Jim Wallis And Gay Marriage

JIm Wallis_Color_08_2_1

Looks like Jim Wallis has joined those “leaders,” religious and non-religious alike, who have “evolved” in regards to their support of same-sex marriage.  On Friday while being interviewed by the Huffington Post, Wallis was asked about his views concerning the growing support for same-sex marriage.  Wallis said, “We are losing marriage in this society. I’m worried about that — among low income people, but all people. How do we commit liberals and conservatives to re-covenanting marriage, reestablishing, renewing marriage? “

Okay, I agree with his first observation- we are losing marriage in our society (as statistics show) and we are in desperate need of a social and moral renewal regarding the covenant and obligation of marriage.  I couldn’t agree more.

The rest of his statement is pure rubbish.

He continues, “I think we should include same-sex couples in that renewal of marriage, [but] I want to talk marriage first. Marriage needs some strengthening. Let’s start with marriage, and then I think we have to talk about, now, how to include same-sex couples in that deeper understanding of marriage. I want a deeper commitment to marriage that is more and more inclusive, and that’s where I think the country is going.”

When asked for clarification of his support for same-sex marriage, Wallis answered “yes.”

First of all, how exactly do we include same-sex marriage in an effort to renew marriage? How do we renew that which doesn’t nor has ever existed?

Second, aren’t supporters of marriage (as it’s always been defined and understood) always told that legalizing same-sex marriage won’t detrimentally affect “traditional” marriages? Yet Wallis argues that redefining marriage that includes homosexuals will “strengthen” marriage?  That it will “deepen our understanding of marriage?”  How exactly will this occur, Jim?

Third, how does redefining marriage lead to a deeper commitment to marriage, specifically?

The breadth of his statement is pure emotionalism that isn’t supported logically or theologically, period.  As a matter of fact, Wallis’ own words in support of traditional marriage in 2008 undermine his current position.

In an interview with Christianity Today, when Wallis was asked about same-sex marriages and civil unions he said, “I don’t think the sacrament of marriage should be changed. Some people say that Jesus didn’t talk about homosexuality, and that’s technically true. But marriage is all through the Bible, and it’s not gender-neutral.

Seems that Wallis has got some ‘splainin’ to do.

What’s behind the change of Wallis’ position? It might have something to do with the fact that he’s pushing his new book On God’s Side: What Religion Forgets and Politics Hasn’t Learned about Serving the Common Good.

After all, it seemed to have worked for Rob Bell.

Just to be clear, both Bell and Wallis are openly advocating for the church to embrace one of the fads of culture- to do the exact opposite of Romans 12:2.

Friendship with the world is to be at enmity with God; whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God (James 4:4).

Those who bear the name of Christ should be prepared to defend their position of redefining marriage and that defense should entail much more than increasing the number of books they hope to sell.

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10 thoughts on “Jim Wallis And Gay Marriage

  1. Kevin Daniel April 8, 2013 / 3:15 pm

    I understand your frustration. There are many leaders changing sides these days. It’s frustrating when leaders flip flop.

    I will give you this to think about: If being gay is a sin, then does keeping gay people from being married make them any less gay? If not, are we focusing on the wrong issue here?

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    • derryckg April 8, 2013 / 3:40 pm

      Kevin-

      I’m not sure what your question is… if you could clarify it that would be great!

      Keeping gays from marrying doesn’t make them less gay by any stretch of the imagination. At the same time, standing firmly against redefining marriage is in no way the equivalent of being against gays, or hating gays, being a bigot; nor does it qualify as homophobia and I don’t think that one has to support the redefinition of marriage to prove they’re not one of the many slurs used to describe them.

      That said, the issue should be standing against redefining marriage while at the same time having a theology that communicates God’s love in Christ, accepts gays into the church as full members of the kingdom, with the same behavioral and spiritual requirements expected by everyone else who seeks entry into the body of Christ.

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      • Kevin Daniel April 8, 2013 / 4:14 pm

        I appreciate your response and agree. My point (ill written) was that by focusing on gay marriage to the extent we have, we end up treating a symptom and not the sin. This, among other reasons, is why I feel we should drop the fight.

        I see now that you are more concerned with defending “traditional” marriage than I gave you credit for. In light of this, I’m curious of your thoughts on this question: How does a homosexual marriage threaten your (presumably) heterosexual marriage?

        I hope you find my tone respectful, as I genuinely enjoy these conversations.

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        • derryckg April 9, 2013 / 11:22 am

          Kevin-
          I, like you, appreciate the back and forth. I also appreciate your sincere efforts to clarify the fact that the tone of your inquiries are devoid of meaningless provocation. It is very difficult at times to recognize the tone of the written word and things can be mis-taken quite easily.

          Re: your question, “How does a homosexual marriage threaten your (presumably) heterosexual marriage?” is the wrong question we should be asking. Homosexual marriage won’t threaten my marriage personally; nor will it threaten most marriages on an individual basis.

          Rather, I think what we should be asking is, why the rush and intent on redefining marriage, now? What information do we now know that all other previous societies (and the wisdom they produced)- both secular and religious- didn’t know?

          I think we should also ask, why is it permissible to “end discrimination” and redefine marriage to include same-sex relationships predicated on “love and consent,” yet maintain discrimination of relationships based on polygamy and or incest if the same qualifications of “love” and consent” are present?

          I also think we should ask what effects will the redefinition of marriage have on children- both in society at large, but also within the contexts of being raised within same-sex partnerships? We have an abundant amount of statistical data that demonstrates the negative social, economic and moral effects upon children who aren’t parented within the context of the marriage ideal- that being a man and woman; this data goes back several decades. Unfortunately we simply don’t have the same data-based foundation in regards to the effects of children parented in same-sex partnerships. Further if children brought up in broken families is already a cause for societal concern, I fail to see how same-sex families as an equal ideal, will somehow improve the situation. –> Now of course, I’m in no way saying that all children parented by homosexuals will come out mentally/socially/morally unstable; to do so would be absurd. But what I am saying is that we should strive for the historical ideal of marriage and redeem that ideal from the problems we have brought upon it.

          Culturally rushing to redefine marriage to demonstrate a lack of “bigotry” is extremely shortsighted regarding the potential effects on children, and society.

          Thoughts?

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          • Kevin Daniel April 10, 2013 / 12:54 pm

            Derryck (is that really how you spell your name, because that’s awesome),

            Thanks for the great response, and for your kind words. I’m always up for these conversations. Please know, I’m coming with these questions, not because I know the answers, but because I’m looking for them.

            Since you determined my question about gay marriage as the “wrong question,” I can only assume that you have no answer for it. I like to take arguments like these down to real life scenarios. When we focus only on national perspectives, we tend to loose sight of realistic consequences. Questions like, “what is the real danger, for me and my household?” are definitely worth asking. If not, (and I say this with respect), you may be bordering on sensationalism.

            As far as your argument regarding: “What information do we now know that all other previous societies (and the wisdom they produced)- both secular and religious- didn’t know?” Are you suggesting, away from gay-marriage for a moment, that civilizations are not suppose to grow, learn new things in new ways, and ever part ways from it’s founder’s beliefs? If so, maybe we should take back the civil rights movement of the 60s (or everything else we’ve learned)?

            Your point on polygamy and incest is well taken. Though I’d love to see you cite your sources regarding the “abundance of statistical data.” I’ve never seen any data. I’ve learned not to take statements like these on face value.

            It seems that the bulk of your arguments rely on this data. So I will wait to respond for that.

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            • derryckg April 10, 2013 / 1:59 pm

              Kevin-

              Yep, the way my name is spelled is how I’ve had it since birth and has been misspelled just about every possible way you can think, lol.

              Once again, thanks for chiming in.

              As for your question, ” “How does a homosexual marriage threaten your (presumably) heterosexual marriage?” I believe I answered it. My response was “Homosexual marriage won’t threaten my marriage personally; nor will it threaten most marriages on an individual basis.”

              The reason I said that was the wrong question, as my response indicates, is because in determining the qualifications and legalities of marriage, legislators have to do what’s best for society as a whole, not simply what’s best for an individual and I’ve yet to see any argument that redefining marriage is beneficial for society as a whole.

              I am with you regarding the realistic consequences, which is precisely why rushing to redefine marriage- literally for the sake of the statistical few- is shortsighted. Redefining marriage literally takes the most basic and fundamental institution history has ever known- not to improve it, but to include those people who want to literally create a right (for themselves) that has never existed, simply as a matter of personal feelings. (And also to provoke those who would see marriage remain they way it has always been). That isn’t sensationalism by any stretch. I would point you to, among other resources readily available, a book entitled, “After the Ball: How America Will Conquer Its Fear and Hatred of Gays in the 90’s.” Clearly demonstrates the intention of socially legitimizing homosexuality and all that comes with it.

              “Are you suggesting, away from gay-marriage for a moment, that civilizations are not suppose to grow, learn new things in new ways, and ever part ways from it’s founder’s beliefs? If so, maybe we should take back the civil rights movement of the 60s (or everything else we’ve learned)?”

              –> Definitely not. Of course we learn new things, we are exposed to new information through advanced research techniques and technological innovation that wasn’t available to previous generations and so on. But again, what “new things” have we learned that Socrates, Plato, Jesus, Moses, Buddha, Muhammad, Kant, Descartes or any Enlightenment-era/Age of Reason philosopher, Foucault, Derrida or Rorty from the postmodern period, didn’t know as it pertains to marriage? What wisdom do we now possess that legitimately qualifies itself as the foundation for redefining marriage? Again, I’m not arguing the merits of homosexuality- it exists and will continue to exist on this side of heaven. But what I am suggesting is that though it is a reality, it’s existence, corroborated with emotional appeals to “equality” or “ending discrimination” isn’t enough on its own. Contemporary society needs a certain amount of wisdom that overrides the wisdom of the ages as a basis for marital redefinition.

              The statistical data (studies, polls, think tanks, books) that I reference in regards to emotional, behavioral and socio-economic problems faced by children raised in broken families is prevalent and easily accessible in various outlets. Maggie Gallager, the Heritage Foundation, Journal of Marriage And the Family, Hudson Institute, Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry are among the myriad of sources that one can see exactly how family dysfunction affects the children involved. If this is the kind of dysfunction that reigns with broken families through actual marriage, why would we redefine it and purposely introduce a different kind of dysfunction that will inevitably affect the children who are the product of redefined marriages?

              I can’t tell from our back-and-forth and would rather not assume, but do you support the redefinition and if so, why (based on religious or non-religious reasoning not?

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  2. Kevin Daniel April 11, 2013 / 2:49 pm

    I didn’t see the “reply” button on your last comment, so I’m posting it here. I apologize for not responding sooner, work and school, work and school. I’m sure you know the drill.

    I can’t thank you enough for indulging me here. This has been a great conversation.

    As far as your statistical data goes, you still did not cite anything but rather just listed a bunch of organizations. The majority of these organizations, if not all by my quick research, seem to hold conservative roots (most claim it). My experience as a student in statistics tells me to throw out any statistical evidence presented by biased parties. So even if you did cite the sources/articles, I probably wouldn’t have accepted them as a logical addition to the argument. (Need third party, bias free statistics!) I’m afraid you might be jumping to conclusions about this “abundance of data.”

    I did come across this link from the American Psychological Association: http://www.apa.org/pi/lgbt/resources/parenting.aspx?item=6 It basically claims there is not enough statistical evidence to come to any real conclusion. (Though it does state that the most consistent difference in children from same-sex couples, is that they generally suffer from school bullying).

    Your point about legislation needing to cover the needs of the majority makes sense. And I believe, as in California, if people voted a certain way then we need to honor that (Prop 8). But I still feel that without any real threat to anyone specifically—hence my question about how it can harm your family—gay marriage simply wont affect anything. (Speaking non-religiously, purely civilly). What exactly are we protecting? How does redefining traditional marriage hurt my marriage? I don’t think it does. I am going to be the same husband… future generations will still marry… the world will keep turning…

    I guess I just don’t see the argument for “protecting traditional marriage.” Tradition is only admired by those who believe in the current system. Tradition is not a science, but a public opinion that naturally changes generationally.

    Here’s what I believe: Legalize Gay-Marriage.

    Gay people will still be gay, they’ll just be married now. We (christians) can focus on things like serving the streets, getting clean water to people, educating third world areas, ridding the world of sex trafficking, opposing and shining lights on corporations who daily destroy God’s creation… there’s just so much work to do, and we’re all (me especially) getting caught up in this polarizing news story.

    Here’s a short piece I wrote a couple weeks ago explaining this further: http://wp.me/p15TY8-iW

    With respect, as always.

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    • derryckg April 11, 2013 / 3:40 pm

      Kevin-
      My man, thanks for coming back. Always good to engage in a civil back and forth that has allows all parties involved to flesh out their own positions in light of opposing perspectives.

      You say, “As far as your statistical data goes, you still did not cite anything but rather just listed a bunch of organizations. The majority of these organizations, if not all by my quick research, seem to hold conservative roots (most claim it). My experience as a student in statistics tells me to throw out any statistical evidence presented by biased parties”–>

      I pointed you to places where you can go to parse the statistics yourself to see if what I’m saying is false in regards to what behavioral and socio-economic effects of broken families has on children of “traditional marriages.” That said, you immediately discredit that statistic (w/o looking first?) simply because some of the organizations presented have a conservative political ideology? So by definition, you hold that the statistics that demonstrate the negative effects of broken families are inherently wrong because conservative sources are “biased?” How? Why? based on what? What does that say about your bias against a conservative political viewpoint? Based on that line of argumentation (or positioning), one could also say that your perspective which denies the negative effects of broken families on children- and by extension, your support of same-sex marriage- is biased because it comes from a left-of-center perspective. I’m not sure that kind of reasoning- discrediting information because one disagrees with the source- has a proper place in civil and constructive dialogue, unless the source(s) in question have a publicly known habit of distortion, at which point they would need citation.

      Now, when you say, “I did come across this link from the American Psychological Association: http://www.apa.org/pi/lgbt/resources/parenting.aspx?item=6 It basically claims there is not enough statistical evidence to come to any real conclusion. (Though it does state that the most consistent difference in children from same-sex couples, is that they generally suffer from school bullying),” that goes to my point of not having enough data, (again) predicated on wisdom, to argue that same-sex marriage won’t have a detrimental effect on the children in the micro (the contextual nature of family) or the macro (society-at large).

      We both agree on the legal aspects of prop 8- the people voted and the law, until overturned by the electorate and not by an appointed judiciary- should stand. If the voters of CA successfully engage the initiative process so as to have a law overturning prop 8 placed on the ballot and it is successfully passed, then a new law has been enacted legally through the democratic process. I would disagree with the law wholeheartedly, but it would demonstrate that the people of CA are in favor of gay marriage rather than it being forced upon them by ardent and strident activists.

      But I return to my previous statement(s)- same-sex marriage doesn’t personally harm my marriage, or yours. But it isn’t about me or you. Nor is it about the narcissism of those homosexuals who want to redefine marriage (since not all of them do). It’s about society as a whole and if redefining marriage is good for the majority. I argue that it’s not, because of the consequences of redefining marriage, family, ultimately gender; also the effects on children and the affects on free (religious) speech.

      “I guess I just don’t see the argument for “protecting traditional marriage.” Tradition is only admired by those who believe in the current system. Tradition is not a science, but a public opinion that naturally changes generationally.”

      You’re partially right. Tradition, in this case marriage as it has always been understood, isn’t about our contemporary disposition to it. It’s about the wisdom contained within the tradition that has served every generation in every civilization and culture since humans began recording history. This is precisely the reason why I asked, specifically, what knowledge do we posses now (which, by your own citation of the APA, is inconclusive) that those who contributed to the wisdom that we now revere (both secular and religious) didn’t know? To redefine marriage one has to be prepared to offer a reasoned position aside from tradition doesn’t matter, no?

      “We (christians) can focus on things like serving the streets, getting clean water to people, educating third world areas, ridding the world of sex trafficking, opposing and shining lights on corporations who daily destroy God’s creation… there’s just so much work to do, and we’re all (me especially) getting caught up in this polarizing news story.”

      No doubt brother I couldn’t agree with you more. I think that where you and I part ways is that I believe that Christians doing all those deeds of kindness in which you enumerate, and supporting marriage both civilly (because of children, society, economic effects, etc.) and religiously/theologically (divine ordination from the beginning and re-iterated and emphasized by Jesus) is all combined together as it pertains to bearing the name of Christ as a disciple.

      But no doubt, it’s polarizing (purposely, imo). Will check out your piece shortly.

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  3. Kevin Daniel April 11, 2013 / 10:09 pm

    Hello again,

    I must’ve not made myself clear on the statistics thing. If these organizations were merely just reporting stats and facts from a third party’s research, I’d be happy to accept it. I was assuming that the statistical procedures were actually performed by the organizations you listed. Those organizations are all biased, and their first-hand research should thus be thrown out. (Just as I would throw out a “liberal” or “left of center” organization’s research.) But like I said, if they are merely reporting the information from credible sources then that is a different story.

    It just seems that the majority of your non-spiritual argument was dependent upon this “abundant amount of data,” which is why I’m holding you to it. This data you’ve seen (which apparently isn’t as easy to find as you made it out to be) might just be swayed. Since you were so quick to claim this existed, I assumed you’d be able to point me to specific articles.

    As far as this goes: “I argue that [gay-marriage for the majority is] not, because of the consequences of redefining marriage, family, ultimately gender; also the effects on children and the affects on free (religious) speech.”

    That is a very packed statement, and I wont be as unkind as to make you unpack it. But just a warning, you do seem to be throwing emotion driven language around. It doesn’t make much sense. I’m not sure how gender is redefined. The effects on children?? (We’ve been over this?) Religious speech?

    I think we agree on more than we both let on. At the end of the day, we both have work to do. You want to save the world through “proper marriage” and I want to give water to people. It would be foolish of me to say that my call is greater than yours.

    I think I might end this conversation here. Not because of disagreements or lack of respect, but because I’m feeling a bit worn on the subject. Best of luck on protecting the ideal idea!

    I hope we can do this again. Come say hi on my blog sometime.

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