The last week has provided one of the best opportunities to reflect on the national attitude towards homosexuality that has come along in a good while. First of all there is the whole firestorm of discussion around the suspension of Ducky Dynasty’s Phil Robertson because of his expression of Christianity’s traditional view of the sinful nature of the act of homosexuality in GQ magazine. Secondly, my very own home state of Utah has become one of the most recent states, along with New Mexico, to upend a state ban of homosexual marriages.
The Libertarian Mindset
As a libertarian with a Mormon outlook toward homosexuality, this can create an interesting mix of thoughts and attitudes toward the homosexual revolution. So many liken the advancement of homosexual rights to the cause of liberating the slaves, the civil rights movement in the 1960s and the women’s suffrage movement. The libertarian in me thinks that government should have absolutely no say in what kind of relationships are formed between consenting adults as long as no harm is committed. A marital relationship seldom, if ever, begins on a foundational desire to harm the other person. Therefore, government should have no say in who is married to whom. There should be no laws against homosexual unions, polyamory or polygamy. One of the most fundamental of human rights is the right to freedom of association. We should never be forced to associate with those who we would rather avoid. Neither should we be forbidden to seek the full extent of any honest and beneficial relationship, which includes a matrimonial partnership of any two or more people.
So the libertarian view is remarkably simple – Let those who wish to be married, be married. Let there be no law that restricts the right of consenting adults from joining into matrimony with any individual they wish whether their partner is homosexual or heterosexual. Rejoice that there is more love in the world and that two people have made the ultimate commitment to love, honor, and serve one another until the end of their days.
The Religious Mindset
On the other hand, I have my religious views toward homosexuality. I was raised with the belief that mortal existence is simply a single step on a long road that extends far beyond the time that we close our eyes for the final time and join with the billions who have passed before us. We have been provided with a map by the God who created us all that outlines the course that is best traveled to reach our ultimate destination. There are certain parameters that have been set, expectations to be fulfilled, and lessons to learn. Each of us is born with an eternal personality that was in development for eons before we ever first drew breath. Our mortal condition carries with it certain proclivities and tendencies. While these tendencies vary from individual to individual, one thing remains constant amongst all mankind, and that is the natural inclination toward sin.
A key passage from the Book of Romans establishes all humanity’s condition, “But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus (Romans 3:21-26, emphasis added).”
There are two key elements to this passage: The first lies in our sinful nature and the second our hope of being justified in our sins through the redemption of Christ for those who believe. A non-religious person could easily dismiss this. A non-religious person might be considered slightly free from any restriction on sin, for they are not bound as severely as those who are made aware of their sinful nature and the fact that mediation has been provided by a loving God, who would extend the mercy of forgiveness, despite the fact that we have broken the laws of heaven. I think this is one reason that homosexuals are so offended when confronted by the presentation of homosexuality as a sin. They prefer to think of themselves as justified in their lives when they are encircled with the same chains of sin that bind all those who have not received the grace of Christ.
Assuming the validity of the Biblical account, God began the pattern of humanity as the culminating act of the creation. There was created by God in his image, a man. Shortly thereafter, God created a woman, and then Adam declared, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh (Genesis 2:24). Finally, Adam and Eve were given the instruction to, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth… (Genesis 1:28).”
As it stands, there is a certain pattern established for the marital relationship and the reason for the pattern. God saw the loneliness of Adam and created a partner for him – Someone to share his life and to ease his burden, someone for him to take care of and to love. They were also created for each other so that the propagation of the human species could be fulfilled. Though the world has a somewhat causal perception of sex today, it is something that should be held sacred between a man and a woman. It is to be confined to the bonds of matrimony as a means of physically, spiritually, and mentally becoming one with each other in the pattern of the unity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
It is the deviation from this pattern by choosing relationships outside of this male/female relationship that becomes sinful as it does not fulfil the purpose of a man cleaving to a woman and vice versa. It mocks the human need to propagate the species and to provide opportunities for more of God’s children to further the measure of their creation and to strive for their own exaltation.
Going back to the fact that all of mankind inherits a state of sinfulness, does this place the homosexual at any greater disadvantage than the rest of humanity as it pertains to the potential of condemnation? The answer is an unequivocal, resounding, “NO!” Therefore, it is no place of any person in existence to proclaim condemnation for the sinful acts of any other person, for we all share in the participation in sin and in the need for redemption before the judgment seat of God.
Hope For Us All
The great miracle of mankind is that it has been freed from the bondage of sin. “For God so loved the world, that he sent his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved (John 3:16-17).”
Homosexuality is a sin, but that only means that it too has a means of forgiveness provided. The great human struggle is to find a way to obtain forgiveness for our transgressions against God’s law. Jesus Christ, during his mortal ministry dealt with sinners on a regular basis. He commanded the woman taken in adultery to, “Go and sin no more.” He taught the Samaritan woman at the well that he is the bread of life, and that partaking of him will provide eternal life.
Sin can be overcome. How that will happen is beyond our knowledge in most respects. Again, that’s just part of our experience in mortality. It’s part of the plan. Why this particular struggle is given when there are so many others is not for me or any other person to answer. I can only believe that, though it is a tremendous challenge, that those who endure it and overcome it will find just as much joy in God’s eternal kingdom as any other who overcomes whatever their personal struggle with sin might be.
The Power of Love
Love is probably the most sought after of human emotions. It is something that we cannot generate for ourselves, but that must be given freely by others. Perhaps that is part of the conundrum of homosexuality. People seek love in diverse ways and places. If a person can find love anywhere, should that not be celebrated to some extent? I would say that it does.
Loving others and earning love in return is one of the greatest things we can do in our short existences. How everything will shake out in the end is something that will only be revealed in the eternities to come. In the meantime, let us not give any reason for others to think us hateful. The proclamation of sin is not a condemnation, but often a call to repentance is one of the most sincere forms of love that can be expressed.
Christ prefaced his sacrifice with these words, “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you (John 15:12-14).” So let us fulfil the commandment to love one another in a attempt to show our gratitude for the love that was displayed by the Savior of Mankind in his sacrifice on all of our behaves.