Love Wins: On Christianity, Same-Sex Marriage, and Google

6.29.2013

A few days ago, I took my daily visit to Google's homepage and noticed a link at the bottom of the search bar:



Clicking on the link sent me to YouTube, where I saw this: 

If you've been around this blog for any length of time, you probably know that I am a Christian. At least, I hope you know that from my more serious posts where I've talked about God and prayer and church. I normally don't get too political or religious on here, mostly because those are topics I would much rather discuss in person. Words in print can get twisted and misunderstood all sorts of ways. But when I saw the Google link, it got me thinking. I hope you'll hear me out so I can share some thoughts with you.

As a Christian, I do not support same-sex marriage. That's not to say there aren't Christians who support same-sex marriage, but my interpretation of the Bible leaves no question in my mind of God's intention on this subject.

What I DO support is the right for Google or YouTube or anyone else to express their opinions on the subject, whether it's through a link or a banner or a flag or a t-shirt. That's one of our rights at citizens of the United States, and I think the fact that we are allowed to publicly express our opinions, whatever they are, is something we often take for granted.

When I saw the Google link, I admit that I was frustrated, but it might not be for the reason you'd expect.

Google is one of the most powerful enterprises in the entire world. (I didn't look up any statistics on that, but I'm pretty sure it's a well-known fact.) It's not as frustrating for me to see a link on the homepage of Google openly supporting same-sex marriage as it is to consider that last year when the CEO of Chick-fil-A issued a statement in support of male/female marriage, people instantly got upset. (The "Chick-fil-A Marriage Controversy" actually has its own Wikipedia entry, interestingly enough.) The word boycott was mentioned, and suddenly everyone and their mom, conservative and liberals alike, wanted a piece of the debate.

I don't understand how Google putting up a link on its homepage is any different than Chick-fil-A issuing a statement, except it's from the opposite viewpoint. And maybe I'm wrong, but I think if the Christian community (conservatives, whatever you want to call them) were to get upset about a company like Google supporting gay rights, A) no one would care and B) anyone who did notice would say the Christians were just being ignorant and unloving.

I used Google to Google Google's gay pride banner. (Did you follow all that?) I did find this article from 2012 about a group who was going to boycott Google for their support of gay pride (yeah, good luck with that since Google owns everything). I also found this article about 25 companies that have been boycotted by conservatives for supporting gay rights. I'm not daft enough to claim that the conservative group doesn't boycott things too. (I'm not even going to talk about the Westborow Baptist Church crazies who would boycott socks if they could.) But it seems like there's far less backlash when a person or company is in support of same-sex marriage than when its not.

It's upsetting and even personally insulting when "conservative" is lumped in with "ignorant" and "hypocritical" and "judgmental." You bet there are ignorant, hypocritical, judgmental people. That's you. That's me. That's every single person on the planet, not those who label themselves a "conservative."

I'm all, "Jordan, don't leave empty water glasses all over the apartment," but I leave them all over too! Hypocrite!

I pray.
I go to church.
I believe in God. 

But I have many people I call close friends who don't pray, don't go to church, and don't believe in God. I have friends who are gay. I have friends who curse and get drunk and have pre-marital sex. Some of my friends pretty much disagree with me about every political and religious topic. That doesn't mean I don't like to hang out with them. It just means that maybe we don't talk about politics or religion.

Do I wish all my friends went to church and believed in God? Of course. But I don't beat them over the head with my Bible about it. I don't stop being their friend or tell them they're going to hell or act like I'm better than them. If you don't believe me, I'll give you their email addresses so you can ask them about it yourself. I'm not going to defriend someone on social media or stop following their blog just because they don't agree with me. I'll stop following their blog for reasons like bad writing or boring subject matter, but I'm not going to write them nasty comments because they don't agree with my thoughts on God.

I know there are Christians who do write nasty comments and hold up signs and use racial slurs, and for that, I'm sorry to those who have been hurt. I believe a Christian is called to be a light to the world, and often we don't do that very well. (One example is Christians being notoriously bad tippers at restaurants, which I think is lame.)

Am I perfect? Heck no. I'm a hypocritical, selfish jerk, and I'll be working on that my entire life. But I'm doing the best I can to show the love of Christ everywhere I go. I fail at it almost as soon as I wake up--Jordan can tell you that. But I'm trying.

Just because I don't agree with same-sex marriage doesn't mean I'm ignorant. It just doesn't. When Jordan and I have discussions, I enjoy playing devil's advocate. I like hearing and thinking about different points of view because it makes me think about what I truly believe and why. I sat and read this blog for a few hours because reading differing viewpoints on homosexuality was so interesting, and I wanted to see what other people were saying.

I don't think that's ignorance. I think that's being in the world but not of the world.

I keep seeing the slogan "Love Wins," and it makes me feel like the liberal community think Christians are villains who want love to die.

Here's the truth: I believe in love too.

I want to love people. I want to serve people. I want to be kind and real and uplifting to those I come into contact with throughout my day. And I want to have real, honest, adult discussions about religious and political issues without name calling and assumptions. 

I don't have all the answers, and I know that some of you who've made it this far are raging mad at me. But what I also know is that I believe Jesus died and rose again, and one day he's coming back for all of us. If that makes me sound ignorant in your mind, so be it.

I will still love you as Christ has called me to love, even if I don't agree.

And finally I believe that one day, at the end of all this, love will win.*

(EDIT: Saying "love will win" is not a reference in support of Rob Bell's theology in his book Love Wins.)
_________________

*If you are going to leave a comment, be nice about it. We're all adults here. 
Also keep in mind that this is NOT a post about same-sex marriage or homosexuality specifically but more on the hypocrisy that surrounds the subject on both sides.

**Feel free to email me if you want to continue this discussion.
abumgarner [dot] editor [at] gmail [dot] com

20 comments:

  1. Yes yes yes!!!!! This is so my heart, too. I get so frustrated when Christians are "intolerant" because we don't support same sex marriage, but liberals are not intolerant for not supporting Christians - if that makes any sense. Love does win - and those truly seeking a heart like His know what that means. Thank you for posting!!

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  2. Wonderfully put!!! All I know is that God called us to be like Christ and that means loving every person no matter what their beliefs, and that should be our goal. Just love everyone without judgement or condemnation. I loved reading this! Thank you so much for your honesty!

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  3. So well said. I too was frustrated that "chick-fil-a" wasn't "allowed" to share their opinion. Thank you for loving others as Christ wold love them. I have no doubt that Jesus would have been hanging out with all sorts...loving on them!

    Thanks!

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  4. Yay! Well put! I agree with you 100%.

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  5. Loved this post!! Not because I happen to share a nearly identical perspective, but because you could FEEL the love in your words. Not anger, not discrimination, not bitterness, not judgement; love. Amen sister!

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  6. Thanks for this post. I definitely appreciate your non-inflammatory comments here, as well as your honesty. I love conversations around this topic that aren't angry, condemning or ignorant. That said, I disagree that chick-fil-a (and similar against-gay-marriage comments) getting boycotted is comparable to Google not. The important thing to remember is that being against gay marriage is putting LGBTQ folks on the outside whereas being FOR it is, as you stated, not putting Christians on the outside (since Christians are divided on the issue).

    I guess what I'm saying is, the burden of representation lies on the folks judging certain life-styles as wrong, not the ones accepting it. If Google was not accepting Christians specifically, then I would get your point :/

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  7. I love this. These are words that people need to hear, so thank you for writing them.

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  8. This was written so well, and while I definitely don't agree with your position, I think there is so much honesty and bravery in just putting it out there. As John Mayer is singing in the background to me RIGHT NOW "Say what you need to say." :)

    That being said, I think the main part of the uproar about Chick-Fil-A wasn't exactly that that was their opinion, but more that they were giving lots of money to an actual hate group. So for me, if I did eat there, I would have stopped because I wouldn't want money going to ANY hate group, no matter who it was against. And as far as I know Google isn't doing anything similar to that at all.

    And ya know I feel like everyone does have their right to their opinion on this and I love that you still read up on other sides just like I'm reading up on yours. I think that the best way to solve this is really take the word "marriage" away from the governmental entity. So everyone gets a civil union or whatever you want to call it for the government benefits and then if you want to get a "marriage" or blessing under God then you do that part in the church. That would give whatever church you belong to the right to decide what they want to and still make sure that there is equality under the law. I don't know. That just seems like it would solve lots of problems to me, and I would have been happy to just get a civil union even being straight. :) Sorry! I know that you said this wasn't a conversation about this, but it just got me thinking.

    Thanks for opening up and sharing!

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  9. Hello,

    So.... I want to comment again, and get a little retry at what I was saying before. I was coming home from 11 hours of flying with a 9-month-old and wiped out beyond reason. That should say something about how interested I was in your post! ;)

    What I really meant to say (setting aside the issue of homosexuality, gay marriage, etc) is that Chick-Fil-a (or anyone) certainly has a right to back a side (it is a HUGE bummer-- and almost another issue-- if its true they were giving money to a hate group, but that aside...). We, as consumers have an equal right to respond to that statement with support, boycott or whatever.

    Similarly, Google should be able to do the same: state a side, endorse an event or perspective and we, as consumers, continue to have the right to respond as consumers do: with support or not, a boycott.

    As an individual consumer, yourself, you absolutely have the right to abstain from supporting Google, Chick-Fil-a, REI, Apple or whoever you feel like not supporting based on whatever, really.

    Your critique was that more people generally seem okay with Google's endorsement than Chick-Fil-A's statements, and that this seems unbalanced to you-- But (and this is what I was trying to say before), Google's support didn't exclude anyone. Chick-Fil-A's (or any business who comes out against equal rights) statements do. People, generally, do get more upset and respond more when people are excluded than when they aren't.

    And since you already know that Christians are divided on the subject, Google certainly doesn't exclude Christians-- it may exclude you-- and as I say, you have a right to respond anyway you see fit... But excluding a person based on their thoughts/opinions/perspectives is dramatically different than excluding People. Just dramatically. And that's why I disagree with your comparison of Google's link to Chick-Fil-A's statements.

    I guess I just hear a lot of Christians expressing frustrated about points like this, what they feel are unbalanced responses to media leanings. And it sucks to feel unheard, yes. But you (as a straight person, and straight people in general) have the luxury of walking away without your entire self being excluded. If it were the other way around, you might feel differently.

    Love you, love your blog and lovelovelove Love. Thanks for letting me share.

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  10. WOW!! Great post! It is such a daily challenge to love as Christ loves us, but it is so worth it. I love what you have said and how you have said it, well done for having the courage to put it on your blog, very encouraging and inspiring xx

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  11. I am not a Christian,my whole family isn't religious not even my grandparents or great grandparents. Any who, I agree with you I have Christian friends but I have way more non-Christian friends and lemme tell you some of them are kind of dicks ... ahem.
    And I noticed that many so called atheist seem very judgemental in regards to Christians, you guys could literally stop world hunger and there would be still people complaining about Christians!

    sorry for ranting...rock on, we are cool right?


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  12. There are some complexities to this, I only WISH it were as simple as "This group can share their views, but you can't" b/c that would be clear discrimination & we could handle. But for example, Chick-Fil-A wasn't boycotted b/c the owner has iews, it was because the profits were used to support anti-gay organizations... in which case as a consumer I have the right to use my money to support the companies I choose & boycott those I believe are mismanaged. Not to mention the fact that we're using religious views to determine governmental rights. And so on... oye.

    All complexities aside... I think the bottom line is can we all just be nice to eachother? I'm the "other Christian" who is 100% for gay rights & same-sex marriage. (I get goosebumps when I listen to Same Love.) And just like I believe there's been a LOT of hurt inflicted on the gay communities in the name of God, there's also been a lot of hurt inflicted on loving religious people by the liberal community. Extremism is always hurtful.

    So maybe I should be the liberal to offer an apology that people have made you feel lesser just because you believe differently. I'm not ok with that.

    ~Lauren

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  13. Well written. Thanks for sharing

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  14. Now, where is my 10 foot pole...

    ;)

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  15. Loved your insight! Thanks so much for sharing!

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  16. I really enjoyed this post... You basically figured out how to express the very thing that I've been trying to for months. Wonderful. :)

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  17. I just found your blog today. I loved this post! I say a hearty "Amen" to it. I am a conservative, I am a Christian, but I hate being put in a box about it. Nowadays there are so many things that are associated with either the "left" or the "right". But it's the heart that God looks at. I want to be able to "play the devil's advocate" as you say and be challenged and challenge others without being nasty about it. Thanks so much for sharing. I will be back :)

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  18. I am not a Christian, and after thinking about the subject for a long time I've concluded that I absolutely do support gay marriage. Even so, I commend you for writing this post. I have no problems with Christians- actually I love the fact that so many of them are genuinely good and moral people! But I hate, and I mean hate, when they think everyone else should be Christian too. I believe in God, and I believe that he/she/it created different religions for a reason. Probably the same reason we all have different skin colors, hair colors, and come in all different shapes and sizes with different personalities. I just want to say that I can see the point you're trying to make with this article- the bias against Conservative's viewpoint on gay marriage- and I agree with you! The bottom line is that both sides of the debate should be respected.

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