(In the fall of 2004 at Wheaton College, where I was a senior, a couple of students from the Student Government were trying to approve an official statement from the Wheaton College Student Body declearing a stance in support of the Federal Marriage Amendment that would outlaw homosexual marriage. A number of students rose up in opposition to the attempt to approve the statement. I’m ever grateful to Lola, the Student body president at the time, for if she had not vetoed the initial vote on the statement it would have been sent out and made regardless of others input. Anyways, here is my article for the Wheaton College school newspaper concerning the topic)
How do we truly love our neighbor? If I may contextualize a bit: Jesus says do as the homosexual prostitute did when he, not judging or condemning, had compassion and cared for the needs of the Wheaton student who had been left for dead in the alley outside of the ministry she worked at, even after another Wheaton student and a pastor drove by. (LUKE 10:30-37).
Some in our community feel that loving your neighbor is best done by supporting the Federal Marriage Amendment, I’m fearful of that action. I am neither the person, nor a Record article the place to sway your decision on the Federal Marriage Amendment. I will say that we must be very clear that the FMA is NOT a stand against homosexuality as sin, but a political statement concerning the rights of those already practicing homosexuality. My words here are only to voice a concern over the message that Student Government and the Wheaton College student body will send to the world if we COLLECTIVELY support this amendment. This is not a definitive statement, only a few thoughts.
Jesus’ public condemnations where almost always directed to the Religious authorities within the religious community that he was a part of. In the early church we see most rebuking and moral standards being dealt with within the church, not to non-Christians. Paul even says, “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church?” (I Cor. 5:12)
This FMA Statement will define our community for years to come, especially if the news world catches wind of it. When we go to do ministries the question will not be about whether we are allowed to dance, but why do we dislike homosexuals so much?
How did Jesus address the idea of using physical punishment to uphold morality? He said, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone.” (Jn. 8:7) We are not to use the law as a means to force adherence to our moral standards. You want to love your neighbor who is a homosexual? Go hang out with them, be with them. Work with Emmaus ministries on CSC (Christian Service Council), sit at the bedside of someone dying of AIDs whose family has disowned him or her. That is where you can share Christ love.
Before we try and take the speck out of others eyes (and I think by “brothers” Jesus meant other believers), have we made sure there is not a plank in our own? I’m not sure exactly how we go about doing that but I have some ideas of statements that we could make to the greater community that would at least be a step in that direction.
I have two suggestions for possible proposals and resolutions that I think we can as a college campus collectively pass and send to every major organization that is fighting for gay rights. First as it relates to the support of marriage. I think we can be humble and admit that Christians have not been a very good example of the sanctity of marriage. We can let the world know that we know that we too are sinners and fail to live up to God’s ideals. We can explain to others that God is and will forever be the one who has defined marriage, and no matter what we the church or the rest of the world does we cannot change that. And we can commit to being an example in years to come of what true marriage is, as a union before God.
The second statement I think we can make, relates to the homosexual people who this impacts. We, the church, have been a horrible example of Christ love to the homosexual community for years. Christ would have sat by the bedside of dying homosexuals in the height of AIDs in this country, yet we stood outside with signs saying they would burn in hell (or we passively stood by while those statements where made). We can beg forgiveness from the homosexual community for the hurt and hatred that has been dealt to them by members of the Christian community. We can commit to spending much more time personally showing and spreading the love of Christ in genuine ways to people who practice homosexuality.
Unity in the body of Christ is an absolute priority in scripture and should be on this campus. How do we bring that unity amidst such differences on an issue like the FMA, which is not a simple Biblical issue? Shall we divide our community by making collective statements that misrepresent those in our community? I pray not. Let us dialogue together and pray together. “And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained.” (Phil 3:15-16)
If you believe it is best and most loving to support the FMA, then I pray you are doing equally as much to assure the that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons know the love of Christ. Please don’t make a statement supporting the FMA on my behalf. To those who support the FMA, please feel free to collect 1800 signatures of students who support the FMA, but please don’t outcast me from the community by making collective statements. How will I remain in this community? How will I tell my homosexual friend that I chose to remain a part of a community that was making collective statements that to her carry such hate? Lord help me.