Perhaps the biggest headline this morning was Senator Rob Portman's reversal of his position on homosexual marriage. In an editorial in The Columbus Dispatch - "Gay couples also deserve chance to get married" - the senator set forth his new found conviction.
I have come to believe that if two people are prepared to make a lifetime commitment to love and care for each other in good times and in bad, the government shouldn't deny them the opportunity to get married.
Portman attributed his reversal to the recent discovery that his son Will was gay.
Two years ago, my son Will, then a college freshmen, told my wife, Jane, and me that he is gay. He said he'd known for some time, and that his sexual orientation wasn't something he chose; it was simply a part of who he is. Jane and I were proud of him for his honesty and courage. We were surprised to learn he is gay but knew he was still the same person he'd always been. The only difference was that now we had a more complete picture of the son we love.
The discovery led Portman to reconsider his support for the Defense of Marriage Act. He stated that his previous opposition to "same-sex couples was rooted in my faith tradition that marriage is a sacred bond between a man and a woman." However, after wrestling with the issue, "it came down to the Bible's overarching themes of love and compassion and my belief that we are all children of God."
Since Senator Portman has cloaked his abandonment of principle and his newly formed support for homosexuality with an appeal to Christianity, the Bible, and the love of God, he deserves a response along those lines.
First, Christian opposition to homosexuality does not depend upon one's "faith tradition" but upon the unchanging Word of God. Scripture explicitly condemns homosexuality in Genesis 19 (Sodom and Gomorrah), Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13, Romans 1:18-32, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Galatians 5:19-21, Ephesians 5:3-5, 1 Timothy 1:9-10, and Jude 7. Homosexuality is not a subject on which Scripture is silent. It is not up for debate or interpretation - the language is clear. What Senator Portman now supports is in direct defiance to the Word of God.
Second, Senator Portman argues that the "Bible's overarching themes of love and compassion" actually trumps what the Bible says.
In 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Paul writes:
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites ... will inherit the kingdom of God.
Nor does the Word of God ever say that "we are all children of God." While mankind is created in the image of God, we are not all children of God. To be a child of God one must be saved through faith in Jesus Christ. One is not simply a child of God because he is alive. Scripture makes it clear that unless and until we are saved through Jesus Christ we are enemies of God and children of the devil.
Homosexuals can be saved but only by accepting Christ, renouncing their former sins (including homosexuality) and allowing God to work in their lives to make them more like Him. Paul concludes the passage in 1 Corinthians with just such an appeal:
And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.
Third, Senator Portman makes it abundantly clear in his op-ed that his faith does not extend much beyond himself. The article is replete with references like "I have come to believe," "I've always felt," "my faith tradition," "I wrestled," "I believe," "I've thought," "I've changed my mind," etc.
[Here I want to address Senator Portman directly.]
To state it bluntly, Senator Portman, Christianity, the Word of God, and the proper view of homosexuality has nothing to do with you or your changing perspective. It has everything to do with the unchanging Word of God. Your attempt to cloak your opinion by distorting the Word of God is not only offensive but blasphemous. I encourage you to open your Bible and read what it says about false teachers and those who add to or take away from the Word of God.
I understand that your son is a homosexual. As a Christian you are called to love him but you cannot condone his sin and encourage others to do the same. Principles are higher than our individual circumstances. Principles do not change because the circumstances in our lives change.
He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it. (Matthew 10:37-39)
Condoning the sin of homosexuality will not help your son to lead a "happy, meaningful" life. He cannot lead such a life in direct opposition to the Word of the Lord. You have taken the easy path and it will only lead to sin and death, error, and worse.
My prayers are with you and your family but Christians must not let your attempt to pervert the Word of God to fit your own personal life go unchallenged.
God created marriage prior to the fall of man in Genesis 3. He codified marriage as between a man and a woman in the Law of God given to Moses (Leviticus). Jesus endorsed the institution of marriage in Matthew 19 by reciting and then elaborating on the Genesis account.
In his closing paragraphs, Senator Portman demonstrates his new found moral relativism by appealing to the growing consensus in favor of homosexual marriage. Having rejected an absolute moral standard that transcends society, he now appeals to society itself for moral absolutes. [Hat-tip to Francis Schaeffer.] I would remind the good senator that societies, in and of themselves, do not make good moral barometers. At one point the general consensus in the United States was that slavery was a necessary evil. In the 20th century, appeals to a growing consensus has been used to justify abortion, genocide, and even the rise of fascism.
Power is not given to Senator Portman or the United States government to change the traditional institution of marriage or to proclaim good what the Lord has declared an abomination. We might do so on paper but the consequences of violating the moral law will still hold. May God help us if He ever gives us over to the evil desires of our hearts. (Romans 1:18-32) He may already have.