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Sunday, May 3, 2015

Same-sex, Tradition, and Marriage

More than my opening statement, the content of this article will make it resounding evident that I am not a lawyer nor am I knowledgeable in law. This is not an attempt at some legal argument. This is not a reason for myself or and anyone to keep silent if for no other possibility than that those who do make and enforce our laws in America will hear what is of the people, by the people and for the people. My thoughts in this article are on the ongoing discussion of what is called same-sex marriage with reference to just two words that are part of that discussion; tradition and law with emphasis on the former and reference to the latter.


the outcry


Of course, the outcry from lesbians and homosexuals is a demand to have marriage redefined. The desired objective would be that those same-sex couples be recognized as a couple married legally under the law. This, in turn, would mean they could obtain the same health benefits, tax breaks and more which married men and women have received for many years.


What does this mean for myself as a disciple of Jesus? Nothing. If homosexuals and lesbians as citizens of the United States can drive for legislation to obtain these health benefits this is not a problem for me. What does redefining marriage mean for myself as a disciple of Jesus? Nothing. More specifically, it means nothing to me in terms of having to compromise or otherwise alter the tenets of my faith.


tradition as weak, anemic and disposable


Although this is a matter about which some saints in Christ demand to be heard on the basis of a biblical standing it is a mistaken notion. Certainly, they can and may exercise their rights and themselves as American citizens in accordance with the Constitution of the United States. Yes, there is a biblical standing concerning homosexuality as well as numerous other sins. However, what is often overlooked and which often results in an overreach by the saints is their attempts to impose judgment on the nonbeliever. This is nothing more than a mixed concoction of scripture, culture and law.


United States Supreme Court Justice Ruth Ginsburg Bader expressed her own contributions to the discussion with her peers on the bench on the redefinition of marriage to include same-sex couples. A small sampling of her arguments in this article now are quite popular and familiar in the arena of public discussion, but something occurred to me as I read her words to what she referred to as the tradition of marriage. Specifically, her reference to that tradition was of marriage between a man and a woman. It occurred to me that the use of that term in the justices’ discussion is no small matter. The use of the term in this context by the court has the effect of creating and conveying the idea of tradition as being something anemic and useless. Tradition is viewed as nothing more than a whim of Americans, in this domestic, national debate, having no substantive or retentive value and as such, it is viewed as being disposable.


the value of tradition


What Justice Bader and her fellow companions who champion same-sex marriage are oblivious to is that the reality of marriage, whether by that designation or by some other term it may have been known in times past, as being between a man and woman is more than a mere tradition or whim. Yes, there are traditions of different importance in society which were established and are sustained on a whim.


For example, a wedding cake is part of the wedding tradition. The size or type of cake and whether or not the bride and groom plant a handful of cake on each other’s face with cake is not essential to the tradition. The tradition is simply to have a cake. Should the betrothed opt to not have a wedding cake it would hardly constitute a breach in tradition, and certainly, not something which would incur a social stigma.


The fact is, and I am aware that many of my brothers and sisters in Christ are as oblivious to this just as some who have mistakenly cast marriage as a mere tradition, that whether or not a man and woman cared for or had the financial means or desire to declare their allegiance to one another as husband and wife through an elaborate celebration in the presence of friends and family, or even a church or government official is not a requirement for marriage according to the scriptures. In fact, the irony is that such a notion in modern times for the formalization of marriage has been taken up by government making it more a requirement of civil law than the biblical authority of scripture.


The value of tradition is that it teaches, by way of remembrance, what and why we observe and do things such as a Fourth of July celebration parade or a turkey feast in November. Clearly, when the observance and adherence to a tradition is blind and without any understanding it is pretty much worthless except as a festive occasion. Yes, I am aware there is an increasingly louder cry against these and other traditions with a corresponding quickness to dismiss those traditions with little awareness as to the value of those traditions. Even worse than those cries is the eagerness with which some people are quick to go along. This quickness often reveals their woeful ignorance of what and why they had previously observed and celebrated as a tradition in their lives. Their quick eagerness to abandon one tradition in place of something else is not necessarily an embrace of love and understanding, but one of acquiescence or capitulation in the name of unity.


Here is an interesting point about the much touted and celebrated call for unity and the embrace of diversity among same-sex advocates. It is an excerpt from my blog article, This Mystery is Great: Unity and Marriage:


All for one


Since Paul speaks of and frames this great mystery in the context of human relationship, specifically; man and woman in marriage, it is imperative that other human relationships be made subject to discussion. All, atheists, agnostics and theists alike, know and experience the human interaction of relationship in which every man and woman participates. This same human interaction is no less present in the homosexual relationship. Whether or not the homosexual regards or acknowledges God’s purpose as declared in the garden or merely professes a superficial acknowledgment of that beginning, the homosexual relationship he is not exempt from the discussion. It is, in fact, especially subject to the discussion because the mystery of unity of oneness which characterizes God is undeniably to be desired and a delight in all human relationships holy or profane.


Unity through diversity, -- not


Yet, the homosexual/lesbian relationship graphically epitomizes, both in the carnal mind and the flesh of the body, the very thing which God did not like after he created man – that man was alone.


The response to Adam’s need by God was not to create another human male like Adam, but a human female like Eve. The homosexual/lesbian life is characterized, not by loneliness as some may distort the use of the word here, but by aloneness. It is the human (homosexual and lesbian) affront, not only to God, but even to the very same culture so much touted in the world of the homosexual and lesbian. You may wonder how. It is that the hearty slogan of “unity through diversity” extolled in the workplace, the athletic field as well as in the gathering of the faithful is nothing more than a dull, hollow thud. The mere fleshy union of two same-sex individuals does not and cannot equate to diversity or unity and is, in fact, contrary to the unity-through-diversity culture banner slogan. As much as God acknowledged He was not enough for the human Adam if Adam were ever to experience the joy of human fulfillment it was essential that Adam have a human female companion who was different than the male Adam.


The point in the excerpt above is that despite the emblem slogan of “unity through diversity” it is not about diversity. It is about sameness, as in, same-sex.

the voice of scripture


None of the peripherals including cake and wedding dresses or even the term marriage constitute a marriage anymore than changing that definition to include same-sex couples constitutes a marriage. Yes, marriage is alluded to, but it is also specifically valued highly in the writings of the apostle Paul in the book of Ephesians. It is the relationship of commitment between a man and a woman which, Jesus stated, is the way it was in the beginning.


And He answered and said, "Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE,  (Matthew 19)


So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself;
29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church,
30 because we are members of His body.
31 FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND SHALL BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME  ONE FLESH.
32 This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.
33 Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.
5 and said, 'FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME  ONE FLESH '?
6 "So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate." (Ephesians 5)


nothing new


Homosexuality and lesbianism are not a new social phenomenon.


I get it that they want the health benefits which are available to married couples.


What I also think I get is the acceptance or recognition that homosexuals and lesbians want and that is the approval of society.


I begrudge them those health benefits neither on biblical standing nor any constitutional standing. I can also accept the reality of their sexual union, but it would be a mistake to equate that acceptance as approval of their sexual union. Yes. I am aware. I can hear it. Who gives a !&?/?!)&!#@**!! what I think.


the redefinition of marriage


Quite true. Now I come back to the point by advocates who champion for same-sex marriage  about marriage between a man and woman being nothing more than a tradition. There are efforts to assuage opponents to same-sex marriage. One such effort is to reassure them that the redefinition of marriage to allow same-sex marriages (the mere association and reference to that as marriage in this article is neither my approval nor recognition of it as a marriage) is that heterosexual (or traditional) marriages would lose nothing and can remain unaffected and changed by a redefinition of marriage. Again, quite true.


This same voice of reason also echoes back to same-sex marriage advocates. It says those same-sex marriages can remain just as unaffected and unchanged by the moral standard which defines the sexual union involving other than a man and a woman as immoral. It is that moral standard, the scriptures, to be specific, why the unaffected heterosexual couples can not approve of the homosexual and lesbian sexual union.

sin and righteousness


This same voice defines as being just as immoral the adulterous whim of a man or a woman in violation of their marriage covenant with their respective spouses. The significance, value and judgments of these tenets do not speak to homosexuals or other nonbelievers. They speak to nonbelievers who, having become keenly of their lives without faith, have reached the crossroads of their lives. It is they, and no one else, who have determined to submit themselves wilfully and with the understanding of, both, what the scriptures have declared for them as sin as well as the righteousness of God that is through faith in Jesus.


conclusion


The discussion among United States Supreme Court Justice Ruth Ginsburg Bader and her peers on the bench on marriage as a tradition is mistaken. It is a reference to marriage as a tradition which has become common among, both, disciples of the faith that is in Jesus and same-sex marriage advocates also.


This view of marriage between a man and woman as a mere tradition may produce the desired effect by which it is easier to dismiss it. However, marriage predates traditions, such as wedding cakes and ceremonies, the presence or absence of which no more constitute a marriage than they nullify it. Yes, a redefinition of marriage by the courts to extend it to same-sex couples does not and will not change the marriage between a man and a woman. It is similarly true that the moral standard by which men and women in marriage can not and will not accept a same-sex marriage will not change those same-sex marriages newly sanctioned by the court. One is not compelled to rail or assail those who live in a same-sex union anymore than the sin of greed and thievery. No one comes to the understanding and knowledge of sin and grace without finding themselves to make their own decision as to whether or not they love Jesus more than their life to commit their lives to him and follow him. Otherwise, Jesus said, you can not be my disciple.

Peace to all in Jesus, the Son of God.

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