« Go back a post || Return to G-A-Y homepage || Haul tail to next post »


New pledge: Conservative pastors choose to separate selves from civil marriage

by Jeremy Hooper

The prominent Christian conservative outlet First Things is promoting a new effort called "The Marriage Pledge." Essentially, it's a recognition, at long last, that church ceremony and civil marriage are, in fact, separate and distinguishable (even if many, or perhaps most, married couples opt in to both), with the pastors who have drafted the pledge calling on likeminded fellows to get out of the state marriage business altogether. Here's the text:

In many jurisdictions, including many of the United States, civil authorities have adopted a definition of marriage that explicitly rejects the age-old requirement of male-female pairing. In a few short years or even months, it is very likely that this new definition will become the law of the land, and in all jurisdictions the rights, privileges, and duties of marriage will be granted to men in partnership with men, and women with women.

As Christian ministers we must bear clear witness. This is a perilous time. Divorce and co-­habitation have weakened marriage. We have been too complacent in our responses to these trends. Now marriage is being fundamentally redefined, and we are ­being tested yet again. If we fail to take clear action, we risk falsifying God’s Word.

The new definition of marriage no longer coincides with the Christian understanding of marriage between a man and woman. Our biblical faith is committed to upholding, celebrating, and furthering this understanding, which is stated many times within the Scriptures and has been repeatedly restated in our wedding ceremonies, church laws, and doctrinal standards for centuries. To continue with church practices that intertwine government marriage with Christian marriage will implicate the Church in a false definition of marriage.

Therefore, in our roles as Christian ministers, we, the undersigned, commit ourselves to disengaging civil and Christian marriage in the performance of our pastoral duties. We will no longer serve as agents of the state in marriage. We will no longer sign government-provided marriage certificates. We will ask couples to seek civil marriage separately from their church-related vows and blessings. We will preside only at those weddings that seek to establish a Christian marriage in accord with the principles ­articulated and lived out from the beginning of the Church’s life.

Please join us in this pledge to separate civil marriage from Christian marriage by adding your name.

Drafted by:

The Reverend Ephraim Radner

The Reverend Christopher Seitz
The Marriage Pledge [First Things]

Personally I think it's silly. No marriage equality activist is trying to force churches to perform religious ceremonies that do not coincide with the church's teachings. Pastors have always been free to turn away just about any couple for just about any reason, and this remains true with same-sex marriage. They really don't have to change anything even once fifty state equality makes it inevitable arrival.

But if these pastors believe that we gay folk have corrupted the civil system by virtue of our desire for inclusion, then maybe they should go ahead and detach themselves from that part of the conversation. For years anti-equality faith movements have been trying to overreach so that they can hold ownership to both religious ceremonies and state solemnization/recognition, which was, is, and always will be an unfair and untenable goal. So if they are not willing to accept our own willingness to confine our advocacy to civil marriage while remaining perfectly respectful to their religious freedom when it comes to whom they must marry (which has always been our movement's stance), then perhaps they should go ahead and limit their role in the marital covenant to that of God and bride and groom and stay out of the pertinent conversation about legal rights and family protections. If that's their choice, then so be it.

space gay-comment gay-G-A-Y-post gay-email gay-writer-jeremy-hooper

Your thoughts

comments powered by Disqus

G-A-Y Comments Policy

Related Posts with Thumbnails