Marriage Archives

I recently was a part of a rather lengthy blog comment discussion about same-sex marriage on the site of a liberal Christian. I noted that Genesis 2:24 was pretty clear what marriage was defined as, and that when the Bible mentioned marriage, it was always heterosexual. (Another commenter picked up on the idea that, even when polygamy is mentioned, it is one-man-many-women.; each of the women were married to the man, not to each other.) Every mention in history, in a parable, or even just talking about a particular married couple, it was heterosexual. There’s even a whole book (Song of Solomon) devoted to heterosexual marriage and the sexuality within it. But nothing–no press at all–on same-sex marriage.

And the mentions of homosexuality in general? Again, 100% negative. You can argue the contexts, I suppose, but every time homosexuality is mentioned, whatever the context, it is sin. I’m willing to listen to arguments as to where homosexuality is mentioned positively, or even neutrally, but I don’t recall ever hearing it.

I find this significant. The Bible talks about marriage quite a bit, and yet nothing at all about same-sex marriage. Now, the arguments against me included the idea that, while Genesis 2:24 says what marriage is, it doesn’t say what marriage isn’t. I found this laughable, and surprisingly legalistic for someone who, I’m pretty sure, did not appreciate legalists. In this particular case, it sounded like this person required that the commandment must include fine print and enough provisos worth of a car commercial. “This command should not be construed to permit situations such as, but not limited to, marriages of minors (under the age of 18), animals, toasters (including other mechanical and/or electrical objects), and/or siblings. Tax, tag, title and dealer prep extra.”

Another objection was that the Bible didn’t mention nuclear power, either, but we don’t take it as a handbook on that. Indeed,the Bible says nothing about all things nuclear, nor energy sources in general. But it does talk about marriage, a lot, and when it does, it’s all about the man and the woman.

I was also told that there were so very few verses at al that even talked about homosexuality that it wasn’t enough to really draw any concrete conclusions. This from guys who were literally ridiculing my point about 100% of the Bible talking exclusively about heterosexual marriage. Amounts only matter, it seems, in certain cases.

Anyway, that’s what the Bible has to say. Over the millennia, a lot of smart guys have looked at the issue and have come to the same conclusion.

Church history is crystal clear: Homosexual practice has been affirmed nowhere, never, by no one in the history of Christianity. . . .

Christianity is a tradition; it is a faith with a particular ethos, set of beliefs and practices handed on from generation to generation. The Christian tradition may be understood as the history of what God’s people have believed and how they have lived based upon the Word of God. This tradition is not only a collection of accepted doctrines but also a set of lifestyle expectations for a follower of Christ. One of the primary things handed down in the Christian church over the centuries is a consistent set of lifestyle ethics including specific directives about sexual behavior. The church of every generation from the time of the apostles has condemned sexual sin as unbecoming a disciple of Christ. At no point have any orthodox Christian teachers ever suggested that one’s sexual practices may deviate from biblical standards.

Concerning homosexuality there has been absolute unanimity in church history; sexual intimacy between persons of the same gender has never been recognized as legitimate behavior for a Christian. One finds no examples of orthodox teachers who suggested that homosexual activity could be acceptable in God’s sight under any circumstances. Revisionist biblical interpretations that purport to support homosexual practice are typically rooted in novel hermeneutical principles applied to Scripture, which produce bizarre interpretations of the Bible held nowhere, never, by no one.

This applies to a host of other churches and traditions, not just the orthodox ones. Ignore all of that collected wisdom at your peril. Indeed, sometimes there does need to be an overturning of established understanding (see: Martin Luther), but there had better be an extremely good Biblical foundation and argument accompanying it. The reasons I’ve seen so far trying to establish a Christian imperative for same-sex marriage could just as easily be applied to many other actions that the church considers sinful. Jesus loved the woman caught in adultery, and did not condemn here there, but told her to “go and sin no more”. He called it what it was and didn’t affirm her behavior just because it was forgiven.

We should do the same. The  Christian Left will complain, but while they can come up with their own arguments, they have little (if anything) to stand on, biblically speaking. When the Bible speak of homosexuality, it is always negative, and when the Bible speaks of marriage is it always heterosexual. This is significant.

Jumping the Shark and the Marriage/State Discussion

From the rust belt, this statement was made (and apparently affirms at some level … of sophistry):

Justin and I both accepted a crucial premise that neither one of us bothered to support: that “marriage” should be a legal institution for any arrangement of people.

Well, there you go, jump that shark along with the Fonz. What might be some of the consequences of that notion:

  • Kiss the inheritance tax goodbye, after all just “marry” your beneficiaries for spouses don’t pay that tax. 
  • That will really help the power relationship between pimp and his flock now that he can “marry” them and really control their lives with legal machinery at his beck and call. 
  • I’d bet a clever lawyer might combine marriage and employment in ways that might be serve as a good union-buster. 
  • Or on the flip side, unions could “close shop” to only those in the family and get new ways to enhance their power.
  • For the controlling parent, “marry” your kids to enhance your hold on their life after age 18. 

When you try to make a blanket statement that marriage should be allowed for any random arrangement of people you need to step back and consider the sorts of things which marriage allows, merging of finances, relaxation of privacy between members, and a the option for a shared corporate presence for the state. There’s going to be lots of ramifications when you decide any group can don that cloak. 

In the early years after the framers finished the Constitution, they were quite taken aback and surprised that Mr Burr formed a electoral machine in New York and almost grabbed the Presidency. They hadn’t “figured” on the consequences of their laws. Likewise it pretty clear that a decision that the legal status of marriage assigned to “any arbitrary group” of people is going to be similarly used by people lacking the preconceptions-as-constraints under which your discussion labored. 



Scalia the Prophet

James Taranto notes that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia basically predicted the ruling against Prop 8 in California.  Judge Walker, in this decision, cited, among other things, Lawrence v. Texas which struck down state laws criminalizing consensual sodomy.  "It’s just personal behavior", was the argument from those trying to get those laws overturned.  The Supreme Court justices themselves, who wrote the opinion in Lawrence successfully overturning the state laws, said that the Lawrence case "does not involve" the issue of same-sex marriage.

Scalia essentially called that disingenuous in his dissent.

Today’s opinion dismantles the structure of constitutional law that has permitted a distinction to be made between heterosexual and homosexual unions, insofar as formal recognition in marriage is concerned. If moral disapprobation of homosexual conduct is "no legitimate state interest" for purposes of proscribing that conduct, and if, as the Court coos (casting aside all pretense of neutrality), "[w]hen sexuality finds overt expression in intimate conduct with another person, the conduct can be but one element in a personal bond that is more enduring," what justification could there possibly be for denying the benefits of marriage to homosexual couples exercising "[t]he liberty protected by the Constitution"? Surely not the encouragement of procreation, since the sterile and the elderly are allowed to marry. This case "does not involve" the issue of homosexual marriage only if one entertains the belief that principle and logic have nothing to do with the decisions of this Court.

Same-sex marriage is not the first step on some slippery slope.  It is, for some, the destination; the result of supposedly innocuous rulings that have come previously which laid a foundation that backers, including liberals on the Supreme Court, claimed had nothing to do with same-sex marriage. 

This is how they remake society; by lying to you until such time as they’ve built up enough steam, by whatever means necessary, to force through what they ultimately want.  This destination has been predicted for some time; Scalia’s prediction came in 1986.  He (nor I) could believe that the liberals on the bench were that stupid as to not know what they were doing.  It was, and is today, not so much about the law as it is about the politics for them. 

Also, Scalia’s prediction was not "fear mongering"; it was an honest conclusion drawn based on an understanding of the law and its ramifications.  Neither it is "fear mongering" to suggest that this destination is itself not final, but simply a stopping point on the way to who knows where else.  One simply has to look at history, even just recent history, to know that.  After same-sex marriage, the Netherlands began giving civil unions to unions of 3 or more in 2005.  And in 2004:

Tucker Carlson, host of CNN’s "Crossfire", debated with Human Rights Campaign President Cheryl Jacques on the polygamy issue. Carlson asked her why shouldn’t polygamists be able to marry and all she could say was, "I don’t approve of that."

Jacque was pushing for same-sex marriage, but figured it would all just stop in its tracks right there, because she didn’t approve of it.  I’ve got news for you:  jokes about "boogetymen", trying to ignore this history and the considered opinions of law scholars much smarter than they or I, display an ignorance and dismissiveness that belie a facade of thoughtful consideration.

In 1986, few people who argued against sodomy laws thought that it was any more than a privacy matter.  They were naive and/or misguided.  Those who think today that the debate over what is marriage will be done once we have same-sex marriage are equally naive and misguided.  But they will have less of a reason to claim, down the line, that they couldn’t have had an idea what would come of it.  Willful blindness will be the only explanation.

Scalia was right.  Remember that.

Overturning Your Roots

It has been said that if you wish to remake a culture, you have to disassociate it from it roots, its foundation.

Having said that, here is John Adams, 2nd President of the United States and signer of the Declaration of Independence, from 1798:

We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion . . . Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.

And from today’s paper.

Reporting from San Francisco and Los Angeles —

A federal judge declared California’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional Wednesday, saying that no legitimate state interest justified treating gay and lesbian couples differently from others and that "moral disapproval" was not enough to save the voter-passed Proposition 8.


"The evidence shows conclusively that moral and religious views form the only basis for a belief that same-sex couples are different from opposite-sex couples," Walker wrote.

What are the reasons we have laws against marrying children?  Are they not, really, almost entirely moral arguments?  Dismissing those types of arguments, and we dismiss our heritage.  Sweep that out of the way, and those in power get to remake society.

Update:  La Shawn Barber ends her post on the subject with this:

Considering that we’re all sinners, even us forgiven ones (including me), I offer you Romans 1: 18-21:

“Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

“For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.

“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.”

It’s this morality and religion that, in my opinion, has been the prime reason our country, and Western civilization in general, has led the world in so many areas.  Chuck Colson has some good thoughts that (as well as some on yesterday’s ruling).

Obligatory disclaimer:  Yes, yes, Western civilization has not been as pure as the driven snow.  However, as poorly as we may have done and as many mistakes as we made over the centuries, the overall driving force has indeed been one that at least revered the Bible if not fully following it to the letter.  (Which you could say about pretty much everyone.)  As opposed to those following other religions and philosophies, Western civilization has been blessed with so much, more so than other cultures, and I think we have the religion we’ve at least given tacit approval to to thank for it.  The farther we stray from that, the fewer those blessings will be.

Friday Link Wrap-Up

They check immigration status at traffic stops.  This can only be referring to those racists in … Rhode Island.  Do you think we’re likely to see a lawsuit from the Justice Department there?  Yea, me neither.  In fact, it’s already been upheld by the First Circuit Court of Appeals when a private citizen sued.  Yet the government is going after Arizona for this.  Can’t have anything to do with who each state voted for in the last election, right?

A federal district court judge in Boston today struck down the 1996 federal law that defines marriage as a union exclusively between a man and a woman.”  I’ve read portions of the ruling, and I can actually see the judge’s point.  However, I think the 10th Amendment’s “equal protection” clause is being misused a bit to now refer to things like health benefits, which doesn’t really strike me as “protection” from a government’s viewpoint.  And Jack Balkin, a supporter of same-sex marriage incidentally, wonders (among other things) if liberals really want to go down this path with the 10th Amendment.  “As much as liberals might applaud the result, they should be aware that the logic of his arguments, taken seriously, would undermine the constitutionality of wide swaths of federal regulatory programs and seriously constrict federal regulatory power.”

The “biggest revolution in the NHS [Britain’s National Health System] for 60 years” is … giving doctors responsibility for overseeing patient care!  Yes folks, it took 60 years of socialized medicine for them to realize that.  Do you want to lose those 60 years of common sense here?

Much of the media is saying that the report that was commissioned by the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia to investigate the ClimateGate document dump exonerated the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia.  Except there’s the issue of the biggest thing critics have been harping on; the “hide the decline” suggestion that inconvenient data has been reworked to be consistent with the conclusion already drawn.  Buried in the report is this gem:

On the allegation that the references in a specific e-mail to a “trick” and to “hide the decline” in respect of a 1999 WMO report figure show evidence of intent to paint a misleading picture, we find that, given its subsequent iconic significance (not least the use of a similar figure in the IPCC Third Assessment Report), the figure supplied for the WMO Report was Misleading.

Terry Miller explains:

The researchers were not trying to hide evidence of a decline in global temperatures over the last decade—we have plenty of actual thermometer readings to show temperatures in recent years. What they were trying to hide was the discrepancy between actual temperature readings and the temperatures suggested by tree ring data. They have relied on tree ring data to show that the earth was cooler in the past. If the tree ring data is not reliable (as the discrepancy in recent years would suggest), then maybe the earth was actually hotter in the past than these researchers would have us believe—and perhaps the hot temperatures of recent years do not represent unprecedented global warming but just natural variation in climate.

So the big issue that critics latched on to is, indeed, still a big issue.

Friday Link Wrap-up

A typical reason couples live together before getting married is that, supposedly, this will allow them to find out if they are compatible and thus ensure their marriage lasts longer.  But a new study says, nope, they are less likely to stay married.

Read my lips; no new taxes on those making $250,000 or less.  Well, we may soon add to the many exceptions since that promise was made, “unless you own a home”.

The revolving door between the MSM and the Democratic Party.  Oh, that liberal media.

If the Gulf oil spill had happened on Bush’s watch, do you really think the environmental groups would be as virtually silent as they are now?  (Me neither.)

Remember how the UN climate change panel was supposed to be the result of boatloads of scientists in agreement?  Turns out the boat was a dingy.

And from the “Beware of Governments Bearing Gifts” department:

Churches and other faith-based organizations that receive government funds, beware. In an agreement that will be enforced by a federal court, government agencies in New York have agreed to monitor the Salvation Army to ensure that it doesn’t impose religion on the people its serves through its tax-funded social services.

The agreement just effects the Salvation Army’s social work in New York, but it’s more than a cautionary tale for religious groups in this era of government-backed faith-based initiatives. “With this settlement, government is watching out,” co-counsel Deborah Karpatkin of the N.Y. Civil Liberties Union said in a statement. “It will not fund religious organizations to proselytize to recipients of government-funded social services.”

The Salvation Army’s social services are intended to be an expression of faith in God and love for fellow man, but if they are prevented from doing the former while performing the latter, they’re being hobbled.  My suggestion has always been to avoid government money at all costs.

Rusty Nails (SCO v. 4)

Well, some of us tried to warn our fellow Americans about Obama’s lack of experience.

“Barack Obama’s incompetence, if indeed he is incompetent, results directly from a flawed political and media process that allowed such a candidate to go forward. It’s a failure of quality control. It’s an indictment of the gatekeepers and of the media in particular. They didn’t look the gift horse in the mouth and now it turns out he’s wearing dentures. It wasn’t President Obama’s fault that he aspired to a job he had no preparation for: a man’s entitled to try for as much as he can get … will you give a billion dollars, please … but only a fool would let him. And the fools in this case would do well not to ask for him to try harder. At some point the only way they can redeem themselves is to stop digging and realize that they, not he, are to blame for this fix.”


I suppose, then, we should re-write our founding documents?


The Voyage of the Dawn Treader – the trailer is out.


From the common sense department:

Women in always-intact marriages who worship at least weekly are more likely to have had fewer lifetime sexual partners than those in other family structures who never worship.


Good guy wins another one. Let’s see, another attempted robbery, and another store-owner dispatching the would-be robber. And, again, this one is in Chicago, which means that the individual who engaged in self-defense could face prosecution. As they say, “better to be tried by 12, than carried by 6.”

Anti-polygamy marriage bill dies in committee

From the New Mexico Independent. Actually, the headline reads,

Anti-gay marriage bill dies in committee

An excerpt,

An attempt to define marriage as between on [sic] man and one woman failed in the Senate Rules Committee Monday by a vote of 5-2.

It is indeed interesting to see how clarifying the definition of marriage, as being between one man and one woman, is twisted into being an anti-gay stance.

I suppose, to be fair, we should consider the proposed bill to also be anti-polygamy, since it referred to marriage between only one man and one woman. Perhaps the bill is anti-child as it excludes children from the equation. Anti-species? After all, there may be some individuals interested in marrying one of their pets. And, for all those narcissists out there, the bill is certainly anti-self since it would prohibit one from marrying themselves.

Let’s not get in the way of God’s Plan

From Politico (HT: Holycoast), former Governor Mark Sanford writes,

Immediately after all this unfolded last week I had thought I would resign – as I believe in the military model of leadership and when trust of any form is broken one lays down the sword. A long list of close friends have suggested otherwise – that for God to really work in my life I shouldn’t be getting off so lightly. While it would be personally easier to exit stage left, their point has been that my larger sin was the sin of pride. They contended that in many instances I may well have held the right position on limited government, spending or taxes – but that if my spirit wasn’t right in the presentation of those ideas to people in the General Assembly, or elsewhere, I could elicit the response that I had at many times indeed gotten from other state leaders.

Be a man and show us how easy it is, Gov. Sanford.

Wing to Wing: A Start

Recently I suggested returning to reading through an excellent book on marriage. Hopefully, for the foreseeable future, I’m going to be blogging my way though in exhaustive detail through the book Wing to Wing, Oar to Oar: Readings on Courting and Marrying. This is a repost of some introductory remarks about this book and then look ahead, via the table of contents at what is in store for us over the upcoming weeks.

Leon Kass, by virtue of his tenure on the President’s Committee on Bioethics has become a somewhat polarizing figure. I had the distinct pleasure of having him teaching a class at the U of Chicago some few years ago in a class on .. of all things, ethics and science. He was (and still is) an amazing discussion leader. His ability to “sum up” and hone in and restate the jumbled thoughts of undergraduates. His wife Amy was even more sought for her courses by those Humanities and Social Thought undergraduates.

This book is not what one might expect. It doesn’t put forth any particular viewpoint in any obvious way. The majority of this book comprises a collection of essays or short excerpts bequeathed to us as part of the heritage of Western civilization. For example, contributing essays or excerpts are drawn from: Darwin, Erasmus, Keirkegaard, Homer, Herodotus, Shakespeare, Franklin, Tolstoy, and Frost. The structure of this book is as follows, after a short introductory remarks, the readings and discussions are drawn up in seven larger/basic sections:

  1. Where are we Now? This section is comprised of essays by modern critics, anthropologists, and scholars who examine and critique the state of modern courtship and marriage. Contributors are Stone, Bailey, Bloom, and Blankenhorn. Arguably this might be the most controversial or biased section of the book.
  2. Why Marry?The book then pushes forth with a firm defense of the institution of marriage. Contributors range through history: Darwin, Aquinas, Erasmus, Bacon, Austen, Keirkegaard, Tucker, Meilaender, Borowitz, and Muir.
  3. What about Sex?Next, sexuality itself is examined via writings of Homer, Genesis, Rousseau, Herodotus, Kant, Riezler, and May.
  4. Is this Love?What is this (little) thing we call love? Answers are sought from Divakaruni, Plato (2 contributions from the Symposium, The Song of Songs, De Rougemont, Shakespeare (2 entries), Rousseau, Rilke, and Lewis.
  5. How Can I find the Right One?If Marriage is good, and love is a thing we are beginning to have a glimmer of understanding, Courtship must be considered. Advice from Miss Manners (Martin), Genesis (2 entries), Abraham, Pitt-Rivers, Erasmus, Shakespeare, Franklin, Rousseau, Tolstoy, and Austen is on offer.
  6. Why a Wedding?When one considers wedding, May, De Rougemont, a variety of wedding ceremonies and vows are included (including Anglican, Lutheran, Jewish, Muslim, and “Contemporary” vows), and an essay by Kass and Kass on the patronym.
  7. What Can Married Life Be Like?Finally, what are the blessings one might obtain in marraige? These include contributions from: Homer, Aristotle, Jewish Midrash, Kipling, Ballou, de Toqueville, Rousseau, Capon, Tolstoy, and Frost.

In each of chapters, each of the readings is introduced by a very short (page or less) introduction explaining the context of the reading selected, why it was selected and perhaps some assistance in understanding how the writer operates if the dialectial methodology is unfamiliar to most, e.g,. the formalized dialectical methods of the scholastics as is used in the example drawn from Aquinas. Read the rest of this entry

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