The Postal Vote on Same-Sex Marriage: Some Considerations

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The Postal Vote on Same-Sex Marriage: Some Considerations

22 August 2017 Hits:36138

Unless a High Court challenge is successful Australians who are on the electoral role will receive envelopes posted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics from September 12 to have a say on same-sex marriage.  Responses will be due by 7 November and a result announced on 15 November.  The nation is divided on whether this is a good idea but if this is the only way forward on this issue, I encourage you to have your say and cast a vote.

In this blog, I want to outline some considerations on the postal vote that I hope will be helpful in thinking this through and having conversations with others especially when they disagree.  I also encourage you to read my blog Thoughts on Same-Sex Marriage. [1]

It’s important to note from the start, same-sex marriage is not merely an “issue”.  This debate involves people – people who God loves, people made in God’s image, people who are in our churches, that you’re related to and that you meet in everyday life.

Jesus is at the heart of Christian unity

This is the most important thing to remember at all times.  Christians have disagreed on many things over the centuries and sometimes those disagreements have led to poor behaviour and outcomes.  For example, both John Calvin and Martin Luther advocated for the death of anyone they considered to be heretics (read: “anyone who disagrees with me” – sound familiar?)  While Christians don’t usually kill each other these days, there are many keyboard warriors, preachers and others whose words hurt and wound.  Jesus is at the heart of Christian unity – who He is, what He’s done and what He continues to do.  These are non-negotiable to the Christian faith.  People don’t go to heaven or hell for what they believe about same-sex marriage.

Voting is a secret ballot

I’m amazed at the number of individuals who ask others what they’ll vote in this SECRET ballot.  You don’t have to tell anyone what you intend to vote.  I heard of a pastor who, last weekend, “implored” his people to vote “no.”  It’s my opinion that this pastor is going beyond his authority in doing this.  I never tell people what I vote, and neither do I instruct them on how to vote.  The church is beyond politics.  Our message and mandate are from another place; we are citizens of heaven and called to be ambassadors who bring heaven to earth.  In any church, there will be people of various political persuasions and who have differing views on ethical issues.  Disunity occurs when church leaders fail to recognise this.

Don’t be critical of others’ relationships

My understanding of the Bible leads me to believe that heterosexual marriage is a relationship that is like no other.  The coming together of a man and a woman in sacred marriage is a covenant that reflects both the image of God and the relationship that exists between Jesus and His church.  It is a relationship where children can be born and raised by both of their biological parents.  But my beliefs do not cause me to criticise or demean other people’s relationships.  Over my 40 years as a Christian, I’ve watched the church grapple with accepting divorced and remarried people and single parent families.  We now freely welcome such people into our churches (well at least most churches). People find themselves as single parents for all sorts of reasons, and they should never be made to feel like second-class citizens. Neither should couples whom for whatever reason can’t have or choose not to have children.

The Bible often speaks critically of divorce and remarriage, but we have come to realise there are higher laws that come into operation such as “Love your neighbour as yourself” and “treat others the same way you want them to treat you.”  We need to apply these greater laws to same-sex couples and singles who want to be part of a church community and grow in their relationship with God and others.  Remember, “a Christian’s job is not to be right about the Bible, our aim should be to fulfil Scripture.” [2]  Some gay and lesbian couples and individuals have children, and the church has a responsibility to minister to those children as well.  It would not be helpful to the kids for their parents’ relationship status to be criticised by their church.

Sometimes the Bible is just not clear

If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard or read, “the Bible clearly states …” I’d be a very wealthy man.  Sometimes the Bible is clear, but on many things, it isn’t.  A favourite book series of mine is Counterpoints by Zondervan publishers. [3]  This set contains over 30 titles that deal with many views on various subjects.  There are four views on hell, three views on creation and evolution, four views of baptism and two views of women in ministry (yes and no) to name a few.  While the Bible is clear on the unique relationship between a husband and wife, it is not as clear on some other relationships.  Read my blog, “The changing face of marriage” for more on this. [4]

Like it or not, there are various views on the six verses in the Bible that appear to condemn homosexuality.  Those who take these verses literally and at face value should not be condemned as bigots and homophobes while those who come to a different conclusion should not be labelled revisionist or heretical.  People on both sides of this debate have studied the context, history and culture of these Scriptures and come to differing conclusions.  Some people do not see these verses as condemning of loving, monogamous same-sex relationships while others do.  I encourage you to read widely and come to your conclusions – and allow others to do the same.

Beware of outraged Christians

Lately, I’ve seen an increasing number of blogs and social media posts from outraged Christians, often posted and shared with little or no fact-checking, and all they do is distort the truth and create fear.  I think that’s the intended outcome and I don’t believe that is a good way for Christian people to behave.  For example, a recent email from the Australian Christian Lobby is titled, “It’s under attack” and includes a quote from Professor Jordan Peterson, a psychologist and academic at the University of Toronto.  Professor Peterson has become somewhat of an online celebrity in speaking out against political correctness (and is making a lot of money in the process).  The ACL says, “In the wake of same-sex marriage, Canada passed a new law making it a criminal offense for you to refuse to call someone by their “chosen” gender pronoun.  Refuse to bow to such rainbow totalitarianism by LGBTI activists and you could suffer legal prosecution.”  These claims are inaccurate as another academic at the University of Toronto shows [5] but they have been shared over and over by outraged Christians who fail to check their facts.

The “slippery slope” argument also attempts to instil fear, that is, if we allow “A” to happen then “X, Y & Z” will inevitably follow.  This fear causes people to fight to protect “A” at all costs.

Not all gay people want same-sex marriage

To think that all gay people are for same-sex marriage and all Christians are against is just wrong.  I’ve chatted with some gay and lesbian individuals who don’t support same-sex marriage.  One guy told me he thought of marriage as a heterosexual institution and wanted nothing to do with it.  One thing that is important to understand is that in countries where same-sex marriage is legal there’s a minimal uptake of it.  For example in the UK, civil partnerships, rather than marriage, are still preferred by the majority of straight and gay couples.  In Australia, about 3% of the population identify as other than heterosexual.  The last census indicated there were 33,714 same-sex couples and 4,650,986 opposite sex couples.  Considering that most of the same-sex couples won’t get married, I sometimes have the feeling we’re creating a storm in a teacup – albeit a costly storm.

Everyone needs to compromise

It is my belief that sooner or later same-sex marriage will become law in Australia.  That being the case it’s of vital importance that any legislation is carefully framed.  The Australian Government has to govern for all people but in any decision there will naturally be some who are happy with the outcome while others are not.  There will be winners and losers – the winners must choose not to gloat and the losers must lose well.  In the meantime, compromises need to be made.  The trouble is that people on the extremes don’t like to compromise.  Such was the case recently when Federal Member for Goldstein, Tim Wilson, along with Patrick Parkinson put forward a bill that defined two kinds of marriage – religious (sacred) marriage and civil marriage.  This bill offered widespread religious freedoms not contained in the other two bills (the Dean Smith Bill and the George Brandis Bill).  Some gay extremists, some conservative politicians and the Australian Christian Lobby rejected this Bill because they refuse to compromise.  In doing this, the losers may get little or nothing.

Finally, as mentioned previously, it’s important in all our dealings that we don’t see this as merely an issue.  This is a debate about people whom God loves.  And so any discussions have to be tempered with grace, understanding, and respect and include the Christian qualities of tolerance, kindness and patience because that reflects the nature of God. [6]

 

[1] https://baysidechurch.com.au/thoughts-on-same-sex-marriage/

[2] Shane Willard, Getting Unstuck https://baysidechurch.com.au/message/getting-unstuck-ps-shane-willard/

[3] http://www.zondervan.com/the-counterpoints-library-complete-32-volume-set

[4] https://baysidechurch.com.au/the-changing-face-of-marriage/

[5] http://sds.utoronto.ca/blog/bill-c-16-no-its-not-about-criminalizing-pronoun-misuse/

[6] Romans 2:4

Rob Buckingham

Senior Minister

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50 replies on “The Postal Vote on Same-Sex Marriage: Some Considerations”

Steve Bryarsays:

I used to be an anti same sex marriage advocate but have changed my view. I personally will be voting “No” at the postal plebiscite but if it becomes law, my world won’t end tomorrow. I have been very disappointed at some of the unkind things that many Christians have directed to the LGBTI community and I personally was labelled a “degenerate pervert” because I posted an article about a well known evangelical pastor who was interviewed on JOY FM.

I want to embrace my LGBTI Christian brothers and sisters and to say the Jesus loves them very much. I liken the attitude of the Pharisees in John 8 who had Scripture to back them up (Leviticus 20:10) when advocating as to whether He believed the woman caught in adultery should be stoned to death. Jesus had another way and firstly discounted the notion that sexual sin is worse than other sins. He then communicated grace to the woman, “Neither do I condemn you…” BEFORE dealing with the sin’ “Go and sin no more.”

Jesus wants our hearts and when He gets that, our sin, whatever that is, will start to be dealt with.

marysays:

Spot on. Jesus did do that didn’t he!

Neridasays:

Thank you Rob! Very informative & nice for it not to be a nasty blog! There is already enough hate in this world!

Rosssays:

Thanks Rob, great commentary, articulate and factual.

Jeffsays:

Thank you for your calm and considerate message. After some of the hurtful, aggressive, even violent things which I have encountered since the announcement of this postal survey, it is refreshing to see this today. While you have not stated your position outright, I suspect our vote will differ on this issue – but that is alright. We may disagree on this decision, but I remain encouraged by your measured approach.

Mike Williamssays:

Hi Rob

Just wanted to say thank you for taking the time to explain your position in relation to the way our faith makes contact with this issue (and politics in a more general sense), and the care we should take to avoid conflating our faith and God’s will with our opinion and approach to morality.

Your thoughts are a breath of fresh air amidst a pressure cooker of fear, misunderstanding, offense and lack of empathy.

Bean Girlsays:

Respectfully I don’t agree with a lot of this article. The SSM issue is much bigger than just marriage between same sexes, it has a spiritual impact as well as a moral and physical one on society and future generations. I think that if anything, it is unwise for a pastor to not address this with his church as he is in care of them.

It is a slippery slope of being a fringe Christian/leader/pastor when you begin to be neutral and not stand for truth and tip toe around the answers that may not be comfortable. Especially with a line saying that Jesus isn’t all that clear! As Jesus is the word.

What I DO love about this article is that it talks about being loving and respectful. That does not change at all. Truth in love is not a bad thing, and if people get upset by the truth, then that is something that we have to work through. My children get upset when I tell them to clean their room, or that they can’t eat a kilo of lollies. But it is good for them to hear that truth.

Don’t confuse good intentions with God intentions, or things will become blurry very quickly!

Delta forcesays:

Well said. I agree. Also, let’s not forget that both sides hurled angry comments too, so don’t just say ” beware of outraged Christians”. I don’t find the article balanced. I can clearly see Rob’s side. The issue is about marriage NOT about whether we love gay people. My best friend is a gay having monogamous relationship with another gay person and I love them dearly. Just because one believes that marriage is between a man and a woman does not necessarily mean we don’t love the gay or lgbti.

JKHsays:

The bible doesn’t condemn homosexuality, it condemns the violence, idolatry and exploitation related to the behaviour. Did the word ‘homosexual’ even exist in the original text? How much faith do you put in the translation?

The ‘truth’ is socially constructed and reinforced by cultural authorities.

JKHsays:

Thankfully you’re not the pastor!
Perhaps Rob remained neutral because he doesn’t want to ostracize LGBTQI members of his congregation.
LGBTQI Australians are not your children, and your opinion on whether or not they can ‘eat a kilo of lollies’ (get married) carries no weight. Especially when you pontificate about the spiritual, moral, and physical ramifications without even bothering to substantiate them.
I implore you to consider the affect your words and your vote will have on an already vulnerable demographic. And if you can’t summon the empathy, please don’t vote at all.

Elizabethsays:

An excellent response by Bean girl – thank you.

EmmyLousays:

Too right Bean Girl. Love in Truth. Truth in Love.

JKHsays:

What do you mean by that exactly? Love in truth, truth in love?

Cathysays:

I completely agree. Good on you

Cathysays:

I mean I completely agree with Bean girl

Elishasays:

Exactly what I thought well said

bekssays:

well said Bean Girl.

Michael Gilmoursays:

Jesus is VERY clear that we are to love everyone as HE loves us. This means we are not just encouraged but commanded (check out John) to love the LGBT community as Jesus loves them. This will be a challenge for some Christians but remember that we are on a Christian walk and endeavouring to show Christ’s love to ALL the world……not just to those that are lovely in our own eyes.

The real issue then is whether homosexuality is a sin at all. This will cause multiple challenges of which I’m still working through in my own study time with the Lord.

On the surface, the Bible seems to be pretty clear that homosexuality is a sin. If we are able to then justify why Paul (as one example) wrote that it is a sin as reflecting the Graeco-Roman behaviour of the day then we could say the scripture is for that period of time. The problem with this approach is we can then say ALL scripture is for its time…..therefore we can then pick and choose which scriptures to follow based upon our own leanings….and yes, I am aware of the culturally specific scriptures about women, food etc.

What’s up for debate is not just homosexuality but the authority of the Bible and how Christians interpret God’s word. Homesexuality is the catalyst that is the current issue that is encouraging us to dig deeper into what it means to be a Christian.

If it is agreed that homosexuality IS a sin then “welcome to the club”! We have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God. The problem with the church is that it’s not perfect (yet) because it has people in it……if you ever discover a perfect church then don’t go as you will make it imperfect.

In scripture, there is not a ranking of sins, this is a man made construct. Too many Christians tend to rank sexual sins as more abhorrent then stealing a cookie…..if it wasn’t for God’s grace both acts will separate us from him. Remember, we were born into sin and if it wasn’t for the cross we would be eternally separated from the Lord…..even if we did everything 100% right. This leads us to the conclusion that we should welcome the LGBT community into church with open arms……and I would subscribe to this perspective.

Now what about leadership? If we are to invite the LGBT community into church then can they also be leaders if we regard their behaviour as a sin? The scripture states that those in leadership will be held to a higher standard.

If we are to view homosexuality as a sin then just like stealing, rage, lust, greed etc. we would expect these sins to not be present in leaders as they move into more senior levels of leadership. Sadly…..this is not always the case and many Christian leaders have “fallen” into adulturous relationships, greed etc.

If homosexuality is a sin then, yes, we do expect the individuals to no longer practice this behavior as they are held to a higher standard in leadership. The difference between homosexuaility and the other sins is some in the LGBT community gain their identity from their sexual orientation. From their perspective, we are actually expecting them to change who they are. This is fundamentally why, we need to be very careful how we treat this issue and abundantly show God’s grace.

If we expect leaders to not be practicing homosexuals then are we treating them as second class citizens in the church? The answer is, no we are not. If we are not making a destinction between any sin then the “raised standard” for leaders is essentially the same for everyone.

I know this is a long comment but for me it’s a very complex issue and my thinking is still not (and may never be) clear. What I do know is that Jesus taught us to love first and I for one, plan on heading in this direction. This means that I will endeavour to show love as Jesus would to not just the LGBT community but also the prideful, envious, slothful and of course we must never forget the gluttons!

Kathysays:

Thank you for this comment Michael Gilmore. I found it very interesting. One can see future ramifications and decisions for the church. Jesus didn’t punish the sinners. But he did tell them to Sin no more. We all sin but those of us who are personally convicted of sin try to stop. And keep on trying, usually, until death where we will then be made perfect.

Johnsays:

Problem is that the Bible is not clear that homosexuality is a sin, that “clarity” is a human construct distorting the intent and context of the passages in the Bible.

Craigsays:

Hi Rob
I agree with much of what you say, especially that Jesus’ church is open to all who will confess their sin and accept him as Lord and that those within his church should be loving and accepting of those both within and without.
The question at hand though is should the union of a same sex couple be treated the same as that of a heterosexual couple who are married.
I am in total agreement with your statement that “My understanding of the Bible leads me to believe that heterosexual marriage is a relationship that is like no other. The coming together of a man and a woman in sacred marriage is a covenant that reflects both the image of God and the relationship that exists between Jesus and His church. It is a relationship where children can be born and raised by both of their biological parents.”
If others likewise see that the bible portrays heterosexual marriage as “like no other” – same sex unions (logic does not allow me to refer to them as marriages) cannot be considered to be the same as this biblical concept of marriage.
Whilst you have explained why you do not wish to tell people what your vote will be, my position based on the same belief of what marriage is, is that I will vote NO to SS being allowed to marry. To do otherwise is to deny those special qualities of marriage that the bible teaches.

Elizabethsays:

Thank you Rob for the blog you posted on same-sex marriage. My daughter turned 18 in March of this year so this is her very first voting experience. Your blog is a wonderful insight into helping her get all the facts in order to make an informed decision as to how to vote whilst remaining true to herself and her belief in God. I, too, benefited from your blog. Thank you for your wisdom and common sense in a very chaotic time. It is quite refreshing to be able to read something in relation to this topic without hate and judgement attached to it 🙂

Patrick Lumsays:

I find it hard to walk the “middle ground” in the current same-sex marriage debate. Though I would like a “ceasefire” on this topic and have sensible dialogues between the Christian groups and the LGBTI community, I don’t think this will ever be possible given that the LGBTI community that is portrayed by the media is of such a militant group. Of course, this group does not represent the other LGBTI community members who may not agree with their views. It is not the silent majority of the LGBTI community views that will be heard but usually the most vocal ones which the media will take up as headlines. I agreed with Rob that as Christians and the Church, we need to be loving and embracing people from the LGBTI communities into our Christian communities. Even though Rob has clearly stated some of his concerns in the current debate, I don’t feel that Rob has made a clear contribution in helping us decide on this critical same-sex marriage legislation. In his other post, he mentioned, “Of course, if we all respected one another then this sort of legislation would be unnecessary – but there we are back in that ideal world again.” Since we are not living in the “ideal world” and how we as Christian are going to respond to this issue that might have severe impacts on our Christian worldviews. Do Christians just do nothing about it and maintain the view of “separation between The Church and The State”? Or should Christian be engaged with The State and if yes, how do we go about doing it? Come this postal veto, we Christians can no longer “sit on the fence” but have to either vote “Yes” or “No”. As for me, I will be voting “No”.

TREVORsays:

Reading through ALL this material so far I am disappointed not to read the Truth of scripture other than we should ‘love everyone’ that is a given, love covers a multitude of sins and ‘all our sins’ that is true, however the scripture also instructs us also to Walk in the Light as He is in the Light’ – Jesus being the Light of the World, then so are Christians to be, but does light embrace darkness (no) it overcomes it, does Truth accept deception (no) – have we walked so far and yet can not see there are ‘absolutes’ in the Bible that need to be embraced – this is only one subject as mentioned in some comments, so we come back to the base from which we make decisions (in all discussion points) and that is the Word of God, we should be people of Conviction, Not compromise, Trust and not error – check out the Churches in Revelations as to how God handled each Churches conduct and their ‘slippery slop’ beliefs and attiutudes – Christians need to understand we are of another Kingdom (of Heaven) as mentioned but as ambassadors we are here to show, teach, preach, love and demonstrate the Kingdom of God on Earth – so perhaps a good ‘old time prayer meeting’ would be in order to be clear on what God says, rather than philosophies of modern day ‘debaters’ and compromisers that allow all aspects of sin to prosper without opposition, (which we have now) – Christs words were “I will build my Church and the Gates of Hell SHALL NOT PREVAIL AGAINST IT’ so why do we allow him (satan) to prosper!!!!! Time for true TRUE CHURCH to rise and face societies actions, particularly when it effect the NAtion and bring on the wrath of God” is thi sone of these case, after all we are not being asked to vote on gays (and they they want to live) we are asked to vote on a change to the ‘marriage’ act and go beyond ‘a man and a woman’ to other arrangements/lifestyles as being accepted!! THINK IT THROUGH

Philsays:

If the Lord’s Prayer says let your will be done on earth as it is in heaven
How can both Bill Shorton and the Prime minister claim to be Christian and pray this prayer at the opening of parliament yet make laws that legitimise what is clearly sin

Marksays:

“The church is beyond politics.”

But the problem is that politics has the power to walk through the doors of your church and shut you down – or at least monitor you – so at some point people need to sit up and take notice of the world around them. Both my parents grew up in Nazi Germany, so I think a carte blanche ‘we don’t do politics’ is incredibly naive. Freedoms are not cheap; the church has an opportunity to be salt and light here.

“a Christian’s job is not to be right about the Bible, our aim should be to fulfil Scripture.”

What does that even mean? It is fully impossible to follow Christ faithfully without having a heart to grasp the truths in the bible and be clear about them. Jesus expressly stated the Holy Spirit would come to teach and remind us of what He said. And that means being right about the bible.

“Like it or not, there are various views on the six verses in the Bible that appear to condemn homosexuality.”

And they have been dealt with and dismissed on the grounds of reading into scripture a pre-existing paradigm, not letting scripture speak on its own. There is a great deal of material available, and it is illuminating that it is usually only those on the side of the orthodox views that deal properly with the verses, including rebuttals of other views. It’s always a clue when you only hear one side. Furthermore, it is a great error to think that only 6 verses can be used to condemn homosexuality. The bible’s teaching on sexual morality is much broader and deeper than that. But homosexuality is never endorsed in any context.

FTR, I’ve worked with several people in the homosexual lifestyle since 1986, long before this absurdity was even a minor issue, not the exaggerated and distorted monster it has become today. The way some Christians – including yourself – speak on this issue without being able to separate people from actions is unhelpful to coming to Christ-like conclusions. It grieves me how many Christians have embraced the fog of thinking of modern culture, imbibing its values without reference to the absolute standards in scripture. God is the same, yesterday, today and tomorrow. I am so glad He does not change! With that foundation, one actually can speak to people, even though many will hate you, as the world hated Jesus.

It is absolutely imperative for Christians to be strongly advised to vote no by church leaders; this is NOT a game. Voting no has no bearing on how oneself deals with personal relationships, but it matters a great deal to the church, children, health and freedom in Australia.

Rob Buckinghamsays:

Hi Mark. Thanks for your comments. Just to clarify. My statement “The church is beyond politics” doesn’t mean the church should not be involved in politics. As I state, Christians are ambassadors of heaven because that’s where our citizenship lays. That doesn’t mean that Christians shouldn’t be involved in politics. It does mean that churches should not be politically aligned as, when we do that, we cloud our MAIN message which always has to be the Gospel.

“A Christian’s job is not to be right about the Bible, our aim should be to fulfil Scripture” means just that. Jesus came not to do away with the Old Covenant but to fulfil it. Fulfilling Scripture is about putting it into practice NOT just being right about it. Paul taught that fulfilling the Old Covenant was all about loving your neighbour as yourself (Romans 13:10).

“Like it or not, there are various views on the six verses in the Bible that appear to condemn homosexuality.” “And they have been dealt with and dismissed on the grounds of reading into scripture a pre-existing paradigm…” This is completely incorrect. There are fine Biblical scholars on both “sides” of this debate who have come to differing conclusions on the matter – just as many theologians have come to different conclusions on numerous other issues over the centuries.

Darren Breedensays:

Pastor Rob you seem to be dithering to appease the “yes” voters. How can you say that the bible “appears” to condemn homosexuality ? God gives these laws to Moses plainly in Leviticus 18:22 “you shall not to lie with a male as one lies with a female: it is an abomination”. 1 Timothy 1:10 says that the law was meant for those who “defile themselves with mankind”. Yes, the penalty for it may change now we’re in the new covenant but His moral standing against it hasn’t changed. I’m so sick of being treated like a fool reading the same old line telling us to be loving towards gay couples. That’s a given, though it seems to be code for LGBT people being exempt from being evangelised. The church’s task should be to give them the truth in love, to lead them to repentance from sin (meaning every sin). Regarding that pastor imploring his church to vote “no”, that sounds to me like he’s leading either an ignorant or a not very like-minded congregation. Beware of outraged Christians ? ! Are you saying they’re the chief aggressors ? Have you heard about the driver who drove into the ACL HQ building was a gay activist ? ACL and Marriage Alliance conferences being blockaded by the gay militia and many other examples too numerous for this space.
If the “slippery-slope” argument causes fear on the basis of truth, then I guess it’s not a bad thing. One more thing, you say that the bible is unclear on some other relationships. Assuming you meant LGBT, maybe because they’re both rejected and demeaned as stated in Leviticus 18.

Rob Buckinghamsays:

Hi darren. No “dithering” here. Just attempting to present some further thoughts for people to ponder as they come to a decision on this very important matter. I’m not trying to “appease” anyone. If I were I’d remain silent. I’m fully aware of the laws God gave to Moses, and how people love to quote Leviticus 18:22, but then don’t live by the rest of the book. Have you ever tried to live by the Levitical law? Remember, “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it” (James 2:10). If you’re going to use Leviticus 18:22 to condemn gay people please be consistent and make sure you’re living by the whole book yourself. The man who drove into ACL HQ had a mental condition. Please don’t equate his actions with all LGBTI people. He doesn’t represent them any more than the ACL represents all Christians.

Mel Manuelsays:

Really disappointed with this thread.. Nothing secret about standing against the legality and public approval of same sex. When the pm and other personalities are actually asking people to vote yes, Why are some Christians being so evasive and doubtful about voting NO? Yes Jesus loves everyone, but He won’t be voting YES.

Doug Grantsays:

The real point, theologically, with the whole “marriage equality” debate, is that there actually is a slippery slope, and it isn’t the one about moving to various other forms of illicit marriage.

Simon Carey Holt of Collins St Baptist Church, a supporter of marriage equality, basically got it right this week when he noted that the real issue for conservative Christians is that they believe that those who are gay are disordered – the believe that being gay is a result of the fall. So the real issue is less about gay marriage (although that matters, because of marriage metaphors in the Bible, and of the highlighting of the fundamental importance of what we interpret as marriage right at the start of the Bible), but about the fact that homosexual behaviour is sinful, and should in no way be celebrated.

Hence conservative Christians, and I am one, believe that the Bible’s teaching about the fall is being rejected. The worry iOS where this leads, and one trajectory is the following.

“It doesn’t make sense, because of my experience, that being gay can be a sin, so I have to oppose God on this one – the Bible’s teachings are wrong. So maybe other Bible teaching is wrong too. For example, it doesn’t make sense that God should sacrifice his son for me in such a horrendous manner; to kill one’s own son is child abuse. And, while we are at it, and reflecting even more on life experience, it really doesn’t make sense to think that all humans are born sinful, and in need of redemption. In my experience, there are lots of lovely people who are good to the core. We are not all born sinners.”

Is this slope real? Witness Steve Chalke in the UK – former evangelical pastor, who now rejects almost all of the gospel, and has slid down this very slope.

Can there even be a gospel if we do not need to be saved from the consequences of our sin?

Let the world determine what it will. But the serpent in the church itself, exemplified by the Christians taking an anti-Biblical stance on marriage equality, is a harbinger of disaster. Literally, thank God for the book of Jude.

Rachel Colvinsays:

Loved the article! Thanks 🙂 I think it’s worth mentioning the human rights issues here- that by voting NO one would be continuing to perpetuate the lack of equal rights for our brothers & sisters in same-sex relationships. Even if someone disagrees theologically, surely it’s more loving to advocate for these rights to be given to them, than not! I cringe especially at the right discussing children- that they might not get the death benefit of a deceased parent.

“Some rights are not the same and significantly discriminate against people note able to legally marry

These are detailed at: https://www.humanrights.gov.au/publications/same-sex-same-entitlements-chapter-13
Various legislation includes provisions of ‘spouse’ or a person in a ‘marital relationship, such as the Superannuation Act 1976 (Cth) (Superannuation Act 1976) which governs the Commonwealth Superannuation Scheme (CSS), examples of significant financial / rights discrimination include:
• do not receive superannuation death benefits from most federal, state or
• may be able to receive superannuation death benefits from private superannuation schemes, at the discretion of the trustee
• do not receive death benefit tax concessions
• cannot take advantage of superannuation contributions spliiting
• cannot access superannuation spouse tax offset
• cannot access judicial pension
• cannot access Governor-general allowance”

Ps We’re in Ballarat but are going to come visit your church 🙂

Achillessays:

Hi Rachel, discrimination was all removed back in 2008, when some 85 federal laws were changed to completely remove all discrimination against same sex couples in Australia.
There is today no discrimination against same sex couples in Australia.

See eg…
http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/samesex-discrimination-removed/2008/11/24/1227491465110.html

https://www.dss.gov.au/our-responsibilities/families-and-children/programs-services/recognition-of-same-sex-relationships

I worked in the public service and personally saw the word ‘spouse’ in de facto being changed throughout documentation to include same-sex couples. (Another factor in all this is financial cost of change… just another consideration)

However you are absolutely right to think human rights are at stake – as the essential freedoms of belief, conscience and speech for ALL Aussies all come under attack by changing the marriage definition.
I was recently at a peaceful public gathering in Canberra to discuss safe schools. A counter protest by Safe schools lgbt were present. They screamed and swore at the speakers and those gathering for almost an hour!! A favourite chant was “f##k off bigots” sung to ‘cmon Aussie cmon’. It is a wake up call when a mum who is concerned for her child in safe school program, cannot speak in public in Australia without others trying to drown out her voice. Aussie freedoms are too precious to lose! A vote FOR human rights is a no.

Patrick Lumsays:

“It is a bad idea. People who enter into homosexual relationships have full equality under Australian law already. They can do what they like. Over 80 pieces of legislation have already been passed to grant full equality to their relationships in the eyes of the law. They are free to enter into what ever sorts of relationships they choose with no discrimination whatsoever. That is up to them and people are generally not too worried about that.”

Reference: http://www.truemarriageequality.com/blog/there-is-nothing-homophobic-about-supporting-traditional-marriage-john-howard-former-australian-prime-minister

Aussie Scarletsays:

A nice read. Good to hear from a pastor who has considered deeply things and comes from the godly ambit of Grace. As a committed christian of 30+ years I will be voting yes because that is where I have landed after journeying with scripture and faith, but it is so nice to hear from someone who differs from me but does so out of their own considered understanding and learnings – as opposed to ignorance and fundamentalism. A disappointment to me is to see some of these so called ‘Christian’ organisations in the media who actually only speak on behalf of one segment of Christians in this country.

Christine Farrallsays:

After reading everything I can see that the only way to go is – to vote on our knees. Thank-you for pointing this out. My pastor said we should vote on our knees. On our knees or however we pray we will see it from His point of view.

Anthony Venn-Brown (@gayambassador)says:

As usual. Thoughtful. Intelligent. Balanced.

Thanks

Sharing

Love your work.

Anthony Venn-Brown (@gayambassador)says:

Some of us will remember the days when Pentecostals intentionally never got involved in politics for the reasons you mention Rob.
“The church is beyond politics. Our message and mandate are from another place; we are citizens of heaven and called to be ambassadors who bring heaven to earth.”

David Smouhasays:

Brilliant discourse!
Thank you for such a loving tolerant dialogue that shows Christians how to walk in love and be pleased to. Vote with love leading them, not oppression.

Jack Russellsays:

l truly think of others in this and no more so, than the children of today-and the future.
Why are we putting this on their table -having to choose another form of sexuality, that may well not sit right with them. (after having an experience-with the same sex..)
Is this not Just, another thing that God will have to pick up.
( the pieces.-truly)
It’s hard enough now for them and why confuse them even more so, about what sexuality they might be/or might not be..
There is long term consequences
on all decisions we make..

bobsays:

I dont understand why some things that jesus says is sin like divorce and homosexuality are becoming more widely accepted while other things like sex before marriage and abortion are seen to be the ‘cardinal sin”. Im confused soon there will be a reason for everything.

Donald Chalmerssays:

Custom or no Custom, Religion or no Religion, Tradition or no Tradition, Prostration or no Prostration, Marriage or no Marriage, Prayer or no Prayer, Prophet or no Prophet, Messenger or no Messenger, Fasting or no Fasting, Recitation or no Recitation, Dress-code or no Dress-code, Sharia or no Sharia, Kosher or no Kosher, Halal or no Halal, Forbidden or not Forbidden, Allowed or not Allowed, Circumcision or no Circumcision, Blood or no Blood (etc); if we have no love, then we are nothing, and no thing can save us, since there is no hate, or fear in LOVE (GOD). We are to help, encourage, comfort, nurture and support each other; we should treat others with the respect with which they would like to be given, and then we shall not do to others that which we would hate for our own selves.

MARRIAGE is nothing if it is not grounded in mutually desired and positively reciprocated equal interaction, which builds up community, “gay” (GLBTIQ & Q) AND straight (hetero), male AND female (etc).

EQUALITY does not imply one over or above an other, as our symbol for “equals” (as in ” = “) perhaps implies, but rather that we stand “side by side”, and work “hand in hand” to create a loving environment for all people in community. For us to truly “see” this, unfettered by dogma and doctrine, all we need to do is to change our “point of view”, or perspective, by 90 degrees, or by π/2 radians to see “equality” as ” ll ” rather than as ” = “.

This is the way in which we “share the load” or burden of living equally among people. Tangential or right-angled viewing, like navel-gazing, “cuts the crap” and goes to the “heart” or “core” of “Good God Living and Loving”.

LOVE is the immutable foundation on which to build anything which is of enduring worth. “Loving-Kindness” is the salve for all wounds of the body and soul. Loving-kindness is the first attribute of one who loves both “God” and Neighbour, as “Self”. It is upon this precious golden foundation that all loving and tender relationships are based. LOVE at its deepest level is an act of service. Love is love. And those who love, know “God”.

We are to be kind, even to our animals, insofar as we can help it.

There is no compulsion in Religion. We are to “Speak of Goodness to People”, and the rest will surely follow….

A Pastor's Thoughts on Australia's Same-Sex Marriage Vote | My Christian Dailysays:

[…] In this blog, I want to outline some considerations on the postal vote that I hope will be helpful in thinking this through and having conversations with others especially when they disagree.  I also encourage you to read my blog Thoughts on Same-Sex Marriage. [1] […]

Desleysays:

Australia the great southland of the Holy Spirit. The Church is called to worship in spirit and truth, and if it stands for truth it will be led by the Spirit of God and truth will come forth for Gods Glory and His alone. His will be done on earth as it is in heaven. God Bless the great Southland of the Holy Spirit. Amen…

Kerryn McCowansays:

I would like to commend the following website http://patriciaweerakoon.com Patricia is a Christian and a sexologist (medical specialist) so I believe she has been given this gift by God to be both scientific and Christ-like to handle the subject well. If you would like to understand the subject more please review. I heard her speak at Belgrave Convention centre last weekend (‘Purity in a Fallen World’) and she is able to identify what the real issues are. We are not to be identified by our sexual identity but who we are in Christ. We are made in His image.
My thoughts: We know that Satan is the prince of this age and he uses the media/world leaders to undermine God’s idea of male and female, undermine the whole fabric of society, the family with a father and mother. He is cunning as a serpent and we as Christians need to be very wise, to know that this has all been prophesied in the bible, in the last days people will call evil good and good evil, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise. It is difficult not to become indignant, defensive and outraged at what Satan is doing all around us! The prayer is how to handle these issues, in a Christ-like way. The world won’t respect us any more by being diluted in our views. These views are to be shared humbly, prayerfully carefully. Being respectful, gracious and loving would be key attributes to adopt first before speaking. We are growing together in the knowledge of Christ. No one person has all the answers, look to Jesus and let’s work on our relationship with Him and others around us.

Jeff Borgsays:

What is not made clear in any of this discussion is whether or not the proposed changes to the Marriage Act will result it making it illegal for any person to say publicly that marriage is only between a man and a woman.
Many people, probably millions, have believed all their lives that marriage is only between a man and a woman and the proposed change to the marriage act will not change their beliefs. Will the proposed changes to the Marriage Act mean that these people can no longer express their beliefs publicly (including social media) without breaking the law? If so, then we will have fixed one injustice by creating another. This will especially be the case if there are penalties for breach of the proposed changes to the Marriage Act. Can anyone answer my question?

Rob Buckinghamsays:

That’s a very good question Jeff and one that we don’t know the answer to yet as the legislation hasn’t been framed. That’s one reason I voice my disappointment (in the blog) that the Prof. Patrick Parkinson / Tim Wilson Bill was knocked back by those on the extremes of this debate. You can read Patrick’s comments here: https://freedomforfaith.org.au/library/why-all-political-parties-ought-to-care-about-religious-freedom
As I mention in the blog, we need to prevent polarisation and realise that both “sides” will need to compromise somewhat in order for a satisfactory outcome for as many people as possible. Only time will tell if this happens. The signs right now don’t seem to be very promising.

Paulinesays:

Thank you for your very thoughtful, respectful, loving and christlike article on the subject. God gave us all an intellect to use and there are many aspects to consider. I too believe that how you vote is completely up to you and in no way should a leader get up in church and tell congregation to vote Yes or No. BTW I have been bought up in the church but have a family member who identifies strongly with the gay movement and has stated they feel isolated and ostracised by the church and I believe that is not the christian message, we are called to reach out to, love and accept people for who they are and God is the ultimate judge not us. If I cannot come to a clear conclusion for myself, I may abstain from voting.

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