In case you haven’t heard, one of evangelical Protestantism’s most well known leaders, Jen Hatmaker, recently announced her support of gay marriage.
Her belief was revealed in this interview, where she agreed that “any two adults have the right to choose who they want to love”, and that a LGBTQ relationship can be “holy”. She came to this conclusion after a few years of study, her husband said in a follow-up Facebook post.
It’s disheartening, but not surprising. In reading about this, there are a few valuable things we can take away, I think:
1. If you study the Bible to figure something out, and your conclusion doesn’t match thousands of years of Biblical tradition, you’re probably the one who’s wrong.
It’s good and beautiful to know the Bible. But you know what? It can be confusing. False conclusions can be drawn. And I think it’s important to look beyond words on a page into the historical context, word meaning, and traditions surrounding any teaching. You can pray and research yourself into perfect heresy, and you might not even know it: a good reason to look at what’s been consistently taught over time and not try to twist scripture to mean what you want it to.
2. This is why I’m grateful to be Catholic.
You see, problems happen when everything is open to interpretation. That’s what you get with sola scriptura. It must be difficult to feel the weight of having to figure everything out yourself! I consider it such a gift to be be Catholic. I don’t have to figure out everything myself, and can trust the well educated explanations of thousands of saints, philosophers, bishops, theologians, popes, and doctors of the church who came before me. They’re not perfect. But they’re smarter than me and can help me understand issues I might not agree with.
3. We do need to talk about how we treat people who struggle with homosexual tendencies.
This, I think, is actually my biggest takeaway. I think Jen is right that we need to be sensitive to people. But she’s wrong that treating people better involves acquiescing to sin.
We can and should welcome people into our families, workplaces, and churches regardless of what sin they have, are, or will commit. We’re all sinners after all. This is part of what I think Jen was getting at, probably because some people still have a stone the gay people attitude. I hope it’s obvious that stoning people is wrong, as is wishing them ill will. That’s not a good way to love people.
Loving people means we do what is best for them. And since marriage-like relationships with people of the same gender violate how we were created to express our complementary sexuality as men and women, that’s not loving people right. Neither is it loving to endorse things like pornography, incest, or polygamy. Even if people want it. I don’t care if it’s consensual. Can we please agree on that? We can’t base our decisions on what people want because, let’s face it, we all want things that are bad for us sometimes. What we can do is treat people with respect, even when we disagree with them. The answer is not to endorse the sin, but to embrace the sinner.
If we base our “love” for others on satisfying what they want, regardless of if it’s good for them, how on earth is that loving? You tell me.