According to Me: The most unpopular column I will ever write

This will be the most unpopular column I will ever write. I have wrestled with what to say and how to say it. The only thing I’ve known for certain is that conviction necessitates that I must say it.

Monday marks a pivotal moment in Alabama’s history. Enumerated same-sex couples around the state will take advantage of the newfound ability to legally marry.

Marengo County Probate Judge Laurie Hall, along with several of her peers across the state, has opted out of the issuance of such licenses. So Monday will be a day when a segment of the population celebrates what it views to be an enormous step for the progressive movement while another defiantly stands in opposition to what it views as the latest indicator of societal decay.

There are multiple aspects of the issue that need to be discussed, things that have nothing to do with the moral argument itself. The question of the federal government’s right to overstep a state’s inherent ability to define marriage should be at the forefront of that debate. But we all had to see this coming as the issue of states’ rights is as old as the country itself.

Moreover, we should all be aware of the dangerous rhetoric tossed about by both sides.

To equate the march toward legalized homosexual marriage with the Civil Rights movement of the 60s, as has been done with certain public figures ranging from the President of the United States on down, is dangerous and irresponsible. It instantly vilifies those who oppose homosexual marriage. The truth is that these people, by and large, are not villains. Nor are their motives impure in nature.

These are not the people who turn fire hoses on peaceful protestors. These are not people standing in schoolhouse doors and claiming that separate is equal. These, for the most part, are people who feel morally obliged based upon deep-seated religious beliefs to stand in opposition to something they believe to be inherently against what they hold to be absolute truth. There are people who believe themselves to be abiding by teachings such as that of Jude 22-23 in which instruction is given to “save with fear, pulling them out of the fire.”

There are those who would argue that the villains of the 1960s believed the same but they could find no scripture in the Bible upon which they claimed to stand that would back their position. As much as most want to refute it or refuse it, the Bible is clear on its stance regarding homosexuality.

The first mention of the behavior as being negative comes in the Genesis account of Sodom and Gomorrah. Leviticus 20:13 is also one of numerous references that does not mince words in regard to homosexuality.

In Romans 1:27, Paul references abandoning the “natural use of” the woman and refers to the act of homosexuality as being “shameful.”

Paul writes in I Corinthians 6:9-10 about those who “will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Listed among those are homosexuals. But – and here’s the part where I’m going to lose most people – Paul also lists fornicators, adulterers, drunkards and others as not being in position to inherit the kingdom of God.

Make no mistake about it. Homosexuality is clearly defined in the Bible as being a sin. But it is just as much of a sin as lying, gossiping and having sex outside of marriage.

Marriage, from its inception, was intended to be a holy union that mirrored the covenant between Christ and His church. Perhaps then, it is no wonder that society’s view of marriage has decayed alongside of its view of church or religion in general.

From a Biblical perspective, marriage was intended to be between a man and a woman and was intended to last for the duration of their lives. Jesus speaks to this in Matthew 19:8, adding that divorce would only be permitted on the grounds of adultery/fornication/sexual immorality (pending the translation used).

With that in view, defining marriage in Biblical terms involves the duration of the union as much as it does the components of the union. But, I don’t recall reading in history books about there being an incredible societal rift when our courts started permitting divorce for any – and sometimes no – reason at all.

The uncomfortable truth of that point hit me a couple of years ago when I was reading an article about protestors who wanted to legalize gay marriage. Contained therein was a picture of a protestor holding up a sign that said, “We should be allowed to get divorced too.”

Make no mistake about it. I am by no means for homosexual marriage or its legalization. But we have to accept that the institution of marriage has been rendered almost unrecognizable by heterosexuals who have for so long approached it flippantly and with unparalleled irreverence.

What scares me most is not that homosexuals will be allowed to get married. The truth is that adultery, fornication and drunkenness (those things Paul simultaneously condemned alongside homosexuality), have long been legal in our country. What terrifies me is the looming threat that I will no longer be legally allowed to stand in a pulpit and preach what is so plainly written about these things in the Word of God without fear of penalty.

When the law is passed that these probate judges will have no choice but to violate their conscience, I’ll be truly afraid. When the law comes down – and I believe it eventually will – that I cannot stand on the Bible, then I’ll be truly afraid.

What scares me right now is the people who take an a la carte approach to the Bible and, in so doing, render all of it moot; whether it be the pro-gay marriage arguer who ignores the scriptures regarding homosexuality or the gay marriage opposition who speaks not against adultery, fornication, idolatry, drunkenness, lying, gossiping or any other sin. Acts 10:34 and Romans 2:11 indicate plainly that God shows no favoritism and distinguishes no one greater than any other. And if we are to stand on the Bible at all, then we must also not make such distinctions.

If we are to restore power to our arguments so often flimsily hinged upon pieces of the Bible, then we must stop treating it as a buffet and respect it as the full and complete sustenance it was intended to be.

Jeremy D. Smith is managing partner of The West Alabama Watchman. He has covered news and sports in Demopolis since 2008. His column, According to Me, appears weekly on