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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Amending Marriage

More than one state is facing an amendment to marriage. What is really at stake here? First, marriage is on the chopping block. We already allowed the watering down of marriage from "one man and one woman for the purpose of procreation" to be "one man and one woman ... for apparently more or less recreational purposes" or something like it. The next step is "If it is primarily for feeling good, then who cares who is involved?" And if it is purely for good feelings, then clearly there is no need for commitment, for fidelity, for procreation, for any of that. In other words, all essential meaning is stripped from the word. "Marriage" has always meant the union of a man and a woman and, as such, has symbolized any union. It could be two companies that become one. It could be two pieces of a whole that become part of that whole. It could be the union of lyrics and music that make a song. But it has always meant "a union," where two become one. Should the meaning of the term "marriage" now change again to include same-sex "marriage," no meaning of "union" can be included (as all "marriage" becomes naturally soluble -- more so than today). Marriage, then, is at stake when we move from its longstanding and traditional definition of "the union of one man and one woman."

There is more at stake, however. In America, same-sex "marriage" is legal in 3 of 50 states. Of all countries in the world, it is legal in Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, Norway, South Africa, and Spain. That's 6 out of approximately 193 recognized countries. In the U.S., then, it's 6%, and in the world it is slightly over 3%. So ... why is it that our national media seems to portray it as "normal," expected, universal, and those of us who are opposed are backwards and out of step? In fact, two very common terms are used among homosexuals to describe the two groups: "straight" and "queer." There is no ambiguity in the terms. "Straight" is normal and "queer" ... is not. Yet those who see it as not normal are viewed as "queer" in some sense. Why? Why is it that liberal groups on the fringes of Christianity and other religions have decided to create a theology that is more inclusive than has existed in Christianity since its beginnings both in Judaism and then in the first century and following? This kind of argument is the same kind of things we're seeing here in Arizona over Proposition 102. Two years ago a proposition was offered to restrict marriage to a man and a woman ... and to eliminate benefits for domestic partners. The measure was barely defeated, and it was never about marriage; it was about benefits for heterosexuals. Now they're arguing "We already voted on this!" No, we didn't. And it's the same kind of argument today. While an extreme minority argue that it's the norm, that extreme minority is represented as a majority and their use of the term "normal" makes it normal. "We've already decided this," they argue. "Why are you so out of step? "Christianity has always been inclusive," they contend. "Why are you trying to change it?"

What, then, is at stake here? Obviously the definition of marriage is at stake. Its longstanding and traditional definition has been edged further and further from the norm and now they're ready to simply boot it out of our moving car and call you who disagree "backwards" and "judgmental" for, you know, having an opinion. Marriage is at stake. But more than marriage, Christianity is at stake. First, the standard sola scriptura view that says that the Bible is our sole source for faith and practice will need to be thrown away because the fringe groups identifying themselves as "Christian" while arguing against any historical Christianity will become the mainstream. Already the media is confused about what Christianity teaches because some who name themselves such teach something different. Your Bible, then, would be basically useless. There is something "new" that replaces it -- our own opinions. Beyond that, those who would still hold to their Bibles as authoritative would be relegated to the outside. We would be "lepers" of old, separated as "unclean." We would be the "fringe," while normal becomes defined by the fringe. It is not inconceivable (because it has been suggested already) that we would even be viewed as dangerous to society.

Some think, "It's no big deal. Let them have their word. It won't affect me." It's a naive position to take. Redefining that which is "queer" as "normal" and that which is "normal" as dangerous is not a small item. Allowing an extreme minority to dictate to the rest of the world what they will and will not be allowed to think is not a small item. Redefining "evil" as "good" and "good" as "evil" is a definite effect. And don't think I'm being alarmist. It is, in fact, the expectation from Scripture (Isa 5:20).


Jim Jordan said...

Strong points well applied. We have Amendment 2 which is roughly the same. The NO campaign's slogan is "Vote No on Amendment 2 - Don't hurt our families."
Now if all of our families were like the "our" family of the slogan, we'd have the population density of Siberia in 100 years, wouldn't we? Clearly, "our" doesn't include "us".

Science PhD Mom said...

We have to stand up, deal with the fact that some are going to call us names, and be brave about stating our beliefs and faith in the Bible as inerrant. It is our failure to chase out the wolves from our own flocks that has allowed this heresy to spread enough that those who call themselves "Christians" with such beliefs are accepted as such by much of society.