The summer of 2012 I wrote here concerning the dangers facing “traditional” marriage in the United States. This past week the US Supreme Court, at the direction of the Obama Administration, took up the issue of whether or not marriage can be defined as between one man and one woman. Even political conservatives, like Rush Limbaugh, are admitting the Court is likely to strike down “traditional marriage.” In other words, any day now, homosexual marriage will be the law of the land. Twenty years ago, the Clinton Administration told us this day would never come; now it is here.
US federal and state authorities will begin defining marriage by various measures and means. Homosexual marriage is just the beginning. Soon multiple partners will be permitted, as a Georgia court recently recognized 2 lesbians and 1 homosexual man as joint parents of a child. Adults marrying children will be allowed, as it is in some Muslim nations. People marrying their pets will be okay; here’s a website that offers advice on how to do it (http://www.pleated-jeans.com/2010/07/06/how-to-marry-your-pet/) or just do an internet search for “Marry my pet” and see what you get!
Within a few years, pastors will be required to perform these weddings. You doubt it, but consider what’s happened with healthcare since 2010. Private companies and religious institutions are required to violate their religious beliefs and pay for birth control and abortions. Private individuals are being forced by law and the courts to support homosexual marriage already. Ministers of the Gospel will be forced to perform homosexual marriages or face civil rights violations.
This predicament is the result of churches and pastors giving government the right to control marriage. It was decided decades ago that marriage has everything to do with a “license” from the government. But from the Biblical perspective, does purchasing a license from a bureaucrat and standing in front of a captain, a clergy-person, a judge, or an Elvis impersonator make a marriage? Not in God’s eyes! If marriage is a relationship ordained by God, only God can create a marriage. It is then the responsibility of the Church to recognize what God has joined together (Matt 19:6; Mark 10:9). Government can create civil-unions, but not marriages. Churches do not create marriages, but the Church can recognize marriages.
Dog licenses and driver licenses don’t make you better citizens, pet owners, or drivers. In fact, you can order a dog license from my county of residence online for a small fee … without even owning a dog. In the same way, a government issued marriage license (also available on-line) does not make a better spouse.
In Oregon, anyone can perform a wedding ceremony, as long as the individual lists his or her contact information on the license. Anyone can pick up a marriage license for $60 – without identification – as long as two parties are present to sign for it. You will be required to provide a Social Security Number for statistical reasons, but do not need to prove the number is yours.
What are we, as followers of Christ, to do? If you are a pastor, a minister of the Gospel of Jesus, a church leader, or concerned Christian, what should be our next steps?
(1) We must discover from Scripture what God says constitutes a marriage and then teach it to our congregations.
(2) We must be prepared to recognize God-ordained marriages – whether there is a government-issued license or not.
(3) We must consider the consequences of performing or not performing civil unions and government-recognized marriages.
(4) We must make our commitment to Christ and His Word our priority, not politics or popular acceptability. Churchianity must go; Biblical Christianity must rise.