The UK Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron resigned last week, stating that it was “impossible” to remain leader while “living as a faithful Christian.” Farron has avoided answering questions during the campaign whether he believed that same-sex marriage was a sin. He adds:
To be a political leader – especially of a progressive, liberal party in 2017 – and to live as a committed Christian, to hold faithfully to the Bible’s teaching, has felt impossible for me.
As a liberal progressive Christian, I find Farron’s decision very disappointing, but not entirely shocking. I am criticized continuously for my liberal views by family members and by my Church community – many think that my views are “misguided” and “veering” from the truth.
Look, I get it. Most religions don’t recognize same-sex marriage, so how can a religious person support its legalization? Right?
Heck, I’ll take this further and argue that all Christians ought to support the legalization of same-sex marriage! While I understand that this view may sound ridiculous to some, I ask readers to consider what I have to say first before quickly dismissing it.
The biggest mistake that many make, often unknowingly, is that they conflate “opposing something” with “opposing the right to something.” The former is subjective, and those views differ from one to another depending on one’s religion, culture and worldviews. The latter is meant to be objective and applied fairly, impartially and not dictated by any group over another.
One may oppose watching reality TV shows but should support the rights of others to watch them. One may oppose eating pork, shellfish or cheeseburgers, but should not prevent the rights of others to make their dietary decisions. One may think that unmarried couples kissing are a sin, they still have no right to deny couples the right to express their affections in whichever way they think is appropriate. Equally so, if one doesn’t agree with same-sex marriage for whatever reason, that doesn’t negate the duty and responsibility of everyone, Christians included, to support the right to same-sex marriage.
If you believe that the government must ban same-sex marriage because it disagrees with the Bible’s teachings, what about all the other legal acts that the Bible disagrees with? Why not criminalize adultery, blasphemy, divorce, pornography, atheism, and not attending Church on Sundays? What happened to your so-called “family values”?
The danger of imposing religious doctrine into the criminal code is real. You probably didn’t know that blasphemy was a crime in the UK until its abolition in 2008, and remains a crime in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Lord Morrow of Northern Ireland defended blasphemy laws saying that abolishing this archaic law “would actually be hostile to religion.” In the United States, adultery remains a crime in 23 states. In fact, bigotry against atheists is woven into the Constitution of the State of Arkansas where atheists are not allowed to hold office nor have the right to testify in any court.
These laws are archaic and preposterous – I hope you agree. Laws opposing same-sex marriage are not any different.