ATLANTA (BP) — When President Obama came out for same-sex marriage May 9, it was greeted with pure elation by gay rights advocates. It was just 43 years ago that homosexuals fought back against the police raid on the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in Greenwich Village, N.Y., marking the beginning of the gay rights movement.
With the ’60s sexual revolution ushering in a dramatic change in sexual values and the groundswell of changing public opinion on civil rights for African Americans, gay rights advocates shrewdly and single-mindedly postured their movement as all about civil rights. Obama’s announcement represented a radical change in public opinion on sexual morality and marriage.
For traditionalists on marriage, it was disappointing. For Christians who seek to follow biblical morality, it was deeply disturbing. It represents another dramatic change in public values when it comes to sexual morality and marriage.
Sexual promiscuity outside of marriage is now the accepted norm. Over 40 percent of all births in America are to unwed mothers. The percentages of cohabitating couples and marriages ending in divorce have skyrocketed. And now the move to legalize same-sex marriage is being embraced overwhelmingly by young adults 18-30 years old and by about half of the general public.
This raises troubling questions.
Is same-sex marriage really best for our children’s future when social scientists affirm it’s better for the child to grow up in the home with one dad and one mom? Does it really make sense to believe that the majority in 30 of 50 states who voted to uphold traditional marriage are unenlightened for denying a so-called civil right to homosexuals? Are African American Christians who oppose same-sex marriage hypocritical because they see skin color as a different issue from basic biblical morality?
On April 1, 2000, the mayor of Amsterdam officiated at the first legal same-sex marriage in all of history. So now are we to assume that every previous culture has been wrong in not legalizing same-sex marriage? In the name of justice, can we really redefine marriage to include same-sex couples and deny it to consenting adults who see bigamy, polygamy or incestuous marriage as a basic civil right?
A modern myth is that Jesus Christ never spoke about homosexual behavior or same-sex marriage. Sadly, that is a half-truth that is accepted as fact.
When Jesus was asked if divorce should ever be allowed, He responded by speaking about the sacredness of marriage: “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife and they shall become one flesh’?” (Matthew 19:4-5). With this response, can anyone really conclude that Jesus would be an advocate of same-sex marriage?
I know constitutional decisions won’t be based on the views of Jesus or any religion. But I ask all open-minded, thinking people to consider the questions raised and ask yourself, “Is redefining marriage really for the best?” I think not.
Bryant Wright is pastor of Johnson Ferry Baptist Church in Marietta, Ga., and president of the Southern Baptist Convention. This column first appeared in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.