Teish Knits

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The Real Battle

With the current White House Administration’s announcement of support for homosexual “marriage”, a veritable firestorm has exploded across the internet.

As a follower of Christ who accepts a literal interpretation of the Scriptures, I can only accept the view that marriage was instituted by God as a covenant between a man and a woman. It may not be dissolved, and it may not be re-defined.

However, I’m not here to debate the definition of marriage with anyone today. In fact, I wish to address the churches and pastors who would probably readily agree with my definition of marriage.

You say that we must vote for the Republican candidate for president, regardless of who that may be, in order to win the battle for marriage. The truth is, you conceded that particular fight years ago. In 1923, to be precise, when the federal government passed the Uniform Marriage and Marriage License Act.

Among other things, the act forbid pastors (or any officials who were allowed to perform a marriage ceremony) to marry any couple who had not first obtained a state marriage license. The church should have nipped it in the bud then and there.

That wasn’t the first anyone had heard of marriage licenses, though. It originally started in America in the mid-1800s. Certain states began to allow interracial marriages, provided that a state license had been obtained. Historically, a government issued marriage licenses only to permit a marriage that would have otherwise been considered illegal. Why on earth would the government then begin requiring them for every marriage? The simplest answer is that it’s an additional source of revenue.

But why would the churches not object to government interference in a God-ordained covenant? That’s a good question—one I don’t have an answer to unfortunately. My best guess is that it seemed innocuous enough that it just got overlooked. Remember, in 1925 America was in the midst of the tumultuous prohibition era. New federal laws regarding marriage license likely didn’t make front-page news.

Since then, church organizations really haven’t bothered to question marriage licenses. In fact, anyone who does question them is pretty quickly denounced in most circles. If someone tries to point out the potential danger in allowing government authority over something that falls within the prevue of the church, they are dismissed as fringe extremists. The commonly-held view is that there is no harm in complying with a such seemingly benign law. Some even take it so far as to declare that marriage without a state license is not recognized by God as a legitimate marriage. (Absurd, considering that state licensure of all marriages is a relatively modern thing.) Actually, if you follow that line of thinking, you could conclude that God would approve of homosexual “marriage” as long as they obtained their state-issued license first!

Do you see where I’m going with this? Why is the church suddenly engaging in a battle with the state over the definition of marriage, when for the past century they have been more than happy to concede all authority over marriage to the state? Even if the church “wins” this battle, they’ve still lost the war. When the church allows and endorses governmental control over marriage, they forsake the moral high ground.

“Then he said unto them, Give then unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and to God those which are God’s.” – Luke 20:25 Geneva Bible 1599

When we continually ascribe God’s authority to “Caesar”, should we then be surprised by the corruption and sin that results?

  • Ann Hibbard says:

    My hubby and I have discussed this very thing many times. Of course, being a pastor who has also considered pursuing a military chaplaincy career, he has often wondered whether his position as being licensed by the state to marry couples could ever (in our worsening political climate) cause him to be forced to marry certain couples. There are many, many, many things that we as Christians should have fought decades ago. We are reaping what we have sown in so many ways!

    May 11, 2012 at 15:45

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