Thoughts on the NAACP Speech

Yesterday during a speech for the NAACP, President Obama noted that too many Americans continue to face “the pain of discrimination.” I too have felt this pain, but, as the president’s story so clearly attests, we can overcome it if we try and if we have some help along the way from people of good will.

No government law said we had to elect a black president. Changing attitudes did that, overwhelming any lingering discrimination. Obama, whatever one thinks of his policies (and I don’t think much of them), is a role model for others who face discrimination, and a challenge to overcome it without resorting to government. It’s time we were all judged on our character (as Dr. King said) and competence. Skin color should have nothing to do with it. A black president proves that the era of special privileges for one race or another needs to end, once and for all.

However, I wonder if all of the African Americans listening to the president’s speech appreciated his linking sexual orientation to race, saying both groups have faced the pain of discrimination. Surveys have shown that many blacks have traditional views about homosexuality as a sin, and in fact the black vote kept gay marriage from being legalized in California last fall.

Gay-rights activists are becoming increasingly strident in their demands for the right to marry, to install openly homosexual bishops in churches, to adopt children, and so on. In their calls for the right to be treated without discrimination in all these matters, they are splitting communities and churches and undermining the rights of Christians and hospitals to practice their faith and do their humanitarian work according to the dictates of conscience.

Marriage is what it is, the union under God of man and woman with a usual and primary purpose of procreation for the good of society. Homosexual “unions,” whatever they are called, will not affect my marriage one whit, because by definition they are not marriage. What is being attempted here is not an expanision of who is allowed to marry, like voting rights, but a redefinition of marriage, like saying you can vote without actually casting a ballot.

I am all for living and letting live, and if homosexuals want to change the marriage laws, it looks as if they have the legal momentum and votes to eventually do so. But they will no more be able to change marriage than they will be able to stop the sun from rising in the east and setting in the west.

So let’s stop talking about discrimination when it comes to gay marriage. Homosexuals have always been free to marry in this society, if they can find someone of the opposite sex to consent. But bringing together two men or two women, whatever the law says, is not marriage.

Nor is opposing it discrimination.

About Stan Guthrie

Stan Guthrie is an editor at large for Christianity Today magazine and for the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview. His latest book is God's Story in 66 Verses. He also is author of All that Jesus Asks: How His Questions Can Teach and Transform Us, Missions in the Third Millennium: 21 Key Trends for the 21st Century, and A Concise Guide to Bible Prophecy. He is co-author of The Sacrament of Evangelism. Besides authoring, writing, and editing books, Stan is a literary agent, bringing together good authors, good books, and good publishers. Stan writes the monthly Priorities colum for He has appeared on National Public Radio's €œTell Me More,€ WGN's Milt Rosenberg program, and many Christian shows, including The Eric Metaxas Show and Moody Radio'€™s €œNew Day Florida.€ A licensed minister and an inspirational speaker, he served as moderator for the Christian Book Expo panel discussion, Does the God of Christianity Exist, and What Difference Does It Make?
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