Saturday, October 4, 2008

Against Proposition 8

  • Raised in a fundamentalist christian home. Seventh-day Adventist.

  • Baptised at age 11.

  • Attended SDA schools from the 1st grade until graduation from high school.

  • Taught at an SDA school for 5 years.

  • Completed an M.A. an SDA university.

Am I qualified to represent the church?
Am I interested?

About a week ago I was invited by a friend to join a Facebook group: Adventists Against Prop 8. Proposition 8 is also known as the Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry Act. My position is clear. I believe same-sex marriages should be afforded all the rights of heterosexual marriage. They should have the same tax benefits. They should have equal rights of hospital visitation. They should be allowed to adopt. So I oppose Proposition 8. If I were in California I would vote against it. Since I'm not in California I can only speak out against it.

From the Adventists Against Prop 8 FAQ page.
This act would clearly put the State as arbiter of competing theologies because millions of Christians and folks of other faiths define marriage differently.

I agree. This is a good constitutional reason to oppose the act. The government should not choose between competing theologies.

So shall I add my voice to an SDA chorus? I have. But I'm not without reservations. I joined the Facebook group and I signed an online petition opposing the act. But I flinch at some of the commentary and analysis that I read on the web page.

Point by point from the FAQ page:
[M]ost Adventists would agree that marriage should only be between a man and a woman.

Well I'm not one of those. I believe the right to marriage should be equal. I believe the SDA church should recognize support and perform same sex marriages. The church doesn't. I hold that against the church.

There are many people in society who practice forms of relationships that are not compatible with God’s intention at creation, including co-habitation before marriage, pornography, sexual relations outside the bounds of marriage, adultery, divorce, and more.

Pornography is not a form of relationship. Co-habitation offers no rights until the couple gains marriage rights by common law. Adultery and extra-marital sex have nothing to do with the hetero/homo categorization. This is an unnecessary and misleading argument even though it's being used to argue against Prop 8.

We trust in the grace of God to help us all live according to Biblical principles and reject the notion that any State should legislate morality.

Biblical principles do not address homosexuality as a sexual identity. The bible says nothing about homosexuals who are in a committed relationship. The relationships being condemned in the bible are not monogamous homosexual relationships. It is important to distinguish between homosexuality and homoeroticism. There is now a cultural institution that allows same-sex couples to be exclusively devoted. Any biblical condemnation of a homoerotic lifestyle was directed at activity that was necessarily uncommitted. N.B. I'm not saying that I would agree with the bible even if it did say something about committed same-sex relations.

We want to be clear that voting “no” on Prop 8 is NOT the same as endorsing same-sex marriage.

Since this is true I want to be clear that I do endorse same-sex marriage.


1 comment:

Casey said...

This reminds me of a discussion I used to have with Alexis and some of my other "Catholic" friends... they would say things like, "Well, I don't accept the notion that the pope is chosen by God, and I don't believe we should discriminate against gay people, and I think abortion should be legal, and I don't believe in the literal trans-substantiation, and so on..." and then I would say, "Well, what part of you is Catholic, then?" And they'd giggle and say, in tones anticipating Sarah Palin's, "Oh, gee -- well, you knooo... I was raised Catholic."

Do you catch my drift? I guess this is always the question -- the Protestants who came to America in the early 17th century were of two types: the separatists, who thought the church of England was so corrupt that it could not be reformed "from inside," and the other group (can't remember if they had such an excellent label) who thought the church of England was screwed up, but not beyond all hope, and thought that they could fix it "from within."

And hell, Jesus did the same with Judaism, I suppose -- but at some point wouldn't it be easier to just renounce your affiliation with SDA and be, simply, "Against Prop 8," instead of being an "Adventist Against Prop 8?"

Obviously, this is a personal enough decision that it doesn't need defending -- but I thought it might be interesting (for me, if not for you) to ask.