The news is flooded by coverage of the upcoming Supreme Court case that will determine the status of same-sex marriage across the United States, as well as new legislation in deeply red states to protect “religious freedom” by allowing individuals and businesses to legally refuse service to LGBTQ persons. How should conservatives, specifically Christian conservatives, respond?
Firstly, we must acknowledge the importance of faith. Faith is deeply rooted in the United States from the Founding Fathers to the individual callings Americans receive today to carry out lives of service in pursuit of social justice, such as creating a business and hiring the unemployed or empowering young people to break away from the school-to-prison pipeline. Though we may flaunt the idea of “Church and State,” Christianity has nonetheless influenced both American society and our government.
Where does faith (in this case, Christian faith) come from? 1 Corinthians 13 lays out in detail what love is and finishes in verse 13: “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” Faith is rooted in love, not the other way around.
Why does faith stem from love? Because 1 John 4:8 tells us “God is love.” God does not simply possess love, God’s attributes don’t simply entail love–God is love. How better to fathom God and love than to study the life of Jesus Christ during this Holy week? God’s most loving act was giving up his son Jesus to die for you and thus ensuring your eternal life. Jesus’ most loving act was completing that mission, one of degradation, dehumanization, and the ultimate undeserved suffering.
We are a broken country in dire need of that same unconditional love. What makes America exceptional is when her people carry out bold acts emulating God’s unconditional love. The Founding Fathers signed a Declaration of Independence guaranteeing their execution as traitors if the colonies lost the war. Despite whatever personal vices they may be accused of today, that certainly was an altruistic deed.
What breaks down America and hinders her exceptionalism, however, are the systematic efforts to impose discrimination and segregation, to publicly humiliate, and to oppress. This wolf of oppression has too often been covered in the sheep’s clothes as the words “religious freedom.” Faith and love are preached while cruelty and hate are executed in action; this disconnect may not even be recognized by the one who commits this paradox.
How can we promote American exceptionalism? Christian conservatives should defend the First Amendment in remembrance of the Founding Father’s choice to not have a state religion. Marriage must be understood as an important role in building families to build our village and to raise the next generation of children who then aspire and reach higher than their parents. Marriage in the United States should not be solely subject to a narrow interpretation of a verse in Leviticus while ignoring Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 19:12. A biblical and theological discourse on marriage or homosexuality cannot be simply confined to out of context verse pickings.
“Traditional marriage” is an empty phrase without the context of the purpose of marriage, emulating unconditional love. What is “traditional” anyway? Is it whites only marrying whites while ensuring no black person marries a white person? This view of “traditional” marriage was ardently defended only a generation ago. The Supreme Court didn’t rule laws prohibiting interracial marriage as unconstitutional until 1963, and the last state law prohibiting interracial marriage was only officially repealed in 2000 in Alabama.
Is traditional marriage about fertility? Infertile couples as well as older couples are married all the time and we as a society are better for it. Whether through adoption, guardianship, friendship, community involvement, or other forms of sacrifice and service, these couples still contribute greatly to building our village and raising the next generation.
One may define traditional marriage as a life-long family commitment between a fertile man and a fertile woman who physically procreate. That’s more than fine, that’s something that helps our country grow. But that definition doesn’t automatically exclude other forms of unconditional love in marriage.
There is a gay agenda in our country. It’s called equality.
Queer people did not choose their identities. They did not choose to be thrown off buildings by ISIS for being (or being accused of being) gay, nor did they choose to be stoned to death thousands of years ago or today. Despite being bullied, slandered, outcast, dehumanized, hunted, murdered, many still strive to emulate God’s unconditional love.
The ability to demonstrate unconditional love through marriage, including same-sex marriage, is beneficial for the health of our country. These men and women want to raise families in a loving home surrounded by role models. Our country’s desire should not be to impede the growth and strengthening of our village, but to catalyze it.
Today is the day after Palm Sunday, the day Jesus entered the temple area and overturned tables in anger because a place of prayer was consumed by a market for priests to make profit. The priests certainly didn’t enjoy Jesus’ disregard of “tradition,” in fact they plotted to kill Jesus. They missed the message. The Gospel isn’t centered around earthly rules; the Gospel is centered around the love of Jesus Christ for every single person.
Families with same-sex parents may not be “traditional,” but what should matter to conservative Christians is not a constructed idea of manmade traditions susceptible to changing winds, but rather the underlying root to Christianity and conservatism: unconditional love. Through unconditional love we expand opportunity and liberty, we gain knowledge from one another, we challenge each other, and we build a village by building families.
Same-sex marriage does not threaten “traditionally” married couples or the sanctity of marriage. What threatens the sanctity of marriage are the scores of politicians who lambast same-sex marriage, yet meanwhile engage in extramarital affairs. Perhaps they one day will see same-sex couples committed to fidelity as a wake up call for how they should aspire to live their own lives, lives of unconditional love and dignity.
Opposing same-sex marriage will not prevent same-sex couples from loving one another, or becoming a family. All opposition will do is deprive citizens of their right to human dignity and equal treatment before the law. All opposition will do is ensure “legal” discrimination and the institutionalization of second class “others” while meanwhile the supporters of this injustice cleanse their hands of its evils under the misconstrued cover of “religious freedom.”
Conservative heterosexual Christians may not completely understand why someone is attracted to or falls in love with a member of their own sex, just as a gay person may not completely understand how it feels to be attracted to the opposite sex. However, both still have the ability to value each other’s roles in building a larger village through families, where everyone can join together for a common good.
Same-sex marriage can bring faith, hope, and love to our nation. As a conservative Christian, it seems right to support this cause that expands liberty, opportunity, freedom, and challenges all couples to commit to unconditional love, manifested first and foremost in God, as well as in their relationships to each other and to the broader community.
It is time to flip the table to ensure the meaning of marriage is exalted by purpose and grounded by unconditional love, not impeded by societal definitions of tradition which shift like the sands of the Sahara. Now is one of those key moments in history where bold action, inspired by God’s unconditional love, will make America even more exceptional.
This article presents the views of author Alexander Bobroske, not necessarily those of the Georgetown University College Republicans or GUCR Board. This piece belongs solely to Mr. Bobroske and cannot be reproduced in any way without his approval. For more GUCR updates, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.