I was reading an article in Newsweek titled “Will My Marriage Last?” David Jefferson of Newsweek writes “On Tuesday, Californians will head to the polls. How millions of strangers cast their votes will affect the most intimate parts of my life.” He goes on to say, “I got married on Saturday. I'm just hoping it lasts through next week. Few newlyweds enter a marriage with such low expectations (except for maybe Britney Spears, whose 2004 Vegas quickie was annulled after two days). But my new spouse, Jeff Bechtloff, and I are gay men living in California. And like thousands of couples who've tied the knot since the state Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage this spring, we rushed to get wed before voters could decide on Nov. 4 whether or not we should.”
He goes on to say, “It's difficult to explain how it feels now, as Jeff and I face the possibility that our marriage could lose its validity come next Tuesday. The absurdity of having the most personal aspect of your life determined by a ballot proposition is best summed up by the slogan on a T-Shirt I saw a gay man wearing this month: CAN I VOTE ON YOUR MARRIAGE? Proposition 8 would change the state Constitution to stipulate "only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California."
A few paragraphs later, David Jefferson writes, “Look, I'm a realist. ‘All men are created equal’ may be the cornerstone of what we call “liberty,” but it has taken a couple of centuries for the American populace to digest the meaning of those words, and I suspect it will take centuries more. When my mother was born, women didn't have the right to vote. When my sister was born, ‘separate but equal’ was the law in the South. When I was born, blacks and whites couldn't marry in several states.”
What I would like to point out here is the need for discernment because David Jefferson of Newsweek has just created a slight of mind. He has cleverly changed the argument from an argument regarding identity. He is right it’s wrong to be sexist and it is wrong to be racist but he has taken that argument which has to do with identity and used it as an argument for a behavioral lifestyle. So he’s confusing identity and behavior. In other words, he has cleverly made a category mistake.
This is once again my way to tell you how critical it is for us to exercise discernment skills. To see arguments for what there are. Are they cogent? Are they clear? Are they concise? Are they correct? Or are these arguments slight of hand and slight of mind?
We need to learn discernment skills so that we can use our well-reasoned answer as an opportunity to share the truth. Not truth that stifles, not truth that paints or caricatures God as a cosmic kill joy. But the kind of truth by which God places parameters around our life so that our joy may be complete.
The problem today is a lot of people want to be God. They want to be the final court of arbitration. They want to decide what sin is and what sin is not. They want to decide which behaviors are ok are which behaviors are not ok. But we have a Creator and an owner’s manual. And we say He, not I, is the final court of arbitration.
Even if I don’t agree, I bow the knee, I submit to the one who spoke and the limitless galaxies leaped into existence because He is a far more brilliant intellect than I. We don’t want to do that, we want to say, “Has God said?” and then make the rules of the game ourselves and determine right or wrong not based on a final court of arbitration but on the size and scope and strength of the latest lobby group.