“A nation that is arguing about whether to privatize lighthouses will not socialize medicine.” So argued the late William F. Buckley, Jr.
Buckley’s point was simply this: if a democracy is arguing about good ideas, it is more likely to avoid bad ones. Today, America is arguing whether to recognize so-called same-sex “marriage.” The very fact this is the central debate is a disadvantage to conservative Christians. Proponents of same-sex “marriage” typically use broad terms and ideals, such as “equality” to advance their position.
People often forget we already have marriage equality. Everyone can marry anyone, as long as the person is of the opposite sex, is not a relative and is not a minor. What is being demanded is a special right, a newly invented one at that.
The U.S. Supreme Court is hearing two landmark cases that could change marriage policy in America. While Southern Baptists are hopeful the Supreme Court will do the right thing and uphold the biblical, historical understanding of marriage, we recognize that no government leaders—even the highest court in the land—can redefine what God Himself has established.
Why are Christians unwilling to change on the issue? Here are three reasons:
No one throughout time spoke with more authority than Jesus Christ, and no one has spoken so clearly on marriage. Performing His first miracle at a wedding, Jesus often addressed marriage.
Quoting Genesis, Jesus said, “For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife” (Mark 10:7). Notice Christ did not say “man… cleave to his husband.” He also did not say “wives” (plural). In other places, the New Testament speaks clearly to God’s unchanging meaning of marriage (for example, Eph. 5).
Jesus walked among Rome where polygamy was widely accepted, to a culture that had made friends with divorce and cohabitation, and a civilization that was influenced by Ancient Greece which knew homosexuality well. In other words, Jesus and the Apostles spoke in a day not unlike our own.
So it is not that Southern Baptists are not willing to redefine marriage, it is that we cannot. Our consciences are captive to the revealed Word of God.
It does not take a biology expert to know the sexual union of a man and a woman leads to offspring and procreation, while homosexual acts do not. The primary purpose of marriage is the proliferation of the human race. Somewhere along the line, Christians forfeited that ideal, and today we are reaping a bitter harvest for it.
Building a home, let alone a society, on the notions of romantic love or attraction is like building a house on shifting sands. Much like the basic purposes of eating is nutrition, with good taste as an added pleasure given by God, the main purpose of sex is procreation, with pleasure and bonding as added benefits given by God.
The government has no public or practical interest in homosexual unions any more than they do in friendships. In other words, marriage, from the government’s viewpoint, is all about children.
One of the cases on which the Supreme Court will rule is Proposition 8, a California law passed by voters that defined, for California, marriage is between one man and one woman. Traditionally, marriage laws have been left up to the states. However, the nine justices could attempt to make Oklahoma (which has a marriage protection law of its own, passed in 2004) have our policy dictated by, say, Vermont or New York.
Even so, we Christians recognize that marriage is not something defined, it is something we observe. No state or sub-division of government has a right to redefine what God Himself has set in place.
The Supreme Court rulings reportedly will not be handed down until the summer. In the meanwhile, America will continue to argue this issue. As Christians, let’s make sure our side does so with gentleness, compassion and respect. After all, we do not just want to win the argument. We want to win the people.
The state or sub-division does have a right to redefine something if it is not supposed to recognize the definitions and terminology set forth by one religion. Christians and their churches can refuse to acknowledge these unions, but government has a duty to its citizens, and not to abide by the rules of an alleged God.