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There Am I Among Them - Same-sex Marriage

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There I Am Among Them, A WNCT Roundtable on Faith is a special 6 part series that takes a look at the hot topics of the day, viewed through the lens of faith.

A panel of 6 faith leaders from different sides on the religious spectrum shared their opinions and insight.

It's a hot-button issue that's traditionally divided us, same-sex marriage.

Many say, holy books describe marriage as between a man and a woman. Others say, the books show marriage as one man and several women, who should know their place, with homosexuality being a modern-day term to describe a long-standing way of life.

Regardless of your stance, same-sex marriage is quickly taking hold across the nation.

This summer, the Supreme Court sided with California's effort toward marriage equality and delivered a major blow to the Defense Of Marriage Act. And in the last 30 days, 2 more states have made it legal.

Though it's illegal in North Carolina, the efforts to change that are fast and furious.

As we continue our Roundtable on Fait, we drop the topic into the laps of our faith leaders. And the discussion did not disappoint.

“Let’s talk same sex marriage.  Let’s go ahead and go there,” host Jeff Varner said, kicking off the conversation.

“If we all have different views and our religions have different views, then the legislation shouldn’t say yes or no.  It should, we should have that choice, just like an abortion, same sex marriage whatever, we should have that choice. So if I don’t agree with it, I don’t have to do it,” reasoned Lay Leader Marsha Luhrs.

“If you don’t want the same sex marriage, don’t have one,” Rev. Mark Sandlin chimed in.

“In Genesis 2, God says, ya know what? Adam needs a partner. Adam needs someone ‘cause he can’t do it on his own. And so, God creates for him a woman, whose like him but different. So, to me it’s very clear that marriage and the fundamental framework for society is a man and a woman in committed marriage,” said Jason McKnight.

“I have a quote from the Quran; ‘Must you go lustfully to men instead of women, indeed you are the people who are deeply ignorant.’ This is in the Quran. It means not to hate the people, but this way of life. And we have in the Qoran and I’m sure in the Bible also the nation of Lot was destroyed because they were engaging in this practice,” explained Dr. Saeed Dar.

“I come away with the difference in, is talking about Sodom. Um, that’s the frequently one of the verses that a lot of people who are watching will be familiar with it, or frequently used to say that, you know, same sex relationships are wrong.  But the Bible itself says over and over again that the sin of Sodom was not feeding the homeless, not caring for the widows. Those were the sins.  That’s what it was destroyed for.  And so, I would say part of the issue is just that within Christianity, in particular, cause that’s where my knowledge base is. We have different existential approaches to our scripture and we can come away with so many different meanings,” stated Sandlin.

“The Bible itself says that it is the living word, so if it is a living word, shouldn’t it mean different things to different people? I mean, isn’t it okay for it to mean different things to different people,” asked Varner.

“I don’t know if it’s okay, I know that it does.” Father Bill Quigley replied.

“I believe that marriage should be between a woman and a man, a man and a woman. That’s my personal beliefs.  Where I have a real issue with this, also, is again going back to the school. When you start, even if it’s alright, there should not necessarily be a mandate,” suggested Pastor James Corbett.

“But it shouldn’t stop other people who, one, their faith doesn’t prohibit them and they are. That’s who they are, you know, genetically, or whatever.  And discrimination is wrong. And so, gay rights is a religious issue because God wants equality, I believe,” explained Luhrs.

“And I think we’ve got to be really careful of judging other people over something that we think we know, when other people within our own religion are going, ‘Well I don’t know. I think it’s this way. Well it could be that way,’” Sandlin affirmed.

“So how do you, when you know something? I mean that’s the question you got to answer now.  How do you know when you really know something,” asked Pastor Jason McKnight.

“The one thing I know is that I believe I worship a God who is love,” stated Sandlin.

“Great,” McKnight replied.

“And I try to just stick with that on everything,” Sandlin intoned.

“Um, so everything you do is motivated by love,” asked McKnight.

“And it doesn’t matter? I wish it were,” Sandlin interjected.

“Right, right, right,” agreed McKnight.

“I also know I’m not very good at it. I’m just cautioning us on either side believing that they have the answer and then trying to force it on everyone else,” Sandlin explained.

“It’s in Genesis, but salomelohim were created in the image of God. So if that’s who we are and we wanna be married because it’s not good for people to be alone, that’s also in Genesis. That marriage is important and I think it helps our society, if people are committed to each other and they have a family and it’s not maybe what were used to but I think changes happen in society,” interjected Luhrs.

“It starts to get really complicated, so is it laws by the majority of Christians, you know?  Is that who gets to define it,” asked Sandlin.

“Dr. King taught us our faith has to lead us and guide us. And with the major social issues that are out there.  What are the influences?  What’s the background? What are the boundaries? But should it only be the Muslim way, or the Jewish way or only the Christian way?  Somehow there has to be a blending,” commented Quigley.
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