Civil unions replacing marriage

Gays want to get married while straight couples want to have civil unions.   In France, the latter newly-invented institution has become a sort of marriage-lite, a temporary marriage without the threat of alimony or child support.  Though designed to accommodate gays, most civil unions in France are being entered into by heterosexual couples.  From the New York Times:

Some are divorced and disenchanted with marriage; others are young couples ideologically opposed to marriage, but eager to lighten their tax burdens. Many are lovers not quite ready for old-fashioned matrimony.

Whatever their reasons, and they vary widely, French couples are increasingly shunning traditional marriages and opting instead for civil unions, to the point that there are now two civil unions for every three marriages.

When France created its system of civil unions in 1999, it was heralded as a revolution in gay rights, a relationship almost like marriage, but not quite. No one, though, anticipated how many couples would make use of the new law. Nor was it predicted that by 2009, the overwhelming majority of civil unions would be between straight couples.

It remains unclear whether the idea of a civil union, called a pacte civil de solidarité, or PACS, has responded to a shift in social attitudes or caused one. But it has proved remarkably well suited to France and its particularities about marriage, divorce, religion and taxes — and it can be dissolved with just a registered letter.

“We’re the generation of divorced parents,” explained Maud Hugot, 32, an aide at the Health Ministry who signed a PACS with her girlfriend, Nathalie Mondot, 33, this year. Expressing a view that researchers say is becoming commonplace among same-sex couples and heterosexuals alike, she added, “The notion of eternal marriage has grown obsolete.”

via In France, Civil Unions Gain Favor Over Marriage – NYTimes.com.

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.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    The thing I’m learning about social issues like this is that we have a tendency to look at these things as causes for societal breakdown, when in truth they are symptoms that result from a root cause, ie-Original Sin. It really should be no surprise to we Christians that such things are happening, because an unregenerate heart leads to an unregenerate worldview, which in turn leads to an external practice of internal rebellion against God.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    The thing I’m learning about social issues like this is that we have a tendency to look at these things as causes for societal breakdown, when in truth they are symptoms that result from a root cause, ie-Original Sin. It really should be no surprise to we Christians that such things are happening, because an unregenerate heart leads to an unregenerate worldview, which in turn leads to an external practice of internal rebellion against God.

  • Aaron R.

    And I would add that few homosexual activists for gay marriage actually want to get married – you know, for themselves. Societal sanction of a sexual relationship continues to be granted through the rite of marriage, and what the movement is after is that sanction, not marriage itself.

  • Aaron R.

    And I would add that few homosexual activists for gay marriage actually want to get married – you know, for themselves. Societal sanction of a sexual relationship continues to be granted through the rite of marriage, and what the movement is after is that sanction, not marriage itself.

  • WebMonk

    Aaron, I tend to have a lot of sympathy for saying it is wise for governments to stay out of the institute of marriage as far as various society sanctions go – taxes, etc.

    It will obviously get involved in lots of things like child support, alimony, shared property after a split, and stuff like that, but as much as possible I think governments really shouldn’t get involved in marriage. Let the institute of marriage be primarily a social one based on non-governmental recognition, and a basic set of contract law to handle some of the issues mentioned at the beginning of this paragraph.

  • WebMonk

    Aaron, I tend to have a lot of sympathy for saying it is wise for governments to stay out of the institute of marriage as far as various society sanctions go – taxes, etc.

    It will obviously get involved in lots of things like child support, alimony, shared property after a split, and stuff like that, but as much as possible I think governments really shouldn’t get involved in marriage. Let the institute of marriage be primarily a social one based on non-governmental recognition, and a basic set of contract law to handle some of the issues mentioned at the beginning of this paragraph.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    There are so many different aspects to this mess it is hard to comprehend.
    on the one hand I run into people shacked up who do so because they don’t ever want to get divorced and put their children through that. I’m left wondering what difference there is to the children if their parents get divorced or break up? In essence the Biblical view is that this is no less a divorce than if the marriage had been formerly recognized by the state.
    The fear of alimony, and even extravagant Child Support payments is a big fear among men. The state might just revisit these issues to encourage marriage and the nuclear family. At this point most laws are a huge disincentive on behalf of the men to honor the woman they love with marriage.
    But then that is really at the heart of the whole problem, and one we need to bring home for our daughters. What love is it that doesn’t trust? If the man can’t trust you enough to marry you does he really love you? Is he not in essence dishonoring the woman by not marrying her? And I do believe that the woman who invests so much of herself in a marriage, especially where children are involved should be entitled to some protections such as a guarantee of continued financial support in the event a divorce is necessary. I just wish we had a culture that could better distinguish between a necessary divorce, and a misguided pursuit of happiness. The no fault thing has made more a mockery of marriage than anything the gay rights movement has. It translates into no reason, more often than not.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    There are so many different aspects to this mess it is hard to comprehend.
    on the one hand I run into people shacked up who do so because they don’t ever want to get divorced and put their children through that. I’m left wondering what difference there is to the children if their parents get divorced or break up? In essence the Biblical view is that this is no less a divorce than if the marriage had been formerly recognized by the state.
    The fear of alimony, and even extravagant Child Support payments is a big fear among men. The state might just revisit these issues to encourage marriage and the nuclear family. At this point most laws are a huge disincentive on behalf of the men to honor the woman they love with marriage.
    But then that is really at the heart of the whole problem, and one we need to bring home for our daughters. What love is it that doesn’t trust? If the man can’t trust you enough to marry you does he really love you? Is he not in essence dishonoring the woman by not marrying her? And I do believe that the woman who invests so much of herself in a marriage, especially where children are involved should be entitled to some protections such as a guarantee of continued financial support in the event a divorce is necessary. I just wish we had a culture that could better distinguish between a necessary divorce, and a misguided pursuit of happiness. The no fault thing has made more a mockery of marriage than anything the gay rights movement has. It translates into no reason, more often than not.

  • Helen F

    Looks like Issues Etc. has an upcoming program of interest with
    guest, President of the LCMS, Matthew Harrison
    http://issuesetc.org/

  • Helen F

    Looks like Issues Etc. has an upcoming program of interest with
    guest, President of the LCMS, Matthew Harrison
    http://issuesetc.org/

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    WebMonk@3

    I agree. Marriage should be an institution of the church only. Government should not even have a say in it.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    WebMonk@3

    I agree. Marriage should be an institution of the church only. Government should not even have a say in it.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    @6,
    Yikes! marriage is a first article gift, it belongs to all in and outside the church. The Lutheran position is that if this belongs to anyone’s sphere it is that of the state and not the church. We bless them the same way we do houses, but I don’t want the church getting involved in real estate law!
    Perhaps it can be a live and let live thing of society in general, but I’m not thinking that would turn out to well either.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    @6,
    Yikes! marriage is a first article gift, it belongs to all in and outside the church. The Lutheran position is that if this belongs to anyone’s sphere it is that of the state and not the church. We bless them the same way we do houses, but I don’t want the church getting involved in real estate law!
    Perhaps it can be a live and let live thing of society in general, but I’m not thinking that would turn out to well either.

  • Matthew Surburg

    WebMonk @3 and J Dean @6 – The state does have a compelling interest in marriage, especially as it is (officially, anyway) the means for producing and educating new citizens. Although some countries – e.g., Sweden – are experimenting with alternative ways to raise children and are essentially dissolving families in the process (I would recommend Angelo Codevilla’s “The Character of Nations” for a further elaboration of this), this is still a way of regulating marriage.

    Bror @4 – You have touched on one of things that I have seen over and over in my practice – one of the basic functions of marriage is to protect women from the heartless depredations of men. It is heartbreaking to see women dismiss this protection, and the men are more than happy to accommodate them. In my observation, it’s (almost) always the woman – and children – who suffer.

  • Matthew Surburg

    WebMonk @3 and J Dean @6 – The state does have a compelling interest in marriage, especially as it is (officially, anyway) the means for producing and educating new citizens. Although some countries – e.g., Sweden – are experimenting with alternative ways to raise children and are essentially dissolving families in the process (I would recommend Angelo Codevilla’s “The Character of Nations” for a further elaboration of this), this is still a way of regulating marriage.

    Bror @4 – You have touched on one of things that I have seen over and over in my practice – one of the basic functions of marriage is to protect women from the heartless depredations of men. It is heartbreaking to see women dismiss this protection, and the men are more than happy to accommodate them. In my observation, it’s (almost) always the woman – and children – who suffer.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Matthew @8
    Exactly. And yet today the problem is compounded because Marriage does not protect the man from the heartless depredations of flighty emotional women, or just plain gold diggers, who can divorce on a whim and take half the husbands estate with them.
    And no, not all women are emotional and flighty, nor are they all gold diggers, lest I don’t make myself clear.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Matthew @8
    Exactly. And yet today the problem is compounded because Marriage does not protect the man from the heartless depredations of flighty emotional women, or just plain gold diggers, who can divorce on a whim and take half the husbands estate with them.
    And no, not all women are emotional and flighty, nor are they all gold diggers, lest I don’t make myself clear.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    I think that last line is kinda funny:
    “she added, “The notion of eternal marriage has grown obsolete.””
    Too bad she doesn’t know that there has never been any such thing as “eternal marriage” contrary to popular opinion and most of the tombstones here in Utah.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    I think that last line is kinda funny:
    “she added, “The notion of eternal marriage has grown obsolete.””
    Too bad she doesn’t know that there has never been any such thing as “eternal marriage” contrary to popular opinion and most of the tombstones here in Utah.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    According to GSS data, people who have only one lifetime partner have more children on average. More partners correlates to having fewer children. If the trend holds for a while, and if children generally follow the pattern of their parents, the secular trend could be more people choosing the traditional path of abstaining till marriage and then staying permanently faithful. I have no idea, of course, but it is an interesting possibility. So, if the people with the healthiest habits have the most children and pass on those habits, we could see the incidence rate of healthy behavior rise.

    This could be like the fathers who attend church every week. A greater percentage of their children remain faithful. Modeling and training for good habits actually renders good habits.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    According to GSS data, people who have only one lifetime partner have more children on average. More partners correlates to having fewer children. If the trend holds for a while, and if children generally follow the pattern of their parents, the secular trend could be more people choosing the traditional path of abstaining till marriage and then staying permanently faithful. I have no idea, of course, but it is an interesting possibility. So, if the people with the healthiest habits have the most children and pass on those habits, we could see the incidence rate of healthy behavior rise.

    This could be like the fathers who attend church every week. A greater percentage of their children remain faithful. Modeling and training for good habits actually renders good habits.

  • WebMonk

    Matthew@8 Oh, the state has interests in marriage, for sure, but those interests can be best served by being very hands-off. The state has very little ability to encourage solid families, and unfortunately many of the steps that seem to frequently be taken by the state to encourage families (tax breaks, for one) have side-effects and tend to not achieve the desired result in the first place.

    For example the Child Tax Credit – as a form of tax relief it works pretty well, but as a form of encouraging strong families it is pretty perverse. It’s the end of the day and I don’t feel like tracking down the studies, but while the tax break encourages children it tends to have a weakening effect on marriages.

    Sweden is doing experimentation of sorts, but it is almost the exact opposite of getting out of the business of trying to support families.

  • WebMonk

    Matthew@8 Oh, the state has interests in marriage, for sure, but those interests can be best served by being very hands-off. The state has very little ability to encourage solid families, and unfortunately many of the steps that seem to frequently be taken by the state to encourage families (tax breaks, for one) have side-effects and tend to not achieve the desired result in the first place.

    For example the Child Tax Credit – as a form of tax relief it works pretty well, but as a form of encouraging strong families it is pretty perverse. It’s the end of the day and I don’t feel like tracking down the studies, but while the tax break encourages children it tends to have a weakening effect on marriages.

    Sweden is doing experimentation of sorts, but it is almost the exact opposite of getting out of the business of trying to support families.

  • WebMonk

    Wait, is it Sweden that’s doing the experimentation, or is it Switzerland? I keep getting them confused! Oh well, they’re all the same.
    :-D

  • WebMonk

    Wait, is it Sweden that’s doing the experimentation, or is it Switzerland? I keep getting them confused! Oh well, they’re all the same.
    :-D

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Aaron R @ 2

    “Societal sanction of a sexual relationship continues to be granted through the rite of marriage, and what the [gay] movement [for gays being allowed to marry ] is after is that sanction, not marriage itself.”

    Aaron: What is your basis for stating this assertion as fact? Your statement seems to bear an implication that I do not know how to escape with a more charitable interpretation.

    The implication is this: It is the idea that gays are sub-human, that is, only sexual predators and interested only in sex. It implies that that Homosexuals are devoid of any normal capacity to love and any normal drive towards relational intimacy.

    I would sincerely welcome correction if I am reading too much into your short post.

    The Supreme Court already in their decision of Lawrence vs State of Texas have legally sanctioned homosexual sex have they not? Or did you mean to say “societal sanction” as opposed to “legal sanction”. You seem to maybe intend to conflate the two. I am not sure and can only ask for clarification.

    “It is not good for man to be alone”. The drive and need for intimate companionship and pairing off is embedded in our very humanity. Why would one imagine, if one believes that the Holy Scriptures are God´s Word, that gays lack this ordering of God within them?

    Are gays somehow devoid of this human quality merely because the object of their romantic desire is different from God´s normal ordering as is blindness, albinoism, hermaphrodism, etc?
    So what would be the basis for this opinion? Again, correct me if I am not understanding you rightly)?

    Natural Law As defined by Aquinas is categorically rejected by the Lutheran Confessions.

    The Lutheran Confessions rename what Aquinas, based on Aristotelian logical categories calls “Natural Law” as “God´s Ordinance” or “God´s ordering” if you will, since “ordinance in English has a sense of civil law. The Lutheran Confessions by this intentional reclassification, intend for you to read read ‘ordinance’ into the same moral category as the law of gravity.

    This is how art XXIII “On Priestly Celebacy” of the Apology to the Augsburg Confessions very intentionally.

    Lutherans therefore reject the Natural Law theories of Aquinas, except to make the point that it is a “natural right” for mankind to conduct one´s affairs in a way that allows one to channel or harness God´s ordering in a way that results in his creaturely well-being.

    Lutherans , to repeat, categorically and intentionally reject Aquinas´ assertion that God´s Ordering of Nature, such as laws of gravity, geological , physical and biological laws, etc, being discovered by science through observation and experimentation , have the force of Divine Moral Law that binds consciences in the same way as the Law found in one´s Conscience does.

    The Lutheran Confessions in fact, pointedly reclassifies the “Natural Law” of philosophical/aristotelian/scholastic category to the more narrow category of “the law of conscience”. For the Lutheran Confessions Natural Law = the Law in our Conscience. Period.

    Again: The Lutheran Confessions re-define, intentionally and narrowly, “natural Law” to mean conscience.

    They categorically reject that “God´s Ordering ” of nature has the force of a moral law.

    Homosexuals are not exempt from these orderings of God´s creation in the form of the law of gravity etc, due to the simple fact that they are human beings. The desire for sex and intimate companionship as God´s provision for alone-ness existed prior to the fall and is God´s Will as it exists today.

    Now these natural and wholesome desires are inflamed by concupiscence in ALL men, in the same ways, not just homosexuals. And God provides an ordinary remedy for this inflaming in ordinary circumstances.

    The Lutheran Confessions say that this thing called the “sex drive” can no more be resisted than the law of gravity can be resisted , short of God performing a miracle. And so the only remedy for this, ordinarily is marriage. And so all men are to take a wife.

    The confessions here merely repeat st Paul. This is to say that the Marriage is not a sacrament, and it is not a churchly thing or a spiritual or sacred thing any more than are other vocations such as being a garbage collector or plumber. It belongs in the realm of God´s Earthly visible (romans 8) flesh/body kingdom in exactly the same way the law of gravity, and things like that do.

    The Confessions say therefore, that to demand celebacy of anyone is the moral equivalent of demanding that someone makes rocks fall up in order to please God. They call this religious demand idolatrous sacrifice. They also call this demand, categorically: “cruel”.

    The Confessions argue then that since the sex drive cannot be resisted, then marriage is, short of a miraculous intervention by God, a human necessity to channel and control that force of nature called the sex drive. The sex drive cannot be denied by willpower this says, it can only be channeled for it´s intended purpose of providing our happiness rather than harm to others.

    So ok. I fully agree that Gays and Lesbians can never fully realize the benefits and blessings of marriage as God ordinarily provides.

    This is sad isn´t it? Shouldn´t you grieve with them rather than pity them or be smug that you are not in their situation?

    Imagine if you were hungry standing outside a restaurant watching others be fed and nourished through the window, and you were told you could not enter and eat because you don´t possess the necessary legal tender or currency.

    Would it not be necessary to maybe provide that same food through the not ordinary back delivery door and so violate the sabbath law saying not to work on the sabbath in favor of the mercy of food rather than the sacrifice of starvation, even if you cannot legally offer a seat within the restaurant by force of law?

    God´s Will is that we aid in the delivery of this “daily bread” and love to others in mercy.

    Moralists think that Virtue is biblical righteousness. Virtue is about mortification . Things like SELF-control, SELF-restraint etc. The idea is that earthly or moral righteousness=Obedience to God and his rules. This is morality-by-metrics or morality-by-the-numbers.

    This is to ignore Holy Scriptures which says that true earthly morality is to deliver love (aka “daily bread”) to others. This is to delivery everything others need to be happy on earth. This would especially include those non material creaturely goods like romantic love, friendship, faithfulness, the enjoyment of beauty in poetry, prose, art and music that really are the things that most of us find our earthly joy in and give us some energy to continue in the middle of life´s disappointments and tears.

    Moralists imagine that righeousness is to make ourselves into a beautiful, clean, well organized show factory. A factory that gleams and one can give tours of.

    And this is all true! God DOES demand this of all!

    God does indeed demand that we work to transform our Old Adam into such a factory. This is philosophical righteousness. This is why the Lutheran Confessions say that “Aristotle describes civil morality so well that nothing more can be asked” (apology “On Justification”). But this work, that God does demand of all Old Adams, is called Mortification. It is not, biblically speaking, righteousness.

    Righteousness is only and alone seen where there is evidence that the Old Adam as Factory is making shipments to customers of Daily Bread. And daily bread is Love. It is love that is the fulfillment of the Law. Virtue (philosophical righteousness) is an indispensable means to that end.

    But it does not qualify as biblical righeousness.

    This is exactly and precisely why The Augsburg confessions rejects Roman Catholic sacrificial works. “They are useless” Ie: mortfication/virtue is being offered to God as Obedience rather than alone, to enable that useful service to neighbor that God demands in his word called love that the second table demands of us.

    And here is the part moralists miss:

    Who is the obvious Judge of the righeousness of what is produced and shipped from our Old-Adam-as-Daily-Bread-Factory? God? No.

    God-as-proletariat-communist who is demanding a quota of goods that don´t serve or fit anyone? so we meet our quota-moral-requirement by producing a million shoes in size 6? No. That is the “good-works-as-sacrifice ” that the Augsburg Confessions rejects.

    It is your neighbor who is to be the Judge of your earthly and visible righteousness. Is the customer satisfied? Does it make his creaturely life better by what you serve him with and contribute to his life? Is what you contribute to his life useful towards his true happiness and flourishing?

    This is the full weight of the bible telling us that we are to be the “servants” of others. Who judges the righteousness of the servant? The Judge of the servants work and performance is the one who is being served. And God does not need the service of our earthly righteousness. So he is not the one being served. Our neighbor does! Our neighbor is to be the judge of our earthly righteousness! Is he happy with how you are dealing with him? If not, then you are not being righteous. It is that simple really.

    Jesus expresses this as: “I would have you go find what it means when God says ‘I would have mercy rather than sacrifice’.”

    Virtue might demand that you refuse to serve a homo at the lunch counter. But it also demands that you still make sure he has the same food that you need (love your neighbor as you love yourself). You must not deny him that.

    Mercy, righteousness, and love would demand that you give them a bag of that same food out back at the delivery entrance. It is the food that matters and not the form of delivery. A demand for Perfection is often the enemy of Love. It is Sacrifice and not Mercy. To quibble that the means of delivery is seriously defective is to miss the point that what God wants is what is to be delivered to be delivered in whatever way is necessary from the wicked (that would be us in our Old Adam (cf Luke 18) for the wicked (again us believers as Old Adam).

    So dear brother in Christ, I would ask you to carefully consider whether your opinion is based on an innocent ignorance that denies your gay brother the capacity to love that truly makes us human.

    It seems ugly and wicked to reduce any human being´s existence to their sexual desires. Imagine how terribly insulting and demeaning it would be to have someone talk about your marriage or other relationships as being purely and only animated by your desire to have sex. This attitude would lack love and so would lack the righteousness that God demands of us towards others.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Aaron R @ 2

    “Societal sanction of a sexual relationship continues to be granted through the rite of marriage, and what the [gay] movement [for gays being allowed to marry ] is after is that sanction, not marriage itself.”

    Aaron: What is your basis for stating this assertion as fact? Your statement seems to bear an implication that I do not know how to escape with a more charitable interpretation.

    The implication is this: It is the idea that gays are sub-human, that is, only sexual predators and interested only in sex. It implies that that Homosexuals are devoid of any normal capacity to love and any normal drive towards relational intimacy.

    I would sincerely welcome correction if I am reading too much into your short post.

    The Supreme Court already in their decision of Lawrence vs State of Texas have legally sanctioned homosexual sex have they not? Or did you mean to say “societal sanction” as opposed to “legal sanction”. You seem to maybe intend to conflate the two. I am not sure and can only ask for clarification.

    “It is not good for man to be alone”. The drive and need for intimate companionship and pairing off is embedded in our very humanity. Why would one imagine, if one believes that the Holy Scriptures are God´s Word, that gays lack this ordering of God within them?

    Are gays somehow devoid of this human quality merely because the object of their romantic desire is different from God´s normal ordering as is blindness, albinoism, hermaphrodism, etc?
    So what would be the basis for this opinion? Again, correct me if I am not understanding you rightly)?

    Natural Law As defined by Aquinas is categorically rejected by the Lutheran Confessions.

    The Lutheran Confessions rename what Aquinas, based on Aristotelian logical categories calls “Natural Law” as “God´s Ordinance” or “God´s ordering” if you will, since “ordinance in English has a sense of civil law. The Lutheran Confessions by this intentional reclassification, intend for you to read read ‘ordinance’ into the same moral category as the law of gravity.

    This is how art XXIII “On Priestly Celebacy” of the Apology to the Augsburg Confessions very intentionally.

    Lutherans therefore reject the Natural Law theories of Aquinas, except to make the point that it is a “natural right” for mankind to conduct one´s affairs in a way that allows one to channel or harness God´s ordering in a way that results in his creaturely well-being.

    Lutherans , to repeat, categorically and intentionally reject Aquinas´ assertion that God´s Ordering of Nature, such as laws of gravity, geological , physical and biological laws, etc, being discovered by science through observation and experimentation , have the force of Divine Moral Law that binds consciences in the same way as the Law found in one´s Conscience does.

    The Lutheran Confessions in fact, pointedly reclassifies the “Natural Law” of philosophical/aristotelian/scholastic category to the more narrow category of “the law of conscience”. For the Lutheran Confessions Natural Law = the Law in our Conscience. Period.

    Again: The Lutheran Confessions re-define, intentionally and narrowly, “natural Law” to mean conscience.

    They categorically reject that “God´s Ordering ” of nature has the force of a moral law.

    Homosexuals are not exempt from these orderings of God´s creation in the form of the law of gravity etc, due to the simple fact that they are human beings. The desire for sex and intimate companionship as God´s provision for alone-ness existed prior to the fall and is God´s Will as it exists today.

    Now these natural and wholesome desires are inflamed by concupiscence in ALL men, in the same ways, not just homosexuals. And God provides an ordinary remedy for this inflaming in ordinary circumstances.

    The Lutheran Confessions say that this thing called the “sex drive” can no more be resisted than the law of gravity can be resisted , short of God performing a miracle. And so the only remedy for this, ordinarily is marriage. And so all men are to take a wife.

    The confessions here merely repeat st Paul. This is to say that the Marriage is not a sacrament, and it is not a churchly thing or a spiritual or sacred thing any more than are other vocations such as being a garbage collector or plumber. It belongs in the realm of God´s Earthly visible (romans 8) flesh/body kingdom in exactly the same way the law of gravity, and things like that do.

    The Confessions say therefore, that to demand celebacy of anyone is the moral equivalent of demanding that someone makes rocks fall up in order to please God. They call this religious demand idolatrous sacrifice. They also call this demand, categorically: “cruel”.

    The Confessions argue then that since the sex drive cannot be resisted, then marriage is, short of a miraculous intervention by God, a human necessity to channel and control that force of nature called the sex drive. The sex drive cannot be denied by willpower this says, it can only be channeled for it´s intended purpose of providing our happiness rather than harm to others.

    So ok. I fully agree that Gays and Lesbians can never fully realize the benefits and blessings of marriage as God ordinarily provides.

    This is sad isn´t it? Shouldn´t you grieve with them rather than pity them or be smug that you are not in their situation?

    Imagine if you were hungry standing outside a restaurant watching others be fed and nourished through the window, and you were told you could not enter and eat because you don´t possess the necessary legal tender or currency.

    Would it not be necessary to maybe provide that same food through the not ordinary back delivery door and so violate the sabbath law saying not to work on the sabbath in favor of the mercy of food rather than the sacrifice of starvation, even if you cannot legally offer a seat within the restaurant by force of law?

    God´s Will is that we aid in the delivery of this “daily bread” and love to others in mercy.

    Moralists think that Virtue is biblical righteousness. Virtue is about mortification . Things like SELF-control, SELF-restraint etc. The idea is that earthly or moral righteousness=Obedience to God and his rules. This is morality-by-metrics or morality-by-the-numbers.

    This is to ignore Holy Scriptures which says that true earthly morality is to deliver love (aka “daily bread”) to others. This is to delivery everything others need to be happy on earth. This would especially include those non material creaturely goods like romantic love, friendship, faithfulness, the enjoyment of beauty in poetry, prose, art and music that really are the things that most of us find our earthly joy in and give us some energy to continue in the middle of life´s disappointments and tears.

    Moralists imagine that righeousness is to make ourselves into a beautiful, clean, well organized show factory. A factory that gleams and one can give tours of.

    And this is all true! God DOES demand this of all!

    God does indeed demand that we work to transform our Old Adam into such a factory. This is philosophical righteousness. This is why the Lutheran Confessions say that “Aristotle describes civil morality so well that nothing more can be asked” (apology “On Justification”). But this work, that God does demand of all Old Adams, is called Mortification. It is not, biblically speaking, righteousness.

    Righteousness is only and alone seen where there is evidence that the Old Adam as Factory is making shipments to customers of Daily Bread. And daily bread is Love. It is love that is the fulfillment of the Law. Virtue (philosophical righteousness) is an indispensable means to that end.

    But it does not qualify as biblical righeousness.

    This is exactly and precisely why The Augsburg confessions rejects Roman Catholic sacrificial works. “They are useless” Ie: mortfication/virtue is being offered to God as Obedience rather than alone, to enable that useful service to neighbor that God demands in his word called love that the second table demands of us.

    And here is the part moralists miss:

    Who is the obvious Judge of the righeousness of what is produced and shipped from our Old-Adam-as-Daily-Bread-Factory? God? No.

    God-as-proletariat-communist who is demanding a quota of goods that don´t serve or fit anyone? so we meet our quota-moral-requirement by producing a million shoes in size 6? No. That is the “good-works-as-sacrifice ” that the Augsburg Confessions rejects.

    It is your neighbor who is to be the Judge of your earthly and visible righteousness. Is the customer satisfied? Does it make his creaturely life better by what you serve him with and contribute to his life? Is what you contribute to his life useful towards his true happiness and flourishing?

    This is the full weight of the bible telling us that we are to be the “servants” of others. Who judges the righteousness of the servant? The Judge of the servants work and performance is the one who is being served. And God does not need the service of our earthly righteousness. So he is not the one being served. Our neighbor does! Our neighbor is to be the judge of our earthly righteousness! Is he happy with how you are dealing with him? If not, then you are not being righteous. It is that simple really.

    Jesus expresses this as: “I would have you go find what it means when God says ‘I would have mercy rather than sacrifice’.”

    Virtue might demand that you refuse to serve a homo at the lunch counter. But it also demands that you still make sure he has the same food that you need (love your neighbor as you love yourself). You must not deny him that.

    Mercy, righteousness, and love would demand that you give them a bag of that same food out back at the delivery entrance. It is the food that matters and not the form of delivery. A demand for Perfection is often the enemy of Love. It is Sacrifice and not Mercy. To quibble that the means of delivery is seriously defective is to miss the point that what God wants is what is to be delivered to be delivered in whatever way is necessary from the wicked (that would be us in our Old Adam (cf Luke 18) for the wicked (again us believers as Old Adam).

    So dear brother in Christ, I would ask you to carefully consider whether your opinion is based on an innocent ignorance that denies your gay brother the capacity to love that truly makes us human.

    It seems ugly and wicked to reduce any human being´s existence to their sexual desires. Imagine how terribly insulting and demeaning it would be to have someone talk about your marriage or other relationships as being purely and only animated by your desire to have sex. This attitude would lack love and so would lack the righteousness that God demands of us towards others.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    webmonk @ 13

    Wasn´t it actually swaziland and not sweden or switzerland?

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    webmonk @ 13

    Wasn´t it actually swaziland and not sweden or switzerland?

  • Pingback: In France, Civil Unions are Replacing Marriage » First Thoughts | A First Things Blog

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  • Barbara

    For those who think government should stay out of marriage, great. And what about divorce? Is that to be handled by churches as well? In my ideal scenario, anyone can get a civil union and divorce laws that applied to marriage would be toughened. The moment children are introduced into the scenario, the CU “converts” to marriage, making disunion much harder. So, if gay couples want to adopt, they have to accept harder disunion terms up front.

    The present low regard for marriage is a direct result of no-fault divorce, and frankly, the ease of divorce is part of what makes “marriage” attractive to homosexuals. Children should be protected, and the very best way to do that is to encourage the commitment of both parents to the union itself. Pain of separation (financial, legal, emotional) serves to make couples think long and hard about that commitment and sends the right message that children are entitled to intact families.

  • Barbara

    For those who think government should stay out of marriage, great. And what about divorce? Is that to be handled by churches as well? In my ideal scenario, anyone can get a civil union and divorce laws that applied to marriage would be toughened. The moment children are introduced into the scenario, the CU “converts” to marriage, making disunion much harder. So, if gay couples want to adopt, they have to accept harder disunion terms up front.

    The present low regard for marriage is a direct result of no-fault divorce, and frankly, the ease of divorce is part of what makes “marriage” attractive to homosexuals. Children should be protected, and the very best way to do that is to encourage the commitment of both parents to the union itself. Pain of separation (financial, legal, emotional) serves to make couples think long and hard about that commitment and sends the right message that children are entitled to intact families.

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  • Pingback: In Order to Form a More Civil Union | 538 Refugees

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