What kind of Christian would vote against a party because it promised to vote for civil gay marriage?

I’m seriously trying to understand the mindset of those who call themselves Christian and would change their vote against a party if it was going to vote in the national parliament for civil marriage to include same-sex unions.

I understand that a religious person would let their religious beliefs influence their vote, in exactly the same way as a person with any other ethical value structure would.

But what I don’t get is Christians who are determined to have the law impose their religious beliefs about marriage on others – particularly in a country when we already have civil marriage, which is marriage where their God is not involved and which already don’t count according to their beliefs. I’m not sure how Islamic marriages, or Hindu marriages, are any more compatible with Christianity than secular gay marriage. None of them are Christian marriages, but they’re recognised as “marriages” by the law. So are marriages between people who are definitively infertile. So marriages are regularly non-Christian, and they’re regularly entered into where procreation is impossible. And I haven’t heard Christians campaigning against any of those marriages.

But if you’re not campaigning to have Christian marriage as the only form of marriage recognised by Australian law, then why be all bothered by gay marriage? What difference does it make to you? It’s just one other form of marriage recognised by the law despite not being made in accordance with your belief structure.

Which leads me to the main thing I don’t understand – why is this so important to them? Why is demanding the law discriminate against gay people more important than campaigning for anything Jesus actually did talk about? Jesus talked a lot about the rich giving up their possessions, and about looking after the poor. So why would a person calling themselves “Christian” vote for a party that opposes taxing the rich to provide for the poor?

To make this a vote-changing issue, you’d have to (a) have a very weird and inconsistent idea about when you can arbitrarily impose your religion on people who don’t share it, and (b) sincerely believe that what was most important to Jesus was the stuff He didn’t talk about, and that He was just kidding about the stuff He did.

8 responses to “What kind of Christian would vote against a party because it promised to vote for civil gay marriage?

  1. Q: What kind of Christian would vote against a party because it promised to vote for civil gay marriage?

    A: A foolish one

    I thank God that foolishness is probably one of the most forgivable sins, as it seems to be remarkably widespread 😦

  2. Splatterbottom

    If I was to hazard a guess, I would say that some combination of the following factors would be involved:

    1. A view that society will be better off without gay marriage.

    2. A view that the traditional family of a father, mother living together to raise their own children is the best form of social unit, and that departures from this should be fought at each stage as society unravels before our very eyes.

    3. A view that modern society is decadent and pleasure seeking and will inevitably fail if it keeps going in that direction, since it doesn’t even have the self-belief to be bothered reproducing itself.

    4. A view that the role of a Christian in a democracy is to promote the state imposition of Christian values.

    5. Deep-seated loathing for gays.

    6. A reflexive opposition to the leftist/secularist position in the culture wars.

    7. A view that the relatively recent decriminalisation of homosexual acts is enough for the moment and that further change can wait.

    8. A view that marriage as traditionally understood is between one man and one woman and there is no need to widen that now to encompass two people of the same gender.

  3. 8 seems to be one of the reasons most commonly put forward for this position, even if not most commonly held.

    And yet its simply not true, except by a rather narrow definition of tradition. The Bible itself contains manifold instances of marriages that don’t fit the Hyde vs Hyde mould; and even in the history of Christendom there is strong evidence for practices not necessarily classified as marriage but in practice so similar as to be at least the equivalent of what campaigners are asking for.

  4. narcoticmusing

    Nice summary SB 🙂

    I find the rationals somewhat perplexing, particularly given that marriage has changed a lot in its definition both legally and traditionally. I can only assume that if “Christians” (in “” b/c I do not think it applies to all christians) oppose a tradition change that would allow secular marriage, they are also opposed to the other tradition changes – particularly those that are explicitly principles of the bible – most of which relate to women being property and not worth much more than a slave (and if you are a slave’s wife, well that is just too bad because the dog is worth more).

    The irony being that the ‘steep slope’ arugement often presented – polygamy – was rife in the bible and not at all similar to two consenting adults.

  5. To me the biggest concern as far as contradiction or hypocrisy on trying to deny civil marriage to gay people, is from Christians who are divorcees – such as Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich etc. Divorce is, on my biblical exegesis, much much more clearly a big no-no than gay marriage; so how they can get up on a platform and not only pontificate others on sexual morality and marriage, but actually demand changes to the law, is beyond me.

  6. narcoticmusing

    Agreed, JR

  7. The problem with religious types is that they’ve been conditioned to believe things without questioning them. Thus almost all gay marriage opponents I know will, when asked why they oppose it, say “because it will be bad for society” (or similar).

    They seem to take this as a matter of faith as none of them can present an even vaguely rational explanation for why it will be bad for society. They just know it will be.

  8. Quite.

    SB – the problem with your list is that anyone following those items is still putting stuff Jesus mentioned behind stuff He didn’t (and how they justify that approach I’m very curious). And how do they come to the conclusion that this civil marriage thing that they’ve long since lost control of is only now about to get away from them?

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