Dear American Evangelical Brothers and Sisters,
It's been about a week now since your Supreme Court legalized gay marriage. Up here in Canada, we've let people of the same gender tie the knot for a little over a decade. Allow me to humbly on this, the eve of your Independence Day, welcome you to this new cultural zeitgeist and offer a little bit of criticism/encouragement.
Some of you have reacted...poorly to this news. Comparing Friday's ruling to 9/11, Pearl Harbour, and expecting a "Cultural purge" directed at Christians is, perhaps, a bit much. After all, 57% of Americans seem to agree with SCOTUS; I doubt you'd get that kind of approval from Americans about those other national tragedies. So to those of you decrying the end of federalism or democracy because 5 guys dictated to a nation, I'd respectfully disagree. After all, it was only a month before your own court's ruling that Ireland legalized gay marriage by referendum with 62% of the popular vote, that's only 5% more than current polls in America, close to the margin of error. So please, stop doing that.
Many Americans have threatened to move here, to Canada, which may be problematic. We have national, single payer healthcare, gun control, and we've had gay marriage or "marriage equality" for the last ten years so y'all might be a touch disappointed up here.
Gay marriage has been legal in Canada for a decade now. As a result, so you can be prepared for the future, I'd like to share what has changed in Canada's landscape.
- Gay people can get married.
Um...that's it. There was a pastor how ran afoul of an Alberta Human Rights commission back in 2002, but he was acquitted, and now we have the case law and precedent to say whatever we want. That might be frustrating for those of us who are trying to fight the "bigoted intolerant Christian" stereotype, but freedom of speech includes people who disagree with me.
Many people are calling and have called laws that legalize gay marriage a "redefinition" of marriage. Allow me to submit to you that there are two kinds of marriage. The legal, contractual kind, and the Biblical, covenantal kind. One of them is changeable and follows the whims of governments and democracies (rightfully so) and the other is unchangeable, and found in Scripture. Challenges to the Biblical view of marriage aren't new and they didn't start with the gay marriage question. Remember when divorce was illegal? Remember how divorce is still a sin? (In most cases) Have you ever considered getting out of the marriage solemnizing game? Perhaps the best thing pastors can do is separate church from state a little more and bow out of the "performing marriages" game.
I'm not saying we ought to stop marrying people, quite the opposite. I'm saying if we disagree with what our respective governments call a marriage, perhaps we should stop performing THOSE, and stick to the covenantal unions that our Christian brothers and sisters enter into. Wouldn't that be simpler? People would go to a Justice of the Peace or municipal clerk, get married contractually and then if they are so inclined, come to the church and get married covenantally.
I realize I may be a little out of left field on that last part though. If I'm too far to the left for your taste, might I recommend Carey Nieuwhof's excellent suggestions as well.
The bottom line is this, gay marriage is here, regardless of how you feel about it, I'm pleased to live in a country that extends the same rights and responsibilities I enjoy to those who live in a way I may disagree with. I like equality, it means the ground is level. You know where else the ground is level?
[bctt tweet="I like equality, it means the ground is level. You know where else the ground is level? The Cross."]
Good luck American Evangelicals, I'm praying for you.