MACKLEMORE AND HOMOSEXUALITY

1-macklemoregayLast night on the Grammys, Macklemore sang his culturally beloved song, “Same Love.” This song is essentially written as a mantra against those who oppose homosexuality, specifically as it relates to “same-sex marriage.” It’s also become somewhat of a mascot song for those that support homosexuality. Macklemore, according to his own lyrics, isn’t gay, but he is put out with those who oppose it.

The song includes three verses that make bold proclamations concerning homosexuality, summarizing three of the most common reasons to support it. Each is listed below with a few insights into each, suggesting how they are misguided.

1. HOMOSEXUALITY CAN’T BE CURED, ESPECIALLY BY RELIGION

The right wing conservatives think it’s a decision,
And you can be cured with some treatment and religion
Man-made rewiring of a predisposition
Playing God, aw nah here we go
America the brave still fears what we don’t know
And God loves all his children, is somehow forgotten
But we paraphrase a book written thirty-five-hundred years ago

Scripture speaks of homosexuality as a sin (1 Cor 6:9), and therefore those that believe Scripture are simply trusting what it says. With that said, Scripture also says that sin is, and Macklemore agrees, a “predisposition” (Rom 5). It’s something every person is born with. And as a predisposition, everybody has a “decision” to either act on it or not. Some act on it by lying. Others act on it by stealing. And some act on it by planting a bomb at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. It’s a predisposition to which every person is subjected. Thus, since Scripture speaks of homosexuality as a sin, (and since it speaks of sin as a predisposition), it is not unreasonable to say that homosexuality is the fruit of a decision rooted in a predisposed, sinful nature.

But this, contrary to Macklemore’s rap, doesn’t mean that it’s okay. We would never, for example, suggest that rape is okay. No one could reasonably say, “Aw, leave that guy assaulting that woman alone. Stop trying to rewire his predisposition with your personal preferences. He can’t help himself.”

Macklemore is perhaps correct in suggesting that “right wing conservatives think . . . it can be cured with religion,” but right wing conservatives who think this way are wrong. Sin cannot be cured by religion. Sin can only be cured by Jesus. And while the organized worship of Jesus is in fact “religion,” it’s not organized worship that cures sin. The Bible certainly doesn’t speak of “religion” as “rewiring” our sinful natures. It speaks of Jesus as making us a “new creation” (2 Cor 5:17). There is a big difference. We aren’t even the same machine after he gets ahold of us and we therefore can’t be “rewired.” The old “wires” aren’t even there anymore.

But God “loves all his children,” right? That’s what the Bible says, is it not? Actually, no. It says quite the opposite. While God indeed loves people, all people are not his “children.” Only those that claim Jesus as Lord–and believe everything that comes along with this claim–are considered his “adopted children.” The Bible records Jesus, God’s Son, telling a group of unsaved individuals that their “father” is “the devil” (John 8:44).

In other words, God is not their father and they are not his children.

2. SOCIALLY, “GAY IS THE NEW BLACK”

It’s the same hate that’s caused wars from religion
Gender to skin color, the complexion of your pigment
The same fight that led people to walk outs and sit ins
It’s human rights for everybody, there is no difference!
Live on and be yourself

Here, Macklemore essentially says that “gay is the new black,” meaning, that those who oppose homosexual behavior are on par with those who opposed the abolition of slavery. But I don’t see signs in restaurant bathrooms and over water fountains for “homosexuals” and “straights.” I don’t see schools for “homosexuals” and schools for “straights.” I don’t see straight people forcing homosexuals to sit in the back of the bus. In fact, I see quite the opposite.

Ryan Anderson for example, a proponent for traditional marriage, was interviewed (or attacked) on Piers Morgan’s show for his beliefs. Piers and Suze Orman (a lesbian) both sat at the central table whereas Mr. Anderson had to sit with the audience. No doubt this was because of his stance on “same-sex marriage.”

Christians, at least those with the right state of mind, aren’t telling homosexuals that they have to sit at the back of the bus. They are standing up for biblical rights as dictated by Scripture.

Macklemore suggests that everybody deserves human rights, to which a Christian should agree. Everybody deserves basic human “rights.” But Macklemore, along with countless other “left wing liberals” (to parallel his title), misunderstand what a human “right” is. Marriage, for example, isn’t a human “right” so much as it is a God ordained institution (Gen 2) to which one can be privy if he abides by God’s standards. And God defines marriage as a relationship between one man and one woman.

To make it anything else is to alter the very meaning of the word, forcing it to become something entirely different. We might as well call walking, running, say that 2+2=5, or remove other standards like the unlawfulness of incest or polygamy.

Redefining marriage is to take a God-designed institution and manipulate it into something that we want it to be. It’s telling God that we don’t want him, but we do want his ideas so that we can manipulate them into things that fit our personal preferences. We are throwing out the baby and the bath water, filling the tub up with something else, then calling it the same thing.

3. ANYONE WHO OPPOSES HOMOSEXUAL LOVE IS A HATE MONGER

When I was at church they taught me something else
If you preach hate at the service those words aren’t anointed
That holy water that you soak in has been poisoned

The most curious element to Macklemore’s song is its citation of the Christian faith. It is baffling that someone would associate himself with Christianity, as Macklemore does, if that person denies all of its claims.

There is an old illustration that describes this well. The illustration details a repair man replacing the parts of his boat. After purchasing the boat he begins to replace its every component. He switches out the motor, the hull, the deck, and the seats. Before long, there is no original element left of the boat.

Is it the same boat?

No.

Likewise, when one switches out all of the original components to Christianity, as determined by God primarily through the Bible, it is no longer Christianity. And Macklemore’s statements that the Bible is merely a “book written thirty-five hundred years ago” hints to his feelings that his contemporary thoughts override its ageless truths.

The context of Macklemore’s rap suggests that anything that might hurt someone’s feelings is considered “hate,” and this is not “anointed.” But what if we turned around the line? What if a “right wing conservative” suggested that it was hateful to force one’s homosexual agenda upon him? Why can it only be a one-way street? Would this not be the homosexuals employing the “hate that caused war” onto us? Isn’t that what Piers and Suze did to Ryan during their interview?

But what if the initial “haters” weren’t “hating” at all? What if there was a good explanation for why they believed the way they did about homosexuality?

One of the clearest passages in Scripture describing homosexuality as a deadly sin is 1 Corinthians 6:9-10. Paul writes, “Do not be deceived; homosexuals will not inherit the kingdom of God.” This is a way of saying that homosexuality is contradictory to God’s standards and that it is evidence of a life that has not been redeemed by Jesus. The result is no inheritance of God’s kingdom, or no eternal life in what most call “Heaven.” Thus, if you claim any association with the God of the Holy Scriptures then you must abide by this standard, otherwise you are building a new boat.

This is an important verse because it reveals the devastating reality of the sin of homosexuality. I don’t oppose homosexuality because I am a stubborn-minded bigot who is simply regurgitating my environmental conditioning. I oppose homosexuality because God opposes homosexuality. I also oppose it because, according to Scripture, it is a lifestyle that reveals that one has not been redeemed by Jesus, and this lack of redemption will ultimately result in an eternity separated from God. And I don’t wish that upon anyone.

Now, if I may, a rap of my own:

Jesus is the best and I’ll tell you why
He came to earth to live and then to die
For you and me because we were lost
God sent his only son to die on the cross*

*Stolen from a VBS rhyme from when I was like seven.

Further Reading:
What Macklemore Got Wrong … And Right by Denny Burk

Picture Credit

37 Comments

  1. robin speakman says:

    Great word

  2. mateo107 says:

    “But I don’t see signs in restaurant bathrooms and over water fountains for “homosexuals” and “straights.” I don’t see schools for “homosexuals” and schools for “straights.” I don’t see straight people forcing homosexuals to sit in the back of the bus.”

    um, Barney’s Beanery in West Hollywood had a famous sign posted behind the bar that read “Fagots – Stay out” into the 1980’s. I’m guessing if that could happen in Weho then it was probably prevalent nationwide; of course, outside of gay barrios they didn’t really need a sign, they would just force them to leave, after all they could just call the police. anti-Sodomy laws were only recently ruled unconstitutional in 2003, until then gays could still be arrested, prosecuted, committed, lose custody of their children, and lose their jobs simply for private behavior. private schools can and do ban gays, and in some cases they’re the same private schools that used to ban interracial dating. DADT was only just repealed in 2011, until then the military pretty much excluded gay people, even if they tried to keep it secret and were outed by somebody else. you don’t have to approve of homosexuality, but don’t act like there hasn’t been deplorable anti-gay discrimination in this country.

  3. Hello Mateo. Thanks for reading and responding.

    I think your comment includes important thoughts concerning the topic of the post.

    However, I still wouldn’t go as far as to say that “gay is the new black,” as some claim, meaning that being homosexual today is on par with being a black in early America. I would, though, say that it is unfortunate that some would claim this at all. While it’s true that there have been governmental regulations against homosexuality, and some of them were indeed arguably “deplorable” (DADT should have been handled differently, in my opinion), as you write, it’s still not the same.

    My blog wasn’t intended to ignore these things. The nature of it just didn’t have the space to deal with it in depth. The main point is that, overall, gay is not the new black. And that was what I was trying to communicate.

    I appreciate your insights.

    • mateo107 says:

      you may claim you didn’t intend to ignore those things, yet you did nevertheless omit any mention of anti-gay discrimination completely, while strangely you found the space to reference a single debate on TV as evidence of the opposite. sorry, but I don’t see how dishonorably discharging 1,000 soldiers a year because of their personal lives is outweighed by one person thinking a debate was hurtful, unfair, or whatever. if your argument is just that gay is not “the new black” because homosexuals were never enslaved or discriminated in the exact same ways as black people, then that’s a weak argument. it’s like dismissing apartheid or segregation because they’re not the same thing as slavery, all it means is that most forms of discrimination aren’t directly comparable, but it doesn’t mean they’re not similar. if opponents of same sex marriage would stop using the same arguments that were used (by some of the same people no less) to oppose interracial marriage, then maybe people wouldn’t see such obvious similarities. and I would say the discrimination of gays is far more similar to the discrimination of blacks than the example you cited of a gay marriage opponent under “attack”.

      I noticed you were very cautious above to quality that “Christians, at least those with the right state of mind, aren’t telling homosexuals that they have to sit at the back of the bus.” of course, you don’t really go into detail what the right state of mind is, but the bigger problem is that the history of discrimination in this Christian majority country seems to suggest that most Christians don’t have the right state of mind. and whitewashing over that discrimination while at the same complaining about lesser grievances is really only going to feed an irrational persecution complex. I don’t know you, so I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt that maybe you do try to treat gays as you would want to be treated, but any gay person will tell you that’s not their typical encounter with Christians. it would be nice if the church didn’t try to deny this reality for a change.

      • James Ross says:

        Have you ever heard of a homosexual lynched or burned at the stake in America? That is what happened to black people. So no homosexuality is not the “new black.”

      • Hello again Mateo,

        I appreciate you returning to continue our dialogue.

        I think that we could go on all day, if we wanted, concerning the suggested “blame game” about how homosexuals have been unfairly mistreated by those who disagree with their lifestyle and how proponents of homosexuality have mistreated those who disagree with their beliefs. At the end of the day I would like to think that we both agree that the differences have been handled poorly. With this said, I personally cannot go as far as to say that “gay is the new black,” as Macklemore seems to suggest. I think such a statement devalues what happened in early America and embellishes what’s happening in modern America.

        Concerning your second comment about my statements concerning Christians, you are right in that I was “cautious.” I have no problem acknowledging and affirming this. Christians, like anyone else, are capable of making mistakes and unfortunately some Christians have handled homosexuality incorrectly. Disagreement should not result in harsh treatment. This is why I qualified the statement in the way I did.

        My goal is to show that a Christian has plausible reason to believe what he believes and that Scripture, when understood correctly, does in fact speak to the issue. Unfortunately the Bible is often taken out of context by both Christians and non-Christians in order to support their respective sides to the issue.

        It’s extremely discouraging to me that most homosexuals’ experience with Christians is negative. This is certainly not the way it ought to be. We can disagree, but that should not result in harsh treatment of one another.

      • mateo107 says:

        this isn’t about a “blame game”, it’s that you can’t really have an honest discussion over the extent of anti-gay discrimination without acknowledging that it exists. this wholesale omission is just pure disconfirmation bias. furthermore, Macklemore hasn’t even actually used the term “gay is the new black”, so you’re really just arguing against a straw man. sadly, your silence on the issue merely reinforces the uninformed opinions of readers like James Ross, who think anti-gay violence isn’t an issue because you won’t teach them the whole truth. that disturbs me tremendously, I wish I hadn’t come back so I wouldn’t have seen that response.

      • I disagree with your interpretation of my comments, for reasons I’ve already explained.

        For example, I never said that Macklemore explicitly uses the phrase, “Gay is the new black,” but that his rap essentially declares it. That is by no means a straw man.

  4. The word translated in 1 Cor 6:9 as “homosexuals” is the Greek word “malakoi.” It means soft, weak, sometimes effeminate. However, only in this passage is it translated as “homosexual.” The singular form “malikos” is used in Matthew 11:8 and Luke 7:25, translated as “soft” or “fine” in reference to clothes.

    Undoubtedly, homosexuals have been discriminated against in much the same way as black people were. The Bible was used to justify slavery and racism, and is still today used to oppose interracial marriage.

    Comparing homosexuality to rape is ridiculous. One is consensual; one is not.

    • Hello Jasnah. Thank you for reading and responding.

      Actually, the word “malakoi” is translated as “effeminate.” The word “arsenokoitai” is also included, which is “homosexual.” The word means “a male partner in homosexual intercourse.” At root it is “a sodomite,” referring to ancient Sodom and Gomorrah.

      I encourage you to go reread the verse. It includes both.

      I agree, the Bible was used, unfortunately, to justify slavery and racism, but anyone who used it that way was wrong and took the verses they used extremely out of context. I think it’s a shame that, because some abused the Bible in that way, that it is assumed that those who use it to oppose homosexuality are accused of abusing it in the same way.

      A contextual exposition of passages concerning both topics reveals this.

      Finally, I don’t think that the way I used the rape illustration is ridiculous, because the context was of sin, not of action. In my interpretation of Scripture, all sin separates from God (Rom 6:23). This means that a lie is on par with murder in terms of separation from God.

      In that context, which is the context I used, it is not an unreasonable suggestion.

      • Daniel says:

        Hi Jared,

        Interesting article here. I think you might referencing some inaccurate data for your translations of arsenokoitai and malakoi. There translation is actually not as straight forward as some would have us seem I’d recommend checking out Dale Martin’s “Sex and the Single Savior,” he has an excellent chapter on the historical roots and the biases in translating those terms.

        I think you might be interested in reading some of the more gay affirming theology that is out there. Justin Lee has an excellent book, “Torn,” that is very sensitive to conservative Christians. It’s important to remember that many gay and lesbian youth have an incredibly hard time growing up, look at suicide rates for example, and that Christians really need to own their fault in that. They also really need to ask themselves what is loving in this context. I’m not saying that all Christians will support gay marriage, but is it really loving to want gay people to remain closeted, to never be able to love, be loved by a human, and marry, to try and offer therapy’s with very marginal success rates? At the very minimum we need to ask ourselves how to love the gay and lesbian community, how Christ would respond, and be courageous enough to walk that road.

        Best,
        Daniel

      • Cory Lebow says:

        Right, so why didn’t you just use another type of sin, something akin to carnal relations before your claimed “god-gifted” right of marriage. It’s still a sin, and as you say, is equally comparable, yet oddly you pick out rape to sum up your inference. Strange that, eh?

        The fact of the matter is that those people whom you claim “abused” the bible by justifying slavery, racism, and murder of other races didn’t take those verses out of context. In fact, most of them are much more clear, and much more prevalent, than the single few verses that may or may not dictate that “God hates Fags.” The fact that you chose to simply ignore those sections of your bible, whether they be from the Pentateuch or another part that you lot have decided doesn’t count anymore. That translation does not mean “homosexual” as the very earliest scriptures in the Septuagint came long before the word homosexual even finds etymological traces.

        However, I will say this, even if you bible did in fact make it very clear the stance on homosexuals, if you are going to be using Corinthians, then why, too, do most of these same people not follow I Corinthians 11:6, or 14:34? How about Jeremiah 10:2-5? The fact that Alan Turing was instrumental in designing the very thing you are typing with should be a sure bet you’re learning the way of a true “heathen.”

  5. estreitta says:

    Thank you for writing this so eloquently!

  6. Laree says:

    I just want to say I appreciate how much care you took in writing this. I am a Christian and my uncle is gay. That makes this subject so very hard for me to talk about. I believe the same as you do! My (human, sinner) heart is often conflicted though in that if my uncle were to ever find someone he loved, as I do my husband, it would be so very hard for me to tell him I do not agree with it. I love him; he’s my family. I often get asked how I deal with this situation and my answer is always the same: Christ taught me to love people. Believers, non-believers – all sinners – all people. Do not love the sin, but love the sinner. Even though I’m conflicted sometimes, I know without a doubt that when I show love in this situation as well as many others, I am doing what Christ has called me to do. Does that mean I “tolerate” everything? No! I stand up for my belief in the best loving way possible.
    Anyhoo, sorry to be so long-winded. I appreciate what you’ve written. Thank you! :)

  7. Adam says:

    Many gays don’t believe in the Bible, so why should they be restricted by someone else’s beliefs? Also, marriages were happening hundreds of years before the Church got involved in them, and by people who had no affiliation with the Church

    • Hello Adam. Thank you for taking the time to both read and respond to my post.

      To answer your first question, my argument is that the Bible is truth. I understand that many people disagree with this, but my thoughts are that if something is truth, it doesn’t matter whether someone believes it or not.

      This is to say that truth is not dictated by beliefs. Our beliefs should be birthed out of what is true.

      This is to say that, I could very well disagree with the statement, “All bachelors are unmarried men,” but I would be wrong. And it would be wrong of me to try to operate in that error. I can refuse to believe the statement, but it does not affect it’s validity.

      My beliefs of the Bible undoubtedly affect my thoughts concerning things like homosexuality. And I believe that peoples’ decision to not believe it doesn’t affect it as true or not true. It’s just true.

      To answer your second question, I would agree with you. Marriages were happening years before the “church” became involved, because the “church” was formed about two thousand years ago. With this said, marriage is originally found in the book of Genesis as instituted by God, thousands of years before he instituted the church. The church simply endorsed the earlier things of God, since it was created and formed by him.

      Again, however, this is founded on my beliefs on the Bible.

      Thanks again for the interaction!

  8. Clint Nelson says:

    I really enjoyed your post. Solid facts. Solid rebuttals. You can tell this was written in love and not out of hate!

  9. Daniel,

    Thanks for dropping by and for providing some resource recommendations. I’m always eager to read up on contemporary issues and will keep those in mind.

    My main response to the original question concerning the Greek word was mainly to show that their is a word there that is translated as homosexual. The original responder ignored that it existed altogether, which was in effect ignoring the fact that a stronger word existed after the word translated “effeminate.”

    Both are included.

    Corey,

    My short answer to your question is “context.” Unfortunately the Bible is often taken extremely out of context to support personal views whilst ignoring the true meaning of the verse.

    Verses can be turned to mean anything a person wants when they are taken out of context.

    Now my long answer in the form of an illustration: There is a shirt we have designed at our church that includes the phrase, “Our Hands. Your Heart.” It’s a shirt that we wear whenever we are serving in the community, helping people. But one of our members happened to wear that shirt one day into a gun show. Suddenly, the shirt’s meaning changed! Instead of sounding helpful, it sounded quite harmful.

    Why? Context!

    The idea is that the original context was to be helpful, but someone can easily take it out of context in the wrong setting. This doesn’t change the original meaning of the shirt, it just means that someone can easily misunderstand it if they don’t understand the context.

    I think the same is true when it comes to Scripture. Unfortunately many take verses that have an original meaning and abuse them to support their own thoughts. This is, in my opinion, what happened with slavery.

    The Bible does include things like slavery and even polygamy, but just because it includes circumstances that portray these things in an earlier society, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is endorsing them.

    It can be complicated, but that is the general idea.

    Thanks for reading and dialoguing!

  10. Breanna says:

    This was really good stuff. Thanks for posting.

  11. Frank says:

    Thank you Jared. If I may i would like to make a comment on the posting by Carol Lebow. She sited 1 cor. 11:6 ,14:34, and Jeremiah 10:2-5. I read those scriptures ;women be silent, women keep your head covered, and do not erect trees covered with gold and silver. Weither or not we should obey these scriptures has no bearing on the subject of homosexuallity being condemned or condoned in the Bible. If the Bible says for us to obey these scriptures and we do not, we disobey. Failure in one area done not give licence in another. Also disobeying one rule doesn’t do away with the authority of another rule or law. If I lie can I still say murder is wrong or eligal? YES! If I lie does it give me the right to murder? NO!!! If we fail and are not perfect can we say homosexuallity is condemed in the Bible? Again, YES! Jared thank you forr your post.

  12. I want to encourage you, Jared. :) I was really impressed when I read this article, and I’m very impressed now that I’ve seen how you respond to people who disagree with you, and sometimes express it in a rather demeaning fashion. Thank you very much for being so kind and remaining in the truth. :)

  13. Alex McCue says:

    Good word. Clear and gracious. My only comment would be to ALWAYS include v. 11 when you mention 1 Cor. 6. We do a disservice to the context of that passage (and to our society reading in on it) when we consistently use only vv.9-10 to point out sexual sin (or any other sin in the list), but neglect to mention and major on “such were some of you…but you were washed…” (as did Phil Robertson). But thank you for this post.

  14. David says:

    Word, bro. Love ya!

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