Why Divorced, Straight Christians Should Kiss The LGBT Community

wedding-rings


If I had a dime for every preacher who stood on a pulpit or behind a radio station microphone or on a street corner and blasted gay people for “threatening the sanctity of Marriage”, I’d have a silo full of dimes.

That in itself isn’t really noteworthy, as the LGBT community has been the Christian poster child for deviant behavior for the past few decades; blamed for ruining everything from daytime TV, to the Army, to the Boy Scouts, to major weather patterns.

And while the gay marriage debate in America threatens to quite literally rip the Church in two, it’s interesting how loud many Christian pastors and pew-sitters are on one facet of this conversation, while how conspicuously silent they are on another.

In their defense of their position, many church leaders and members who oppose gay marriage, cite the supposed Scriptural mandate for the sacred union of a man and a woman. (Though a simple review of the Bible shows this to hardly be the case). They argue that gay people marrying, pollutes and cheapens the Institution.

However, here’s where the numbers start to tell a revealing story.

Depending on which statistics you use, it’s estimated that anywhere between 3 and 10 percent of people in the world identify as LGBT. This makes them a decidedly tiny minority of the overall population, and yet precisely why they are such easy and continual targets for alleged Bible purists.

Meanwhile, estimates for percentages of once-married Christians who are now divorced, range anywhere from 30 to 55 percent. A much higher number and percentage of the Church population, yet they’re also supposedly tainting Marriage as defined in the Bible. In fact, not only do these staggering divorce rates affect those couples themselves, but the children and extended families ripped apart in the process. The cultural impact and numeric disparity is a no-brainer.

It stands to reason, by sheer numbers and family damage alone; that heterosexual divorce, (which Jesus speaks clearly to), poses a much greater moral danger to the sacred institution of Marriage than anything—by a mile.

So when’s the last time you saw a red-faced pastor slamming his hand on a podium, screaming about the way Divorce is destroying our country and making a mockery of God?

When’s the last time you witnessed a curbside picket line, protesting divorcées, with nasty signs and bullhorn-blasted sermons?

How long has it been since you heard a Church leader say emphatically, that you simply can’t be both divorced and a Christian?

How often do you hear church folk say of once-married people, that they “hate the sin, love the sinner”?

When’s the last blog you’ve come across about all unrepentant, formerly married people going to Hell?

(Been a while, hasn’t it?)

Here’s the problem: Most pastors won’t openly attack Divorce from the pulpit, not because they don’t see that Jesus clearly speaks against it in Scripture, (where he calls all divorce except in response to infidelity—adultery), and not because they don’t see it as a major threat to families and a weakening of the institution of Marriage; but because doing that would alienate too much of their core audience.

You see, when it comes to Marriage, they’re willing to be unapologetically faithful to the Bible, but only selectively so.

It makes sense from a business standpoint: If a preacher came out with the same regularity and ferocity, railing against the “sinfulness” of Divorce, as they do about LGBT people even desiring marriage (or even existing for that matter), pretty soon he or she would be speaking to a half-empty building, and they know it. Much of their physical and financial support would evaporate, and their whole operation would be in turmoil.

So they stay silent.

Sure, they might preach once in a while on how to have healthy straight marriages, or hold occasional couple’s retreats, but they fall well short of relentlessly pointing the fiery finger of judgment at the massive numbers of straight people, who have opted out of marriage far before the, “death do us part”, part; and often for far less than they originally vowed.

Attacking the LGBT community is a way for pastors to take a calculated sin stance around Marriage; one that’s based on a risk-reward payoff. By choosing to conveniently use the Bible to address only gay people with regard to marriage, pastors can seem bold and brave, but they’re really just cleverly playing the numbers.

Simply stated: For Christian leaders, it’s a lot easier to take a hardline moral stand when your target is a minuscule percentage of people, many of whom you assume probably won’t be in your congregation in the first place. You can rally your base and look like a dutiful solider in the army of the Lord, without ticking-off your constituents or affecting your bottom line.

People who identify as LGBT aren’t only penalized by churches for being married, but for even wanting to be married, for seeking monogamous relationships, and for outwardly being authentic in any real way. Any of the above usually isolates them in their faith communities, disqualifies them from volunteering in their churches, and almost always makes ministry leadership impossible.

In the same communities, divorced people are leading small groups, serving as ministry team volunteers, and even pastoring churches, and most Christians are perfectly fine with that. They never get some “love the sinner, hate the sin” double-talk, and people rarely publicly wrestle with whether or not fully including divorced people, “condones sin”.

Please hear me, divorced people: This is not about you at all; and well, that’s sort of the point.

You aren’t destroying Marriage, you aren’t a threat to society, and you aren’t the blight of the planet either. You’re just people trying to live life as a part of a faith community equally, and you should be able to. In fact, the Church is enriched and blessed by your presence and participation.

Marriage at its best is incredibly difficult, and often divorce comes after great pain, heartache, and attempted reconciliation. Can you imagine enduring all of this, while continually having the Bible shoved in your face; forever harassed for your unBiblical “lifestyle”. Imagine the kind of damage that would do to your soul, how much this treatment would be a barrier to you participating in a faith community, or even seeking God for that matter?

If that’s happened to you as a divorced person, I deeply apologize. If it hasn’t, thankfully you’ve escaped the kind of relentless literal enforcement of select Scriptures, suffered by the gay community.

As a divorced heterosexual person, if you’re going to applaud and “amen” the vilifying of LGBT people who even want to get married, and accuse them of sullying the institution; know that you’re not on very solid Biblical ground yourself, and you’re just lucky there’s so many of you out there or you too might be in front of the relentless religious firing squad.

The bottom line, is that we can argue for eternity about whether or not sexuality is a choice, but what we can agree on, is that for heterosexuals; getting married and getting divorced both are*.

Sooner or later, Christians and Church leaders need to decide if were going to play by the same rules when it comes to Marriage; whether or not we’re going to be equal opportunity champions of Scripture.

We’re either going to adhere unflinchingly to the letter of the Law, and make everybody pay the piper for sullying Marriage, and exclude them all—or we’re going to admit that we have made a huge bit of cultural wiggle room over time, to make modern heterosexual divorce quite acceptable, even with the Bible’s apparent clarity on it. (At the same time, we’ll also have to explain to gay people why we’re cool with that, and not with them).

Divorced Christians, you should really kiss the LGBT community.

They’ve taken the heat of Hell off of you.

 

* Obviously when there are cases of violence, infidelity, abuse, or addiction, divorce may be the only safe option, and a choice one must make.

 

 

 

82 thoughts on “Why Divorced, Straight Christians Should Kiss The LGBT Community

  1. Mainline Christians should weep over what easy divorce has done to the perception of marriage. Note I didn’t say ‘sanctity’ of marriage, because man’s actions will never sully or rend asunder what God has joined.

    I thank God my congregation does not sweep divorce under the rug. In fact, its strong preaching on the subject, and personal, loving guidance based on Matthew 18 has guided some to repentance and reconciliation.

    I think the author paints with a broad brush though. “We’re either going to adhere unflinchingly to the letter of the Law, and make everybody pay the piper for sullying Marriage, and exclude them all…” This is a misunderstanding and misapplication of Scripture. In essence, he’ s saying because one group is being ‘clobbered’, either clobber the bigger group just as hard, or break down all the barriers for everybody, and anything goes. That’s what’s at the heart of this blog post.

    “As a divorced heterosexual person, if you’re going to applaud and “amen” the vilifying of LGBT people who even want to get married, and accuse them of sullying the institution; know that you’re not on very solid Biblical ground yourself, and you’re just lucky there’s so many of you out there or you too might be in front of the relentless religious firing squad. ” “Vilifying” is also another broad-brush buzzword that covers everything from outright hate and sinful slurs to humble disagreement over what God’s Word says about the subject–and I wouldn’t be surprised if the author equates all of that as one and the same. Bottom line–repentant sinners, whether divorced, gay, straight, are all on solid Biblical ground.

  2. Very good post. And it speaks volumes of why I have problems with organized religion. I am a Christian and I am going through a tough time with the Church. I know in my heart that Christ could care less about Gays and marriage and he would care more about compassion and tolerance.

  3. I am a divorced Christian woman and I can tell you that I have ran into this . I have been to many churches where I was not welcomed and was told that I needed to return to my ex-husband with out them having any knowledge what so ever as to what the circumstances were . I did find it strange that divorced men were welcomed and no one dared to speak to them . I had a woman tell me that the Bible only allows for men to be divorced ,not woman . ??? I was refused a church meal set aside for single church members because I was divorced and a woman . My personal opinion after reading the words of Christ is that he himself would be hanging out with those that the church degrades and and persecutes . I fled an abusive marriage after my life and the lives of my children were threatened . I am shocked that I made it out alive and I praise God every day for the life that I have now .

    • That is so sad about that Church and the many others that treat women in such a way and the double standards throughout organized religion.

  4. When I was in college, I had the privilege of being in a Bible study with a wise man, Ken Merritt. It was 40 years ago, so I remember the whole, “Can a divorced woman teach Sunday School?” question.
    Ken’s comment was, “The church is generally two decades behind society… It will change.”
    Seriously, does this have to take another generation? We abhore slavery. We go to the weddings of our divorced family members. If my niece is “living in sin” with her divorced partner, I don’t shield my children from her adulterous behaviour. *sarcasm*
    I want to Dan and Dean to be welcome in my fellowship as the couple they are. I want the church to be a place where Luke can marry the man of his dreams. When Luke has children, I want him and his husband to be able to dedicate their children to God as their parents have done.
    I hope it will be in my lifetime.

  5. While I agree that the gay issue has superseded every other issue in many churches, comparing it to divorce has a major flaw. I believe, as do many theologians, that Jesus was talking about hard-hearted men who had made a contract with a woman’s father to care for her and then just wanted to throw her away. Jesus was concerned about the heart issues and not with divorce per se. His words as recorded in the New Testament simply do not apply to divorce today, but they still apply to times when we devalue another because we consider them “less than”, or simply because what we want is so much more important than they are.

    • You are, of course, right, about what Jesus was condemning, but many people make the same argument about homosexuality. That the homosexual acts condemned in the Bible are not the same as the modern concept of a committed, monogomous homosexual relationship. I think John’s point can still stand because you either take it all as literal without context or you consider the times and how they compare to today’s time.

      And while Jesus was clearly talking about men throwing women away, the Bible also says that when she remarries, the new husband makes her an adulterer. If it was all just about men being responsible without a notion that marriage was something sacred and permanent, there would be no reason to consider the remarried woman an adulterer.

  6. After 3 divorces, I joke with my gay and my straight friends that I’m evidence AGAINST opposite sex marriage.

  7. I am a member of a Presbyterian Church, U.S.A. congregation whose pastor and session (a majority of it anyway) oppose gay marriage. I am one of only 2 people under the age of about 55 serving on the session and possibly the only one who feels differently on this issue than the rest. (Maybe the other “young” guy does too – time will surely tell).

    Last year, when our annual assembly passed the amendment to change the definition of marriage to “between two persons, traditionally understood to be a man and a woman”, the session voted (while I was gone) to stop sending money to the Presbytery in protest. It later voted to make a statement that we support the current (i.e. previous) definition of marriage. Now that enough Presbyteries (including our own, I think) have confirmed the ammendment, I’m sure the subject will come up again.

    This comparison to divorce has been the argument my mind has turned to over and over again. That, and women in ministry. There are 5 women serving on the session and several divorced people or people married to divorced people. I just don’t see how people can so easily dismiss the parts that say God hates divorce, remarriage makes you an adulterer, divorced people should not be in leadership roles, women should not be in leadership roles… and then hang so tightly to their position on this matter. How can a divorced woman justify serving on the session if she truly believes that the Bible is literally, word-for-word the Word of God, applicable as written to all people in all times? She can’t without being a hypocrite.

    I avoid controversy like the plague. I am praying now that when the time comes, I will be able to stand up and be heard. Or better yet, to stand up and let the Spirit be heard through me.

  8. What I never hear anyone ever pointing out is the fact that we (at least us in America in this century) are dependent upon a piece of paper issued by the government to define marriage at all. Government mandates are social control, which is truly what the “gay marriage” issue is all about. What would happen if the government didn’t mandate who was or was not married? Would a couple’s marriage be null and void, or would they rely on their actual promise to each other to create their identity and status of being “married” as humans have done for centuries of human history? When any form of government can dictate “status” and “identity” they assume control they don’t really have–it’s just control people accept they have. Without even being aware we that did while we formed into a nation, we Americans have given the government the power to decide what is “official” for our lives, but in reality, nobody but God and those involved in the making of a commitment make that bond a reality. Relying on the government to mandate a slew of social status issues gives them too much power and individuals less expectations, responsibility, and agency. The debate about “legal” marriage shows in what predicament modern people have placed ourselves: we believe and accept that the government makes marriage official, not the God we believe in or ourselves. When certain Christians are freaked out about what should be legal, preach how people should vote, and picket, etc., this indicates their expectations of the role of government as well: that the government should have the power to mandate everything that is morally right and wrong because otherwise people will have to decide for themselves and have no moral compass and ruin the lives of those who do. (Yet for other issues they want the freedoms of personal choice). In their view, the ability to create one official moral compass for the nation must be controlled by select Christians who control or influence the government who can control everyone else. Therefore government is relied upon to spread, police, and enforce their version of morality. They’re trying to make it a theocracy more than a democracy, except they’re not God, they’re seriously flawed humans who are supposed to be equal participants in creating census not the ones who control census. Perhaps trying to control and enforce who has certain statuses, like who can be “married”, is unnecessary and ridiculous, because in many marriages, the couple may not be committed in their hearts for years and even lifetimes, regardless of what their government-issued papers afford them the status of. The high heterosexual divorce rate also shows that relying on government mandates doesn’t encourage successful marriage relationships, an argument many have made for “social stability” and “institutinoalizing” marriage. Institutionalizing anything that is actually an internal matter is problematic. Humans’ tendency to rely on something else to make a heart-matter “real” or “official” is problematic and should really be talked about to increase awareness of what the debates we have and the behavior we end up displaying (either as Americans or as American Christians) are actually all about.

  9. What I rarely hear anyone ever pointing out is the fact that we (at least us in America in this century) are dependent upon a piece of paper issued by the government to define marriage at all. Government mandates are social control, which is truly what the “gay marriage” issue is all about. What would happen if the government didn’t mandate who was or was not married? Would a couple’s marriage be null and void, or would they rely on their actual promise to each other to create their identity and status of being “married” as humans have done for centuries of human history? When any form of government can dictate “status” and “identity” they assume control they don’t really have–it’s just control people accept they have. Without even being aware we did while we formed into a nation, we Americans have given the government the power to decide what is “official” for our lives, but really, nobody but God and those involved in the making of a commitment make that bond a reality. Relying on the government to mandate a slew of social status issues gives it too much power and individuals less expectations, responsibility, and agency. The debate about “legal” marriage shows in what predicament modern people have placed ourselves: we believe and accept that the government makes marriage official, not the God we believe in or ourselves. When certain Christians are freaked out about what should be legal, preach how people should vote, and picket, etc., this indicates their fears of having less government control and that they have no faith that the national Christian example would be impactful enough to influence society how they would like to see it be. It also indicates their expectations of the role of government: that the government should have the power to mandate everything that is morally right and wrong because otherwise people will have to decide for themselves, have no moral compass, and ruin the lives of those who do. (Yet for other issues they do not want mandates and want the freedoms of personal choice). In their view, the ability to create one official moral compass for the nation must be controlled by select Christians who control or influence the government who can seemingly control everyone else. Therefore government is relied upon to spread, police, and enforce their version of morality. They’re trying to make it a theocracy more than a democracy, except they’re not God, they’re seriously flawed humans who are supposed to be equal participants in creating census not the ones who control census. Perhaps trying to control and enforce who has certain statuses, like who can be “married”, is unnecessary and futile, because in many marriages, the couple may not be committed in their hearts for years and even lifetimes, regardless of what their government-issued papers afford them the status of. Thus we will likely rely a lot a mandate to tell us if we’re “not sinning” or look good to others, and to ultimately encourage ways of externally awarding and withdrawing accepted social status. The high heterosexual divorce rate also shows that relying on government mandates doesn’t encourage successful marriage relationships, an argument many have made for “social stability” and “institutionalizing” marriage. Institutionalizing anything that is actually an internal matter is problematic. Humans’ tendency to rely on something else to make a heart-matter “real” or “official” is problematic and should really be talked about to increase awareness of what the debates we have and the behavior we end up displaying (either as Americans or as American Christians) are actually all about.

  10. Pingback: Por que cristãos héteros e divorciados deveriam abraçar a comunidade LGBT

  11. I think the author of this piece is making a generalization. One of the reasons that pastors probably don’t speak out about it is due to the fact that there are genuine reasons for people getting divorced. Such as infidenlity, domestic abuse and substance abuse or abuse in general. No pastor in his or her right mind is going to get up and preach out against divorce when there are valid mittigating circumstances. But what circurmstances are there for changing the redefinition of marriage to include those of the same gender? Further as a devout Christian I am a bit tired of the Christian bashing and being blamed for every level of unhappiness that homosexuals go through. Life is difficult for everyone.

  12. To me it’s pretty obvious that the reason that most pastors don’t address divorce is due to the fact that there is extenuating circumstances as to why people get divorced such as spousal abuse, infidelity and substance abuse. Those are very much valid reasons as to why people get divorced. Why would a pastor condemn it? But what exactly are the circumstances for changing the definition of marriage to include people of the same gender? Finally as a devout and committed Christian I am a bit tired of being accused for the unhappiness that homosexuals experience. As I say to atheists all the time. If you find living around Christians so intolerable, then try and move to North Korea. It’s an atheistic regime where Christianity is either outlawed or severally controlled. You might be happier to live there

    • The definition of marriage has already been changed numerous times in history. The most recent changes (the last 200 years in America) have been to restore earlier definitions that had been eliminated because of human prejudice.
      In 1776, our government, and many churches, recognized only one form of marriage: the union of one white man and one white woman. No other marriages had legal standing, and in some religious circles, other marriages were also not recognized.
      After the civil war, the marriages of one non-white man and one non-white woman were also recognized, thus expanding the definition of marriage.
      In the US territory of Deseret, both legal and religious recognition was given to marriages involving one white man and more than one white woman. That was only abandoned so that Deseret could enter the union as Utah.
      c. 1970, all fifty states were made to recognize another expansion in the definition of marriage: one man and one woman who were not of the same race.
      It bears mentioning at the point that every one of these expansions of the definition of marriage met with opposition from conservative Christians.
      Historically, marriage has been culturally defined, and only took on religious aspect when Catholicism made it a sacrament. And, historically, it has existed in four primary forms. Although that number was reduced for centuries due to human prejudice, all four can now be found in existence:
      heterosexual monogamy
      polyandry
      polygyny (the most common form recorded in the Bible)
      same-sex monogamy
      If for no other reason, the expansion of the legal definition of marriage to include same-sex is justified by the fact that it existed on this continent for thousands of years prior to the arrival of Europeans. In fact, it existed pretty much everywhere until the Europeans arrived, invading under the guise of colonization, and imposed their culture and religion on others. We’re only restoring what was taken away long ago.

    • Where did Jesus say that there were all of these justifiable reasons to divorce? Substance abuse, domestic violence…where is this in the Bible? Jesus said don’t do it. You are ONE and you remain one even through drugs & domestic violence. You seek help. You pray. You do not divorce. This is what the Bible says.

      Ppl who say Homosexuals twist the Word of God really need to look at who’s doing the twisting.

  13. Well, well. I tried posting twice only to clearly see that my post has either been deleted or not uploaded. I guess that it not only shows the real aim of this blog after all. Skewered propaganda.
    Matthew 7:15. Good luck with your fund raising. I would prefer to give it to someone who actually wants to speak the truth.

    • Ronnie, I approve of all comments to ensure their is no profanity, vulgarity pr personal attacks. The volume of traffic here makes that difficult.

      Comments are never deleted or not uploaded unless they fit into the above categories. As you can see if you read any thread, there are plenty of dissenting opinions.

      Thanks.

      John

  14. I just wrote this today for my atheist friends….then someone sent me this article. It is very good but it does not stress the idea that adultery and homosexuality are equally detested by the bible in both the New Testament and Old Testament. So I offered this as a way to counter religious folks coming down on homosexuals due to biblical “rules and laws” with the adultery hammer that so many of them are, by the bible’s definition, guilty of.

    “I have something to say for folks who want to counter the Old Testament law that homosexuals should be killed (or otherwise shunned and punished).
    I would retort that the OT says all people who marry a divorced person or get divorced and marry another person have committed the equally heinous crime of adultery that has all the same lethal punishments are proscribed.
    The first thing a more learned theist would say is that it says the same thing in the New Testament about homosexuals as well and that since the New Covenant (with Paul….not Jesus…but that is just trivia) all those OT laws are moot. Now they conveniently ignore the 10 C’s as being in the Old Testament and claim those laws still apply. Okee Dokeee. That will work.
    Proscriptions against divorce and remarrying are also plastered all over the New Testament…to whit:
    Luke 16:18
    “Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.
    Matthew 5:32 ESV
    But I say that a man who divorces his wife, unless she has been unfaithful, causes her to commit adultery. And anyone who marries a divorced woman also commits adultery.
    Mark 10:12 ESV
    And if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”
    Mark 10:11-12 ESV
    And he said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her, and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”

    Sooooo….if the OT law (and punishment) against homosexuality (in the 10 Commandments) still applies to current day offenders then should not adultery, also in the 10 C’s and punished by death also apply to all Christians? Like Newt Gingrich who has been divorced 4 times and married 5 (what a family values guy he is!!)?

    When you are debating about the biblical abomination against homosexuality you can make precisely the same case for any divorced person, remarried person, or person marrying for the first time but marrying a divorced person….and that is MOST people. It is an equally egregious crime per the bible. This means any pastor who marries a divorced person is committing no less of a crime against god than if he or she were marrying a homosexual couple. Same for making them a cake or catering their wedding or photographing their wedding, etc.

    Yep….Hoist with their own petard as far as I can tell. A bigger deal should be made of this picking and choosing who theists decide to hate and saying it’s cuz the bible says so….yet ignoring other equally strong proscriptions against many of their friends and churchmates because they are inconvenient.
    Oh….and throw in that they believe in the Cecil B De Mille 10 C’s cherry picked from Exodus 20 and environs. The REAL 10 C’s are in Exodus 34:1-28. They will howl bloody murder but those are the real and only 10 C’s….life’s a bitch and then you die!! Keep this ammunition in your debate quiver.”

  15. Pavlovitz’s analogy between divorce and gay marriage based on views that they both sully the institution of marriage is not as strong as it could be. There are several key differences between divorce and gay marriage. To start, divorce is a separation, and gay marriage is a coming together, or union. Divorce is also a one-time action, while gay marriage is a continual action. Divorce may also have mitigating circumstances, as Pavlovitz points out, which may justify the action, while it’s harder to find similar mitigating circumstances which would apply to gay marriage.

    Even if the analogy stands, though, Pavlovitz misses a huge point. For many (or at least some) Christians, the problem with legalizing gay marriage isn’t the oft-spouted “tarnishing of marriage as a governmental institution”–that’s a very political answer. For these Christians, the problem is that they believe that homosexual practice is a sin, and, by extension, a union recognizing (and, some would argue, condoning) homosexual practice is also a sin. This is an argument that, for the most part, Pavlovitz ignores.

    He also focuses almost exclusively on very emphatic and extreme language to represent the views of the gay marriage opposition, which could be unfairly representative of the view. Pavlovitz also makes the claim that the reason pastors focus on gay marriage issues more than divorce issues is purely statistical, while drawing no clear connection between two potentially unrelated observations.

    Moving forward in what has proven to be a complex and difficult issue, the Christian community needs to be willing to listen–on both sides. Attributing extreme and fanatic ideas to the other side (as both sides tend to do) is only going to continue to “literally rip the Church in two.” Further, it is important that we focus on the real issue. It’s less about statistics, or the state of marriage in our nation, than it is about individual actions, God’s views on them, and what the Church does about them.

  16. Why Gays Love Divorcees: A Rebuttal Kyle S. Reynolds 7/7/15

    This is an article written as a response to John Pavlovitz’s article titled “Why Divorced, Straight Christians Should Kiss the LGBT Community,” posted on March 16, 2015.

    Before going any further, I would like to make it clear that I do not have all the answers regarding God’s eternal judgment, nor do I presume to claim that I am guiltless regarding preconceived notions that ruminate behind the bars of my own subjectivity. This article is designed to argue necessarily for the Christian viewpoint, which I believe to be misconstrued by the aforementioned article by John Pavlovitz.
    Pavlovitz’s article makes several stunning claims—the following is a list of specific statements to be addressed in the article that follows:
    1. “In their defense of their position, many church leaders and members who oppose gay marriage, cite the supposed Scriptural mandate for the sacred union of a man and a woman. (Though a simple review of the Bible shows this to hardly be the case). They argue that gay people marrying, pollutes and cheapens the Institution;”
    2. “Here’s the problem: Most pastors won’t openly attack Divorce from the pulpit, not because they don’t see that Jesus clearly speaks against it in Scripture, (where he calls all divorce except in response to infidelity—adultery), and not because they don’t see it as a major threat to families and a weakening of the institution of Marriage; but because doing that would alienate too much of their core audience;”
    3. “Attacking the LGBT community is a way for pastors to take a calculated sin stance around Marriage; one that’s based on a risk-reward payoff. By choosing to conveniently use the Bible to address only gay people with regard to marriage, pastors can seem bold and brave, but they’re really just cleverly playing the numbers.”
    4. “People who identify as LGBT aren’t only penalized by churches for being married, but for even wanting to be married, for seeking monogamous relationships, and for outwardly being authentic in any real way. Any of the above usually isolates them in their faith communities, disqualifies them from volunteering in their churches, and almost always makes ministry leadership impossible.”
    Pavlovitz goes on to argue that divorced people within the Christian community are indebted to the LGBT community since most of the heat is on homosexuals and not divorcees. So, let’s look at these claims one-by-one to determine first whether there is any truth behind them, and second to see what the implications of such claims are within the ever beguiling arena of “true or false.”
    In Pavlovitz’s first assertion, he states that the Bible does NOT mandate marriage being designed strictly for heterosexual union. Let’s look at some Bible verses in both the Old Testament and the New Testament:
    A. “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.” Leviticus 18:22
    B. “If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.” Leviticus 20:13
    C. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” Genesis 2:24
    D. “Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old—surrounded the house. They called to Lot, ‘Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them’….The two men (angels) said to Lot, ‘We are going to destroy this place. The outcry to the Lord against its people is so great that he has sent us to destroy it’…Then the Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah.” Genesis 19: 4-5, 13, 24
    E. “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders (some translations “Sodomites”) nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 6:9-10. It should be noted here that homosexual intercourse takes its name (sodomy) from the city—Sodom—that was destroyed by God.
    F. “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:18-20
    G. “Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie…Because God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion (referencing Sodom and Gomorrah). Romans 1: 24-25, 26-27.
    H. Jesus’ words: “What comes out of a man is what makes him ‘unclean.’ For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man ‘unclean.” Mark 7:20-23
    All these verses above in one way or another attest to the seriousness of God’s attitude toward sexual immorality or unnatural relations with one another. One can interpret these scriptures as they choose, but Pavlovitz’s statement that God does not mandate marriage being between one man and one woman here not only denies the obvious truth but also delves beyond the threshold of absurdity in claiming that Christians have somehow invented these laws to cover their own propensity for divorce. Jesus makes it very clear that divorce is just as much of a sin as sexual immorality. Here’s Jesus: “But at the beginning of creation God made them male and female. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate….Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.” Mark 10: 5-12. This statement by Jesus is stunning! Not only does Jesus condemn traditional divorce, he goes so far as to argue that sexual intercourse after divorce falls into the category of sexual immorality! And in this vein, Pavlovitz is correct that divorce is just as much of a sin as homosexuality because they both fall into the category of sexual perversion. Rarely will a divorced person not remarry or find another partner. Indeed, sexual immorality in the Bible is sex with more than one partner and/or with a person of the same sex. Period.
    Now, moving to Pavlovitz’s second argument, stated here again: 2. “Here’s the problem: Most pastors won’t openly attack Divorce from the pulpit, not because they don’t see that Jesus clearly speaks against it in Scripture, (where he calls all divorce except in response to infidelity—adultery), and not because they don’t see it as a major threat to families and a weakening of the institution of Marriage; but because doing that would alienate too much of their core audience.” First, Pavlovitz’s comments here that all divorce, excepting a response to infidelity, is an act of adultery is correct. However, which pastors is Pavlovitz referencing when he indicates that pastors will not go after the act of divorce? In my church, for instance, divorce is repeatedly condemned at the pulpit, even in front of congregation members that are, indeed, divorced! If anything, because of the obsessively politically correct and over-sensitive media world we live in, our pastors refrain from the subject of homosexuality, so as not to isolate those in the congregation who may struggling with this sin!
    Let’s make this clear: homosexuality is no greater than any other sin—be it lying, coveting, stealing or hating one’s neighbor. Any homosexual in our congregation stands in the midst of a hospital of sinners, not a sanctuary of saints. God calls all mankind to repent of their sins, whether they are the sexually immoral ones or the hateful acts of murder, theft or greed. If a church is truly walking in the footsteps of Jesus, they are not focusing on homosexuality as the ultimate sin, they are welcoming gay people into a congregation of sinners who are all grappling with their own redemption. Jesus speaks to this equality of sinfulness in Luke 13: 1-5: “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower of Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.” It is clear here that all are called to repentance, and those churches which would single out homosexuality as the evil of all evils are ignoring their own cold-blooded transgressions against God.
    Moving to Pavlovitz’s third argument which is merely an extension of the previous one, he states that Christian pastors are calculating figureheads of the church, who attack homosexuality for the sole purpose of pleasing a congregation who would rather ignore its own divorce rates. Put simply, it’s a cost-benefit analysis ushered in to acquire the monthly tithing quota, while at the same time making a congregation of sinners feel better about themselves. In this way then, the pastor lacks the courage to attack the sins of his own congregation, but with cowardly force effectively demonizes the gay community. There are, without question, churches and pastors that do this very thing. The first question one must ask is this: are these pastors walking in the footsteps of Jesus? My answer to this very difficult question would be that these pastors (and churches) who claim to be Christian are struggling mightily with effective Christian discipleship. To be Christ’s disciple, one must first work out their own salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12). And at the same time, a Christ disciple is called to love both his neighbor and his enemy, encouraging him or her in their own repentance. If a church is not calling all people sinners, who have all fallen short of obedience to God, then that church is a rogue institution infiltrated by the very Enemy who was too proud to acknowledge his own inferiority to the Creator. Put simply, Satan works to destroy churches by perverting their knowledge of God’s word, and the Devil can do this quite seamlessly through instituting within the church a hierarchical mentality, whereby some people are deemed holier than others. It’s quite a trick by the evil one to use peoples’ desire to achieve God’s holiness for their own attainment of glory.
    Lastly, regarding the third point here, any church that chooses not to perform homosexual marriages is not only within its constitutional rights in America, but much more importantly, well within their rights as Christians to reject condoning sinful behavior. Just as a church does not perform divorce ceremonies or annulments, it should also not perform homosexual marriages. Both the Old Testament and the New Testament of the Bible assert these fundamental truths. It’s just as absurd to argue that since so many Christian marriages end in divorce, then homosexual marriage should be permitted in Christian churches, as it would be to assert that since a person is already a drunkard, they might as well become a heroin addict too. Pavlovitz is right about the divorce rate being sky-high even within the institution of Christian marriage, and any truth-speaking Christian preacher, reverend or priest should uphold the Bible’s stance on marriage—that entering into marriage is establishing a covenant between man, woman and God, and that any breach of the covenant is a contractual default resulting in sinful brokenness.
    Finally, Pavolvitz’s last point states that LGBT community is somehow penalized for their homosexuality by the church. If by “penalty,” Pavlovitz means to say that they are penalized by the church community since they will not perform gay marriage ceremonies, then my response would be, why are they any more penalized by the church than those who wish to file for divorce? If married couples expressed a desire to divorce in the church, they would be fundamentally denied on Biblical principles. Moreover, any drunkard who stumbled into a church wanting to attend a Sunday morning service would certainly not be allowed access to the pews carrying “the brown bag” that riddles his very existence. In short, the church cannot be referred to as a hospital for sinners if it condones sinful behavior any more than a medical hospital would be considered a place for life-saving treatment if it was allowing 90% of patients to die due to false diagnoses or administering the wrong drug treatments. At the end of the day, the solution for sin is Jesus Christ—he died for the sins of all humanity, be they homosexual, polygamists, drug-addicts, thieves, liars or slanderers (the list goes on and on).
    In sum, it may be the gays that want to kiss the divorcees at the end of the day since sacred institution of marriage (as confirmed by Biblical texts) has been fundamentally overthrown by divorce—this has opened the door for gays to argue that the Bible’s notion of marriage is antiquated (and therefore outdated). In our 21st century culture, the question is no longer “What does God say; it’s what do we say about what God says? While some things in the Bible may be open to hermeneutics, such as whether Jesus was born in a manger in Bethlehem or in a cave near the village), no one can really dispute the staggering command of Leviticus 18:22. There is simply nothing to interpret here: “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.”
    Two final points to make: 1. For those who are knowledgeable on the Bible may look to 2 Samuel in the Old Testament and point to King David—God’s anointed one—and his exploits as a polygamist and adulterer. One may point to this and argue that this is proof that God does not take sexual immorality as serious as the Bible suggests in other places. But this kind of argument makes crucial theological errors—David failed as an ultimate redemptive king. Although his reign over Jerusalem was 33 years and was a prosperous time in the history of the Israelites, his kingdom proved to be transient and perishing, mainly because of his inability to fulfill the laws and commandments given by God in both the books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy. Later, in the New Testament, Jesus does, in fact, serve as the fulfillment of the Law in his life ministry (33 years on Earth), but also through his eternal kingdom to come. Jesus says this in Matthew 5:17: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” In essence, Jesus’ coming and transient reign in the human body fulfills, through his sinless life, the commandment of God to live a holy existence. In doing so, he not only represents the ideal or the standard for which his followers should strive, he brings God’s word and his commandments into fruition on Earth. This had never been done before! So, it’s a bad assumption to say that God’s anointed ones in the Bible are sinless. Other than Jesus, none are perfect. All fall short of God’s commandments, including Abraham, Moses, David, Isaiah, and the list goes on. God takes sin so seriously that he had to send his own son to die on a cross to absorb several millennia of pent-up (and righteous) wrath.
    2. The second point to make here is that the Bible is God’s story, not a human story. Human beings are merely actors in the history of God (at least the history He chooses to reveal). There can be no redemption for sinners without repentance; and there can be no repentance that is acceptable to God unless one confesses Jesus as Lord and Savior. Jesus Christ is the only satisfactory sacrifice for sin, and this means all sin. No sin in too great for the Lord Jesus to absolve; and no sin is too small to not be subject to God’s wrath. While God loves his creation, he hates sin. Any sin at all is so foreign to God’s character, it is simply inconceivable for God to turn a blind eye to such abominations—his own Creation turning against their own Creator. “He was in the world and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1: 10-12).
    In closing, Pavlovitz is playing a dangerous game when he suggests that Christians should be more accepting of homosexuality. To suggest that somehow Christians need to be more tolerant is to argue that Christians should turn a blind eye to God’s sovereign will for men and women. If God intended two men or two women to be married, he would not only have created complementary sex organs for same sex couples, but procreation would certainly have been naturally possible via those sexual relations. God said “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it” (Genesis 1:28). He didn’t give this command to two women or two men, and he certainly didn’t intend for Adam and Eve to separate to find more suitable partners. Later, in Genesis, God states, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). When God speaks of one flesh, he intends for husband and wife to be forever united and bonded to one another. Before the Fall in the next chapter of the Bible (Genesis 3), homosexuality, divorce, and even polygamy are inconceivable (pun intended). Jesus says this, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight” (Luke 16:15). And while divorce and homosexuality may be permitted in the arena of humankind, they are undoubtedly sins that lead to spiritual brokenness, and thus like all sins, they require repentance and absolution by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
    In our church, homosexuals are welcome to attend just as divorced men and women are welcome, except we would caution you that don’t come expecting to hear what you want to hear. Sure, you should come to be consoled as a sinner, but what follows next is the arduous and blessed journey of repentance.

    • Nailed it. Thank you for such a well thought out, and Biblical response to an issue that wrecks our hearts for the lost.

  17. Wow, All of these comments and not one person mentioned the grace of Jesus. We’re missing it, people. It’s not about elevating which of our sins is the worst, or shouting louder about how to treat those who sin differently. The issue is truly between yourself and Jesus. YOU AND HIM ALONE. The Bible states, “ALL HAVE SINNED AND FALL SHORT OF THE GLORY OF GOD.” The only solution to repairing the relationship wrecked by our sin which brings the wrath of God, is having a relationship with Jesus, letting the Holy Spirit work out our faith, and leaving behind the sins we’ve done that were evidence of our flesh over spirit.

    The difference in what I’m saying and the comments above me is that we, in our sinful states, can try all we want to leave behind our old lives, but we won’t accomplish this without letting Jesus into our lives. He is the one who changes and equips us with the Holy Spirit. It’s a process of holiness. When Jesus died on the cross, He died to conquer death (physical and spiritual), but HE ROSE to bring the life-changing power of His Father into the picture, so that through a relationship with those who profess His name, they could have access to the Father and everlasting life.

    He’s not saying, “You got a divorce? Now I have to erase your name from the Book of Life…” There is grace that is now open to Jew and Gentile because the Lord wishes for none to perish. Repentance means to turn away from sin. If you know something is a sin, seek His help to stop doing it. It’s that simple. He can and will help you. It requires faith and the ability to know flesh will fail, but the Lord is stronger. Read any one of Paul’s works in the New Testament. He shares the battle between sinning and accepting grace, and how to overcome. And you know what a sin is especially if you have to lie about it, do it in the dark, keep it hidden. Remember the Psalms tell us that all things done in darkness are brought into the light. Don’t pretend that just because social norms are changing that God’s Word has changed and we get to run rampant sinning and then repenting. I’m not encouraging the abuse of grace, found in Romans.

    To be honest, I am a divorced woman. I wanted to end my own life when I was going through my divorce because I was convinced the Bible condemned me. The pain of feeling unloved and unacceptable to God was more than I could take. I went down a dark, self-destructive road. And then I began to read His Word and saw that God sent Jesus to show me how crazy His love is for me. He showed me that I have value, that I have a new name, and that I am acceptable through the blood of Christ. It didn’t give me permission to sin. We need the law to convict, and Jesus to give grace. I turned from my sinful life. I can’t change my divorced status, but I can change the way I treat my new husband. I have to be surrendered all of the time to the One who knows me best.

    In 2 Corinthians 5:17, we are told we are new creations. Let’s be those new creations, letting the Spirit lead, walking by faith, instead of seeking approval from other sinners (WHICH INCLUDES MYSELF AND ALL OF YOU) who are looking for their own approval from other sinners. It’s an endless cycle. The only person who matters when it comes to value and credibility is the Lord Jesus Christ. Yes, love others, stop judging, stop throwing around Bible verses to sound bigger than those who have less faith than you, or those who don’t read the Bible at all. If you don’t know Jesus, and you don’t have the Holy Spirit, you can’t manifest the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Maybe seek the Lord and repent of your hardened hearts, stop spewing hateful comments on blog posts that are supposed to inspire and encourage others, and worry about where your relationship is with Christ. We’re not meant to be looking in other backyards, we have enough to worry about with ourselves. And if you feel the need to comment back to this comment, please filter it through grace first, as that is what the Lord has done for you.

  18. While I understand and appreciate the point being made, I’m concerned that the tone of the argument – in the wrong hands – will cause more harm than good. The points are valid. Many churches DO extend more grace and compassion towards those who have endured divorce. And those same churches are opposites to same-sex relationships. I’m afraid that your words may lead to a regression. Instead of “getting your point” and offering more understanding and grace to the LGBT community, I’m afraid it will only cause them to rethink their treatment of divorced people. After all, it’s far easier to judge (#nailingit) than to extend grace. Sadly, there actually still are many churches who draw a hard line in the sand on divorce and remarriage. I’m afraid many Christians will read this blog and miss the point entirely, instead seeing it as one more segment of people to look down upon, ostracize, and point the finger at. From the pulpit the Sunday after the ruling, I listened to a pastor reeking of elitism as he belittled “them” (the gays) for “doing what they want to do”, accused affirming (air quotes used) “evangelical” Christians of caving to culture instead of trying to understand why, and wrapped it all up with a call to the congregation to not only uphold biblical marriage of one man and one woman, but the “till death do us part” part and condemning anyone who has divorced and not had reconciliation…. There was not one ounce of humility, reflection, dialogue, education, understanding, compassion, or grace from that pulpit. And that’s when I walked out. We just need so much less of that, and SO MUCH MORE this – https://johnpavlovitz.com/2015/07/01/6-ways-christians-lost-this-week/

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