CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

On Attending Homosexual Weddings

Apr 17, 2015

I have written on this subject before in bits and pieces, but since it keeps coming up for debate, and since I do not have an entire piece devoted just to this, let me do so here. The latest trigger for this was a very recent remark made by Presidential hopeful and Republican Senator Marco Rubio.

But let me first mention that two issues arise here, so I can deal with both since they are related. That is, it is one thing for a small business owner to cater for homosexuals and so on, but it is another matter to have to cater for a homosexual event which conscience may not allow.

rubio 1It is the same here: of course individual Christians will have homosexual friends, loved ones, and so on, and of course in many areas they have no problems associating with them and doing things together with them. But it is a somewhat different kettle of fish when it comes to official ceremonies and public activities such as a homosexual wedding.

I have spoken to both aspects of this debate previously, and will soon quote from some of those earlier pieces. But here let me begin with what Rubio has just said on this matter:

Although he thinks marriage should be between a man and a woman, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio says he would attend a same-sex wedding of a family member or friend to show his support for someone he cares about. Rubio was interviewed Wednesday by Fusion’s Jorge Ramos, who asked the Republican presidential candidate whether he would attend the wedding of a gay friend or co-worker if invited.
“If there’s somebody that I love that’s in my life, I don’t necessarily have to agree with their decisions, or the decisions they’ve made, to continue to love them and participate in important events,” Rubio answered. The situation would be much like attending the wedding of a person who was previously divorced, which also is prohibited by his Catholic faith, he explained.
“If it’s somebody in my life that I care for, of course I would” attend their wedding, Rubio said. “I’m not going to hurt them simply because I disagree with a choice they’ve made or because I disagree with a decision they’ve made, or whatever it may be.”

Now I normally quite like Rubio, but I happen to disagree with him here. I feel he is sadly allowing politics to influence him in this, even at this very early stage in seeking the Republican nomination for next year’s presidential election. Knowing the tremendous pressure of the homosexual lobby and its mainstream media sycophants, it appears that he is already engaging in a bit of compromise and political correctness sadly.

As mentioned, I have already outlined my reasons why a Christian should think again about attending a homosexual wedding. Let me simply share that again here:

Let’s say your son or daughter announces that he or she is a homosexual, or a loved one does this. Then they tell you they are marrying, and they invite you to attend the wedding. What should you do?
While each individual Christian might have to really prayerfully and carefully consider all this, I know where I stand. And I think we can make it more or less a general principle here as well. I would not attend. I would have to explain it carefully to my friends or whoever it is of course.
I would have to make it clear that while I love them, I cannot in any way countenance, condone or approve of their sinful behaviour. And as such, I cannot attend a wedding which is all about celebrating such a sinful and ungodly union.
Not only is homosexuality a sin that must be forsaken and repented of, but a homosexual marriage is a complete sham and mockery of God’s holy institution of heterosexual marriage. So everything about this is offensive to God, and should be offensive to his people.
Again, I would try as hard as I can to express my love and concern to the individual, and explain as fully as possible why I have had to make this painful decision. But it seems the alternative would be far worse: to actually show up and effectively endorse, affirm and even celebrate such sinful activity.
But I am not alone in thinking this. One of the world’s greatest experts and scholars on all things homosexual is New Testament Professor Robert Gagnon. His invaluable volume The Bible and Homosexual Practice (Abingdon, 2002), should be on the shelf of every single concerned Christian.
He has recently written about this very matter. I have not been able to find the original article, but another person offers a good summary of it so I will quote from that. As Sam Storms writes this in his article, “Is It Ok To Attend A ‘Gay Wedding’?”:

Robert Gagnon, author of The Bible and Homosexual Practice, recently addressed this question (The Hope Update, an official publication of Restored Hope Network, July 2014, Vol. 2, No. 3). He finds what he believes is biblical precedent for his conclusion in 1 Corinthians 8-10 and Paul’s counsel regarding whether it is permissible for Christians to visit pagan temples where idols are worshipped. The apostle’s response is, No. “First, such actions could ‘stumble’ (i.e., precipitate the spiritual downfall of) others with a weak conscience by sending the message that idol worship wasn’t such a big deal (ch. 8). Second, those attending such rituals, at which sacrifices would be made to an idol, were actually offending God by aligning themselves unknowingly with demonic powers (10:14-22).”
Gagnon also points out that whereas “Jesus reached out to sexual sinners” he did not at any time “attend a ritual that celebrated immorality.” He doesn’t believe Jesus would ever have attended such an event “unless the purpose in attending was to call people to repentance.” Gagnon then asks: “What good would I be at a ‘gay wedding’ anyway since I would be visibly weeping my heart out at a ceremony that solemnizes a behavior that puts a loved one at risk of not inheriting God’s kingdom?”
I completely agree with Gagnon’s position on this question. And let me add one more consideration to the mix. Simply put, there is no such thing as a “gay wedding”. I’m not saying that gay people aren’t in fact hosting a ceremony in which they formally commit themselves one to another. I’m simply saying that what they are not doing is getting married. The reason is that marriage, on its biblical definition, is the lifelong covenantal commitment of a man and a woman. No commitment, no covenant, no vow or pledge or promise that involves two people of the same gender qualifies as a “marriage”. Call it a civil ceremony or whatever you will. But it’s not a marriage.
And that is why I would never attend such an event.

Me neither.

And I have also written about how this is similar to the small business owner who for reasons of religious conviction does not feel right about endorsing a homosexual wedding by being involved in making cakes for it, supplying floral arrangements, renting out a reception centre, and so on.

They usually are quite happy to sell cakes to individual homosexuals, flowers to lesbians, and so on. Most of them do this regularly. But it is the event – in this case the homosexual wedding – not the person that conscience forbids them from engaging in. As I wrote elsewhere:

Ex-homosexual Joe Dallas explains this more fully from a Christian point of view:

 

I really think, in most cases, those objecting to homosexuality have no interest in discriminating against homosexual people themselves. They have no interest in refusing to serve them, make products for them, or welcome them into their business establishments.
Which is as it should be. Surely it’s wrong for a Christian vendor to deny service to someone simply because of their sexual preference, so the idea of refusing to serve a meal to a gay couple, or declining to rent a hotel room to a gay or lesbian person, is and should be unacceptable.
But that seldom happens, and most Christians wouldn’t want it to. Nor would most Moslems, Jehovah Witnesses, or Mormons, for that matter. When people of faith object, it is normally to an event, not an individual. This needs to be underlined: If and when we discriminate, it is not against individuals, but against practices, ceremonies, or events we cannot in good conscience support.
So Christian bakers generally will be glad to bake a cake for a lesbian woman’s birthday party, or a gay college student’s graduation. After all, birthdays and graduations are inherently good, regardless of who is celebrating them.
But that same baker may well object to lending his talents to an event he finds inherently wrong. If other bakers are available, willing, and in the same general vicinity, then no undue burden is placed on the same-sex couple if the Christian baker declines the job. Many businesses, after all, will be only too happy to get the patronage of couples who the Christian, Muslim, or Mormon businessman could not in good conscience service.

 

Religious freedom has always been a tremendously important social good in America. All that the Indiana law is doing is following in a long and proud tradition of upholding such liberties. As Michael Farris states,

 

Indiana is a late-comer to this issue. But, there is an enormous body of precedent for the principle that the Indiana law embodies. Not only do we have the federal RFRA and all of these state counterparts, we have nearly 400 years of American history which boldly proclaims that religious freedom is for all. After all, protection from religious intolerance was in fact a primary motivation for a great many of the early settlers of this continent.
But now there are significant forces in society clamoring against this Indiana legislation because it dares to stand with the principle that religious freedom is for everyone. Many Christians and Muslims believe that same-sex marriages are antithetical to their religious beliefs. And we are long past the issue of whether the government can be coerced by the judiciary to grant marriage licenses for such relationships. We are simply debating whether people can be forced to participate in such ceremonies contrary to their deeply held convictions.
Forcing a Christian photographer to use his craft to record a same-sex wedding is tantamount to forcing a Jewish butcher to slaughter pork to sell such products to people who demand a full-range of service. The leftist forces of “tolerance” are demanding unbending adherence to their doctrinal views of sexual ethics. Those who refuse to comply are being persecuted in what amount to heresy trials under so-called non-discrimination laws.
Religious liberty is a far different concept from religious tolerance. The Toleration Act of William and Mary in 1688, allowed very minor deviations from the orthodoxy of the Church of England. You could differ, but not too much, from the standards of the official church or you would be severely punished. Toleration is a cheap imitation of liberty.
We have to decide whether or not we still believe in liberty.

So on this one I beg to differ with Rubio. I certainly hope this is not an indication of further capitulation and a weakening of his position, so that he might appear to be more ‘electable’. What we need now are men and women of strong conviction and solid principle, who will not water things down to chase a few more votes.

Stand strong Rubio, stand strong.

www.newsmax.com/US/Marco-Rubio-would-attend-wedding/2015/04/15/id/638808/?ns_mail_uid=28738434&ns_mail_job=1616984_04162015&s=al&dkt_nbr=46fvamoq#

[1937 words]

18 Responses to On Attending Homosexual Weddings

  • I remember distinctly reading that Jesus said “if you love your mother, father, family more than me, you are not worthy of me”. I know that is hard, know it from my own family situation, but I have become convinced that while we may temporarily hurt or offend our loved ones if we uncompromisingly love God first and for His sake not attend events that in His sight are wrong, in the end it may just be that uncompromising conviction that will help those who have gone astray to come either back or to faith in Christ. Nobody is deeply impressed with a person who does not have deep convictions. Sadly this principle works for the other side too, but we can’t help that, that is what prayer is for.
    Many blessings
    Ursula Bennett

  • I thought you would have highlighted someone much closer to home Bill – “No fear, No favours”… and all that.
    How come Peter Westmore of NCC is not your subject matter?
    Having “blessed” his daughter’s lesbian Pseudo marriage in NZ, he seemingly told nobody, hoping to get away with it, he is then outed 4 months later by the Age (of course).
    How could he have expected to get away with it?
    He has totally undermined the NCC and AFA’s strong stand on marriage and nothing gets said. How can you “bless your daughter’s ‘wedding’ and then say same-sex Pseudo ‘marriage’ is wrong – is it wrong for everyone else but not her?
    I have been waiting for his resignation but that does not seem forthcoming.
    http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/catholic-crusader-peter-westmore-blesses-daughters-gay-marriage-in-new-zealand-20150325-1m7jue.html
    The homosexual press and ‘marriage equality’ have had a field day – hardly surprising!!!!

  • These homosexuals have caused more stress in the world than almost anything I can think of. I’m afraid I didn’t agree with some of Joe Dallas’ statement the last time you posted it…I think the average Christian should steer well clear of these folk, unless they feel God has gifted them in some way to cope with the homosexual community. If you sell ’em flowers to give to their partner, you’re condoning their relationship, so it’s hypocritical to then refuse to sell them wedding flowers. That’s the trouble with being in these kinds of businesses.

    If Mr Westmore has similarly shown little to no objection to his daughter’s lesbian relationship, then he would be hypocritical if he didn’t turn up for her “wedding”.
    I don’t see halfway houses in these arguments. Same-sex relationships are wrong, whether they be inside or outside of “marriage”.

  • I could not add to what you have written Bill. You have written with great clarity and charity and done us all a favour in your articulation of what seems to have become very muddled thinking in even those we would expect to understand what is at stake here. If one understands something to be morally wrong, how can we be seen to “bless” it ? How many parents if told by one of their offspring of their intention to rob a bank would mind the get – away car ? Ursula is right. Not so long ago I heard a Sunday morning sermon on this very point…the obligation to love God first…and that this even applied to parents. I don’t have children myself but I watch and grieve DAILY with those who do have…when their children abandon all their parents taught them verbally and by practical example..all the time marveling at the depth of love a parent has for a child. I sometimes have to suppress my anger at what parents who I deem “don’t deserve it ” …have to suffer… But we all know the parable of the Prodigal Son…of course every child should be kept in the fold…but the father of the prodigal son, remember, did not join in a his errant son’s life style…he stayed home. In spite of having no control over how we would like our children to behave, many brave people have taken a high profile on “Christian” issues. I also heard a good sermon on “prudence” ..This surely is called for when things out of our control look like happening. We should be careful we serve the the “Christian cause” without seeming to be giving scandal.

  • That’s too bad that he said that. I have a family member that thinks they are gay and I was asked if I would attend there wedding, no way would I. It’s a joke for one thing. It’s like a man putting on a dress, it doesn’t make him a woman. So getting married in a ceremony doesn’t make them married. I have always liked Rubio, but I always felt he was in the rino’s pocket. I don’t trust his judgement. But I also have a very hard time seeing how any of the conservatives are going to really do anything about the damage that has been done by the “New” homosexual agenda.

  • Very well said – this is so helpful in clearly explaining a Christian stance on gay marriage. Thank you.

  • Homosexual marriage is a legal fiction and attending a ‘wedding’ to celebrate any such instance is to live a lie. As to the people who on account of their conscience or religious teaching choose not to participate one often finds homosexuals will not choose to use a business which is happy to oblige and almost always the homosexuals show they do not really care about their wedding going ahead using the alternative. Rather they prefer to not ‘wed’ until they have manipulated government into prosecuting the business which declines to participate. In other words what these homosexual activists want is not to be wed but to force people to live the lie. It has been noted that in times past it was homosexuals themselves who lived the lie, i.e. disguising their lifestyle, and homosexuals noted the destructive psychological states living the lie would bring about and suicide would be a common escape route. Now they want society as a whole to live the lie and the results will be the same, i.e. a dysfunctional self destructing society, committing suicide as it were.

  • They can call it whatever they say. Above the main gate to KL Auschwitz there is “arbeit macht frei”. Goebels used to say lie repeated often enough becomes truth. In God`s eyes it is a mortal sin and two males cannot make a marriage – it is what the Bible clearly says. Even if they change the law in each and every country in the world what is just a wishful thinking they shall never get rid of pricks of conscience. They shall never change our hearts in which dwells the Holy Spirit. The more they plunge in sin the less happiness they derive from it. Happiness is the fruit of living according to God`s Will. Since they live as devil wants who is infinitely unhappy they never gain happiness but short-lived satisfaction turning immediately into bitter and sour pill. As soon as evil-soaked, lobbied by homosexual groups president is re-elected on 10th of May 2015 then they will rush to pass in the Polish Parliament the criminal act which penalises (two years of imprisonment) all public statements criticizing this ill group. Law enforcement agencies will have to prosecute such a person even without knowledge or notice from aggrieved party. For us Poles it is a replay as it were of 1950s when in those days if you said a joke about the Soviets and somebody gave a tip-off to the police you could have ended up with at least two years of imprisonment. However they do not know that Poles have gone through hard times of soviet dominance and persecution and our faith got stronger and stronger every year. We shall never give in even if they put into prison the whole nation. JESUS SHALL WIN FINALLY. Anyway, please, pray for Poland in these difficult times. Especially before autumn parliament elections. I will pray for America and Australia in return.

  • If invited to a same sex marriage ceremony I would simply say “Sorry I don’t believe in same sex marriage any more than you believe in heterosexual marriage.

    As regards Christian bakers being obliged by law to bake a cake for a same sex marriage ceremony, it is one thing to bake a cake for people of all persuasions but to be coerced to bake a cake with the slogan “support gay marriage” piped across it is just a joke by the lifestyle left at the expense of believing Christians and a form of bullying to ratchet forward their aspiration for a secular humanist distopia because they have the media, the judiciary, the politicians and academics – the leftist liberal elite – on their side. It’s a power struggle – where the battle line is drawn – nothing to do with love.

  • Difficult decision. I have a friend who refused to attend a family wedding because man had divorced his first wife.. That made me think. I love you but cannot support you in this is a hard thing to have to say.

  • I suspect Rubio is actually showing his true colors. The likelihood of politicians pretending to be Christian but in fact not being so is vastly greater than the other way around.

  • I read this with both amusement and sadness. Particularly the comments. My understanding of the the New Testament was to love. Beyond anything else. But clearly that’s not your understanding. It makes me sad. Bill (et al), I’d welcome an opportunity to discuss this with you and the familiar names in your comments.

  • Thanks Trish. But respectfully, it seems rather obvious that you do not have the slightest clue as to what the New Testament teaches. So let me seek to explain it to you. The NT, as with the Bible as a whole, is the story of mankind’s rebellion against God (of which homosexuality is one prime example, as Paul makes crystal clear in Romans 1), and of how Christ came to deal with the sin problem. Of course he died a horrible death on a cross so that those who turn from their sin and come to him in faith and repentance can find forgiveness and eternal life. The NT makes it plain throughout that turning from sin is a precondition for this salvation.

    And of course biblical love has nothing to do with your spin on it. Biblical love is about willing the highest good for the other person. Thus if you really love someone, you will seek to turn them from their life of sin and find redemption in Christ. Living in a known sinful lifestyle (and 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 is utterly unequivocal in stating that no homosexual will enter the kingdom of heaven), and shaking one’s fist at the Creator, claiming this is just peachy keen, is of course nothing other than sinful rebellion. Dragging others into this world of sin and the eternal consequences of it – life apart from God – can hardly be called loving. It is the epitome of selfishness, sensuality and rebellion against God.

    So you can seek to justify your lifestyle as you will, but please do not drag God’s holy Word into this – you simply dig your grave even deeper. We will continue to pray for you. You have obviously rejected the faith you were raised in, and are now like all unsaved sinners: someone for whom Christ died and hopes to reach out to. But only by repentance and turning from sin can this gift of salvation be received, and this relationship with God restored.

  • Trish, the NT is (amongst other things) about love. But there’s nothing loving about letting someone continue in their sinful ways, especially when it leads them straight into eternal damnation.

    Throughout His ministry, Jesus was critical of spiritually unhealthy lifestyles and always encouraged sinners to repent and follow Him. This includes the sexually immoral, thus homosexuals. And as Bill has quoted, the bible quite clearly states that the sexually immoral will not enter heaven.

    If you truly love the homosexual community, you’d be helping to steer them to repentance and salvation through Christ Jesus.

  • Hi Bill,

    I agree that condoning sinful behaviour is not good. However, I’m struggling with the difference between (a) not giving flowers to a homosexual getting ‘married’ because that would be condoning unnatural marriage, and (b) not giving flowers to a homosexual who would give the flowers to his boyfriend. Surely (b) is also condoning homosexuality, and therefore should also be avoided?

    Regards,
    Nathan Keen

  • Thanks Nathan but it is not really rocket science here. If someone wants a cake or flowers or whatever, and does not specify what it is for, that is one thing. If someone comes in asking for a cake or flowers as part of a public or official event like a homosexual wedding, that is another. We would not expect a black to have to make a cake for an official KKK function, etc.

    And if a thirsty guy comes in wanting to buy a Coke, whoever he is, you are not endorsing his lifestyle. But catering for an official function like a homosexual wedding is of course.

  • Great article. And it’s not only homosexual marriages where this thinking should be applied. There are other areas where people close to you expect you to support their decisions which stand directly in competition with God’s word on the subject. I find it hard to participate in something which seems to imply that I agree with a person’s sinful decision. None of us are perfect but knowingly and engaging in a premeditated decision to support something which clearly displeases or angers God, well… isn’t it better it we err on the side of upsetting the person versus God?

  • Thank you Bill again, you put the decision according to the Word of God &God’s absolutely rejection of all things homosexual including homosexual weddings. Either I believe what God said and I stand solidly behind Him or I’m placing myself on the shifting sand of compromise. Loving family, friends etc doesn’t include agreeing with their choice including SSM relationships or marriage. Harder choices are coming: whether we can travel, your job, adopt children, even the very money we receive may become part of our choice to stand with God. All I can say is Lord thank you that you are always with us.

Leave a Reply