Easter Day 4: Marriage and Justice

Why Should the Church Care About Marriage? Is this a question about the separation of Church and State?? Sociologically speaking, marriage is the act of union, sanctified by God, for two people in love who want to spend the rest of their lives together – isn’t it?? OR, is it a governmental institution outlining a union between two people so they can get a tax break, and have some sort of legal standing in relation to one another…

Maybe it’s both?? So, if that’s the case, WHY HAVE GENDER RESTRICTIONS BEEN ENFORCED?? It doesn’t quite make sense to me… Wouldn’t it be beneficial for the government to let anybody and everybody get Married?? And why would God put restrictions on Love?? I personally don’t think God would, but the Church… This is where it all gets tricky – marriage seems to have two DIFFERENT definitions. One by God (or is it the Church?!), one by Government. I can see the argument that those of a particular ‘moral’ persuasion might hold (because obviously those of us who think differently don’t have morals): that Marriage is between one man, and one woman… though, that has also been questioned over the millennia, with polygamy ALSO being a biblically sanctioned (God sanctioned?) union between one man and MANY women… a very holy situation indeed! It must be about LOVE, right?? Oh I’m getting so confused…

Is Marriage about LOVE, or is it about TAXES? And what about DIVORCE?? If Marriage is sanctioned by God / the Church, isn’t it supposed to be an unbreakable tie (with few biblical exceptions)? Then how can divorcée’s get remarried?!? THE CHURCH SHOULD BE IN AN OUTRAGE ABOUT DIVORCE! It is so rampant, there must be something in the water – everyone is catching ‘the divorce’!! God must be so angry! The Government…. well, I am sure he doesn’t care because what’s it to him, people marrying, divorcing, marrying, divorcing… for him, it’s just a piece of paper, and some fees collected every time something new is filed… victory for the money–making system! I can see why the Government would get confused with polygamy, though, and want to limit that… multiple mommies and one daddy… that’s hard to deal with! Just ask those of us with step-parents!

If Marriage is about LOVE – then two people who love each other and want to spend the rest of their lives together, fighting for each other, standing with each other, weathering storms together should be able to create a holy union sanctioned by God. Period. The Church should be fighting for Love.

If Marriage is about TAXES – then two people who plan to combine their lives, livelihoods, pets, children, insurance, cars, and burial plots should be able to be legally married. After all, how does it actually affect the Government anyway??

And yes… why SHOULD it matter to the Church?? Well, the Church can sit on the side of the ‘marriage is between a man & a woman’ argument, OR, it can stand for LOVE – Love that knows no gender boundaries. It can stand for the current broken-down heterosexual institution of marriage where, statistically speaking, MORE THAN 1 out of 2 Marriages end in Divorce (that’s right, Google it!), OR it can take a stand for marriage – fight to reclaim the institution… because marriage is a JUSTICE issue! And let me tell you why: in the US, Marriage doesn’t affect other people, it’s a pledge made between two consenting adults. And because some people have this right, and others don’t, it should be recognized as the inequality it is. Marriage in the simplest sense should be a basic human right – the right to choose whom you make your home with, the right to choose whom you fight with and fight for when things get tough. I strongly believe that the Church is called to speak out on ALL issues of Justice – to be a voice for the voiceless, to sit with and walk with the broken, outcast, and scorned, like that guy Jesus did…. One might even say… TO LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF… that’s pushing it, I know…

Because I believe Marriage to be an issue of Justice, I think the Church should respond accordingly, and stand up to the Government, and all protesting people (i.e., other Christians who believe they have some sense of higher/holier morality) and tell them straight up: YOU can’t decide who should and shouldn’t be married! Marriage is between the two people and God. And that’s it! The Church should stand together in faith and say in a loud and prophetic voice – Marriage belongs to God, not to humanity. Just put it in God’s hand! And what God wants…. Well, if you know that answer to that, maybe you should tell the Government! 😉

**Author’s Note: This argument is made in congruence with standard US/western ideals. It does not consider or regard other cultural or non-Christian norms that exist in minority pockets within the US, or cultural norms outside the US. Please don’t hold my brash assumptions against me, at least in that particular area… I actually did it on purpose. 🙂

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Why do YOU think the church should care about marriage?