By Reggie Bridges, Pastor First Baptist Zachary
One of the most recognized principles in Christianity is commonly called the Golden Rule.
The term refers to Jesus’ words: “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:12 NIV).
Within this “rule,” Christ encapsulated the basic ethic of treating people with respect and compassion. A wonderful guide for our relationships, framed in a memorable way!
Since Jesus’ declaration, many individuals have appealed to the Golden Rule to inform their ethical conduct, but in recent days, the Lord’s words have been employed to justify public policy.
As you doubt know, President Obama announced his support for same-sex marriage recently in a news interview.
The President cited Scripture as the primary reason for his “evolution.” Which biblical passage did he refer to? You guessed it, The Golden Rule.
Somehow, the President made the interpretive leap from respect to acceptance. In his view, affirmation of the Golden Rule necessitates the approval of gay marriage.
This pseudo-biblical approach to the issue has delighted proponents of same-sex marriage.
For them, it is as though President Obama finally found the silver bullet of scripture that disproves the traditional view of marriage.
Consider David Gibson’s “objective” assessment of the President’s approach: “Obama has frequently mentioned the Golden Rule or that general idea when speaking about how his faith shapes his policies, and he can point to chapter and verse to back up his views” (“Obama: Golden Rule Guides Marriage Stance,” The Advocate, May 12, 2012).
Chapter and verse? The case must be settled, right? Well, maybe not the way President Obama would suggest.
The biblical witness offers us a clear and consistent view of homosexuality; it is sin (e.g. Leviticus 18:22; Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9). Even though cultural mores are evolving, the truth of His Word remains constant.
If homosexuality has been morally unacceptable to God, then it remains unacceptable to Him (even if the most powerful political figure in the world declares otherwise). Case closed!
So, one might ask, “How does the Golden Rule apply here?”
Certainly, I would agree with President Obama that the principle leads us to demonstrate respect and compassion for homosexuals and their families, but I disagree with his position that respect carries with it approval.
The Golden Rule actually encourages us to minister to those who are enslaved in a destructive lifestyle by proclaiming the forgiveness of Jesus Christ through faith and repentance.
We recognize the inherent value in each person and speak respectfully to their situation without accepting an immoral lifestyle. Indeed, we relate the truth in love.
I understand that the President is not the theologian-in-chief, and I often extend grace to presidents with whom I may disagree doctrinally.
However, when the President attempts to justify an immoral public policy based upon his biblical and/or political interpretation, I believe it is important for us to speak the truth respectfully.
We may find ourselves in the cultural minority, but do not forget the words that Jesus spoke immediately following the Golden Rule: “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matthew 7:13-14 NIV).