Christian marriage and civil unions

The major objection to legal recognition of gay marriage is that it is contrary to the historic teachings of Christianity and, indeed, of Judaism, Islam and other faiths.   But in fact the civil law as regards divorce has departed from Christian teachings from some time.

As I read the Gospels, Mark and Luke report that Jesus condemned condemned divorce, or Matthew that he condemned divorce except for reason of unchastity.  The first is the historic teaching of the Roman Catholic Church concerning marriage.   The second was the teaching of the main Protestant churches down through the early 20th century.

New York state’s “no fault” divorce law, under which I myself was divorced many years ago, allows a husband and wife to dissolve their marriage based on mutual agreement.   This is contradictory to the idea of marriage as bond which lasts “so long as you both shall live” than a same-sex union.   So are the laws of other states.  Civil marriage law for decades has ceased to reflect the Christian teaching that marriage is a sacrament that neither party can dissolve.

The Christian writer C.S. Lewis recognized the problem back in 1943

A great many people think that if you are a Christian yourself, you should try to make divorce difficult for everyone.   I do not think that.   At least I know I would be very angry if the Mohammedans tried to prevent the rest of us from drinking wine.

My own view is that the Churches should frankly recognize that the majority of the British people are not Christians and, therefore, cannot be expected to live Christian lives.  There ought to be two distinct kinds of marriage: one governed by the State with rules enforced on all citizens, the other governed by the Church with rules enforced by her on  her own members.   The distinction ought to be quite sharp, so that a man knows which couples are married in a Christian sense and which are not.

I don’t think the government should be in the business of defining marriage at all.   God, if He exists, knows who is married in His eyes and who is not.  Nothing the law can say can change this.  Let the government define the legal responsibilities of partners in civil unions and of parents to children,  and let the churches, who claim to speak for God, define marriage.

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2 Responses to “Christian marriage and civil unions”

  1. Atticus Finch Says:

    I think you really hit the nail on the head in that last paragraph. Marriage is perhaps the most personal and individual decision one can make. The Government should stay out of this decision if any decision at all.

    Like

  2. Warren Says:

    Hi, I am reading a book called “Divorce and Remarriage in the Church” by David Instone-Brewer. It will give you fresh insight into what Jesus said in Math Ch19. I agree with the last part as Govt’s should not be involved in a marriage between two people in the presence of their God. Most govt law now, especially in New Zealand where we have ‘Civil Union’, is contrary to the Bible.

    Like

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