Controversies surrounding same-sex legislation exist for the same reason other disagreements exist — people are so different.
In an attempt to amass support for various causes and to neutralize opposition, activists claim they defend the same freedoms African-Americans have fought for. Some union leaders say they’re trying to secure the same rights black Americans deserve.
Some abortion rights advocates claim they’re up against the same dynamics that oppress poor inner-city people of color. Same-sex activists say they’re battling the very hate-mongerers who want to put blacks in the back seat of the bus.
Immigration activists say they’re vying for the same recognition as African-Americans who are denied personhood.
It’s all presented as an identical struggle for human rights, so that people who believe in equality for African-Americans should — supposedly — side with labor unions, abortion rights, same-sex marriage and certain immigration reforms, even if African-Americans don’t.
In each of these areas, and there are many more, citizens of the U.S. have sharply contrasting perspectives that are part of normal reality outside of faith or political party.
This is the way life goes here on Planet Earth.
Husbands and wives from the same race and church in Mobile, Alabama, or South Bend have amazingly different opinions on all sorts of issues. They can hardly believe their partners don’t see things the way they do.
But wives are that way, you know, and so are the husbands.
Christians are accused of hating people who disagree with them, and the accusation is true in a great many cases. But human beings who attend church or believe the Bible face the same kind of intellectual and emotional puzzles life hands everyone else.
Should we “take arms against a sea of forces?” Should we accept the woman our father married? To what extent? What would that acceptance look like?
Do we give money to beggars? How much, if any? Do we vote for either of the presidential frontrunners? If so, are we just throwing dice?
Should your sister give her rotten husband a third chance to prove he’s not going to run around on her again? Or should she have canned him the second time he was caught with the waitress?
Is capital punishment sometimes OK but usually not?
You don’t have to be a person of faith to wrestle with these questions.
One hot potato in the church involves divorce. Divorce usually brings a tremendous number of complications and is a frequent factor in business and leadership decisions in nonreligious situations.
Some couples in the church have complained that they’re treated as second-class citizens because they have divorce in their past. They may want to be pastors or take other prominent positions of leadership.
Many believers say the Bible teaches that divorced people should not hold those positions. Some say such a view is out of date, while others point out that no disrespect should be shown, regardless of policy.
Similarly, debate among Christians over same-sex legislation is to be expected. Does the Bible say to oppose same-sex marriage in society? What is a biblical attitude toward same-sex couples or homosexuals?
You might consider those questions ridiculous or just “Christian,” but not even all gay people agree, for instance, on whether homosexual relations are right or normal. I discovered this years ago when I began interviewing men. Some are in same-sex relationships as an additional form of stimulation, while others say this is not the behavior they advocate.
They say a proper same-sex relationship is based on true love and devotion, not necessarily on the basis of an innate orientation.
Rude people attempt to paint everyone into a corner by calling them names or claiming that the correct conclusions are too obvious to continue arguing about.
Christians are like all people — they have deep differences with each other and with non-Christians that cannot be explained away by accusations such as “they just hate gays” or “religion is the problem” or “Christians are bullheaded.”
I do not support same-sex marriage, and I don’t support opposition to it. I don’t have time or reason to oppose everything I disagree with.
With or without the Bible or the Constitution, our convictions will diverge. If there are homophobes, there are Christ-ophobes.
However, for a thousand reasons, we see from different angles. It’s a fact of life we must live with.
Max T. Russell is owner of Max and Max Communications and formerly taught Spanish in Southern Hancock schools. You can contact him via his website, maxtrussell.com.