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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Gay marriage offers a moral litmus test


That loud crash you heard Wednesday was the sound of President Barack Obama’s gay-marriage stance colliding with the will of the people, his Christian faith and common sense.

Obama has used the bully pulpit of the presidency to shout over the strong voices of opposition to gay marriage. Consider the evidence: In 32 states that have considered resolutions protecting traditional marriage, they’ve passed 32 times.

Think of that: 32 times Americans in various states have voted on this issue, and 32 times they’ve passed amendments affirming marriage as a union between a man and a woman. North Carolina voters are the latest to do so, passing a strong ban on same-sex marriage just this week.

Yes, many polls show Americans evenly divided on the issue. But the number of states banning gay marriage makes me wonder just who the pollsters are calling these days.

This is not merely a political issue; it’s a moral litmus test for our country.

Our president himself acknowledges this by saying his decision is rooted in the biblical admonition “to treat others the way you would want to be treated.” I sincerely applaud him for appealing to Scripture but also pray he’ll start reading his Bible more carefully.

Here’s how the Bible itself defines marriage in its opening pages: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24, New King James Version).

It’s instructive that Obama has actually changed his view on same-sex marriages; he previously opposed them. The evolution of his stance typifies confusion even among Christians on this issue.

Why the change?

Obama told ABC News’ Robin Roberts that he arrived at his decision by talking to gay friends, staff members, his two daughters and his wife, who he said shared his support for same-sex marriage.

He said his Christian faith and the golden rule factored in: “In the end, the values that I care most deeply about and she cares most deeply about is how we treat other people.”

Don’t be misled: Opposing sin has nothing to do with how we treat other people. Disapproving someone’s behavior should never stop us from treating them with respect and encouraging what is best for them. Ask any parent whether it’s possible to oppose harmful behavior yet love a person dearly.

Obama posits a deceptive false dichotomy and takes Scripture out of context to do so.

It saddens me that so many Christians have bought the same lie that to oppose gay marriage is to be judgmental, condemning or somehow against homosexuals. That simply isn’t true.

Support for biblical marriage is not rooted in a dislike for anyone. It’s simply an affirmation of God’s design for marriage and families, a design that is a culture’s cornerstone. To erode biblical marriage is to destroy society’s foundation.

This is where common sense comes into play: History suggests that the traditional family is the strongest glue holding a society together.

Whoever is elected president this fall will stand on the shoulders of those who believed that moral laws cannot be violated without consequence. John Adams, our nation’s second president, put it this way: “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

Why would we allow a vocal minority to steer us into a collision with the will of the majority, long-held moral values and common sense?

Perhaps we should ask our current president.

Steve Massey is the pastor of Hayden Bible Church ( He can be reached at (208) 772-2511 or