Reverend G. William AmesOctober 1996
The political season is upon us and allow me to venture into the boisterous id of my political psyche for a paragraph or two.
For those of you who are old enough to vote, one thing you must realize is that we live in a constitutional republic or for the democrats out there, a democracy. What's the difference? It's negligible unless you're a poli-sci major. When an election is held, we as a nation put into power those individuals who we are going to trust with our lives...literally. Any good decisions our elected officials make will certainly benefit us, while those poorly made decisions will cause us grief or worse such as the case in recent events.
So what's my point? My point is this: Be thoughtful in the casting of your vote. Examine the issues that the candidates represent. Look for the facts behind the political rhetoric and the mudslinging then make the best decision you can make about the person you vote into office. Last minute decision making at the polling place is not sound practice on our part. Take a little time beforehand and make an educated, thoughtful vote. That's all anyone can ask of you and all you can ask of yourself.
Some key issues to consider are: same sex marriage privileges, ability to share benefits as a "gay" family, abortion and last but not least, the death penalty. There are others but these issues are at the forefront of my mind at this time.
For those of you that can't vote just yet, advocate change in any legal way that you can. Let those in office, who represent you also, know of your concerns and the issues that you face on a day to day basis. After all, you are future voters and what you experience matters and your opinion counts.
Onto other matters...
First of all, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank those who have taken the time to email a response to my column. If you haven't done so, please do. I'm genuinely concerned about your perceptions, experiences and feelings regarding religious and spiritual concerns that you have. Again, my email address is email@example.com.
A reader has recently asked about same sex marriage. Based on what I have read in the New Testament there is nothing negative stated about same sex marriages. The following Bible verses regarding heterosexual marriage do not address the issue of same sex marriage at all (re: Luke 20:34-36; Ephesians 5:31). Possibly the only New Testament verse that is frequently used by conservatives to discredit same sex marriage is Hebrews 13:4. It reads:
Marriage must be honoured by all, and marriages must be kept undefiled, because the sexually immoral and adulterers will come under God's judgment.
Though conservatives would claim that gay people are sexually immoral, as you would expect, I beg to differ. I will qualify my statement in this manner: any time another person uses sex as a way to exploit or injure another, male or female, then it can be considered immoral. I believe that when sex is given equally as a product of a loving relationship by two consenting people who are mature enough to take that next step, that there is no offense. Yes, it would be virtuous if the two people, gay or otherwise, would wait until they have been joined in a recognized union but let's get real. Certainly, as a minister, I would advise any one to wait until a recognized commitment between the partners has been formed. However, in my experience of knowing many straight couples, that desire or wish, for the most part, is fantasy.
The other consideration in this matter is, of course, that the option for marriage is not extended to gay couples by many Christian denominations or governmental agencies. We find ourselves between a "rock and a hard place" if I may borrow the expression. My resolution to this dilemma, until same sex marriage is deemed acceptable, is to do some serious soul searching and praying then make the best thoughtful decision you can make for yourself and your partner. I certainly condone that each partner in the relationship speak openly to one another prior to taking the relationship to the next plateau. Bear in mind that if you and your partner are not able to discuss the sexual aspects of your relationship then its probably a good indication that neither one of you are ready to venture into sexual territory. Any good relationship is based on mutual respect, trust, faithfulness and an unselfish love for one another. That's my humble opinion but its also what Christ taught me in my relationship to Him. That's what He asks of those who chose to follow Him.
To conclude, I'll quote Daniel A. Helminiak, Ph.D. from his book What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality, published by the Alamo Square Press; San Francisco: 1995:
So the Bible takes no direct stand on the morality of homogenital acts as such nor on the morality of gay and lesbian relationships. Indeed, the Bible's longest treatment of the matter, in Romans, suggests that in themselves homogenital acts have no ethical significance whatsoever. However, understood in their historical context, the teaching of 1 Corinthians and 1 Timothy, makes this clear: abusive forms of male-male sex-and of male-female sex must be avoided. (p.108)
Need any more be said? You'd know if you are in an abusive relationship whether it be physical, sexual or emotional. If you are, get out of it! Obviously its not healthy by any stretch of the imagination and we, as human beings, deserve to be in a relationship that is formed and guided by love, respect, faith and trust. Nothing else is acceptable.
When you're confronted with a situation and you don't understand where its going or what you should do, then try praying about it. Let me cite a verse from James 1:5-8:
Any of you who lacks wisdom must ask God, who gives to all generously and without scolding; it will be given. But prayer must be made with faith, and no trace of doubt, because a person who has doubts is like the waves thrown up in the sea by the buffeting of the wind. That sort of person, in two minds, inconsistent in every activity, must not expect to receive anything from the Lord.
Think on that one for a bit. Until next time, God bless you and keep you safe! Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your questions, comments and concerns. If you have any prayer requests, email those also. I'd be honored to pray for your needs and those of your loved ones. Please also pray for me, for acceptance and peace. With love, I thank you.
**Please note: If anyone would like to supply an essay regarding the book I'm in the process of writing, please email me with a request for more information. Thank you.