That same sex marriage violates Christian moral/ethical standards is well established and well discussed. But the unchristian nature of this now national institution is much deeper than even basic morality. Consider the Obergefell decision. The decision is based largely on the “immutability” of homosexual desire. Page 4 of the majority opinion:
Far from seeking to devalue marriage,the petitioners seek it for themselves because of their respect—and need—for its privileges and responsibilities. And their immutable nature dictates that same-sex marriage is their only real path to this profound commitment. [emphasis added]
As evidence of this “immutability,” they offer the evidence of the American Psychological Association (page 8):
Only in more recent years have psychiatrists and others recognized that sexual orientation is both a normal expression of human sexuality and immutable. See Brief for American Psychological Association et al. as Amici Curiae 7–17. [again, emphasis added]
This is a frighteningly unchristian argument.
It is the very essence and nature of Christianity to help a person to better themselves. This is one of the senses in which America is a “Christian nation.” People migrated from a “birth is destiny” Europe to America precisely so they could better themselves. Whether it be religious pilgrims seeking freedom from a state mandated religion or people seeking economic benefit typically reserved only for the aristocratic – the freedom offered in first the colonies and then the nation allowed people to better themselves.
Christianity is rife with references to betterment. Whether it be Christ’s promise of abundant life (John 10:10), the Pauline admonition to be transformed (Romans 12: 2), or the Petrine command to not conform to former lusts (1 Peter 1:14) Christianity is all about change, and change for the better.
When the APA says that “sexual orientation” is immutable they say simply that they cannot find a way to change it. Well given the recidivism rate for many well established unhealthy desires (from anorexia to obesity, from alcoholism to porn addiction) I think it is fair to say that the APA finds much “immutable.” But Christianity promises that it can change anything (Phil 4:13).
Churches that participate in same sex marriage deny the power of the faith they proclaim to uphold to change that which is seemingly unchangeable. They neatly conform to perhaps G..K Chesterton’s most oft-quoted sentence, “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.” Christianity does not promise ease in such necessary change, only that seemingly impossible change is possible.
The nation is, I think, harmed by this concession to base desire. Historically we are the nation where people came to improve themselves. This is why we have always been a land of real opportunity. In conceding that this base desire cannot be overcome we concede that the hope on which our nation was built has limits, and that limits the nation. Opportunity ends where hope ends. For most in America our hope has been rooted in our religious conviction. Our religious freedom is restricted because we are now told we can no longer hope for at least this particular thing.
But churches that choose to abandon the hope that sexual orientation can be changed and join the nation in the practice of same-sex marriage admit to, at a minimum, faith in a God that is powerless in the face of this particular desire. For such churches I weep. In abandoning hope they also abandon the nation built on hope. Truly a crying shame.