My wife says I’m crazy for taking on this subject and she’s right.
The reasons for caution are endless: I’m no theologian; passions are running high; I have friends and family with strong views on both sides; this is a business magazine. Most important: Discerning God’s view on gay marriage lies outside the bounds of normal journalism. God doesn’t give interviews.
But as well as being a journalist, I have also been a Christian for more than two decades, so what God thinks about gay marriage is important to me. And, as I have said before, marriage is a fundamental institution in our economy, so gay marriage is a subject for a business magazine.
Initially, I pulled other faith perspectives into my research, but got overwhelmed, so I focused just on Christianity. In Christianity, the guide to God’s thinking is the Bible. Read it and you’ll find the answer, right? You can’t get much clearer than the book of Leviticus, chapter 18, verse 22: “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.” Except Leviticus is filled with all kinds of rules we ignore today, such as no tattoos or no clothes made from different materials, and don’t sow your field with two kinds of seed.
How you react to passages on homosexuality largely depends on how you see the Bible: the enduring word of God or a book written thousands of years ago by wise but imperfect people, or many thousands of nuances in between. As a modern rationalist, I lean toward the imperfection end of the spectrum, but, as I said, God isn’t giving interviews, so my word is not the final word.
I have been reading about homosexuality and Christianity for years and one of the best, balanced resources I have found is a 24-page paper prepared for the Lutheran Church in 2003. It has the unwieldy title of “Background Essay on Biblical Texts for ‘Journey Together Faithfully, Part Two: The Church and Homosexuality.’ ” You can find it on multiple websites.[Download pdf]
It closely studies the seven references to homosexuality in the Old and New Testaments, provides multiple viewpoints, explains context and discusses the possible meanings of the original language. From it, you could make a good theological case either for or against gay marriage.
However, the paper also notes that Jesus says nothing on the subject and that is crucial. After all, we are Christians. Jesus does talk a lot about love. In fact, asked which commandment is most important, “Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’ ” (Matthew 22:36-40).
I think love plays a big role in God’s thinking and he wants love to play a big role in our thinking, too. So my best guess is that he wants two adults who are in love to be able to marry. That’s not deep theological insight, simply common sense. And that’s one thing God gave to all of us.