Dear son(s) and/or daughter(s),
This weekend the Supreme Court of the United States ruled to expand the definition of marriage from one man and one woman to include two men who want to marry each other, or two women who want to marry each other. This is an historic event, and I wanted to be sure you understood what I believe about this issue. Hopefully, wherever you are in life, we have cultivated the type of relationship where you still care what your dad believes. I will try to be as straightforward and clear as I can be.
First, though, I want to say that I realize that if our culture continues in the direction it has been, by the time you read this the whole topic may seem like a nonissue for most of our nation. It will have been law for many years, and most people won’t see it as an issue worth reevaluating. I want to encourage you to think for yourself. No matter what anyone else believes, you are a free person and no one can tell you what to think. I won’t try to control your thoughts. I only want to tell you why I believe what I do. If I’m honest with you, I hope you agree with me. I have not come to my position on this issue haphazardly. Many countless hours of thought, conversation, counsel, reading, and prayer have gone into my views. And while it may be exceedingly unpopular when you read this, I believe it to be true. Remember that our culture is only capable of exemplifying what is popular – not what is right or wrong.
So, with all of that out of the way, here is what I believe on the issue:
I do not think that it is good for two men to engage in sexual acts with each other. I do not believe it is good for two women to engage in sexual acts with each other. I do not believe that it is good for two people who are not committed to one another in the life-long covenant of marriage to engage in sexual acts with one another. I do not believe it is good for three or more people to engage in sexual acts together. I do not believe that sex is bad, or wrong, or disgusting. In fact, I like sex very much (you wouldn’t be here if I didn’t). But like a fire, I believe that sex best serves us when it is contained within certain boundaries, and it becomes a danger to us and those around us when we take it outside of those boundaries. I believe, more specifically, that those boundaries are a life-long committed covenant (look that word up; it’s important) relationship between a husband and a wife.
I believe that, as humans, our bodies and our sexes are gifts given to us by God and that they ought to be stewarded well. I do not believe that this is a means of God placing unwarranted restrictions on us. I believe it is God’s way of protecting us and preventing us from misusing our bodies and the bodies of others.
So, here is the core issue for me: I don’t think that sexual acts between two people of the same sex is a good thing. I believe that there are good reasons for believing this, not the least of which being our very bodies and the nature of human reproduction. (As an aside, I recognize that there are arguments and counter-arguments ad infinitum regarding these topics. I would discourage you from overwhelming yourself with the incessant back-and-forth of these debates, as they rapidly degenerate into vitriolic attacks on people rather than meaningful dialog on ideas. I would encourage you, rather, to examine the simplest evidences and arguments for both sides as you are making up your own mind. The simplest arguments tend to be the strongest and least susceptible to the influence of the ever-fluctuating cultural milieu. But I digress.) Because I do not believe that sex between to people of the same sex is a good thing, I do not believe that it is good to legitimize those acts as right or proper or beautiful by applying the word “married” to individuals who wish to participate in those acts.
Now, all of this being said, I must make it clear that I do not believe it is right for me to legislate my morality on to others in issues that do not result in the unjust loss of life, liberty, or property. I believe it is wrong for any government to require The People to affirm a moral, philosophical, or religious position that they disagree with, even if it happens to be something I agree with strongly.
On a more fundamental level, I do not believe that marriage ought to be legislated in any way. The more time I spend thinking about it, the more bizarre I find it that the government is involved in the relationships two people choose to have, or the level of commitment they choose to pledge to one another. In a purely legal sense, I do not believe that any marriage ought to be legitimized or de-legitimized by the government, nor do I think anyone ought to be forced to recognize (or not recognize) anyone else’s relationships as legitimate. Going one level deeper still, I believe that any marriage outside of God’s intended order (one man and one woman in a covenant commitment until death) is an illegitimate marriage, and I would not personally acknowledge anything other than that as a “marriage”. But I would not support restricting others from doing so.
Additionally, I don’t believe in the words “gay,” “straight,” “bisexual,” “pansexual,” “demisexual,” “asexual,” or any other terms that humans may invent between the time I wrote this and when you may read it. I believe that these words are used to place people into constituencies that can be easily categorized, controlled, manipulated, and marketed to. I believe, and indeed have witnessed, that these words are used to draw lines between people where lines need not be drawn. I suspect that if most people are honest, their sexual and relational desires (or lack of) do not fit nicely into one of these categories. I believe it is a shame that anyone should ever hang their identity on one of these silly words. Please don’t allow any of these words to be applied to you as a label, my child. You are so much more than your sexual and relational desires, and so are those around you. You must always treat others with the dignity of knowing them for who they are, and not for what labels they have had applied to them, or have applied to themselves.
I recognize, again, that by the time you read this, my views may seem closed-minded, outdated, and bigoted. I promise you, my child, that I have done everything in my power to be none of those things. I have, in my life, been called a “hater” and “homophobic”. I am not these things. And if I am in any way, I will set myself about the task of repenting for those sins. I fear, and in some ways suspect very strongly, that I will not be able to sway you from the current of the culture. Your mother and I will do our best to teach you what we believe to be the Truth, but in some ways we fear that we cannot compete with an entire nation who tells you otherwise. If you do not agree with us on this (or nearly any other topic) please know that we still love you. Disagreeing with someone, even on issues of great importance, does not mean that you do not love them.
Again, I do hope very much that you agree with me on this (and many other issues). But regardless of what you end up believing about the nature of sex and marriage, I have some advice for you as you go forward.
First, I want to remind you to treat people with dignity and respect. If you encounter people who disagree with you, listen to them. You don’t have to change your mind, but you do have to respect them enough to hear them out. Even if they do not return that dignity to you, you must extend it to them.
Second, regardless of what others do with their bodies, or how they allow themselves to be identified, or who they marry or have sex with, or even whether or not you agree with them, you must love them. You must find ever more creative and compelling ways to exhibit that love to them and you must do so ceaselessly. Remember that everyone has pain in their stories that only love can heal, and if you refuse to recognize their pain and sympathize with it, then you refuse to find the wounds that only love can heal. Listen to people’s stories and take them seriously. Remember that they too are made in God’s image.
And finally, do not become cynical. Cynicism is a poison to your mind and soul. It is unbecoming to men and women of good character. It will rot you from the inside out. Even if everyone you know disagrees with you, and you feel utterly alone in your views, do not let even a drop of cynicism enter your veins. It will rob you of the faith, hope, and love that you will need to extend grace and forgiveness to others.
I don’t know what the world will be like when you read this. But I suspect that it will be far more difficult to believe things the way that I do. That’s ok. As your grandfather used to tell me, “What is right is not always popular, and what is popular is not always right.” I believe that is a good thing to remember.
I love you, my child.