A Critique of: How Same-Sex Marriage Will Affect Friendships – from STR (Stand To Reason apologetics)
I think this editorial from STR misses the mark, or it comes too late, or, it overlooks the damage typical Christian stereotypes about HETERO relationships and sexual proclivities has had upon friendship.
That is, paranoid Christian teaching that is intended to keep hetero singles from committing fornication ALSO sexualizes all relationships, even friendship.
However, this paper from STR, this post by a woman named Amy Hall, is claiming the normalization of homosexuality and acceptance of homosexual marriage is doing that, that it is sexualizing same gender friendships – which maybe it is, to a degree, but I am not going to let the Christian hypocrisy go on this one.
Christians do not believe it is possible for a man and woman to be friends.
Evangelicals, Baptists, and a lot of Reformed material I’ve seen, wrongly assume there is always sexual attraction between a man and a woman, or that any sexual attraction (if it does exist) will always end in sex, no exceptions, and it is further assumed that people lack sexual self control.
According to mainstream Christian thinking, you cannot expect a man and woman left alone NOT to end up getting naked and doing the sex. It’s a rather immature, junior highish, juvenile view of sex and genders, if you ask me. If you are an adult, you can damn well control yourself.
These Christian assumptions that men and women cannot be friends is so deeply ingrained, it’s to the point that even one of the women who posted this STR blog page – who is named Amy (at least I think this is the same Amy as the one who posted the blog page, it may be a different Amy) – said this in a comment she left so a reader on the page:
- Sam, I don’t think it’s so much about a fear that people will think you’re gay. I think it’s more that when the theoretical possibility of a sexual relationship is always culturally there, you keep a certain distance.
- Think about friendships between men and women. I hold friendships with men at a certain distance, not wanting to signal that the friendship is heading towards a sexual relationship (doubly true for married men), so I have closer friendships with good women friends where emotional intimacy is safe.
The only reason you feel a need, or feel shamed to “hold friendships with men at a certain distance, especially married ones” is because Christians have sexualized all people and all relationships.
I see no reason why hetero Amy cannot have a close relationship with a married man. She has simply been conditioned by secular and Christian culture to think such is impossible, because her getting close to a married dude will either end in sex, or busy-bodies in her church will assume the two are boinking (even if they are not).
There is no biblical reason why a single woman cannot be friends with a married guy.
And the “don’t even fall for the appearance of evil” Bible verse is not applicable here, folks. Nope.
Verses and teachings like that get abused and stretched to a point by Christians they were never intended to, and they nullify other teachings of God in the Bible, like this:
- [Jesus Christ speaking],
- “For Moses said, ‘HONOR YOUR FATHER AND YOUR MOTHER’; and, ‘HE WHO SPEAKS EVIL OF FATHER OR MOTHER, IS TO BE PUT TO DEATH’; 11 but you say, ‘If a man says to his father or his mother, whatever I have that would help you is Corban (that is to say, given to God),’ 12 you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or his mother; 13 Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.”… (source)
One factor I’ve raised on this blog time and again (with links to prove it, you can start here) is that often times, married men seek out affairs with married women (and vice versa). See also this link. And this link.
It’s not that single women are more prone to sleep with a married guy than a married woman is. Plenty of time, married people have affairs with other married people. Sometimes, married men hit on single women – the single women are not initiating (see this link for example).
There is nothing about marriage that makes a person immune from sexual sin, or that being married gives married persons stronger character – it’s not that single women prey on married men, or that they are more apt to stalk married guys, or that single women have weaker constitutions that make them more likely to engage in sexual sin.
I will also add here that the basis for these stereotypes – that men and women cannot be friends, etc – usually comes from a traditional gender role view, which is actually sexist in nature against women – Christian gender complementarians are often the ones guilty of pushing these views.
Gender complementarians are notorious for making all manner of unfounded, unbiblical assumptions about men and women, and erecting tight, small boxes for men and women, and in related matters, such as how to date. I have touched on those issues (Link): here and here. See also this post.
Here are some excerpts:
- In a review of Anthony Esolen’s new book, Defending Marriage: Twelve Arguments for Sanity, Matthew Franck explains the unintended effect same-sex marriage will have on friendships in our society:
The fallout from the destruction and redefinition of marriage spreads still more widely, even beyond the immediate territory of the family. Deep friendship between members of the same sex is now in grave danger.
To show us why, Esolen asks us to imagine a world in which the incest taboo is erased (and that is a world that may not be far off). In such a place, “You see a father hugging his teenage daughter as she leaves the car to go to school. The possibility flashes before your mind. The language has changed, and the individual can do nothing about it.”
So too, in the world that is rapidly embracing and recognizing homosexual relationships as normal and normative, the space for deep and meaningful male-male or female-female friendships among the young is rapidly shrinking to the vanishing point.
[// end quote]
…. I’ve already seen a change happening in interpretations of friendships, most recently in the discussion over Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s friendship with Eberhard Bethge, and it’s upsetting to me that people might shy away from close friendships for this reason. –
[//end blog excerpt by Amy Hall]
Here is a comment I left on their page (I see now it contains a few typing errors):
- Actually, Christians have been doing this for ages now. I blog about it often.
- I have a blog on Word Press called “Christian Pundit” (not to be confused with another Word Press blog of a very similar name, “THE Christian Pundit”) where I explain how mainstream evangelical and other conservative Christian teaching about the genders, dating, and sex carry the same exact attitudes you are discussing in your post.
- In a lot of Christian material on the genders, marriage, sex, dating, etc, Christians make the same (incorrect) assumptions as secular society does about these topics, with the result that everything is sexualized.
- A few examples of what I mean:
- -A lot of Christians repeat the unproven, untrue assertion in their sermons, pod ca[s]ts, blogs, magazine articles, and books that “men are visually wired by God and visually stimulated”
- (as though women are not – but women are also visually stimulated), the results of this teaching:
- – women’s sexuality is rarely to never considered in Christian teachings;
– sexist “modesty” teachings are foisted on women, and
-women are blamed for men’s sexual sins
(if only the woman had not worn “that” skirt, the man would not have lusted after her”
– all responsibility is removed from the man for the man’s behavior)
- -married men (and sometimes un-married ones) are assumed to have little to no control over their sexual drives, so they are forever advised in Christian material to stay away from women, especially from un-married women.
- -Christians assume that single women are harlots with no sexual impulse control who will “hit on” and sleep with married men,
- -Christians assume married women are frigid, hate sex, and would prefer reading poetry to having sex,
ergo, preachers often cajole or guilt trip married women into “putting out more” for their spouses, when they give the monthly “sex and marriage” sermon
- Now, the problem with a lot of these Christian teachings about sex, gender, etc, is that they are based on untrue stereotypes and tend to sexualize any and all relationships.
- As a never married woman who is past 40, I find myself isolated from Christian fellowship quite a bit, because most church-goers are married couples who are trained to be suspicious of me, and men are taught that I am a temptation they are to flee.
- These married couples are taught that I am a threat to them, because I supposedly want to boink the husband (I do not).
- So, married women will shun me, and the husbands won’t even engage in polite chit chat. I get cut off from Christian fellowship.
- Christians are so afraid of fornication happening, that they often advise even adult singles “to flee” temptation, which translates to (I have seen this in Christian dating books, even ones aimed at adults over 30) to never go on dates.
- Single, adult men are told never to meet with a single women over coffee for a chat. Again, this is advice that gets doled out by Christians to singles who are over 30 years of age, not just teen aged kids.
- Big problem: one of the only ways way a person can marry in American culture as an adult is to meet alone with an opposite gender person over coffee.
- However, many Christian books on dating are telling singles – even adults for pete’s sake – to stay away from each other. So, how is a Christian single woman supposed to marry? It’s impossible in this scenario.
- If a Christian single brings an opposite gender FRIEND to a church service with her, all the church people automatically assume these friends are lovers, and start joshing the two with “so when are you guys gonna get married” rhetoric, which is embarrassing.
- Christians need to realize there is worse things in life than fornication, and that a man and woman CAN be platonic friends, CAN be left alone, and no sex will take place.
- As it is, however, most of evangelical, Reformed, and Baptist Christian views I have seen on men, women, sex, dating and marriage carries much of the same assumptions as secular culture to the point that conservative Christians ALSO sexualize all relationships, which damages a lot of adult singles who just want friendship, not sex.
- So please don’t assume it’s only pro- homosexual marriage advocates who are creating this issue, it’s also conservative Christians. See my blog for many links to other web pages by Christians that explain all this.
(Link): How the Sexual Revolution Ruined Friendship – Also: If Christians Truly Believed in Celibacy and Virginity, they would stop adhering to certain sexual and gender stereotypes that work against both
(Link): Jesus Christ was not afraid to meet alone with known Prostitutes / Steven Furtick and Elevation Church Perpetuating Anti Singles Bias – ie, Single Women are Supposedly Sexual Temptresses, All Males Can’t Control Their Sex Drives – (but this view conflicts with evangelical propaganda that married sex is great and frequent)