Fear Of Whales

Tales of a reluctant minister

Protecting the Sanctity of Marriage.

with 11 comments

Mawwaige!Would somebody please explain to me how having a battle with the federal government in the courts about the interpretation of the constitution is supposed to protect the sanctity of a God ordained institution between men and women?

Seriously, use the comments section and explain it to me, I just don’t get it.

How can we possibly say out of one side of our mouths that marriage is a sacred institution which God alone is in control of, while at the very same time saying that if this or that bill passes it will be ruined?

It seems to be that the only way we can truly interfere with marriage in the church would be to allow ourselves to become convinced that what the government has to say actually has anything whatsoever to do with who is and who is not married in the eyes of God!

So on one side we have the holy institution of marriage, a part of what Lutherans call the “Right Hand Kingdom” a Godly practice undertaken by two people who love each other and form a covenant to death. And then on the other side you have the civil institution of marriage, a part of the “Left Hand Kingdom”, wherein two people decide to file with the state in order to garner certain benefits and hold all assets jointly until they file for divorce.

And these two things, though they often coincide, have absolutely nothing to do with one another. the fact that they are both called “marriage” is an unfortunate circumstance. But considering the word “bow” can mean anything from a decorative knot to a device used to play a violin I should think were more than able to overcome the idea that the same word might have two different meanings.

This is a lesson I really wish we would learn well as a church, it affects more than our theology of same-sex marriage.

Consider the number of young couples, who being sexually tempted, remember the words of their youth pastor, and decide to get married. And so they file with the state and have a left handed ceremony, but fail utterly to comprehend the significance of a lifetime covenant of sacrificial love with one another. I call it “Premarital Marriage” and it is notably more damaging and immoral than premarital sex, what it essentially does is create two problems out of one, where now the couple is not only sexually active prematurely, but also married in the eyes of the state, causing problems with bitterness, divorce, and children.

And speaking of divorce how many couples in the church today have broken their covenant before God to love one another in sickness and in health? How many married couples hate one another? How many supposedly unbroken homes exist where husband in wife sleep in separate beds, separate rooms, or separate houses because they can’t bear to look one another in the eye? Ans what is it that’s gone wrong with a church that tells such couples not to file for divorce, because that would be a sin?

That is the same perverted logic that causes catholic school girls to become pregnant at 15 because they thought using a condom while having premarital sex with their boyfriend would be immoral. At the point where you hate one another, you’re already divorced. The paperwork just makes it easier come tax time.

Now just to be clear: I’m against divorce, and against premarital sex, I think young couples should get married, and older couples should seek reconciliation in their marriages, but I also think that if you are not going to do that then you might as well be honest about it in the eyes of the state and make it easier on yourself.

So in closing consider this:

When you fall in love, and promise one person that you will be theirs and they will be yours as long as you both shall live, and when you have a wedding in Paris at Notre Damme presided over by Billy Graham himself and doves descend into the sanctuary as a sign from heaven above that even The Father God is celebrating your union on this day, remember that even on that great morning there will be couples plotting the murder of their spouses in their heads, teenagers driving to Vegas, to “make it legal”, former strippers marrying 70 year old millionaires for their money, and a whole host of illegal immigrants marrying for citizenship. But none of that will matter. You will be joined in the eyes of God with the person you love and the US government could do nothing to tarnish that in a million years.

And neither can Adam and Steve.


Written by RyanGaffney

September 20, 2010 at 1:08 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

11 Responses

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  1. Well done Ryan. Agree. I’m thinking of starting up a new site about things such as this. Very good arguments. I can smell the debate season usefulness.

    How’s Kansas, by the way? (It’s Kansas, right?)


    September 20, 2010 at 10:57 pm

  2. For the most part I agree with your entire post – well, all except the first paragraph and last paragraph.

    All of the things you listed that suck about marriages in America are right on the money. And most people don’t realize what they are getting into. This damages the sanctity of marriage. I agree there.

    However, I really don’t understand your first paragraph at all when contrasted with your last sentence. It is a complete non-sequitir.

    You just lost the debate!!! 🙂

    You see, you said, “Would somebody please explain to me how having a battle with the federal government in the courts about the interpretation of the constitution is supposed to protect the sanctity of a God ordained institution between men and women?”

    …and then you said, “And neither can Adam and Steve.”

    That is a contradiction because it is not those who are for “sanctity of marriage” that are having a battle with the federal government in the courts. It is exactly the opposite. Those who are for same sex marriage questioned the federal constitutionality of a lawful passed state proposition. So, if I were just judging your position on the merits of the first paragraph, I would think that you would support the side of the “Sanctity of marriage” crowd. That seems to be the debate that your words are setting up in the first paragraph.

    Denny Fusek

    October 6, 2010 at 2:21 am

    • Ok I think I’ve failed to make myself clear in two ways.

      First of all “P-Con” is performative. I think you mean to be accusing me of a regular contradiction where I say two things that contradict one another (P-Con would be if I say one thing and mean another)

      Second of all, No I am not saying two different things. I actually mean to be saying the same thing all the way through. Which is that the sanctity of marriage is not in danger. Not by Divorces, not by Green-Card Marriages, and not by Same-Sex Marriage. These things only affect the left hand kingdom, which is already non sacred.

      Sacred marriage. Right-Hand Kingdom Marriage, Marriage under God, is not in danger. God is in control of it and always will be, and what the government says can do nothing to harm it.

      I then mentioned that the only thing that might harm Right-Hand Marriage, would be if we in the church stop paying attention and conflate the two. One is sacred, and one is government. As long as we know the difference, we have nothing to worry about.


      October 6, 2010 at 3:08 pm

      • Yes, but you said the following:

        Would somebody please explain to me how having a battle with the federal government in the courts about the interpretation of the constitution is supposed to protect the sanctity of a God ordained institution between men and women?

        My point was that it is not the Christians who brought on this battle. The people of California passed a law by the will of the majority – pure and simple. It is the gay rights movement who has brought on the battle. They got a ruling in the most liberal federal court in the land by a homosexual judge. It is a case of the minority seeking to legislate from the bench instead of allowing the will of the people to prevail.

        By the way, this example, where the minority tries to circumvent the majority, is one of the reasons why the Democrats are going to lose huge on Tuesday. The American people are tired of liberal legislators and judges overriding their will. Californians pass a law. Liberal judges overturn it. Americans make their voice known that they don’t want Obamacare. Obama and the Democrats ram it through anyway. There will be huge losses on Tuesday, and it is my prediction that these losses will carry over into 2012.

        Denny Fusek

        October 30, 2010 at 2:11 am

      • Good points politically, but this is a blog about theology. There can be all sorts of reasons to vote against same-sex unions, but the implication that allowing it would threaten the sanctity of marraige is not one of them.

        Would you mind re-posting this at the newer location at http://www.ryangaffney.com/blog.shtml ? I want to consolidate as much of the discussion as I can over there.


        October 31, 2010 at 2:25 am

  3. Ok. I totally love you right now (in a right-handed Christian friend kind of way, of course). I’ve been making that argument for years and hardly ever hear another Christian (with the exception of liberal-minded ones who approve of same-sex marriage in general) agree with me.

    I think when appealing to Christians however, the best way to make this argument is to point them to the passage in Matthew 5 when Jesus says that anyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery.

    God’s view of marriage does not hinge on what the state calls marriage. If the state can say you’re not married but God says you still are (hence adultery if you remarry), then you’re married. By the same token,if the state says two men are married but God says that’s not a marriage, then they’re not married.

    If marriage truly is a holy institution of “what God has joined together”, then little pieces of papers from a corrupt government will never have impact on anyone beyond, as you said, the tax documents.

    Kristine Kruszelnicki

    October 9, 2010 at 10:39 pm

    • I’m glad you liked the post Kristine


      October 9, 2010 at 11:15 pm

    • Ooooh, oooh! Let me just say that I used to be a right-handed christian, and totally argued this point. Now, I’m a left-wing, liberal, extremist, christian who not only argues this point out of respect for the right of churches to have autonomy in their doctrine, but also approve of same-sex marriage (and intersexed marriages), and strongly advocate for it in churches that might want to celebrate love in all it’s many configurations. I draw the line at interspecies and polyamorous. Yeah…not so extremist after all.


      October 13, 2010 at 4:20 pm

  4. I really like this, but I think you miss the point of marriage entirely. Marriage is, and has always been, a state institution. And it was not, at its inception, a one-man/one-woman kind of thing.

    The first mention of “marriage” in the bible comes from Genesis 4:19–Lamech “married” two women. Now, certainly up to this point, we have seen men with wives, but that’s an entirely different notion, culturally speaking, than marriage.

    The purpose of marriage was one of property rights. As you say, in the eyes of state, marriage makes things easier come tax time. However, as you rightly point out, that has nothing to do with the church. Marriage as a word (and therefore concept and institution) did not show up until society showed up. This is demonstrated by the fact that “marriage” showed up only after Cain built a city.

    So, while I agree with pretty much all of your points, I would argue that problem is not one of the state misappropriating a sacred term, and the church needing to get over it. Rather, the church has misappropriated the term marriage, which belongs solely to the civil sphere, and if they are going to now make claims on it, they (that is to say anyone professing to be Christian who takes issue with gay marriage) need to cede to original context in which marriage appeared and acknowledge that the concept of marriage as a holy institution is relatively new in human history.

    Therefore, I propose the church give up the idea of marriage altogether, and simply have binding ceremonies celebrating the covenant made between people, separate from the institution of marriage.

    But that’s just me.


    October 13, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    • That makes sense. So the difference is you don’t believe marriage ever properly applied to begin with.



      October 14, 2010 at 4:29 pm

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