#ASKSTEVE: Answering Your Questions

askstevelogoThis week, I wanted to use my #asksteve feature to answer several questions I received via email regarding the Christian hypocrisy feature I posted last week.  As I promised last week, this blog will not be turned into a social justice blog and this will be the last time I speak on this topic considering Kim Davis was released from prison yesterday.  But, since I did receive the questions, I thought I would at least take the time to answer them.

Question 1

  • From reader Janelle (via email):  You mentioned in your post on Kim Davis about the civil legal protections of marriage.  What are you referring to exactly?
  • Answer:  I am referring to federal benefits or laws that were only afforded straight couples until same-sex marriage was made legal.  Here are a few of the biggest ones. (1)  Social Security – same-sex couples now benefit from spousal benefits that social security provides, including survivor benefits.  (2) Health Benefits – Up until same-sex marriage was made legal, same-sex households were not able to get health insurance on their partner’s health plan.  (3) Income Tax – Being able to file a joint return as married.  (4) Inheritance Rights – Until same-sex marriage was made legal, long-term same-sex couples were not guaranteed inheritance of their dying partner because they didn’t have the legal protections (inheritance rights) that married spouses have.  (5) Medical Decisions – This may be the most heartbreaking.  Imagine a same-sex couple being together 30 years and one gets ill.  Without the legal protections of marriage, the other person in the relationship would not be able to make medical decisions on their partner’s behalf and in some cases not even be allowed in the room because they would not be considered family.  By being legally married, all of that has now changed.  (6) Veteran Benefits – Same sex service members who are now married can participate in the VA benefits that service individuals and their spouses receive.  There are a total of 1,138 federal protected benefits to marriage that all citizens can now participate.

Question 2

  • From reader Lois (via email):  Do you yourself consider marriage a religious act?
  • Answer:  From what the United States considers legally married, no.  In the eyes of the law, all marriages performed, even prior to the Supreme Court ruling was considered a civil marriage.  Once the United States began issuing marriage licenses and registering marriages with the state and therefore providing the benefits listed in question one; that is all that is needed to be legally married.  Let me turn it around.  Let’s say you have an elaborate marriage ceremony in your church, performed by your pastor in front of family and friends but you never get a marriage license and that marriage is never registered with the state, then legally you are not married.  That is why pastors/churches can never be forced to perform a same-sex marriage ceremony, because one is not even needed to be legally married under the law.

Question 3

  • From reader Shelley (via email):  Do you actually agree with them jailing Kim Davis?
  • Answer:  Yes, only in the sense she broke the law.  That is why I am confused why certain Christian folk are outraged and now claiming that Christianity is under attack and she was jailed for her beliefs.  She was not jailed for being a Christian.  She was not only held in contempt of court but also hit with abuse of power.  While Kim Davis chose not to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples, she also advised all the assistant clerks that work in the office that they were not to issue licenses either, basically commanding them to also break the law.  She can’t do that without consequence.  Now that she is out of jail and plans to go back to work, the first thing she needs to do is make one of the assistant clerks responsible for issuing all marriage licenses going forward so she doesn’t run in to the same situation in the future.  She wouldn’t have been sent to jail if she would have done this from the beginning, but she chose to abuse her position and therefore she suffered the consequences.

Question 4

  • From reader Neil (via email):  How should we deal with the religious persecution problem?
  • Answer:  Not being able to say, “ew, look, gay, ew, icky, ew, gross” in a public setting/forum without being called out for it is not religious persecution.  I think American Christians need to step back and take a breath and see what is happening to Christians in the middle east.  Those folks are being executed by ISIS for being a Christian.  Having to issue a marriage license, baking a wedding cake or serving an LGBT individual in your business (if you’re a Christian business owner) is not religious persecution.

**Now back to nothing but Southern Gospel music.

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2 thoughts on “#ASKSTEVE: Answering Your Questions

  1. I’m only now looking at your archives and came across this post. I suspect that our disagreements on this topic are vast, but I want to hone in on one particular point, and that’s the point about being forced to participate in same-sex “wedding” ceremonies. Whether or not you would personally feel like it was problematic to cater such a ceremony if you were in the baker or the florist’s shoes, do you not see the frightening encroachment on religious liberty that is being posed when such people are taken to court and lose their livelihoods if they choose not to? These gay couples are not simply respecting the business owners’ personal consciences and taking their business elsewhere, they are vindictively hounding them and seeking their ruin. And the government is cooperating. This is scary. People like Barronelle Stutzman and the Kleins have definitely paid a non-trivial price for their convictions. No, they may not be getting beheaded or burned at the stake, but losing your business and/or retirement savings is a real sacrifice. Yes, I would venture to call what the gay lobby is doing to them a form of persecution. Why not?

    I could make many more points here. For one thing, you seem to think it’s wonderful that same-sex couples now have benefits, but the fact is that there are hoops even close family members have to jump through when it comes to things like medical permissions that married couples do not. Should two unrelated women suddenly have all these perks just because they have sex together where two sisters would not? Moreover, you haven’t even addressed the topic of adoption. A few brave young adults are just now coming forward to tell their story about the long-term damage done to kids raised in a same-sex parent home, but the reason there aren’t more is that their stories don’t fit the prevailing cultural narrative.

    This issue is also very much bound up with the transgender movement. For example, two lesbian mothers decided to put their son on a track to a gender transition because they believed he “wanted to be a girl.” Clearly, this is a combination of a kid who may be somewhat screwed up by being raised by two mothers and women who have their own political agenda to push on him. It’s absolutely terrifying to read about cases of this kind of child abuse, and the odds that children will struggle with their own sexual identity are much greater when they are brought up in such a completely unnatural parental context.

    I don’t know how much you’ve read on the conservative side of these matters, but I would urge you to check out some of the work done by Ryan T. Anderson, John Stonestreet, Michael Brown and others who have thought through and laid out arguments like these very articulately.

    1. Respectively, I know the conservative side of these issues. We are definitely vast in our differences on this topic. I will only say that we will have to agree to disagree and leave it there. While I respect your opinion, in my eyes you’re wrong just as in your eyes I am wrong.

      But that is the great thing about America, we can agree to disagree and hopefully still come out respecting each other’s viewpoints. Every issue this country faces will always have two opposing viewpoints. Coming to understand both sides while holding true to what you believe to be true is what is important.

      I am not here to change your mind on the topic while you won’t change mine.

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