Wednesday, July 2

On Marriage

My (common law) wife and I have a marriage, but we have never had a wedding. In previous times, I might have said that we lack "the benefit of a wedding", but I no longer think a wedding confers any benefits. Here's why.

We each had previous weddings. We each had the official sanction of both church and state governments, and when push came to shove, neither the state nor the church did a thing to help us keep our original marriages intact. If there is some alleged benefit to having the official sanction of the government and/or the church in the initiation of marriage, we sure didn't see it.

Now the state - and some churches, including my denomination, the ECUSA - are granting the status of "marriage" to homosexual couples. If homosexuals want to make a commitment to one another, that's fine with me. I figure you take love where you can find it. But for the entire history of the human race, a "married couple" has had a male "husband" and a female "wife". Now the state has decided that "marriage" doesn't mean that at all. Now it just means, "Bruce and Steve want the legal right to file their taxes as if they were married." And if Bruce and Steve want to get a divorce, then the state grants them that as well, no questions asked. It won't be long before the state grants a marriage license to any conceivable combination of entities, sentient or not. If a guy wants to have a marriage contract with his Pepsi Machine and his pet hamster, the California Supreme Court will allow it and the rest of the moron governments will follow suit.

The churches are mostly toothless in the face of this debacle. The ones that just follow whatever the gubbmint says, like the idiot Episcopal Church of the USA, (I can call it idiotic 'cause it's my church), will not draw the line anywhere; they are clueless. Some of the more "conservative" churches, (I use scare quotes because the only thing they are conserving is their imaginations of the past), will fuss and fight and condemn the godlessness of the culture but will not do the one thing that will make a difference: quit getting in bed with the government.

The churches in America act as agents of the state when their ministers announce that the happy couple is now married "according to the authority vested in" the minister himself by the state. If the church has the authority to make a couple married, then that authority should be coming from God, not from the state. And if the church does indeed possess that authority, then she should exercise it without apology and without qualification.

The Bible has a lot to say about how a couple should treat one another if they are married, but it is utterly silent on how a couple goes about becoming married. When a man and woman choose to live together as if they were married, then the only biblical response is to hold them to scriptural principals of behavior towards one another. If the church is going to claim the authority to marry people, then they better come up with a good explanation for how they gained that authority. Otherwise, please just shut up.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good to see you blogging again, Jack!

Actually, the Bible does talk about weddings and marriage. No, it doesn't specifically lay out what, exactly, the ceremony should consist of. I think the ceremony is made up of whatever the religion, culture, or society says it should be. You and I have both had Christian marriages that have failed. The ceremony itself was unable to enforce what a true marriage should be.

These days, I think a legally binding marriage is performed for many reasons outside of religious ones; and there are very valid reasons for having that piece of paper:

It gives the spouse certain rights regarding care of an incapacitated partner.

It establishes the relationship for survivor benefits in the case of death.

It provides legal documentation for benefits to children of that relationship (although that is becoming less necessary, unfortunately).

It can provide proof of the intent of the relationship and of the duration of it in case of a nasty split up.

In a perfect world, there wouldn't be divorce. In a perfect world, all fathers would acknowledge their children. In a perfect world, extended families would always do the "right" thing. In a perfect world, when a relationship didn't work out, the couple would always depart from each other amicably, and with a split of property not based on greed or personal gain.

Jack, I urge you to read "Take This Bread".