Saturday, April 25, 2009

Despite an activist court in Iowa, non-traditional "marriage claims" start with "Straight" America's behavior

Traditional marriage advocate Jennifer Roback Morse comments on the Iowa Supreme Court's imposition of same-sex marriage. Her summary:

Advocates of natural marriage, as opposed to genderless marriage, believe that society needs marriage to be a child-centered, gender-based social institution. We have been arguing all along that same-sex “marriage” will be a gender-neutral institution, in which children are only a peripheral concern. When the Supreme Court of Iowa established same-sex “marriage” by judicial decree, they proved our point for us.

While I agree with her analysis of the sorry activist court decision, I want to add a perspective:

Same-sex and other non-traditional marriage claims did not appear out of nowhere. It was heterosexual America which began redefining marriage as a temporary arrangement to meet individual adult needs.

Folks argue about when this started. Most will say "the sexual revolution of the 60s," but I've also heard good arguments that the divorce rate began a steady climb with the dissolution of hasty WWII marriages. (Maybe even "The Greatest Generation" had its flaws, totally understandable for human beings caught up in some of history's greatest traumas). It was conservative icon Ronald Reagan who, as Governor of California, signed the disastrous "No Fault Divorce" idea into law, throwing more fuel on the funeral pyre of the traditionally committed family.

No, it isn't "gays and lesbians tearing down traditional marriage." Straight America did the damage with its cavalier divorce and remarriage patterns, its habit of "living together" despite the evidence that these arrangements are unstable, its treatment of children as cute but disposable accessories, and other awful trends. Most of all, men and women rejected a Christian vision of marriage as a "vocation," a God-given and God-serving role with greater impact on the world than that of clergy and other "religious" vocations.

Yeah, the LGBT activists want symbolic victories. But many gay and lesbian folks who are "out" in mainstream society have little enthusiasm for marriage. Nor do many younger straights. They've seen - no, they've suffered - the selfish chaos of my Baby Boom generation and what some African Christians rightly condemn as our "serial polygamy."

As a Christian, I believe in the Biblical and traditional teaching of marriage as a lifetime vow between one man and one woman. But heterosexual society has ignored that model for some time. So we should not feign shock when gays, lesbians and other groups claim marital status on their own terms, at least in the secular realm.

The disgrace of Churches seeking to bless the self-centered chaos is another editorial altogether.


Anonymous said...

Your commentary introduces a crucial issue with the candidates for bishop.

I do not means to cast any aspersions, but it would APPEAR that Rev. Tarrant as well as Father Floberg are on their second marriages. Did their first marriages end in divorce?

Rev. Tarrant has a blended family. One would suppose, then, that he had a first wife. They had children. His "second" wife (the one he's married to now) had children by a first marriage. They BLENDED their families. He now has 11 children.

So, did Rev. Tarrant's first marriage end in divorce?

Father Floberg says that he is raising "his" daughter, 23. He married his present wife, Sloane, in 1993. Thus, it is obvious that his daughter was the product of an earlier relationship (marriage?).

Let's go the Bible regarding divorce.
Mark 10:10
When they were in the house again, the disciples asied Jesus about this. He answered, "Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery."

Enough said.

TLF+ said...

The Episcopal Church used to be on par with the Roman Catholic Church when it came to resisting remarriage after divorce. Some would argue that the shift to more permissive divorce policy (1973)was a concession to the culture that started the denomination's shift away from Biblical authority.

I won't survey all the literature here, but the church has understood a number of Biblical justifications for a divorced person to remarry. But Presiding Bishop John Allin, the last "conservative" PB, suggested as he retired that divorced clergy should consider stepping away from active exercise of ordained ministry.

So you raise a fair point, in light of what I posted. I think that this denomination has pretty much embraced the spirit of the age, regarding marriage as something for individual fulfillment rather than a shared lifetime vocation. Certainly, I came into both ordained ministry and marriage from the individualist cultural assumption and have been engaged in remedial work (on myself) for some time, mainly as the challenges of raising kids forced me to look seriously into the Biblical message. (Yeah, I was a revisionist coming out of seminary).

So it is not going to be easy work for the denomination to turn away from the current direction. I think that the healthiest thing would be to say, "Going forward, from such and such a date, we return to the marital standards that the church held prior to 1973" You don't boot currently ordained clergy or "undo" existing second marriages, but you just acknowledge the failed experiment and return to what you used to do.

Of course that can't happen because Same Sex Unions would be stopped, and TEC is too invested in them to turn back.

Alice C. Linsley said...

In the order of creation there is only one form of sexual union - between a man and a woman. All other forms violate the order of creation, thus introducing disorder to society and to creation.

Too often sexual activity is used to debase the Divine Image. Homosex, sex with beasts, and onanism are examples. Observation of nature shows us what God has ordered. Semen should not fall to the earth as the seed of plants which spring forth from the earth. Man's seed should fall on his own type (the womb), from which man comes forth.

Homosex does not conform to the created order with its binary distinctions of male/female, East/West, night/day, etc. That is why homosexuality is considered an abomination alongside beastiality and onanism. These blurr the distinction between humans in the Image of God and creatures not in the image of God.