Opinion: A change in how Christians approach gay marriage may be needed

Jimmy Miller is a junior journalism major and the managing editor of The Kent Stater. Contact him at jmill231@kent.edu. 

Jimmy Miller is a junior journalism major and the managing editor of The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected]

Jimmy Miller

For supporters and members of the LGBTQ community, last Friday’s Supreme Court ruling that gay couples can legally wed in all 50 states proved to be more than exciting.

The 5-4 decision accompanied an immediate social media firestorm, one that still rages with political and religious debates. Logging into your Facebook in the past five days has meant seeing at least one or two more of your friends have used a program to put a rainbow filter over his or her profile picture. Everybody has something to say, a voice to be heard in the matter. It’s just the nature of a monumental decision.

Any more scrolling and it’s almost certain you’ll see somebody debating somebody over the ruling. With this, I can also acknowledge that many people have been and will continue to be upset by this ruling. There’s a reason that debates are beneath nearly everybody’s gay marriage posts on social media. I’ve seen rants from either side of the argument that are cringe-worthy—uneducated, unrelated to reality, etc. I’ve also seen remarkably civil discourse, perhaps restoring my faith in humanity for one more minute before I scroll down further and see something more absurd in nature.

However, much like I hope nobody who is gay or supports gay rights has to suffer discrimination, I hope those who identify themselves as Christians or religious at all are not grouped into some negative demographic and stereotyped.

This past Sunday could have been the most important day in modern Christianity. How the faithful approach this issue could determine how many of them will be left standing in forty, sixty years. It’d be unfair to place all the blame on older Christians or all preachers, but as our generation continues to prove that it’s one of the most accepting generations of all-time, Christians continue to tarnish their own image with outlandish statements. Although the church I attend handled the situation nearly flawlessly, I’m more than certain other pastors and congregations spent time preaching and listening to messages of hatred or bigotry.

That’s not what the whole picture looks like. The Christian faith can still salvage itself with messages of love like most have preached, despite the fact that atheism and/or a lack of religion at all is gaining ground as one of the world’s top demographics. How preachers approach this topic, though, is absolutely determinant of what’s to happen to my generation’s view on Christianity. If the Westboro Baptist Church continues to be our generation’s example of what faith really is, then preachers are failing their biggest test: to scrub clean the public’s perception of what Christianity represents.

If Jesus truly did die on the cross for all of our sins, and if gay marriage is truly a sin then, Christians have heightened a sin above others, which is contrary to what some preachers teach in that all sins are bad sins in God’s eyes. If we truly are all sinners and truly can all go to Heaven despite our sins, a vast number of Christians are spending a great deal of time on something that can tarnish the whole image of the religion itself.

What I’m saying boils down to this: If a goal for Christians is to recruit friends and family to salvation, it may be time to find a new way to approach the issue of gay marriage.