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July 31, 2009

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Marriage: Sacred Rite or Civil Right?

by Rev. A. J. Iovine

(I copied this post from my personal blog – reviovine.com)

The title of this post comes from the Washington Post “On Faith” blog. This week, they challenge religious-oriented people to tackle the question whether God has been or should be taken out of the marriage rite.

Legally, a church cannot officially “marry” anyone in the eyes of the state without the couple receiving a state-issued marriage license. Hypothetically, if a couple walked into my office this morning and asked me to marry them this afternoon, my first question to them would have to be whether they have a government-issued marriage license. Of course, I’m talking hypothetically — I wouldn’t marry anyone who showed up on my doorstep and begged me to marry them right away.

The relationship between God and marriage and the state is challenging one, especially in our day when gay marriage is a hot topic. Those who subscribe to the biblical and traditional marriage rite of one man and one woman are being questioned as to their subscribing to their beliefs and, when they hold to their understanding of marriage in a God pleasing sense, are being described as wanting to take away civil rights from their opponents. Or, as I’ve been accused of, being filled with hate for gays. On the other hand, those who want the government to allow same sex couples to be legally married, are being attacked as being deviants.

Nowhere is this struggle more visible than in California. Voters enacted Proposition 8 which legally solidifies the legality of marriage between a man and a woman. Of course, the opponents of this voter-enacted law are up in arms. They tried to have the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals throw out the law on claimed that it violated the civil rights of same sex couples. The courts ruled against this argument. Leading up to the court case, the supporters of gay marriage marketed their side by using the rather inflammatory, “Say No to H8te” campaign that called anyone who supported traditional one man – one woman marriage as being hateful.

To understand marriage historically, it has always been a church-based idea. It is only in recent history where governments have taken the role of approving of marriages. They have always narrowed the understanding of marriage between a man and a woman; it doesn’t make the government hateful because they endorse this policy. They are following tradition. They are keeping to a societal understanding of marriage that has existed since the beginning of time — marriage is between a man and a woman. Being that marriage has always had its foundation in Holy Scripture — read Genesis 2 for more — society’s ideals spring directly from God.

This does make some secularists very comfortable, but the reality of the marriage rite comes from God and has always been a God-endorsed institution. In Genesis, the marriage of man and woman is tied to the order of creation, whereby the man will leave his mother and father and be joined to his wife. Society has always accepted this understanding of marriage because it is Godly. It is only in these more “enlightened” times where Godliness is being ridiculed as hateful and spiteful that the foundation of the marriage rite is being questioned.

Therefore, the church cannot accept anything but this God-ordained rite of marriage between one man and one woman. The church must reject calls from the secularists and post-modernists who want to tear down the church of Jesus Christ for their own evil purposes. If the church moves away from its core understanding of marriage into a secular belief of “marriage by anyone,” then the church will show itself to be rejecting Holy Scripture.

When “Lutheran” clergy in the ELCA push for the “anybody can get married” rite, they are turning their backs on God. Nowhere in God’s Word does it say that same sex marriage is OK. They take passages describing God’s love out of context in order to give their arguments a little religion. The fact remains that anything that doesn’t keep to the Word of God is against God. To use arguments that state that God is love and would ordain same sex marriage misses the point about why God is love. (He is love because He creates, He redeems, and He sanctifies His people, not because He thinks it is OK to let us do anything we want)

It drives me nuts when I hear secularists complain about how Christians have to show love of Christ in their lives by accepting every crazy whim that comes up in society. This is garbage!! Keeping to the Word of God is more loving than turning a blind eye to sinfulness in a cultural understanding of love.

That is why the Lutheran Church, especially our LC-MS, must keep to the traditional biblical understanding of marriage. We can never ease back on this belief, not even for a moment.

As a whole, if society rejects the Godly understanding of marriage, that’s its prerogative. I will not be happy it, but I answer to a higher authority.

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Marriage: Sacred Rite or Civil Right?

by Rev. A. J. Iovine

(I copied this post from my personal blog – reviovine.com)

The title of this post comes from the Washington Post “On Faith” blog. This week, they challenge religious-oriented people to tackle the question whether God has been or should be taken out of the marriage rite.

Legally, a church cannot officially “marry” anyone in the eyes of the state without the couple receiving a state-issued marriage license. Hypothetically, if a couple walked into my office this morning and asked me to marry them this afternoon, my first question to them would have to be whether they have a government-issued marriage license. Of course, I’m talking hypothetically — I wouldn’t marry anyone who showed up on my doorstep and begged me to marry them right away.

The relationship between God and marriage and the state is challenging one, especially in our day when gay marriage is a hot topic. Those who subscribe to the biblical and traditional marriage rite of one man and one woman are being questioned as to their subscribing to their beliefs and, when they hold to their understanding of marriage in a God pleasing sense, are being described as wanting to take away civil rights from their opponents. Or, as I’ve been accused of, being filled with hate for gays. On the other hand, those who want the government to allow same sex couples to be legally married, are being attacked as being deviants.

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1 Comment Post a comment
  1. anon
    Jul 31 2009

    Not to mention that if same-sex marriages become legal then multiple party marriages could follow since the traditional view has been thrown out. Also surprising is the fact that no one has tried that one yet as it is all throughout the Bible with even God-chosen kings having multiple wives and not being scolded- or were they?
    Either way, separation of church and state is sticky all around. At the least it certainly left everything open for unabashed corruption. No one is spiritually responsible to not lie, steal, or have “not-sex” with interns.

    Reply

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