Gay marriage, or is it gay “marriage”? There’s a disturbing trend within evangelicalism. It’s really subtle, but it’s there, and it boils my blood. Some segments of North Amercian evangelicalism insist on using quotation marks around the word “marriage” when taking part in the gay marriage debate, and It needs to stop.
It’s discouraging because of the attitude behind it. These quotation marks, I’ve learned, even have their own name. They’re called: “scare quotes”. Scare quotes serve a number of grammatical functions, but in this context, they’re used to put a metaphorical “so-called” in front of the word. So when you see [gay “marriage”] what you’re reading is really [gay so-called marriage]. Now, I’m a heterosexual, white, cisgender male Christian and this drives ME up the wall, I can only imagine how our LGBT friends and neighbours feel about it, so I asked… One of my friends sent me this:
I’m married, not gay married. We go out for dinner, not gay dinner. But I guess for those who are against it, the quotes are their way of pretending it isn’t real.
It’s frustrating and discouraging to see this for a number of reasons for me. First, I’m seeing it come from a number of authors and theologians I admire and respect deeply. Secondly, it’s elitist and patronizing, neither of which are fruits of the spirit. (Galatians 5:22-23 I checked.) thirdly, and most importantly, it damages our witness to LGBT people even more and as a result does damage to witness and evangelism to even straight people who aren’t Christians.
It makes us look like bigots.
Here’s the reality: LGBT people need Jesus. Straight people need Jesus. EVERYONE needs Jesus! As Jesus people, it is our mission (our great commission actually) to bring Jesus to people regardless of sexuality, regardless of gender identity, and regardless of anything we disapprove of. The Gospel is difficult enough on its own for people to believe, why are many of us insisting in making it harder?