This is the conclusion of the article published last Friday.
In his book, Virtually Normal, Andrew Sullivan, who is homosexual, writes about the openness of the homosexual marriage that reflects great understanding of the need for extra-marital outlets between two men, more so than would be tolerated between a man and a woman.
A lengthy history of marital infidelity within the ranks of heterosexual married couples attests to the destructive toxin of infidelity, even among couples with so called “open marriages.” Wife swapping, swinging and other forms of marital thrill-seeking have been thoroughly documented to have devastating effects on healthy marriages and healthy child rearing. The State should never be in the business of encouraging unhealthy behaviour by providing it special treatment.
In the same vein, legalising homosexual marriage undermines the moral foundation of marriage. Marriage as traditionally defined – the union of one man and one woman – is the most important social institution around the world. Legalizing homosexual marriage would allow a tiny minority of people to change long held moral codes and the social commitments that sustain it.
Advocates of homosexual marriage frequently ask, What harm is done to heterosexual marriages if same sex marriage is legalized? The short answer is: – they harm everyone else. When homosexual couples seek State approval and all the benefits that the State reserves for married heterosexual couples, they impose the law on everyone. Millions of people who do not believe homosexual practice is moral would be forced to accept it anyway. Homosexuals would turn civil rights laws into battering rams, using the courts to hammer resisters into submission. An employer who offers medical insurance to employees would be forced to provide it for the homosexual partner of an employee. Schools would be required to treat homosexuality as normal in its curriculum and co-curricular activities.
Some gay marriage activists argue that permitting homosexuals to marry will actually stabilise gay relationships, despite a Dutch study which showed that homosexuals in a committed relationship had an average of eight sexual partners outside the relationship per year!
Stanley Kurtz, writing in the Weekly Standard states, “After gay marriage, what will become of marriage itself? Among the likeliest effects of gay marriage is to take us down a slippery slope to legalized polygamy and ‘polyamory’ (group marriage). Marriage will be transformed into a variety of relationship contracts, linking two, three or more individuals in every conceivable combination of male and female.” Thus, the greatest harm that can come from legalizing homosexual marriage is the abolition of marriage itself, an avowed goal for some homosexual groups. At the very least, same sex marriage will certainly weaken the belief that monogamy lies at the heart of marriage.
What then can Christians do about gay marriage? First, they should ask God to continue having mercy on gay marriage advocates. Anyone who knows anything about God should be surprised that God’s full judgment has not yet fallen on gay marriage advocates. Years ago, Ruth Bell Graham, the wife of evangelist Billy Graham, said, “If God does not judge America for its sins, he will have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.” The arrogance and presumptuousness of homosexuals in the United States tempts the Lord.
Second, churches must strategise to strengthen heterosexual marriages. The antidote to perversion is purity. Churches should focus on promoting those things that will most strengthen existing marriages. The divorce rate among Christians is unacceptably high, thus the children of divorced parents frequently lack the kind of role models they need as they prepare to enter marriage themselves. Churches must sponsor marriage enrichment weekends, and special speakers, and as well schedule special opportunities for married couples to strengthen their marriages.
One thing that churches can do to strengthen marriages is to establish a policy of limiting how much involvement a married couple can have in church ministries and activities. Sometimes, a person whose marriage is in trouble will become immersed in church activities to avoid dealing with marital problems. Churches need to be alert to this and be prepared to head off a problem before it can develop.
Meanwhile Christians should engage in the public policy debates about same sex marriage in their workplace, community and the political arena. Although, homosexuality and the question of gay marriage are moral and spiritual issues, they are also public policy issues that must be debated. Christians must be prepared to engage people in the debate of these issues by being well informed. This means that churches should make sure that they have and make well-researched, well-documented materials available to their people. This includes being prepared to counter the pro-gay messages conveyed through school curricula and the mass media. Churches can become a clearing house for educational materials that tell the truth about homosexuality, gay marriage, etc.
Another way to defeat homosexuality and gay relationships is to recruit a task force to maintain a Christian presence at school board meetings, city council meetings, county commission meetings, etc. to monitor pro-gay activities. The time to oppose policies, ordinances, rules and laws is before they are enacted. This requires vigilance and persistence. You cannot succeed in preventing the further encroachment of the gay rights agenda if you do not know what is happening and who is behind it.
It is not by accident that certain mayors have taken it upon themselves to initiate the marriages of homosexuals. These moral raiding parties are probing actions designed to see how strong the opposition to gay marriage will be. It is one thing to take a public opinion poll and quite another to take action in order to gauge the intensity of the response. A regular presence at local policy making meetings will send a message to would-be rouge mayors that unilateral actions designed to advance homosexual interests will be met with stiff resistance. This means that Christians must be strategically engaged in local politics.
In conclusion, churches must do much more than simply oppose homosexual marriage. While preaching and teaching a Biblical marital ethic, the church must also hold marriage partners to a high standard of accountability. Churches must insist that pastors do not marry couples without proper pre-marital counselling. Church members who are unfaithful should be properly disciplined and the church should conduct annual marriage seminars, retreats or other events to enrich the marriages of its members.
Dr Akpongena, a Christian devotional writer, lives in Port Harcourt.