If you don’t regularly read anything by the writer Alan Jacobs, you should correct that deficiency in your life by checking out his “Tumblr” (which is like a blog) here. He is a smart, generally orthodox Christian writer, who was an English professor at Wheaton College for many years and recently was hired at Baylor. He has written many books, although the only one I read was Original Sin: A Cultural History, which I found to be informative and lively throughout. In other words, if I could write half as well as Professor Jacobs, I would be a happy man.
That praise out of the way, I noticed he recently criticized something Rusty Reno wrote about so-called gay “marriage” that I thought was wildly off the mark and I think increasingly an argument one sees bandied about by so-called “progressive Christians” (i.e. Christians who don’t think the Bible is true). To wit, Reno had compared Creighton University’s decision to offer benefits to “legally married same-sex spouses” (hah!) with the Catholic Church’s decision to sign the Concordat with Hitler in the 1930s. Jacobs thought the comparison unfair. More specifically, here is what he said:
This comparison doesn’t help anyone or anything. It is ratcheting up the culture-war rhetoric to the highest possible pitch, and I think inappropriately, since the issue at hand is Creighton University’s decision to provide benefits to legally married same-sex spouses.
Isn’t that an eminently defensible action on specifically Christian grounds, namely the grounds of charity? After all, Jesus didn’t subject people to tests of their morals before healing them. In this case, isn’t the university just saying, “We may not approve of your sexual behavior, but we don’t want people you love to get sick and die?" In a country without universal health care, an employer who seeks to deny benefits to spouses comes off simply as punitive.
Now I’m going to ignore the question of whether or not Reno’s comparison used ‘too hot to handle’ rhetoric – that question doesn’t interest me at the moment. Instead, focus your attention on Jacob’s later comment that the “decision to provide benefits to legally married same-sex spouses” is an “eminently defensible action on specifically Christian grounds, namely the grounds of charity."
In a word, no, the decision is not in any way defensible on Christian grounds – based on charity or love or any other fruit of the Holy Spirit. Let us not forget that the Christian God is the God of Truth – and it is first and foremost a lie to go around claiming that two men or two women who live together and commit sodomy are married. Period, end of story, full stop. As Christians we should not participate in any way in this fiction and lie.
As Jacob's implies, folks who are caught up in this lie are indeed sinners in need of the cross and we should continue to preach the message of hope to them. What about helping these people get health insurance? Asking this question might be even more crazed when you stop and think about it for a moment. Here is what is being claimed: that two adults who presumably could and should be independently supporting themselves (i.e. working in jobs and purchasing their health insurance on their own) somehow are living together as an ersatz family with one adult (the one employed by Creighton) supporting the other financially and expecting the university to help them financially support their sexual partner, excuse me – the person they love – because that’s what is expected of a Christian employer?! So if Creighton hires me and I tell them that I love my unemployed brother, sister, my friend who happens to be a drug addict and was recently fired from his last job, and my aunt who was just laid off at the local meat-processing plant because they could hire cheap immigrant laborers that the Church is eager to turn into citizens instead of my aunt who had 15 years at the plant and was costing the employer too much; well then Creighton has to suck it up and provide benefits to all these people because we don’t want people I love to get sick and die do we? Remember, from the Christian perspective these two people are not married and should not be considered married. End of story. Let’s hope we see less and less of this argument from Bible-believing Christians in the future!