Why I am against ‘gay marriage’ (and you should be too)

Support Gay Marriage
I am very conflicted about the recent Supreme Court decision(s). Federal law is necessarily a legally homogenizing and yet protective force that can easily flatten the diversity of thought and belief in America. I strongly support full legal protection for gay couples but also am incredibly wary of relying on the court to bring about good and lasting change (lest we forget how easily it rolled back racial justice just 24 hours prior). To put my concerns another way, I see in the Church a dangerous tendency in both progressives and conservatives to look to the state to effectively mediate theological conflicts through secular legal decisions.

Marriage, for many Christian traditions, is a sacrament (an outward sign of an inward grace), an ordinance (a rite performed in obedience Christ), or an otherwise religious expression that identifies a union blessed by God through the Church. Civil unions and domestic partnerships are legal protections granted and enforced by the state. My impresion of the 2009 civil union debate in Hawaii was that it seemed like opponents of marriage-like legal equality for the LGBT community were effectively just trying to coerce the state into enforcing their Christian moral framework. I opposed it, in part, because the state and the Church are and should remain distinct. The state has no claim over Christian sacraments, and the distinction between Church and state threatens to be dissolved by using the language of “marriage” too haphazardly.

Civil unions and domestic partnerships, in so far as they refrain from relying on more nearly sacramental language, are far more appropriate matters for political debate, since they are legal relationships that courts oversee and adjudicate. Marriage as a Christian framework is not so sterile as to be merely legal, and must be deliberated in a very different way than is obviously par for the course in contemporary politics, with its partisan mudslinging and sloganeering. To find our way forward, Christians must orient ourselves to Christ, in whom we have our being and to whom we are ultimately wed.

Related: My Response to the Supreme Court of the United States – by Michael Kimpan

After all, if there is “gay marriage” might there not also be “gay communion” or “gay baptism”? No, for the body of Christ, there is neither Jew nor Greek, male nor female, gay nor… On the contrary, there is one Spirit and one body, though our parts are many. The theological issues that the universal Church has are not the domain of the state, and sorting out our ecclesial differences is not the place of the political authorities. I am as troubled by opposite sex Christian couples being “married” by someone with “power vested in [them] by the state of [fill in the blank]” as I am gay Christian couples.

Make no mistake, I believe strongly that the rights afforded by the law should be distributed equally to adult couples who display a willingness to commit to one another in sickness and in good health, until death do they part. Legal partnerships abound in civil law and domestic unions can easily be modeled thereafter, with protections and benefits enforceable through the courts. Contracts are relationally sterile, needing to be as neutral as possible in order to ensure equal representation before an impartial court.

But for Christians the determinative imagery for unions is based upon the marriage of Christ and his bride, the Church. Jesus is anything but impartial, his mercy exceeding mere justice and impartiality. Christian relationships are not fundamentally contractual, but covenantal. Furthermore, no piece of paper adequately codifies the partnership between people, whether we call them husband, wife, partner, spouse, or any other thing. Christians (and all Americans) should do everything we can to strengthen the full legal protections for all partnerships. We should thank God that this week’s development suggests that the marginalization of gay couples and their civil rights will no longer be the rule, but the exception.

Also by Logan: Reinstate the Draft?

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Let us be very careful in how we speak of our relationships. If marriage, let us mean one thing, but if union, another. Take France, for example, a religious event and the legal contract are separate; one does not guarantee the other. We need to be careful not to take our cues from the state or to be beholden to a government to define and enforce our sacraments. After all, just yesterday SCOTUS had no problem rolling back racial justice, even as it today advanced civil rights for the LGBT community. We cannot place ultimate trust in our legal or political institutions, but only in God and the institutions blessed by the Church. The line is narrow and the balance fine, but must remain distinctive enough to differentiate between the two. The haphazard language I have seen on this issue makes it hard to tell God from country, politics from religion.

There are a myriad of differences between traditions within the church, and we should not rely upon “the authorities” to enforce a flattening universal model for each and every one of us. Those of us in support of legal equality for gay people know how that has felt, with (the blessed impermanence of) the Defense of Marriage Act. Let us all work together to strengthen our laws to protect those who need protection, including racial minorities affected one day and LGBT people the next. In everything, let us continue to grow in love for God and learn to distinguish between law and gospel, between God and country.


Logan Mehl-Laituri is an Iraq veteran and a student in the theological studies program at Duke Divinity School, where he is a founding member of Milites Christi. He also acts as the Executive Officer of Centurion’s Guild and is the author of Reborn on the Fourth of July (InterVarsity Press, 2012).

Photo Credit: paintings / Shutterstock.com

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About the Author

Logan Mehl-Laituri

Logan Mehl-LaituriLogan Mehl-Laituri is an Iraq veteran and a student in the theological studies program at Duke Divinity School, where he is a founding member of Milites Christi. He also acts as the Executive Officer of Centurion's Guild. Logan is the author of Reborn on the Fourth of July (InterVarsity Press, 2012). and, most recently, For God and Country (In That Order) (Herald Press, 2013).View all posts by Logan Mehl-Laituri →

  • RustbeltRick

    I have to be honest — although the headline of this article is crystal-clear, the actual article is extremely muddy. I was prepared to weigh in but after reading the article I can’t even tell where the author stands on the issue of gay marriage. There’s a lot of theological flower language but the article lacks clarity on the essential questions. I have a Master’s degree in English and am normally a fairly perceptive reader, but here I’m lost. Too bad.

    • http://snommelp.tumblr.com/ Snommelp

      It seemed quite clear to me, though perhaps that’s just because I’m a scholar of “theological flower language,” as you call it. Logan is fundamentally opposed to the blending of state-sponsored unions and Church-bless marriage. Therefore, he is opposed to gay marriage on the grounds that it blurs the line between Church and state; by extension, Logan is also opposed to state-sponsored marriage as a whole, because of that same blurring. It’s one manifestation of a much deeper theological stance for Logan, that we as the Church should stop seeking to have the State affirm and police us.

      • RustbeltRick

        So, when John and Mary (or John and John) get married by the local judge, they are seeking to have the State “police” them? Please.

        • http://snommelp.tumblr.com/ Snommelp

          Did you completely miss the word “affirm” there? “Affirm and police,” I said. One would expect a Master’s of English who is a perceptive reader to perform a close reading.

      • http://beinggodstoddler.WordPress.com/ Paul Brownnutt

        The author is, I think, right to draw a distinction between the roles of state and church, but I am uncomfortable with the conclusion. Or, more exactly, the implications of the conclusion.

        If we oppose state sponsored gay marriage because marriage is the domain of the church, then we are saying that ALL marriage is the domain of the church (and, presumably, the synagogue, the mosque and so on) and the state has no business sponsoring ANY form of marriage. From which we conclude that atheists, humanists and the line have no business getting married.

        Yes, there is a spiritual dimension to church marriage with which not all members of society wish to identify, but that should not lessen the value of their relational commitment to one another. Yet this is where the author seems to lead us.

        • http://snommelp.tumblr.com/ Snommelp

          That is a potential consequence of seeking to completely remove the state from marriage, yes – though one might argue that this would not be a problem if the state had never been involved in marriage to begin with. Of course, that’s neither here nor there, because we can’t change the fact that the state has been and currently is involved in the marriage game. The mess is too tangled to untie any knots without breaking some threads.

          But on the other hand, if the church sought to disentangle itself from state-sanctioned marriage, one might argue that the state could call their own unions whatever they want. Continue to call it marriage if you wish, but know that we hold it to be a different institution from Christian marriage, we might say. If one were willing to treat the issue with a great deal of care, one could still affirm the commitments of non-Christian unions while holding Christian marriage as distinct.

      • Steve in Van

        But the “line between church and state” is only blurred for a small handful of conservative believers who can’t distinguish between civil marriage and holy matrimony, between secular and religious vocabulary. Do we really think everyone else should give-up the word ‘marriage’ because we want to it mean something else?

        • http://snommelp.tumblr.com/ Snommelp

          Eh, I’ve also seen a similar point made by secular people on other sites I frequent – though they focus a bit less on the “line between church and state” and a bit more on “the government forcing single taxpayers to pay for married peoples’ tax breaks.” Which, now that I think about it, isn’t a very similar point at all, is it? It’s a similar conclusion (a call to end state-sponsored marriage), but very different premises leading to it.

    • jonathan starkey

      I think maybe because the writer is speaking from opinion and feeling. As opposed to someone who has a real thorough understanding of Gov./society/nation.

      In my uneducated I feel blah, blah, blah… Country state blah, blah, blah

      • jonathan starkey

        Even strange opinions about how Christians position themselves to marriage. Each example only a mere shadow of marriage at best.

        It’s like I have an armchair understanding on the subject, but I’m going to write an article about it because I go to Duke.

  • Danny Klopovic

    I thought this article was quite clear. As a queer Christian myself, I
    am not in favour of gay marriage either – partly because I am reluctant
    to assimilate our relationships to how marriage operates as a
    (traditionally) heterosexual union freighted with meanings that I am not
    convinced that queer people should take all on board. There is a place
    for diversity even within the church – of course, I do think that
    sacramental recognition of queer relationships should occur within the
    church but I do not think that marriage should be the vehicle for
    recognition.

    • jonathan starkey

      This type of thinking should be cast out of the Church.

      I can just here Paul. Throw him out. You tolerate this stuff.

      • tai chi

        This is not Christianity.

        • jonathan starkey

          It is Christianity, because you are persecuting me because I confess Christ.

          Jesus said to them: And He answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female,… and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’….

          What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.

          Why are you guys trying to separate what God has joined together.

          God values marriage: The Beginning Starts with a marriage, and the End… Ends in a marriage.

      • tai chi

        Hypocrite.

        • jonathan starkey

          You confess God, but you advocate sinfulness.

          No one can love God that hates his commandments.

          I am more loving, because I am saying something. Love isn’t trying not to offend people.
          —-
          I’m not against queer people, I am pro marriage, between 1 man and 1 woman.

          • tai chi

            I did not confess God, I did not advocate sinfulness. I asked you to reconsider your words because they are hurtful. Are you seriously suggesting that Jesus Christ would sit down with Danny and call him an abomination?

          • Frank

            Jesus would not call Danny an abomination but would show him that homosexual behavior is goes against Gods created order and thus is sinful and that here is a better choice of behavior.

          • Danny Klopovic

            Thanks for that but I am inured to the reviling that comes from conservative Christians on this issue – there is little else left available to them. As for what Jesus might or might not say, I am reluctant to presume :)

      • tai chi

        This type of thinking should be cast out of the Church.

        I can just “here” Jesus: You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the
        mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

        Do you find that your approach brings a lot of people into “relationship with Christ”? I’d love to hear your stats.

        I don’t care to try and change your opinion on everything you read on RLC – though I have to wonder why you keep coming – but please, PLEASE, read your posts and consider how they sound and feel to others.

        • jonathan starkey

          They will hate you because they hated me first. Jesus

          Do you find that your approach brings a lot of people into “relationship with Christ”?
          This whole friendship evangelism idea, of how many people are surrounding because of Christ is a little misconstrued.

          The
          vipers were the ones who were mixed in with society, and did not want
          the deliverance of the Lord. Because they liked the way the world was
          allowing them to build their special church.

          Considering the feelings of others is the “Fear of Man”… you need to “Fear God.”

          Go read your Bible. Please

          • tai chi

            Considering the feelings of others is the fear of man?
            …Okay. Then gloves can come off, I can call you whatever I want. Agreed?

    • jonathan starkey

      Abomination

      • Danny Klopovic

        I can’t quite put my finger on it – but your comments sound vaguely satanic …

        • jonathan starkey

          Whatever, I can pick out about 5 things in your paragraph that are satanic.

          A) You are calling evil good. – a queer Christian
          B) It’s heretical – sacramental recognition of queer relationships should occur within the church
          C) It’s perverted – marriage should be the vehicle for recognition

          • jonathan starkey

            It’s a complete distortion.

    • jonathan starkey

      This is not Christianity.

      • Danny Klopovic

        Still seems all quite satanic :) Pity

        • jonathan starkey

          I can say the same for you. Isn’t it easy.

          • jonathan starkey

            But, you haven’t made a case, just an accusation. I know who else likes to make accusations.

  • David Springer

    Logan, twenty years ago as a “pagan progressive” living in Chicago who was responding to fears as Hawaii’s Supreme Court entered the “gay marriage” debate, I made a suggestion to some Christian and Catholic friends (several of whom were clerics) of mine that the Church should get out of the “State marriage” business, support full civil unions for EVERYONE, as well as sacramental marriage or Holy Matrimony (or whatever they wanted to call it) for those who wished it. I was beat down pretty hard, mostly by the Evangelicals, but by all who saw the Church’s role as defending and promoting marriage. I responded by asking, “Given the number of co-habitating and/or divorced Christian/Catholic couples we all know, how is that working out?” Now, as an Evangelical living in Portland, OR, (Jesus actually had to bring me to Portland–the least churched city in America–eight years ago so that my eyes might be opened enough to see Him) I fear that this train has completely left the station and it is OUR own darn fault. We have engaged in petty power politics over this issue and failed to love as well as we should while demonstrating the living witness of God’s ideal as well as we could. I do believe that God’s heart is that families be built around one man and one woman; the two different genders living as equals complementing and transforming each other into the full imago Dei. However, in this world marred by sin and selfishness, the temporary state of the “ideal earthly marriage” (remember it won’t exist after the resurrection, see Matthew 20) is often a poor representation of what it should be and families headed by loving, caring, COMMITTED same-sex couples are better than ones without parents or without parents who love or care. In the same way, families headed by single parents who love and care and are surrounded by authentic community and a support network are not as great as the ideal, but are better than ones without parents who love or care or single parents who are left struggling to do this alone and failing miserably. Perhaps if the tone of our voices were lowered, our grips on the levers of power and control loosened, and our desire to love, serve, and demonstratively proclaim our Truth increased the world will see a different example and though accuse us of doing wrong, see our good deeds and give glory to God.

    • Mary VanOrshoven

      David, I agree with you. The state ought not be in the marriage business. Unfortunately, there are so many rules and regulations concerning financial matters (which most marriages are about financial security partnerships) that gays had no choice but to take this next step.

      • RustbeltRick

        Why is it a problem for the state to marry two people? If the state stops marrying people, do non-church members then simply . . . remain living together, unmarried? I don’t think anyone, from highly conservative Christians to very secular sociologists, sees that as a step toward societal stability.

        • Mary VanOrshoven

          The idea of financial incentives, preferences, rights and privileges that are associated with marriage and the legal system is what make marriage a state business. If these were not in place, I totally agree – it would de-stabilize social cohesion.

          I guess, I see marriage as a political and financial relationship for most of history. It wasn’t until recently within the last couple hundred years that romance even came to matter.

          Mmmm, maybe saying that it is not the state’s place to say that marriage is defined by God is a better choice of words.

    • bluecenterlight

      Well said. As an aside, God had me throw my nets down and move to the Oregon coast a few months ago. I have found it to be a place where people are hungry for God, but have little patience for the baggage that organized religion brings to the table. It seems to be an awesome environment for God to work, I am glad to be here ( the fact that it’s amazingly beautiful doesn’t hurt either). As one of my favorite pastors Bruxy Cavey says, “the answer to organized religion is not unorganized religion, it is organized irreligion” Howdy from Newport.

      • TheodoreSeeber

        Based on the growth in the Knights of Columbus council there, I’m pretty sure that is true.

        • bluecenterlight

          People here do tend to be fond of interesting hats ;)

          • TheodoreSeeber

            I was talking about the 3rd Degree council, which doesn’t wear regalia. The nearest 4th Degree Assembly to Newport is in Eugene. So if they want to wear the hat, they need to commit to a monthly journey over the coast range. :-)

          • bluecenterlight

            I was just trying to be funny, swing and a miss.

  • Eric

    “To put my concerns another way, I see in the Church a dangerous tendency in both progressives and
    conservatives to look to the state to effectively mediate theological
    conflicts through secular legal decisions.”

    Do progressive Christians really see the state in this role as frequently or as deliberately as conservatives do? Progressives, it seems, respect the separation of church and state and simply want the state to live up to it own professed value of equality before the law. Conservative, on the other hand, are the ones who typically see the state as a vehicle for imposing their own theological perspective on everyone.

    • Frank

      So progressives put their faith in government above God?

      Separation of church and state exists to protect the church from government not the other way around.

      • Eric

        Well, as usual, you are wrongo. The separation cuts both ways. Nice try though. And thanks for demonstrating my point about conservatives thinking the state is the strong arm of the church. No, progressives don’t put their “faith” in government above God; they actually know the difference between “faith” and other forms of respect and recognition.

        • Frank

          So they compartmentalize their faith to only the areas where its comfortable for them? That’s even worse.

          Each one of your arguments does not help your opinion. Wise up!

          • Eric

            Sure, Frank, that’s what they do. Just fit everything into the neat little boxes that make up your zero-sum game: either their idolators or backsliders. It really is awesome how you spin things. Do you work for Fox News?

          • Frank

            I am simply asking a question based on your words. If you don’t like it then you best reevaluate your beliefs.

            True faith embodies every aspect of someones life including the public square. That’s what integrity is.

          • Eric

            Frank, what you know about integrity I could about fit into a thimble. You aren’t asking questions based on my words. You are making insinuations and assumptions that have nothing to do with what I actually said. If you can’t see how Christians love their neighbors by joining other citizens to ask the state to live up to its own, secular values of equality, that’s your problem. And if you can’t understand how Christians can live faithfully in a secular, pluralistic society without feeling the need to control every inch of the public square, then you might best reevaluate your beliefs, because clearly you are the one who mistakes the power of the state with the power of the gospel. So, please drop the lecturing pose, it doesn’t suit you. Especially when you do nothing but provide bland apologies for conservatives using the state to impose their views on others.

          • Frank

            Well Eric you simply expose yourself for who you really are. A name calling, judgmental, biased child of faith.

          • Eric

            How’s that log in your eye feel, Frank?

          • Frank

            Yes deflection is a strategy when losing an argument.

            Everyone can plainly see:

            Name caller – check
            judgmental – check
            immature – check.

            No judgement just pointing out facts.

            My log is painful but at least I don’t deny its there.

          • Drew

            Frank, I would pray for Eric rather than debate Eric. He is clearly and fully deceived and has a lot of hatred in his heart that he gets out through here.

          • Frank

            I do pray for Eric and I keep responding not to debate him but to make sure anyone who is reading does not get deceived and sees a biblical perspective since RLC is so skewed to abandoning or nullifying scripture.

          • Jay

            Maybe we should get SCOTUS to ban RLC…. Or maybe we should just stop being so damn disrespectful to one another, and Frank dont think for one second that you’ve been any less of an arrogant dick than Eric.

          • Frank

            Show me where I have called people disparaging names. Show me anything I have said not backed by scripture.

            Just because you don’t like the truth doesn’t mean that the messenger is bad. Yes I am human and my emotions sometimes trump my civility. I am far from perfect but unlike Eric I post scripturally supported truths. He post opinions and then gets snarky when he realizes he cannot back it up.

            I am all for leaving personalities, opinions and selfish thinking out of the discussion and sticking to supported biblical truths. The problem with that is that RLC would be almost empty of posts or hey would have to find different contributors.

          • Jen

            “Well Eric you simply expose yourself for who you really are. A name calling, judgmental, biased child of faith.”

            “Name caller – check
            judgmental – check
            immature – check.”

            Looks like disparaging name-calling to me. On the other hand, I’m having trouble finding a name Eric has called you in this interaction.

            It’s a biblical truth that the separation of church and state is only for the benefit of churches, not to keep churches from forcefully imposing their beliefs on individuals? It’s a biblical truth that people who don’t share your political views are compartmentalizing their faith, not just expressing it in a different way? Hm, those seem a lot more like opinions to me. :/

          • Jim

            thanks Drew and Frank…..your being straight forward, and yet gentle are appreciated.

          • Frank

            Well I am not perfectly gentle that but I am trying. Thanks for the encouragement!

    • TheodoreSeeber

      ” Progressives, it seems, respect the separation of church and state and simply want the state to live up to it own professed value of equality before the law. ”

      In what way is that not in and of itself a theological perspective?

  • Philip Zylstra

    Thankyou Logan for the thoughtful tone of your article; however it has left me confused. You stated that we should not “be beholden to a government to define and enforce our sacraments”, yet it seems that this is exactly what you are asking for. The Bible talks a lot about marriage, but let’s not fool ourselves, we Christians didn’t invent it and it isn’t all our territory. Others who aren’t Christians also get married, and define it differently to us. Other Christians also define it differently to you or I because as much as we’d like things to be different, the Bible doesn’t give a legal definition of marriage. There is legitimate debate on the topic both within and without Christian circles, so when you ask for a secular government to uphold your particular belief that marriage is a Christian sacrament enacted between a man and a woman, you are in fact asking them to define and enforce your sacrament. You are asking your secular government to say no to people who believe in a different view of marriage derived from another religion, another philosophy or from their own convictions, and to affirm that Christianity is the true religion, and that your interpretation of about five passages in the Bible is the correct interpretation. Is that really the role of Government, or is it something for individual churches, mosques or marriage celebrants to decide for themselves?

  • SarahB

    I think that there is an assumption here that all Christians wouldn’t support having wedding ceremonies in their churches for gay couples. There are churches/denominations that support all committed, monogamous adult relationships through the sacramental rite of marriage. Making clear that there is a state requirement for legal privileges and a church rite for marriages doesn’t negate gay marriage. And I am personally all for that.

  • Jaymee

    I am slightly confused by this article. Basically, Christians should support gay marriage as long as it’s called gay union and not gay marriage? I think? Or am I misunderstanding…?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ayinde-Truxon-Flores/1196187056 Ayinde Truxon Flores

    That’s all well and good, but marriage affects insurance rights, child custody, property transfer, social security. Your moral beliefs can’t trump other people’s desire to be treated equally under the law. You can feel free to choose not to register your marriage with the state, if you are willing to forgo the legal advantages. But again, you can’t decide for everyone else.

  • Adam Druit

    The question I’ve never found a clear answer to is: who says marriage is a religious institution? While it is true that marriages appear in the Christian Bible, it also appears both in other contemporary cultures who do not believe in Christianity, as well as long before Jesus ever walked the Earth. I fail to see how marriage can be regulated by “:Christian” rules when it was practiced in hundreds of unique cultures before these “rules” were ever established

    • Frank

      God created them male and female, be fruitful and multiply. Marriage only exists because God created it.

      • Eric

        Frank! you old so-and-so! How goes the hate business these days? Anyway, as usual, your statement is just plain unhelpful. Maybe you could actually read Adam’s question and think about it before popping off a Sunday School platitude next time, mmmk? Cause the short answer to his question is: marriage is typically both a social and religious institution, across cultures.

        • Frank

          I was simply pointing out marriage existed as a construct of God since the beginning of time. Well before Jesus walked the earth.

          • Adam Druit

            Thanks for the response! However, if we’re going to use the Biblical marriage as the definition, then isn’t limiting it to one man-one woman also wrong?

          • Frank

            No. While in biblical times polygamy was common, Gods intention before sin entered our world was for one man and one woman united in marriage, affirmed by Jesus and throughout the NT. Its not possible to have strong scriptural argument for polygamy.

            There was incest, murder, baby killing, etc… in biblical times. Certainly you are not arguing for those things.

          • Frank

            If anybody is interested Tim Keller has a great clarification of the issue:

            Many years ago, when I first started reading the Book of Genesis, it was very upsetting to me. Here are all these spiritual heroes—Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph—and look at how they treat women. They engage in polygamy, and they buy and sell their wives. It was awful to read their stories at times. But then I read Robert Alter’s The Art of Biblical Narrative. Alter is a Jewish scholar at Berkeley whose expertise is ancient Jewish literature. In his book he says there are two institutions present in the Book of Genesis that were universal in ancient cultures: polygamy and primogeniture. Polygamy said a husband could have multiple wives, and primogeniture said the oldest son got everything—all the power, all the money. In other words, the oldest son basically ruled over everyone else in the family. Alterpoints out that when you read the Book of Genesis, you’ll see two things. First of all, in every generation polygamy wreaks havoc. Having multiple wives is an absolute disaster—socially, culturally, spiritually, emotionally, psychologically, and relationally. Second, when it comes to primogeniture, in every generation God favors the younger son over the older. He favors Abel, not Cain; Isaac, not Ishmael; Jacob, not Esau. Alter says that you begin to realize what the Book of Genesis is doing—it is subverting, not supporting, those ancient institutions at every turn.

          • jonathan starkey

            Thanks Bro. Getting real Bible education down here. In the comment section.

          • jonathan starkey

            How do you get a thumbs down to that?

          • Frank

            Easy. People who have a position that deep down they know has no support so they focus on the messenger no matter what the message is. Down votes here are an affirmation for me. I wish I had more!

          • Eric

            So, by that logic, Gen 1-3 is also subverting monogamy, no, since it clearly didn’t go so well?

          • jonathan starkey

            Why because Satan came into the picture and began to destroy what God had put together?

            Why do you think Jesus goes all the way back to the Garden in Matthew 19?

            Get it together man.

          • Eric

            Frank, so it went perfectly until it didn’t. Kinda the same for the polygamous relationships in Genesis, too. More importantly, as Adam has already noted, there is no “fall” from monogamy into polygamy in Genesis. None of the family dysfunctions in the book are blamed, implicitly or explicitly, on polygamy. I appreciate Keller’s close attention to the text (and to real biblical scholarship), but Genesis does not make the point he want it to make.

          • Frank

            No polygamy arose only after the fall so it was never perfect.

            Kellers point and the rabbis point are solid in scriptural and cultural support. Can you provide the same for your opinion? When you have have that kind of weight behind your points then you might have something. I’ll be here when you get it together.

          • john

            thanks frank for all your input on this column, I agree with you and hope you continue to engage in this medium for the benefit of all readers.
            my perspective as an Australian Christian on what is right and honours
            God. Sodom and Gomorrah did not and were destroyed, they were too far gone and not able to be saved, my worry is that governments that think gay is ok have already slidden down a muddy path of destruction and unless there is a spirit of repentance and change through the power of God and His grace we are in a lot of trouble, as a friend says.. like there never was .. And so it is time to pray. sincerely mate. Holy Holy holy is the Lord God almighty. amen

          • Frank

            It went perfectly until Adam and Eve rejected Gods plan. You would think humanity would have learned the lesson.

          • Adam Druit

            Interesting point, however not flawless. First, God does not always favor the youngest son- Abraham was the oldest of three, for example. Noah, too, was the oldest of his siblings. Therefore, while it could be said that the Bible doesn’t follow primogeniture, it certainly doesn’t outright reject it either. Furthermore, I find it difficult to suggest that having multiple wives was “shown to wreak havoc” on every generation. God specifically blessed several polygamists.

            The only real way to take that is that it is still possible to be directly blessed by God even if a man has taken multiple wives. If this is indeed the case, it clearly seems that God doesn’t put much weight in the “1 man, 1 wife” set-up, at least not enough to specifically forbid it in a commandment, nor punish any holy man merely because he had multiple wives.

            I just don’t see you gaining much traction on the argument that “God really, really hated anything that contradicted God’s idea of ‘natural marriage,’” as God was clearly willing to overlook it in so many instances.

          • Frank

            These are Kellers words not mine although I agree with him and have much more traction than any argument FOR polygamy. Ether way marriage is heterosexual.

            What do you do with all the NT texts that support monogamy and heterosexual marriage and reject polygamy and homosexual behavior? And I hope you are smart enough to not assert the much used but thoroughly discredited notion that homosexuality today is somehow different than it was back then.

          • Adam Druit

            I assume you’re referring to the passages in Timothy. However, I feel that this passage gives you rather weak ground to stand on when attempting to define the appropriate attitudes of a culture. I find it rather suspicious that you point to some quotes, but ignore others, such as:

            “11 A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve.”

            In fact, the three major passages used against polygamy most frequently all refer directly to the profession of Church elder/overseer- not to the “common man.”

          • Frank

            There is much more than Timothy. Every mention of marriage is singular man to singular woman, husband to wife. Jesus affirmed and Paul affirmed. No getting around that!

            As I said I am happy to debate the role of men and women but that’s a separate issue.

          • jonathan starkey

            Noah was the oldest of his siblings, but he was the son of Seth (a son in his likeness and image).

            It’s interesting that you bring Noah up because God destroyed the world because of it’s wickedness.

            And just before the Ark the Nephilim were having Sex with the women on Earth.

            For all you “progressives” out there: Chaos (out of darkness), to Cosmos (order), to Cathedral (dwelling)
            There was no Law/ command up to moses: Chaos
            Then Moses got the Law: Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery: Cosmos
            Then in Jesus: God created them Man and Woman: Cathedral

            Here is another “Progressive” revelation:
            Lamech- I will punish him 70 x 70 – Chaos
            Moses – Eye for an Eye
            Jesus – Turn the other cheek

          • jonathan starkey

            Chaos – out of darkness; Cosmos – He created all things and Man; Cathedral – He dwelt among them

            Most scripture can fit this pattern.

            It’s what is interesting about polygamy and concubines, and things of that nature. That God uses people in society in the place where they are at at the time.

            So when you ask about polygamy in the OT? You also have things like “eye for an eye”? And you see things moving a long a progression.

            But then you have Jesus the fulfillment, and he says turn the other cheek. And he also says, don’t tear a part what God has joined together. As it was in the garden.

          • jonathan starkey

            And it’s better for a man not to marry, if he can’t handle what marriage is supposed to look like.

          • Adam Druit

            “It’s what is interesting about polygamy and concubines, and things of that nature. That God uses people in society in the place where they are at at the time” – But this is actually kind of a cop-out. God shouldn’t have to deal with “what’s available” given the time and place- God should be able to find (or convert, or convince) his/her/its followers to be pure. If we accept that “they were people of their time” then homosexual marriage can become an acceptable practice, as that’s “the culture of our time.” The Bible, at least in theory, represents an absolute moral code- the word of God is right, is always right, and is right without exception. Therefore, if God spoke to individuals who practiced polygamy, and never thought it important to tell them to change, it can only be seen as a tacit acceptance of the practice.

            As for your assertion of the idea of “an eye for an eye” in the Old Testament, it might be worthwhile to reread the context and meaning. This appears in cases where legal frameworks are being constructed- it isn’t for the victim to inflict the punishment, but for society to. Jesus’ “turn the other cheek” was in reference to personal actions, not social ones (else prisons and fines would be sins as well).

          • jonathan starkey

            then homosexual marriage can become an acceptable practice, as that’s “the culture of our time.” Homosexuality was the culture of their time too. That’s why it was mentioned in Leviticus.

            It was in the culture of the time in the first century.

            And it’s here today, it’s been here.

            There were gay people in Jesus day, Jesus said marriage is between a man and a woman.

            Let’s get to the Red Letters here. I thought this the take the Red Letters’s back sight. Meaning we believe Jesus words have authority, because he is the, I AM.

            Well the I AM who said, turn the other cheek (which is so popular around here), also said marriage is between 1 man and 1 woman.

            BTW are you a Christian?

          • dapowellii

            Where did Jesus say marriage is between a man and a woman…?

          • jonathan starkey

            Why did Jesus say, you have heard it said, Eye for an eye, but I say to you turn the other cheek. Stop being and idiot.

          • Adam Druit

            My main response is below, however I thought it necessary to point out a response to “There was incest, murder, baby killing, etc… in biblical times. Certainly you are not arguing for those things.”

            Of course I’m not. I’m taking the side that the Bible shouldn’t dictate our secular code of laws. Furthermore, a fundamental difference between infanticide and polygamy is who each was practiced by. Infanticide was practiced by the Egyptians, attempting to kill Moses. Polygamy, on the other hand, was practiced by every major patriarch in the Old Testament.

          • Frank

            I agree we live in a secular country. A representative democracy which determines how it wants to live. Faith is a part of that. The bible is a part of that. There are plenty of laws that go against Gods Will i.e. abortion but our country has determined that abortion is acceptable. Some of our country agree that gay marriage is acceptable and some do not. Our representative democratic government is working this issue out.

            As Christians however our faith is in God not government, culture or society. It is antithetical to the faith to support legislation or allow without an alternative answer things that God has declared immoral and sinful. That’s whats happening and its perfectly right and just to be this way.

            So yes biblical morality has a place in our society and our laws if the people wish it.

          • jonathan starkey

            A lot of the OT was meant to be a negative object lesson. (What not to do.)

          • Adam Druit

            Unless you have a passage to support that, then you are making quite the assertion. The OT is God’s word, and unless you point to places where he/she/it specifically says “don’t do this,” then you are rejecting God’s word.

          • dapowellii

            So, by that logic, the simple act of eating crabmeat rejects the OT passage Lev. 11:9-12 — i.e. rejecting God’s word, or committing sin.

          • Adam Druit

            I find it interesting that you use the term “simple,” diminishing the nature of the action. If we assume the Bible to be the literal word of God, then eating a crab is a sin, equivalent in weight to any of the others (with the possible exception of the 10 Commandments).

            Again, just to clarify, I’m taking the devil’s advocate route there (saying that if we use the “Biblical” definition of marriage, that leads to the rejection of a lot of secular ideas we enjoy). I don’t actually think that eating a crab should be illegal, but I also don’t believe that marriage should be defined according to a Biblical code.

          • Drew

            For a website that claims to be about the Red Letters it is shocking how few actually read them. If you want to know the Biblical definition of marriage, Adam, I would start with the Red Letters and Jesus.

      • dapowellii

        Funny how this whole sub-thread is about condemning polygamy, yet everyone in it fails to acknowledge the simple fact that the Bible does not condemn it anywhere. The English translations may imply “one man one woman,” but if it were *that* important, you’d think it would be crystal clear. Take, for instance, meat-eating. God thought it was important enough to clear that issue up for Paul, in addition to other implications elsewhere in the NT. If polygamy is more important than meat-eating, and important enough to be considered a sin in Western society, then why didn’t God bother to clear that up as well?
        IMHO, the government recognizes Christian and other religious ceremonies as legally-binding marriages, not the other way around. If the Baptists don’t want gay wedding ceremonies in their churches, it is certainly their right — nothing in the law forces churches to perform wedding ceremonies they don’t agree to. Christians can and should state their opinions when it comes to gay marriage — but should also accept that some churches will agree with the law, and that many non-Christians will rightly point out Christian bigotry with those who don’t.

    • Drew

      Unfortunately, Frank and Jonathan, while well-intentioned, are not always the best at apologetic. Let’s back this truck up for a second.

      “Haven’t you read that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

      We’ve had a model of marriage since the beginning of time.

      • Drew

        What have I seen down-voted in the past few days on Red Letter Christian? Prayer, Scripture, the Red Letters.

        Tony Campolo should be ashamed of what has become of the movement; now I am being down-voted for the Red Letters!

  • Rowan Potter

    I’m disappointed with the comments left on this article. Yes gay marriage is a touchy topic and it splits Christians all over the place, but this doesn’t call for trolls and abusers. We should all be striving for truth, but in love! Ephesians speaks of not using slanderous or corrupt language with one another. Why then do we feel that the best form of “rebuking” is via an internet forum? Remember Jesus was all about relationships, so let’s mirror that by investing in and encouraging each other. If we all profess to have the Spirit within then let Him take hold of our tongues instead of giving in to our anger and frustration.
    On a side note, Jesus did call people vipers, they were pious bigots who thought they had all the answers. If you think you have all the answers, then you need to reassess something. We don’t, Jesus does. Knowing Jesus doesn’t equate to us having all the answers.
    When Jesus addressed sinners he forgave them, and said go sin no more. Tolerance and compromise doesn’t follow forgiveness, repentance does, because Jesus is the only way, the only truth and the only life.
    Wise up friends, do you really want Jesus to return while we squabble?

    • Eric

      Yes?

      • Rowan Potter

        Let me rephrase that last rhetorical question slightly. Do you want Jesus to return to see His followers squabbling amongst themselves? Or do you want to have Jesus return to an expectant group, who have acted on his words? Matthew 25:14-30

        • Eric

          Pretty sure I can squabble and act at the same time.

          • Rowan Potter

            Go for it. Feel free to share with us in the future about how beneficial your squabbling turned out to be.

          • Eric

            “Interlocutors with Benefits”: title of the next They Might Be Giants album

  • lcg

    The difference is not between marriage and “unions”, but between civil marriage and “holy matrimony”. There is no such thing as “gay marriage” as the erroneous label only refers to civil marriage.

  • TheodoreSeeber

    I’m pro-civil union and against gay marriage too. Welcome to being a bigot and a homophobe, because that’s what they call me.

  • Richard Bergen

    In my opinion, a same sex couple being issued a marriage license has nothing to do with the church…if your denomination or faith doesn’t agree with performing the ceremony, you don’t have to. That is my view on religious freedom…one persons faith should not effect the determination of another person life….In this country Marriage has many secular benefits to it and I don’t see how those can be denied to someone just because it goes against someone’s theological view on the issue….we can debate until the end of times on the theology, but how can we continue to justify our religious freedom by denying someone else the secular benefits that we take advantage of?

  • jim

    I wonder if those that write these “hot button” articles are ringing their hands saying “got em going”. Those that get pissed off, get higher blood pressure. Those that are in agreement with the article send in more money. Just kidding. Sort of.

    • Drew

      Two or three years ago Red Letter Christian ran two articles side by side, one a “homosexuality is not a sin” argument and one “homosexuality is a sin” argument. Unfortunately, the “homosexuality is a sin” article was flamed big time. That was the last time I ever saw a “counterpoint” type of argument presented on this website. Much better off feeding a steady diet of liberal fare.

    • Wayne Froese

      ChristianityToday is much worse.

  • Curtis

    I’m all for the concept of Civil Marriage or Civil Unions for all – Gay and Straight – and the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony inside the Church being two different (but complimentary) things.
    (Prepares for a Holy flame barrage)
    I want to be clear that I welcome Gay and Straight couples to enter into Holy Matrimony or Christian Religious Marriage as I believe that God has made all of us in God’s image. I do believe that sexuality is a gift – homo and hetero – that should be treasured, not wantonly wasted. To that end, I would have the church call Homosexuals to the same standard as Heterosexuals, nothing more or less. The conservative church should be asking Homosexuals to save themselves for marriage (unless you really think that the only time you should ever have sex is to create children – then you and I have a lot of problems as I do think Married folk should be having sex with each other just because they want to).

    So yup, I’m a flaming liberal UCC guy. I’m all in with the statement that God creates Gay People on purpose and that they are wonderfully made just as they are. Flame Away.
    Unlike some posters in this thread, I’m pretty sure of what the writer is saying – The Government should be doing the Church’s work. “Marriage” should be a religious thing, Civil Unions should be a Government thing. Love should be a God thing.

    • Frank

      So where is your scriptural support for your opinion?

      • Curtis

        Hi Frank,

        I need have no scriptural support for a purely civic opinion. The legal issues surrounding marriage or civil unions or whatever we want to call the legal partnerships have nothing whatsoever to do with my religious views or opinions. One need only read the comment threads on Red Letter Christians to see just how bad it would be were we to be making societal decisions based on someone’s or some group’s interpretation of the Christian Holy Books.

        As for the fact that my Denomination and my Congregation differs from yours is just not worth the fight. We might both be wrong or both be right. We liberals don’t really go in for Biblical Inerrancy (despite what my dear Mother thinks on the subject) so getting into a 5 page argument with you isn’t going to yield anything other than an agreement to disagree. If I may, however, I might suggest that loving one’s neighbor as oneself is a pretty good place to start.

        • Frank

          Thansk for answering and admitting that you have no scriptural support that homosexual behavior is not sinful and ipso factso admitting that you have a low view of scripture. I think its absolutely foolishness but I respect your to courage to admit it.

          There is nothing loving about supporting, affirming, condoning, celebrating or remaining silent over sinful behavior. So yes it all starts and ends with love.

          • Drew

            Frank,

            Thanks for your question – it paralleled nicely with mine. Once you set your Bible on fire and spurn Jesus in order to get down on your hand and knees, face pressed to the ground, and worship postmodernism, it makes sense that you want both the Bible and Government stripped of any kind of authority except for whatever people feel or thing, emotionally or physically, at any particular time.

          • Curtis

            It takes no “courage” to state my opinion. I take the Bible seriously, but not literally. I do believe that God created gay people gay and that that is a good thing. In my opinion, Homosexuality is a minority sexual orientation. It is not a divine mistake. It is not a genetic snafu. It is not a sinful behavior that someone can resist or change anymore than heterosexual sex is. It is part of God’s design. The church will be better off when it chooses to ask Homosexuals and Heterosexuals alike to abide by the same standards. If you’re a conservative, then it is quite realistic to ask Homosexuals to wait until marriage for sex.

            As for stripping the Bible and Government of any authority, that is different issue. First, Governmental Authority in a Democratic society IS subject to what the people feel or think at any particular time. With regard to the Authority of Scripture, I regard that as a separate question entirely. I certainly don’t want my Government trying to enforce any sort of anything based on any view of a Holy Religious book. I mean why the heck not limit the rulings to the Quoran or only the Hebrew Bible? Should Kosher or Halal be the law of the land? That’s gonna be a problem for Red Lobster………..
            I don’t have a problem with God and Country, I just don’t want them mixed up!

          • Frank

            Thanks for these qualifying and true words “In my opinion” because your opinion has no theological support its just yours.

          • Curtis

            I’m certainly not the only one with this opinion just as you certainly aren’t the only one with yours.

          • Frank

            The difference is your opinion is unsupported in scripture. The truth I speak is completely supported in scripture. So no our positions come from very different places.

          • Drew

            Unfortunately, your first paragraph demonstrates that you do not take the Bible seriously. You do not even attempt to go to the Bible. In fact, it would appear that you are afraid to go into the Bible.

            You missed my point on government. My point is that if we do not shape our laws based on faith, what do we shape our laws on? The answer is that we shape our laws, then, on nothing. John Adams said “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” It’s one thing to force our faith on another; it’s another thing to say that faith cannot inform us whatsoever. Essentially what you and everyone else saying is that it is okay for us to vote for immoral government as so long as it conforms to some secular idea that atheists and agnostics support. It’s ridiculous.

            As for your last example, I certainly to not want the government trying to enforce any sort of anything based on what atheists and agnostics demand.

          • Curtis

            Ok, guys, this is getting silly. No, I’m not interested in a pages long “the Bible says” argument about whether or not Homosexuality is part of God’s design form human sexual life. I stated clearly at the beginning of my thoughts that I do not accept the doctrine of Biblical Inerrancy. Any argument we might have would, therefore, be on very different grounds and simply not worth pursuing.

            Religion has a place in my personal life and it certainly informs (or should inform) how I behave and how I treat others. Any Religion co-opted by and promoted by the Government is, at it’s best weak and superficial and more likely blasphemous. Just because the Government has not passed a law saying that there is no commerce on Sunday, doesn’t mean I can’t observe the Sabbath. However, should Government pass a law saying I can’t work on Sunday, it then is establishing a “preferred” religious view. Our Adventist friends, not to mention our Jewish Brothers and Sisters have a different Calendar that they too believe is of Divine inspiration. In essence, for the Government to Establish Sunday as the Sabbath would be for the Government to speak for God. And not just for God, but for “the God who wants us to choose Sundays for the Sabbath”. Or to put it in more “American” terms – “My God’s bigger than your God! – So There!”

            I am not arguing that it is appropriate to vote for an “immoral Government”. I am arguing that it is important NOT to mix God and Country lest it become nothing more than Idolatry. As a Christian, I don’t worship the Flag and as an American, I don’t insist that you worship God “my way”. I really don’t want the Congress to spend time debating rules for the Sabbath, or Transubstantiation vs. Consubstantiation or a Kosher standard for School Lunches or (to return to the topic at hand) whose marriage my Christian Denomination can recognize. Or to paraphrase Drew – I certainly do not want the government trying to enforce any sort of anything based on what the Calvinists want.

          • Frank

            Once again thanks for your admission that you have a very low view of scripture. It invalidates anything you might to say about scripture though. All you are left with is an unsupported opinion. We didn’t need another confirmation of that but at least you are consistent.

          • Wayne Froese

            One person gets described as having a “very low view of scripture” and the other person makes an idol of his reading of scripture. Still there is no good reason to make any reading of any scripture be the law preventing a good portion of society from having my privileges.

          • Frank

            If you believe that staying true to scriptural truths is making an idol out of them than I suggest more biblical study on what it means to idolize something.

            No one is stopping anyone form loving another person any way they choose t and the government can choose to extend certain legal and procedural rights to anyone but it will never be a marriage,

          • Wayne Froese

            Nope, I’m saying that I am staying true but I don’t need to legislate either your view or mine. It is hard for the conservative mind to imagine that a belief can be held without trying to control others’ actions. It wasn’t the liberals that were getting called the “brood of vipers”.

          • Frank

            I am not trying to control anyone. I am simply sharing, encouraging and standing by Gods design for whats best. Anything less is an act of hatred. So no you are not staying true. You are staying true as long as its comfortable for you or as long as it fits in with your own personal worldview. That’s exactly what the pharisees did. Brood of vipers indeed.

          • Wayne Froese

            Frank, at one time I was totally with you. I’ve had several years of good conservative post-secondary religious education via the Anabaptist group that I was born to. Then I changed and I believe that God led that change. I find a different meaning in scripture and I find it more coherent for myself than what I used to find when I believed as you did. I’ve come to really know that one’s faith is a gift from God. I wish you well and I’m glad that you search the scriptures and it leads your life as it does in mine. I wish we didn’t disagree but I don’t find your interpretations or views convincing just like you don’t find my views convincing. I believe that you are sincere and I believe that it is more comforting for those who are doing well to think conservatively. That said, I can’t tell you why you hold your beliefs and I think that like all people, our frame of reference is almost entirely invisible as we look out at the world. I invite you to wonder how comfortable it is for me to abandon a lifetime of conservative belief and become liberal when all my life I’ve said and heard the things that are commonly said of liberal Christians yet I felt the truth was more there than with the conservative camps. All the best Frank.

          • Frank

            Then you should have no problem scripturally making your case that God condones and blesses homosexual behavior. Otherwise God did not lead the change of your heart, something else did. Perhaps you uncomfortableness(?) is evidence of that fact.

          • Diego

            It’s not a matter of “blessing” anything. It’s a matter of not judging others, and extending grace to others.

            Christ clearly teaches that we shouldn’t judge others, or we will be judged based on the criteria we use to judge others. If you want a reference, try Matthew 7:1&2 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” This is repeated in all of the gospels, and is demonstrated in John 8:1-11. In this passage, Christ actually breaks the law by not killing the adulterous woman. (The Levitical injunction against adultery and homosexuality require that you kill violators.) While Mosaic Law, and specifically Levitical law, does prohibit homosexuality, it also prohibits a lot of other things that Christians do everyday. (How’s that kosher diet working out for you?)

            That brings us to James 2:10 “For whoever keeps the whole law, and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.”)

            So if we are judged based on how we judge, I choose not to judge. Why? Because I don’t want to be judged based on how well I obeyed the law, especially since two books of the New Testament (Romans and Galatians) make the argument that it is impossible for anyone to keep the law.

            I don’t know you, Frank, but from your posts it seems that you are comfortable being judged based on how well you keep the law. More power to you.

            I would rather receive grace, and therefore extend grace. It is up to Christ to decide who he saves. It is up to followers of Christ to love people, and treat people as we want to be treated. I don’t want the government telling me who I can and cannot marry. As such, I extend that same courtesy to others.

          • Frank

            Its all about what God desires and what he blesses. We are called to “judge” false teachings.

            As far as the different proposes of Levitical Law a quick search will demonstrate how different laws had different purposes and how Gods moral laws still stand. All affirmed in the NT.

            There is nothing loving about supporting sinful behavior.

    • Drew

      I actually don’t mind civil unions being separated from Church marriages. Fair enough.

      However, what you have not answered is what civil unions will be based on and what civil unions will look like.

      • Curtis

        Civil Unions would be, well, Civil – based on all the powers and authority of the local, regional and national governments. Property and Custody issues, Next of Kin issues, all of the legal benefits and penalties the partnership of two people encompasses. Civil Unions would be based purely on our human laws.

        • Frank

          So you agree its not a marriage but something else?

        • Drew

          In other words, they would be rooted in nothing other than whatever people feel at any given time in history? Hey, at least you’re honest.

  • http://www.justjohnboy.com/ justjohn

    lament something else. christians DEMANDED that “marriage” be law of caesar’s land. those 1138 federal benefits (just federal) REQUIRE the use of the exact word “marriage” and “spouse” because of christians exerting their (our) religion at the end of caesar’s sword. deal with it. civil union is a legal 2nd class. obey your god, christ, and treat your neighbor with all the compassion and justice that you expect for your own self and family you were perfectly legally entitled to choose.

  • an interested man

    I’m so confused here. Does everyone on this website think that its possible for homosexual relationships and intercourse to be godly practice?

    • 22044

      we’re here (i.e. dudes who don’t think that’s possible), but in the minority and kind of unpopular. :)

  • scotyp1968

    Sorry Micheal but this seperation of church and state garbage flies contrarian to Romans 13 where Paul states repeatedly that those in power are Gods servants doing His will and are placed there by Him….therefore we should expect them to rule accordingly…and if not remove them. But liberal Christians think we shouldn’t be involved in politics… no wonder were losing the culture war… if Christians voted enmasse we would have this country under control in no time. But divisive theology like this has irrevocably lost the battle for conservatives and we can only watch and wait for His return …. Scot

    • tai chi

      If Christians *gave* enmasse we would have this world under control in no time.

    • Wayne Froese

      The real garbage is one person legislating his faith on another. Christianity is not about “control” as you put it. You totally misunderstand my (our) involvement in politics. We are involved. Christians are not in a culture war, conservatives are. It is a Christian moral choice to not force their faith on another and that is my involvement in politics – to defend another from forced religion. If you want to roll back to the founders, are we looking for religious from Anglicans and Catholics or are they looking to establish a Puritan nation (that is not the same as Evangelical).

      • Frank

        Well you can worship the constitution if you choose.

        Sharing and spreading Christianity is a mandate from Jesus. Anyone who divorces that from any area of their life is demonstrating a lack of integrity.

        • Wayne Froese

          I see what you did there with the constitution comment ;) Reread my post to find my real meaning since you missed it.

          If I stop religious legislation, I have not stopped “Sharing and spreading”. Exactly the opposite! I have enacted Christianity as a light on a hill. You sound like a crusader and want to bring souls to God at the edge of sword. Maybe you don’t think that the crusades were a mistake? If you want a Spanish Inquisition or the physical punishment of Native Americans who celebrate their language and culture, I will continue to oppose you.

          • Frank

            Yes I did misread your statement. My apologies.

            Lets see if you can figure out whats wrong with your response to me.

          • Wayne Froese

            Where did I go wrong. Too brief? I specifically avoided “well I just follow the Bible” and I didn’t mention Nazis and I didn’t ask “are you a Christian?” and I didn’t take the role of God for myself. Should I add “according to prophesy”?

          • Frank

            I understand sarcasm I suffer from it myself at times. The thing is it just doesn’t work in supporting a position. Its a defense mechanism.

            Try again to find whats wrong in your response to me.

          • Drew

            Wayne,

            Please do not take an obtuse, anti-intellectual approach to this matter. Nobody is advocating Christianity at the edge of the word; nobody is advocating forcing Christianity on others. What we are advocating is that the morality found in Christianity is the morality that is the best for every country, including the United States, and that it should be our guide as Christians when it comes to government. Democracy, of course, is the antithesis of “edge of the sword,” which shows your foolishness in even mentioning that jibberish.

          • Wayne Froese

            Drew, I wrote a post demonstrating the problems with linked democracy and religion and also included links to discussions of how this country treated Native Americans. It got moderated away so I must avoid linking and repeating the words that you used.
            Imagine in this space a discussion on the repeated mistakes of Christianity and American Christianity in particular.
            Essentially I want a change in direction (repentance) of how we Christian Americans assume that we know the best for others.

          • Drew

            Repeated mistakes involving violence. The problem is that Frank never advocated that. The only reason to bring it up was as a complete and utter strawman to “win the debate,” not to have an actual, intelligent, meaningful debate. If you want to have a discussion, let’s have a discussion. If you want to paint people that disagree with you as wanting to bring back the crusades, then you clearly have no interest in having a discussion.

  • scotyp1968

    Frank…. you said it perfectly…true faith affects all aspects of a persons life as we are all called to do different things but serve one Master…this goes for politics also…Scot

  • Steve in Van

    The author would reserve the term “marriage” only to churches (and presumably other faith groups). Why? Marriage is not, primarily, a theological or religious concept, even in the minds of Christians. The idea of a church marriage, ritualized as a sacrament of Holy Matrimony, is less than 800 years old. It’s only been required of Roman Catholics since 1563. Prior to that, and in Protestant countries
    since then, marriage has been a civil matter – a “worldly thing” in Luther’s words – regulated by the state according to its interests. Faith communities can bless, celebrate, or sacralize civil marriages (as in Europe) or other relationships as they choose, calling it whatever they like. But there’s no logical reason to ask everyone else to give-up the word ‘marriage’ because some religious conservatives can’t stomach the idea of gay civil marriage. They best get over it, or change their own vocabulary.

    • Frank

      God created them male and female be fruitful and multiply. God created marriage in the beginning, affirmed by Jesus. This is marriage, everything else is something else no matter what people decide to call these other configurations. These other relationships will never be a marriage.

      • Wayne Froese

        Childless couples are left out of your definition. They must have done something to deserve it though, right?

        • Frank

          No at all on both statements. There is only one way to make a child and you need a man and a woman. Any other configuration is an impossibility.

          The fact that some married couples either cannot have children ( due to the nature of our fallen world) or choose not to reproduce ( another symptom of our fallen world) is irrelevant to the definition of marriage.

          • Wayne Froese

            There was no fall. We know from multiple sciences that Genesis was not a history. We know from the Jews that they did not treat Genesis of the Hebrew Scriptures as a history.

            And Paul encourages people not to reproduce because of “the times” of the imminent “Coming of Jesus” to Jerusalem.

            I feel you are misreading scripture. You feel that I misread scripture. Who gets to legislate their opinions on the masses? I feel better if neither of us do.

          • Frank

            Scripture does that’s part of why it exists. No where is homosexual behavior anything but condemned and called sinful.

            Whether Genesis is history or allegory it still speaks of the rejection of God by humanity, commonly referred to as the fall.

            Your comment on Paul’s words supports my position so thank you.

      • Wayne Froese

        What was Jesus doing in that passage? Was he giving a message on marriage or was he pointing out how the religious conservatives were treating divorce (which was a social justice issue) in a poor way.

        • Frank

          Jesus was answering a question about divorce. What is divorce? The dissolution of a marriage. And in case anyone was unlear (its almost as if Jesus knew in the future some people would call into question what a marriage is) what a marraige is, Jesus tells them, male and female.

      • Steve in Van

        When and by what means did God create marriage? The command to be fruitful and multiply only requires sex. “Leaving and cleaving,” the usual biblical formulation, describes living together, akin to common-law or domestic partnerships. Our conception of marriage as two people entering into an intentional covenant willingly and publicly, with the expectation of it being sexual and permanent, with or without children, is nowhere seen in the Bible.

        • Frank

          God created them male and female be fruitful and multiply. The first marriage between God, man and woman. Everything else is something else.

          What your or our conception of marriage is not relevant. God defines it, Jesus affirms and supports it.

  • Wayne Froese

    People here fail to mention that gay people get married for reasons other than legal or fiscal. Gay people love each other just like straight people do. It’s hard for people to imagine that who haven’t talked to gay people without having their condemnation ready to go. Talk to gay couples and find out if you can listen or if it is really you who has the (anti) “gay agenda”.

    • Frank

      No one is stopping two people from loving each other.

      • Wayne Froese

        Yay! Frank and I found common ground.

  • chephy

    Marriage is not a “Christian” thing. Don’t try to steal a concept that’s shared across many cultures and traditions (religious and non-religious alike), and pretend Christians have a monopoly on it. There are plenty of marriages in these day and age that happen without a priest or any religious authority in sight.

  • Diego

    The issue I have with the article is that it starts with the assumption that “marriage” is a Christian institution. It ignores the fact that other cultures without long histories of Judeo-Christian influence have had marriages for millennia. India is largely Hindu, Thailand is largely Buddhist, China is largely Atheist, but has traditionally been Buddhist, and Taoist. Arguing that marriage is the domain of the Christian Church would, by definition, invalidate the marriage traditions of dozens of cultures that are much older than Christianity. More to the point for this audience, the Bible recognizes the marriages of non-Jews, and non-Christians. Herod had a wife. Pilate had a wife. Abimelek had wives. The Pharaohs had wives. The Bible recognizes the marriages of the Persians and Medes. Marriage isn’t a Christian institution. It is a human institution. As such, it if you are going to allow gay marriage, it should be full and equal marriage. That’s point one.

    Point two: Christ clearly teaches that we shouldn’t judge others, or we will be judged based on the criteria we use to judge others. This is repeated in all of the gospels, and is demonstrated in the apparently controversial passage of John 8:1-11. While Mosaic Law, and specifically Levitical law, does prohibit homosexuality, I don’t want to be judged based on how well I obeyed the law. (See James 2:10 “For whoever keeps the whole law, and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.”) Especially since two books of the New Testament (Romans and Galatians) make the argument that it is impossible for anyone to keep the law. I would rather receive grace, and therefore extend grace. It is up to Christ to decide who he saves. It is up to me to love people, and treat people as I want to be treated.
    I make point two in response to a host of acidic comments directed at various people.

    • Frank

      There is nothing loving about supporting, condoning, accepting, celebrating or tolerating sinful behavior.

      God created marriage at the beginning of humanity. God created them male and female be fruitful and multiply.

      • Diego

        Let he without sin cast the first stone. Since I rely on Christ for my sanctification, I don’t have any stones to throw at gay people, or anyone else.

        God created man upright, but he has sought out many inventions. We live in an imperfect world, and grace requires us to make room for, and overlook each others imperfections.

        And there are a lot of straight couples who are infertile, so are you nullifying their marriages?

        • Drew

          Saying what the Bible says is not “casting the first stone.”

          Grace demands that we repent. Nowhere does the Bible say to overlook sin. Mercy and Grace? Yes, followed by a call for repentance.

      • Steve in Van

        So God created human beings and then told them to procreate. Where in that do you see God creating marriage? The common biblical formula of “leaving and cleaving” better describes common-law domestic partnerships than what we’d call marriage.

    • Mario Olivé

      Following your logic, you said that marriage isn’t a Christian institution but a human institution. So, can you mention any marriage in the past (it doesn’t matter the culture) between a male and another male? Just one example, because you might be right, those characters in the human history have had wives. But those unions were only between male and female.

  • Cody Brown

    Are you insinuating that Christians invented marriage? Because if so I’m afraid you are quite mistaken. And the meaning of the term has changed greatly over time. The one thing though that has remained consistent is that it is government regulated.

  • JM

    Who knows if the author will read this …

    Your title is a little misleading … it doesn’t sound like you are against gay marriage at all, but this is not my point.

    You said, “I see in the Church a dangerous tendency in both progressives and conservatives to look to the state to effectively mediate theological conflicts through secular legal decisions.” Thank God you do! The fact that you are troubled by this gives me hope. Why does the Church continue to judge those outside the Church? A secular government is set up to maximize liberty for the masses; they are clearly trying to do this.

    You said, “The state has no claim over Christian sacraments, and the distinction between Church and state threatens to be dissolved by using the language of “marriage” too haphazardly.” The state never has had any authority over our sacraments; we’ve given them authority by participating in a system we should basically reject. If the issue is semantics, then call it that.

    Your issue is with the language being used and not that you are against gay marriage.

  • Philip

    The problem with what you are saying on a practical level is that when it comes to the issue of one of the partners in a same-gender relationship (or any relationship for that matter) going to the hospital with one of them profusely bleeding (or whatever the issue is), no one understands what a “civil union” is. And, that is not the time to be explaining to a nurse or hospital personnel about what a civil union is. When someone says “we are married” everyone knows what that means. Marriage is not defined in the Bible as one man or one woman. In fact, in the beginning of the Bible there is no mention of a wedding ceremony, or what the institution will be. All that is there, is what is described as a tribal relationship, and who was part of it. However, there are multiple examples in the Hebrew Scriptures of polygamous marriages. David, Saul, Solomon, etc. If you want to read a good book on this subject, read “God Believes in Love, Straight Talk About Gay Marriage” by Bishop Gene Robinson. There, he answers all of the common things said about gay marriage and why they are all wrong. It’s time this discussion got a serious facelift in the way of compassion and understanding. This article above, is very judgmental.

    • peter

      The problem with what you are saying on a practical level is that when it comes to the issue of one of the partners in a same-gender relationship (or any relationship for that matter) going to the hospital with one of them profusely bleeding (or whatever the issue is), no one understands what a “civil union” is.

      Any nurse would know what a civil union is, It’s a doccument that clears up a serious anomoly in the legal system which basically stripped all legal protection for longstanding couples of a similar gender. It was partly brought in to prevent nightmare scenarios like this one being repeated.

      Marriage is not defined in the Bible as one man or one woman. In fact, in the beginning of the Bible there is no mention of a wedding ceremony or what the institution will be.

      Not sure of Chapter or verse but man will cleave unto woman and they shall become one flesh. Isn’t that reflected in most marriage vows to do with fidelity?

      However, there are multiple examples in the Hebrew Scriptures of polygamous marriages. David, Saul, Solomon, etc.

      Are you suggesting what I think you’re suggesting?

      Read “God Believes in Love, Straight Talk About Gay Marriage” by Bishop Gene Robinson. There, he answers all of the common things said about gay marriage and why they are all wrong. It’s time this discussion got a serious facelift in the way of compassion and understanding

      The thing that worries me about Bishop Gene Robinson is that it’s one thing to be a member of a group and bend or break the rules in minor or not so miner ways, Quite another to be in the leadership of that group and bend or break the rules etc
      I would have more respect for him personally if he worked for change within the church, while himself scrupulously following the law.

      It’s time this discussion got a serious facelift in the way of compassion and understanding.

      Full agreement with that!

  • Robert

    Why does the author think that Christianity has a monopoly on the word and concept of marriage?

  • Thijs Decker

    “If your religious beliefs condemn marriage between two people of the same gender, then you shouldn’t marry people of the same gender. While you have the freedom to limit your own behavior in matters of sexuality, diet or religious observance, you don’t have any power to limit the rights of other people, particularly those in other religions or with no religion.

    If someone else is allowed to marry their same-sex partner, the anti-gay marriage advocate is affected in no way, oppressed in no way, their right to hold those beliefs is violated in no way.

    Just as orthodox Jews aren’t victims of oppression when other people are allowed to legally watch television and use electric appliances on Saturday. Just as Muslims aren’t victims of oppression when other people are allowed to legally purchase alcohol. Just as Hindus aren’t victims of oppression when other people are legally allowed to eat beef.

    You are expecting a level of cultural dominance that is completely unreasonable. You are expecting the right to to demand that your religious practices be taken as civil law and that the prohibitions of (I assume) Christianity be enforced on everybody — including non-Christians and Christians of denominations that accept equality in gay rights.” – Mike Gillis

  • Charles Sublett

    You can’t frame marriage solely as a Christian construct. Jews get married. Hindus marry. Buddhists marry. Marriage is not “owned” by Christians. Marriage is a legal construct in civil law. The Church has chosen to identify it as a sacrament, but that has no bearing on secular law. You know that statement during the wedding ceremony when the minister says “By the power vested in me”? That power comes from government, not God. The minister is legally authorized to validate the creation of a legal relationship between two people. Just as “separate but equal” didn’t work with education (and was struck down by the Supreme Court when they weren’t busy being ignorant racists), it won’t work with “civil unions” vs. “marriage”. And your argument that this will result in gay baptisms, etc., is superfluous – those are not secular contracts, as marriage is. Baptism has no legal standing in a court of law, marriage does. While I applaud your support of extending rights to LGBT people, you are misguided on the topic of marriage equality and I pray you’ll reconsider your stance.

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