Since 1971, homosexual activists have worked hard in the courts trying to have marriage redefined. In our 2006 article Whose on First … First? we looked at the history of marriage and the law in the United States. Prior to 1971 the challenge to traditional marriage was bigamy and polygamy. Could a man be married to 2 or more women at the same time? The court cases typically ended with the general affirmation of one man, one women constituting marriage but as far as the Constitution was concerned the courts held that:
“… every civil government had the right to determine whether monogamy or polygamy should be the law of social life under its jurisdiction.” 1
The Federal Courts left the final determination on monogamy vs polygamy to the states. It wasn’t a Federal issue. The question of sex and sexual partners and governmental restrictions is not limited to the United States. It surfaced overseas in 2006 when the Dutch Court OKs Pedophile Party Why did they do this? Their thinking is consistent with what we are finding in the U.S. Courts:
“It is not illegal to try democratically to change the system – which is what these people are trying to do,” said a Hague spokesperson, summarizing the ruling of Judge H. Hofius.
“They are exercising their freedoms of speech and association, and as such cannot be banned by the state.”
These stories are related. Sexual obsession has taken over the minds and hearts of many. In nations where freedoms are determined largely by mob rule, which ever mob is ruling names the freedoms and morals for the rest of the nation, this is how things operate. The tradition of one man, one women constituting marriage have largely been protected because of the influence of Judeo/Christian, particularly Christian, teaching and values. Although all are guarenteed the right to marry, different states have had different criteria regarding various points. The age of consent varies from state to state. Can first cousins marry? In 26 states, this is legal. In the remaining states, it is not. However, in all states it is not legal to marry one’s parent, sibling, aunt or uncle, and until this decade someone of the same sex. In all states it has always been one man and one woman since the founding of the nation!
The recent ruling was clear that religious views have no place in U.S. law. It is not surprising. Culture shook off the Christian worldview in the 1960s and 70s and the hangover of Christian morality is lifting. Once the transition is made to same sex marriage there is no real reason to prevent any other form of marriage or sexual behavior. As FOX News was debating the recent ruling, one of their legal experts, Lis Wiehl said that two people who love each other, “not 13,” regardless of gender is protected under the constitution. But why not 13? Why not 25 in a complex marriage? Why not a father and his daughter or a mother and her son? Why not an 8th grade school teacher and her student? On what constitutional basis can there be an “age of consent”? After all, preteens can choose to kill their unborn why shouldn’t they have the legal right to choose to marry a 30 year old man if that is their desire? Decisions have ramifications and once this door is open, it won’t be closed. Lis Weihl, attorney Ted Olson who argued the case for the homosexual couples and others who are arguing to read the constitution in this way will bear the responsibility for the results. However, as with all good liberals, they will try to blame others for letting them get away with it and the consequences which grow out of these decisions.
So vast is biblical illiteracy inside and outside the church that Brian McLaren and other emerging church leaders claim we need to wait for 5 years for the Holy Spirit to tell us what is true about homosexuality. The confusion seems to be that unbelievers and Scripture don’t agree and McLaren and others are waiting for the Holy Spirit to bring unity betgween them. We have such luminaries as author Anne Rice who quit Christianity in part because she couldn’t find anything wrong with homosexuality and radio host Dr. Dean Edell who is favorable to polygamy and polyamory as well as homosexuality. Fairly recently Edell challenged his listeners to show where the Bible forbids homosexuality. Within a few minutes an evangelical called in and as he began making his case Dr. Edell simply dismissed him by saying that Jesus never said anything about this. Now, while I may not be qualified to fully address the legal or constitutional issues, I can address the ill-informed or perhaps militantly ignorant, like Dr Dean Edell and Anne Rice on this issue and challenge believers.
First, if the criteria is that Jesus must have spoken on the issue otherwise it is okay, than child molestation must be okay. Jesus, being Jewish living in Israel was living in the Roman Empire. A common practice was for an adult Roman male to have a catamite, a young boy, for the purposes of sexual gratification and Jesus never spoke to against pedophilia. This is of course, absurd. Homosexuality and other sexual sin was addressed at least indirectly when He said in Matthew 19:4-5:
Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE, and said, ‘FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH’?
The passage is pregnant with meaning. He spoke this to Jews who were living in a culture (the Roman Empire) that was rampant with homosexuality and pedophilia and laid out His view of the right sexual relationship from God’s stand point. One man and one woman, united together for life. The immediate context revolved around the question of divorce. Why, they asked, if this was the case, did Moses allow divorce? Jesus didn’t hesitate. It was because of the hardness of their hearts. The proper marriage relationship is one man and one woman for life. Not only did God allow divorce but polygamy due to the hardness of mens hearts. Brian McLaren and the emerging church crowd aren’t sure if Jesus is to be believed on this issue. We must teach within the church that sexual sin is sexual sin. We should be certain that Jesus is to be trusted regardless of what courts, authors, politicians, radio hosts and even touchy feely church leaders say. Having said that we also need to prepare and review how the believers in the first three centuries lived and challenged culture. Oddly enough, they seemed to spend little time condemning culture. The Apostle Paul wrote in 1st Corinthians 5:12:
For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church?
Christians changed the minds of the culture around them because of their holy devotion, holy living, high regard for critical thinking, ability to debate and articulate the issues, caring for those around them, adopting children who had been abandoned in attempted infanticide, honoring women. The last pagan emperor, Julian the Apostate, shows us how effective they early Christians were in changing culture. He was trying to resurrect the pagan religions of Rome’s past and wrote to his pagan priest in Galatia the following:
“Why do we not notice that it is their kindness to strangers, their care for the graves of the dead, and the pretended holiness of their lives that have done most to increase atheism [i.e., Christianity]? I believe that we ought really and truly to practice every one of these virtues. And it is not enough for you alone to practice them, but so must all the priests in Galatia, without exception…In the second place admonish them that no priest may enter a theatre or trade that is base and not respectable…in every city establish hostels in order that strangers may profit by our generosity; I do not mean for our own people only, but for others also who are in need of money…for it is disgraceful that, when no Jew ever has to beg and the impious Galileans [Christians] support both their own poor and ours as well, all men see that our people lack aid from us.”
I am not saying that as citizens of the United States we shouldn’t take stands as citizens to register our concerns, vote for candidates that represent our views and support those who will represent traditional marriage in court. I am saying that we need to incorporate apologetics, discernment and actual missionary training within the walls and meetings of Christians instead of doing polls and figuring out how unbelievers think in order to better market to them, if we are to make an impact similar to that of the early Christians.
- Perry L. Porter, “A Chronology of Federal Legislation on Polygamy,” http://www.xmission.com/~plporter/lds/chron.htm ↩