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What are tulips by any other name?
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What are tulips by any other name?
By John Leitch
The writer, who has attended Church of God services since 1976, lives near Drumbo with his wife, Maxine. The Leitches have two grown daughters. Mr. Leitch is a retired ironworker.

DRUMBO, Ont., Canada--In recent weeks Canadian newspapers have been filled with the continuing controversy over same-sex marriage. The main issue (if this writer understands it correctly) is not that people who have "same-sex attraction (SSA)" should be allowed to live together but that their living together should be legally recognized as a marriage.

The problem seems to lie with the dictionary, which most Canadians have on their shelf. The dictionary and Canadian law define marriage as a union between a man and a woman. People who have SSA want to legitimize themselves in the eyes of society by simply redefining the meaning of marriage.

If the dictionary meaning can be changed, then their same-sex union will have credibility and be accepted by the Canadian public.

A tulip by any other name

Many rights and privileges come along with marriage. Although these privileges could be expanded to homosexual couples by passing laws in the Canadian Parliament, SSA people's main target seems to be that annoying dictionary.

Without changing the troublesome definition, people who have SSA seem to think they will always have the uneasy feeling of not being accepted by the Canadian public.


Their solution to their problem makes me think of a gardener wanting to change the definition of "tulips" so he can have more roses.

Much of the opposition to the marriage of SSA people seems to come from various denominations of traditional Christianity that want the dictionary meaning to remain in place.

Although unknown to the vast majority of traditional Christians, these Christians have a similar problem with the dictionary. Was not one of the lessons Christ taught that a person should not try to remove a speck from someone's eye when he has a log in his own? (Matthew 7:3-5).

I suppose the question to be asked is: Are Christians to act as policemen to the world, forcing others to abide by the rules of the Christian faith (1 Corinthians 5:12-13) or are they to serve as witnesses to the world? (Acts 1:8).

Traditional Christians want the title of Christian but they do not follow the dictionary definition. My Webster's dictionary, which sits in front of me on my desk, states that a Christian is a "follower of Christ," and something said to be Christian relates "to Christ or his religion."

This does seem to fit the definition in 1 Corinthians 11:1, where Paul advises us to follow his example as he follows the example of Christ (NIV). A concordance will show numerous places where Christ instructs people to follow Him.

This writer may not be the sharpest knife on the shelf, but I do know that traditional Christianity is as far from its dictionary definition as is same-sex marriage from the dictionary definition of marriage.

The dictionary defines marriage as a union of a man and a woman. The same dictionary says a Christian is one who follows Christ and His religion."

Christ, as a human, was an observer of the Hebrew religion, as were the apostles. Although many people see the obvious definition problem with same-sex marriage, few people want to admit the differences between traditional Christianity and the dictionary meaning of "Christian."

The short list

One could make a long list of differences between the example Christ set and the customs of traditional Christianity, but I will list only a few major ones.

  • Christ's life was regulated by a calendar God gave to the Hebrews.

Although the Hebrew calendar is still in existence, traditional Christians have chosen to have their religious life regulated by the Gregorian calendar of today's world.

  • There is no record of Christ joining any denomination.

Today, the majority of people who call themselves Christian are members of various fragmented denominations and religious parties. Christ preached a message of unity (John 17:11), as did Paul (Ephesians 4:3-6), but traditional Christianity covets its divisions.

  • Christ ate lamb for Passover.

Traditional Christianity has ham for Easter.

  • Christ observed the Sabbath on the last day of the week.

Traditional Christianity observes the first day of the week.

  • Christ's human life was centered on His Father's will and Jerusalem and its temple.

Christ observed the temple's festivals and Sabbath days (seventh day of the week, Passover, Atonement, Pentecost etc.). These days were commanded by the Father in Leviticus 23 and were observed by the apostles after Christ's ascension to heaven.

The majority of people going by the title "Christian" today observe entirely different days from those that Christ observed. How does one fit the dictionary's definition of a Christian if one observes the wrong days?

  • Christ loved His Father's law and said it would not disappear until heaven and earth pass away (Matthew 5:18).

Traditional Christianity doesn't believe this (even though heaven and earth still exist) and claim the law disappeared at the cross.

A person would think that belief in what Christ said must fit somewhere into the definition of a Christian.

People have the strange notion that calling something by a different name changes what it really is.

Something acceptable

God says there will be a day when things that are evil will have a meaning of that which is good (Malachi 2:17).

God says woe to the people who think they can change the meaning of words instead of being honest (Isaiah 5:20).

I think we will all agree it is deceitful to give something a name that it is not. Do people really think that changing the definition in the dictionary will make something acceptable in God's sight?

Reader, do you think simply changing the dictionary definition of a Christian will increase the number of righteous people?

People can change the dictionary all they want, but it is this writer's opinion that a tulip can never become a rose any more than a person not desiring to imitate Christ can become a Christian.

Nor can the union of two people of the same sex become a biblical marriage.

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