Tag Archives: Politics


imagesIt was in sixth grade that I met Matt. He had moved to my hometown of Mabank, Texas from Colorado Springs. We met in band and became friends. We weren’t the best of friends, but we were more than acquaintances. Although we now live on opposite sides of the nation, through the magic of social networking we have been able to keep in touch. We regularly dialogue through both public and private channels about the cultural mood concerning homosexuality.

Matt is a homosexual, which, because of my Christian faith, is a lifestyle with which I vehemently disagree. And Matt knows this. Matt knows that I don’t agree with him and I know that Matt doesn’t agree with me. But we choose to share our opinions openly and respectfully, which is the intent of this blog.

I recently asked Matt if he would be alright if I interviewed him about his lifestyle. Matt was kind enough to oblige. The motivation behind this is inspired by comments I often read from Christians against homosexuality. Unfortunately, many Christians handle the situation poorly. While it’s okay to be outspoken against it, (and I believe Christians should be free to share their biblical convictions), it’s not okay for that outspokenness to present itself in hatred. Paul writes, “If I speak … but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal” (1 Cor 13:1).

Needless to say, there is a lot of gratuitously loud noise on today’s social networks.

The following is the interview I conducted with Matt. I typed out the questions and sent them to him. Some of the information is also from follow up conversations. Each question includes Matt’s answer and some include my response, if it calls for it. You will notice that these are in blue.

I hope that anyone who has an opinion about homosexuality sees the respect that Matt and I have for one another in our disagreements, and that that respect is contagious as we continue to debate the issue in the public square.


When did you first think that you were gay?

I began to suspect something was different about myself probably in eighth grade. I remember always wondering why the guys around me seemed so interested in pursuing girls.

Are you currently in a homosexual relationship?

Yes I am. I have been seeing the same guy since I was twenty two years old. We met in college and have been together ever since. He even followed me across the country to a new job. Both of our families have met and actually rather like each other. I was really surprised by that. My Dad is someone I would charitably describe as a “Tea Party Republication”, but he has honestly shocked me with his acceptance of who I am and even the guy I am with.

What kind of social pressures did you experience in “coming out?”

My coming out was kind of an accident. I was twenty and in college and, I won’t bore you with the details, but my parents figured it out and initially we didn’t talk for 3 months. When we did start talking again, it was mostly my mom and I. My dad and I had a very strained relationship the first few years, but now everything is more or less the way I would imagine a regular person’s relationship with their parents is. I can’t honestly say, but I would like to believe that I am glad it happened the way it did, because I am not sure when I would have built up the courage to talk to them about it. Probably not until well into my twenties.


What are your thoughts on same-sex marriage?

This sounds so cliché, but my thoughts on same-sex marriage have greatly evolved since I first started hearing about it back in the mid-2000s. At first, I was staunchly against it, and I think a large part of that had to do with my upbringing in the church. I wasn’t, and nor am I now, against people receiving the same benefits and entitlements that marriage brings to everyone. But I was against the idea of calling it “marriage” because I felt that was reserved fully for straight people and the church. But that was back then, and this is now. I am not what you would call an activist for same-sex marriage, but I do believe now that if gay people want to get married, then they should be able too. Again, I can’t stress this enough, I really just believe that everyone should have access to the benefits that marriage provides, not the name or the title. I am sure my fellow gays won’t like hearing that, but it’s just the way I feel about the issue.

Author’s Note: Many of my thoughts concerning this question can be found in this blog: The Meaning of Equality.

Would you say that today’s homosexual movement is on par with the 1960′s civil rights movement?

Yes, most particularly with the Supreme Court case, Loving v. Virginia (1967), which invalidated all laws prohibiting interracial marriage. Today, we draw inspiration from that time period, to fight for what we believe should be afforded to us to be treated as equals in the eyes of the law. People today think it’s crazy that blacks and whites couldn’t get married up until forty-odd years ago, but during that time period it was a punishable offense with jail time involved.

Author’s Note: I believe that by the time I am a grandparent that it will be unbelievable that homosexuals could not marry one another, and that by the time my kids are parents that people will be amazed that marijuana was at one time considered an illegal drug, and that by the time they are grandparents that people will be amazed that polygamy was once outlawed.

What would you say to someone who argues for things like bigamy, polygamy, and incestry in marriage (as an expansion of same-sex marriage)?

I think bigamy already occurs today and has been occurring for a long time. Certainly not on any level with large amounts of numbers or data to back it up. But you always hear the story about the man with another family in the next town over.

The problem with polygamy is that it almost always means one man with multiple wives. And when that happens you take away a wife from some other man. So in a polygamous society, you would have all these young, unmarried men who are unhappy with no wives. Same-sex marriage changes none of that, it leads us as a society away from that. Gay people just want the ability to marry someone instead of no one.

Incest is something that is just wrong on so many levels as it is, it’s not even really worth arguing over.

Author’s Note: I can see what Matt is saying in this, but I find it to be pragmatic. And I think pragmatism is a poor way to make decisions, although we all make decisions based on this philosophy everyday!

For example, would polygamy then be okay if we can manufacture a society where there are no unhappy unmarried men? What if the ratio of women to men was such that every man could easily have ten wives?

The point is that the issue runs deeper than mathematics.

Do you believe that there would be any psychological affects to a child reared in a home with same-sex parents (not having the traditional male and female examples)?

I don’t think there are any major drawbacks to a child being raised in a home by two same-sex parents as opposed to a traditional family set. In this modern age, children are raised by single dads, single moms, aunts, uncles and extended family. I think as long as all parties involved really love the child, then it will turn out alright.

Author’s Note: I believe that one of the biggest problems of our day is that a large amount of children are raised in homes without a stable mother and father. I have the opportunity to counsel many individuals and I can, nearly 100% of the time, trace the issue back to the lack of a father in the home.


Do you adhere to any faith religion?

I grew up Methodist, but just sort of stopped going once I graduated high school. I think even in high school I wasn’t really into church anymore, but it was definitely the place where all my friends went and it was a good place to socialize. I do believe that something or someone exists and had something to do with where we are in the universe today. I would say that I loosely identify myself as a Christian, but more like an agnostic one.

Author’s Note: I would say that it’s oxymoronic to be an “agnostic Christian,” although I can say that I know where Matt is coming from. His upbringing leads him to hold beliefs that are rooted in Christianity, but what he believes is not best described as Christianity. He has become agnostic, which means that he doesn’t really know what he believes, although he is still affected by what he learned during his time in the church.

What do you believe the Bible says about homosexuality?

I am not a connoisseur of the Bible, so all I can really say is that I know it’s mentioned a few times, but never directly by Jesus. I did, however, find this awesome article on the Huffington Post website which sums it up much more eloquently then I can: What Does the Bible Really Say About Homosexuality?

Author’s Note: The author of this article begins by suggesting that homosexuality is not as big of an issue as modern day Christians make it, because it is addressed relatively little in comparison to other issues in Scripture. But this is like saying that prostate cancer isn’t as big of a deal as breast cancer because it doesn’t have as big of an awareness month, one that prompts NFL players to wear hot pink highlighted uniforms and people to wear faddy bracelets.

The fact is that it is discussed in Scripture, (homosexuality that is), which makes it important. And when it is discussed, it is identified as sinful. The reason it isn’t discussed more is, arguably, because of the culture in which the Bible was written, specifically the New Testament Gospels. It’s not unreasonable to suggest that homosexuality wasn’t as big of an issue in ancient Jerusalem, the holiest place in the world at that time and the place that Jesus performed most of his ministry and made most of his claims, as it is today. Rape isn’t densely refuted by Jesus either, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t wrong.

Thus the statement, “Jesus never said anything about homosexuality, so it must be okay” is a weak and misguided argument.

It is also important to know that Jesus essentially did talk about homosexuality. The Bible describes him as the “Word of God made flesh” (John 1:14), and so anything that is included in Scripture is verified by Jesus. He was the living embodiment of every word of every claim of the Bible. And so if the Bible speaks against homosexuality even once, then Jesus essentially, by virtue of his nature, talked about it.

As for the rest of his article, he seems to argue from ignorance. That is, his argument is, “I’ve personally polled some scholars and commentaries and some of them say that we can’t really know the context of these passages that include language forbidding homosexuality. So, we shouldn’t forbid it without knowing the cultural implications of the day.”

This is a poor reason to refute something out of hand. He is taking shaky evidence and making what he believes is an irrefutable claim. That’s poor debate etiquette. 

Do you believe that people are born gay (is it a choice or a predisposition)?

This is honestly a tough question for me to answer. I think everyone is born with certain traits amplified and/or dampened down due to conditions in the womb/external environment, so I can’t say for certain that it’s a predisposition. At the same time, I am fairly confident in saying that it’s not a choice either. I guess I would need to see more research on the matter before I committed to saying it’s a predisposition.

Author’s Note (this is an edited excerpt from a previous blog): 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 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 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.” This isn’t to say that homosexuality is on par with rape, only that a sin is a sin, and the tiniest sin is enough to separate man from God.

Do you think, from what you know about Christianity, that a person can be a Christian and live an openly homosexual lifestyle?

I think it is possible for someone to be Christian and a homosexual at the same time, yes. God created everyone the way they are for a reason, and whatever that reason is, only God knows. It’s impossible for me to say it’s a sin, because so many things that we do today are. Our culture and society is vastly different than the one that is written and talked about in the Bible. I think someone’s relationship with God, is just that. Their relationship. It isn’t up to you or I to pass judgement on the way they reach out to God.

Author’s Note (this is an edited excerpt from a previous blog): It is interesting that someone would desire to remain associated to Christianity if he also desires to refute some of its basic claims. I say this not against Matt, but to many celebrities, such as Macklemore, who attempt to do so.

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?


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.

Is there anything else that you would like to say or add that wasn’t included in this interview?

I just want to say that there will never be a time, no matter what happens, that I would actively hate someone for the beliefs they hold, or the religion that they practice. We are all immensely more complicated than these few social issues that bring out the worst in some people.

I will always be willing to rationally discuss and debate anything with someone as long as I am afforded the same courtesy. Which is why I like you so much Jared!  You are one of the few people I am still friends with where we don’t get into some heated screaming match over who’s right and who’s wrong.

Author’s Note: I believe that Matt is on to something here, and that even those that disagree with his lifestyle can learn from it. Christians should never actively hate people because they disagree with them. This is both counterproductive and unchristian. Jesus never hated those that disagreed with him. In fact, while hanging on the cross, he prayed for them. We may believe that they are separated from God, but hating them doesn’t advance the gospel. Our job is to share the truth, to share it in love, and to hope that God uses our efforts to save them and lead them to eternal life in Christ.

Final Note: I usually put the phrase “same sex marriage” in quotations, because I believe the term to be oxymoronic. That is, I believe it is on par with saying, “squared circle.” In this interview the term shows up from time to time without the quotations because it is included in Matt’s answers, and he doesn’t view it that way.

Picture Credit


Crossing-Fingers-copyOn March 30 an article appeared in the Odessa American entitled, “The Meaning of Equality,” in which I argued for the “traditional” definition of marriage. To this a reader responded by submitting a letter to the editor, which appeared in the April 14 edition of the Odessa American with what I consider largely an ad hominem response, an argument that is against the debater instead of the issue being debated. With this said, there were some statements in the letter that deserve a response, if not for any reason except that believers need to know that we have a justified place in the arena of debate, so long as we enter that arena with love and not malice.

The individual’s letter can be read here: Letter to the Editor

While I could spend my time answering and responding to a variety of things in the letter, I felt that my time would be best spent respectively responding to the individual’s final sentence, which essentially outlines one of the foundational differences between the two of us. I am accused of “circular reasoning” essentially because I am a Christian, although my article doesn’t quote or refer to the Christian faith in any capacity. It argues for what is known as the traditional definition of marriage, which defines marriage as being between one man and one woman, which, while is certainly a Christian belief, is not solely restricted to this faith. In fact, many argue in favor of this traditional definition of marriage without citing the Bible, the source for Christian beliefs, at all.

The best example is the book, What is Marriage, written by Sherif Girgis, Ryan Anderson, and Robert George.

The fact that this is indeed the traditional definition of marriage is obvious in the fact that the Supreme Court is currently considering redefining it to include other integers. If it were not the traditional standard, then there would be no current debate. My argument is simply that marriage, by traditional definition, is between one man and one woman and that to change that definition is to change the meaning of marriage, causing it to become something entirely different.

The following comprises my response that I plan to submit to the Odessa American for this weekend. My hope is that readers will see that there is such a thing as truth, that it should dictate what we believe about life, and that we can unapologetically communicate it with confidence and love.

“I always lie.”

This is a curious statement. Another way of saying it is, “The truth is that I never tell the truth.” Therefore to say this is to tell the truth, thus making the statement, “I always lie” false. This is because the statement is fundamentally self-defeating. It doesn’t pass it’s own test. The pathological liar cannot describe his incessant lying without lying about lying, thereby telling the truth.

The same principle applies to a statement written by a reader in response to my March 30 article, “The Meaning of Equality.” In a letter written to the editor, a reader writes, “Let’s not assume something to be true unless it’s proven to be so.” This is a statement that essentially suggests that truth doesn’t exist unless it passes a “truth test.” It must be “proven to be so.” However, this statement is itself a truth claim, and an “untested” one at that. It suggests that, “The untested truth is that truth claims should not be believed unless they pass a test.”

Therefore, allegedly every other truth needs to be proven true, except for this particular statement.

This reveals that this statement is fundamentally inaccurate. It is a self-defeating statement that, like our imaginary pathological liar’s claim, fails its own test. It also reveals that there is such a thing as stand-alone truth outside of it being “proven to be so.” In epistemology, the branch of philosophy that deals with the nature of knowledge, this is called a priori knowledge. A priori is Latin for “from what is before,” and suggests that there are things that people just know to be true without the need to be “proven so.” They are known ‘prior to’ experience or some other test for truth.

This is a foundational principle and to deny its existence is to commit epistemological suicide.

Another way of analyzing the aforementioned statement is to consider by what standard a truth claim is tested. To argue that truth doesn’t exist unless it’s proven to be so is to suggest that there is some standard of measurement that will determine whether the potential truth is either true or false. But from where does this standard derive? Has it itself been tested? If so, by what standard of measurement? Is it, as some might say, by popular opinion? Did the earth used to be flat because it was what the majority believed? Of course not. It was spherical all along. Even if the whole world, by popular opinion, believes something it doesn’t mean that it is true.

This is because beliefs do not dictate truth. Instead, truth should dictate beliefs. People are either right or wrong about what they believe based on if it is true or not.

Allow me to illustrate.

For the past few weeks a story has decorated the social networks concerning a doctor named Kermit Gosnell who is on trial for eight counts of murder, (although it should be a great many more). In a documentary about the story entitled “3801 Lancaster” (3801lancaster.com), we learn that Dr. Gosnell not only aborted the lives of thousands of babies, but that some of the abortions took place after full-term. Moreover, Dr. Gosnell collected pieces of these babies as his personal trophies.

Dr. Gosnell’s practices do not need to be tested to “prove” they are morally wrong. Instead, there is a transcendent standard of truth that tells us that it is absolutely wrong to snip the spinal cord to a baby and to collect, as a personal accolade, his feet in a jar.

This is because there is a moral standard of truth that does not need to be tested and this standard is not determined by popular opinion, nor does it bend by cultural epochs. It is an unchanging principle that was superimposed onto the heart of man by, in my conviction, the hand of God. And this is but one of many available examples.

We have “the work of the Law written on our hearts, our conscience bearing witness and our thoughts alternately accusing or defending others,” as Paul writes (Rom 2:15).

To the reader I quoted, I want to say thank you for both reading and taking time to respond to my article.

Picture Credit


“If you vote for Obama, you are not a Christian.”

This is a post I read recently on a social networking site. Like a flame to a parched forest, the comment sparked a fiery response. While I personally feel that the comment is unfounded, I would be lying if I said that I have never wondered how a Christian can knowingly support unchristian principles, especially in the context of something as important as the presidential election. While I would not feel comfortable making the statement at the top of this article, it seems to proceed from the same mentality.

The question on the table is: Can a Christian vote for Obama? Another way of asking the question is: If an individual who touts Christianity votes for Obama, does that reveal that that individual is actually not a Christian? In order to answer this question, we must dissect the statement’s suppositions and provide a biblical standard by which each supposition is measured.


To determine whether Barack Obama is a Christian, we must first identify what Christianity is. In the simplest definition, Christianity is confessing Jesus as the Messiah, believing that he died for the sins of the world, was raised on the third day, that he is the only way to the Father, and is coming back again (John 3:16; 14:6; Acts 1:11-12). Of course there is a lot more we can include in this simple definition, but this captures the basic tenets of the faith.

Barack Obama has, on many occasions, claimed that he is a Christian. He has also claimed, however, that Jesus is not the only way to heaven, a statement that diametrically opposes one of the foundational tenets of Christianity. He has said that Jesus is the “only way for me,” but he has also said that people of all faiths know the same god.[1]

The question therefore becomes: Does believing that Jesus is one of many ways, even if he is the way that you personally choose, result in genuine Christianity? Biblically, the answer is “no.” This is not the kind of saving faith the scriptures tout. Jesus never said, “Follow whatever god you personally choose, but they are all essentially the same.” He said, “Follow me” (Matt 16:24). Moreover, idolatry (worshipping other gods) is one of the most detailed sins in Scripture. It is the first commandment: “You shall have no other gods before me” (Ex 20:3). God makes it clear that he alone is God and anything else is an aberration. Therefore, believing that Jesus is just one way of many is not the kind of faith he requires. He never suggested that he is one of a variety of ways; he said that he is “the way.”

Therefore, if Barack Obama indeed believes that Jesus is one of many ways, even if he personally chooses him as “his way,” then he is not a Christian in the biblical sense of the term. It is a gross manipulation of the Son of God.


Modern-day elections for the President of the United States offer two formidable candidates. There is a Republican candidate and a Democratic candidate. In most cases, each candidate states that he is a Christian, but we have already seen that claiming Christianity doesn’t necessarily result in genuine Christianity anymore than walking into a kitchen makes you a chef. It’s not what one claims, but if one’s beliefs align with Scripture that reveals genuine Christianity.

This year’s two candidates are Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. If Obama believes what he says (that Jesus is one of many ways), then he is not a genuine Christian according to Scripture. Romney has been very adamant about his Mormon faith. Mormonism is not another denomination of Christianity; it is a manipulation of it. (For more on mormonism, I recommend this link: http://carm.org/mormonism)

While Mormans use the same terminology Christians use, they do not have the same meanings. Many evangelicals have long stated that Mormonism is a cult. Some evangelical organizations have since removed that status due to this election [2], but it doesn’t suggest that Mormonism is, in the least, a branch of Christianity. It just means that evangelicals are acting unethical and compromising their Christian beliefs, which coincidentally proves the point of this article (that Christians can make poor decisions and still be Christians).

Therefore, we arguably have two non-Christian candidates to vote for in this year’s election. I don’t think that it would be too much to assume that our original statement suggests that Christians should instead vote for Romney, but Romney isn’t any more of a Christian than Obama. Paul makes it very clear that people are either slaves to sin or slaves to righteousness (Rom 6). A slave to sin is someone who doesn’t confess Christ. A slave to righteousness is someone who does confess Christ. It’s that simple. Lost people, therefore, are lost people. Whether one manipulates Christianity by suggesting that Jesus is one of many ways or by creating an entirely new religion founded on Christian roots, but too far left to still be considered Christian, both are lost. There is no level of “lostness.”

Therefore, if Christians cannot vote for a non-Christian, as our original statement supposes, then we find ourselves in a very difficult position for a very important election. Christians, however, have a responsibility to vote according to Romans 13, even when we do not have the option of choosing a Christian candidate.

Moreover, it is important to understand that the president of the United States is not a religious leader. Richard Land aptly notes that the last thing we want is government sponsored religion; “it would be like being hugged by a boa constrictor.” [3]  We are not voting for a pastor; we are voting for a president. Even if we do not have a Christian candidate, however, we can vote for the candidate that best represents Christian standards because God’s standards are the best standards.

In light of this, the choice for the 2012 election is clear. Two of the most moral issues in politics are life and marriage. One candidate supports “homosexual marriage” and is pro-choice. The other supports “traditional” marriage between one man and one woman and is pro-life. Since God created “traditional” marriage and since God is pro-life, it is obvious which candidate best represents biblical morality.


The final supposition of our original statement is that our Christianity is based on what we do. Another way of saying this is that our works determine our faith. This supposition is based on  the notion that who we vote for determines our faith. If we make the good choice (not Obama in this case) then we are Christian. If we make the poor choice (Obama in this case) then we are not Christian.

It is important to understand that Christianity is not based on what we do, but on what God did through His Son Jesus. The definition posed earlier purports this perfectly. There is nothing about being a Christian that is based on what we do (minus your faith in Jesus, which is an unearned gift of God according to Eph 2:8-9). Everything about Christianity is based on what Jesus did. Therefore, it is unbiblical to suggest that your vote for the 2012 election for the president of the United States of America determines whether or not you are a Christian. It may reflect the maturity of your faith, but it certainly doesn’t determine the custody of it.

While your works do not determine your Christianity, your Christianity should determine your works. That is, when a Christian is given the responsibility to cast a vote between two individuals, and when one of those individuals is vehemently against biblical morality and the other individual is in favor of biblical morality, the choice for the Christian should be as clear as the Bahamian waters on a crisp, summer day. Vote for biblical morality.

After dissecting the original statement it becomes clear that while a Christian can vote for Obama, a Christian shouldn’t vote for Obama. That is, if you remotely care about what the scriptures teach on issues such as life, marriage, freedom, and the pursuit of happiness, vote for the candidate that best represents God’s standards. In  my opinion, the choice is clear.



[3]Richard Land, The Divided States of America, (Dallas: Thomas Nelson, 2007).

Picture Credit