CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

The Battle for Marriage

Jan 14, 2006

The battle over marriage has seen its ebbs and flows. And at the moment it looks like the other side is getting a few runs on the board. For example, there are now a number of countries that have legalized same-sex marriage. In December the UK also went down that path, but called the unions, “civil partnerships”.

In an interesting development, paintings of traditional wedding scenes have recently been removed from an English registry office in case they offend homosexual couples. The pictures at Liverpool Register Office have been replaced with landscapes since the introduction of “homosexual weddings” late last year. A Register officer said the new paintings were less likely to offend.

So what is going on here? This is nothing less than a full-scale war on marriage. The attempt to redefine marriage, especially in the case of same-sex marriage, is simply a full frontal assault on the institution of marriage. And it has been going on for some time now.

Indeed, it is part of the bigger war over faith and family that has been waging for some four or five decades now. The radical counter culture of the 60s included the various liberation movements such as radical feminism and the homosexual agenda, which declared war on traditional notions of marriage and family. And we are now seeing the bitter fruit of such an assault.

Indeed, the stress on individualism, the rejection of authority, the secularization of society and the promotion of rights without responsibilities has lead to the wholesale rejection of marriage. Thus we are experiencing not just an attack on individual marriages, but on the very notion of marriage itself. Marriage as an institution and as an idea is under attack.
All this should not surprise the believer however. We can expect to see the good gifts of God attacked and derided. The greater something is, the greater will be the attack on it. And marriage is one of God’s great gifts to the world.

It was Edmund Burke who once wrote, “The Christian religion, by confining marriage to pairs, and rendering the relation indissoluble, has by these two things done more toward the peace, happiness, settlement, and civilization of the world, than any other part in this whole scheme of divine wisdom.” No wonder then that the enemy should seek to destroy this most vital of institutions.

Thus Christians are called to uphold and defend marriage. But we need to defend it on two fronts, not just one. Individually, we are to show the world what successful marriage is all about. We are to model God’s ideal to a world that knows little of love, commitment, responsibility and faithfulness. It is extremely important that we demonstrate to the world what God’s pattern for marriage and family is all about.

Unfortunately we have often failed miserably in this regard. Divorce rates in evangelical churches are often as high as in the secular community. And some researchers suggest they may even be higher! This is a scandal and outrage for which all of us should be on our knees in deep repentance. How can we lead unbelievers to the Christian faith when in many respects we live lives no different to their own?

Second, we need to defend the institution of marriage. That means getting involved in the social, cultural and political battles over marriage. There are many groups who are doing all they can to undermine marriage and family. They need to be resisted. And with God’s help we can be victorious.

The best example of this was the marriage forum held in Canberra in August 2004. Some 1200 people from all around Australia crammed into the Great Hall in Parliament House to let our nation’s leader know that we believed in marriage, and would not let it go without a fight. In conjunction with this, a Senate inquiry into marriage was held, and a record number of submissions were received: some 16,000. Of these, only around 100 were in favour of same-sex marriage. These two ground-breaking events led to a vote in Parliament on August 13, 2004, in which it was made legislatively certain that marriage is to be only between one man and one woman.

That was a powerful and historic win. It showed that God’s people, acting with God’s help, can do mighty things.

Thus we need to stand up for marriage. We need to demonstrate in our personal lives what Christian marriage is all about. And we need to demonstrate in the social and political arenas that the institution of marriage is the bedrock of civilized society, and deserves defending. Marriage is too important to do anything less.

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3 Responses to The Battle for Marriage

  • I am not offended by pictures of married heterosexuals, and I strongly doubt that any gay person would be. Remember, it was a heterosexual who took them down.

    And I cannot think of one example of individual marriage “being attacked”. It’s not as if a “Pink Army” is going around to people’s houses and lynching them for being married.

    Rights without responsibilities? Many gay couples have happily taken on all the responsibilities straight people have – paying taxes, having committed relationships, raising children – but have not been given the rights. They are still discriminated against, e.g. in Medicare, in ways that often harm the children.

    And I don’t think we should be shaming people who have divorces. Divorce is a tragic breakdown of a relationship, for whatever reason. Sometimes a partner has been abused. I think we should be fostering love in marriages, and comforting those whose marriages don’t work out.

    I agree, however, that marriage is probably a source of stability and peace in society. Unfortunately, for gay people, they cannot have their love legally recognised. And this is where fundamentalist hypocrisy shows: on one hand they condemn the short-lived nature of many gay relationships, and on the other hand, they do their best to break them up (by denying them a chance to cement their relationship in law). You can’t have it both ways. All people should be able to benefit from the stability and peace marriage brings.

    And, I think, as long as you deny marriage to same-sex couples, you will never achieve real peace in society. Gay people will never stop campaigning to have their love and commitment recognised through marriage. So until they are given this right, marriage will actually be a source of great conflict in society, which will be damaging to all.

    John Kloprogge, North Croydon

  • John, you live in Australia in 2006, you have every right you could ever need to live a long and happy life. You are free to be gay, free to love whomever you wish, you are free. It seems this argument is more about you trying to tell us how to think rather than an issue of rights. Unfortunately for you, we are also free, free to have our own opinions and free to stand by our convictions. Rock on Bill!!

    Sharny Annison, Leongatha

  • “Rights without responsibilities? Many gay couples have happily taken on all the responsibilities straight people have”
    REPLY:
    No, they have in fact demonstrated themselves to be FRAUDS.

    Their irresponsible llifestyles actually impose a much heavier COST on the public purse – because many of their health problems are REPEATEDLY self-inflicted; many STD’s (alongside HIV) are now NOT curable even with repeated last-line-of-defence antibiotics; they spend much longer times in hospitals; they spend many more hours in clinics for their medical problems – and so ARE a MUCH heavier BURDEN on the taxpayer.

    “Gays’s themselves CONDEMN THEMSELVES in THEIR OWN literature – where they admit:
    1. “Being queer means PUSHING THE PARAMETERS of sex, sexuality, and family, and in the process transforming the very fabric of society…” – Paula Ettelbrick, (ex-legal director of Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund)
    2. “In the gay life, FIDELITY is almost IMpossible. Since part of the compulsion of homosexuality seems to be a craving on the part of the homophile to ‘absorb’ masculinity from his sexual partners, he must be constantly on the lookout for (new sex partners). Consequently the most successful homophile ‘marriages’ are those where there is an arrangement between the two and to have affairs on the side while maintaining the semblance of permanence’ in their living arrangement.” – Former Homosexual William Aaron (William Aaron, Straight (New York: Bantam Books, 1972)
    3. “Typical gay city inhabitants spend most of their adult lives in ‘transactional’ relationships, or short-term commitments of less than six months.” – research by University of Chicago Sociologist Edward Laumann (Adrian Brune, “City Gays Skip Long-term Relationships: Study Says”, Washington Blade – February 27, 2004)
    Question: Since “gays” are also pushing for adoption rights … How could such an atmosphere be of any possible benefit to adopted children? Surely the Rights of Children Ought to Come Before the Desires of Adults! Surely we should take note when statistics demonstrate that Children Flourish Best When Raised By Their Biological Parents.
    4. “Few homosexual relationships last longer than two years, with many men reporting hundreds of lifetime partners.” – Researcher M. Pollak (M. Pollak, “Male Homosexuality in Western Sexuality: Practice and Precept in Past and Present Times”, ed. P. Aries and A. Bejin, translated by Anthony Forster, New York, NY: B. Blackwell, 1985)
    Question: Again, since “gays” are also pushing for adoption rights … how could such an atmosphere be of any possible benefit to adopted children? ? Surely the Rights of Children Ought to Come Before the Desires of Adults! Surely we should take note when statistics demonstrate that Children Flourish Best When Raised By Their Biological Parents –
    5. It is even more alarming to note that “gays” themselves further expose their (REAL) agenda:
    “…to get the public to affirm their lifestyle” … “to see government and society affirm our lives” – (United States Congressional Record, June 29, 1989).

    Why? Being desperate to eliminate the burdensome “cloud of guilt” which even non-religious “gays” appear to find particularly unsettling, “gays” demand that “government and society affirm our lives”

    Therefore the entire world MUST wake up and be warned BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE of the danger of malicious destruction of these “gay” bullies against all civilized cultures by these irresponsible narcissistic self-centred individuals.

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