By Robert Beebe
Same-sex marriage is now the law of the land, thanks to the recent 5-4 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court. Despite 30 states enshrining in their constitutions that marriage was the union of one man and one woman through the combined votes of 50 million people, all this was swept away in two years largely by federal court rulings that made same-sex marriage legal in 37 states, culminating in the Supreme Court decision. Along the way, a majority of Americans are said to now support same-sex marriage. The culture war is over, advocates say. The traditional view of marriage has been cast aside.
All this has occurred not for want of effort on the part of traditional marriage supporters. The National Organization for Marriage, the Family Research Council, and other Christian-based groups have fought tooth-and-nail for many years to prevent what has just happened. Despite their confidence in their cause, and believing that God was on their side, they ended up fighting a losing battle. How did this happen?
Looking back, it seems now an inevitable result of a half-century of cultural change beginning with the sexual revolution of the 1960s. Traditional marriage lost its honored place in American culture long ago when the divorce rate began to skyrocket towards 50%, where it remains today. What are we to expect when millions of children fail to experience the benefits of traditional marriage in their own homes during their formative years? Why should we be surprised when, as teens and young adults, they begin to look elsewhere and experiment in unorthodox ways in their desire to find love? The seeds for legalization of same-sex marriage can be found in the breakdown of the traditional two-parent family.
This has been accompanied by the indoctrination of our young people by a public school system that promotes in the name of diversity not only tolerance but the celebration of all sorts of lifestyles and personal expression. The Judeo-Christian values that once provided the moral foundation for our culture and informed the nation’s education system have been replaced by a godless secular perspective in which anything goes. From this new perspective, once accepted traditional values are now regarded as oppressive and bigoted. Having breathed this atmosphere day-after-day in the public schools, many of our own children have adopted the values of the popular secular culture.
Christian groups mistakenly believe God is on their side as they oppose same-sex marriage and other nontraditional expressions coming to the fore now that gay marriage has been legalized: transgenderism, polygamy, and other forms of group marriage, in particular. We should expect these will grow in popularity and acceptance in coming years. Attempts by Christians to oppose them will only fuel their rise and contribute to Christianity’s decline as people vent their anger and resentment towards Christians in response. Standing against same-sex marriage has only given energy to the gay rights movement, feeding into its mantra that Christians are homophobic, hatemongering, anti-freedom and anti-equality.
What should be the Unificationist response today?
Christianity’s inability to stop the onslaught of same-sex marriage is due to its not having a clear understanding of God’s ideal. The Divine Principle teaches that God’s ideal was to be manifested through Adam and Eve’s fulfillment of the Three Blessings as expressed in Genesis 1:28. Because of the Fall, this did not come to pass and God had to work for thousands of years to prepare the appearance of a new Adam, Jesus, who, together with a new Eve, would fulfill what was left undone in the Garden of Eden.
The Principle teaches that Jesus did indeed fulfill the first blessing, becoming one with God, but was unable to fulfill the second blessing due to his rejection and crucifixion. Christianity was built on Jesus’ crucifixion and subsequent resurrection. Christians have believed their mission is to emulate the example and teachings of the individual Jesus, to bring others to salvation through him, and await the Second Coming, which would occur in some supernatural and miraculous way.
Thus, traditional marriage has never been a core teaching of Christianity. Its founder was never able to show the example of an ideal marriage. Because of this, it is no surprise that Christians have been as susceptible to divorce and family breakdown as non-Christians. Their inability to show a better example in this regard reduces their moral authority when it comes to dealing with issues like same-sex marriage.
For Unificationists, on the other hand, marriage occupies a central place in our teaching. It is essential to fulfilling the second blessing and the purpose of life. Because of the Fall, Adam and Eve were unable to establish a God-centered marriage and family and gave rise to a lineage apart from God, which has continued to the present day. As Unificationists, we believe Reverend and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon, as a modern day Adam and Eve and messianic couple, have finally accomplished this and, on this foundation, have given others the opportunity to receive this Blessing, and, through their descendants, restore God’s lineage.
Understanding this aspect of God’s ideal also tells us that in God’s ideal there is no room for same-sex marriage, or any of the other confusions concerning gender and love coming to the fore in today’s culture. Such a statement is not rooted in hatred or fear of gays, lesbians, bisexuals, or transgenders, but in the recognition that the latter identities are the tragic result of having not experienced God’s true love during one’s formative years and hence being susceptible to a culture that increasingly views these as viable lifestyles in the pursuit of love and happiness.
Another issue that weakens Christianity’s ability to deal effectively with same-sex marriage and related matters is its ambiguity concerning the Fall of Man, the act through which evil came into the world. Although many Christian scholars have acknowledged the sexual aspects surrounding the Fall, traditional Christianity tends to take the story literally and regards Adam and Eve’s greatest transgression to be their disobedience of God. Unificationists, however, see the fruit as symbolic of sexual love and that the story is really about the abuse or misuse of that love. This was the original sin that transformed human beings’ original nature from being in God’s image to a fallen nature that resembles the fallen archangel who initiated the process of the Fall.
Thus began a fallen history in which sex itself has often been regarded as dirty and degrading. Indeed, the highest spiritual path in many religions has been one of celibacy. Of course, this was also Jesus’s path until his crucifixion. Rev. Moon was one of the few religious leaders, if not the only one, who spoke clearly of God’s ideal for sexual love, using the colorful term “absolute sex.”
In one sense, we can regard the sexual revolution as reflective of human beings’ desire to return to the Garden of Eden, a place where, once Adam and Eve had reached perfection, sexual love could have been expressed freely and purely. Lacking access to God’s truth as expressed through the Divine Principle, that revolution became corrupted and diverted to Satan’s purposes of not only continuing but expanding the misuse of sexual love in its many manifestations to one of open cultural acceptance. The Supreme Court’s decision on same-sex marriage represents one more milestone on the road towards total acceptance of fallen love relationships.
We have reached the point as expressed in Isaiah 5:20 where people “call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness.” Ministers are now fearful of what they say from the pulpit lest they be charged with hate speech, as has already occurred in Canada after same-sex marriage was legalized there. The Bible itself is on the verge of being regarded as hate speech for its admonitions against homosexuality.
Rainbow-colored lights shone on the White House after the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in favor of same-sex marriage on June 26, 2015.
Rev. Moon said the Last Days will be a time when chaos and confusion will reign:
“When such a time comes, where will we find ethics and morality? When the time comes in which global trends are tossed about as if in a raging storm and we can neither discern our direction nor distinguish between what is good and what is false, we should know it is the Last Days. Now is that very time” (Cheon Seong Gyeong, 2014 ed., p. 767; p. 42 of PDF).
It is based on the exaltation of “individualistic love” in which people follow their bodily desires rather than being governed by a sense of right or wrong. It is history come full circle where that which brought evil into the world in the beginning now seeks to be the dominating, even totalitarian, force in human life.
Following Jesus’ crucifixion, not only was Israel eventually destroyed, but the entire Roman Empire gradually disintegrated. As their civilization collapsed around them, more and more people were drawn to become Christians despite wave upon wave of persecution. They were attracted to their example of love, conviction in what they believed, sense of responsibility, honesty, integrity, and humility. These spiritual benefits eventually translated into worldly benefits as Christians were given ever higher positions and responsibility to the point where Christianity became the state religion of what was left of the Roman Empire. Not only would Christianity outlast the Romans but would go on to provide the spiritual foundation of an even greater world power: the United States.
Today, we can expect America to enter a similar period of decline, and cannot hope to prevent it. We can, however, as Unificationists, like the early Christians, set an example of love, conviction, responsibility, honesty, integrity, and humility, that will over time attract thousands and millions to us as the culture collapses, creating the foundation for a more beautiful and glorious culture that we call Cheon Il Guk, also known as the kingdom of heaven on earth.
For this to happen, there are two things we must do and pass on to future generations: keep our sexual purity (not to repeat the Fall) and establish God-centered marriages and families as the foundation for maintaining God’s lineage on the earth. Even as we reach out to others with God’s love, we cannot compromise our values and beliefs, but should confidently promote and exemplify sexual purity and commitment in marriage between a man and a woman as the road to true and lasting love and happiness.
We need to establish schools which will support these values and protect our children from the influences of the fallen culture. This does not mean to isolate them from the real world but to give them a protective environment, like a greenhouse for plants, to grow and develop their original nature. In this way we can equip them with the inner strength to resist and overcome the temptations of the surrounding world. By speaking the truth with love backed by living example, we will enable others to turn away from unprincipled and unhealthy lifestyles and “choose life” (Deut. 30:19).♦
Dr. Robert Beebe (UTS Class of 1984) is the principal of New Hope School, a K-8 private school in Clifton, NJ. He served 13 years in Russia as vice president of the International Educational Foundation, where he trained thousands of teachers in the use of the Principled-based curriculum, “My World & I.” He received a bachelors in economics from Princeton University, an M.Div. from UTS, and a doctorate in educational leadership from Walden University. He is blessed to Karen Fallwell (UTS Class of 1983) and they have six children.
A very good article indeed. From the Anita Bryant protests and the Stonewall incident in the early 1970s, some errors that were perhaps made by the Christian world were being too overly concerned to ¨love¨ the people who lived a homosexual lifestyle often shamelessly, instead of helping them to overcome, and secondly, even more so, to be tolerant and often being admirers of Hollywood as a an entertainment source and social trendsetter. We can now see that certain African nations are now showing the way and a more timely standard to the so-called “free” world.
Very well done, Robert. I would love to see this expanded, perhaps in a small booklet, to include not just the theological arguments but also a whole raft of practical reasons. And then a bullet-point summary at the end. Something like that. The UC has been largely silent on this topic about which many are extremely vocal. And not without good reason. For to enter the fray will be to become a hang glider in a Cat 5 hurricane. The issue will be used by our enemies to define us in our entirety, and they will suck our energy every moment of every day. We may not want or be able to handle that kind of fame at this moment. The “gaystapo” is desperate to find a big, fat juicy enemy. On the other hand, in for a penny, in for a pound.
Here’s my two cents on it:
I would like to network with others who see a need for focusing on human sexuality. My sites are here and on Facebook.
My intent here was to initiate a discussion on this topic because, as you say, our Movement has been largely silent. Based on responses and other ideas I have I do hope to create a more expansive response to this issue. But we cannot be simply anti-SSM but, like CAUSA, offer a critique and counterproposal based on the Principle. I welcome any constructive ideas on this topic.
Thank you, Robert, for articulating the Unificationist view on same-sex marriage.
While Unificationists can distinguish their views from those of Christians in the manner you put forward, your argument is predicated on the premise that both Reverend and Mrs. Moon have achieved perfection and stand as the restored Adam and Eve into whose lineage all mankind must now be grafted. That message unfortunately is hard to sell to non-Unificationists and, in light of many of the happenings within the movement over the past ten years or so, even to our own children.
I would therefore propose that a different approach is required — one that is implicit but not hitherto emphasized in the Divine Principle.
Fundamentally, what sets most religious people apart from the secular world is the belief that man is a spirit dwelling in a body and not just a body with ensuing mental functions. Consequently, the sexual act is not just a physical act but a mingling of spirits and one that involves the exchange of spiritual elements between two beings. Because of this interchange of elements, sexual acts with multiple partners result in an adulteration of one’s spirit. It is this understanding that lies behind our emphasis on the value of sexual purity. Furthermore, in light of our understanding of the dual aspects of the Creator and the notion that man is made in God’s image (“male and female He created them”), the ultimate expression of the Creator is to be found in the true love union of a man and woman, rather than two people of the same sex.
When expressed like this, Unificationists start to sound like people who are presenting universal principles to which all men and women can relate rather than a movement trying to form a new religion and promote its founders.
In this way, the ideology of the eternal value of True Parents and their ideals would quickly go to pieces, I think.
I agree with your focus on spirituality and male/female oneness. I think the issues of True Family can be better addressed by focusing — not on concepts of perfection — but on the path of restoration, which entails repeating past relationships with an opposite heart. See my slideshow on the topic: “Sexual Altruism and Karma.”
Thank you, Graham, for this important addition. The growing acceptance of — how should I label it? — unprincipled love relationships is occurring in a culture that is ignoring the spiritual aspect of life and the spiritual results of such relationships. You will notice, and people only now are beginning to realize, that the whole gay rights movement goes hand-in-hand with attacking religious beliefs and values. To ultimately succeed, religion must be banished from the public square as it represents the greatest obstacle to public acceptance of unprincipled love.
At the same time, I think we should give credit where credit is due. How many of us would have the perspective we do without True Parents? And, despite the True Family’s struggles, I believe True Parents do stand as a restored Adam and Eve. Their children have had difficulties fulfilling their responsibilities but, in my mind, this does not denigrate their parents’ accomplishments. But, you are right, we cannot just be about promoting True Parents, we must lead by our own example.
Thank you, Robert.
Just for clarification, I am not in any way denying that we have an immense debt of gratitude to the True Parents.
However, I would challenge the usefulness of trying to build a new religion that puts True Parents on a pedestal in much the same the manner that Christianity put Jesus on a pedestal after his ascension. Christianity made Jesus into God. He became the object of peoples’ faith. Yet his real significance, as we who joined the movement in the ’70s and ’80s were led to believe, was that he was a man who came to show others an example of a true man. He represented a model to which all mankind could aspire.
Father, in the earlier years of his ministry — up to the mid-1990s, in fact — repeatedly claimed that he did not come to build a religion but simply to bring people back into a true love relationship with God. If we can return to first principles and away from ideology, then I am confident that over time Father and Mother will be widely recognized for their extraordinary contribution to humanity. In the meantime, I view the need, by many, to make them the focus of our beliefs as counter-productive and an obstacle to expanding God’s providence at this point in time.
Thank you, Robert, for articulating the Unificationist view on same-sex marriage. I think articulating this view does not, in itself, have enough power to affect people that have grown up in broken or dysfunctional families. This is one reason we can expect continued decline before things get better.
Everyone is seeking true love and when they don’t find it in the families they grew up in, they want the freedom to look elsewhere. In this sense, it is probably right for the government to allow this freedom, as the government should really have nothing to do with marriage. It is a blessing from God, not the state. I think the Alabama legislature made a good point in sponsoring a bill to eliminate state licensure of marriage.
Is the true purpose of marriage for sexual partnership or for the lineage? I think if we spent more time looking at what is the best way to provide the nutrients children need to grow to perfection, we would see that the state doesn’t do anything to provide them. Long-term, we need to create marriages that are rewarding and children that defend the type of homes they were raised in. It’s like the reverse of communism, where TF could predict the collapse in 70 years, because it could not stand for three generations. TF argued that the success of your life is measured by your grandchildren.
Perhaps we should now push our culture into a form of heavenly competition where people of all sexual persuasions compete to raise the happiest and most successful children who attain the three blessings. Those parents who succeed are natural witnesses to their faith. The main reasons people join the Mormons has nothing to do with the youth witnessing — that is for them to learn their own faith. People join the Mormons because they have an innate desire to attain the three blessings, and they see them living in a way that is closer to that than they see anywhere else — despite some of the theology that might seem irrational.
Unificationists will really begin to make the case when their children and grandchildren are attaining the three blessings and living in ways that other people’s original minds are stimulated to follow. Homosexuals might try to compete and prove they can raise children as well as anyone else, but if Unificationists are correct they will not be as successful.
Would you propose separate communities within one nation that compete in raising good families and children, or keeping families mixed within the same society and compete for the best outcome? Both scenarios seem hard to imagine, and the last option especially hard on the growing children. We would have to work hard together to find a way for them to overcome peer pressure, etc. By the way, if we believe the government ought to work as “parents” for the people, they still would be much involved in marriages and families
I agree that the 3 generations and 4 realms of heart need to be emphasized in our movement’s teachings about sex, family and lineage. We have focused on teaching that the 2nd generation is free from original sin, but in my studies of Father’s words, I think that is conditional upon many factors: the completion of a home church or tribe, the sexual purity of the parents, and the social environment the children grow up in.
My understanding, like “it takes a village to raise a child,” is that there needs to be 3 generations of parents who honor God’s Word with their lives, including their sexuality, and then the 4th generation is truly free from the fall. Given the Korean way of counting things, God can be seen as the first generation, True Parents as the second, Blessed couples as the third, and their children as the fourth. Problems come in if the Blessed couples were not virgins, if any in the tribe or extended families of the Blessed couples are committing sexual sins, and if the children are influenced by social relationships with people who commit sexual sins.
One of the most profound things I read in Father’s words was that sexuality is not “taught” in a conventional sense — it is “impressed” in an emotional sense. We learn it by example. Herein lies the dangers of raising children in a fallen culture. History provides an example: the third generation of the Israelites in Canaan fell because their babysitters and teachers were from tribes who didn’t follow God’s word, and had sinful cultural traditions. I think it’s better to “hurt” our kids now — by separating them from the culture, rather than to hurt them later — by destroying their chance to graft into God’s lineage.
We know that Father taught that the foundation for receiving the Blessing was gaining three spiritual children who would be willing to give their lives for the Blessed Couple. Most of us were not able to do this, so tragically Blessed Children have been exposed to and influenced by the fallen culture. That’s why, in light of this, I advocate creating our own schools where our children can be nurtured in a heavenly environment and values.
For the author, it might be good to know that the views of the US and Europe on this issue do not represent the views of the wider world. We in the West are trying to teach others about “our values”. The recent vote in the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, showed that two-thirds of the world’s population does not share the current cultural revolution made by a small secular Western lobby. There is a very strong front against this form of “Western cultural imperialism” that blocked the recent attempt by mainly Western nations to bring in modifications to the existing “UN Resolution for the Protection of the Family”, like mentioning “diverse forms of families, tolerance for diversity, etc.” All these efforts were blocked on July 3, 2015 in a 14 to 27 vote by the member states of the UNHR Council, mainly by nations of the “developing world”.
I do think in the US as well as in Europe, we should put up some kind of a good fight like at the time of CAUSA. I would look forward to this kind of well-thought out Unificationist response to this crucial issue! Also there would be a good chance to form alliances for instance with Catholics, Muslims and all other religious communities that cherish basically the same values and do an excellent job in pointing out this poisonous Neo-Marxist ideology that has infested most of Western Governments.
I think there is more to be done than accepting this as a “fait accompli” by a US judicial body. I could refer for example to Mike Huckabee’s recent statement: “Conservatives can ignore gay marriage ruling like Lincoln ignored Dred Scott”.
There is the need for a good fight to turn things around in the West for the sake of the wider world!
If you want to start that neo-CAUSA movement, I’ll march alongside. I think one of the crucial points is the origin-division-union principle: First we have to divide ourselves (to avoid Abraham’s mistake) — by not standing on “middle ground” within our own movement. Then we have to join with other faiths that have also separated from the cultural compromises about sexuality, and further divide the world on this issue.
While I agree on focusing on the root cause, I don’t agree on ignoring the present. Rather, I see it as an opportunity. Didn’t Father welcome and even stir up persecution? We all know that’s for indemnity, but remember it’s also free advertising. When the mouths of our enemies are screaming to the world about our extreme beliefs, at least the world gets to hear about them.
I think one of the main mistakes of our movement was not to take a strong public stand about sexuality. Many might not understand why we didn’t do that, but after living in Korea for eight years married to a Korean, I can see that the Fatherland of our movement has not divided itself to remove the fallen blood. On the surface, Korean culture looks pretty conservative, but there is an undertow of adultery, fornication, and prostitution, and many of our blessed families have been dragged into it. The Korean way is to polish the surface and ignore the underlying rot — and, in a culture where a one-time public shaming gets you a lifetime of social humiliation, it would be difficult to get anyone to admit there’s a problem and take a stand. But, just as the liberal “diversity” movement started from the West, so should the movement to divest from immoral sexuality. I have an idea for a grassroots effort on my website.
Good for them! It’s time for the so-called “developing nations” to stand against Western imperialism. I pray that more of God’s blessings will come to them as a result. I agree that we need to develop a CAUSA-like response as the Culture War has replaced the Cold War as the world’s greatest conflict. I hope we can build alliances with like-minded groups. But we must do this for the long haul. I do not see things changing for the better in the near future. People may try to ignore the gay marriage ruling, but we can be sure that the gay lobby, riding high from their recent victory, are going to go after anybody who opposes their agenda with a vengeance. A lot of indemnity is going to have to be paid before things start turning around.
So happy to hear the rest of the world isn’t falling for the bullying tactics of the Left and those here in America and other Western nations that claim to act for us all on these matters because they deem themselves “enlightened.” I applaud your idea of rallying allies to the cause, but I’m afraid many, many Catholics, at least here in America, would be opposed to any type of resistance or denial of legitimization to same-sex marriage or transgender rights.
Oregon just passed a law allowing 15-year-olds — children not yet old enough to obtain a drivers license — to have operations that will change their sexual orientation without having to inform the child’s parents. Every time it seems we’ve hit bottom, the bottom drops out from underneath us. It is up to all of us who understand the family is the greatest treasure we possess that now is the time to stand up for what we hold most dear… and that the battle has just begun.
Those of us in the West — and America especially — must awaken to the idea that the rest of the world has much to teach us about the value of the family. Individualism has became such an overriding — and distorted — theme in America that many laws are now passed merely for the benefit of a small group, or even one person, without any thought given to the impact it will have on the nation as a whole. The idea that “majority rules” has long since been discarded for the sake of the minority. Perhaps that is, after all, a good sign, since those standing up for what is right in the eyes of God are now in the minority.
Well said, Cabot. A lot of this speaks to the power of the media which has the ability to focus in on one event and elevate it to a level of attention much higher than it deserves. It ends up giving people a distorted view of reality. For instance, because of all the media attention on the gay rights issue and the gay presence in the entertainment industry, polls show that people think gays comprise somewhere between 20-30 percent of the US population, instead of the 2-3 percent it really is.
I respectfully disagree with Dr. Beebe. I think he is overly pessimistic and as he thinks that America is already lost he just wants us basically to do what we always have to do — “set an example of love…” without addressing this particular issue. However, we know that America once was able to overcome a great danger: communism. So, the LGBT movement is strong, but the Judeo-Christian foundation is also strong in America. I believe we should culturally confront same sex marriage and bring this land back to God instead of retreating with a smile and small good deeds.
Sorry, Dmitry. I do not think the Judeo-Christian foundation is strong in America anymore. Most young people know very little about the Bible, Jesus’ teachings, or Christian history. They may still believe in God, but that belief tends to be very vague.
Great article! Finally, a clear, Principled, rational, and truly thoughtful response to the attack of the Left here in America and around the world on true family values, the true freedoms, and the true teachings centered on Heavenly Parents (on God) and True Parents that most faithful and loyal Unificationists hold dear to their heart.
Unification thought — four position foundation thesis on the original image — explains the nature of reality as the harmony of dual characteristics — yang and yin or masculine and feminine, respectively. Thus, the defining nature of marriage would follow the universal axiom of resemblance to the original image of harmonized dual characteristics. By creative intent, men and women are different physically and spiritually. The image of marriage for human beings would resemble the harmony of complementary masculine and feminine characteristics with different gender physiology. Yet, through sexual intercourse the two natures are harmonized (physiologically and spiritually) and the ideal of conjugal love is realized. The extension of this ideal of love is the basic family unit composed of heterosexual parents and children. From this thread of reasoning, it follows logically that same-sex marriage is discordant (undefined) with the Unification ontological thesis.
I think that in this dialogue it has become clear that we are now, more than ever, searching for a practical, working approach to this enormous problem — not an academic one.
Robert, good to see a Unificationist response. Good points.
I worry that Unification ideals may not be enough to make our divorce rate lower than Christians, which tends to mirror the secular divorce rate. That should not prevent us from espousing those ideals, of course.
I think Graham has a very good point about using universal principles.
Dmitriy is right. Is there nowhere a William Wilberforce, a Gandhi, a Martin Luther King, Jr., or a Rev. Moon in our midst? For our founder stated: “Every blessed family should be involved in the public work of forming a family values party…or we will decline….” We need to mobilize the “silent majority” to speak out and work together as one Great Awakening.
Great points and counterpoints. But what is God’s opinion? What is God’s plan?
As usual the pseudo ideal makes its move and we are left wondering what to “do” and it seems we lean towards “doing” the same things that were done in the past. But this is different, in time and in breadth. This is about the core of God’s love being taken hostage by the enemy and paraded as true love for all to see. Top of the growth stage stuff where the fall actually took place.
I’d like to see us as Unificationists really grasp internally what God is doing or allowing; biding His time or working behind the scenes, to better understand the situation not so much as losing America, but gaining the world. God will surely sacrifice even America to save the world and we need to figure out how He’s doing it or what He and TF are doing so we can get on their boat and make the most of this wave.
I really appreciate the quote you used Bob, “…we should know it is the Last Days.” (CSG, 2014 ed., p. 767), because if you read further TF says he’s shaking things up, “chaos will ensue,” “spirits are attacking the earth in order to occupy it,” etc., etc. The scope of things is broader than this physical environment, but are we in sync with the spirit world? Are we not trying to fight this battle against all odds without sp/w? It’s like when Aragorn summons the army of the dead to help him fight the last battle. I’d like to see us broaden the conversation to include TF’s realm beyond the words and example he left us to include his present-tense in spirit world. Surely he’s on the march.
Thank you, Janice, for your comments. These surely are the Last Days. Everything is being turned upside down, and it all has to do with the misuse of love. As I said, history has come full circle. The only way out is for people to keep their sexual purity and build God-centered families. We should all do what Adam and Eve should have done. This is the most important thing for our children to understand.
It seems like the Divine Principle explains God’s plan in Chapter 1; the 5% human responsibility seems to be the issue here.
I fear that for some people my essay comes off as unduly pessimistic. However, I do believe that until Christianity comes to accept True Parents, its efforts, however noble and righteous, will be in vain. We need to redouble our efforts to teach the Principle to ministers. Perhaps the recent SCOTUS decision will serve as a wake-up call and cause them to be more humble and searching. My hope would be that ACLC will take the lead in this.
By taking a public stand that is absolutely against homosexuality and free sex, I think the “true” Christians will gather in support. The Christians who have already accepted homosexuality are the goats. We need to divide them from the sheep.
But we cannot, and should not, just stand against anything. We have to show first of all what we are for.
Patricia, homosexuality isn’t something to be either for or against. The norm is that most people are heterosexual and some are not. That’s the norm. Most people have five toes on each foot and some have six, some are born with an extra vertebrae. Most people are right-handed and some are left-handed. Most people are like this, some people are are not, they are like that. That’s the norm. Occasional anomalies are the norm. And anomalies aren’t necessarily bad. Most people are heterosexual and some are gay and it’s not the end of the world.
Sodomy is not a normal abnormality and it will be the end of a lot of young people’s world if we start teaching that it is.
I congratulate Bob Beebe for an excellent treatment of this problem, and for his courage to step forward. I agree with him that we have a treasure in the Divine Principle, which clearly teaches that the norm of heterosexual monogamy is rooted in God and the creation, specifically in our teaching of the dual characteristics. Conventional Christians don’t have this teaching, and it puts them at a distinct disadvantage.
The other day I heard a Christian spokesman being eviscerated on CNN by the reporter who questioned him, “Aren’t you being selective in singling out homosexuality, when there are so many other issues around marriage — adultery, divorce, teen pregnancy, etc., that the Bible also labels as sinful? Where is it in the Bible that homosexuality is worse than those?” The Christian couldn’t answer. But we have a clear answer in the Divine Principle.
I believe this is an opportunity to educate the Christian world about the value of the Divine Principle. It’s time to dust off True Family Values and work with concerned Christian clergy to arm them with the Principle.
Also, at the same time that we speak the truth, we have the responsibility to minister with love to those who suffer from this disorder.
The US Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage simply defines the marriage license as the power of attorney agreement between partners. From a contractual point of view, a marriage license is like a legal partnership (LLC) agreement without consideration to age, gender identity, sex, disability, religion, or ethnic heritage. As Tina Turner sang, “What’s love got to do with it?”
Same-sex marriage deemed to be a Constitutional right to freedom and dignity will be assumed to have the same protections, privileges and obligations known to apply to traditional heterosexual marriages. Dr. Beebe writes, “Christians (who) oppose them will only fuel their rise and contribute to Christianity’s decline as people vent their anger and resentment towards Christians in response.” charging them with being homophobic, hatemongering, anti-freedom and anti-equality. The gist of this secular push back, when it comes to same-sex marriage: “What does sin got to do with it?”
The Unification four position foundation thesis response to same-sex marriage is not a Christian response; rather, the Unification thought response is an academic rebuttal that does not have the burden of having to defend the Biblical (Semitic) narratives of the Fall. The four position foundation thesis is an understanding of objective reality. The definition of human marriage is derived from the understanding of harmonized dual characteristics of masculinity and femininity. This kind of logical argument is buttressed with science. Heterosexual marriage is defended by science; without it the human species would simply fade away. Same-sex marriage has an inherent biological disadvantage when compared to traditional marriage.
Robert, you say “heterosexual marriage is defended by science; without it the human species would simply fade away. Same-sex marriage has an inherent biological disadvantage when compared to traditional marriage.”
Heterosexuality is, and I believe always will be, a majority and therefore I don’t think the human species will fade away anytime soon. Homosexuality is not posing a threat in that regard. Supporting same sex marriage does not have to mean being against opposite sex marriage. One can be for marriage, pure and simple, for all people.
Yes, I agree with you. ” The human species will not fade away anytime soon.” Sorry, if the argument came across a bit mean-spirited. Some corners of the scientific community, such as psychologists, have been drawn into this controversy. As you said, “supporting same-sex marriage does not have to mean being against opposite-sex marriage.” And, I agree with you. This debate most likely will not be won by the weight of argument alone, either academic or philosophical.
Shooting from the hip, I find this response extremely disappointing. Like the responses from every other religious group with a “moral objection” on the subject, it fails to address the real core of what has happened here. What happened had very little to do with alienation within the American family unit, the sexual revolution, brainwashing, or the fact that everyone lacked the foresight to simply study Unification Theology. This happened because the Christian Philosophy which founded this Nation, the highest stage of New Testament thinking at the time, enshrined principles within our Constitution that American Law has been working since the founding of our nation to be consistent with. A real response would of necessity address the constitutional ideals set forth by our Founding Fathers, including the issues of pluralism, separation of church and state, and equal protection under the law. As this essay fails utterly and entirely to address any of that, it is no more than an woeful wringing of hands. Such an exercise fails to understand the past, the present, or illuminate any kind of path forward.
The principle of pluralism is foundational to the American Democratic experiment. The Christians who founded our nation determined the consciences of a person should not be compromised by the religious predicates of another citizen’s faith, no one should suffer governmental power forcing the religious views of the powerful upon them, that violates their rights. The problem with essays of this type is they assume an entitlement to impose one’s own moral and religious views on others. In fact the courts decided here that the majority of voters in a state cannot determine for any minority what their rights are. When you break the “States Rights” argument down here, basically that is what it is saying, the majority gets to vote on what your rights are.
People also have the right to be wrong in America. To join whatever church they want, worship God as they see fit. There are certainly many gays who worship God and do not think God prohibits their lifestyle. The Apostle’s Creed itself does not state to be a Christian one must reject same sex marriage either, which is why “Save The Children” was hiring gay Christians for international work; they felt they had no right theologically to prohibit it. There are certainly many denominations that already perform same sex marriages, such as the Episcopalians, Lutherans, Presbyterians, United Church of Christ, the Unitarians and the Reform and Conservative Jewish Movements. And more to the point, did the now struck down prohibition on same sex marriage prevent a single homosexual act? No, it did not. In fact, if heterosexual marriage is any yardstick — maybe gay marriage will result in less gay sex! But nothing has changed substantially now that same sex marriage is legal, except to make legal, medical and family issues easier for the LGBT community to deal with.
It is my faith America is a nation born of the Providence of God, a “City set upon a hill”, and I think there is a deep spiritual reason why it was created as a pluralistic nation. In the end, the fastest way for adult human beings to learn and grow, to evolve spiritually is when you do not interfere and let them make their own mistakes. When moralists force their views on others who do not subscribe to them, it only damages the person and it takes twice as long for them to learn the lesson before them. And without the exercise of personal will and conscience, you cannot perfect yourself, and in the end we all have to on some level save ourselves. As a Unificationist, it is worth remembering God did not interfere with the fall of man; man’s portion of responsibility is something even God considers out of bounds. Do we have greater authority than God? Well even if we did, it just doesn’t work anyway. An environment of freedom is necessary for humankind to reach its full original spiritual potential. This necessitates the possibility of people also making bad choices. But fortunately, we have the spiritual resources available in the CTA to correct most mistakes people make, in any kind of sincere search for love and meaning.
I also find these kinds of essays somewhat alarming. Because the only way to get the kind of societal results this essay indicates is to return to the making of homosexuality itself illegal, returning to the kind of repressive culture that once existed in this country. Is that not what is really being advocated here? Is that not where you end up if you take this to its logical conclusion, assign yourself such powers over others, and impose your views? And the LGBT community, fresh from the fight which they won to obtain equal protection under the law, certainly is smart enough to see that is where many religious groups would like society to go — even when religious groups themselves are unaware of what the impact would be. So is it really surprising then, the kind of animosity so many of them have against religion? These arguments are the ones that made their lives miserable, threw them in jail — or worse, once upon a time.
I view the gay marriage issue as a secular, practical matter; it is about paperwork and what is supposed to be a neutral political system. It is not a metaphysical, cosmological issue; it is about what kind of paper the government can issue. LGBT people are doing what they always have, in that nothing has really changed. But it does remove the legal stigma placed upon the LGBT community, and the courts say this is equal protection under the law, they are removing a moral imposition. It is a good argument. And I think we should all be celebrating pluralism as one of the things that makes America the special, chosen Nation of God that it is.
Bill Miho, you make the mistake to think that the ideal of the Founding Fathers was and will be the ideal forever; their value system, temporarily practical for a nation of a majority of hardworking Christian people on a new continent, only counted until the advent of the Messiah, when new values and ethics have been and are being introduced.
In your own words, “…as a Unificationist, I view the gay marriage issue as a secular, practical matter; it is about paperwork and what is supposed to be a neutral political system. It is not a metaphysical, cosmological issue. An environment of freedom is necessary for humankind to reach its full original spiritual potential.” In addition as you point out, “…many denominations that already perform same-sex marriages, such as the Episcopalians, Lutherans, Presbyterians, United Church of Christ, the Unitarians and the Reform and Conservative Jewish Movements.”
Many denominations, including the ones you have listed, have a discordant standpoint with the Principle understanding of blessing and marriage. Unification Principle — four position foundation thesis — places marriage squarely as a metaphysical and cosmological issue. The Principle point of view is not neutral, marriage is an ontological, religious and ethical issue.
Yet, it is vitally important to recall as you have correctly noted, that “… God did not interfere with the fall of man; man’s portion of responsibility is something even God considers out of bounds.” In other words, how this disagreement is handled, either with compassion and understanding or with blame and condemnation; this issue is in the realm of human responsibility. Supporting marriage in the Principle sense does not have to mean being angered when opposed to the choice made by same-sex couples. Practically speaking, in this ontological controversy the emotional challenge is: how can the negatives and harm to others be diminished?
Bill, long time no see. Wow, that was some lecture: America the beautiful, Founding Fathers, pluralism, equal protection, and the Constitution.
The argument isn’t about America and the FF’s at the top of the growth stage, it’s about the “Founding Father” and the Completion Stage and the new teaching he brought to the world. Father brought a new understanding of God and the Purpose of Creation, which is the ideal we should be striving for, not arguing about whether or not homosexuals have “rights,” including the right to marry. Human rights, all “rights,” come from God, not the state; our Heavenly Parent is more interested in preserving and protecting our eternal spiritual life than in any type of temporary happiness we may find here on earth.
As Unificationists it’s our responsibility to set an example by fulfilling our own Purpose of Creation and Four Position Foundation; in this way we eliminate the fallen nature in our children we were born with. That’s my belief; I’m coming to the realization that there are church members who question this in their own lives, just as there are people who believe homosexuality “will always be with us,” as it’s always been. That’s because we’ve always been born into and have lived in a “fallen world.” Wow, sounds like some people need a three-day workshop – Principle 101.
One other minor point, Bill. Israel was also a “chosen nation” who missed the time of its visitation when it didn’t accept Jesus as the Messiah. Do I need to remind you what happened then? Do you really think it will be any different for America? People, countries, are “chosen” for a purpose, if that purpose isn’t fulfilled, God moves on. You don’t feel God leaving America, or, to be more accurate, don’t you feel we are pushing God out of America? Same-sex marriage is just another example of America moving away from God. And now it’s no longer my “choice” to oppose gay marriage based on religious grounds guaranteed to me in the Bill of Rights; my “choice” has been taken from me — it’s now the law, according to the Supreme Court, whether I agree with it or not.
Care to comment on pluralism and equal protection under the law? That was the actual issue of the day, in my view.
Equal protection under the law is a Constitutional ideal. Yet, our ideals are only as good or as high as the level of our collective conscience. Once again we are faced with the question, “What is the highest standard of collective conscience? Unification thought — four position foundation thesis — takes on this challenge. At the center of the thesis is heart, likened to an inseparable relationship between parent and child. In this original (four position foundation) familial context, pluralism, diversity, free choice and Constitutional protections would be derived. Constitutional protections would exist to protect the core understanding and true meaning of original heart. If pluralism and equal protection were to mean the equal protection of the negation of heart, then what would happen? A true collective standard could never be established by the two contradictory positions.
The four position foundation ontological thesis — the harmony of the dual characteristics of masculinity and femininity that resembles the essence or heart of the original image, is absolute. The issue of the day, same-sex marriage, a type of pluralism, stands relative to the absolute standard. It would have relative constitutional accommodations or protections in due process.
Bill, as you say, God did not intervene in the Fall. But, if we can go by what it says in the Bible, it appears that God does have an opinion on the issue and by expressing it tries to guide us away from falling, which can be considered a form of intervention.
Regarding the legality of same-sex marriage: If the fact that it’s legal influences people to become homosexual, then I would say, those who extoll the virtues of heterosexual marriage and believe that any alternative is wrong are not doing enough to explain why alternatives are wrong and demonstrate and promote its virtues. Hence, we who disagree with the alternatives have our work cut out for us, don’t we?
Paul, are you saying that now that same-sex marriage is legal, straight people are all of a sudden going to be influenced to become gay?
You might be able to choose whether or not to have sex, but you cannot choose who you’re attracted to. There is either chemistry or there isn’t.
No, Ann, I am not saying that, but it can have an influence. And yet, I am also not saying it shouldn’t be legal. But I don’t believe it would have as much of an influence if those of us who believe in heterosexual relationships as the only kind of relationship that God intended, demonstrated the joys and virtues of heterosexuality through our families. But this is not enough. If homosexuality is not what God intended we also need to explain what’s wrong with it and how to correct it.
I would like to add my applause to Bill Miho’s essay — and perhaps add one small point: When closing the door on homosexuals, do not lock the door with seven keys, lest one may be locking a friend or loved one out.
I don’t believe we want to “close” the door on anyone. Everyone is a child of God whom He/She loves. It does not mean that we have to accept homosexuality.
I cannot agree with anything in this article. Unification Church leaders have been everything but an example to others on how to live together, love each other, build strong families, or even show the slightest respect for other people. How can the movement possibly expect to be helpful to other people when everything is literally “Do as I say and not as I do.” There is no example there.
As for homosexuality, there will not be an end to it. There have always been gay people, as well as other homosexual animals. We can accept it now, or accept it later. Using a belief in God to hammer people with is not going to change the fact that a certain percentage of the human population is going to be sexually attracted to the same sex. It is a reality in our species. We have lost so many brilliant human beings because of our narrow-minded perspective on the way we should all be. We will hopefully come to a point where we can be a unified family. The Unification Church is going exactly the wrong direction to fulfill that promise.
I find the notion that gay people will “overcome” their homosexuality if they see “better” examples, naive, to say the least. Homosexuality and bi-sexuality have been around for thousands of years despite being surrounded by a majority of heterosexual “examples.”
Bill Miho, that was brilliant! I agree with you.
Just to add a couple of points. Homosexuality and heterosexuality are not in competition with each other. They are what they are. You cannot show an example of a happy and fulfilled straight marriage to a LGTB person and persuade them that that is a better option for them. That’s not how it works.
Secondly, to those who think that many African or Middle Eastern countries are leading the way for moral values think on this: in those countries homosexuals have no freedom. Such acts are punishable under the criminal law by imprisonment and even the death penalty. At best LGTB brothers and sisters are persecuted and discriminated against so as to ruin their lives. It is a human rights abuse. Please don’t claim your own rights to religious freedom if at the same time you effectively condone the denial of others rights as you praise such countries.
I was reading recently about an openly gay man, Willem Arondeus, who gave his life in an attempt to protect Jews from the Nazis. His last words were, apparently, “Let it be known that homosexuals are not cowards.” Under Unificationism I suppose that Arondeus would have been already in jail for being gay and therefore unable to help anybody. Jesus said to first take the mote out of your own eye.
The contributions made to our species by homosexual people would make a long list and it continues. I cannot imagine my life without gay men and lesbian women in it. They are friends and family. It is completely absurd to look down on them from a heterosexual pedestal and judge them as wanting because of who they are sexually attracted to. If this becomes a number one issue for any church, they have so completely lost the mark.
The church — at the top — has not set a great example of successful parenting or harmonious relationship. World peace can only occur one child at a time.
Same sex marriage laws allow partners, who have often been in successful long-term relationships, legal rights to visit in hospital when sick or have communal property or even bury their loved ones.
Commitment to love — legally allowed — isn’t a bad thing, nor does it threaten anyone in a strong relationship.
The argument where it only occurred because of the “fall”, doesn’t wash either. The sexual spectrum is evident in all of nature. I know it is difficult to let go of pre-conceived ideas, but try to live and let live…and love yourself and others.
What is the “natural” relationship between a man and a woman? “Legally allowed”? By whom? The state? I think that’s a one-way ticket to you-know-where!
My understanding of DP is that animals do not have a soul or spirit — as humans do — that can be compromised, corrupted or, worse, lost! So, comparing sexual activity in nature to humankind, for lack of a better term, doesn’t wash. Let’s not forget Dr. Beebe is presenting a Unificationist (DP) understanding of same-sex marriage as it relates to the “ideal,” not whether or not gays are good or bad people. God’s ideal exists on a level far removed from our daily lives, which is why it’s so hard for us to grasp or emulate!
As far as the “threat” to our culture or country goes, we’ll have to wait for history to make its judgment on that. However, as any good historian will confirm, sexual corruption and deviancy within the Roman Empire had as much — if not more — to do with its “fall” as the hordes from without.
One final thought. What do you say we get beyond this idea of “the church” (whomever that is) — bottom, top, middle — and focus on our own personal, individual ideas that we stand behind and take responsibility for. I don’t know about you, but I’m really not interested in hearing any more about what some Korean “leader” said or did in 1979 or whether or not it was “principled.” What matters is what we do now.
And what I have to do is learn to “love” gay people for who they are, even if I don’t agree with their lifestyle. What’s that expression, “Love the sinner, hate the sin.” That’s my mountain!
As a member of CAUSA for many years, here’s my view.
I believe, as others have said in these posts, that our efforts to reach out akin to CAUSA at universities and conferences, et. al., would have been helpful regarding the issue of sexual promiscuity in general. We need to have a “Critique and Counterproposal,” just as we did with CAUSA, just as we do on other issues. I don’t believe it’s enough just to present our ideals and hope for the best. We obviously need to live our ideals either way. That goes without saying.
We do, however, need to build coalitions among religious people and groups for our message to fall on more than deaf ears. That was the CAUSA approach. We had many activities — political, religious, social, media — feeding into the CAUSA/ALC conferences and concurrent DP sessions.
Take smoking, for example. We spend just as much time explaining the perils of smoking and cancer as we do emphasizing the benefits of good health. Maybe more. That doesn’t mean we don’t love people any less, no more than TF didn’t love communists because he opposed communism. At the same time, we do, however, walk a fine line between opposition/promotion and persecution. We don’t persecute people for what they do. We shouldn’t. But there is no doubt that God’s prohibitions exist in history, even in something like Corinthians 13:4-8. Giving the Commandment speaks to this fact.
TF’s quotes in the CSG resonate: “God cannot be God if He treats the sons and daughters of the devil, the enemy of His love, as the children of an enemy. God has to set up the standard by loving them with the same heart He would have loved His original sinless sons and daughters. Have you ever thought about God being in such a miserable situation that He can only act in this way? (208-291, 1990.11.20) “Who knows the deep valleys of God’s aching heart as He dealt with Satan’s accusations throughout that time! That is why I am saying that someone who has not experienced the heart of a man who let his beloved wife go to the bosom of his enemy and yet prayed for the happiness of that enemy cannot know the heart of God.” (184-302, 1989.1.1)
“When you are to give a sermon, pray three times longer than what you expect to speak.” (TF) Perhaps if people feel negative judgment when we teach the Principle, our hearts aren’t yet in the right place.
Thank you, Alan, for your thoughtful and heartistic response. We all have to seek God’s heart more sincerely and deeply to be able to speak on this issue constructively. Our gay brothers and sisters are deserving of God’s love. That should be the motivating factor behind our words.
Bill Miho’s comment is insightful, principled, and wise. The conscience is our first teacher. We must respect the conscience of others and love them unconditionally. To judge, oppress, and persecute the LGBT community is to perpetuate a fallen history of bitter resentment. Christianity has utterly failed in this regard and we are tasting the fruit of that failure. Our job is to raise our own standards of heart, not judge others for what we perceive to be their shortcomings. In the end, loving, gentle suasion will bring others to God — anger and political struggle will not.
I do not share your viewpoint at all, Jeffrey. It is true that we all have shortcomings, but if we would shamelessly promote them and push for others to recognize them, we would be wrong and not be deserving of love at all. Of course, God would still try to steer us perhaps, but the process would be hard without any repentance. Nigeria has, at least by law, forbidden gay relationships, and it is something other nations can learn from.
Frans, you actually want to criminalize homosexuality, repress them, raid the places they gather, have people accuse each other, throw them all in jail. You will not save a single soul that way. To use political repression and the point of a gun barrel to impose moral values on unbelievers is the Taliban, ISIS, Communist way. It is not the way of true love, which requires what DP calls “natural subjugation.” That requires patience, tolerance, sacrificial service and love — not the end of a brick bat. One reason humanity has been stuck is it has been cut off from the love of God without which we cannot grow. How does isolating, demonizing and punishing homosexuals enable them to grow? How does use of force create faith? It cannot and does not; all you do is damage people. All you are doing is serving Satan’s purpose to accuse humanity of sin, cut them off from the love of God and man, and drive them into misery.
I was trying to point out that there are those that are struggling with their shortcomings and want a way out of their situation or are trying to repent, and others that are shamelessly and actively even promoting their sin — would you be in a hurry to love folks that are promoting stealing or lying? I don`t think so. Nigeria was setting an example by making it illegal. People who are destroying social ethics in society, would they be just free to do it in the name of pluralism or because the US Constitution said that everyone is equal under the law? I was in South Africa in the time that the government there officially supported apartheid. Now I know that apartheid is practiced in many nations in the world, but when a government officially recognizes it as a legally, it becomes dangerous, as many people will more easily then commit it or even just try it out when they think it suits them – it is the same with the sin of homosexuality.
I haven’t been on sites like this in a while but this article came across my Facebook feed from a 2nd gen acquaintance who’s still in the church and it opened up a conversation I felt was important to bring back to the source.
To introduce myself, I’m a 32-year-old 2nd gen, the eldest daughter of an 1800 couple (mother still living, father passed a while back). My parents were happily married and I consider my personal childhood experiences to be a good overall. I left the church when I was about 26. And I have felt strongly in favor of marriage equality since I was about 22 years old.
I can’t point to a major incident that made me decide to leave the church; it was more realizing I had no reason to stay. There are things I agree with the UC on but the vast majority of those things are included in most other moral philosophies and the things that do make the UC unique — I began to realize a lot of it violated my sense of reason and personal soul searching. If you are happy as a member, I am happy for you but it’s wrong for me.
But somehow I feel like any comment I could make here will fall on deaf ears. I’m not in the church anymore, and I rarely see the existence and characteristics of such people acknowledged in much detail. The second gen who grow up “correctly” and are still in the church are proof that the system works. The rest of us? We’re…. Who knows?
I ran into a first gen in the town I’ve lived in since elementary school and she asked when had I “moved back to the area”. She was surprised and a little tongue-tied when I said I hadn’t moved. She asked me about my job, saying that I must be very, very busy. I told her a little bit about my work but noted part of the reason I really liked the job was its benefits and flexible schedule. She seemed uncomfortable. It isn’t the first time I’ve had that reaction when seeing first gen I used to know (although usually I run into them when visiting my mother). Awkward questions trying to feel out possible addictions or emotional problems are not uncommon (though often directed at my mother when I’m thought to be out of ear shot). It rarely seems to occur to them that as a nice well-adjusted 2nd gen, I just wasn’t a member anymore — good kids are church members, if they aren’t here they must have just moved to a different community or are too busy to attend events.
And “bad kids? The ones with emotional damage or addictions — both in and out of the church? Well they or their parents didn’t follow the teachings well enough.
Basically, the Unificationist view always works, and when it doesn’t, that’s some kind of exception that doesn’t count for one reason or another.
The church as it is now (much different than the one of my childhood) is fairly standard for a religion in its day to day life. For those who are happy in it, God bless. But if you want to tell me that you know better how people should live their lives…well… I’m going to need you to back that up with more than faith and theory for me to take it seriously. I see a lot of stories of bad experiences with other ways of life held up as reasons the UC way is better. Statistics of what happens to people raised in certain ways and how this is detrimental to personal development and society. But only the ideal outcome of the UC way is given as comparison — personal stories that are “negative” don’t count — they are exceptions (unlike the stories told about other groups). And statistics about the outcome for children raised in the church? Nothing. Comparing the reality of another group to the theory of your own is not a fair comparison. It’s no more fair than cherry-picking 2nd gen stories who had horrible experiences in the church and comparing it to the ideal non-UC family.
What are the marriage and divorce rates for those who are raised in the church? What percentage of people raised in the church are you including? Just currently active members or all those who grew up with those teachings (let’s say until the age of 18? Or even just those who went all the way to the Blessing)? What are the stats for the church’s success rates?
If it’s just my personal experience (stayed in the church until the age of 26) it’s average at best. By the time I left, most of the 2nd gen my age or older were long gone. Less than 20% staying in the church if I had to estimate. The number that went off to the blessing and stayed married to that person? Lower… a lot lower. Although, granted the rate of divorce after having children seemed lower than the national average, but so few stayed married it’s hard to tell.
The bottom line is, if living this way makes you happy and healthy, I have nothing to say other than I’m happy for you. But, if you want to tell me how everyone should live, back it up with data, not sermons. The overbearing certainty that this is the one and only true way is a huge contributing factor to why people like myself leave, so if you’re going to double down on it… extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.
Thank you for that honest and insightful response. I am sorry to see that no one responded to you. There is not much to disagree with in what you write. Despite having a load of theology on God, marriage, the family, it has always surprised me that so few 2G want to get married. In fact on the current trajectory the church will fizzle out in many countries in Europe where I live. So having a “better” theology than Christians doesn’t really make much difference. Marriage of course is central to many religions and the traditional Christian wedding is in many ways more meaningful and beautiful than Unification weddings. When couples have a Jewish or Christian wedding they also receive God’s blessing on their marriage. So our self-righteousness about so many of these things sticks in my throat. Like many other religions we like to think we are better than others because of our theology or leader or whatever, but none of these things count. It is all about love and I don’t think our community is a very loving or caring one. If it was it wouldn’t be where it is. I don’t think many 1G are happily married and so many 2G don’t see in their own parents and the community a vision they want to aspire to or a community they want to belong to. Anyway, I wish you every blessing in the path you have chosen, not that you need it from me.
I think your analysis of the Christian view of marriage is superficial and supersessionist. Did you watch the Anglican weddings of William and Kate or Harry and Meghan? The liturgy – introduction, vows, ring ceremony, sermon, prayers and blessings, etc. – reveal the importance of marriage as a sacrament for the establishment of a God-centred family. That is why Christians put a lot of time and money and care into making a wedding as meaningful and beautiful as possible as it expresses their core values of love. That is why family and friends attend to celebrate the wedding as marriage is seen as bringing together not just two individuals but two families and communities of friends. The contrast with a Unification wedding is stark.
Despite the fact that marriage and family is a core part of the Principle the reality is that for whatever reason only a small proportion of our young people want to get blessed. How do we explain that? We may have a better theology but not necessarily better outcomes. So saying Christians lost the legal battle because their theology is not as good as ours doesn’t cut much mustard.
The collapse of the Roman Empire had a multitude of causes and the adoption of Christianity as the state religion was one of them according to Gibbon and also my interpretation of the Principle.
You actually haven’t given a Principled response to the issue of same-sex marriage as you haven’t articulated a Principle vision of the meaning and purpose of marriage.
Once the law on marriage has changed it is game over.
The Marriage Blessing in Korea was a special and holy experience for our family. Our two families flew over together and shared visiting sites in Korea together for this week. Meeting the other blessing candidates during meals at the conference center that lodged us was a highlight of the experience. These young people are idealistic, seeking a purer life and a true relationship with God and True Parents, They are talented, accomplished and involved in serving others in society. Yes, like the Catholic sacrament, our marriage tradition is a vow to live for the sake of others, and world peace. The developing true love of each couple is for the nuclear family, the extended family and the family of God around us. Other marriage ceremonies are beautiful, but most do not have this quality of participation with a beloved community beyond our own nuclear extended family in the actual ceremony itself (unless it is a famous couple event as mentioned).
The Unification Holy Wedding ceremony is also an engrafting to our True Parents, God’s representatives to the world, representing the restoration of past eras, to begin a new era that recognizes our Father and Mother God, and our Messianic couple to restore fallen history. This is how unique our tradition is and that brings a deeper and wider significance to the Judeo-Christian traditions and other faith paths.
We shall never forget the special experience in Korea, our founder’s homeland, and the feeling of support and holiness from the dedicated young adults who vow to share their marriage ceremony together with like-minded candidates from a variety of faith backgrounds. This is unique to share this blessing with other faiths as well. Marriage then becomes the matrix for uniting the “body of Christ.”
Unity of husband and wife is the sacred relationship for God to dwell with us more fully than in our individual lives. Yes, the challenges of marrying are universal: learning to love one person for eternity, learning to overcome struggles together, learning to love someone from another background, sharing responsibility for raising children, allowing our faith in God to grow even when disappointments and the sorrows of life confront us. The outcome is up to each of us taking responsibility for our lives; isn’t it?
Thank you, William, for your thoughtful response. You said yourself that any community which actually practices the Principle will flourish. A central aspect of the Principle, the second of the three blessings, is establishing a God-centered marriage and family. This, of course, is the challenge and, as you have pointed out, many Unificationists have not done a very good job of exemplifying this to the world; hence, our stagnation as a movement. God is looking for people who will actually practice the three blessings in their lives, whether Unificationists or not, and will bless their efforts.
Wow, I see that my essay has opened a hornets nest, not only on the issue of same-sex marriage but also with regard to our movement. I say movement because we know it was never Rev. Moon’s intention to start a church or another denomination but to change the world’s culture by helping people to understand God’s original ideal and reconnect with God’s heart. That said, I would like to address some of the issues that have been raised. I may not remember or get to all of them, but I’ll try to deal with some of the more important ones.
First of all, I appreciate the sincerity with which everyone has engaged this discussion. I respect everyone’s opinion because they are all deeply felt.
Regarding the problems in our movement, I acknowledge the lack of example among our leadership, the hypocrisy, the abuse of power, and the arrogance at times. At the same time, I think there is a lot of good here. I see it in my local church community. I honor my brothers and sisters for their efforts to do good to others and the sacrifices many of them have made over the years. At the same time, I acknowledge there are plenty of other wonderful people and families in many other faith communities as well as among nonbelievers. Strength of conscience and depth of heart is what counts most in front of God. I remain a faithful follower of True Parents because they have challenged me to be the best I can be as God’s son, to take my role as a husband and a father seriously, and to use my gifts and talents for the benefit of others.
I find it ironic that some have accused me of trying to “impose” my beliefs on others. I am not trying to impose anything on anybody. I am simply expressing what I believe to be true, in this case that marriage is meant to be, and always has been until now, a sacred commitment of love between a man and a woman, a husband and a wife, a harmonious union of masculinity and femininity, out of which comes new life. God does have a design and it is expressed in the Three Blessings.
Now I know that some out there do not believe that, even apparently some Unificationists, and that is their right. If there is any imposition going on today, it seems to me it is the other way around. It is those who take my position who face the greatest threat to their livelihood, even criminal charges, if they refuse to accept the redefinition of marriage to include same-sex couples, and probably in the near future, polygamous relationships.
Finally, let me say that I in no way condone imprisoning homosexuals, as some have implied would be the logical outcome of my argument. They are not evil people, and many have made important contributions in history, as has been pointed out. I believe, however, that they are misguided and come to harbor same-sex attractions for a variety of reasons, whether due to an abusive childhood, an arrested sexual development during adolescence, or some spiritual influence. The Principle teaches that we all are composed of both masculine and feminine elements, but forces can occur, especially in our fallen world, to skew the balance between them.
In the end, gays and lesbians need what we all do: to experience God’s masculine and feminine love, ideally in the form of a father and a mother as children. Secure in that love leads to security in one’s identity as a man or a woman and provides the foundation for a true and lasting love relationship with our eternal partner with whom we can feel complete.
Robert, certainly Unificationists know and understand the ideal of marriage as taught in Divine Principle and by True Parents. Repeating that does not address current events. What has happened is the courts ruled that it violated the rights of LGBT people to equal protection under the law, to deny them marriage licenses — which are secular, legal, contractural documents that offer specific protections under the law. Equal protection — and pluralism is the issue here. If you want to offer the opinion this ruling will end America as a Providential nation, bring about her decline, you have to be clear in what you imply. You are arguing that the principles that made us a shining city on a hill are no longer virtues, that the rights of freedom of conscience, pluralism and equal protection under the law are destroying the nation and need to be ended. But you may lack the confidence there is any better system available in this world. There simply is no better way than freedom of conscience.
The idea that God will bring judgment upon America as a result of gays being able to legally marry is not at all Divine Principle, it is not what DP teaches about the last days. I think too many Unificationists have fallen into the trap of following the political rhetoric and eschatological views of fundamental conservative Christians, who have very different views on the last days. Look — gays already marry — in many many churches. How does this legal issue have greater spiritual impact than what the Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Evangelical Lutherans and many more Judeo-Christian denominations are already doing and offering it to God? You entirely give these current events too much weight. This will not make more homosexuals. How does the availability of marriage contracts affect someone’s attraction to the same sex? It does not, and studies of adopted children of gay parents shows them no more likely to turn out gay than children of heterosexual parents.
Your spiritual advice in reaction to this situation is to become even more insular and removed from the society of people we live in. Yet our mission is to save this world. How do we do that by withdrawal, if we do not even have friends outside the church? We need more involvement with people, not less, more causes and campaigns for justice for all and a better world. Unless we just want to be sit down on Sunday Presbyterians or something. But that is not what I signed up for, not at all. I had had well enough of that. Your mileage of course, may vary.
Bill, I wish you would read carefully what I have said and not read things into it that are not there. God’s judgment will not come upon America because of homosexuality, but primarily because America — and Christianity — did not recognize and receive the Messiah, just as Israel and Rome also declined after Jesus was rejected. Of course, Christians still may accept True Parents. It’s possible.
Also, what the Supreme Court did was not give equal rights to gays but change the very definition of marriage. As far as I know, same-sex marriage was never recognized in any culture throughout history. No religion recognizes same-sex marriage, except in the past decade those few, mostly declining, churches that you mentioned. Universally, marriage has been regarded as a committed relationship between a man and a woman. Polygamy is still accepted under Islam, but has been rejected where once accepted, for example, in the Old Testament and in Mormonism. However, now that the definition of marriage is up for grabs (can you tell me what it is?), the case is already being made for polygamy and various sorts of group marriages (Why not? It seems that all you need is consenting adults).
As far as being insular, I am the principal of a school that was established by Unificationists but now mainly serves non-Unificationist families. I am in daily contact with nonmembers. They know exactly who I am as a Unificationist. I witness to them by my example, the example of my marriage (my wife also teaches at the school), my family (all of my children have worked at the school at one time or another), and by offering Principled-based education based on the materials and experience I gained working with the International Educational Foundation in Russia and other former Soviet republics. We offer classes in the DP, mainly for the BCs that we have, but which are sometimes taken by non-BCs at their parent’s request.
Heterosexual two-parent families offer the best possibility for raising happy well-adjusted children. As gay marriages proliferate, I believe this will become more and more evident. Already, even with the current dismal state of heterosexual marriage with its 50 percent divorce rate, there are many studies out there that show children of these marriages when they reach adulthood are better off–academically, financially, emotionally–than children of gay parents. Children deserve to be raised by their real parents and receive both a father’s and a mother’s love. And, just to be clear, that does not mean jailing or mistreating homosexuals. I agree with you: we should love them for whom they are — as God’s children.
In the context of the legalization of gay marriage as equally protected under the law, you said “The Judeo-Christian values that once provided the moral foundation for our culture and informed the nation’s education system have been replaced by a godless secular perspective in which anything goes,” and “From this new perspective, once accepted traditional values are now regarded as oppressive and bigoted.” Clearly you liked how things were and wanted marriage licenses only available to heterosexual couples, and you did advocate citizens being able to vote on the matter, to let the majority determine what legal protections via marriage licenses the minority may have. Yet, you also wish to claim you are not advocating imposing your moral values on others. Then you lay the blame upon Christians: had they not rejected Unificationism, America would not be in such a sorry state.
Advocating the Unificationist ideals of marriage is all well and good, but the issues of pluralistic, secular law is a separate and distinct matter. You do not separate religious or philosophical views on marriage from the issue of marriage licenses, and insist the courts have “redefined marriage” when in fact they are attempting to be neutral and not anyone’s advocate on the issue. And gays already marry — in churches and synagogues.
Conservative Christians are attempting to impose their religious views upon liberal Christian and Jewish denominations by force of government. Whether you dismiss them as in decline or not, the Episcopalians, Evangelical Lutherans, Presbyterians, United Church Of Christ, Unitarians, Quakers, Reform Jewish Movement and the Conservative Jewish Movement all perform same-sex marriages in their congregations. It is the religious faith of many people these are valid marriages. There are an awful lot of LGBT people who do love and worship God and Jesus. Gay marriage is not at all the “godless” issue you make it out to be, really. That is a very inaccurate — and many might say bigoted — thing to say. And for Pete’s sake — many, many gays joined our church who joined and served God with great dedication, have had great families, who were able to manage successful Blessed marriages despite their inclinations. I also know four great brothers who died of AIDS. Your essay falls short, I feel, in loving as we as Unificationists were once loved by God ourselves.
Fact is “freedom is indivisible” or it isn’t. You can’t draw a line. It’s for all or not at all. Yet, we think about the consequences of this kind of completely permissive society. God can only provide us with guidelines. He can’t live our lives for us. At the same time, as Creator, He alone can tell us why He created, what is the purpose and the good. Certainly, as you said, true love cannot be forced. No one can compel love. Arresting people or forcing them won’t do it.
For those who promote “marriage equality,” how can the line be drawn anywhere? Wouldn’t polygamists, bigamists and loving incestuous couples also have the right to marry? If it’s “love,” then who defines love, the LGBT community? Seems to me whenever supporters of non-traditional marriage hear opposition, they can be as intolerant of others. They can refuse to admit the obvious. That’s their prerogative, their choice. They’re promoting themselves as the final arbitrators of good, yet at the same time say people shouldn’t determine rights? We may not be able to judge people for how they live, but we also don’t have to accept or promote what they do.
I believe, as Jesus said in the Bible (John 5:19): “The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do. …” He saw and did what God wants, as TF did. I believe so. We can choose to or not. I don’t think either of them hated people, just what people do to God.
Polygamous marriage is certainly going to be legalized next, it has a long history in world culture and is still current in certain religions. Bigamy no, it would have to conform to the legal constraints of the marriage license contracts, it would be fraud to not reveal an existing marriage. Pedophilia is rightfully criminal and will continue to be, as involves minors who cannot offer consent.
As I have said elsewhere, partnering with the LGBT community in support of family issues we agree on would be a wise Unificationist response. To protect the vulnerable and to end slavery and human trafficking — which is a goal the Vatican has set of ending by the year 2020, in concert with other world religions. We could very well use the help of smart people, and it would help head off the backlash attacks against religious groups that are surely coming, as a result of the animosity religious groups have directed at gays. Despite suffering that religion has caused them historically, the truth is there are many LGBT people who do not agree with stepping on the consciences of religious people, and having the LGBT community defend the rights of religion would certainly be a better, more effective way to deal with frivolous or unconstitutional legal challenges by activist extremists. And a lot of LGBT people are more gifted in dealing with PR and media than some religious people too — they sure kicked butt all the way to the Supreme Court, didn’t they? We could use the help of people like that, assuming we ourselves actually care about doing anything in this world ourselves.
Bill, you said, “Conservative Christians are attempting to impose their religious views upon liberal Christian and Jewish denominations by force of government.” Let’s try this: “Liberal Leftists are attempting to impose their secular views upon conservative Christian and Jewish denominations by force of government.” I think the second statement would be closer to the truth. If you believe in the traditional definition of marriage, one that has been accepted by all cultures and religions for thousands of years, you are now in danger of being harassed, sued, lose your livelihood, and perhaps even be imprisoned (it’s coming) if you act on that belief.
And yes, some who had lived a homosexual lifestyle did join the UC (I do know some) and because of their association with the movement they were able to overcome their homosexual inclinations and, as you mentioned, go on to create wonderful families. The way to truly love homosexuals is not to go along with their desires, but to support them in overcoming their same-sex attractions, which I do believe are not natural (this is a big area that really needs to be examined, politically incorrect though it is), so they can experience their original mind’s desire for a lasting love relationship with a member of the other half of humanity, masculinity and femininity coming together in harmonious oneness, spiritually and physically, through which they may give birth to their own children and raise in the embrace of God’s love.
There will be legal challenges to try to force religious institutions to perform gay marriages, out of spite. They will not prevail, for they will be as unconstitutional as the laws the courts just overturned. And as I have said, many in the LGBT community support religious freedom and oppose these kinds of extremist actions. We should work with them where we agree, enlist their help to fight such stupidity, and their voices will be heard much more clearly than our own on this issue. They are also generally a lot better at that kind of thing than anyone writing essays on same-sex marriage I have read.
Clearly you think somehow you are “helping” homosexuals by condemning them. What you are really doing is attempting to pressure them through marginalizing them, isolating, placing a social stigma upon them. That is not the love of God, that is strong-arming them, that is use of force. This is certainly how they have been treated in the past, and it is rightfully considered bullying.
You cannot convert anyone to your views in that manner; no one joined the church because they were treated in such a disrespectful manner. You will not save one soul in that way.
Thank you so much for this article! I’m really starting to lose hope for America. Has Father ever said anything about how long the Last Days will last? Will we see even glimpses of the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth in our lifetime? Again, I am quickly losing hope for America and it’s making me very sad and somewhat stressed. All of this is making me feel a tremendous pressure as a blessed child to make a good family so we can be role models for the rest of the world.
Well, it may last another 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 years. We don’t know. Much of it depends, I believe, on how well we fulfill our responsibility. But let us do so joyfully and by supporting one another. Thank you for your care and commitment.
“What would have happened if God’s creation in the Garden of Eden had ended with man and there had been no woman? The miracle of all miracles is that men and women exist together in this world. For only one to exist would be the same as no existence at all. Humankind would have ended in less than a hundred years. It is only when men and women are together that the heavenly path can be established and ethics and moral principles have their beginning.” (TF, 8/25/2005)
English is not my native language, yet even for someone not born in the US it is not difficult to understand these words. Why have we reached a stage where we doubt TP’s words?
Migliore, no one here is suggesting that everyone should become homosexual. That’s not the point.
One “issue” or angle not being mentioned here is that of privacy, but well, no matter, since however things like this are framed (and argued, endlessly) it boils down to preference, context, disposition and ultimately “conscience,” which is certainly not a science, but perhaps should be, someday.
My pithy comment on homosexual marriage itself, however, remains unchanging: “More monogamous sodomy is for certain better than the alternative.”
[Or, in other words: “Make love, not war.”]
The article is well-written and points out some of the principle viewpoints.
However, I think it is not just an ideological or political issue, but includes emotional and perhaps spiritual causes at its core.
From my own observation, there are homosexuals within our movement who are blessed and have children, who try hard to overcome it. Most of them are known and do not hide.
Men are attracted by the beauty of a female mind and body naturally. If I was taught that this is wrong and would believe it, still my heart would cling to women. The same seems to be taken place for gay and lesbian attractions. I think those members within our movement who went through this confusion successfully can elucidate and guide others.
One thing that makes me think are the hardcore homosexuals who undergo surgery to change their sex insisting that they are born in the wrong body. If this would be the case then God by mistake transferred spirits into the wrong box, something we cannot believe since God is omnipotent. My question here is whether possession can take on different forms. A person may appear completely normal, but transmits the emotions of a different person from the spirit world, attached to his body. Once I saw a glimpse of the spiritual body of such a brother. There were two entities stuck to his body tightly, controlling his life energy entirely. This I find interesting, because many of those are quite intelligent and secondly our general understanding of possession might need to be adjusted.
As we grow and reach higher levels of spirituality in our life of faith we may identify such cases and help those, myself so far have failed to do so.
As a society we recognize there are feelings of hostility on this issue; furthermore, there is a history of mistreatment of homosexuals. We are questioning how much room and what kind of accommodation is allowed in the realm of the indirect dominion? Same-sex marriage has been legitimized by the Supreme Court ruling. The ruling is perceived by many people, the author of this article and myself, to be an erosion of the bedrock of the Principle meaning of the Blessing. An unshakable definition of marriage (man-woman) can be derived from the UT/four-position-foundation thesis. However, in the realm of the indirect dominion (free choice) there is room for same-sex marriage. As Unificationists we are challenged to hold these two opposing points of view at the same time and continue to function in tolerant and peaceful ways.
I’ve found this discussion very interesting and useful. Thanks, Bob, for initiating it. I did want to comment on something which may not directly relate to this issue but was brought up in one of the responses. Christina Weber wrote that she is now 32 and decided to leave the Church at 26. One of the things she mentioned was that she “can’t point to a major incident that made me decide to leave the church; it was more realizing I had no reason to stay.”
It should be concerning for all of us that there are many (like Christina) who grew up in our faith but don’t feel connected (or left) for various reasons. Personally, I’ve often felt that our belief is much greater than our Church practice. In other words, I’ve wondered whether our actual Church activities are broad enough to utilize the many talents of our members and to retain their interest, etc. I’ve seen many, both 1st and 2nd gen, who may not want to discard their identity as Church members but feel no connection or interest in what the Church is doing. They feel it’s too narrow in its focus on straight witnessing, etc., and don’t feel excited to take part.
So, I’ve always wished as a Church or, more importantly, a Movement, that, in addition to discussing our theology, we would have a broader focus on transforming society from our unique Unificationist perspective. In other words, it would be great if people could walk into any of our Church centers and immediately join discussion groups on transforming politics from a headwing perspective, or a different way of looking at the arts, or bringing together the spiritual and physical within the health field, etc. These are issues that might actually cut across traditional conservative-liberal lines. It would give us a distinctive message and perspective which would separate us from your “average” Church. And it might provide, at least for some 2nd gen and 1st gen, a reason to stay (involved)!
Jeff, you are so right on target! Spot-on, as they say! Bull’s-eye!
My response would be that members who feel so inspired should initiate such discussion groups, either at the church or in their homes. The more the merrier!
Can you elaborate on what is the “distinctive message and perspective which would separate us from your average Church”?
I read it and found myself feeling strangely troubled at heart, even though I agreed with much of what Bob said. It took me several re-reads to find the phrase that was nagging at me, and it is this: “In God’s ideal there is no room …”
2,000 years ago in Bethlehem a mother and her unborn baby were told again and again, “No room, at this inn!” In those days there was no room either for mothers with children conceived out of wedlock; but God saw things differently. Can we really presume to say to anyone “no room?”
True Father says that when he began his quest for God, it took him ten long years to realize a very simple truth: that God is our Parent, and we are God’s children. Why did it take him so long? It was hard for him, as it is for us to reconcile the ideal of a God of love and mercy with the reality of a world so full of pain and misery. He asked, as many of us do, “Does God even exist?” Not just once or twice, but repeatedly over many years.
These were questions that couldn’t be answered in simple isolation, or just in prayer or study of the Bible. Instead God led him to Japan, at that time the colonial oppressor of his native Korea. There he completed a degree in electrical engineering, despite having to study in a foreign language in an enemy nation. He joined the underground resistance movement, and was frequently arrested and beaten, never once betraying the names of his colleagues and friends.
Moved in heart to give away his tuition and food money to those less fortunate, he worked night shifts for a meager wage just to survive. He mingled with the poorest of Japan’s poor, not considering them his enemies, but listening to their stories, sharing his food, giving haircuts to scraggly beggars and treating with utmost respect those who were considered outcasts by everyone else, even their own countrymen.
In short, he experienced the loving heart of God by loving those who were the most difficult to love.
Suddenly, as he says in his autobiography, As A Peace-Loving Global Citizen, the heavens opened up and he saw clearly for the first time the reality of God’s long and suffering history. The realization came like a lightning bolt that God really is our Heavenly Parent, a Parent who shares all our hopes and dreams but is also deeply affected by our disappointments, frustrations and sorrows. This relationship of parent and child is the very core meaning of our existence. Every person alive, and everyone who ever lived, is absolutely and eternally the son or daughter of God.
If this is true, and I believe with all my heart that it is, then there will be, there must be, room for all of God’s children in the heart and mind of our Heavenly Parent, no matter how far each and any of us fall short of our divine potential.
Last year, I traveled by bus throughout America on the God’s Hope for America Holy Ground Pilgrimage, retracing our Father’s first prayerful footsteps here in America. Along the way, we ended up staying in some pretty seedy places. I remember in particular driving down a portion of old Route 66, past down-at-heels motels from a previous era. Theoretically, most of them had vacant rooms for visitors, but it was not a very welcoming sight. Receptions were closed and dark. Parking lots were shady and scary, and no one was in sight. Neon signs with faulty tubes and missing letters advertised questionable vacancies.
What about God’s motel, the house with “many mansions” that Jesus described in John 14. In that place, every light is on, the reception is wide open, and fresh coffee and cookies are on the counter. But God, the proprietor, isn’t just waiting casually in the office for strangers that might show up. Instead, our Heavenly Parent is standing out by the roadside, looking nervously up and down the darkened highway, and thinking all the while “My children should be arriving soon!”
Let us all be ready to welcome all God’s children with love and compassion. We can do so much more working together than when we are apart. When we truly resemble and reflect the divine image of our heavenly Parent, father and mother, we will begin to see the transformation of the world for which True Parents have given everything!
Mike, I think the author and many commenters agreed with the ethic of love and compassion. If you read many of the comments, the question was whether to condone homosexuality and what to teach our children and the next generation given the design of creation. It is about loving all, saints and sinners, but not condoning and loving the sin. In line with natural theology, as Paley called it and Moon’s theology describes, the design of creation intended for man and woman, husband and wife, is to unite and create a family. Without that design, creation is thwarted. Simple and pure natural theology made in the image of God.
Dr. Balcomb, thank you for taking the time to read my essay.
Perhaps I could have phrased that a bit better. My point was not that we should exclude, ostracize, or condemn anyone, but that, if we understand God’s ideal through the Principle, homosexuality was never meant to be part of God’s creation, and is one of the products of the Fall. Many of our second gen (and some first gen) are not clear about this and have bought into the growing cultural acceptance of homosexuality. We should love and embrace all people, as God does. This does not mean, however, that we should condone the behavior. I believe that the only way, in the end, this problem will be overcome is through love, as it began through the lack of love (cf. Lucifer) which then morphed into the misuse of love.
We can all agree that love and family are the solution and Christians also make the same claim. At the same time it is vague, as we know that love can take multiple forms (from introducing people to matching and marriage blessing to harsh discipline and even imprisonment) and involve numerous strategies. I think this is the point that needs more clarity and emphasis.
I find myself reminded of Jesus’ admonition to the Pharisees in Luke 6:42: “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.” I feel as if Dr. Balcomb’s comment is much more of a Unificationist response than Dr. Beebe’s, and not because Mike is church president or Bob is wrong.
I learned a long time ago that we are all sinners saved by grace. It is fine to compete in the marketplace of ideas but this is not primarily a battle of ideas. It is a battle of love. God’s love is the answer and He’s waiting on us to be His instruments. Father railed against the evils of communism and then met with Mikhail Gorbachev and Kim Il Sung and embraced them with big bear hugs and sought to serve them any way he could. The truth is important but only love will save the world. My greatest failing is that I’m strong on truth and weak on love. I dare say I am not alone. That is the problem that we must solve to win this or any battle.
I feel some people are misunderstanding my argument. We should, of course, love the sinner, but hate the sin, as the Bible says. I in no way condone the mistreatment or ostracism of homosexuals. At the same time, we should be clear that such behavior does not conform to God’s ideal. When we accept homosexuals into our church, should we also condone their behavior?
And, yes, Father went to North Korea and embraced Kim Il Sung, but when he was there he also spoke out strongly against juche ideology, risking his life in the process. This was not hate speech. It was something Father knew they needed to hear and he spoke it with a heart of love. We should do the same with regards to the homosexual issue.
I have no doubt that God hates sin but loves the sinner. The problem comes with people, with us. Do we actually love the sinner as much as we hate the sin? I’d like to say yes, but I can’t. If we are going to talk about a Unification Church response to gay marriage, what does that mean? I know what the DP says and I don’t question that it represents God’s plan. But if this is just a battle of ideas, I’m afraid the train already left the station. Many of our own children think we are just being intolerant. This is not about ideas, but about love. No one who doesn’t already agree with us will be convinced about this topic by reason and argument. The only way we win this is through love.
How did Father treat us as sinners? Yes, he discovered the Principle and taught us the truth but he resurrected us by pouring out his love every day to reconcile us sinners to God. I don’t know the exact calculus but I would say at least three parts love to every one part truth, probably a lot more. Luckily God overlooks our sin and loves us. Father followed God’s pattern and resurrected us through his love. It just seems to me that the Unification Church response should be the same kind of anguished cry to love our brothers and sisters.
It’s not really a criticism of what you wrote nor is it specifically directed at you. I think we are all still trying to figure out our response. But whatever we say must first of all be an expression of love. Truth is important but we don’t always live up to it ourselves so it is easy for people to see us as simply being judgmental and arrogant. And truthfully, we do come off that way sometimes.
David, I agree with everything you say. So, what is the loving response if a gay couple asks to use one of our church buildings for a wedding ceremony?
What I would like to say is yes, as long as you complete the ten-week marriage preparation course that everyone who is married in this church completes. But, of course, we do not have that program. We are certainly not going to be blessing gay couples. I assume that any Unification pastor would say no and feel tremendous pressure not to support gay weddings in any way.
I guess my concern, and what I picked up from Dr. Balcomb’s comment, is what kind of signal are we sending the rest of the world about who we are? Are we a hospital for sinners or a club for saints? It seems to me that when we were growing we were more the former, but along the way we morphed into more of the latter. In the end, I guess I’m less concerned about gay marriage and more concerned about where we are going. We are right not to accept just anything the culture throws our way, but when our own kids see us as intolerant, I think we should think long and hard about the message that we send and the image of ourselves that we present to the world. My unscientific observation is that churches grow or shrink in direct proportion to how well they embrace and love people. It’s not like with CAUSA. Marxism is an ideology at its core. We had a superior ideology. Gay marriage is about love — fallen love, to be sure, but love. I think we can only defeat it with a superior love.
I think we all know that there are different categories of people who are practicing the homosexual lifestyle. First of all, there are the ones who are struggling with their sin. I think most folks would try to help and support representatives of this group. Secondly, the ones that are shamelessly propagating it, go as far as lifting “their middle finger”, or even go to the streets and do ugly things openly. Then there is a third group in the middle. We all agree on love and that their lifestyle is wrong according to UT and DP, and retreat in our comfortable middle-class homes, but how do we as families and individuals deal with the representatives of these two other groups in day-to-day life? I think that is what many families need more guidance about. Hollywood, with movies like Brokeback Mountain, and ladies like Madonna keep going on seemingly unhindered to poison society. In some nations (like Indonesia) they just put a stop to those forms of poisonous influences in order to protect their populations from these influences that can harm young people who are not yet ready to fulfil their responsibilities in freedom. Could we learn from those nations in any way?
Forty years ago our culture was not open to homosexuality. It was then considered a psychological disorder in the DSM. But that changed. Indonesia’s culture and our own are quite different. I don’t think you can easily transfer attitudes like that across cultures. Rightly or wrongly, most Westerns would consider Indonesia’s approach barbaric and undemocratic.
What is happening here, and has already happened in Europe, is that our democratic ethos and our religious/moral traditions are in conflict. As our moral underpinnings erode, people cannot see a good reason why our democratic rights should not be extended to all kinds of things that were formerly considered immoral. The question is how to shore up our moral underpinnings without seeming simply bigoted.
The extension of democratic rights (ethos) to to all kinds of things that were formerly considered immoral is the reason for the erosion of moral underpinnings (logos). The irrepressible impulse to give and receive joy, love, freedom and happiness (ethos) is fulfilled through the subject and object partnership (logos). In theory, the homosexual partnership is a departure from the four-position foundation thesis. Your observation is “that churches grow or shrink in direct proportion to how well they embrace and love people” is on the mark. In the indirect dominion, gay couples seeking joy, freedom, love and happiness through same-sex marriage are claiming their portion of responsibility. By the ethos of democratic privilege further evidenced by the recent Supreme Court ruling, gay marriage is a civil right, to be respected (agape love) with equal protections under the law. Nevertheless, it is an ethical departure from the four position foundation thesis (logos).
Well, True Father also spoke clearly, and you’ll have to excuse me, but really not so lovingly when he spoke of homosexuals (and perhaps it really was homosexuality itself) as “dung-eating dogs.”
Of course, out of context, off-the-cuff words, even from the most holy one should be excused, understood and not taken as gospel, but what of those of us who might not be such great custodians or interpreters of “The Word” made flesh?
I, like so many others (noted here and elsewhere) find myself so very far removed from “the church” as it stands (locally, nationally, globally), yet still hope some semblance of the original universalism that both embraced and was embraced by me still remains, somewhere, somehow.
Yes, “homosexuality” is an anomaly, an exception to the rule of God’s great universe, but the principle of creation in its brilliance and simplicity also amplifies that every creation is both an amalgam of internal/external qualities as well as male and female.
The Fall, that singular, tragic event (as it is often [mis]characterized, anyway), did not change those basic, fundamental, underlying characteristics. In other words, the teaching of the (overall) Principle has been, quite possibly, way too overly “Fall” heavy and much too “Principle of Creation” light.
David, I think that if a second gen. is calling his/her bigots when they do not tolerate homosexuality, something didn’t go quite right in the process of educating them in that aspect of life. You also state that our Western culture is different, but is it not that very aspect that our True Parents want to stress and educate about, namely the adoption of many Korean ethics in building a Heavenly culture and confronting some Western ones? If you say that we have to approach the problem with “love,” which of course is true, I would like to read some examples of acts of love, when confronted with these problems. I have some experiences where homosexuals had another “agenda” when they opened their home for me and younger members, and when their expectation wasn’t met, ceased to express any welcome. What would you do in love when one of your children would get a homosexual teacher? How would you react with love in instances where activist demonstrators begin to act very vulgar, etc. There was a reason why in the OT it was a deadly sin, namely, people who committed these sins were considered “rotten apples” in society. There was a reason that in the NT sinners were given a chance to repent in order to be forgiven, namely, receive more of God`s grace. Indeed we hear of reports that some Christian folks have turned their life and formed Families. But some agencies that want to help in a change of lifestyle are being targeted by activists (like even the couple of Michelle Bachmann). Now in the CT there is hope in the Blessing, but I do not know the success rate of couples where one partner was homosexual.
Now at this time we are being asked to do hometown, but it would be an idea to form “core” areas of younger Blessed families who have children, so that they can be educated until high school level in our own schools, after which they do two years of service. This would be to protect them. Elder couples could then do Tribal Messiahship with older children who would not easily fall victim to our distorted society. Of course some religious groups have already done this.
Your examples show what a difficult problem this is. I don’t believe that we can easily change the mind of homosexuals, or that they are necessarily open to receiving our love or to change. What I am more concerned about is who we are and how we present ourselves. We are never going to simply embrace homosexuality, but the attitude that we need to have toward them and everyone else is that they are God’s own sons and daughters. This issue more than most tends to bring out our sense of outrage but outrage is not our friend. It is very hard to love from a sense of outrage. At the end of the day, I believe to coarsens our own hearts and spirits and lessens our own effectiveness as representatives of True Parents. At the end of the day, only God can change people’s hearts and this is one of those issues that requires not simply a change of mind, but a change of heart. Our task, it seems to me, is to figure out how we can best represent God’s heart. Neither you nor I can change the other person. We can only change ourselves.
While I agree with Dr. Beebe that we need to respond to the gay marriage offensive, I think we as Unificationists have to be careful to argue from truth and not just accept the terms of the debate as defined by gay activists. The question of gay marriage is a mixture of several important questions: the nature of homosexuality, the role government plays in enforcing or encouraging constructive social behavior, and God’s long-term point-of-view on immoral behavior.
The initial premise of the gay movement is that they are “born that way.” If so, then they deserve all the protections the government gives to race and any arguing against that makes one look like a KKK member.
As far as I know, no scientific study has uncovered an immutable “gay gene” or a gay region of the brain. Several studies show that sexual identity is actually changeable and many who experiment with homosexuality evolve into practicing heterosexuals.
It is likely that homosexual behavior, like most human behavior is a complex mix of genetic predisposition, cultural influences and free will.
Rather than using race as a context for discussing homosexuality and public policy, we should advance the argument that homosexuality should be addressed like alcoholism from both a Divine Principle and government point of view.
There is evidence that alcoholism is passed down genetically and certain types of people are more sensitive to alcohol than others. These people often feel they are born that way and can’t fight the impulse to drink.
In America we tolerate alcohol and give people the freedom to destroy themselves with alcohol and regulate their behavior where it affects others, such as drinking and driving. It makes sense to me that homosexual behavior should be treated similarly.
Free will is the highest virtue in Divine Principle, right after love. God was willing to allow millennia of suffering rather than compromise that principle. I think that in the age of the noon-day sun we must allow people the freedom to make their own choices, but we don’t have to allow them to set unrealistic conditions and definitions and we don’t have to allow them to force others to adopt their point of view. It is possible to love someone and still disagree with their opinion.
There is a recent study with identical twins that argues homosexuality is not genetic at all, but entirely cultural and psychological.
A possibly very useful reference (filled with common sense, it seems to me) for those who’ve followed this issue through the decades:
Frontline Interviews – Reverend Jerry Falwell | “Assault On Gay America”
“The founder and leader of the Thomas Road Baptist Church, an $80-million-a-year ministry that is one of the most influential in the nation, Reverend Jerry Falwell has long spoken against “the homosexual lifestyle.” In October of 1999, however, Falwell hosted a meeting of 200 gays and lesbians and 200 members of his own congregation. The meeting came at the invitation of Mel White, a writer who helped compose Falwell’s autobiography who later revealed to Falwell that he was gay. In this interview conducted in 2000, Falwell discusses his relationship with Mel White, his views on homosexuality and the Bible, and his feelings about the recent rise in anti-gay violence.”
I do believe that God has prepared millions of people to receive the Lord at His Second Advent. Let us continue to work to inspire others of the work of our True Parents. Let us always strive to embody their teachings and example in our own lives day-by-day. God needs us all to build the Kingdom of Heaven. God bless.