Why I Am A Christian Who Believes in Gay Rights

There are plenty of reasons I shouldn't write this post, and even more for why I shouldn't publish it on my blog. But I am feeling such a level of outrage, a level of sorrow and sympathy and motivation for change that to stay silent would feel incredibly unproductive and passive.

I am a big believer in the idea that we should be more informed about and focused on what's happened locally, so that we can engage in discussions that affect us immediately. I am not American, so I suppose I am being a bit of a hypocrite here. But I need to be a part of this conversation.

As I'm sure everyone already knows, earlier this week North Carolina had a vote to ban same-sex marriage. The amendment passed, and shortly thereafter President Obama publicly declared his support for gay marriage. Neither of these two events provoked me to reaction, except to say "not surprising" to NC and "that's nice to see" to Obama.

No, what really got my goat was when I saw fellow Canadian Christians declaring support for the US in this trying time, what with a president who has clearly thrown all morals out the window. This was the last straw in a discontent that has been brewing for the past year.

I have before on this blog made references to my opinion on gay rights, but I am outright declaring it now: I support gay rights. I believe that same-sex marriage should be allowed, and it actually astounds me that there are people in the year 2012 who still believe that they shouldn't. No matter what religion one follows, it just seems like to not allow two consenting adults who want to share the same legal rights as other straight committed couples is denying a whole section of the population basic civil rights. I found this video today by the great Hank Green which outlines in a succinct, concise way why the denial of these rights is absolutely ridiculous. 

But even more than these sort of legal issues, what bothers me is some Christians' blatant, outright arrogance about this topic. Personally, I've had a long struggle with finding where I stand on kind of the general topic of "homosexuality" because I believe so strongly in equality, but as a Christian I had been taught that I had to "hate the sin but love the sinner" (which, I might add, is not in the Bible). The problem with this statement, and people who repeatedly say things like "you can love gay people but you don't have to love their actions" is that I've never been shown what that kind of act is supposed to look like. I am beginning to suspect that people who say this sort of thing don't know either.

I believe in the Bible. I believe in the teachings of Jesus and that he has given us the Bible as an example of how to live a holy and fulfilling life. Recently I have been reading the Bible sort of frantically and sporadically, searching for meaning where I have missed it before. What struck me the other day were verses in John 15 that I've heard before, but have never really resonated until now:
"As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. [...] This is my command: Love each other." John 15 : 9-14, 17
- John 15 : 9-14, 17

Jesus repeats himself twice in this short passage, and when Jesus repeats himself throughout his teachings, he really means business. We are to love each other. We are his friends if we obey this command. Jesus shows us what he means by love by his actions throughout his adult life. He hangs out with prostitutes. He has dinner with the poor and he asks the least educated and qualified people to be his disciples. He heals sick people who are not Jewish, and he does it on the Sabbath no less! And, my favourite part: he rebukes the Pharisees who know the scripture by rote but do not know the love of God in their hearts.

So, I truly wonder where the love and compassion and healing are when Christians trumpet hurtful words and condemn others who are, like them, just looking for a happiness and love in this short life we have on earth. When people say they believe in a God who is great and just, but deny that he has love for gays and lesbians, I feel sad because their God is very small. I feel angry because their arrogance and stubbornness to admit that maybe we, as humans and objects of God's creation, don't have all the answers does not at all show any elements of loving each other.

I also frequently think of 1 Corinthians 9, where Paul talks about how his rights and freedoms have been compromised by those who are judging his actions and choices. However, he says "But we did not use this right. On the contrary, we put up with anything rather than hinder the gospel of Christ." (1 Corinthians 9:12). To those who are still fighting vehemently and who truly believe that gay marriage is an infringement on their rights, I present this verse and ask: Is your desperate need to be "right" more important than Jesus' command to love each other?

I am not American, I am not gay, and I am not a biblical scholar. I know that there are a million counter arguments to mine. But, as I stated way back at the beginning of this post, I cannot sit idly by while I feel like there is a gross injustice being done. Until gays and lesbians do not feel they have to hide their identity from Christians; until same-sex marriage is recognized as a basic right; until our language is one of love, I will fight.

My support of friends and strangers in their fight to be realized as equals: This is my act of love.



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