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What God Has Joined Together?: The Christian Case for Gay Marriage

What God Has Joined Together?: The Christian Case for Gay Marriage

2.7 4
by David G., PhD Myers PhD, Letha Dawson Scanzoni

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Gay marriage has become the most important domestic social issue facing twenty-first-century Americans -- particularly Americans of faith. Most Christians are pro-marriage and hold traditional family values, but should they endorse extending marriage rights to gays and lesbians? If Jesus enjoined us to love our neighbors as ourselves, and the homosexual is our


Gay marriage has become the most important domestic social issue facing twenty-first-century Americans -- particularly Americans of faith. Most Christians are pro-marriage and hold traditional family values, but should they endorse extending marriage rights to gays and lesbians? If Jesus enjoined us to love our neighbors as ourselves, and the homosexual is our neighbor, does that mean we should accept and bless gay marriages? These and other, related questions are tearing many faith-based communities apart.

Across the country, states have voted, courts have debated, and churches have divided over the legitimacy of same-sex marriage. Amid the uproar one perspective is decidedly missing: that of thoughtful, pro-marriage Christians who, informed by their faith, are struggling to make sense of this issue. What God Has Joined Together? is an effort to bridge the divide between marriage-supporting and gay-supporting people of faith by showing why both sides have important things to say and showing how both sides can coexist. Drawing on scientific research as well as on the Bible, the authors explain that marriage is emotionally, physically, financially, and spiritually beneficial for everyone, not just heterosexuals.

They debunk myths about sexual orientation, assess claims of sexual reorientation, and explore what the Bible does and does not say about same-sex relationships. The book ends with a persuasive case for gay marriage and outlines how this can be a win-win solution for all.

Editorial Reviews

David Popenoe
“A well-reasoned, important and timely contribution to the national debate.”
Publishers Weekly
Coauthors Myers (who serves on the board of the National Marriage Project) and Scanzoni (of the Evangelical and Ecumenical Women's Caucus) "take marriage... [and] our Christian faith seriously." Bringing together those two commitments to build a Christian case for gay marriage, they begin by arguing that marriage is good for society: marriage correlates to longevity; boys raised by married parents are less likely to commit crimes; married moms are less prone to depression than single moms and so forth. Why, the authors ask, should these good things be reserved for heterosexuals? They then consider what Scripture has to say about sexual orientation, rehearsing the by now familiar arguments that Jesus has nothing to say about homosexuality, and though the Bible does talk occasionally about homosexual sex, it does not deal with "loving committed homosexual relationships." Myers and Scanzoni's tone is calm, respectful and balanced. For example, though they present some of the latest scientific evidence about the causes of sexual orientation (including a chart of "mental rotation scores by sexual orientation"!), they also freely admit that scientific studies on this issue are still in the early stages, and that even conclusive scientific information "cannot... resolve values questions." With its traditional defense of marriage and its progressive embrace of same-sex relationships, this book cannot be pigeonholed, and that in itself is refreshing. (June) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
There is no contemporary issue more fraught with challenge for Christians than same-sex marriage. Across denominational lines and throughout the nation, the debate rages between those who see themselves as defending the institution of marriage from mortal degradation and those who see themselves as defending civil rights and "true" Gospel values. Myers and Scanzoni, active Christians and experts in the field of marriage and sexuality, make a convincing argument in support of gay marriage-for conservative as well as liberal reasons. This concise and compelling compilation of sociological, biological, and scriptural theses will help everyone marshal the current arguments and develop an informed opinion. Starting from the premise that good marriages advance marriage as an institution, which in turn creates a more stable society, the authors dispassionately review all the data and issues, concluding that "family values" and a biblically rooted faith can happily coexist with support of same-sex marriages. This book will prove invaluable for everyone looking for a readable, concise, and authoritative summary of the gay marriage debate.-Sheila Peiffer, Acad. of the Holy Names, Albany, NY Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Insight Series
Edition description:
Insights, Interviews and More
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.47(d)

Read an Excerpt

What God Has Joined Together?

A Christian Case for Gay Marriage
By David Myers

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2005 David Myers
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060774614

Chapter One

The Great Divide

How wonderful it is, how pleasant, for God's people
to live together in harmony!
-- Psalm 133:1, TEV

A long-ago sermon recalled a time when the village church was burning. At the front of the bucket brigade was the town's atheist. "Why come now?" "Because the only time anything exciting happens here is when the church is on fire."

Today's church is on fire, and the spectacle is agonizingly exciting. From across the battle lines, advocates and opponents of gay marriage and of gay ordination are throwing flames. Headlines express the passions: "180 Arrested in Protest over Church's Gay Policies"; "Fury As Church Appoints Gay Canon as New Dean of St. Albans"; "Church Gay Rift Widens"; "Conservative Methodists Propose Schism over Gay Rights"; "Presbyterian Battle over Homosexuality Still Unresolved."

The Reformed Church in America's general secretary, Wesley Granberg-Michaelsen, speaks for many denominational leaders when he says, "No issue today has as much potential to spawn divisiveness, mistrust, gossip, suspicion, and conflict in the church as this one. No issue has more capacity to confuse our focus, drain our energy, injure our fellowship, and divert our mission than this one. No current issue can so easily demoralize our meetings, paralyze our process, fuel our anxiety, and cripple our confidence as this one."

Battles over ordaining gay and lesbian elders, deacons, ministers, priests, and bishops are but one front of this culture war. Advocates for marriage renewal and advocates for same-sex unions clash with passions that rival those surrounding the taxpolicy war, the job-outsourcing war, and even the war war. In 2004, eleven American states passed amendments banning gay marriage. With more such amendments in the draft stage, and with voices shouting both for and against a federal anti-gaymarriage amendment, the passions are not subsiding.

"Barring a miracle, the family as it has been known for more than five millennia will crumble, presaging the fall of Western civilization itself," observes an alarmed James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family. "For more than 40 years, the homosexual activist movement has sought to implement a master plan that has had as its centerpiece the utter destruction of the family."3 The approval of same-sex marriage by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court "is not just about homosexual rights," concurs Charles Colson, Prison Fellowship founder. "It is even more importantly about the death of marriage and family as we have known it for thousands of years." Colson calls the battle over the definition of marriage "the Armageddon of the culture war." Same-sex unions "degrade" marriage, claimed Pope John Paul II. "Legal recognition of homosexual unions [would] obscure basic values which belong to the common inheritance of humanity," contends a pope-approved statement by the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

"No one is waging war on marriage," responds New York Times columnist Bob Herbert. "It's just the opposite. This is all about people who are longing to embrace it." Gay-marriage advocates also point to a justice issue. "We have been together for 43 years," notes a gay letter writer to the New York Times. "Britney Spears was married for 55 hours and had more legal rights than we ever had."

The fire that now is ripping through Catholicism and mainline Protestant denominations likely will spread as attitudes change. In but a thin slice of recent history, younger Americans' attitudes have done an about-face. In 1978, 53 percent of entering collegians agreed that "it is important to have laws prohibiting homosexual relationships"; but among their 2004 counterparts, only 30 percent agreed with that statement.10Most Americans over age sixty-five oppose same-sex marriage, but most under thirty support it (see appendix B, "Attitudes Are Changing"), and from them will come tomorrow's church leaders. Sooner than you might expect, even conservative faith communities such as Southern Baptists may find themselves aflame. Generational succession is destiny.

Could it be that today's Holland, Belgium, and Canada -- each of which now allows same-sex marriages -- give us a glimpse of tomorrow's America? Are Vermont's civil unions and Massachusetts's legal same-sex marriages just the first beachhead of a social transformation that will sweep the nation as did the civil rights and women's rights movements in earlier decades?

James Dobson fears it. He writes that gay activist goals "that seemed unthinkable just a few years ago have largely been achieved or are now within reach ... We in North America and Europe are not simply 'slouching towards Gomorrah,' as Judge Robert Bork warned in his best-selling book; we are hurtling toward it." On the other side of the divide, New Republic editor Andrew Sullivan finds himself "so surprised" by such conservative resistance. Allowing homosexual persons such as himself to marry "is the most pro-family measure imaginable -- keeping families together, building new ones ... [which] is why some elements of the old left once opposed such a measure."


Excerpted from What God Has Joined Together? by David Myers Copyright © 2005 by David Myers. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

What People are Saying About This

David Popenoe
“A well-reasoned, important and timely contribution to the national debate.”

Meet the Author

David G. Myers, the John Dirk Werkman Professor of Psychology at Michigan's Hope College, is the author of fifteen books, and articles in dozens of periodicals, from Science and Scientific American to The Christian Century and Christianity Today. He serves on the National Marriage Project advisory board. Myers has been married for forty-two years and is the father of three adult children.

Letha Dawson Scanzoni has authored or co-authored eight previous books, including Men, Women, and Change: A Sociology of Marriage and Family, and her classic Is the Homosexual My Neighbor? She is editor and publisher of the Evangelical & Ecumenical Women's Caucus publication Christian Feminism Today. Her many articles have appeared in numerous magazines, from Christianity Today and The Christian Century to the SIECUS Report and Utne Reader. Scanzoni is the mother of two and grandmother of five. She lives in southeastern Virginia.

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What God Has Joined Together?: The Christian Case for Gay Marriage 2.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
No matter what side of the gay marriage debate you're on, this book is worth reading. The authors present a valid argument for marriage for everyone: hetero- and homosexuals. It calmly and wisely ends the debate, and enlightens us all.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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MITcpu More than 1 year ago
Marriage is not a Christian institution, and America is not a Christian nation. Furthermore, same-sex marriage is something to be deliberated upon by same-sex couples. Homosexuals aren't permitted to decide whether a heterosexual union is valid - why should heterosexuals have a say in the validity of same-sex love?
Guest More than 1 year ago
While there is a need for understanding and the development of coherant and cohesive arguments for both anti and pro homosex movements this book is not the answer. It skims over key passages in scripture and uses tired worn out arguments for Jesus' silence on the subject. If your looking for a book to challenge your mind pass on this one and look somewhere else.