Category archives: Marriage

Obituary: The Episcopal Church in the United States (1789-2009) Cause of Death: Suicide

by Peter Sprigg

July 24, 2009

The Episcopal Church in the United States took another major step toward ensuring its own demise last week, by adopting a resolution endorsing the ordination of homosexuals as clergy and bishops.

The resolution, adopted at the denominations General Convention, said that gay and lesbian persons … have responded to Gods call and have exercised various ministries, and declared that God has called and may call such individuals, to any ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church.

The resolution was widely interpreted as abandoning a moratorium on the ordination of homosexual bishops that was adopted after the furor surrounding the appointment of Gene Robinson, a homosexual man, as the Bishop of New Hampshire in 2003. Several branches of the worldwide Anglican Communion, particularly the more conservative churches in Africa, rejected the decision to elevate Robinson. In the U.S., a number of Episcopal parishes and dioceses have already left the Episcopal Church altogether, and they recently organized as the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA).

The Episcopal General Convention three years ago adopted a resolution urging restraint regarding the elevation of any bishops whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church. The Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, the highest ranking official in the worldwide Anglican Communion, had told the convention, I hope and pray that there wont be decisions in the coming days that will push us further apart.

Sponsors of this years resolution denied that it constituted a repeal of the earlier statement, but Pamela Reamer Williams of Integrity USA, a pro-homosexual advocacy group, declared that this years action supersedes the effective moratorium.

Most observers believe that this years resolution may be the last straw that results in a complete rupture of relationships between the Episcopal Church and most other worldwide Anglicans. Jeff Walton of the Institute for Religion and Democracy noted, In the Anglican Communion, 22 out of 37 other provinces are already in a state of either impaired or broken communion with the Episcopal Church. [Source]

The liberal Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Katherine Jefferts Schori, warned against recognition of the new ACNA by declaring that schism is not a Christian act. But British theologian (and Bishop of Durham) Tom Wright pointed out in the Times of London that it is the Episcopal Church which is formalizing the schism they initiated six years ago by consecrating Robinson as bishop. This marks a clear break with the rest of the Anglican Communion, said Wright.

One aspect of the resolution that has not attracted much media attention is that it appears to use money as a weapon to discourage any action against the Episcopal Church by the Anglican Communion. The resolution reaffirm[s] its financial commitment to the Anglican Communion, and the accompanying explanation notes that in 2007 the Episcopal Church contributed $661,000 to the Inter-Anglican budgetmore than a third of the total of $1,864,000. Presumably the resolution was hinting that this funding would be in jeopardy if the Anglican Communion were to break with the Episcopal Church.

In addition to a break with worldwide Anglicans, the Episcopal Church action is likely to lead to further erosion here in the United States as well. News about the release of the American Religious Identification Survey earlier this year focused on the 10% drop since 1990 in the percentage of Americans who identify as Christians (from 86% to 76%), without noting that almost all of the decline occurred in the 1990s. But they also failed to highlight that the biggest drop in Christian self-identification has come among the more liberal mainline Protestant bodiessuch as the Episcopal Church, which dropped from 3.5 million adherents in 2001 to only 2.4 million in 2008.

On Marriage: Lets NOT call the whole thing off

by James Sunday

July 13, 2009

Is marriage doomed? If youre a faithful viewer of the show Jon & Kate Plus 8, youve learned that Jon and Kate Gosselin are getting a divorce. Not only are Jon and Kate calling it quits on marriage, but Billy Joel and Madonna are ending their marriages (again). Its a sad day in Hollywood when Billy Joel cant find love with any of his uptown girls and the material girls material world hasnt bought her lifelong marriage material. Now author and performer Sandra Tsing Loh has issued a doomsday proclamation against marriage in her article, On marriage: Lets call the whole thing off. Loh not only publicly announces her own divorce, but she also calls for other married couples to divorce and questions the relevance of marriage in our modern society.

Loh portrays an apocalyptic world where husbands are addicted to pornography and travel excessively to avoid their wives. Women prefer a glass of wine and a good book to the companionship of their spouse. In Lohs world husbands no longer want to have sex with their wives and women have given themselves over to Twinkies and ice cream bars. Husbands and wives live in Companionate Marriage relationships where love, romance and commitment are destroyed by monogamy and domestic household responsibilities. In place of traditional marriage, Loh offers a glimpse of a world filled with humans that are tribal creatures with open sexual relationships and children who are raised by the tribe. Her proposed new world order offers a sexual utopia where men mow the lawn and other domestic duties in exchange for sex with women.

A couples decision to divorce affects not only their own happiness, but also whether or not their children will be happy in their own future marriages. Read an analysis by Mapping America, a project of the Family Research Council, which shows that children who grow up with both biological parents experience higher levels of happiness in marriage.

Shame on husbands who are addicted to pornography, who dont romance their wives with flowers and date nights. Shame on husbands who dont make love to their wives every time as if its their wedding night. Shame on husbands who place their career before family. Shame on a husband who doesnt love and cherish his wife as if she is the only woman in the world. Equally, shame on wives who arent faithful to their husbands. Shame on wives who have traded their men for a glass of merlot and Mr. Darcy and who have put their career before their families. Shame on wives who have given up on being alluring to their husbands and have traded the affections of their husband for a date with a carton of Ben & Jerrys. Most of all, shame on husbands and wives who have placed the almighty self before the needs of their spouse and family.

I love being married and I cannot imagine life without my wife. Our love story is pretty typical: boy meets girl, girl refuses to go out with boy, girl finally goes out with boy so hell stop asking, girl falls in love with boy, they get engaged, they get married, and live happily every after. There is no doubt that being married has its ups and downs. Im sure that there are moments when its difficult for my wife to love me (especially when I put the pots and pans in the dishwasher and leave my wet towel on the bed).

Regardless of those rocky moments, marriage is a blessing and I wouldnt trade one day of marriage for some alternative sexual revolution where men and women trade sex for building shelves and mowing lawns. Marriage isnt some apocalyptic nightmare; marriage isnt about meeting your own physical, sexual, psychological and career needs. Marriage is about meeting the needs of your spouse and family. A great secret in serving your family instead of yourself: youll find joy, happiness, and fulfillment-youll find your purpose in life. Mark Twain wrote about the beauty and purpose that marriage offers. A marriage…makes of two fractional lives a whole; it gives to two purposeless lives a work, and doubles the strength of each to perform it; it gives to two questioning natures a reason for living, and something to live for; it will give a new gladness to the sunshine, a new fragrance to the flowers, a new beauty to the earth, and a new mystery to life.

For Loh, Jon and Kate, Madonna, and Billy Joel, I recommend you contact Mike and Harriet McManus at Marriage Savers, an organization that seeks to ensure the success of marriages and bring healing to broken marriages. Ill also offer you a Welsh blessing, hoping and praying that your families will have better days ahead. Wishing you a House full of sunshine, Hearts full of cheer, Love that grows deeper each day of the year.

Runaway Bride (without Richard Gere and Julia Roberts)

by Michael Fragoso

June 5, 2009

The Wall Street Journal is running an interesting piece on the problems facing China’s surplus of young bachelors. The background is that 30 years of the “one child policy” coupled with Chinese “son preference” has yielded “a surplus of 32 million males under the age of 20” by the most recent count. These men are now reaching a marriageable age and, lo and behold, there simply aren’t enough women to go around as brides.

The result is that “bride prices” are increasing dramatically. To compensate, the article notes, “A study by Columbia University economist Shang-Jin Wei found that some areas in China with a high proportion of males have an above-average savings rate, even after accounting for factors such as education levels, income and life-expectancy rates. Areas with more men than women, the study notes, also have low spending rates — suggesting that many rural Chinese may be saving up for bride prices.” Unsurprisingly, these increasingly lucrative bride prices are causing increasingly common bride graft by means of “runaway brides” pocketing the money and leaving their new husbands.

This is just the beginning of the myriad problems China will face in the coming generation due to its one-child policy and the resulting sex imbalance. For more, see my article on the subject some years ago.

Same-Sex Marriage is Not Like Interracial Marriage

by Peter Sprigg

May 27, 2009

On May 27, prominent attorneys Ted Olson and David Boies (best known as one another’s opponents in Bush v. Gore, the court case regarding the disputed 2000 presidential election) announced that on May 22 they had filed a federal lawsuit seeking to establish a right to same-sex “marriage” nationwide under the U. S. Constitution.

In a press release and press conference, they cited as precedent the Supreme Court’s 1967 ruling in the case of Loving v. Virginia, which struck down laws against interracial marriage (Loving v. Virginia, 388 U. S., 12; online ). They claimed that because of this precedent, homosexuals must be “guaranteed the right to marry the person they love.”

However, the U. S. Supreme Court in Loving never described the issue in that case as an unrestricted “right to marry the person they love.” Instead, it said that “the freedom of choice to marry [cannot] be restricted by invidious racial discrimination.”

The comparison between interracial marriage and same-sex “marriage” was concisely refuted in a 2003 Indiana court decision rejecting the claim of a right to homosexual “marriage.” As the judge noted,

Unlike anti-miscegenation laws, restrictions against same-sex marriage reinforce, rather than disrupt, the traditional understanding of marriage as a unique relationship between a woman and a man. Marriage traditionally and definitionally has had to do with the sex of each participant… . Anti-miscegenation laws, because they interfered with the traditional marriage relationships in pursuit of opprobrious racial segregation policies, had no legitimate connection to the institution of marriage itself. Loving in no way held that the right to marry means the right to marry whomever one wishes. Its import is far more focused: that whatever else marriage is about, it is not about racial segregation. (Morrison v. Sadler, Marion County, Indiana Superior Court, May 7, 2003; online)

The strong legal basis for the distinction was described by another court that rejected a homosexual challenge to marriage laws, this one in New Jersey:

Plaintiffs’ reliance on decisions striking down statutes that prohibit interracial marriage is misplaced. These decisions derive from Constitutional amendments prohibiting racial discrimination and subjecting laws that classify individuals based on race to the highest level of scrutiny. No similar Constitutional provisions outlaw statutory classifications based on sexual orientation … . Comparing the State’s marriage statutes to laws perpetuating racial prejudice, therefore, is inapposite.

Individuals challenging bans on interracial marriage had a powerful weapon: Federal Constitutional provisions, passed by Congress and adopted by State Legislatures, that expressly prohibited States from denying recognized rights based on race. It was entirely appropriate for the courts to enforce those duly enacted Constitutional provisions by striking down statutes that made race a qualifying condition for access to a recognized right to marry. Plaintiffs, on the other hand, assert their claims in the absence of express Constitutional provisions supporting their position, and ask the court to circumvent the Legislative process by creating a right that has never before been recognized in this country.

The mandate for racial equality is firmly enshrined in both the Federal and State Constitutions. Importantly, two amendments to the United States Constitution expressly address racial equality [the 13th and 14th]… .

The Supreme Court’s decision in Loving v. Virginia is predicated entirely on the Fourteenth Amendment’s prohibition of racial classifications… .

No similar Constitutional provision accords heightened protection to individuals who claim that statutes discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation… .

… [P]laintiffs … lack the significant legal foundation that was available to the plaintiffs in Loving to demand judicial recognition of the rights they seek.

(Lewis v. Harris, Superior Court of New Jersey, Mercer County, November 5, 2003; online )

Yes, We Can . . .

by Peter Sprigg

April 16, 2009

 … blame activist judges for same-sex marriage in Vermont.

Although advocates of homosexual “marriage” had succeeded in overthrowing the natural definition of marriage in Massachusetts, California (briefly), Connecticut, and most recently Iowa, they have had to live with the albatross that it was only through the judicial usurpation of the legislative function that they had achieved this anywhere. Not one state had ever enacted same-sex “marriage” through any process that could be described as democratic.

Vermont has changed that. On April 7, the elected Vermont legislature succeeded in overriding a gubernatorial veto of a bill to grant civil marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Homosexual activists have gloated that, at long last, they have achieved a victory that we conservatives cannot blame on “activist judges.”

Their historical memories are too short.

Let’s remember that the Vermont Supreme Court, in a decision issued late in 1999, was the first in the nation to rule that same-sex couples must be granted 100% of the legal rights and benefits of marriage under state law. Only under the coercive pressure of this ruling did the Vermont legislature, in 2000, coin the now familiar term “civil unions,” in order to comply without actually changing the definition of “marriage.” And it was only because Vermont had already experienced nine years of desensitization, under the court-imposed counterfeit of “civil unions,” that the legislature finally capitulated to the demands of homosexual activists to be granted the word “marriage” as well.

In the pro-homosexual war to destroy the meaning of marriage, court rulings have been the aerial bombardment, meant to soften the defenses. By accepting specious claims that homosexual “marriage” is a “civil rights” issue, courts have made it easier for liberal legislators to advance the same claim. Only now, and only because of those judicial assaults, has the ground invasion-serious efforts to legislate same-sex “marriage”-begun.

Advocates of same-sex marriage will argue, of course, that it’s perfectly legitimate for the courts to drive social change. After all, didn’t Brown v. Board of Education (1954) pave the way for the Civil Rights Act of 1964? The problem with that argument is that the Brown decision was clearly rooted in the constitutional language of the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments, which established the principle of racial equality (albeit unfulfilled) nearly a century earlier. I’ve written elsewhere about why race is not comparable to homosexual conduct. But if advocates of same-sex “marriage” really see themselves as heirs of the civil rights movement, let them first amend the U.S. Constitution-and only then appeal to the courts.

Where can we find eHarmony “Classic”?

by JP Duffy

April 2, 2009

Last November, eHarmony capitulated to the New Jersey Attorney General who demanded that eHarmony cater to homosexuals.  Despite an outcry from eHarmony success couples from across the country, eHarmony followed through this week on its promise to launch a same-sex matching service.

My wife and I met on eHarmony almost three years ago, and we quickly began recommending the service to our single friends who were also drawn to the company’s good reputation.  Last year, I told The Wall Street Journal, eHarmony’s success didn’t come from its slick advertising campaigns.  It was their high moral standards, because they rose above the ‘hook-up’ mentality of their competitors, and because they were openly helping people find marriage partners.  

eHarmony always asks new customers how they “heard” about the service.  At the top of the list is “word of mouth.”  Since the same-sex matching decision was announced, we have heard from a steady stream of other eHarmony couples who are closing their mouths shut.    Without this word-of-mouth campaign, fewer values-driven customers will pay for this service, resulting in a new eHarmony that bears little resemblance to the classic values matching service it once provided. 

It’s disappointing to watch eHarmony take this road because I believe there is a vital need for a values matching service.  With eHarmony getting out of this business, will we see another service step up to fill the void?  I know there are many Christian dating sites. I won’t need to use a values matching service again, but I know single friends who do.  For their sake, I will be looking out for an eHarmony “Classic” to rise again. 

Marriage in These United States

by Family Research Council

January 30, 2009

While the homosexual lobby suffered some losses last year they are not resting on their laurels and neither should we.

In Texas last week, a homosexual Dallas man filed for divorce from his partner in Dallas County’s 302nd District Court. The couple “married” in 2006 when they lived in Massachusetts. Up in Maine, on the heels of the homosexual lobby group GLAD’s vow to redefine marriage throughout New England, forces are gathering to defeat a legislative measure that would legalize homosexual marriage in the Pine Tree State. In the state of Hawaii, where in 1998 nearly 70 percent of Hawaii voters supported traditional marriage when they passed a constitutional amendment that gave the state legislature the authority to reserve marriage to one man and one woman, is now seeking to redefine marriage by passing “marriage lite,” or civil unions.

Two states that saw marriage victories in 2008 are still fighting back forces that seek to undermine families. In California a federal judge has denied a request to keep names of donors to the state’s marriage protection amendment secret. An updated list of late donors is to be released Monday. This is of great concern for we witnessed both during and after the marriage amendment debate in California donors in support of marriage faced vandalism, losing their jobs and other forms of thuggery. Meanwhile in Arizona, a new initiative drive seeks to give homosexual Arizonans civil partnerships or counterfeit marriage.

Pro-family advocates are not just sitting around waiting for the other side to attack. Just an example of the many pro-marriage initiatives include the state of Wyoming seeking to pass a marriage amendment in their state and the city council of Sioux City, Iowa looking to pass a resolution defining marriage for their city.

For more information on what is going on in your state and what you can do about it please contact your state family policy council listed here.

FRC Responding to Newsweek Bias

by Timothy Dailey

December 19, 2008

The day after Newsweek published it’s inaccurate article called “Our Mutual Joy,” FRC sent the following letter to the editor for their exclusive use to provide some small balance to their highly biased article. As it does not appear you will be reading it in the pages of Newsweek, you can see it here for yourself:

Having years ago completed my doctoral dissertation on the subject of the Bible and homosexuality, I found “Our Mutual Joy” to be breathtaking in its summary dismissal of thousands of years of Judeo/Christian belief and teaching regarding homosexual behavior - not to mention the virtually unanimous judgment of societies throughout history in defining marriage as between a man and a woman.

That fundamental understanding regarding marriage is reflected by the 29 states that have passed constitutional amendments and the additional 15 states that have passed laws defining marriage as between a man and a woman.

But this overwhelming conviction is evidently of little consequence to Newsweek, which cobbled together a list of specious pro-homosexuality arguments similar to what I encountered a quarter of a century ago. They were unconvincing then, and have not improved with age. For those interested in the other side of this issue - which Newsweek inexcusably failed to provide - an outstanding treatment of the subject is Prof. Robert A. J. Gagnon, The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics, which makes short work of the tendentious pabulum served up by “Our Mutual Joy.”

Timothy J. Dailey

Senior Fellow for Policy

Family Research Council

Washington, DC

Newsweek, or Opinion Weak?

by Peter Sprigg

December 10, 2008

Newsweek has declared war on marriage. That is the only way to interpret its publishing a lengthy cover story by Lisa Miller that rehashes a laundry list of unoriginal arguments in favor of same-sex “marriage.” There are so many logical and theological errors in this piece that we felt it deserved a detailed, point-by-point rebuttal. FRC’s President, Tony Perkins, and Vice President for Policy, the Rev. Peter Sprigg, collaborated in preparing this piece

 

Passages in bold below are quotes from the Newsweek article; following each is a rebuttal/response.

Let’s try for a minute to take the religious conservatives at their word and define marriage as the Bible does… .  Abraham, Jacob, David, Solomon and the kings of Judah and Israel-all these fathers and heroes were polygamists.

There is a difference between how the Bible defines marriage and how it depicts it in all it’s sin-corrupted reality. It is defined in the creation:

22The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man… .  24For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. (Genesis 2:22, 24, NASB)

The accounts of the lives of the Patriarchs, like Abraham, Jacob and David make abundantly clear that deviations from the model of one man one woman led to a multitude of personal and societal problems. 

 “The New Testament model of marriage is hardly better. Jesus himself was single and preached an indifference to earthly attachments-especially family. The apostle Paul (also single) regarded marriage as an act of last resort for those unable to contain their animal lust.”

Neither Jesus nor Paul were indifferent to marriage or familial ties-they simply gave priority to unhindered service to God.  Jesus’ first recorded miracle was at a wedding, which is hard to see as a non-endorsement of the institution.  Paul taught extensively on proper family relationships, especially of those of husbands and wives and fathers and children (Eph 5:22-6:4).  To somehow infer that Paul was indifferent to marriage is a denial of reality.  Paul was also very clear on one man one woman marriage (1 Tim 3:2, 12).  There was a reason for Paul’s repeated focus on marriage - marriage is central to the gospel because it is a reflection of the relationship between Christ and the Church.  Christ is the bridegroom and the Church the bride.  He instructs husbands to follow the manner of Christ and give themselves for the benefit of their wives (Eph 5:25).  It is incomprehensible that Paul would say same-sex marriage reflected the life-giving, hope-filled union of Christ and His bride. 

Of course, marriage was not mandatory in the New Testament-nor is it for social conservatives today. Jesus and Paul both upheld celibacy-as the only acceptable alternative to fidelity in marriage between one man and one woman. The same value is upheld by the modern abstinence movement.

First, while the Bible and Jesus say many important things about love and family, neither explicitly defines marriage as between one man and one woman.”

This is flatly false. See again Genesis 2:

22The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man… .  24For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. (Genesis 2:22, 24, NASB)

This was explicitly affirmed by Jesus himself, as recorded in two of the gospels:

3Some Pharisees came to Jesus, testing Him and asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all?” 4And He answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE, 5and said, ‘FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH’? 6”So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” (Matthew 19:3-6, NASB)

2Some Pharisees came up to Jesus, testing Him, and began to question Him whether it was lawful for a man to divorce a wife. 3And He answered and said to them, “What did Moses command you?” 4They said, “Moses permitted a man TO WRITE A CERTIFICATE OF DIVORCE AND SEND her AWAY.” 5But Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. 6”But from the beginning of creation, God MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE. 7”FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER, 8AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH; so they are no longer two, but one flesh. 9”What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” 10In the house the disciples began questioning Him about this again. 11And He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her; 12and if she herself divorces her husband and marries another man, she is committing adultery.” (Mark 10:2-12, NASB)

Paul also twice affirms one man one woman marriage as a condition for church leadership (although it is somewhat unclear whether he is contrasting it with polygamy or with divorce and remarriage):

1It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do. 2An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach …  (I Timothy 3: 1-2, NASB)

5For this reason I left you in Crete, that you would set in order what remains and appoint elders in every city as I directed you, 6namely, if any man is above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion. (Titus 1:5-6, NASB)

Biblical literalists will disagree, but the Bible is a living document, powerful for more than 2,000 years because its truths speak to us even as we change through history. In that light, Scripture gives us no good reason why gays and lesbians should not be (civilly and religiously) married-and a number of excellent reasons why they should.”

The Bible is a “living document” only because it is the Word of God, inspired by the living Holy Spirit, not because we have been given license to ignore its plain teachings to compromise with the spirit of the present age instead. Everywhere that Scripture refers to marriage (even the polygamous ones), it is a male-female union, and everywhere that Scripture refers to homosexual conduct, it either condemns it in the strongest possible terms or at the very least casts it in a negative light. (Note: there is not one shred of evidence that the love between David and Jonathan was sexual in nature.)

Social conservatives point to Adam and Eve as evidence for their one man, one woman argument-in particular, this verse from Genesis: ‘Therefore shall a man leave his mother and father, and shall cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh.’ But as Segal says, if you believe that the Bible was written by men and not handed down in its leather bindings by God, then that verse was written by people for whom polygamy was the way of the world.

That is true, so if these men wanted to cover their tracks, would they not have tried to create cover for their ideas of marriage by saying it was God’s idea?  Rather it is made clear that is a singular union.  And by the way, God’s model of marriage was designed prior to the fall of man.  

Ozzie and Harriet are nowhere in the New Testament either. The biblical Jesus was-in spite of recent efforts of novelists to paint him otherwise-emphatically unmarried. He preached a radical kind of family, a caring community of believers, whose bond in God superseded all blood ties. Leave your families and follow me, Jesus says in the gospels.”

Yes, Jesus was definitely unmarried, and it is true that the “bond in God superseded all blood ties.” But “leave your families and follow me” is a rather simplistic paraphrase. Jesus’ disciples James and John, adult men, leave their father’s fishing business when Jesus calls them (Matt. 4:18-22, Mark 1:16-20), and Jesus admonished one questioner who wants to “bury my father” not to delay in following him (Matt. 8:19-22, Luke 9:59-62). The most sweeping statement of this nature made by Jesus is recorded in Mark 10:28-30 (paralleled by Luke 18:28-30):

28Peter began to say to Him, “Behold, we have left everything and followed You.” 29Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake, 30but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life. (NASB)

It is not clear whether “children” here actually refers to minors; and none of these passages speaks of leaving one’s spouse. How Miller can conclude that adult sons leaving home to pursue their own calling undermines the traditional nuclear family is not really clear.

Jesus never mentions homosexuality, but he roundly condemns divorce . . .”

This is undoubtedly because Jesus encountered many more people who were tempted by easy divorce than he did people who were tempted by homosexuality. The whole argument that “Jesus never mentions homosexuality,” and therefore that he must have tolerated it, is ridiculous on its face. Jesus never mentions rape or child sexual abuse, but that can hardly be interpreted to mean that he condoned them. As with those sexual sins, he may have felt that homosexuality was so clearly offensive that there was no point in stating the obvious.

A more precise exegetical point is this. There certainly are parts of the Old Testament law that were abrogated in some sense by Jesus, such as the dietary laws. But that was never the case for any of the laws governing sexual conduct. Both, for example, are mentioned (and contrasted) in Mark 7:14-23:

14After He called the crowd to Him again, He began saying to them, “Listen to Me, all of you, and understand: 15there is nothing outside the man which can defile him if it goes into him; but the things which proceed out of the man are what defile the man. 16[“If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”] 17When he had left the crowd and entered the house, His disciples questioned Him about the parable. 18And He said to them, “Are you so lacking in understanding also? Do you not understand that whatever goes into the man from outside cannot defile him, 19because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach, and is eliminated?” (Thus He declared all foods clean.) 20And He was saying, “That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man. 21”For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, 22deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. 23”All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.” (NASB)

Note that while he “declared all foods clean,” the same is not true of all sexual relationships, because “fornications,” “adulteries,” and “sensuality” remain among those things that “defile the man.”

If anything, Jesus strengthened the Old Testament teachings against sexual sin, rather than weakening them. He tightened restrictions on divorce (Matt. 5:31-32; Matt. 19:1-9; Mark 10:2-12; Luke 16:18) and on adultery:

27“You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY’; 28but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. [Matt. 5:27-28: NASB].

There is no passage where Jesus ever weakened restrictions on sexual behavior. In the case of the woman caught in adultery (John 8:3-11), he prevented the imposition of the death penalty by stoning, but he did not say that she had not sinned-rather, he admonished her to “sin no more.”

It probably goes without saying that the phrase “gay marriage” does not appear in the Bible at all.”

Precisely-so how the author can claim that the Bible supports it is a mystery.

” … nowhere in the Bible do its authors refer to sex between women . . .”

This is simply false-see Romans 1:26:

26For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 27and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. (NASB)

This is the passage which even liberal evangelical Tony Campolo says cannot be evaded in giving proof that all homosexual conduct is sinful.

Twice Leviticus refers to sex between men as ‘an abomination’ (King James version), but these are throwaway lines in a peculiar text given over to codes for living in the ancient Jewish world, a text that devotes verse after verse to treatments for leprosy, cleanliness rituals for menstruating women and the correct way to sacrifice a goat-or a lamb or a turtle dove.”

Homosexual activists are fond of dismissing the Leviticus passage by dismissing the larger context of the Levitical code. However, they never place the most famous Leviticus verse (18:22) in its immediate context:

20‘You shall not have intercourse with your neighbor’s wife, to be defiled with her. 21’You shall not give any of your offspring to offer them to Molech, nor shall you profane the name of your God; I am the LORD. 22’You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination. 23’Also you shall not have intercourse with any animal to be defiled with it, nor shall any woman stand before an animal to mate with it; it is a perversion. (Leviticus 18:20-23)

Adultery, child sacrifice, and bestiality are the behaviors that are most directly compared with homosexuality-not leprosy or menstruation.

Religious objections to gay marriage are rooted not in the Bible at all, then, but in custom and tradition . . .”

This is a completely ridiculous statement that is supportable only when you accept the idiosyncratic postmodern exegesis she has already laid out, which is completely out of step with responsible biblical interpretation. Even many homosexual activists concede that there is no question that the Bible condemns all homosexual relationships. They argue that we must simply dismiss the Bible as a source of moral authority.

The Bible endorses slavery … It provides conceptual shelter for anti-Semites. A mature view of scriptural authority requires us, as we have in the past, to move beyond literalism. The Bible was written for a world so unlike our own, it’s impossible to apply its rules, at face value, to ours.”

The issue of the Bible and slavery is certainly a complicated one, because it is true that the Bible does not unequivocally condemn slavery-however, that it not the same thing as saying that it “endorses” it. To say, “It provides conceptual shelter for anti-Semites” is ridiculous, given that the Bible was written by Jews, about Jews, and primarily for Jews.

However, note the author’s logical inconsistency here. After arguing for several pages that the Bible, in fact, does not condemn homosexual acts and does not define marriage as the union of one man and one woman, she is suddenly shifting gears and saying that we have to ignore what the Bible does teach if it conflicts with modern political correctness.

Monogamy became the norm in the Christian world in the sixth century … Today’s vision of marriage as a union of equal partners, joined in a relationship both romantic and pragmatic, is, by very recent standards, radical, says Stephanie Coontz, author of ‘Marriage, a History.’”

The first sentence is ridiculous-see I Timothy 3: 1-2 and Titus 1:5-6, cited above. But it is undoubtedly asserted by Coontz, the left’s favorite marriage scholar. David Blankenhorn (who is moderate to liberal both politically and theologically, but a serious scholar of marriage and the family) has written that “nearly every sentence that Stephanie Coontz writes contains at least one piece of confusion.”

We cannot look to the Bible as a marriage manual … It speaks eloquently of the crucial role of families in a fair society and the risks we incur to ourselves and our children should we cease trying to bind ourselves together in loving pairs.”

Actually, there are a number of passages in the Bible with marital advice that remains timely today (even if it does not conform to the rigid egalitarianism that modern liberals insist upon). They include Ephesians 5:22-23, Colossians 3:18-21, and I Peter 3:1-7.

However, Miller cites no Biblical verses that suggest the importance of “loving pairs” other than male-female marriages, except for the story of David and Jonathan. This can fit Miller’s rather elastic term “loving pair,” but is nowhere described as a marital or family relationship, but rather a very deep friendship.

In the Christian story, the message of acceptance for all is codified… The great Bible scholar Walter Brueggemann … quotes the apostle Paul when he looks for biblical support of gay marriage: ‘There is neither Greek nor Jew, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Jesus Christ.’”

This is a subtle way of injecting, implicitly, the myth that people are “born gay” or that there is a “gay gene.” Ethnic identity, slave status, and gender are all human characteristics that are beyond an individual’s choice. The same cannot be said of homosexual conduct. In reality even today, and certainly in the Bible, homosexuality is not an “identity,” it is a chosen behavior-a behavior which is in every instance condemned as sinful.

Did the early church contain people who had engaged in homosexual behavior? The answer is yes-but the relevant text is not the one Brueggemann cites, but I Corinthians 6:9-11:

9Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. 11Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

Active homosexuals will not “inherit the kingdom of God” unless and until they are washed, sanctified, and justified by Christ. The church in Corinth could not have imagined homosexual marriage, but it did have former homosexuals among its members.

If one is for racial equality and the common nature of humanity, then the values of stability, monogamy and family necessarily follow… If we are all God’s children, made in his likeness and image, then to deny access to any sacrament based on sexuality is exactly the same thing as denying it based on skin color-and no serious (or even semiserious) person would argue that… More basic than theology, though, is human need… . We want our children to grow up in stable homes.”

There are several issues intertwined in these excerpts. Twice here Miller compares homosexual relationships with race. But race is a characteristic which is inborn, involuntary, immutable, and innocuous. None of those things can honestly be said about the choice to engage in homosexual relationships. When Miller says that “no serious (or even semiserious) person would argue that,” it’s somewhat unclear whether she’s talking about arguing for racial exclusion (in which case she’s right) or talking about “denying access to any sacrament based on sexuality”-in which case she is dead wrong. Robert A. J. Gagnon’s book The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics (493 pages) makes a far more “serious” case for the traditional view of homosexuality than Miller makes against it. But in any case, her premise is false. Remember, strictly speaking, no one is “excluded” from marriage because of their “sexual orientation”-it’s just that “marriage” is, by definition, the union of a man and a woman. Many self-identified homosexuals have been married (to people of the opposite sex), while many former homosexuals are currently married (to people of the opposite sex). Furthermore, the comparison with race is not valid (see comments on previous quote).

The “values of stability [and] monogamy” are precisely what is threatened by same-sex “marriage.” The research shows that homosexual relationships (particularly male homosexual relationships) simply are not characterized by “stability” or “monogamy” to any degree that is comparable to male-female marriage, and are often overtly rejected by homosexuals (who, for example, often seek other outside sexual partners even when they already have a “long-term” partner). I would agree that “[w]e [meaning society] want our children to grow up in stable homes”-but affirming homosexual parenting by allowing homosexual marriage would undermine that goal, since the higher rates of sexual promiscuity, STD’s, mental illness, substance abuse, domestic violence, and child sexual abuse among homosexuals are not conducive to a “stable” environment. Furthermore, an abundance of social science research shows that children raised by their own biological mother and father who are committed to one another in a lifelong marriage do better than children in any other living situation.

Finally, I would agree that “[m]ore basic than theology, though, is human need.” And the most fundamental “human need,” apart from sheer survival, is to reproduce ourselves. That is something that can only be done naturally by the union of a man and a woman. And fundamentally that-not Biblical teaching, nor “custom and tradition”-is why civil marriage is defined as the union of a man and a woman

The True Motivations behind the Passage of Proposition 8

by Krystle Gabele

December 5, 2008

In The Mercury News (San Jose), there was an article that mentioned the strong factors in the vote for Proposition 8. These two factors were education and income. While these two factors may have had some impact in the passage, there is reasonable indication that voters still respect the institution of family.

According to a recent Public Policy Institute of California study quoted in The Mercury News, the measure drew strong support from evangelical Christians.

As other polls had shown, the measure drew overwhelming support from evangelical Christians (85 percent in favor), robust backing from political conservatives and strong opposition from liberals. Baldassare said it’s difficult to say from the polling why people with higher incomes and a college degree tend to support same-sex marriage.

Today, we often read in publications that the family is declining in America. After the recent passage of Proposition 8 by Californians, we realize the institution of family is still in tact and respected by many in our society. While socioeconomic factors and education have a significant impact in how someone will vote, it is ultimately the values that were instilled at home that guide us in our actions at the polls.

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