In the days following President Obama’s less-than-shocking announcement of his support for same sex marriage, some discussion has centered on the president’s faith based justification of his position.
The President explained:
[Michele and I] are both practicing Christians and obviously this position may be considered to put us at odds with the views of others but, you know, when we think about our faith, the thing at root that we think about is not only Christ sacrificing himself on our behalf, but it’s also the Golden Rule, you know, treat others the way you would want to be treated.
This oversimplification of Christianity demonstrates a popular trend in American culture, which says: “Christianity is all well and good, so long as it ignores those old fashioned sexual ethics, and only compels us to be nice to others.” The near universality of the Golden Rule among the world’s religions makes its emphasis especially popular among universalists and fans of “interfaith” cooperation.
But when you get right down to it, this ‘golden rule is the only rule’ approach to the Christian faith is self-centered and relativistic. It essentially means that all moral choices flow from my own personal view of right and wrong, and what I want for myself. This brand of Christianity cites “love your neighbor as yourself,” (Matthew 7:12) frequently – but forgets that when asked, “what is the greatest commandment?” Jesus answered: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37).
To love the Lord above all else, with all that you are means to submit your will to his. It means our idea of what is right must be subordinate to the laws established by God and upheld by traditional Church teachings throughout history.