Peoria Association Of Pastors Stance On Gay Marriage

As pastors who are intimately involved within the affairs of the community at many levels it is incumbent upon us to be able and ready to minister to the needs of all men regardless of race, gender ethnicity or sexual orientation. The mission of Christ is expansive and meets all men at the point of their needs.

Currently, across the nation and within Illinois, there is a vast movement to redefine the institution of marriage and the definition of family. These institutions are fundamental and foundational institutions which are, we believe, given to men and ordained of God.
Genesis 2:21-25 ~ And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; 22-And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. 23-And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. 24-Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. 25-And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

Although our moral interpretation of values and standards are not limited to scripture (as will be noted in this article), as a Christian organization the basis and foundation of our belief would stem from scripture. As far back as Genesis, scripture adequately notes that God created the woman for the man and the man for the woman. From that would flow the creation of the institution of marriage and the family.  The instruction of the Lord was that man would leave his "mother and his father" and be joined unto his "wife" and "they two shall be one flesh".
Based on scripture, the initial design of marriage was not about two individuals of the same gender creating and rearing a family. So the intent of scripture is and has always been clear as it pertains to marriage. In addition, marriage was not about a financial arrangement or accommodation. It was not defined for nor was it instituted on that basis. Neither was marriage an arrangement based on feelings or passions even though feelings and passions existed and certainly do exist within any good and solid marriage. The danger of the latter, as we will expound later, being that man has the capacity to have feelings and passions for anything or anyone. However those feelings and passions should not be the sole control or guide into defining the acceptable conditions of marriage or imposing views upon society in general.

In making this statement, we felt it best to deal with a few of the more common arguments hailed by advocates of homosexual marriage placing them in perspective. We will deal with:

Feelings & Passions
Family Growth & Development
Civil Rights
Severe Family & Institutional Changes 

Feelings & Passions
Feelings and passions have often been used by homosexual advocates as a basis for the endorsement of gay marriage. According to the Huffington Post on may 14th, 2013 the Governor of Minnesota, Mark Dayton, signed into law what was termed the states "marriage equality bill". This bill was designed to extend marital rights to gay couples. The Governor stated:
"life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness should certainly include the right to marry the person you love."
The Governor interpreted that marriage of whom one "loves" to be an inalienable right. This means that he believes that homosexual marriage is a God ordained institution or a value held up and above and beyond the recognition of the law. There are many problems with his statement and sentiments.

First, we feel that the state has no vested interest tangible or otherwise to neither endorse or discourage the "feelings" of those in relationships of any kind within civil society.  Serious questions can be posed. Are we to assume that a pedophiles "feelings" for the child objects of their lust are an adequate basis for the extension of "pedophilia rights"? Are we to conclude that the "feelings" of the rapist toward his victim is and adequate basis or should be taken under consideration in determining the extension of "rape rights" to the rapist? Of course these are silly propositions. No more silly than the notion that the homosexual should have a right to marry or that marital rights should be extended on the basis of  feelings and passions or because of who someone "loves".

Secondly, to redefine constitutional rights in such a manner to intertwine that "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" concurs with the idea that being able to "marry" whom one "loves" is a very slippery slope when my prior statements are taken into consideration. Does the Constitution and the right of free citizens include the right to engage in actions and behaviors that one "loves" without regard to the consequences of those actions?

We feel that sentiments such as there are an wholly inadequate basis upon which to change, amend or institute law and redefine values.   

Family Growth
There is solid evidence amassed over the years stating that children reared in an in-tact home, where both mother and father are present, fare much better in society and within the world than under conditions where neither parent is present or where just one is present to pick up the slack. Over and over studies have shown that a healthy marriage in which children are present is the best way to facilitate the children becoming a contributing part of society. In addition those families usually create and produce, by natural methods of procreation, new individuals who also have the opportunity to be a part of society and contribute to it as well.
The psychology and the long term affect on the children of individuals within same gender parent relationships has not fully been determined yet, but already there appears to be problems. There are serious issues of gender confusion where same gender parents encourage their children to approach their sexuality based on how they "feel". The problem is that these "feelings" could change daily or weekly and lead to problems as children live our their experience. For example, whose bathroom does one go to at school? The boys or the girls? And what of the other students? Should the girls be or are they required to be comfortable with a boy's choice to feel like a girl that day and enter into their bathroom? Should boys be expected to feel the same? What is the psychological affect on the girls and boys when the "choice" and "feelings" of others are exalted over their choice and feelings to not be dictated to in such a manner?

There is no scientific  or other acceptable study that can possibly suggest that free flowing concepts of gender and sexuality can possibly be good for family growth and development or the integration of new families within society. 

Civil Rights

Most homosexual marriage advocates would argue that civil rights are rights conferred upon individuals by the state. Many Christians agree saying that marriage is a matter of the state and that our government does not facilitate a theocracy or a condition upon which laws are based on God's words or edicts from heaven. The problem is that in many cases, although the state may make recognition of a particular right, not all civil rights begin with the state. There are some civil rights that are inherent or recognized as a part of human existence.  In addition, for Christians to advocate in favor of traditional marriage is not an imposition of Christian values. It is an advocacy for sound and solid moral and social values which have clearly under girded society and been the basis upon which the economy and social progress of the world has been built.
Most homosexual marriage advocates argue that the right of homosexual marriage is a civil right, based upon civil society, and that it does not infringe upon or take away from or impinge the rights of any individual. Specifically, as the argument goes, for the homosexual to have the right to marry conferred upon them by the state does not take away from or detract from the institution of heterosexual marriage in any way. 

As pastors we beg to differ with those sentiments for the following reasons:
1- As previously noted civil rights may be recognized in time, but exist beyond time. For example, rights based on race or other ethnic characteristic may be recognized at some point and written into civil codes as they were in America during the "civil rights era", however, those rights were rights that should have been extended to all men in a free society. For years rights were denied to Blacks within America because they were not considered to be "men" and at the least a "sub class" of humans. However, the truth was that rights were simply denied to a certain class of men based on the superficial difference of skin color.  
No one with any vein of rational understanding argues that homosexuals are sub-class humans or are animals. (Although materialists may agree with the latter statement for the whole of the human species) Therefore, the argument for "civil rights" of homosexual marriage cannot be established because the basis homosexual marital rights is uniquely and totally different from what has been considered as the basis for the establishment of a "civil right" in general.
2- Civil rights are not merely about extending rights only when others aren't harmed by  the extension. They are about extending rights that are obvious and evident in spite of who is harmed by such extension. They are based on universal and absolute truths and truth propositions.
Example: During the nations civil rights era, the extension of rights to Blacks and minorities as a whole directly affected industry, politics and the social standing of those who opposed such inclusion. Some even claimed that they were harmed by Blacks and other minorities receiving the extension of certain rights such as the right to vote. However, the extension of the right was a self-evident one when the fact was considered that Blacks were and are humans. The color of one's skin was a superficial difference between individuals and not a difference whereby an individual would be considered either more or less human or more or less able to vote or participate in elections and other standard national and local protocols. In other words, the difference in the color of skin did not and does not create a substantive difference between individuals, their actions and public perceptions.

Whereas, the difference between traditional marriage and the extension of homosexual marriage creates real and substantive differences between individuals and families and society in general. As I have pointed out above, these differences do not merely exist as a "diversity" as many homosexual marriage advocates claim. They are supremely substantive differences that demand a paradigm in approach to the complete institution of the family, the educational system and the social system of society. In fact upon redefinition of marriage the ideal of the family looses it's place and value within society itself as the fundamental institution of society in general. Family is left relegating it to one of the mere "suitable arrangements" in which child rearing is done. In other words, the acceptance of homosexual marriage is not merely a superficial difference. This is a substantive difference that effects every facet of what is done or accepted within civil society. 
Severe Family & Institutional Change
Dr. David Parker 
For those who don't believe what I am saying, there is a whole host of evidences to go along with it. From the 2004 arrest of Dr. David Parker  in MA as he opposed the public school's redefinition of "family" contained within the book "Who's In A Family" by author Robert Skutch. The book, given to a kindergartner, reviewed by Dr. Parker, was not in accordance with what he taught as acceptable family values as it defined that two men or two women were acceptable as parents in a family. In that case, after his arrest, he was told by the MA Supreme Court that the state had a greater and more vested interest to educate his child in the values surrounding the law of the land than he and his wife did as parents of their own child.

U.S. Department Of State
According to a Jan 2011 report from Fox News the US State Department changed their passport application terminology from "Mother" and "Father" to "Parent One" and Parent Two". According to the Department this move was in effort to provide "a gender neutral description of a child's parents and in recognition of different types of families".  In other words, the value set forth is that it is not politically expedient to say or suggest "mothers", "fathers" or at the very least distinguish the difference. Could such terminology be outlawed as a whole? That  may be a radical question, but it certainly should be addressed.

What has been interesting to note is that there have been "different types of families" for a number of years but there has never been a change in wording to accommodate those differences. We believe that instances such as this and others that we will observe surrounding such issues are a direct effect of the national effort to accommodate and accept homosexual marriage as an institution.
There are many other instances of significant and substantive changes that are arising regularly within the states that now have instituted homosexual marriage as the law of the land. Many of these changes are disturbing at best.  
The statement of the Peoria Pastors Assn. is that we do not endorse nor recognize homosexual marriage as an acceptable nor honored institution within society. We encourage all legislators to stand against the expansion of homosexual marital rights in favor of the traditional definition of marriage which has been between one man and one woman within our society.

Although we embrace the freedom of individuals to form unions with whom they wish within the context of the law, it is our opinion that arrangements within civil society under the term "homosexual marriage" do not meet the standard of acceptance either scripturally, spiritually or socially and such arrangements should not be endorsed or instituted by process of law in any state yet alone the state of Illinois.
As pastors we do not believe that institutions should be created purely for social or economic benefits. However, we do recognize that the removal of estate tax (which is the basis for the whole homosexual marriage argument) is a benefit that would positively effect all Americans. We would encourage that those engaged in homosexual relationships seek and be given access to other arrangements that will allow them to experience and obtain a level of financial stability that is sought in business issues. Items such as wills, trusts durable health care power of attorneys, and living wills should suffice in delivering the proper relief to couples who desire such security regardless of marrige or in many cases relationship.

A redefinition or expansion of the law is the wrong move, begins and opens the door to further expansion and is simply not a move in the best interest of society in general. Any and every member of this association hereby ascribes to this statement or a variation thereof as a foundation of the views held and shared commonly amongst us. Thank you.  

Pastor Harvey Burnett
Exec Director Peoria Assn. Of Pastors
New Bethel COGIC

No comments:

Post a Comment