WILL YOU ATTEND A GAY WEDDING?

We threw this question to Christians and here are some responses.

Journalism student Yes, if I’m close to them. Somewhere down the road, I can share my Christian stance with them if they know I’m someone they can rely on. Gay marriages are somewhat similar to traditional cultural weddings. We Christians may not agree with some of the practices at cultural weddings but we’ll still attend to show that we care for them. Jesus loves and accepts everyone, and homosexuals are our neighbours too.

Lee Shin Yiing, 23

No, because according to my faith, gay marriage is wrong. But I will assure them of my love and that I haven’t given up on them but will continue to pray for them. And I will keep trying to share God’s truth with them.

Joseline, 43

I’ll attend if they’re close to me but since younger Christians may be stumbled by my attending and think I’m supporting gay marriage, I would be low key on it. But I think it’s important to be there for the people we care about during the important times of their life. Many non-believers perceive Christians as judgmental, and if these people are close to us, it’ll do more harm to not attend. It’s best to just be there for them, for Jesus loves the Samaritans and the Gentiles.

Thomas, 23, Computer Science student

We are all sinners before God, we all have our struggles and so I will not judge my friends. Rather, I’ll thank and wish them well. But I won’t attend because that would be officially supporting homosexuality.

Simon, 20, Corporate Communications student

Today, the gay lifestyle is more widely accepted, but that does not mean God approves it. The Bible says marriage is between a man and a woman. After gay marriage becomes lawful, man will push God’s boundaries further. In the near future, perhaps sex with animals will be strongly pushed through. It might become a new and accepted lifestyle for men and women to marry their animals. Today, we think it is silly. Tomorrow, it’s reality. Man’s standards keep changing but God’s standards remain constant. Attending a gay wedding, wedding with your pets, orgy party, Harry Potter movie, drinking party or whatever that pricks your conscience will require a personal judgement call. That is when our personal faith is tested. I will not attend a gay wedding. If the invitees are very close friends, they will understand/respect me. We can always have dinner as any close friends will. Last and most importantly, I must not judge another believer who attends such a wedding.

Deanna, 54

I’ll attend because I love the person and I suppose he/she values our friendship enough to even invite me. We may disagree with each other’s beliefs but we can still freely talk about our differences. Perhaps one day he/she will see the light and we can come to an agreement.

Cheryl, 35

I will not attend the wedding as I don’t agree with gay marriage. But as I respect and love him/her, I’ll give an ang pow.

Wong, 37

Yes. The person knows that same-gender marriage is against my belief and still invites me. I see that as a wish for acceptance. My attendance does not mean I approve of his lifestyle choice (and I have no intention of showing my disapproval) but I accept him as he is. God accepts us as we are, I’ll do the same. He calls us to love and I want to be there for my friend. Change of scenario. I invite my family members who are staunch Buddhists, etc. to witness my baptism. Their attendance, to me, is to show support and love for me. Nothing more.

Cheryl, 30, graphic designer

No I won’t. God created Adam and Eve. One man and one woman, to be fruitful and multiply. I believe LGBT is a direct violation of God’s will. He did not create Adam and Steve, but Adam and Eve.

Alwine, 50

Gay unions are against my biblical convictions and being present at a gay wedding will mean I’m supporting it. Also, weddings are celebrations; my presence there is not only to celebrate but to bless the union. I’m sorry I can’t do that in good conscience. I’ll explain to them my stand and plead with them for their understanding, and continue to be their friend.

Josie, 50s

I’ll attend and leave the judgement to God. Who are we to judge? I may not agree with their act but I will choose to love them and continue to journey with them as a friend.

Julian, 36

Keep The Connection

DR HERA LUKMAN dives deeper into the question, “Will you attend a gay wedding?”

My response to this question has evolved over the last decade. I started thinking about this question from a hypothetical perspective, given that I didn’t personally know of anyone who was same-sex attracted, let alone someone who was in a same-sex relationship aiming for matrimony. Hence, my initial analysis of the said question was done within an extremely limited context where the focus was solely on my moral stand regarding same-sex marriage while little consideration was given to the character(s) involved in the wedding ceremony.

A few years ago, I was forced to revisit this question when I came to know that someone very dear to me has same-sex attraction. When there is a face to this question, I found myself no longer satisfied with my initial categorical and uni-dimensional analysis of this question. Somehow, my response to a hypothetical situation has become markedly different when it becomes personalised. Today, this question is no longer just an academic discourse or a subject matter for debate. It demands a practical response.

As I wrestle with this question, I was reminded of a few aspects of human nature that I tend to overlook, particularly during self-evaluation. I wish to share a couple of these with you.

1. WE HAVE THE TENDENCY TO SIMPLIFY

Evidence from behavioural sciences has informed us that human beings tend to use limited data in decision making. Our tendency to simplify often results in erroneous assumptions about a subject matter and/or a person. It is not surprising that many unnecessary miscommunications and misunderstandings in relationships are due to such assumptions.

In the context of our discussion on same-sex wedding, there are multiple reasons why people choose to attend or otherwise, as in any event. We must not assume that being present at the wedding is tantamount to supporting same-sex marriage. Likewise, we should refrain from assuming that being absent represents disapproval of same-sex marriage and/or a rejection of friendship or kinship. Such assumptions not only oversimplify the complexity of relationships, they may cause us to make unrealistic demands on relationships, i.e. if you care for me, we must always see eye to eye.

In my opinion, a strong bond between two people can still exist despite holding on to different perspectives. It is the bond that sustains the relationship and it is through this sustained connection that different perspectives are heard and exchanged. We must work towards maintaining connection if we value the relationship and if we want the other to understand where we are coming from.

 2. WE HAVE THE TENDENCY TO DEFEND OUR STAND

To some of us, deciding on whether to attend a same-sex wedding is more than wrestling with social expectations. It is a measure of our allegiance to God. Even if we are aware that attending does not correspond to endorsing same-sex marriage, we may still decline the invitation because we are compelled to defend our moral stand. Some of us may even be willing to sacrifice the relationship in the name of “honouring God”.

In my opinion, while defending a moral stand is essential for Christians who desire to honour God, we are called to do more than defend our stand. We must also relate our stand. The posture of relating is person-centric, while that of defending is subject-centric. During Jesus’ time on earth, while He opposed sin, He proactively sought connections, particularly with those ostracised by society and the religious community.

His method of connecting is not always socially sanctioned but He did it anyway! In so doing, Jesus did much more than just defend the commandments to love God and to love man, He related His stand and demonstrated this stand with His actions.

In my journey with friends in the LGBTQ community, I am regularly reminded how similar we are as people who wrestle daily with various aspects of our fallen human nature. We all fall short of God’s standard and we all face challenges to live righteously before God.

In other words, we are all “Work-in-Progress” and God is not done with us yet. Before He is done with us, let us not be too quick to simplify how God would work in and through us as we model after Jesus in the way we relate with one another.

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40

Dr Hera Lukman is a registered Chartered Health Psychologist with the British Psychological Society. She obtained her BA (Hons) at Simon Fraser University, Canada, her MSc at the University of Sheffield, UK, and her Ph.D at the University of Leeds, UK. For the past 15 years, Hera has taught Psychology at several Universities in the UK and Malaysia. She is currently the Head of Psychology and Learning Centre at Methodist College Kuala Lumpur. As a Christian pyschologist, Hera is passionate in integrating psychology with Biblical principles in understanding personhood and one’s indentity in Christ.

Asian Beacon: Apr – Jun 2018 (Vol 50 #2, p22-23)

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