The purpose of this debate….


The purpose is this, and I guess I’d say it’s several-fold:

1. To awaken Christians to the seriousness of the issue–and maybe,
just maybe, in the process, to get them to think about the other
issues related to God-honoring marriage. Others in the group aren’t
privy to our pastors’ discussion the other day, Matt, about
how “evangelism is the toughest thing to fake” when it comes to
godly living/church involvement. Well, we can fake a whole lot of
stuff, can’t we? We can fake real concern for unborn life by
saying “Amen” real loud on pro-life Sunday–and then not doing one
thing about it other than that. This proposal calls on Christians
to do something which actually costs something in this culture war.
We’re fat and lazy and altogether too willing to just accept things
that come down the cultural pike with a que sera, que sera attitude
that says, in effect, “well, we can’t stop it, so there’s no use
trying”. Look, most all of us believe in some level of social
engagement as part of the “cultural mandate” of Scripture to be salt
and light. This is nothing different, except that it is more
radical, and frankly, our vanilla mediocrity when it comes to taking
radical stances is appalling. Other than the “rescue movement”,
with which I personally had concerns on some points, few of us have
been willing to take stances that cost anything.

2. To say, loud and clear, that our first allegiance is to God, and
not to the state. I fear that most American Christians are first,
American, and a distant second, Christian.

3. To shock our culture into thinking long and hard before it takes
such a foolish action. The rationales I hear given by the
apologists for gay marriage are so surface-thinking that I want to
scream. “Why not let two people who love each other get married?”
Nobody is THINKING about this very hard (which I guess is indicative
of our culture in most respects), and my hope would be to awaken
people to the seriousness of the issue–and to what the actual
issues ARE–prior to us tearing down this fence. Good comment I
heard awhile back, by the way; “before we tear down a fence, perhaps
we ought to ask why it was erected in the first place”. NOBODY IS
designed to make people think about the question of, “do we want
marriage, as recognized by the state, to include all sorts of
assorted goofy arrangements (“gay marriage” opens the door to all
other perversions), and at the same time, for Christian people to
want to have nothing to do with it?” I’d like for some politicians
and judges and the like to entertain that thought. So yes, it is to
bring some pressure to bear, as you put it.

This is not a pining for a return to some “Great Christian age” or
something, Matt. I don’t consider myself part of the Religious
Right (though I agree with the RR on some things, I disagree on many
others). But you say, “It seems to me that the Biblical notion of
engagement with culture is to be radically different from it, submit
to government when called upon, and pray for good leaders so that we
can live quiet lives of evangelism.” Yeah! That’s WHY I’m
suggesting we do this, in part, because “radically different” from
culture can involve saying to a culture that is bent on weird
definitions of marriage that, “we aren’t playing
along!” “Submitting to government” is right, of course; my
proposal isn’t even, at least at this point, “civil disobedience”,
because I’m not calling on anyone to disobey the government, but
rather, for the sake of clear Christian witness on the area of
marriage, to petition the government on First Amendment grounds to
allow us freedom of religion to have our marriages derecognized. I
think that taking such a step has the potential of actually
clarifying our witness, of standing apart in such a way that others
might be drawn to Christ, particularly if this is done in a
principled, and not angry, way.

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