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02/19/2015

READ: Full text, signatories of offensive and hubristic 'Evangelicals and Catholics Together' statement

by Jeremy Hooper

Rick Warren, Maggie Gallagher, Ryan Anderson, Robert George, and Rob Gagnon. Those are just some of the notable movement conservatives who have signed on to a new religious statement on marriage, the full text of which has finally been released.

Not only is the downright hostile statement an attempt to pit certain people's personally-held religion against shared civil rights, but it also goes far beyond just marriage. It pits homosexuality itself against God's design, suggesting that celibacy is the right path for some (i.e. gay) people. Here are some snips and a link to the full:

Screen Shot 2015-02-19 At 11.10.39 AmMaleness, femaleness, and their comp­lementarity are among the central organizing principles of creation. When, in the biblical flood account, Noah brings the entire animal kingdom onto the ark, he does so in pairs: male and female. Maleness and femaleness are essential components of our unique dignity as human beings created in the image of God, for through these realities we participate in the divine creativity and its fruitfulness. Thus, from a Christian point of view, sexual union must be approached with reverence and in recognition of its intrinsic potential for new life.

Our sexual acts have spiritual and moral dimensions; they are not merely physical or biological. The Old Testament often uses sexual imagery to describe how well or how poorly we are living our relationship to God (marital fidelity, nuptial joy, fertility, harlotry, sexual defilement, and childlessness). For good or ill, our sexual acts affect the image of God we bear. What we do sexually either honors or dishonors the imprint of the divine that is uniquely borne by human beings. As Jesus teaches, this is even true of sexual desire: “Everyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matt. 5:28). Thus Christians, instructed by the Lord, have, from the earliest days of the Church, taught an ethic of sexual self-discipline, recognizing that sex involves our souls as well as our bodies.
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A Parody of Marriage

The crisis of marriage culture in our times now poses a direct and fundamental challenge to the very nature of marriage. By redefining marriage to allow a union between two persons of the same sex—Spouse 1 and Spouse 2—a kind of alchemy is performed, not merely on the institution, but on human nature itself. In such a world, the distinction between men and women is denied social recognition and marriage is no longer a unique bond uniting male and female. It becomes an instrument created by the state to give official status to the relationship between two generic human beings.

In these circumstances, what the state defines as marriage no longer embodies God’s purposes in creation. An easy acceptance of divorce damages marriage; widespread cohabitation devalues marriage. But so-called same-sex marriage is a graver threat, because what is now given the name of marriage in law is a parody of marriage.

We are today urged to embrace an abstract conception of human nature that ignores the reality of our bodies. Human beings are no longer to be understood as either male or female. Our culture encourages us to exalt our personal desires and choices over the created order. Instead of freely accepting God’s gift, we seek to dominate (and even alter) nature, constructing our own moral truths. The result is a deceptive pseudo-freedom that degrades our ­humanity. Genuine freedom is found in ­obedience to God’s order: in freely choosing, as a matter of grace and moral habit, what is good and what makes for true beatitude.
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As Christians, we must state, unambiguously, that same-sex marriage contradicts the Gospel. As we have noted, Holy Scripture teaches that marriage, as ordered by God, is a mysterious sign of the union of Christ and the Church. This sign is dependent on the profound complementarity of male and female. A conception of marriage that allows for same-sex unions denies this element of difference, rendering it unable to signify the mystical union of Christ and his Church.

As Evangelicals and Catholics committed to the Gospel’s invitation to discipleship, we are acutely aware of many ways in which our broken lives need the healing and reconciling power of God’s grace. Moreover, we share the widespread and proper desire of Christians today to repent of injustices against those who experience same-sex attraction, and to discern more effective ways for all single people to participate in the life of the Church. However, faithful Christian witness cannot accommodate itself to same-sex marriage. It disregards the created order, threatens the common good, and distorts the Gospel.
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In affirming this we do not dispute the evident fact of hormonal and chromosomal irregularities, nor of different sexual attractions and desires. As Christians, however, we must insist that our sexual desires, orientations, and proclivities do not provide a basis for redefining marriage. As is the case in all aspects of human life, our inclinations, desires, and actions must be judged by the Word of God (Rom. 1:21–24).

We must also reject the contemporary presumption—which is widespread and even influences our churches in many ways—that human fulfillment requires the satisfaction of sexual desire. While the Bible calls all Christians to chastity, it also holds up the celibate life as one honorable vocation in light of the example of our Lord himself and his teaching that there are some who are “eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 19:12). Thus, with two thousand years of Christian tradition, we affirm that the integral development of the human person is possible without sexual intimacy. In the early cen­turies of the Church’s history, the presence of men and women committed to a celibate life had already become a distinctive mark of the Christian community. Freely choosing celibacy or living the single life in faithfulness to Christ offers a unique kind of service to the Church and the world.
FULL:
THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH: RECLAIMING MARRIAGE [First Things]

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