Hello world! How about a radical idea?

As all of us are aware, we live in an age in which marriage is under
attack from many different directions. Cutting to the chase, the
most recent widespread such attack is the one which most clearly and
dangerously undermines the institution itself, and that is the
proposed radical redefinition of the very concept of marriage. Of
course you know I am speaking of the radical attempt by the powerful
homosexual lobby to validate and legalize the concept commonly
referred to as “gay marriage”. The Massachusetts Supreme Court, in
a brazen overstepping of any judicial boundaries whatsoever, has
thrown down the gauntlet. All of us are concerned that we risk
irreversible damage to the institution of marriage by this radical
redefinition (which has nothing whatsoever to do with “equal rights
for homosexuals”, since they already have equal rights as regards
marriage).

The question for committed Christians is, “what shall we do about
it?” Contending for a constitutional amendment banning such
aberrations is certainly worthy of our time and effort; this issue
is surely the most significant one facing us today—at least on par
with the continuing American abortion holocaust, and far
overshadowing issues of economic or military import. There are
other ways in which to address this problem, but when all is said
and done, I fear that nothing short of radical steps will hold much
potential to awaken this nation and its leadership to the
seriousness of the issue at hand. Parenthetically, it is
disappointing to me personally that I hear no one, including those
who are “on our side”, arguing the points at hand from a perspective
that is likely to be very effective. What I see us doing is ceding
the playing field, giving “home-field advantage”, over to the
homosexual lobby, allowing them (and the complicit media) to set the
terms of the debate (i.e., it is all about “equal rights”—we just
don’t want homosexuals to have that particular right). When we cede
the playing field and allow the terms of the debate to be set by the
other side, we have lost most of the battle from the outset.

I propose a radical solution, one so radical that I expect it to be
rejected by most Christians—since American Christians tend to fear
relinquishing their comfort in order to take radical stances. But
without further ado, here it is: I propose that, in the event “gay
marriage” were to become the law of the land, Christians en masse
petition the governments of their particular states to “derecognize”
their own marriages from a legal standpoint. That’s the nutshell;
here are the specifics/rationales.

Marriage is, first and foremost, an institution of divine origin, as
we all know. What God says about marriage—or anything, for that
matter—is of infinitely more significance than any pronouncements a
civil government might make. And God has made the parameters of
marriage pretty clear. In America, of course, marriage has both
a “religious” and a “civil” context; as a minister, I am
enfranchised by the state to perform wedding ceremonies, and my
pronouncements, coupled with my signature on proper documents,
constitutes legal sanction upon a marriage. Until recently, no one
gave much thought to this arrangement; until recently the moral
insanity of “gay marriage” had never been considered. Other
arrangements seeking the legal recognition of marriage, most notably
polygamy, were turned aside, and even deemed punishable by law.

The powerful homosexual rights lobby, however, in alliance with the
media, has aggressively promoted this alleged “right” to radically
redefine marriage. They show every sign of potentially succeeding,
and while, for the time being, we are talking about happenings in
Massachusetts, there looms a constitutional crisis involving
the “full faith and credit” clause of the Constitution which compels
every state to legally recognize such an arrangement. There are
many states, of course, which have passed some version of a “Defense
of Marriage Act”, but the collision of those legislative decrees
with the “full faith and credit” clause leaves in doubt the eventual
outcome and constitutionality of those laws, given our current
liberal Supreme Court.

And so the great possibility is that we will find ourselves soon in
the position of the state having changed the rules of the game. My
response, as a Christian, is to contend that if the rules of the
game are changed, we Christians refuse to play any longer. Any
definition of marriage which involves anything other than one man
and one woman taking part is a definition for which I did not sign
up almost twenty-two years ago. And by the way, understand that a
state which radically redefines marriage in this way will have no
impediment to legalizing not only polygamy, but “group marriage” and
other aberrations which even my fertile imagination cannot dream up
at this point. Marriage between four men and eleven women, between
a man and his German shepherd, between three men and a geranium?
Coming soon to a town near you.

So, I propose that we strongly consider encouraging Christian
couples to sue the state for the right to have their marriages
legally derecognized (a far different thing, by the way, from
divorce) on First Amendment grounds that to not do so would be to
compel us to maintain such legal standing in direct violation of our
faith. It will not do for the state to say to us, “so, get a
divorce”, for not only would this entail, at least in most states,
to my understanding, such onerous regulations as living in separate
households for a period of time and the like, but simply that
divorce is not what this is about. It is solely about the fact that
if the government pursues the radical and ludicrous step of
legalizing “gay marriage”, thus demeaning by redefinition the
significance of every marriage, we as Christians should not be
complicit in this scheme.

Practically speaking, for this plan to be effective, it would seem
that finding one Christian couple in each of the fifty states
willing to take this legal step on the day of such legalization
would be a primary goal. Just as importantly (arguable more so),
the widespread dissemination of these impending legal actions would
need to be done, beginning with a website devoted to such, and a
campaign to get this idea out before not only the Christian public
at large, but also the major media. What would legislatures do if
they were armed with the knowledge that Christians were ready to
abandon the legal recognition of their marriages in the event that
this sham were to become law?

I find no compelling argument against this, in my own mind, but that
is in large part why I write to you today, to ask you to take
seriously my request that you serve as a sounding board. Again,
marriage in the eyes of God so far outstrips legal recognition of
that marriage as to render the second point moot, and while it’s a
shame that it might come to something like this…it might come to
something like this. As a pastor, I’d have not the first qualm
about pronouncing a couple “man and wife” in the eyes of God, just
as I do now, without bothering to apply for legal recognition of
such.

I know that there might be legal ramifications to taking such a step
as having one’s marriage derecognized, but it’s hard to imagine that
there’d be many significant ones, and certainly there are mechanisms
available to couples to remedy any of those (we ought to have a will
anyway, right?). But regardless of legal ramifications, doing
what’s right is more important than maintaining legal advantages.

This letter is my opening salvo. I’d welcome constructive input.
I’m not looking for “it’ll never work”, so don’t bother saying that,
even if you think it’s true. I’m not looking for “that’s a dumb
idea”; I’m looking for “that’s a dumb (or great!) idea, and here’s
why…” If you think it’s a harebrained scheme, be gentle, because
while it’s radical, I think it’s reasonable in times such as these,
and it’s something I’ve given a good bit of thought to. I’m
looking for anyone to give me a Scriptural reason why this would be
wrong; I’m not looking for “we’ve never done it that way before”.
I’m looking for thoughts and suggestions and input and, frankly,
support if I’ve made a compelling case. But I write to trusted
friends before I do anything else, because in the multitude of
counselors, there is wisdom. Thank you in advance for taking my
thoughts seriously and responding to them thoughtfully as God might
lead. Regardless of your response, our shared commitment to the
Scripture, and to the “godly estate of matrimony”, compels us to
care and to respond as we see marriage under such heavy attack.

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