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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Why Marriage Should Be A Man/Woman Union, In Illinois.

Typical of shady politicians and shady Illinois politicians, in particular, the Democrats along with some Republicans of the Illinois legislature are making a move to amend the Illinois Constitution as soon as January to allow for gay marriage. 

(Illinois recently legalized civil unions for same-sex couples).

While pro-marriage advocates are facing an uphill battle, I do not believe the fight stop the redefinition of marriage in Illinois is over and I am personally willing to do what I can as an Illinoisan to see that marriage remains the union of a man and a woman in my state.

However, it must be admitted that the pro-marriage crowd hasn't done the best job of making a positive case for man/woman marriage, making efforts to preserve it that much harder.

I'm going to try and put forth three secular reasons why I do not believe the legislature should amend our state constitution, redefining marriage as the union of two persons, rather than a man and woman.

My proposition is as follows:

The government has a public purpose in preserving and promoting marriage as a unique and gendered union.   

(Reason 1.) Male/female unions are the only unions that can create new life.

While not every heterosexual couple can or will have children, every person, man and woman, is the product of a male (a father) and female (a mother).

This is the wonder of human biology. 

It seems obvious that the government has public purpose in preserving and promoting the only unions that can naturally produce and replenish it's citizenry, while maintaining a stable matrix for child rearing and said pro-creative acts.

A state (or country) with a low birth rate will soon be a state (or country) in peril (the present birth crisis in Russia is attestation to this fact).  

If the gender requirement is removed from marriage, the government would no longer be able to treat marriage as a unique and life-giving union that connects mom's and dad's to their kids, for to do so would be to discriminate against same-sex married couples, who cannot have children naturally. 

This is not a case with marriage of older and/or sterile couples because that is only an exception to the rule of human biology (ie: that man/woman unions, alone, create new life)

Thus, redefining marriage would be a public ill, in this sense.

(Reason 2.) Male/female marital unions connect mothers and fathers to their biological children.

(This next argument has been advanced and defended most recently by such notables as Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse and summarized here by me. I take no credit)

Marriage serves a public purpose in this sense by providing a suitable framework for parenthood.

Who would deny that attaching moms and dads to each other and to their biological children should be promoted, as much as is possible and responsible?

By way of the presumption of paternity, natural marriage connects parents to each other and to their biological children.

The presumption of paternity simply means that a woman's husband in presumed to be the father of any children she has.

As one natural marriage advocate explains, "the presumption of paternity, combined with a social and legal norm of marital sexual exclusivity, means that marriage routinely and systematically attaches children to their biological parents" (emphasis mine).

Redefining marriage directly leads to redefining parenthood, replacing the presumption of paternity with a presumption of parentage, meaning that a child born to a couple in a same-sex union is presumed to be the child of both partners.

This directly undermines the biological basis for parenthood, getting rid of the idea that a child is entitled to a relationship with his biological parents.

We've already seen this applied broadly in Delaware to both same sex AND opposite sex partners, where a live in, cohabiting, opposite sex partner who is neither the parent by biology or adoption (ie: non-parent) of their partner's child, may be awarded parental rights, by way of the presumption of parentage.

This means that we are attaching parental rights to non-parents and the redefinition of marriage, by removing the gender requirement from marriage and then trying to keep everything equal, will be the vehicle by which this is accomplished and applied broadly.

 Dr. Morse explains:

"By redefining marriage we are undermining several principles of law and social practice that are currently widely accepted and understood."

These include...

(1.) The right and general entitlement of children to have a relationship with both of their parents.

(2.) That mothers and father are not, in general, interchangeable.

(3.) The long assumed biological basis for parenthood. 

(4.) The current relationship of the state to civil society, where instead of the state simply recording parenthood, it creates parenthood.      

Do you think that a normative function of the government should be to create parents?

This will surely be the reality if gender neutral marriage replaces gendered marriage and the presumption of paternity replaces the presumption of parentage, as our frame of reference for understanding parenthood.

This would open up parenthood (which precedes the advent of the state) to a kind of unprecedented intrusion into our lives.

 (Reason 3.) While retaining the current laws on marriage doesn't affect the protection of same sex persons under the law, removing the gender requirement from marriage may subject citizens with religious objections to same-sex "marriage" to criminal penalties under the law.   
Already we have seen Christian wedding photographers, cake decorators, and chapel owners sued for refusing to acknowledge same-sex unions.    

Others are being forced quit their jobs, as opposed to violating their faith in notarizing same-sex marriages or issuing same-sex marriage licenses.   

I could give more and more examples of this is on-going and dangerous trend which can only get worse if same-sex marriage is made the law of the land.

The government can keep the peace by recognizing and protecting same-sex civil unions under the law, with special protections for people of faith, and by keeping marriage the union of a man and a woman.
In conclusion, these three arguments, combined with a number of negative arguments, give us a strong basis for affirming the above proposition that the government has a public purpose in preserving and promoting marriage as a unique and gendered union.   

This is not an emotional, heart-tugging case, but a case based on logic and fact, as any good argument should be.

It is my hope that people would take hold of good arguments for preserving natural marriage and speak out boldly and frequently to their friends, neighbors, and public representatives. 

Together we can curb the tidal wave against man/woman marriage.  

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

I Don't Need the Bible to be Good: A Straw Man Answered.

I am a (theologically) conservative Christian, which means that when I approach the Bible, I do so with the intent to try to understand and conserve the original meaning and purpose which is being conveyed in a given text.

This is opposed to someone who may want to liberate the text of Scripture from its "sexist", "homophobic", and otherwise benighted context, to try and find whatever relevant gems still be applicable for us Christians today.

I "out" myself as a conservative to make it clear that I don't just tolerate or "deal with" the text of Scripture; I wholeheartedly believe in it's message.

I recently  listened to a Youtube video where a former Christian, an apostate from the faith shared with his viewing audience a sort of "revelation" that he had concerning the Bible.

It is as follows:

  I don't need the Bible to be a caring person. I don't need the Bible in order to be patient. I don't need the Bible in order  to be able to love someone unconditionally. I don't need the Bible in order to be kind to people. I don't need the Bible to tell me that these are qualities that I need to have. 

I think that people can be loving, caring, patient, compassionate, [and] merciful without the use of a holy book: the Bible.

This is simply a straw-man argument.

While I hold that the Bible gives us invaluable information on how people should express such virtues as the ones above to the ultimate glory of God, I agree with the general sentiment that neither the Bible nor any special revelation, is necessary in order to know what is good or to do good in a most basic or fundamental sense.   

Ironically, this is a biblical concept.

See Romans chapter 2:

12 All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. 13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. 14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.) 16 This will take place on the day when God judges people’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.

It is God who has written His moral law on the hearts of all men, so that they, we, are without excuse, having a kind of instinctive grasp on what is right or wrong.

This is not an indubitable, infallible, all-encompassing moral sense, but one that functions in such a way that men can rightly be held accountable for their actions, completely apart from the special revelation of Scripture, et cetera. 

So we see that if this confused post-believer would have actually studied Scripture, it would have answered his misconceptions about the very thing which he had a misconception about in the first place. 

In the Bible we have a written standard that bears testimony to the moral sense that God has given us, which can help draw to God a person who has seared their conscience, suppressing it by their evil will.

The Bible tells us that the law (the thou shalts and shalt nots) was given to us a schoolmaster to lead us to Christ (Galatians 3:24).

In Scripture we read what God's holiness and justice requires, our inability to live up to those requirements and, hence, our desperate need for a Savior.

The non-Christian shouldn't boast of his knowledge of good and evil; it's what first condemned Adam and Eve and would condemn the rest of us too, if not for Jesus! 

However, without the Bible we would only have a basic knowledge of good and evil, enough to condemn us for doing wrong when we knew to do right, but not enough that we could have an abundant, God-honoring life that comes with keeping His commandments and orienting our lives after God. 

When I think about the Bible and the content therein, my mind always goes to one of my favorite psalms:  
The law of the Lord is perfect,
    reviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure,
    making wise the simple;
the precepts of the Lord are right,
    rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is pure,
    enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the Lord is clean,
    enduring forever;
the rules of the Lord are true,
    and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold,
    even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey
    and drippings of the honeycomb.
11 Moreover, by them is your servant warned;
    in keeping them there is great reward. (Psalm 19)

The Bible is an epic tale of creation and redemption, with a multi-faceted purpose. 

What a shame it would be if we let our own ignorance obscure the very Words of God to us.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The End of World as We Know It: The Coming Christian Persecution.

It seems every week, more and more gutless politicians and talking heads, formerly sympathetic to the pro-marriage cause, have traded on those of us fighting to keep marriage a man-woman union, in favor of political expediency.
This trend, while sad, is not surprising.

It must be understood that opposing gay "marriage" is no longer considered a noble fight or even a reasonable one. 

If you choose to lobby for natural marriage, you will be harangued as a bigoted bully, a hateful homphobe, and a whole host of other titles that good manners prevent me from typing out!

Various homosexual and liberal activists  groups have already seen to the decimation of private citizens who have dared to exercise their religious freedom by refusing to "play pretend" by recognizing gay "marriage" as legitimate.

Christians, even Evangelicals, have withered under pressure from friends and popular culture, deciding that while this may have been their grandparent's fight, it's not theirs.

They misguidedly think that if they leave the gay marriage issue alone, they will have a better chance at reaching homosexuals for Christ.

Of course, this idea would only appeal to those who have not followed the broader debate on the ethicalness of homosexual behavior.

I doesn't matter if you are on a gay pride parade float, waving a flag for marriage redefinition; if you hold to the biblical (yes, I said the "b" word) notion that homosexual behavior is an abrogation of God's creative purpose for sexual relationships, you will upset, even turn off, those very people whom you are compromising to appease.

I think Joe Dallas (a recovering homosexual and Christian activist) summed it up well:

No one can deny the country is shifting towards solid, widespread approval of a redefinition of marriage to include same sex unions....Simultaneously, those resisting this redefinition are, more and more, seen as bigots who resist equality, similar to the racists of the 60’s who resisted civil rights. That is the direction we’re taking...

We must wake up and realize that the campaign for gay marriage and homosexual normalization is being heralded as the "new civil right movement" with graphics like the above being circulated on Facebook and other websites.

How, I ask you, did we treat those who fought against racial equality in the 50s and 60s and who ultimately lost?

Did we shake hands and say, "well, you fought hard and lost. Now, we'll live alongside each other in peace, in the hopes that you adopt our point of view"?

As if.

What we did was pass all kinds of laws to eradicate racial inequality in the public square.

We treated the KKK and racist people as social pariahs who only needed to be silenced, not reasoned with and certainly not tolerated.

We're already seeing Christian organizations and individuals blacklisted for their support of other Christian organizations deemed hate groups for their support of pro-marriage legislation.

The actions taken against segregationists during the Civil Rights era were good and necessary, and, since this is the frame of reference for "gay rights" debate,  you're only fooling yourself if you don't think the same kinds of actions will be taken against Christians who support monogamous heterosexual marriage over and against any other kind of marriage.

How I read the Bible, with respect to the end times, is that Christians will be persecuted in very large numbers.

This is already happening all over the world.

And while record numbers of people are coming to God every day all across the globe (not at all surprising given the power of the gospel), we are seeing the political and social powers of the world --secularists in Europe, liberals in America, Islamists in the Middle East, etc--doing everything they can to silence Christians and hinder the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Not to spoil the ending, but Jesus will be victorious.

This fact, however, is not an excuse to be slothful, unaware, OR cowardly, because it's only going to get nastier as the time of Christ' return draws near.

So, for the sake of the gospel and those desperately in need of it, don't give up!

Don't give in!

Hold God's standards high!

It's all we have in a world that is sprinting to hell.

We can almost see the finish line, so,  by the grace and power of God, stay strong!

And remember that when they come after you and your family and all that you hold dear, you may count yourself blessed to suffer for the sake of the One who suffered and died for us.

Merry Christmas!