The Church, Marriage & Homosexual Unions

Currently, Marriage is two – three party agreements; one between God, a man and a woman, the other between a man, a women and the government. Due to ‘Politically Correct’ opinion both are under fire.
With God, marriage is a promise between a man and a woman to love and support each other. Many argue that being homosexual is part of their nature and we should love them and thus support a same-sex union. The problem with that argument is that a basic belief of the church is that being sinful is part of everyone’s nature. We try to love everyone but we do not condone or support other sins such as stealing or coveting.
With the government, marriage is a contract with all of the clauses written by an entity which knows nothing about the individuals involved. To make matters worse, the rules regulating the contract are subject to change if the couple moves across state lines.
– My Proposal –
The churches should reject participation in the civil process of marriage. That way men and women could be married in the eyes of God and their neighbors. The government could mind it’s own business and the ‘Politically Correct’ could go unheeded. After all, it is more important to be Morally Correct than Politically Submissive.
If necessary, a marriage contract should be written by the man and women involved and the government should have no say in the terms or conditions.

10 thoughts on “The Church, Marriage & Homosexual Unions”

  1. Dan,
    Jack and I have been married 19 years this June. We are Atheist, as are several of our legally wed friends. If marriage is to be described between God, man and woman that makes my marriage invalid. We have also chosen to not have children. If marriage is to be for the biblical purpose of procreation, once again my marriage is invalid. Religion is not a basis for human rights. Separation of Church and State is essential to a free society. Two individuals who are willing to make the commitment should have the freedom to, no matter their sex, religious beliefs or non belief.
    Beckie

  2. Dan,
    Allowing homosexual unions in no way puts heterosexual marriages, religious or civil, under any kind of fire. How did my homosexual union threaten your marriage? How does any homosexual union threaten any heterosexual marriage? In no way whatsoever. What threatens heterosexual marriage are heterosexuals, because heterosexuals are the ones responsible for the failure or successes of their unions. Let’s get that out there right away. Because by granting me the full rights of marriage, no heterosexual will ever lose their rights.
    If the church has a basic belief that everyone’s sinful, then why don’t they stop heterosexuals who are sinners from marrying? Because heterosexuals, just being heterosexual, are fully as likely to steal and to covet (and to beat their children or each other, to sexually molest their children or each other) as anyone else. And if you’re going to equate being homosexual with sins such as stealing and coveting, then you’d better not leave the heterosexuals out of that same equation. It’s precisely this line of thinking that characterizes this argument, and its specious reasoning. If having sex with someone of the same sex was such a horrifying sin, why didn’t God give Moses that one in the ten commandments? And why did Jesus never once say anything whatsoever against it? And yet, Jesus sure had a few things to say about the wrongs of heterosexual couples! Huh… funny that. This admonition aimed at me and my fellow queers always comes from a few passages from the Bible that, if you understand anything about biblical history at all, you understand that the passages are poor interpretations of the original language anyway.
    And lastly, you propose that marriage be a contract between a man, a woman and God. Which God? Would your marriage be valid under Allah? Would your marriage be valid in the church that isn’t yours? Which God do you follow? The Catholic one? The Baptist? The Lutheran? The Mormon? By your proposal, you would jeopardize your own marriage if your marriage wasn’t under contract by the right God or the right belief system. This is precisely why civil union and government get involved in this country, to insure that we all have the same rights, regardless of which religious belief system a person subscribes to, and as a gay man who pays his taxes, votes in each election and participates in this country, I have every right to be able to see my husband in the hospital, have him inherit my belongings and assets in the event of my death, get the same tax breaks that heterosexuals get, and have our union be treated with the same respect because we invest the same time, emotion, devotion and energy as any heterosexual marriage takes.

  3. I am sort of bufuddled here. I do not see that my statement is contradictory to non-religous or same-sex marriage?

    We have religous freedom in this country. My marriage was founded in my religion. Don't I have the right to have beliefs about what that means? If your marriage was founded in a different faith or no faith, don't you have the right to have beliefs about what that means?

    I think it is silly that we have allowed the government to define what marriage is. Especially, when that definition can be changed by moving from one state to the next. Would Bill Gates sign a blank contract where all of the terms and provisions are determined by some unknown third-party that may know nothing about the situation.

    Three side notes:

    1) I see a flaw in Joe's logic. If I stated that it was good and proper to steal or covet then I would certainly hope my church would correct me. And if I did not change my opinion they should kick me out on my ass. That is very different from admitting that I have taken office supplies from my job or looked at another man's wife and ask the church members help me be a better person.

    2) Since I think the law's and many churches' definition of marriage has become quit different. I think churches would be able to better uphold their own intergity if they stopped participating in the civil marriage process.

    3) I think it is unconstitutional that polygamy is illegal. To me marriage is a religious act and as such the laws making it illeagal clearly cross the line between the seperation of church and state. Note: Not a personal belief! At times one wife is at times more than I can handle.)

  4. Dan,
    I took your Proposal: "The churches should reject participation in the civil process of marriage. That way men and women could be married in the eyes of God and their neighbors." to mean that a marriage is only valid if in relation to a deity and between only a man and woman. I understand your prospective of getting the government out of things (Jack would be in full agreement). However how do we define marriage in a legal manner? We need to have some formality in the process for insurance, health care, inheritance, genealogy research and divorce. You absolutely have the right to have beliefs about what it means. In many ways states rights are absurd with issues like marriage. We live in a mobil, connected society.
    Beckie

  5. Hi Dan!
    I can't leave a huge comment… Blogger won't let me. So I'll leave my comment to your comment to my comment in installments:

    Installment 1:

    Your statements aren’t contradictory to non-religious or same-sex marriage. But your post does carry a value judgment, particularly where same-sex marriage is concerned. Because you equated homosexuality with the sins of stealing and coveting. There’s also an unspoken opinion that the “politically correct” movement to allow gay marriage puts Marriage under fire. So while you’re stating that marriage should be church and faith based and that the government should stay out of the institution of marriage, you’re also peppering that opinion with a value judgment that the reason the government should stay out of marriage is because then, look what happens, morality goes out the window and the gays are suddenly being treated equally to our good, moral, upstanding, God sanctioned marriages.

  6. Installment 2:

    Now, you absolutely have the right to hold beliefs about what your marriage means, even to hold beliefs about what marriage means, but I also have that right, right? Therefore, by your own logic, since I had a church wedding, officiated by two ordained ministers, in the tradition of my religious beliefs, do you not agree that I have the right to define marriage as being a loving, committed relationship between God, a man, and another man? Because in that regard, I completely agree with you. I’ve always looked at my marriage as completely valid and it irks me no end that the government refuses to view it as valid, and would leave me with no rights to see my husband in the hospital, or to be his heir without question. Amongst other rights I’m denied. So yeah, we agree… we totally have the right to determine what marriage is. Even if someone of another faith thinks my marriage constitutes sin equal to stealing and coveting. Or polygamy. Or having sex with animals. Or sacrificing babies. (You never actually said anything about sex with animals or sacrificing babies… but I’ve heard these arguments so often and sometimes they equate any number of other crimes with being gay and lead to accusing me (and every other gay man and lesbian that I know, who all lead upstanding, moral lives) of participating in those crimes.)
    And speaking of rights… are your rights dictated by your religion? Or by your government? I have the right to my opinion, you have the right to your opinion, we share the right to free speech and to worship as we please, but those are all civil rights. Not religious or spiritual rights. So as much as I despise the fact that the government gets to say what my marriage constitutes, I do believe it is only through our civil rights that we get to be equal and that I will be allowed to marry. It’s very easy to detest the government’s intervention in defining marriage when the government supports the definition of your marriage and supports all the rights thereof. In spite of knowing nothing about the situation.

  7. Installment 3:

    As for the flaw in my logic, I have a feeling that there will be no convincing you that my sexual orientation is not a sin. My understanding of your view is that you do not agree that my orientation is inherent in my make up, and that I could therefore change my mind, fix my behavior, ask my church for forgiveness and ask that they help me be a better person. But my experience has taught me that sexual orientation is not the sin. My sexual orientation, and the sexual orientation of all people, is in as much need of correction as hair color, eye color, skin color, the shape of one’s nose, or their manner of walking. There are sexual behaviors that I would agree could be equated with sins like stealing and coveting. But I don’t indulge in those behaviors. I don’t have a gay or lesbian friend who does. (Okay, to my knowledge, but to your knowledge, can you say all your heterosexual friends are indulging in purely loving, legal behaviors?) And am I to be denied the joys of a relationship that you take for granted simply because I choose to have that relationship with another man versus a woman? As wrong as you feel being with another man is, I feel that way about being with women. It is unnatural for me to be with a woman, just as it is unnatural for you to be with a man. Doesn’t make it wrong or sinful. It’s just different than how you are. My experience has taught me that the orientation is not the sin, the religiously sanctioned persecution, abuse, rejection of, and view of gays and lesbians as deviants and outlaws is the real sin.
    (On a personal note, Dan, I’m kind of curious… what is your religious affiliation? Also, on a clarification note, I’d be interested to hear your views on how the law and religion differ in their definitions of marriage. And… what do you mean that the definition of marriage can be changed from state to state? I thought marriages were basically defined as valid no matter what state you get married in, even if you get married in Nevada. LOL. Except for gay marriages, right now, that is. Which I must concur: STUPID!
    The conversation continues!)

  8. Joe,
    I guess to start with, and I am sure you will not be surprised, I find myself to be a little homophobic. I do not understand how women can find men attractive let alone another man. I am somewhat uncomfortable interacting with men of either orientation. Men that find men attractive: incromprehensible!

    My mother was raised Methodist, my father Roman Catholic. They found a compromise and raised their children in the ELCA Lutheran Church. This multi-faceted upbringing brought me to view myself as non-denominational christian, though I prefer a more liturgical service. Now I am not sure. I think the church(es) have made some wrong turns throughout history and I have not found one that is willing to ask itself some pretty obvious questions. I believe there is 'God' but I am sure we all have it wrong at least to some degree. I can handle that, many that attend every Sunday cannot. Religiously, I consider myself to be the most liberal of three brothers. The next in line is a pastor.

    I pretty much think what happens between consenting adults is nobody elses business. Is homosexual sex sinful? Well, let me take a step back, is extra-marital sex sinful? If you have not taken a marriage vow, I don't think so. If you have vowed to have a monogamous relationship, probably yes. I do think there are some strong arguments for abstinance and monogomy.

    I do get irritated by so-call 'reverse' discrimination. When a self-rightous individual labels people with strong 'traditional' values as a 'Hater' that does irritate me. That person is talking about people like my mother and I think she is truely concerned about people's souls.

    If a church believes that homosexual marriage is a sin and you want to be a practicing homosexual then I would say go to a different church.

    I think a major problem with 'Political Correctness' is that it is a form of bigotry. We should, in America, be able to disagree with each other with out hating each other. And when I say disagree, I mean you should be comfortable telling me that you are right and I am wrong. I, of course, do not have to agree.

    Dan

  9. I'm too wordy, and the comments field doesn't like that. Thus: Part I:

    Hey Dan,
    Yes, he says with a smile, you are a little homophobic. But that’s okay. I’m actually a little heterophobic, myself. I’m not exactly the most evolved person, in spite of the many, many hours I’ve put in at yoga classes.
    You know, I kind of had a feeling you might be Lutheran. And you’re ELCA, so you’re even the progressive kind of Lutheran. The pastors who officiated at my commitment ceremony were both Lutheran, so we had a Lutheran wedding because my husband (or… damn it all, EX husband now) is Lutheran. But I’m sliding slightly off topic.
    I agree with your view of churches. So much so (and this was one of the issues between my ex and I), that I finally decided I could have nothing more to do with churches. This stems from my Catholic upbringing, I’m sure, because while in Catholic school at St. John’s in Longmont, I started seeing vast cracks of hypocrisy in the shiny black cassock of church doctrine, and it all went downhill from there. It went further downhill during my years in L.A. and the coffin on my religious beliefs was nailed shut when I started taking yoga classes and the spiritual teachings there started making a hell of a lot more sense. But it’s funny… I’m not even a good yogi. I bought one of the seminal books on yoga and in the introduction I discovered that, in my thoughts, I violate every yogic principle and have committed just about every yogic sin. I’m just bad to the bone! Anyway, part of what drove me out of churches was their views on homosexuality, and the fact that a church can say “Jesus is love and we love all people” and then turn around and say “Except for you faggots [and it’s always the faggots… the lesbians aren’t as abhorrent as the faggots, I’ve never understood why], you burn in hell and we’ll pray for you.”
    UGH!
    So… no church for me. Our concept of God is fucked up one side and down the other and simply does not fit into my experiences in life at all. So no God for me, either, at least, not this amorphous, sometimes really jealous, sometimes really petty, sometimes really pissed off God. And God’s also not a bubble-gum card of love and light. I’m not sure… I haven’t decided yet… but I think that God… is a cat.

  10. And in conclusion:

    As to your questions: no, homosexual sex is not sinful. Just so you know.  And you seem to be making a progression in logic from extra-marital sex and gay sex, and then suggesting that there are strong arguments for abstinence and monogamy in both cases. I’m not sure if that’s your intent, but it reads that way. Also, I guess, since I’ve let go of all things religious, that I just stumble on the word “sin” anyway. Is extra-marital sex wrong? I think it is, if you’re doing it on the sly after engaging another person in an agreement to be monogamous. Don’t know if it’s to the level of sin. But it certainly makes one a complete asshole who should be hogtied and whipped and left for dead covered in honey on an anthill in the central part of an African desert (guess what my issue was in the dissolution of the relationship). But abstinence and monogamy, in spite of my personal issues, have a lot to be desired. We are sexual creatures, all of us, and trying to rein that in or, worse, deny it, I think does so much damage. I’m not advocating we all start having sex with everything everywhere all the time… I know I wouldn’t even want to do that… or even be able to do that. I can’t even muster the courage to go up to a guy and say “Hi”, let alone anything which involves the appearance of the nipple. But loading our sexuality of all stripes up with notions of right and wrong, sin and purity just makes our natures hateful to ourselves and if one believes truly in a loving God that created us, I’ve never felt comfortable with seeing that creation as hateful, in need of correction, or to be loaded up with shame. Though we do live in a society that needs rules and, as I said before, there are behaviors that should be punished… by death by ant hill, in particular.
    And I agree with you, too, on political correctness. Some is very good. It’s good and right to be politically correct to the extent that it insures that the citizens of the United States are all given the same rights guaranteed to us by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. But political correctness does go over the top when we find ourselves activating hate between one another because of different circumstances that form our differing opinions. Right wing nut-job conservative or not, Dan, (I say with a wink) you have the right to your opinion! I myself would totally come off as a right wing nut-job conservative too, if I were asked my opinions about illegal immigrants… particularly Mexican illegal immigrants… don’t get me started! Because that is, as much as it rakes my nerves sometimes, what makes this nation great. We can agree to disagree.
    And P.S., it annoys me, too, when a lot of really good, honest, genuine people are blanketed as haters because they go to church or have “traditional” values. Too many of my friends and family belong to that group and they are quite the opposite of haters. That is one of my gripes when gay groups start in on that shit. Because you know, some of those “haters” are gay, too. Let’s instead focus our hate on true haters like Dick Cheney.
    Joe

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