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4 responses to Tim Kaine's claims about Genesis 1, gay marriage and the Catholic Church

Posted September 25

Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine ignited a firestorm with his claim that he believes the Catholic Church will eventually abandon its current opposition to same-sex marriage.

"I think it's going to change because my church also teaches me about a Creator in the first chapter of Genesis who surveys the entire world, including mankind, and says, 'It is very good,'" Kaine told an audience of LGBTQ advocates.

He added, "Who am I to challenge God for the beautiful diversity of the human family? I think we're supposed to celebrate it, not challenge it."

Kaine made these remarks at an annual dinner for the Human Rights Campaign, a well-known LGBTQ civil-rights group.

Watch his entire speech here.

It didn't take long for Kaine's comments to reverberate throughout the faith and media worlds, sparking a plethora of reactions. Here are just four of those responses:

The diocese of Richmond

Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo of the diocese of Richmond — Kaine's home diocese — released a statement affirming "the Catholic Church's teaching regarding marriage."

In the document, DiLorenzo — who did not mention Kaine by name — remained resolute in defense of traditional marriage. In fact, the document opened, in part, with the following words: "the Catholic Church’s 2,000-year-old teaching to the truth about what constitutes marriage remains unchanged."

DiLorenzo went on to say that all human beings deserve respect and love, but that the church's understanding of marriage takes into account the "Creator's original design," which involves just one man and one woman in marital union.

The bishop said that redefining marriage doesn't further anyone's rights, and that children "should not purposely be deprived of the right to be nurtured and loved by a mother and a father."

Christian professor and radio host Michael Brown

Michael Brown, a prominent Christian radio host and theological professor, penned an op-ed this week accusing Kaine of "butchering the Bible."

Brown said that he believes Kaine misused Genesis 1 to try to make an argument that the professor said the Bible simply doesn't uphold.

"Allow me to give a helpful hint to the senator: Sir, although you will find no support for your position anywhere in the Bible, the worst place you can go to argue your case is Genesis," Brown wrote.

He said that Genesis 1, in particular, discusses gender distinctions, with God specifically creating both men and women. Brown argued that, throughout the Bible, God specifically blesses relationships between men and women, who he argues are suited for one another biologically, spiritually and emotionally.

Brown also took aim at Kaine's argument that God looked at the entire world — including mankind — and concluded "It is very good." While this text is present in Genesis, Brown said that it comes before sin entered the world.

"After the fall, (God's) assessment changed dramatically to this: 'The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually' (Genesis 6:5)," Brown wrote.

Human Rights Campaign

After the Human Rights Campaign hosted its annual dinner, the organization included a brief statement and recap in its tip sheet, praising Kaine for speaking to the 3,600 people in attendance.

While that statement didn't address theology, the group said that the U.S. senator and former Virginia governor "shared his devotion to LGBTQ equality and expressed optimism about future shifts from the Catholic Church."

In addition to making his controversial comments about faith and same-sex nuptials, the briefing noted that Kaine pledged to push for increased access to HIV and AIDS drugs and to protect gay and transgender children from bullying.

Lutheran pastor Hans Fiene

Writer and Lutheran pastor Hans Fiene decided to take a different look at the issue, penning a piece for The Federalist titled, "8 Steps The Catholic Church Could Take To Approve Gay Marriage Like Tim Kaine Expects."

In it, Fiene explored hypothetical scenarios where the Catholic Church might eventually come to embrace same-sex nuptials. The pastor said that the institutions and denominations affiliated with Christianity don't always live up to the perfection that he believes is found in the faith itself.

In fact, Fiene wrote that "church bodies are always at risk of doctrinal change and doctrinal corruption," saying that Kaine's prediction is possible, but that a variety of factors could prevent such a move, including continued secularization.

With the social structures that once encouraged nominal Christians to flock to churches now evaporating, he essentially argued that churches could soon have smaller — yet theologically purer — congregations.

In such a scenario, he said there would be fewer people wanting to see a change in theology on issues like marriage.

"The future of Christianity does not belong to those who want to clothe themselves in both the robes of the church and the approval of the world," Fiene wrote. "It belongs to those who gladly endure the rejection of this world to taste the kingdom of God."

And those are just four of the reactions. There's been no shortage of additional responses in recent days from conservative Christians who disagree and have made theological arguments against Kaine's prediction.

In contrast, gay rights activists have generally praised the vice presidential candidate for his full support of gay nuptials.

Kaine's views on faith and public policy have frequently gained attention, as there are other areas where he disagrees with the Catholic Church. For instance, he believes women should be permitted to become priests, and, despite disagreeing with abortion on moral grounds, he upholds pro-choice policies.

Email: bhallowell@deseretnews.com Twitter: billyhallowell Facebook: facebook.com/billyhallowell

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