A Christian Case for Gay Marriage?
- Friday, August 26, 2005
Accepting the feminist argument that the personal is the political, the authors reveal their own marital experience. Myers and his wife have been married for forty-one years and are the parents of three adult children. Scanzoni "experienced a painful midlife divorce after twenty-seven years of marriage and is the mother of two adult sons and the grandmother of three boys and two girls." What binds these two together as authors? Myers and Scanzoni inform readers that "the two of us are kindred spirits as active Christians who care about compassion, love, and justice in the lives of all persons, regardless of sexual orientation."
The basic worldview that now undergirds the argument for normalizing homosexuality is based in the assumption that homosexual behavior, in itself, is not sinful. Accepting the bizarre claims of revisionist Bible scholars, proponents claim that the crucial biblical texts condemning homosexuality actually condemn something other than "committed" same-sex relationships. The fact that a plain and direct reading of the scriptures would leave no room for same-sex marriage is dismissed as rooted in nothing more than the limited understanding of the biblical authors and the presumed "homophobia" of ancient cultures.
Myers and Scanzoni base their argument in psychology. They argue that human beings are characterized by a "longing for belonging" that has usually taken the shape of heterosexual marriage. "Mountains of data confirm that most people are happier attached," the authors report. "The institution of marriage has traditionally offered the possibility of forming one of life's deepest attachments. Social science research has shown that, compared with those who have never married, and especially those who have separated or divorced, married people report greater happiness and life satisfaction." Thus, Myers and Scanzoni again appear to be advocates for the institution of marriage and the strengthening of marriage within the larger culture.
But they quickly shift to the issue of homosexual marriage. After recognizing the benefits that are common to heterosexual marriage, the authors argue: "Studies done before the advent of twenty-first century gay marriage reveal 'striking similarities' in the love and satisfaction experienced by same-sex couples and heterosexual couples." Thus, Myers and Scanzoni base their argument in their psychological assumption that human beings need to form life-long commitments and in sociological analysis purported to establish parity between homosexual and heterosexual couplings.
And what exactly is marriage? The authors cite anthropologist George Murdoch to the effect that marriage is separated from other human relationships by two factors--economic interdependence and sexual interdependence. To this is added a "socially recognized contract" that is respected by the larger culture. Why, they ask, should same-sex relationships be excluded when such relationships can fulfill the first two purposes?
Accepting many of the arguments offered by those who propose a biological or environmental cause for sexual orientation, Myers and Scanzoni argue that "evidence points to brain differences and prenatal hormonal influences helping to explain sexual orientation." They claim that "the consistency of the genetic, neural, and biochemical findings have swung the pendulum towards a greater appreciation of biological influences" in determining sexual orientation. They criticize ministries that attempt to change an individual's sexual orientation by means of reparative therapy. They dismiss many of these ministries, and reject the testimonials of individuals who claim to have had their sexual orientation changed back to heterosexuality as "false, self-deceptive, or from people who never were genuinely homosexual."
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