As a result of Ohio’s Republican Senator Rob Portman’s declaration last week that he now supports homosexual marriage, I am once again compelled to ask: Why are Christians and conservatives constantly apologizing for what they believe?
Portman said he changed his position because his son told him that he was homosexual. Typically, I would not write about someone’s family issues. But, in this instance, I want to use Portman’s renunciation of his Christian beliefs to have a more broad discussion of morals and values.
You should know that Portman is one of the most decent people you will ever meet. It’s almost impossible not to like Portman. People like Portman makes me want to stay engaged in politics. Throughout his decades of public service, he has made it perfectly clear that he is a Christian conservative, who believes in the sanctity of life and marriage being between a man and a woman.
In a column he wrote last week, Portman said, “I wrestled with how to reconcile my Christian faith with my desire for Will to have the same opportunities to pursue happiness and fulfillment as his brother and sister. Ultimately, it came down to the Bible’s overarching themes of love and compassion and my belief that we are all children of God.”
I am somewhat confused that Portman seems to be asserting that somehow his son can’t “lead a happy, meaningful life” without his father accepting his son’s personal lifestyle choice.
What makes me uncomfortable about Portman’s about face is the implication that in order to love his son, he must turn his back on “my faith tradition that marriage is a sacred bond between a man and a woman.” How does his son being homosexual change what the Bible has to say on this issue? Portman stated that his values where based on his Christianity—which is based on the Bible.
Since the Bible didn’t change, does that mean Portman no longer believes in the Bible? If his daughter told him that she was pregnant and wanted to have an abortion, would he also change his view on that issue in order to show his daughter that he loves her?
There is right and wrong; black and white; up and down. I don’t have to change my morals or values to be accepting of someone with whom I disagree – even if that someone is my son. To love him doesn’t mean I must always agree with him.
I am heterosexual, so are homosexuals willing to give up their beliefs to accommodate me? Of course we know the answer is no. So, they want me to give up my moral convictions to make them feel good, but they are not willing to respect my Christian beliefs by giving up their value system. Why should this be a one-way street?
Portman is doing what most parents would do—support their child. But he would be supporting his child even more by telling him that he totally disagrees with his personal lifestyle choice, but loves him anyway. That way, he would abandon neither his son nor God’s word.
Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a Washington, D.C.-based public relations/government affairs firm.