Which wing of the aircraft is the most important, the left or the right? I don’t mean to shut down legitimate debate about what takes priority in the complex social issues of our world, but we do sometimes get caught in a left/right debate that causes us to lose perspective. And I readily include myself as one who can get off balance.
One of the challenges to me in recent years has been the question: Why do you always default to abortion and homosexuality (supposed issues on the right) in regard to America’s sins? What about the crime and deprivation in our cities? What about starving children? Why isn’t it more important to feed children who are starving than worrying about unborn children destined to live a life of poverty (supposed issues on the left)?
I could respond to those questions defensively and I think make a compelling case why abortion (which seems to be losing support) and homosexual rights (which are rapidly gaining support) are at the top of grave concern for America’s present and future. The sanctity of life and the sanctity of marriage are cornerstone issues that impact poverty and social stability.
But the questions are well taken that suggest we should not be so “one issue” focused that we ignore pressing human need. I agree that comfortable well to do evangelicals on the right have not empathized with the poor as much as we should, and even though evangelical Christians have been on the front lines of human need far more than credited, it doesn’t mean we should be satisfied. I am delighted to see members of our church invest their time in responding to the tragedy of human trafficking, investing themselves in relationships with immigrants, and prayerfully opening their hearts, homes, and families to older and hard to place adoptable kids.
But back to an issue of the supposed right, particularly, same-sex marriage. This summer, I’m preaching a series at Faith Church from 1 Corinthians 5-7, Sex in a Broken World I told the congregation last Sunday that I would post supplementary material on my blog, so this is a beginning of that promise.
Eric Teetsel is the executive director of the Manhattan Declaration, initially championed by the late Chuck Colson. I urge you to read the declaration at the above site. I also invite you to read Why I Fight Against Same-Sex Marriage by Teetsel.
He addresses the dangers of reductionism as reflected in a comment by Rich Stearns of World Vision who has criticized the energy spent on debating marriage as opposed to poverty issues, arguing “No one ever died of gay marriage.” This is consistent with Stearns imbalance in his book, The Hole in Our Gospel, Don’t get me wrong! There is much good in Stearns book and I strongly endorse the great work of World Vision that Stearns leads.
But Teetsel argues convincingly that same-sex marriage is not without major and costly consequences and that a proper understanding of marriage is not to be relegated as a minor appendage, but is a vital and foundational structure piece to keep our culture from a devastating crash.