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Then why isn't a Bible-believing officiant a marital requirement?!

by Jeremy Hooper

 Good As You Images Picture-31-7-1This fallacy, from a Baptist Press article, comes courtesy of San Diego pastor Chris Clark:

"[The California marriage situation] is not a political issue, it's a biblical issue, because the institution of marriage was instituted by God long before any government was created," Clark said. "Furthermore, it's going to directly affect our ability to proclaim the full Gospel, to preach the entire counsel of God."

Scruffgreen-1This reality comes courtesy of G-A-Y writer Jeremy Hooper

Regardless of your views concerning marriage as it exists through the eyes of God -- and we humans certainly have many different opinions on the subject -- what we are actually discussing here is CIVIL MARRIAGE. Via reasoned court action, gay couples in California have been afforded the right to obtain a CIVIL marriage license. As for the religious component? Well that is, has always been, and will (hopefully) always remain an optional component when it comes to the obtaining, fulfillment, recognition, and dissolution of civil marriage contracts. No matter how valid one might find the religious aspect-- and in many faiths, the religious certificates, blessings, and customs are far more important than the civil -- it still will not afford a couple the civil rights, benefits, and protections that come from a state-issued marriage license.

Just like a heterosexual atheist couple can now marry without so much as acknowledging a Bible, gay couples can choose whether or not they want faith brought into their state-recognized marriage. Some will employ faith, and some will not. Some will desperately want to have a religious ceremony, but their faiths and sects will not allow for it. These are all valid religious matters worth discussing. They are not, however, a suitable basis for denying constitutional freedoms.

The issue of religious marriage? Yes, that notion is
all about a particular book or books of faith. But the issue of civil marriage equality is no more a "biblical issue" than it is a "Curious George or Da Vinci Code issue"! The only way we are going to be able to have a grown up national conversation about marriage and its fair recognition is when we stop resorting to blatant untruths to support our points of view. At the very least, those on the "pro-family side need to extend the rest of us the courtesy of sticking to the matters at hand rather than the matters that are more politically viable for your side.

Out-of-state donations critical to the success of Calif. marriage amendment [BP News]

*Not to mention, it's deeply offensive to suggest that marriage inequality is the one and only biblical view. Gay-unfriendly evangelism is not the be all, end all of religion.

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Your thoughts

I think the church should be more interested in this separation of the civil and religious aspect of marriage. If they truly believe marriage is a sacrament, why do they stand for the government being involved at all? Would they stand for government definition of Communion? How would they feel about having to get a government issued license before you could be baptized? Is it really any different that the government defines adn regulates marriage?

The issue is that marriage ceased to be a strictly religious issue when it was used as a guideline to issue certain government benefits. Benefits such as filing taxes jointly, property rights, inheritance rights, and a host of others. These are benefits that either all families or no families should have access to. Be they gay, straight, religious, or atheist. These benefits were put in place to strengthen families and the enhance the raising of children. All families or no families are entitled to them. Not just the ones that pass some religious test. Especially one that is not held by all religions or denominations. The children of gay people should have access to the same protections and economic stimuli that the children of straight people have.

The church should realize that the separation of church and state is really there to protect them and this is a perfect example. If the government had never begun regulating marriage, they wouldn't be facing this dilemna. If they were smart they would push for the complete separation of the religious and civil aspects of marriage. Maybe even different names for it.

They will never do this. Why? Because this is partly about control. They can't handle the idea that other denominations might do things different than them. And worst of all, they can't tolerate the notion that life might get a little easier for gay people and their children. We can't have that!

Posted by: Steve - Geneva, IL | Aug 12, 2008 8:25:47 PM

I think this is a example of where the Religious Right just does not get what the discussion is about. If someone who is really Religious believes that Marriage is between one Man and One Woman.....than that is what that person should have, however that person does not have a right to force his/hers religious views on others. If Marriage was not sanction by the state, and just the Church, the point might be valid, but since it is a state issue, and a civil issue, and since we do not have a theocracy, arguments laid out by people like Pastor Clark is invalid.

Posted by: Rob79 | Aug 13, 2008 12:04:57 AM

"[The California marriage situation] is not a political issue, it's a biblical issue, because the institution of marriage was instituted by God long before any government was created,"

That is just a LIE! The government was the church back then, and the government (church) regulated all civil contracts. In western civilizations we know how STUPID it is to intertwine religion and government. And, I might add, if there were no separation of church and state, there would be NO Baptist churches! While the thought of NO Baptists might sound pleasant, the reality of a true theocracy would be far worse. So we should be happy to be stuck with the lesser of the two evils.

"Furthermore, it's going to directly affect our ability to proclaim the full Gospel, to preach the entire counsel of God."

Another LIE!!! If that were true then this JACKASS wouldn't be writing this shit TODAY! If what he said had any truth in it, then Mr. Clark would not be able to "proclaim the full Gospel" TODAY! Not that what he is doing is in any way synonymous with "proclaiming the full Gospel" buy his argument is that he wouldn't be able to fag-bash from his pulpit! If that were true, then the fag-bashing that he does in this article would be equally as disallowed TODAY. Because as much as these jerks dislike it, same-sex marriages are legal in at two states (and counting) TODAY!

But then, if these guys had to resort to the truth, they would be out of business. Sorry about ranting, but the voices inside my head have now stopped screaming at me, so I can relax.

Posted by: Dick Mills | Aug 13, 2008 12:08:24 AM

"[The California marriage situation] is not a political issue, it's a biblical issue, because the institution of marriage was instituted by God long before any government was created,"

Is there any proof to this? It's my understanding that marriage took place outside the church and eventually the church invited it in. By the way, does anyone have any sources for that? I'd like to have more than just some heresay on the subject.

"Clark said. "Furthermore, it's going to directly affect our ability to proclaim the full Gospel, to preach the entire counsel of God.""

This is not a government priority. What's so hard to understand about "Congress shall make no laws respecting an establishment of religion..."? That has the dual meaning that Congress won't create(establish) a national religion and that Congress won't make any laws that support a particular religious viewpoint(an establishment of religion also = a particular faith group).
If you don't want the government interfering in your religion, stop using your religion to interfere with the government.

Posted by: Jason D | Aug 13, 2008 6:37:32 AM

Jason D: Well, we know that people got married in (for example) ancient Rome long before Jesus showed up. I wouldn't be surprised if religion-state entanglement were nearly universal throughout history, since "wall of separation" at any rate is Enlightenment thinking, but Christianity certainly doesn't get dibs.

Posted by: jericho | Aug 13, 2008 8:39:14 AM

On August 7, gay.com published an article reporting the Archbishop of Canterbury wrote the Bible DOES NOT forbid gay relationships when they are similar to traditional marriages. With this being said the argument becomes nothing more than protecting a group's internal bigotry. By the Archbishop taking the Bible out of the picture there is no other logical argument that they can present and no other conclusion to be drawn from the same old song and dance.

Posted by: Christian | Aug 13, 2008 10:45:03 AM

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