I work for a university, and the faculty are voting on a policy that would give affirmation to the LGBT community. I’m not sure what to do. As a Christian, I believe Scripture says homosexual behavior is a sin. But does that just apply to Christians? What about my secular students? What’s the right way to vote?

As people of God’s Word, Christians have a distinct view of marriage and sex. We believe God created sex as a powerful, purposeful force. Specifically, sex binds together man and woman in marriage and results in the fruitfulness of children and family life (Gen. 1:27–28; 2:23–24). The Bible clearly teaches that sex outside of marriage, including adultery and homosexuality, is forbidden (Ex. 20:14; 1 Cor. 6:9).

In America today, many people and powerful institutions are opposed to these Christian beliefs. They view men and women as interchangeable. They claim same-sex unions and marriage are equivalent. But opposition does not make the Christian stance on marriage any less true. We believe human flourishing depends on training our sexual urges toward their creational purpose––the natural family. When the family breaks down, chaos and suffering result.

Opposition does not make the Christian stance on marriage any less true.

Meanwhile, LGBT advocates have been very successful in promoting their views in media, education, and government policy. It seems non-controversial––a no-brainer––to extend non-discrimination laws to protect those with alternative lifestyles. But words like “discrimination” have become slippery with alternative meanings. Today, Christians are being pressured to positively affirm what the Bible condemns. This includes calling same-sex unions “marriage” and using pronouns that differ from biological gender.

I haven’t seen the exact language of the policy you’re considering. Nonetheless, from your brief description it sounds like the policy is in conflict with your Christian beliefs. In such a case, Scripture is clear that Christians must obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29). This is especially true for your situation––the fact that you’re being asked to “vote” means you still have room to dissent without violating an official policy.

Scripture is clear that Christians must obey God rather than men.

Still, if your university is anything like mine, your voice will be in the minority. It will take courage to vote your conscience.   Your colleagues may shun you, or slander you as a “hater.” At the very least they will likely misunderstand you. Jesus told his disciples to expect such persecution (John 15:18–21). Paul promised that “all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Tim. 3:12). And yet, when we’re unfairly targeted we can take heart—we can even rejoice—because our reward is in heaven (Matt. 5:11–12; Heb. 10:34).

I would like to include a caveat here. If we are going to suffer, let’s suffer for being a Christian and not for being obnoxious (1 Pet. 4:15–16). I encourage you to think through your beliefs, so that you can describe God’s good design for sex in the clearest and most loving way possible (Eph. 4:15). Authors who have helped me better understand these issues include Rosaria Butterfield, Christopher Yuan, Nancy Pearcey, Walt Heyer, Mark Regnerus, and Mary Eberstadt.

While we cannot affirm sin, Christians joyfully affirm the dignity of all human beings as image-bearers of God (Gen. 1:27).  Many believers are reaching out to those who identify as LGBT, while remaining true to Scripture. I encourage you to look for opportunities the Holy Spirit may provide during this challenging time. Perhaps your controversial vote will spark conversations that point to the gospel, the solution for all our sin (1 Cor. 6:11).

Editors’ note: 

TGC’s “Thorns & Thistles” column seeks to apply wisdom with practical advice about faith, work, and economics. If you have a question on how to think about and practice your work in a way that honors God, let us know at [email protected]