Gay Marriage & State Power

One section of the Olasky Manifesto deserves separate discussion, what he says about gay marriage. He says that we must affirm the worth and human dignity of homosexuals and not consider their sin as worse than heterosexuals’ sins, but that we must certainly oppose gay marriage. But he makes a socially-conservative yet libertarian argument against it. Legalizing homosexual marriage, he says, citing another scholar, represents a HUGE growth of state power, with the state presuming by fiat to alter the most basic and most organic of all cultural institutions. Instead of keeping to its own sphere, the state becomes, literally, totalitarian, taking on total power over all of life.

(That last sentence is my conclusion.)

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Manxman

    Gene/Marvin

    The state’s totalitarianism in the homosexuality issue is already in place. The root social issue is not homosexual/lesbian MARRIAGE. The root issue is that the State has defied God’s limits on normal sexuality and has removed the moral stigma and “wrongness” from this destructive sexual behavior, and is actually promoting tolerance for it in government-funded schools at all levels and protecting it in the legal system with “hate crimes” laws. The horse is already out of the barn, guys, and “marriage” is merely the next logical step toward an American Gomorrah.

  • Manxman

    Gene/Marvin

    The state’s totalitarianism in the homosexuality issue is already in place. The root social issue is not homosexual/lesbian MARRIAGE. The root issue is that the State has defied God’s limits on normal sexuality and has removed the moral stigma and “wrongness” from this destructive sexual behavior, and is actually promoting tolerance for it in government-funded schools at all levels and protecting it in the legal system with “hate crimes” laws. The horse is already out of the barn, guys, and “marriage” is merely the next logical step toward an American Gomorrah.

  • allen

    Perhaps the horse has been out of the barn for quite some time now. George and Martha Washington never got no stinkin’ license from the state to be married. They got their parents’ permission. I can see requiring a license to practice medicine – but marriage?

    After gay marriage comes polygamy, It’s the 14th Amendment, don’t you know.

  • allen

    Perhaps the horse has been out of the barn for quite some time now. George and Martha Washington never got no stinkin’ license from the state to be married. They got their parents’ permission. I can see requiring a license to practice medicine – but marriage?

    After gay marriage comes polygamy, It’s the 14th Amendment, don’t you know.

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    Some accounts of the term ‘license’ suggest that it is special permission to do something that would be illegal without the permission. I have read that the original definition of ‘marriage license’ in Black’s Legal dictionary is “A license or permission granted by public authority to persons who intend to intermarry.” In other words, only these people needed special permission. First one group needed special permission, then everyone else. (There are limits to online research, so let the reader beware. Before you put lots of weight on it, find your own sources!)

    I don’t want to see police officers invading Unitarian churches performing wedding ceremonies for gay couples. Nor do I want to see the state interfering with the right of such couples to contract with each other. But I would like to see all marriages privatized so far as the state is concerned. Marriage should be a public act, but the church has really given up its authority here. It should be dealing with its own records and own judgments as to who is married rather than relying on the state to define that.

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    Some accounts of the term ‘license’ suggest that it is special permission to do something that would be illegal without the permission. I have read that the original definition of ‘marriage license’ in Black’s Legal dictionary is “A license or permission granted by public authority to persons who intend to intermarry.” In other words, only these people needed special permission. First one group needed special permission, then everyone else. (There are limits to online research, so let the reader beware. Before you put lots of weight on it, find your own sources!)

    I don’t want to see police officers invading Unitarian churches performing wedding ceremonies for gay couples. Nor do I want to see the state interfering with the right of such couples to contract with each other. But I would like to see all marriages privatized so far as the state is concerned. Marriage should be a public act, but the church has really given up its authority here. It should be dealing with its own records and own judgments as to who is married rather than relying on the state to define that.

  • allen

    There are certain legal questions which hinge on the identity of one’s next-of-kin. There should be a form which may be filled out at the courthouse if two people wish to so designate each other. Beyond that, there is no legitimate state function.

  • allen

    There are certain legal questions which hinge on the identity of one’s next-of-kin. There should be a form which may be filled out at the courthouse if two people wish to so designate each other. Beyond that, there is no legitimate state function.

  • fwsonnek

    ok. marriage, with or without government sanction, is the basis and foundation for all 1st article gifts.

    it is not a second or third article gift so it has NOTHING to do with the purpose or function of the church.

    it is not a sacramment.

    black folks could not legally marry until around 1900. white and black could not legally marry till 1970. chinese could not marry white women till around 1910. this meant that these marriages were not valid in God´s eyes. They were illegal.

    my question for you all is this one:

    if a single man and woman want to marry, does the government EVER have the right to disallow this?

    Would two christians, man and woman , be sinning by breaking the law of government saying that they cannot marry and their union is unnatural?

    I am thinking of black and white before 1970. or would they have to obey the government? would they need to remain single and not marry or find someone of the same race to marry?

    this is a serious question.

  • fwsonnek

    ok. marriage, with or without government sanction, is the basis and foundation for all 1st article gifts.

    it is not a second or third article gift so it has NOTHING to do with the purpose or function of the church.

    it is not a sacramment.

    black folks could not legally marry until around 1900. white and black could not legally marry till 1970. chinese could not marry white women till around 1910. this meant that these marriages were not valid in God´s eyes. They were illegal.

    my question for you all is this one:

    if a single man and woman want to marry, does the government EVER have the right to disallow this?

    Would two christians, man and woman , be sinning by breaking the law of government saying that they cannot marry and their union is unnatural?

    I am thinking of black and white before 1970. or would they have to obey the government? would they need to remain single and not marry or find someone of the same race to marry?

    this is a serious question.

  • fwsonnek

    More false reasoning when he gets into same-sex marriage: “The right to do whatever one wants to do can only exist in a society that removes all impediments and tidies up the social dislocations and inconveniences created by the sexual indulgence of its members.”

    Maybe, but no one as asked for “the right to do whatever one wants to do.”

    Some homosexuals have asked for the right to have their relationships recognized the same way as opposite-sex couples. That is a limited and defined issue that is not the same as “anything one wants.” They’re not asking to be allowed to have sex in the street, buy cocaine or commit ritual sacrifices.

    It’s a common rhetorical tactic, to imply that something you’re against is the same as rampant unrestrained libirtinism, but it’s a false comparison.

    there is nothing in the section on homosexuality that is truthful, even the part about confirming the worth and human dignity of homos and that there are worse things than homosexuality. what would that be beside abortion? and just how would he propose to confirm the worth and human dignity of homosexuals? by the dishonest logic above? not a promising start…..

  • fwsonnek

    More false reasoning when he gets into same-sex marriage: “The right to do whatever one wants to do can only exist in a society that removes all impediments and tidies up the social dislocations and inconveniences created by the sexual indulgence of its members.”

    Maybe, but no one as asked for “the right to do whatever one wants to do.”

    Some homosexuals have asked for the right to have their relationships recognized the same way as opposite-sex couples. That is a limited and defined issue that is not the same as “anything one wants.” They’re not asking to be allowed to have sex in the street, buy cocaine or commit ritual sacrifices.

    It’s a common rhetorical tactic, to imply that something you’re against is the same as rampant unrestrained libirtinism, but it’s a false comparison.

    there is nothing in the section on homosexuality that is truthful, even the part about confirming the worth and human dignity of homos and that there are worse things than homosexuality. what would that be beside abortion? and just how would he propose to confirm the worth and human dignity of homosexuals? by the dishonest logic above? not a promising start…..

  • fwsonnek

    can someone, anyone, please paint a scenario for me to help me understand how letting two homos or lesbians get a marriage license will destroy or cause harm to society at large in ANY practical way? Just how would this be MORE harmful than divorce? why arent you all pushing for outlawing divorce?

    I am just not getting the animus surrounding this topic.

  • fwsonnek

    can someone, anyone, please paint a scenario for me to help me understand how letting two homos or lesbians get a marriage license will destroy or cause harm to society at large in ANY practical way? Just how would this be MORE harmful than divorce? why arent you all pushing for outlawing divorce?

    I am just not getting the animus surrounding this topic.

  • allen

    fwsonnek,

    I’m not so conversant with the context of all the heavy debates around here, so please forgive me if misunderstand your point. To my humble way of thinking, God has “ordained” three institutions on earth; family, church, and state. Unless I’m mistaken, “Lutherans” are supposed to be fully seized of the pitfalls of mixing the responsibilities of the three.

    Marriage would seem to rightly fall under the rubric of family. This is not to say that church and state must butt out entirely, but they do have to butt out some.

    As for the “animus surrounding this topic,” I am unqualified to answer.

  • allen

    fwsonnek,

    I’m not so conversant with the context of all the heavy debates around here, so please forgive me if misunderstand your point. To my humble way of thinking, God has “ordained” three institutions on earth; family, church, and state. Unless I’m mistaken, “Lutherans” are supposed to be fully seized of the pitfalls of mixing the responsibilities of the three.

    Marriage would seem to rightly fall under the rubric of family. This is not to say that church and state must butt out entirely, but they do have to butt out some.

    As for the “animus surrounding this topic,” I am unqualified to answer.

  • Rose

    The difficulty with homosexuality is that it rejects natural fatherhood. The understanding we have as Christians of our God is that He is our Father.
    By accepting the gift of heterosexuality and parenthood, we have an opportunity to better understand Him. He does not abort difficult or inconvenient children. He sacrifices for His bride and redeems His children. This is His revelation: God is our Father. Rejecting fatherhood undermines the paradigm. Here is an excellent theological article: http://www.cwfa.org/articles/9249/CWA/family/index.htm Does anyone know of other theological writings in this vein?

  • Rose

    The difficulty with homosexuality is that it rejects natural fatherhood. The understanding we have as Christians of our God is that He is our Father.
    By accepting the gift of heterosexuality and parenthood, we have an opportunity to better understand Him. He does not abort difficult or inconvenient children. He sacrifices for His bride and redeems His children. This is His revelation: God is our Father. Rejecting fatherhood undermines the paradigm. Here is an excellent theological article: http://www.cwfa.org/articles/9249/CWA/family/index.htm Does anyone know of other theological writings in this vein?

  • fwsonnek

    allen: here here! the animus is the idea that allowing two queers to obtain a marriage license will do more than any other thing to totally destroy the institution of marriage and civilization as we know it. I just dont get how that would be even close to possible in any realistic scenario other than some wierd “slippery slope“ argument… as in first homosexuality, then beastiality , then allowing blacks and whites to marry..

    Rose:

    I couldn´t get at your link. is there another one you can point me to? I´m very interested. I am sorta confused by what you have written.

    Are you saying that you wanted to be a lesbian but you CHOSE to accept heterosexuality instead?

    I, like all gay men, have a father, who is natural, and I don´t in any way reject his fatherhood. what is the difference between fatherhood and NATURAL fatherhood? do you mean adoption? As when the bible says that God has adopted us as his children in Christ?

    I am not sure how abortion fits into what you say. are you saying that you would not abort a homosexual child?

    how can a thing reject something? are the homosexuals rejecting fatherhood or it the thing called homosexuality that is rejecting fatherhood?

    rose can you or someone else who is familiar with the theological writings she is referring to help me out here. this school of thought seems important for me to understand and know about as a Christian who happens to be gay.

    thanks!

  • fwsonnek

    allen: here here! the animus is the idea that allowing two queers to obtain a marriage license will do more than any other thing to totally destroy the institution of marriage and civilization as we know it. I just dont get how that would be even close to possible in any realistic scenario other than some wierd “slippery slope“ argument… as in first homosexuality, then beastiality , then allowing blacks and whites to marry..

    Rose:

    I couldn´t get at your link. is there another one you can point me to? I´m very interested. I am sorta confused by what you have written.

    Are you saying that you wanted to be a lesbian but you CHOSE to accept heterosexuality instead?

    I, like all gay men, have a father, who is natural, and I don´t in any way reject his fatherhood. what is the difference between fatherhood and NATURAL fatherhood? do you mean adoption? As when the bible says that God has adopted us as his children in Christ?

    I am not sure how abortion fits into what you say. are you saying that you would not abort a homosexual child?

    how can a thing reject something? are the homosexuals rejecting fatherhood or it the thing called homosexuality that is rejecting fatherhood?

    rose can you or someone else who is familiar with the theological writings she is referring to help me out here. this school of thought seems important for me to understand and know about as a Christian who happens to be gay.

    thanks!

  • organshoes

    The slippery slope makes an essential part of the argument for me. There is always that underlying dissatisfaction with tradition, even existing law, that makes us want to bend law until there is none left to break.
    Who can deny our defiant nature? Who can deny that, given a foot in the door, arguments won’t be made for everything under the sun being made legal? When our hope is in what we say is right, and in using law to uphold our desires, what makes anyone think it would stop at what gay couples and their supporters say is all they want? Why could they not be the useful idiots of those who really do want bestiality or marriage with children, or you-name-it-I-can’t? Pretty much in the same way women have been used, thinking equality was all the feminist movement wanted, when its leaders have much more in mind than any mere equality. Women have been the useful idiots of feminism and abortion-on-demand for a long time. I wish women would see how they’re (we’re) being bought and sold under the banner of sisterhood.
    I don’t doubt for a minute that gay couples and those who battle for them wouldn’t be–aren’t already–mere tools for those who want more.

  • organshoes

    The slippery slope makes an essential part of the argument for me. There is always that underlying dissatisfaction with tradition, even existing law, that makes us want to bend law until there is none left to break.
    Who can deny our defiant nature? Who can deny that, given a foot in the door, arguments won’t be made for everything under the sun being made legal? When our hope is in what we say is right, and in using law to uphold our desires, what makes anyone think it would stop at what gay couples and their supporters say is all they want? Why could they not be the useful idiots of those who really do want bestiality or marriage with children, or you-name-it-I-can’t? Pretty much in the same way women have been used, thinking equality was all the feminist movement wanted, when its leaders have much more in mind than any mere equality. Women have been the useful idiots of feminism and abortion-on-demand for a long time. I wish women would see how they’re (we’re) being bought and sold under the banner of sisterhood.
    I don’t doubt for a minute that gay couples and those who battle for them wouldn’t be–aren’t already–mere tools for those who want more.

  • fwsonnek

    Ok Organshoes, I bite:

    “…that underlying dissatisfaction with tradition”…

    Ok.
    I only have to go back a hundred years or so to think about tradition, 1906, or maybe you and I can go REALLY traditional and think of the OT Patriarchs, or are you thinking here of June and Ward Cleaver as your model “tradition”?

    Even so…

    Why is it that you think women should have equality in any way or the right to vote? Or do you? If you favor womens’ suffrage, why do you chose to buck thousands of years of tradition (versus about 80 years of recent tradition) to think so?

    Until a supreme court decision as recently as 1970, federal and state judges argued that allowing black to marry white would lead to beastiality just as you are arguing. Okayyy. You keep um…interesting company… with your reasoning…. google that one….”Loving vs. the state of virginia”. PLEASE don´t tell me you would have sided with the state of virginia in their arguments….

    Why shouldn’t they (the weaker sex) stay at home and be homemakers and helpmeets and get an education SOLELY to become better housewifes and mothers?

    Doesn´t the bible quite clearly say that women were created to be “helpmeets” i.e. exist to serve their male companion/husband in Genesis, and doesn´t saint paul echo this by reminding us that man was made first from the dust whereas, in contrast, woman was made as a derivative of man?

    Where do you see yourself personally on this slippery slope? Just what tradition is it that you want to be conserve-ative about? Where is YOUR foot in the door?

    Please feel free to doubt , for a minute at least, that I am a “mere tool” even if I may not be as bright or credentialed (sincerely spoken!) as yourself.

    For my part, I will take good care not to label you or anyone as a dupe or idiot, useful or otherwise. It is unhelpful and not nice.

    We can STILL have a lively and interesting debate no?

  • fwsonnek

    Ok Organshoes, I bite:

    “…that underlying dissatisfaction with tradition”…

    Ok.
    I only have to go back a hundred years or so to think about tradition, 1906, or maybe you and I can go REALLY traditional and think of the OT Patriarchs, or are you thinking here of June and Ward Cleaver as your model “tradition”?

    Even so…

    Why is it that you think women should have equality in any way or the right to vote? Or do you? If you favor womens’ suffrage, why do you chose to buck thousands of years of tradition (versus about 80 years of recent tradition) to think so?

    Until a supreme court decision as recently as 1970, federal and state judges argued that allowing black to marry white would lead to beastiality just as you are arguing. Okayyy. You keep um…interesting company… with your reasoning…. google that one….”Loving vs. the state of virginia”. PLEASE don´t tell me you would have sided with the state of virginia in their arguments….

    Why shouldn’t they (the weaker sex) stay at home and be homemakers and helpmeets and get an education SOLELY to become better housewifes and mothers?

    Doesn´t the bible quite clearly say that women were created to be “helpmeets” i.e. exist to serve their male companion/husband in Genesis, and doesn´t saint paul echo this by reminding us that man was made first from the dust whereas, in contrast, woman was made as a derivative of man?

    Where do you see yourself personally on this slippery slope? Just what tradition is it that you want to be conserve-ative about? Where is YOUR foot in the door?

    Please feel free to doubt , for a minute at least, that I am a “mere tool” even if I may not be as bright or credentialed (sincerely spoken!) as yourself.

    For my part, I will take good care not to label you or anyone as a dupe or idiot, useful or otherwise. It is unhelpful and not nice.

    We can STILL have a lively and interesting debate no?

  • fwsonnek

    Organshoes:

    If you say that women should be allowed to be more than housewives and mothers by the way, you disagree with every reformation theologian I can think of, INCLUDING Luther…..

  • fwsonnek

    Organshoes:

    If you say that women should be allowed to be more than housewives and mothers by the way, you disagree with every reformation theologian I can think of, INCLUDING Luther…..

  • fwsonnek

    I read that you say the “slippery slope” argument is “essential” to the argument against gay marriage.

    essential=cannot exist without, of the essense…

    you are saying that APART from the slippery slope , that there is NO argument against gay marriage, if my understanding of plain english is correct.

    Very interesting indeed. I never would have suspected that …

  • fwsonnek

    I read that you say the “slippery slope” argument is “essential” to the argument against gay marriage.

    essential=cannot exist without, of the essense…

    you are saying that APART from the slippery slope , that there is NO argument against gay marriage, if my understanding of plain english is correct.

    Very interesting indeed. I never would have suspected that …


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