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February 09, 2012

Comments

It must be less than encouraging to homosexuals (and hopefully heterosexuals too) to learn that questions like "Can we be friends with homosexuals?" are still on the table of serious discussion in certain communities.

While I believe its possible and
biblically permissible for Christians to have unbelieving friends your unbelieving friends should not be your only friends.

Can you be friends with sinners and tax collectors? I thought that was answered years ago...

A slightly more difficult question: what of professing Christians who have become convinced (I would say deceived) that loving, monogamous relationships are actually not sinful? Does it make a difference whether they are straight, or if they are in same-sex relationships that fit within their (I would say flawed) understanding of holy sexuality? There seem to be a lot of people in that boat either way.

The latter part of this post is something that has been a huge struggle for me in the last couple years. My sister is both openly and unrepentently dating another woman, and she also believes herself to be a Christian. As Neo mentioned above, she, like many others, has convinced herself that there is nothing sinful about it. Though I obviously believe her to be mistaken, my question is what to do?

That verse is incredibly hard for me because it seems to say that as long as my sister bears the title of" Christian," I should not associate with her.

Hi Austin,
I'm sorry for your situation.
I was going to write out my interpretation and application of this warning but have decided not to.
May God bless you and guide you as you struggle with it.

Malebranche, just curious if the following questions would also be less than encouraging to the associated categories of folk: "Can we be friends with Nazis?" "Can we be friends with wife-beaters?" "Can we be friends with liars?" The point is that homosexuals, just like those mentioned above, are living in sin and, as such, carry a kind of influence that can be damaging to others, especially the young and impressionable. My answer would be that, yes, we can be friends with any and all of the above; but I'm wondering, why the special treatment for practitioners of one kind of sin? It seems to me that true love for those souls is to, among other things, lovingly point out the error of their ways - regardless of the type of tangle they are in - so that the road to healing begins.

God blesses us when we shun or ban those living in willful sin. Especially if they are of our own family.

The church will grow out of this belief when the current generation of youth grows up to lead it. They live in a world that doesn't take ancient texts at face value when they condemn actions like homosexuality-- and they do do for a reason.

Rather, they are more scientific in their approach, and have actually gotten to KNOW the subjects of the matter, homosexuals, and realized they are like every one of us in every way, shape, and form, except whom they happen to be attracted to and are capable of forming loving relationships with. When you realize that your neighbor next door was gay -- and you didn't know it, when you realize your elementary teacher was gay -- and you didn't know it; when you realize your older brother is gay, and you never would have guessed it -- all because these are happy, loving, supportive, faithful, excellent human beings who do not define themselves by that label, nor act in any way different from you or I that is IMMORAL (and BEING born something categorically cannot be immoral), then you will realize how silly it is to say that it is immoral, only because you read it somewhere in a book. Just for a second imagine that you were terribly mistaken, and that you got it all wrong --- then suddenly, everything makes a whole lot more sense. You aren't giving up the faith by doing this. You're just realizing you were wrong on one issue -- and it wouldn't be the first time that happened either.

Austin,

Consider the possibility that Paul was just another guy and if it comes to it, I hope you'll choose your sister.

RonH

You may get flamed or trolled for what you say Bob. But you're right, change is sweeping fast. The church will grow out of this belief when the current generation of youth grows up to lead it. Just as when racism began to evaporate the same way.

If you take a stand against homosexuality, you are letting your light shine.

If you are mollycoddling them, you are denying Christ. You are complicit in their sin and are helping in their damnation.

Bob,

>>The church will grow out of this belief when the current generation of youth grows up to lead it. They live in a world that doesn't take ancient texts at face value when they condemn actions like homosexuality-- and they do do for a reason.”

Are you part of a church that takes Paul’s writings seriously?

That said, I see no reason to consult our youth for moral guidance on anything. In fact when I see graffiti smeared on the side of building, I know it was probably youth. Youth tend to be less wise than the average adult. So what?

Positions should be defended without a need to appeal to our ‘tolerant youth’.

Finally, you’re claiming homosexual activity should be looked upon with moral indifference because…homosexuals may live in my neighborhood? They may teach my children? How is that supposed to be convincing?

KWM,

Finally, you’re claiming homosexual activity should be looked upon with moral indifference because…homosexuals may live in my neighborhood?

I don't think that is being claimed.

RonH

"You may get flamed or trolled for what you say Bob. But you're right, change is sweeping fast."
Says the troll striking his match.

The church was supposed to be on the verge of doing a lot of things.
http://www.christianaction.org.za/newsletter_uca/uca-artic_greatestmovement.htm

"I don't think that is being claimed."

Well, what is being claimed then? Why did Bob go into such a dramatic editorial?

"Finally, you’re claiming homosexual activity should be looked upon with moral indifference because…homosexuals may live in my neighborhood?"

This was not the argument Brad. Read it again.

"Just as when racism began to evaporate the same way."

The Christian church has never been ultimately responsible for racism, quite the contrary. I'd be interested Josh, to know which doctrine the Christian church has historically held that endorsed "racism", and at which council, synod, or other ecumenical gathering was it discussed and held to be anethema that lead to its evaporation?

"The Christian church has never been ultimately responsible for racism, quite the contrary. I'd be interested Josh, to know which doctrine the Christian church has historically held that endorsed "racism", and at which council, synod, or other ecumenical gathering was it discussed and held to be anethema that lead to its evaporation?"

I never meant to imply that the church was responsible for racism.
There have been Christians on both sides of that. I only meant that it is empathy that leads to the breaking down of these types of barriers. Racism begins to decline when people begin to socialize and identify with each other. Same with homosexuals. The more the younger generation hangs out with and is exposed to people they are different from. The more they will begin to accept them.

So Josh, you are equating homosexual behavior with race?

Bob also said this:

"(and BEING born something categorically cannot be immoral)"

When and where has this been all of a sudden proven. I see it written about, hear it commented on, and even hear it sang about, but have yet to see any proof that this behavior is genetic like race is.

"So Josh, you are equating homosexual behavior with race?"

ONLY in the sense that we can feel empathy for groups of people that are different from us through exposure and can learn to coexist and except them. I predicted as did Bob that this will happen more and more. I used racism as an example. Think less about genetics and more about in-group vs out-group thinking and game theory.

There are some good indications that genetics has something to do with homosexuality though. But even if it can't be demonstrated in a lab. We don't need that to give respect to the position that they are "born that way."
After all, when did you choose to be straight? When did I choose to have a foot fetish? Gee. I haven't a clue.

Not to mention we observe it in many other species.

So which is it? You are hedging by arguing both sides.

"There are some good indications that genetics has something to do with homosexuality though. But even if it can't be demonstrated in a lab. We don't need that to give respect to the position that they are "born that way."

Not really, I dont have any reasons to respect "born that way".

Here are plenty of good articles that compel me to disregard "born that way"

"Not to mention we observe it in many other species"

What exactly do we observe in many other species. Males humping on others in dominance[?] or meaningful monogomous [or to use Bobs words] "all because these are happy, loving, supportive, faithful"?

"So which is it? You are hedging by arguing both sides."

No, not really. You kept misunderstanding me so I had to explain. You brought up genetics so I commented. I have never seen you concede any disagreement on this board Brad. Care to do me a solid and admit that my first point is valid?

More than humping.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/07/0722_040722_gayanimal.html

Which valid point are you referring to? The url doens't go through for me, what is it concerning?

"Which valid point are you referring to? The url doens't go through for me, what is it concerning?"

The one you kept misunderstanding and kept hounding me about?

" I only meant that it is empathy that leads to the breaking down of these types of barriers. Racism begins to decline when people begin to socialize and identify with each other. Same with homosexuals. The more the younger generation hangs out with and is exposed to people they are different from. The more they will begin to accept them."

Sheesh. Given the dwindling social capital that the Church wields in modern society, you'd think we'd learn to quit riding some of these issues. If we went and counted posts in the archive, how many do you think we'd find that deal with homosexuality, versus, say, our duty to care for widows and orphans, tend to the sick, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, comfort our brothers in prison, and so on? How about hammering on some social issues that don't involve genitals, just to change it up? Not saying "quit having an opinion on sex", but... there are other things to talk about. Things we could *do something about* much more effectively.

It’s a simple cost-benefit analysis. You can keep your faith or you can keep your friends and family. You pick.

You can think or you can blindly accept your religion’s position on homosexuality even though it just doesn’t feel right. You pick.

Bennett:

Two thumbs up on that last comment. It's hard to imagine that homosexuality is really near the top of the list of issues that humanity faces.

I'll give my two thumbs up to Bennett too. Most of the younger generation are not (or else very soon will not be) nearly as frightened at the prospect of same-sex marriage or homosexuality having a public visibility as the older folks are. Most of the younger folks don't believe all the predictions of doom one regularly hears the older evangelicals confidently say will accompany these social changes. I think the reason this issue gets so much ink with some evangelicals is because they view it as a sign of their diminishing cultural power, an omen that many of their views are on their way to becoming just as irrelevant in society as they became long ago in the university.

I don’t mean to be uncharitable, but there’s nothing remarkable about Bennett’s post. The reason those issues tend not to be discussed as much is because, for the most part, there is sound agreement on those issues. That’s usually how things work in the real world. The issues that are discussed most are the issues with the most disagreement.

I agree, KWM, on the disagreement.
Also, this happens to be a series that Alan is doing so there will be several postings in a row.
This is also a blog, which tends to catch topics that are "in the air". When Dawkins publishes his name comes up. When lunch-time talk shows prove we've found another human ancestor, the topic is often evolution.

Rarely do I see picketers protesting against feeding the homeless, caring for AIDS victims, reaching out to pregnant teens, drilling wells in Africa, spreading literacy, etc., so those issues don't often illicit blog posts or popular discussions.

*elicit*
My fingers don't always hear my brain correctly.

I’m not sure if Bob is gone. I’ll ask the question again. Is there anyone here that takes Paul’s writings seriously, yet believes we should look at homosexual activity with moral indifference?

A second question would be; are there any sexual activities that have moral consequences as it relates to Christianity? If so, why?

KWM,

I take Paul's writings seriously, and I would also hold that it's quite possible, in our day and age, to look at homosexual activity with indifference. We're in a completely different psychosexual context. Bear in mind Paul's missive that you must not "cause your younger brother to stumble" by doing things that might give him scandal. The "arsenoi" and "women who exchange the natural role" to whom he referred may or may not have been what we would nowadays call "born homosexuals." They had no Sexual Revolution (which told us that sex is just for fun and should be free of consequence) then, nor any 1940's psychological taxonomy (which started the idea of 'sexual identity' a previously unknown concept--prior to that, people's sex lives didn't get classified, they just did what they did, a more enlightened attitude if you ask me), nor the post 19th century conflation of love, marriage, and sex (how would we, I wonder, look upon marrying to 'keep a bloodline going' or 'secure property'?). People had a different view of the purpose of things, one that we haven't really disproven--only dismantled.

(I'll throw in another note here, which is unrelated to any moral judgement on sexual orientation per se, but if you think someone's life is ruined because they can't have sex with someone, that's really denigrating to them as a person. And if you think it of yourself--get a hobby or something. It's quite possible to have loving relationships with others and not get into bed with them. Another post-60's social construct we could do without is this whole sex uber alles obsession--a mostly American problem.)

Back then, it's quite plausible that they had no concept of a person being "naturally" gay. And it's also possible that they were right, and we are wrong. I have "natural" urges all the time that'd get me into trouble if I followed them. Sometimes people had gay sex, but that didn't make *them* gay. This notion that you have to be "gay" "straight" or "confused" is pretty novel, and doesn't line up with reality too well, especially in light of Kinsey or other studies which show a continuum of preferences, with multiple influences, which even shifts over a person's lifetime. A person may go through, say, a 'phase' for reasons quite unrelated to some "basic true selfhood" and then it's past. Happens a lot in all-girl or all-boy schools. They've even got funny names for it.

Now, as to the folks Paul mentions. There are, and always have been, men who will prostitute themselves to other men, despite having no sexual interest in men generally. That's a fairly close definition to what Paul was talking about with the Corinthians. I've also known more than a couple women are are lesbians because, frankly, they're misandryists, and that's the option left available to them. Did he mean that kind of homosexuality, which is obviously not based in love or virtue, or just a blanket condemnation of the whole thing? Bear in mind, nobody back then was "naturally gay"--didn't even have a term for it. Your nice polite neighbor with the nice polite boyfriend, he didn't exist. Male-male relations looked a lot more like they do in modern prisons than in modern suburbs. Why on earth would he (or anyone) smile on that? And given that he's writing to a particular audience (thus titling it "Letter to the Church at Corinth") why assume that every single point goes out to everyone for all time? Do "Aquila and Priscilla greet [us] warmly in the Lord" despite having been departed from some millenia (that one's possible, I'll grant, based on communion of saints, but not really a big doctrinal point in itself)? Should we greet one another in Church with a "holy kiss", despite the change in social mores?

If you've got a couple of guys who are loving, kind, monogamous, devoted to their neighbors and church, and generally exemplify virtues of humility, decency, etc., then I fail to see that the harm in their union (being childless) outweighs the benefits. On the other hand, if you've got the gay men who frequented the college gym I used to attend, who spend every waking hour pumping, primping, and priming, either chasing tail or trying to get theirs chased, then obviously you've got a different story. But there's heterosexual womanizers who are absolutely no better--and often much worse. At least the gay guys were upfront about what they wanted, and why, many womanizers will spill a complete line of BS to deceive and manipulate a woman.

So yes, I do take Paul seriously, but I also view homosexuality with... maybe not quite "indifference", but certainly not total certitude either.

Also, to Daron, et al.,

I realize homosexuality is more controversial than feeing the homeless. I also realize that everyone I know at my church knows at least one gay or lesbian person, but most of them couldn't name a single homeless person they've ever spoken to, much less helped in any material or spiritual way. They just leave it to the government. (And if we can just get gay marriage outlawed, we can leave that to them too, right?)

I think that if that *isn't* a scandal in the church, then it *should* be.

I enjoyed reading Bennett’s comments about Paul and homosexuality. Comments like those make me wonder what whether a good theology of divine accommodation could be of help here. Maimonides, for example, thought that the cult of animal sacrifice in the Jewish Bible was an instance of divine accommodation. He writes,

At that time the generally accepted custom all the world over, and the common method of worship in which we ourselves had grown up, was to offer sacrifices of various animals in those temples in which the statues had been placed, to prostrate oneself before them, and to burn incense before them. The religious and godly men of that time were those who dedicated themselves to service in those temples which had been erected for the stars, as we have related. This being so, God’s wisdom and subtlety, evident in all His creation, did not decree that He should proclaim in His law a complete ban on all these kinds of worship, and their abolition. It would in those days have been quite inconceivable that such a thing should have been accepted, seeing human nature is always happy only with that to which it is accustomed…For this reason God permitted those methods of worship to continue, but instead of their being directed to created beings and figments of the imagination devoid of any reality, He caused them to be directed to Himself and enjoined us to carry them on in His name…By this subtle disposition on the part of God the very memory of idolatry was in course of time wiped off the earth. The essential and real principle of our faith, the existence of Unity of God, was thus established without people being shocked and dismayed by the abolition of the forms of worship to which they had been accustomed…(Maimonides, Guide of the Perplexed, III . XXXII)

Here we see Maimonides saying that for the sake of humanity God didn’t abolish the barbaric practices all at once, but made accommodations to them and worked gradually to accomplish his purposes. Even Jesus himself endorsed some sort of theology of divine accommodation. We read the following in Matthew 19:

When Jesus had finished saying these things, he left Galilee and went into the region of Judea to the other side of the Jordan. Large crowds followed him, and he healed them there. Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?” “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” “Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?” Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

I don’t bring this text up to raise a bunch of moral questions about the ethics of divorce. The point is rather that Jesus is teaching that God sometimes judges that, in light of the condition of the humans he is working with, it is best to permit, sometimes for a significant period of time, a departure from the moral ideal. It is sometimes best, in other words, to not vigorously insist on a ban on any behavior or lifestyle that departs from God's moral ideal, but instead to make accommodations that fall short of that ideal for the sake of the good of humanity.

What is the relevance of this? The point is just that by Jesus’ own testimony we know that the following inference is bad:

(1) When humans in place P and time T engage in lifestyle X, they depart, perhaps even significantly, from God’s moral ideal.
(2) Therefore, God’s all-things-considered judgment is that humans in place P and time T ought to be categorically banned from engaging in lifestyle X.

In the case of divorce, it seems that according to Jesus we have a case (the Israelites in Moses' day) where premise (1) is true but step (2) is false. Though divorce did depart from the ideal, God’s all-things-considered judgment was not that the ancient Israelites ought to be banned from it. Lets call cases where premise (1) is true but step (2) is false “Divine Accommodation Cases.”

To show that the divine ban on divorce holds, therefore, in addition to the premise about departing from the moral ideal, we also need to know that we are not dealing with a divine accommodation case. Similarly, with respect to monogamous, faithful, lifelong homosexual relationships, we need not only to know that they depart from God’s moral ideal (something I think is not obvious), but we must also know that we are not dealing with a divine accommodation case, since if we do not know this, we will not be confident that a divine ban on such homosexual lifestyles presently obtains. Furthermore, given how entrenched some people’s desires for same-sex romantic relationships seem to be, and given that there is sometimes no obvious harm involved in such relationships outweighing the harm sometimes involved in refraining from such relationships, it doesn’t strike me as implausible that this is a good candidate for a divine accommodation case. I am not claiming to be able to prove this; I’m not even claiming to know it. But I certainly don’t take myself to know that it is false.


Hi Bennett,
I have just started reading your response to KWM and have stopped to make a note about your reference to Kinsey.
I have enjoyed your brief comments previously on junk science promoted without data, and would caution you to look into Kinsey before accepting his junk science.
I am not trying argue any points by raising this caution, only taking the opportunity to point out that Kinsey should probably not be used as an authority. Any social changes based on his work are likely based on sham science.

Mal,

Excellent points! I was also thinking about kosher diet laws, in the modern day. Many Jews keep them, well, religiously. Others somewhat loosely, and others not at all. They recognize it as being the 'ideal', but also have the good sense not to make a mountain out of a theological molehill.

I think that's what you're getting at with the Divine Accommodation. God has to set priorities. In this case, I think it's reasonable to suppose that a loving, genuine relationship is at least tolerable, even though it does not follow the "natural course" of child-production. The principle of love, in the Christian ethic, is the highest, and would reasonably supercede the principle of "follow nature."

It's pretty clear that when sexual behavior is motivated by selfishness, duplicity, and an indifference to the well-being of others (say in cases of cheating on a spouse, or wanton promiscuity, or using sex for ulterior motives such as getting a promotion), then it is harmful and immoral. That sort of behavior is clearly and demonstrably out of line with the character of Christian ethics.

On the other hand, when you're talking about Elton John and his life-partner? C'mon. That's the proverbial mote in your neighbor's eye, at that point.

And let's not strain at gnats while swallowing a camel, either. Look at the divorce rate in the Church. Look at all the unloving, disharmonious marriages we have between heterosexuals.

I agree that lifelong, loving, fruitful union is the ideal, but we'd do a lot more to improve on the institution of marriage by producing more "Fireproof" movies and making it a big social issue to love, honor, and respect our partner the way Christ loved the Church. Or just being more loving in general. If we put the same energy and thought into that as we do into worrying about whether it's "okay to have gay friends", I think if we make the ideal more attractive, and help one another to achieve it, and most importantly we'd do more good on the whole for everyone.

After all, we could very well be wrong about homosexuality, but loving and honoring our spouses? Raising children in a safe and virtuous home? Preaching constantly on the values of charity and putting others before ourselves? Against those things, there is no law.

Wow. Sometimes I re-read these things and wonder if I develop brief cases of dyslexia when I type. Sorry for the rambleys.

Daron,

Good point about Kinsey. You're right to be skeptical of him--and if you want me to be totally blunt (and knowing you, ya do ;) ) I think he was a sexual degenerate with an axe to grind, in many respects. That's just my opinion, tho'. That doesn't, however, mean he was totally wrong about everything. There is sufficient evidence to believe that he was right about there being a continuum of sexual desires (you probably have heard comedian Ron White's little riff on this subject; there's more a bit of truth to his jest). He's also demonstrably right that these desires do ebb and flow through one's life.

Now, Kinsey said a whole bunch of other sketchy stuff, and did some even sketchier stuff in his time, so I don't exactly want the guy moving into my neighborhood or used as the central pillar of reproductive biology. But he did discover some stuff which is reasonable and demonstrable, and that's all I meant to highlight.

Bennett,

I also realize that everyone I know at my church knows at least one gay or lesbian person, but most of them couldn't name a single homeless person they've ever spoken to, much less helped in any material or spiritual way. They just leave it to the government. (And if we can just get gay marriage outlawed, we can leave that to them too, right?)

I think that if that *isn't* a scandal in the church, then it *should* be.


A scandal? Indeed. But I can't name the homeless people I have helped, either. A lot of that help comes from the church coffers, of course. Neither, I'm sure, can the kids from our church who go every Friday night out on the streets to give them sandwiches. Maybe they can though, because they see some of the same guys every week. I never meet the people that get food hampers, either, or fed at the mission.
Maybe this says something about my spirituality that I wouldn't like, but it is a far cry from depending on the government to do it for me .... even though they are already taking my money for just that purpose - at far greater than a tithe at that.

As I alluded to above, people are being fed around the world, getting access to clean water, and being taught to read, primarily thanks to Christian missions, not government.
And when people point at America to scorn its foreign aid they forget that the private citizens send far more money to charity than the government ever does.

As a connected point, though not a direct refutation, here's a thought on government versus private giving:

The book, titled "Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism" (Basic Books, $26), is due for release Nov. 24.

When it comes to helping the needy, Brooks writes: "For too long, liberals have been claiming they are the most virtuous members of American society. Although they usually give less to charity, they have nevertheless lambasted conservatives for their callousness in the face of social injustice."

...
Conversely, secular liberals who believe fervently in government entitlement programs give far less to charity. They want everyone's tax dollars to support charitable causes and are reluctant to write checks to those causes, even when governments don't provide them with enough money.
...
Still, he says it forcefully, pointing out that liberals give less than conservatives in every way imaginable, including volunteer hours and donated blood.

Also:

1) Religious observers (only 38 percent of all Americans) donate two-thirds of all charitable dollars in the United States,

2) Religious observers (those who attend weekly services) donate 3.4 percent of income annually, while nonreligious people give 1.1 percent to 1.4 percent,

3) Households that donate to both religious congregations and secular organizations donate over three times ($2,247) more than do households that donate to only secular organizations ($623) per year,

4) In a typical month, six out of every 10 U.S. adults donates money to a church or other nonprofit organization; three-fourths of all adults do so during the typical year. Twenty-six percent of adults who give money to a church also donated funds to religious nonprofits other than a church,

5) In 2001, Protestants in the United States donated an average of $1,093 to their churches in 2001. That figure was more than double the average amount given by Catholics to their churches, $495.8,

6) Among the 10 largest denominations in the United States, those whose churches receive support from the highest percentage of adherents are Presbyterian, Assemblies of God and Churches of Christ. The denominational churches that had the lowest proportions of attendees donating to the church were Episcopal, Pentecostal, and Baptist,

http:/www.zambian.com/bethel/orphanage-ministry-resources-online/html/charity-statistics.html


Thoughts from
Rodney Stark's Discovering God

Anyway, the results, cited from the research of Syracuse's Arthur Brooks tells us:
He found that people with strong religious beliefs are far more generous than unbelievers.

People who go to a worship service once or more a week give $2,210 to charity a year, while people who seldom or never attend average $642.

They also volunteer twice as much.

They even give more to secular causes than people with no religious faith!

No European country is in the same league as Americans when it comes to private giving:
"The closest nation, Spain, has average giving that is less than half that of the United States."

Americans are far more likely to volunteer, help a stranger, even give money back when given too much at the store.
"Religious people are, inarguably, more charitable in every measurable way."

But this is mostly off-track because your concern about people letting the government give instead of doing it themselves has nothing to do with the frequency of topics covered on a blog. This blog, for instance, seems primarily to exist for the purpose of showing the reasons for the faith, defending the worldview, and answering unreasonable charges.
Nobody seems too eager to mount irrational arguments against the Christian practice of charity and social justice. Therefore, there is not so much to answer there.

(And if we can just get gay marriage outlawed, we can leave that to them too, right?)
I think a more charitable view would be that people are honestly concerned that they speak for the proper ordering of society. In a hundred years there will be the equivalent of internet skeptics deriding Christians for not speaking up enough, for allowing abortion, for being party to premarital sex, etc., just as they now do about slavery and Nazism. The Christian has a duty to share God's word on the subject and warn people who are acting against it. We also have every right to vote according to our conscience on this and other matters, and to try to influence voters just as anyone else can.

One reason our youth might not be so concerned is because they have not seen the slipper slope of no-fault divorce, common-law marriage, abortion, etc., have not been the voice to speak against it, and have not been assured that the fears were misplaced.

Thanks for the Kinsey response.

Very good and agreeable comment, Malebranche.

Yours following it is also very good, Bennett.

But you are not talking about allowing two people to love and live with one another. I know a brother and sister who did so until his death. And my single friend with her mother until her death. That is not what the issue is about. Nobody has made this illegal.

What the SSM movement is doing, with a carefully thought-out legal strategy in mind, is asking that we not only accept it, but that we celebrate and reward it as though it is a marriage. But it is not a marriage.
Even if to marriage accrues certain benefits these can be achieved by other means, including civil unions.
But this is not enough, because we are supposed to call what is not a marriage a marriage.
And when it is called a marriage, what is the first thing that happens? A religious institution is targeted and sued because to honour this claim would be to violate their religious rights.

Please note that I specified a movement and not particular people.

I agree that lifelong, loving, fruitful union is the ideal, but we'd do a lot more to improve on the institution of marriage by producing more "Fireproof" movies and making it a big social issue to love, honor, and respect our partner the way Christ loved the Church. Or just being more loving in general. If we put the same energy and thought into that as we do into worrying about whether it's "okay to have gay friends", I think if we make the ideal more attractive, and help one another to achieve it, and most importantly we'd do more good on the whole for everyone.
There is no reason we can't do both. In my church I have not once heard a word said, from the pulpit or elsewhere, about homosexuality. But I have heard countless prayers for marriages and sermons on loving one another as Christ loves us. We have hosted many marriage seminars and and there are couples and family retreats, picnics, and events all the time.

But we also have the word of God that says homosexuality is a sin to contrast against a society which is ever more saying it is not. If we believe this to be the word of God then we are duty-bound to call from the watch-tower that all is not well.
And when people have honest questions, as in the OP, about how they are to respond, knowing this information, then we ought to put some time and energy into the exegetical aspect and give them an answer.

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