David is messed up; everyone knows that. True, but what about 1 Kings 11:3, “He (Solomon) had seven hundred wives who were from royal families and three hundred slave women who gave birth to his children.” The text does tell us that Solomon is punished but it isn’t for breaking from the ideal of one man and one woman; it’s because Solomon begins to worship other Gods. The reason I point out these two examples from the Bible is to illustrate that God didn’t disqualify these two men because they failed to live up to the ideal. On the contrary, God used them in the past and continues to use them today. I have never heard a Christian argue that we should boycott the Psalms or stop reading Proverbs because David and Solomon didn’t live up to Genesis 2:24. Outside of the Bible, examples are just as common, from Kings and Queens to Founding Fathers, the Genesis ideal has always been under attack. I can’t help but wonder why homosexuality today receives much of the ire.
The first part of the One Million Moms statement is that shows such as A New Normal are subjecting “…families to the decay of morals and values.” I guess that’s true, if one parents via primetime television. I’m not sure that, as a society, we should look to television for our moral guidance. Also, it seems with Christians there are problems much closer to home; really what’s aired on TV should be the least of our concerns. A cursory look at some statistics should give my Christian readers pause.
- Several studies, most notably one conducted by the Barna Group, show that the divorce rate among Christians mirrors that of the non-Christian populace.
- A study has shown that 80% of unmarried, Christians have had premarital sex. Some have argued that this is way too high and it is more like 42%. Either way, it’s way higher than it should be.
- A survey revealed that 50% of Christian men and 20% of Christian women are addicted to pornography. Additionally, there are some troubling stats about the clergy and pornography.
- Finally, in a study done among pastors it was revealed that 77% did not believe they had a good marriage. 38% said that they were divorced or going through the divorce process (other studies have concluded that 50% of pastor marriages will end in divorce) and 30% admitted to having affairs.
These statistics reveal some very troubling moral failures WITHIN our Church. My point in sharing them is not to dump on the Church. I love the Church and believe it is a necessary institution for carrying out God’s will in the world, but I think that these statistics reveal problems that have been ignored for too long. Marriage is certainly under attack in America, but it’s not by same-sex couples; it’s by a stubborn pride that refuses to address the issues INSIDE the Church and instead latches onto a scapegoat. I’m not advocating that the Church disappear; rather, I want to see a Church that redirects its energy from the homosexual issue to the issues tearing marriages apart in our midst. Let’s truly be defenders of marriage, not by defending a definition, but by defending the covenant relationships that are falling apart before our eyes. It’s time to be honest about our own moral failings and genuinely address them so that we can be the Church that God intends. Until we do this, we will always be fighting the wrong battle. We can protest against same-sex marriage or TV shows or commercials, and we will always miss the true enemy of families and the moral fabric of our society: a Church that does not follow the example of Jesus.
 Notice that the rate of 33% is mentioned for the national average. Well I did some research and found that the “50% of marriages end in divorce” is largely conjecture. Here are some resources for your own further investigation: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/19/health/19divo.html?_r=0 ; http://psychcentral.com/lib/2012/the-myth-of-the-high-rate-of-divorce/all/1/
 The study revealing 80% is referenced in this article: http://www.relevantmagazine.com/life/relationships/almost-everyones-doing-it ; The following blog attempts to debunk the study and in doing so points out that it still reveals about 42% of born-again, Evangelical Christians engage in pre-marital sex; still a massively high number. Not sure why the author takes comfort from that.
 http://www.covenanteyes.com/2010/01/06/updated-pornography-statistics/ ; click on the link that says ‘pornography statistics’ and a really helpful PDF comes up which lists a myriad of important stats regarding porn and its effect on people.