Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The True Definition of Marriage

The recent ruling by the Supreme Court that overturns the Defense of Marriage Act requires me to comment. As one educated in law and deeply committed to Christianity, I feel blessed that I can see through the distraction from virtue that these worldly views create.

The bottom line here is that our government is promoting liberalism in all forms. Why? It gets votes. If you want to get elected and stay in power, just pander to a liberal. Liberals at large do not care about the national debt…they don’t expect to ever have to personally account for it. They do not care about foreign policy…they don’t expect the actions of foreign nations to directly affect them. They do not care about the virtues of self-restraint, working hard for what they receive, or maintaining liberty the way it has been in every society that preceded us – by strong defenses. Instead, they care about gay rights. They care about abortion rights. They care about illegal immigration rights. They care about environmentalism. They want health care that is paid by someone else. They want an income that is paid by someone else without working for it. In summary, they care about the benefits and the pleasures they can enjoy today, and leaving the day of accountability to the future, as if it will never come. As long as politicians give people the immediate selfish gratification they want, those politicians will keep getting elected. I simply call them vote whores. That’s what they are.

Marriage was instituted by God, not by the laws of men. It was first mentioned in the Bible. It was not a legal ceremony with paperwork, fees and a blood test. It was a commitment to one’s new spouse and to God. And as such – being a genuine commitment to God, it carried much more weight, integrity and reverence in the minds of those who participated. Only in our modern era has the legal system usurped authority over the God-ordained act of marriage. And this is only because modern laws have commingled marital rights with legal rights. Examples are the right to own property, the right to share insurance benefits, the right to income tax relief, such as ‘married filing jointly’. Once the government gave incentives or advantages to married couples, they opened the door to requiring ‘equal protection’ to unmarried partners as well as to homosexual relationships. Because of this crossing of legal lines, the courts have no choice but to act. Either they refuse to recognize marriage as a legal act and remove all marriage-based public incentives (tax breaks, etc), or they allow all the same privilege under the equal protection clauses of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. This really isn’t about the courts becoming corrupt because they made these decisions. They had to. The current moral/political climate requires that they equally protect all. Failing to act would be imposing moral beliefs (religion) into law. The problem is that religion (marriage) and government (taxes, property, etc) crossed paths and shared benefits along the way. That is where this conflict really started.

What we have today are two opposite definitions of marriage. There is the ‘legal’ or worldly definition: the government-sanctioned union between two consenting adults. Then there is God’s definition: the union of a man and a woman. Only one can be correct, though. If the government wants to call a homosexual ‘marriage’ a legal marriage, then let them. But if government truly wants all people to be equal, then don’t persecute heterosexual people. This includes small business owners and religious institutions. If a small business owner chooses not to do business with a homosexual person because doing so violates his personal religious morals, there are two choices: 1) Allow this, and the homosexual population can find plenty of other providers for services; or 2) Force the business owner to conduct business with the homosexual person, completely violating the First and Fourteenth Amendment rights of the business owner. Unfortunately, our government has chosen the latter… they willfully violate the Constitution and force business owners to serve in ways that violate their religious convictions.

As an example, a wedding photographer who personally is a conservative Christian worshipper refuses to photograph the wedding of a gay couple. Realistically, the gay couple could find any number of other photographers who would want their business. No one’s rights are violated in this case. But today, that photographer could be criminally prosecuted for refusing to photograph a gay marriage. That violates his constitutional rights. Does the government care about his (or our) constitutional rights? Not if protecting the rights of heterosexuals costs them votes. Not if doing the right thing hurts their re-election chances.

Regarding the definition of marriage, the government can legislate any definition they want to. God instituted marriage, not men. God defined what a marriage is. Men cannot change that definition. They certainly can pretend to, and they are. But marriage is, and always will be, between a man and a woman. The government is simply using improper terminology to define a civil union in order to bestow government benefits and pander for votes.

Calling a gay union a marriage is no different than the government passing a law that says that any object moving in the sky is ‘flying’. If you throw a rock, it is ‘flying’. If you fall off a tall building, you are ‘flying’. Does that mean you ‘crashed’ when you hit the ground as if it was an accident? Do we need the National Transportation Safety Board to investigate the cause of your ‘flying accident’ and assign blame somewhere else? Falling out of the sky is not flying, any more than a gay union is a marriage, no matter what the government legislates. What about the definition of Heaven? Our government could pass a law saying that Heaven is officially defined as anything that brings pleasure to anyone. Clearly contrary to the definition that the Creator of Heaven gave. Again, the government can call anything what they want. It does not change the facts. Marriage was defined by God to be between a man and a woman. Government can pretend to change that, but they are only pretending. Such a definition only matters to the godless.

None of this is intended to be ‘hate speech’ against gays. Not at all. I have gays in my extended family and I love them. The gay co-workers in my career have been some of the very best, most dependable employees, and the first I’d think of if I needed to hire someone. Their sexual choices do not define everything else about them. I support the rights of gays to have all the same legal privileges that heterosexuals have. That includes property rights, tax breaks, educational opportunities, and the like. No more and no less. Equal. Recently the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has openly supported gay rights as they pertain to society. The right to jointly own property, the right to be free in one’s beliefs, the right to cohabitate, etc. There is no social discrimination from the LDS Church, despite the efforts of persecutors to imply differently and incite hate toward the church. Social equality is what they say… but our government will not stop there. They are forcing homosexuality and gay marriage into society while inhibiting and outright threatening the rights of heterosexuals. They are promoting liberalism under the intentionally deceitful banner of equality.

One thing I believe is that persecution against Christians everywhere will increase. Those who hold true to their beliefs will feel the heat. Many will buckle under the persecution and will ‘get out of the kitchen’, showing God that their faith is only so strong. But I also believe that God will allow those of us who believe in Him, who genuinely cling to Him, to be protected when things get really difficult. But we cannot procrastinate our faithfulness and wait until it is convenient to jump on God’s bandwagon. The time is now.