FIRST-PERSON: We're not the bigoted ones
TEMPLE HILLS, Md. (BP)--In a 48-hour period this week, Washington D.C. and Maine joined Iowa, Vermont, Massachusetts and Connecticut in recognizing "same-sex marriages."
According to law, Congress has 30 days to review the D.C. City Council's vote. The vote in the Maine Senate that sent the bill to their governor was 21-13 with one lawmaker absent. The vote in D.C. was 12-1 with the lone opposing vote ironically coming from former D.C. Mayor Marion Barry. This vote most certainly foreshadows the eventual allowing for "gay marriages" to be performed in D.C.
The atmosphere in the days immediately before the vote found pastors of churches within the nation's capital joining together in order to rally their members to protest against a favorable vote. Prior to the vote there was a very emotional debate on the issue in the council chamber. Afterwards, those protesting in front of the D.C. City Council building, including many members of the clergy, stormed the hallway outside of the city council's chambers, vowing to fight to unseat the members of the council who supported the bill. The uproar was of such a nature that law enforcement personnel were called in to clear the hallway of the crowd.
Charges of bigotry were leveled at the protestors by those supporting gay marriage. Some epithets lodged at the band of ministers even suggested that the protestors were using the Bible as a cover-up for their bigotry. Marion Barry, though not called a "bigot," was told by one of the council member that his position was bigoted, and that he was standing against equality for two fellow council members who are openly gay. Seemingly, this council member felt that Barry, in determining to side with "the ministers, who stand on the moral compass of God," did not see the two gay men as his equals -- "equal" in a sense reminiscent of Sean Penn's Oscar speech.
It must be asked, however: Why are people, especially Christians, labeled "bigots" when they disagree with the legalization of "same-sex marriages?' Rather, why are we not considered to be people who have a moral standard based on the objective instruction of the word of God -- a people also who do not like it when one segment of a society attempts to impose its (errant) views and standards upon the entire society? It seems that the opposition -- those who are for "same-sex marriage" -- should be considered to be people who are stuck in their intolerance toward heterosexuals who use the Bible to find an objective standard for defining marriage.
It is likely, however, that supporters of "same-sex marriage" will continue to vilify those who oppose them, depicting their opposition as people akin to those who opposed civil rights for African-Americans four decades ago. This will allow them to gain supporters to their position who would not want to be associated with a vilification similar to being called a "racist." Also, it is easier to make such vilifications than to look at the Scriptures and judge oneself according to the standards of "natural" and "unnatural."
The "bigot" label should not deter believers from standing fast for traditional marriage. We must believe that God has spoken, that he has spoken clearly on both the structure of marriage and the sinfulness of homosexual acts -- acts that are against the "natural" order of relationships between men and women that was established by the Creator in the creation (Romans 1:26-27). We must make God's voice known to our children and grandchildren so that they might be able to articulate the truth with certainty and credibility in the world of ideas on Wall Street and Madison Avenue, in Tinsel Town and Cambridge, Mass.
"Because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of it, the world hates you," says Jesus (John 15:19). So as his chosen, when we oppose the world, we will be hated, ostracized, rejected, jeered and labeled "bigots." Yet it is equally true that those who oppose those of us who support traditional marriage are locked in their hatred toward the truth while claiming to be loving toward all people. It is really they who are the bigots, and such bigots should come out of the closet and be seen for who they are.
Eric C. Redmond is senior pastor of Reformation Alive Baptist Church in Temple Hills, Md., and author of "Where Are All The Brothers? Straight Answers To Men's Questions About the Church."