Faith, Freedom and Family: Why Marriage Matters

The three Fs mentioned in the title actually are of one piece, and when one is tampered with, the other two will feel the effects. To protect one means to protect all three. They stand or fall together, and they must be seen in that light. But all three of these social goods are under serious threat today.

Perhaps the most alarming example of this is the push to destroy marriage in the name of special rights for homosexuals. The push to legalise same-sex marriage is not some minor matter, nor is it, as the activists claim, something that will not impact the rest of us.

Once something as important and historically significant as the institution of marriage is redefined out of existence by the radical social engineers, then everyone will feel the impact, and faith and freedom will also be seriously impacted. Thus it is vital that those concerned about faith, freedom and family unite to stand firm in the defence of marriage.

That is why a brand new document has just been released which deserves our support, and needs to be replicated worldwide. Just one week ago “An Open Letter from Religious Leaders in the United States to All Americans” was released.

It is called, “Marriage and Religious Freedom: Fundamental Goods That Stand or Fall Together”. It is signed by 39 major Christian and Jewish leaders in America. These include: Rev. Leith Anderson, President, National Association of Evangelicals; Dr. George O. Wood, General Superintendent, Assemblies of God; Cardinal-designate Timothy M. Dolan, Archbishop of New York; Rabbi Abba Cohen; Rev. Dr. Matthew Harrison, President, Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod; and Dr. William J. Hamel, President, Evangelical Free Church of America.

So it is a very wide mix of Christian leaders who are greatly concerned that the attack on marriage is really an attack on religious freedom and the wellbeing of the family. It is worth quoting portions of it. It begins this way:

“The promotion and protection of marriage—the union of one man and one woman as husband and wife—is a matter of the common good and serves the wellbeing of the couple, of children, of civil society and all people.  The meaning and value of marriage precedes and transcends any particular society, government, or religious community.  It is a universal good and the foundational institution of all societies.  It is bound up with the nature of the human person as male and female, and with the essential task of bearing and nurturing children.

“As religious leaders across a wide variety of faith communities, we join together to affirm that marriage in its true definition must be protected for its own sake and for the good of society. We also recognize the grave consequences of altering this definition. One of these consequences—the interference with the religious freedom of those who continue to affirm the true definition of ‘marriage’—warrants special attention within our faith communities and throughout society as a whole.  For this reason, we come together with one voice in this letter.”

It continues, “we believe the most urgent peril is this:  forcing or pressuring both individuals and religious organizations—throughout their operations, well beyond religious ceremonies—to treat same-sex sexual conduct as the moral equivalent of marital sexual conduct.  There is no doubt that the many people and groups whose moral and religious convictions forbid same-sex sexual conduct will resist the compulsion of the law, and church-state conflicts will result.

“These conflicts bear serious consequences.  They will arise in a broad range of legal contexts, because altering the civil definition of “marriage” does not change one law, but hundreds, even thousands, at once.  By a single stroke, every law where rights depend on marital status—such as employment discrimination, employment benefits, adoption, education, healthcare, elder care, housing, property, and taxation—will change so that same-sex sexual relationships must be treated as if they were marriage.  That requirement, in turn, will apply to religious people and groups in the ordinary course of their many private or public occupations and ministries—including running schools, hospitals, nursing homes and other housing facilities, providing adoption and counseling services, and many others.”

The document provides recent examples of this crack-down on religious freedom, and concludes with these words: “In short, the refusal of these religious organizations to treat a same-sex sexual relationship as if it were a marriage marked them and their members as bigots, subjecting them to the full arsenal of government punishments and pressures reserved for racists.  These punishments will only grow more frequent and more severe if civil ‘marriage’ is redefined in additional jurisdictions.  For then, government will compel special recognition of relationships that we the undersigned religious leaders and the communities of faith that we represent cannot, in conscience, affirm.   Because law and government not only coerce and incentivize but also teach, these sanctions would lend greater moral legitimacy to private efforts to punish those who defend marriage.

“Therefore, we encourage all people of good will to protect marriage as the union between one man and one woman, and to consider carefully the far-reaching consequences for the religious freedom of all Americans if marriage is redefined.  We especially urge those entrusted with the public good to support laws that uphold the time-honored definition of marriage, and so avoid threatening the religious freedom of countless institutions and citizens in this country.  Marriage and religious freedom are both deeply woven into the fabric of this nation.

“May we all work together to strengthen and preserve the unique meaning of marriage and the precious gift of religious freedom.”

This is an important and very necessary document which deserves our support. These leaders realise the very serious repercussions of allowing homosexual activists to crush the vitally important institution of marriage, with the help of the coercive power of the state.

Marriage is far too important to let go without a fight. I am glad these leaders are getting involved and taking a stand. The question is, will we also make a stand before it is too late?

www.familywatchinternational.org/fwi/Marriage-and-Religious-Freedom-Letter-Jan-12-2012-4.pdf

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