Chick-fil-A and "Traditional" Marriage
So Chick-fil-A is in the news. The president and COO of the famous and delicious (but not kosher) chicken joint came out publicly in favor of God’s definition of marriage. Usually, in our liberal culture, “coming out” with your true and genuine beliefs on something is celebrated as being authentic and real. Not so, though, with Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy. Everyone is up in arms, including mayors of major cities who want to keep the fast-food fowl franchise outside their borders.
There is one thing that really and truly frustrates me about this whole issue, and it’s not anything the atheists, liberals, and progressives are doing—though I disagree with their position, they don't anger me personally. At least they are at least being consistent with their core values; the Bible is clear that we can't expect unbelievers to have the same standards we do (1 Corinthians 5:12-13).
It’s the conservative pundits that really bug me, and here’s why: I am sick of hearing that homosexual marriages produce flawed children, and I am sick of hearing that homosexual couples somehow degrade society or threaten traditional families.
These are horrible arguments against homosexual marriage. They are completely meaningless and totally sidestep the issue. They are even relatively easy to disprove.
By using these arguments against homosexual marriage, conservative Christians are building their house on a weak foundation. They are putting their eggs in the wrong basket. They are betting on the wrong horse. And when they lose, they make all of us who believe the Bible look bad.
Here’s the stone cold truth. The only reason we can be 100% sure that homosexual marriage is wrong is that God told us so in the Bible. If you reject the authority of the Bible, then you have no reason to be against homosexual marriage.
I wish I never had to hear the term “traditional family values” again. If we have any values, they are Biblical values. If we have any authority, it is the authority of the Bible. If we have any reason for doing anything we do, it had better be from the Bible.
Why don’t Christians just say “We’re against homosexual marriage because we believe the Bible, and the Bible says God doesn’t like homosexual activity”?
Are we so embarrassed of God? Are we so embarrassed of the Bible that we have to find other reasons, other foundations to stand on?
Dan Cathy is a notable exception. In the short paragraph that caused so much controversy, he mentioned Romans 1 twice, and alluded to its language several times. He directly bases his position on God’s authority. If it weren’t spelled out so clearly in the Bible, I have no reason to believe that Mr. Cathy would hold the position he holds.
I praise Dan Cathy for taking a stand for what he believes in. I wish the rest of the red-state conservatives were so careful to base their beliefs directly on the Bible.
In fact, Dan’s argument could have been even stronger. He could have talked about how the God of the universe appeared in fire and cloud and spoke directly on the issue. He could have referenced the eternal Torah, written in stone, unchanging and unyielding, which God gave to Israel and which spells out exactly what kind of sexual relationships God approves of.
My guess is, though, that like most other Christians, Mr. Cathy doesn’t regard the Mosaic Law as relevant or binding on anyone today. As a result, his argument has an Achilles’ heel that is relatively easy to exploit; if God can change his mind about the Torah, then God can change his mind about the prohibition on homosexual activity, which is part of the Torah. Even if God only removed some parts of the Torah, like animal sacrifices or the wearing of tefillin (phylacteries), that leaves the door wide open for him to take out the parts about homosexuality too.
I find time and time again as I see these arguments hashed out in the political arena that the Christians trying to articulate their position would have a much stronger foundation to stand on if they would only accept the Torah as God’s seminal revelation of himself. If Evangelical Christians could get a firm handle on the Torah’s binding authority and exactly how it applies to us, there would be no confusion.
Instead of being harassed for picking and choosing laws from the Torah, Evangelicals could point to a developed and robust theology that clearly delineates which commandments are binding on Jews, which are binding on Gentile believers, and which God holds everyone in the world accountable to. Instead, though, it is becoming fashionable to sweep the whole issue under the rug and base the anti-homosexual position on “traditional values.”
Furthermore, the Torah’s strict laws on marriage and sex might give Evangelicals a platform from which to clean up their own act. If the world heard us give the same kind of vocal support of the rest of God’s limitations on sex—no adultery, no frivolous divorces, no sexual impurity whatsoever—maybe we wouldn’t look like hypocrites with a runaway divorce rate and a double standard on sexual purity.
Until then, I fear that Christian children will hear about “traditional family values” so much that they will actually start to believe that this nebulous term encapsulates the reason they believe what they believe.
Learn more about the continuing relevance of the Torah for all of the people of God in D. Thomas Lancaster’s book, Restoration.
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