Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Thoughts on "Marriage Equality"

Here's a few random thoughts, in addition to those presented by Josh Tucker

My husband is a pastor, and when he does a wedding, he is required to act as an agent of the state, signing the couple's marriage license, and mailing it in. In effect, he is administering a contract.  If we really believe in the separation of church and state, then we ought to separate sacramental marriage and civil unions. However, as I have pointed out elsewhere, when the  Puritans dumped the idea of sacramental marriage and embraced the idea of marriage as contract, they muddied the waters, and protestants (and Americans) have been confused ever since. This has lead the conversation to employ language like "marriage equality" and "gay marriage," but IMO these are oxymorons. As I reject Puritanism, my preference is to use the term "civic union

I'm all for civil unions, not only for homosexuals, but for anyone who doesn't hold the sacramental view of marriage.  IMO there need to be more heterosexual civil unions, and less heterosexual marriages. As representatives of the City of God, Christian clergy need to be more discriminating in who they agree to marry, and not just be agents of the state or paid actors in the romantic dramas that are American weddings. Churches are not venues. Thy are sacred spaces. We have allowed culture and the wedding industry to perpetuate rituals apart from their meaning, and the sooner Christians resist this, the better.

In the City of Man, all human beings should be held equal in the sight of the law, so all human beings should have the right to unite with whomever they please. Contracts uniting people in sexual relationships should be just as respected as contracts uniting people in business. Further, if we hold to a democratic form of government, then we must admit the logical possibility that individuals could have the right to unite with however many people they please, if the majority so wills. After all, in a democracy, majority rules.  Christians have confused America with the City of God, and it's about time we repent. Maybe then the Gospel can finally get a hearing.

Many heterosexuals (and homosexuals) think that the "love" is all one needs for marriage. Indeed, it might be sufficient for civil unions, but not for sacramental marriage. Sacramental marriage requires not only love, but the fruits of the Spirit: joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Because sacraments are not rights, but rather gifts from God, sacramental marriage is a not a right, but a gift from God. Sacramental marriage is impossible to initiate or sustain apart from the Trinity. (See

Of course, for many protestants who hold a modernist/postmodernist hermeneutic, "gay marriage" is not an oxymoron,  because their definition of "marriage"  (and arguably, "sacrament") is colored by their "progressive" reading of scripture. However, evangelicals are caught in the horns of a dilemma. On the one hand, in order to preserve their identity as protestants, they must reject the idea of marriage as a sacrament. On the other hand, they need to affirm the idea of marriage as a sacrament, if they are to be faithful to the biblical witness. It will be interesting to see how the issue of "gay marriage" transforms evangelical theology.

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