Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Christians, You Misunderstand The Marriage Debate

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia.org

Right now as I write this entry, there is a debate going on somewhere in the United States.  The debate?  Well if you have not turned on a television in the past few hours, it is about same-sex marriage.  At this moment the US Supreme Court is discussing a case where a lady has sued to have a same-sex relationship recognized like a traditional marriage.  It is not just about the marriage, but all the full rights of a traditional marriage where the spouses receive benefits, insurance, tax breaks, etc.  However, at a time where the United States is in turmoil over who has the right to be married the debate is mostly misunderstood.

I am a follower of Christ and I believe that marriage should be between one man and one woman. The Bible says in Genesis 2:24: “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”  This is my belief and I do not back down from it.  At the same time, those who do not believe the Bible as absolute truth will ignore this verse as they feel it does not pertain to them.  I get it.  I understand it.  Our starting point of understanding is totally different and as such there will not be an agreement.  My basis is in what God says.  Their bases is from their set of beliefs and values.  

In another camp, you have those who wish to have same-sex marriages recognized by the state and/or federal government.  They believe that they should be afforded the same rights as a married man and wife.  They believe they should have the same tax breaks, insurance coverage and benefits, as well as any other benefits afforded to a traditional married couple.  They desire to have the nation to accept them for who they are and give them the civil rights they deserve (although, I do not believe that this is a civil rights debate, but that is for another entry).  

What you end up having is this huge debate of different camps arguing about what’s right and what’s wrong - they are arguing about what the federal and state governments should allow and what should be sanctioned.  Christians are worried that, if laws change, many churches will be force to perform same-sex marriages which goes totally against the Word of God.  Those who are proponents of same-sex marriages feel that they are at the cusp of opportunity to be recognized with the same equal rights as others.  Everything is in a pure conundrum in this country.  However, let’s sit back for a minute. Let’s look at marriage for what it is today in the United States.

If you’ve noticed, everything that has been discussed is about the equal rights that are legally allowed by the government.  Looking at it for what it is, today’s marriage is an institution which is regulated by the government.  When I got married, I obtained a Marriage License.  Until recently it never dawned on me why I needed one other than it was apart of the process.  However, if you look at what has happened over history, you realize that something that was once a family only affair has turned into a permissioned based union by the government.

According to TheFreeDictionary.com, a marriage license is “a license authorizing two people to marry”.  If you go a step further, let’s look at the word license.  After doing a Google search, I found that a license is “[a] permit from an authority to own or use something, do a particular thing, or carry on a trade”.  In essence you have the government acting as the authority who is authorizing two people to legally enter into a union.  Theoretically, you would be breaking the law if you married someone without getting the authorization of a governing authority!  In addition, you would be breaking the law if you attempted to violate numerous marriage acts that were passed (some prohibiting the marriage of siblings, under aged, etc.).  How in the world did this happen?  How did the government become wrapped up in the legalities of marriage when men and women have been doing so since the beginning of time?

“For most of Western history, marriage was a private contract between two families. Until the 16th-century, Christian churches accepted the validity of a marriage on the basis of a couple’s declarations.”1  Prior to the 16th-century, a lot of marriages were arranged.  The families arranged the bride and groom and a ceremony process took place befitting for that culture.  In historical Jewish Marriage, it would start by the arrangement of the two to be married.  Next, the groom would have to pay money to the bride’s family for her and then the groom would go back to his father’s house to build a room for he and the new bride.  Once the room was completed, he would go back to get her, bring her home to the new room where they’d later consummate the marriage.  Pretty much that was it (I gave the abridged version, but I would encourage you to read my wife’s, The Bride of Christ and the Historical Jewish Marriage Significance).  

If you look at it for what it is, today’s form of “legalized marriage” is nothing more than a taxation and in returned you get “xyz” benefits from the license.  In a nutshell, that’s what you have.  Contrary to popular belief, the Supreme Court does not care what God says.  The Federal, state, and local governments do not care what church folk or conservatives believe is immoral or wrong.  When you marry, you receive a license that can be nullified at any moment because while you married your spouse, you were also given legal permission to do so by a third party.  As such, laws change and at the drop of the dime so can the definition of marriage according to man’s law and not God’s law.  Just because you go to a church and get married, you still are reminded by a Reverend to not forget to sign the marriage certificate, so it can be returned to the State.

People of God, you are pretty much approaching a debate with the wrong set of class notes.  Once man started to decide what was legal and illegal in regards to marriage, God was thrown out of the mix.  The laws are such that instead of paying a family for the bride, you pay the government for your bride.  We have lived this way for so many decades that we do not know anything different.  No one has ever asked why you need permission from someone other than parents to marry your spouse.  Satan is so clever that in the end you find yourself trying to defend the institution of marriage as defined by man and not God without even knowing it.

In conclusion, I encourage you to do your own research on the history of marriage. You might be amazed at what you find and you may realize that this battle is not yours to fight.

Be Blessed.

Antoine E. Hall

1. Wikipedia.com. “Marriage License”.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marriage_license.

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