Today, the state of Texas is voting on Proposition 2, an ammendment to the state constitution that defines marriage as being between "one man and one woman," and rejects all similar unions from other states that are not heterosexual. This has been a big deal in the Church down here. There are radio adverts about it on the Christian station. My home church even had an item about it in the Sunday bulletin, encouraging us to all get out and vote. Religious types have been calling on folks to "protect marriage and family."
One would expect that I'd be on board, being the conservative right-wing Christian that I am.
But I'm not voting for this ammendment.
I'm not voting against it either. I'm just not voting.
My reasons for not voting are not as obvious as some folks'. I'll explain this way:
I believe marriage was originally a covenant with God, but one that has been co-opted by the state. In what we in the church commonly call "marriage," there are, in fact, two ceremonies: the legal one (with the license) and the religious one (with the preacher).
I believe that homosexuality is a sin. This is an unpopular and disputed belief. I am learning to love homosexual people as Christ loves them, but I cannot and will not accept and approve of this behavior as an "okay" alternative. The way I understand the Bible, this is not so.
As such, I believe that homosexual marriage cannot be blessed by God, because it is built on the wrong foundation.
Yet I don't support the proposition as written, because while I agree with the first half, I disagree with the second. I can't really find a solid, Biblical basis for opposing civil unions (as wholly secular ceremonies). As I understand it, civil unions are not marriages. For me, that's the difference.
I can't vote to deny someone's right to a legal, state-sponsored procedure, because I don't like their choices. It is not showing the love of God to deny insurance coverage and medical benefits to people because I disagree with their lifestyle.
A guest preacher at church on Sunday said that, instead of spending all of our time defending against people (culture in general, Hollywood, liberals, homosexuals, pornographers and sexual offenders), we should focus on going on the offense, with one single weapon: love. We should "offensively" love the people around us, no matter what their beliefs or circumstances. That's the only way we can truly do the work of God.
There are many sincere people with good intentions on both sides of this issue who would disagree with my parsing of the language, who would go so far as to say I'm turning my back on my beliefs and principles (whichever ones support that person's position, I guess). I'd imagine several of you are in this group. If you want to comment, that's cool. Please do so (respectfully, of course).
But here's where I'm at. I don't condone and will not accept homosexual behavior as anything other than sin. But I refuse to do harm to people Jesus died for, in the name of "defending" an institution that has survived for practically all of recorded time.
Since I can't vote to affirm the one part of the proposition without affirming the other, then I'll abstain. It's the only way I can see to show love.