Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Too Much to Too Few on Gay Marriage?

Well, here's another one.

Another well-written article arguing the perils of gay marriage.

This one's by Matthew Franck, writing for the Witherspoon Institute, a social ethics think tank of a politically conservative persuasion.  Entitled "Same Sex Marriage and Religious Freedom, Fundamentally at Odds," it furthers the case against gay marriage by discussing how a government's embrace of concepts at fundamental odds with religions of various kinds - after all, this isn't an exclusively Christian dilemma - can actually weaken the ability of those religions to function for the good of society.

Assuming, of course, that people can see how religions function for the good of society.  In his article, Franck acknowledges the distressing likelihood that advocates for gay marriage have every intention of scraping religion in general - and Christianity in particular - from America's social framework.

Franck's is a good article, despite its annoyingly academic grammar, which actually may be doing his argument a disservice.  After all, he hardly has to convince most of his readers, who likely are equally disturbed as he is about encroachments on religious liberties in the United States.  His argument has already begun to see its fulfillment in our nation's abortion debate, including the morning-after pill and other contraceptive mandates, particularly in Obamacare.  And to the extent that we Americans have been able to watch how the gay marriage movement in Canada has begun to have punitive effects on religion there, prudence says it may be only a matter of time before we start seeing similar problems here.  While technically, professional religious leaders can refuse to marry gay couples in Canada, government officials authorized to perform civil ceremonies cannot.

Certainly, there is nothing wrong with reminding ourselves about what's right, wrong, and perilous.  It's not that Franck and the many other writers who've been churning out volumes of articles against gay marriage over these past few years aren't helping to preserve the sanctity of marriage.  And it's certainly possible that the Holy Spirit can use this groundswell of affirmation for heterosexual marriage to preserve the institution for our good and His glory.

Yet how much of this dialog, consternation, preaching, angst, theological pontificating, advocating, and writing is actually being consumed by the people who can help change the course of our marriage debate?  Are political conservatives going to be swayed more by conservative religious doctrine or by poll numbers?  Are business leaders going to be swayed more by theology than profitability?  Are voters going to be swayed more by esoteric morality than personal hubris?

Just today, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska became the third Republican senator to announce their support for gay marriage, news that barely elicited any notice from the nation's media machine, including Fox News, which this afternoon, has no mention of it anywhere on their website's home page.  But Fox has space for a feature entitled "Stars First Nude Scenes."

And there's the rub.

When it comes to gay marriage, the task of convincing the American people of its dangers is being undertaken by a segment of our society with precious little credibility when it comes to morality:  right-wing conservatives.  Right-wing Catholics have their pedophile priests, Mormons have their polygamy baggage, and evangelicals have disturbingly high divorce rates.  And we're all known to enjoy a little winky-winky, hey-hey gander at immodest TV shows, movies, and websites that have little to do with the sanctity of marriage.

"Sanctity of marriage!"  No wonder that, to increasing numbers of Americans, the very phrase reeks of sanctimony, instead of sanctity.

So, do we give up, and let the tidal wave of marriage desecration sweep over our country?  Well, actually, if you look at the divorce statistics among churched Americans, some would say it's already happened.  Gay marriage would simply be the proverbial nail in the coffin.

Some knee-jerk Christians reflexively blame homosexuals for bringing this crisis to marriage, but how easy would it be for anybody to attempt a wholesale deconstruction of the institution if it wasn't already on shaky ground through the ambivalence of those who should have been its guardians?

No, we don't give up on protecting the sanctity God intends for marriage to have.  But if we're not confessing the ways in which our own sins have contributed to this path our country is now skipping merrily along, how realistic should we be that our own hearts are in the place God wants them to be for His name to be glorified through the union of two people - male and female, as He created them?

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