Saturday, June 27, 2015

Church and Marriage

""The World is a stage and we are mere players" said Shakespeare, so this is my monologue.  In the words of Edward Albee, "I write to know what I am talking about."

Here is what baffles me, when did "marriage" become a Christian right to grant?  And how does the recent Supreme Court ruling constitute an assault on religion, especially Christianity?

Stage note - aside:
To circumvent a possible misunderstanding of my spiritual journey and study; and to limit comments intended to convert me or save me, let me explain.  

 I have come to my belief in the Omnipotence of Deity from conscious contemplation and serious study.  In this post I will reference Biblical passages that, in my opinion, support the thesis. They are merely footnotes. If Bible quotes are not "your thing" disregard. 
With that having been said:


Marriage is a legal distinction.  A governmentally sanctioned contract intended to facilitate the transfer of property and create a partnership that carries accepted rights and responsibilities.  It is a license issued by a governing political body, normally the State.  The legal enactment of this contract is carried out with the public affirmation of the two parties and witnesses to that process.  The governmental body which grants the contract also authorizes several kinds of public servants to oversee the process.  They include: a judge, a court clerk, a justice of the peace, a ships captain at sea and...any recognized member of the clergy (i.e. Priest, Minister, Rabbi, Imam, Cantor or Ethical Culture Leader). They are all authorized to perform a marriage. In some states the clergy must first be certified with their own license granting them permission to do so from the State. Something akin to a notary public who is licensed to witness and verify signatures for the government. 
Organized religions of every kind have co-opted this right to perform this contract of marriage and attempted to imply that their authority for a marriage comes from God.  It clearly does not. The most elaborate wedding performed by a Bishop himself in a church with full ceremony, would not be legal if that ceremony did not include a "license" from the government.  Those couples married by a court clerk during a lunch break are equally valid as any religious ceremony... if they both have a license.  

This marriage license contract exists so that if one of the partners dies the other partner is not excluded from the possessions they both acquired together.  Simply put, because the law recognizes this union blood relatives of the deceased can not simply claim their property by inheritnce.  During the AIDS epidemic I knew of many couples who were victims of family greed.  These devoted couples saw a life time of possessions and real estate taken away from the surviving partner by blood relatives who did not "approve" of the relationship.  Since there was no license available for their bond, the property grab was totally legal.  Finally thanks to a Supreme Court decision, that never needs happen again. In fact the very case brought before the high court hinged on this very principle of survivor's rights. 

Setting property inheritance aside in the discussion of marriage, what about the bond of love itself? Isn't that marriage?
The attraction of one being to another has no explanation. Why anyone desires a relationship with anyone else is as mystical as love itself.  The need to be with another doesn't just exist for humans, it is everywhere.  Eagles, Wolves, Gibbon monkeys, French Angelfish and even Schistosoma Masion Worms mate with one partner for life. There are 7 other species we know of that are life long monogamists as well.  What drives animals to dedicate their lives to a single partner forsaking all others for life? It is the mystery of love.  In nature the mate is not always of the opposite sex, sometimes two females sometimes two males. There are certain species of worms that have no specific gender at all, yet they mysteriously bind together in some sort of love. Surely these relationships are God ordained; therefore God must have something to say about marriage. 
Well if he does have rules about marriage they don't exist in his Kingdom. At least not so, according to his earthly surrogate.  Here comes that scripture I was telling you about. It is from the word of Jesus in the book of Matthew.

Matthew 22:30

…But Jesus answered and said to them, "You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures nor the power of God. "For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven."

Not just once but that concept is repeated again in Mark.

Mark 12:25

…Jesus said to them, "Is this not the reason you are mistaken, that you do not understand the Scriptures or the power of God? "For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven."

So if "marriage" is not a heavenly requirement of God, where is the authority for the Church to determine the application? Love is the only rule of heavenly relationships, like angels.  But what about love between persons of the same sex. What is the exact sex of an angel?
At this point I would expect someone to quote Leviticus 20:13 and Leviticus 18:20 as rebuttal. 
"If a man lie with another man as with a woman it is an abomination." 
Although it would seem from an absolute interpretation of this passage that lesbian couples are okay since it does not mention a woman being with another woman as with a man.  But that is not the point. 
What other abominations does the Bible point out that seem to cause less concern for God's wrath?

Proverbs 6:16 -19- There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.

In my thinking there are certain radio hosts that seem to make a living by sowing discord among brothers. Why does that not get people to cry abomination? In fact Proverbs is just full of abominations that don't seem to concern some people as much as some other abominations.

Proverbs 12:22  Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord

Proverbs 15:8  The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord

A reason to rally against capital punishment? Would seem so..

Proverbs 11:20  Those of crooked heart are an abomination to the Lord

Proverbs 20:10  Unequal weights and unequal measures are both alike an abomination to the Lord.

Butcher get thy thumb off thine scale...

And number one on the top ten abominations to be considered...

Proverbs 28:9  If one turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination.

So .... marriage equality is now the law. It is a legal document that protects the rights of every couple equally. It seems like God would be in favor of equality and fairness. This legal license does not threaten the Church with abomination. There seem to be plenty of ignored abominations to go around. We do not get to choose our personal favorite abominations and  "turn our ear away from the law."  If we do that "even our prayer is an abomination." 

Scene and Curtain-  

As always the opinions expressed are solely my own, not intended to be the only interpretation, nor only point of view.  I would expect yours might be different and I respect yours as you respect mine. 


P. Grecian said...

Excellent commentary, Jay! Especially the New Testament stuff, which seems to hoist some folks by their own petard.

I go with something Mrs. Patrick Campbell said: "Does it really matter what these affectionate people do? So long as they don’t do it in the streets and frighten the horse?"


I totally agree, Phil. As long as the horses are fine.