Three years ago I wrote a blog that people still read almost every week. The Christian Brain, Part I shows up on search engines when someone Googles, “Should a Christian attend a gay wedding?” I made the simple point that real friends, even real gay friends, can understand if I decline to attend their wedding ceremony. Friends don’t have to agree on everything. And a genuine friend would never expect me to attend an event that offends my spiritual and ethical convictions.
Shortly after I moved to Virginia, a friend invited my wife and me to attend a NARAL banquet with her in order to hear a well-known celebrity guest speaker. We politely declined because we believe that abortion ends human lives, and the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws is fiercely pro-abortion. I would never want anyone to assume I approve of abortion, so my friend understood why I would not be comfortable at the event. We were still friends, however, and a few months later I attended an engagement dinner in her home. We hate abortion, not her.
The same principle applies to same-sex wedding ceremonies as well. If a gay friend or relative wants to marry his gay lover, it’s obviously legal in many states. But I would graciously decline to attend because a wedding ceremony is a celebration and I could never celebrate something I believe is destructive to people, deadly for societies, and defiant of our Creator.
Some have challenged me by asking, “But what would Jesus do?” Didn’t Jesus attend dinner parties with disreputable people? Didn’t Christ overlook the offense of an adulteress who was about to be stoned? Wasn’t Jesus often criticized for showing up in the homes of sinful men and women?
I completely agree. Like Jesus, I often attend dinner parties and social functions with friends who don’t share my convictions, because God wants everyone to eat and have friends. I could even attend a wedding ceremony for a couple of Hindu friends, because it’s perfectly normal for a Hindu man to marry a Hindu woman. I can be happy for them, even as I hope to someday lead them both to faith in Christ. I can eat dinner in the home of a gay couple, because I am glad all my friends are able to eat and entertain. And should one of them ever contract HIV/ AIDS, I would help out in any way humanly possible, without ever once suggesting, “I told you so.” But I could never celebrate an event that mocks God and turns human civilization in its head. Conjugal marriage is biblical and natural. Gay sex meets neither of those tests.
Obviously, things are changing in America. Those of us who oppose legalized same-sex marriage seem to be part of a shrinking minority. Every few months, headlines shout the name of yet another fallen state where courts have struck down laws protecting marriage. There will surely be a time in the near future when same-sex marriage and will be legal in every state. As our moral decay continues, many states will also liberalize laws about plural marriage and sex with children. Our nation is adrift; even the unthinkable can soon be acceptable- indeed, it already is. But God’s standards are not influenced by popular culture or national elections.
Occasionally someone asks, “But what about my son or daughter? If they opt for a same-sex marriage, shouldn’t I attend just to show that I love them?” I simply reply: “And if your son should announce his plans to kill himself, would you meet him in the fateful parking lot to affirm his decision? If your daughter should share her plans to renounce Christ in favor of Islam, would you meet her at the mosque to celebrate her induction?” I would expect the answer is no.
Neither should I choke on my deepest convictions in order to show some vague, misguided support by attending a ceremony that celebrates sin, death and destruction. I will never insult homosexuals or call them names; neither will I harangue two intelligent adults or try and damage their reputations. When they return from their honeymoon, I will still love them and invite them to a restaurant or a movie, just as I had done before. But it would be deceitful to pretend that darkness is light, or that disobedience to God is somehow a path to greater ministry.
Lift up the Cross!