By Arlie Martin
Senior Opinion Writer

With Pope Francis saying his ever-so controversial quote on gay priests, “Who am I to judge?” the debate within the Christian community on homosexuality has become more heated than ever. As for Asbury, according to the student handbook, human sexuality is Biblically defined as an act between a man and woman, and homosexual behavior is “expressly prohibited in Scripture.”

Regardless of the incorrectness of the homosexual lifestyle, which I do not wish to debate, I do believe that those who identify themselves as being a part of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual (LGBT) community should be respected and treated as full equals in our society. One such example is with adoption.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights has identified only fifteen states that openly and regularly allow same-sex adoption. However, there are only eight states that have specific court decisions blocking same-sex adoptions. These come in the form of specific homosexual, unmarried couple and second-parent prohibitions. Kentucky does not technically block same-sex adoption, but it does not recognize same-sex marriage or civil unions and does not permit unmarried couples to adopt.

We are not a country built on a Christian foundation, but on a foundation of religious and personal freedom; it is a violation of these rights to block same-sex couples from adopting. If one citizen is allowed to adopt, then all citizens should be allowed, excepting cases where the child’s needs for food, clothing and shelter cannot be met. Many LGBT families meet these criteria, having stable incomes, living in safe communities, and see having a child as a blessing, not an extra paycheck. 

I may not agree entirely with their homosexual lifestyle from a biblical standpoint, but I do recognize that I would never want my rights infringed upon because someone did not agree with me, so I should not do the same to someone else. It’s a matter of being consistent in principles. What if Christians were suddenly not allowed to adopt children because we were accused of indoctrination?

Further, the children in the adoption system deserve loving homes that same-sex couples can truly provide. Would it be preferable for a child to live with parents that love them and want to give them the world? Or would it be preferable for children to live in a crowded state-funded home? Or for the child to be in and out of foster care?  

“There are approximately 147 million orphans in the world,” said Danielle Rayman, a social work major at Asbury. “There is no reason we should deprive these children of a caring home just because we may disagree with the lifestyle choices of the potential parents,” she added. I wholeheartedly agree! Children need and deserve love. Why would I ever deny a child that privilege?  

It is not the job of the government to enforce biblical principles. In fact, such enforcement would only negate the point of Christianity as a whole – the free will to choose Christ. The role of the church is to meet people where they are and show the love of Christ in every action.

Denying people rights won’t bring anyone closer; investing in lives will. 

That doesn’t mean we suddenly believe that living immorally is OK. It means that the church steps up and associates with the tax collectors and the adulterers. It means that we allow people to live equally and then demonstrate with our lives what holy living looks like. Let’s practice what we preach.