Saturday, February 26, 2005

Christian Compromise, Civil Unions, Christian Marriage

Rob Asghar has some interesting thoughts on The Art & Dilemma of Moral Compromise.

It includes a quote from Jim Wallis, evangelical Christian and social activist. Wallis suggests, basically, that the Church not worry about what the State does when it comes to "civil unions," heterosexual or homosexual. As the quote in Rob's piece has it:
"You go down to the city hall, and you have a civil union in the court. That's the government's responsibility. Then if you're a Christian you go down to the church and have it blessed and have the spiritual ceremony. That's a marriage, and what you do in the city hall is a civil union."
This is essentially, my position. As a pastor for the past twenty years, in addition to providing couples getting married with a Christian ceremony, I have also "solemnized" their marriages, something I'm authorized to do by the secretary of state, under the laws of the State of Ohio.

But I really don't care one way or another about that. As a Christian and a pastor, I feel that it is far more important that couples be married in the eyes of God and with a commitment to pursue their relationships God's way than it is for them to be "legal." I've told the story before of the couple who, in the craziness surrounding their wedding preparations and pressures at their respective jobs, had forgotten to get their marriage license before their wedding day. I did the ceremony anyway. I cared little about whether the state regarded them as being married and everything about God seeing them in this way.

I see marriage in God's eyes as being a different institution from the marriage instituted by the state, though they can be coterminous.

Rob poses this provocative question:
When Christian conservatives demand a constitutional amendment protecting their definition of marriage...I begin to ask: How does this show less of a desire on the part of conservatives than liberals to have "salvation" delivered by Caesar?
I personally am not threatened by proposals to institute civil homosexual unions, although I understand the legal mess it could create. As a pastor, should such proposals be accepted, I would still only preside over the marriages of heterosexuals and let the state government do what it will.


Deborah White said...

I agree. Marriage is a religious sacrament created by God for one man and one woman. Civil unions are the business of the government, and do not constitute marriage.

In a democracy where freedom of worship is a basic right, this is a fact.

Marty Daniels said...

I'd like to shock you here and let you know I agree with you...wait, that wouldn't be a shock...funny, I wrote about the issue of divorce in the church on my blog today...perhaps people will think we conspired on what topics we discuss on our, aren't we crafty?

As rawk!

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