58% of Americans want gay marriage

A large and growing majority of Americans–58%–now support gay marriage, according to a new poll.  What are we to make of that?  Where does that leave conservative Christians who believe that marriage is not just a social construction that can be changed at will?  Are they (we) destined to be on the margins of society?

From the Washington Post:

Support for same-sex marriage among Americans has jumped significantly in the past year to an all-time high of 58 percent, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

That number reflects a remarkable — and remarkably fast — turnabout in American public opinion on one of the most emotionally raw and politically divisive issues of the past decade. As recently as 2010, opponents of same-sex marriage outnumbered supporters. As recently as 2006, they outnumbered them by a double-digit margin, 58 percent to 36 percent.

Seven years later, that picture has turned upside down.

The change is apparent across the board, with Americans of all political stripes and age groups becoming increasingly supportive of gay marriage. Fully 81 percent of adults between the ages of 18 and 29 support such unions, and although support dips to 44 percent among those 65 and older, both of those figures are highs.

Most Republicans continue to oppose same-sex marriage, but among Americans younger than 50, a slim majority of Republicans and GOP-leaning independents now support it.

via Support for same-sex marriage reaches all-time high, poll finds – The Washington Post.

For the full poll results, go here.

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.

  • tODD

    Veith asked:

    Where does that leave conservative Christians who believe that marriage is not just a social construction that can be changed at will?

    I’m not sure that’s really been a consistent principle among “conservatives”. Can we make polygamy illegal? “Conservative” Christians mostly said yes. Can we force interracial marriage to be legal at the federal level? Some “conservative” Christians said yes, some said no.

    Of course, many such Christians would argue that all the tinkering done to marriage to date has been in keeping with their understanding of the true definition of marriage all along … until now. But, again, that argument doesn’t really hold together so well, at least at the civic level, when you try to apply the brakes now

    Are they (we) destined to be on the margins of society?

    Probably.

  • Dan

    Yes, we are “destined to be on the margins of society.” As faithful Christians we should expect nothing else in an increasingly Godless society. We will continue to be marginalized, demonized, mocked, and hated so long as we attempt to be faithful to our Lord.

  • SKPeterson

    From a Lutheran standpoint, I can see it fall out both ways. As a Lutheran interested in the good ordering of society, I can see legalizing certain contracts between individuals that represent some sort of abstract notion of a “household” and that doing so would be conducive to public order. I could also see that completely removing the contractual benefits currently attached to marriage under the law for tax purposes, etc. would be acceptable. The only provision remaining would be the spousal compulsion to testify against someone in a court of law. Maybe we should then just extend that provision to everyone – no one should be forced to testify in a court of law.

    The second issue would follow from the first. If contract between parties is open, then churches can get out of the state “marriage” business and perform marriages within the Church for their own members without interference from outside society, and without being compelled to recognize marriages performed outside the Church that do not conform to the Church’s moral and theological doctrines. Effectively, the Church can say, “The State may recognize any relationships it wants, the Church will only recognize the union of a man and a woman.” The Church then has the First Amendment on its side, as well as the rights to private property. Maybe, the Church would lose its tax exempt status (that may already be on the books anyhow), but does that really matter? If the Church wants to move forward, it needs to have the courage to be separate from the State; the danger has never been that the Church would have to much influence on the State, but that the State would have too much power over the Church. The Church needs to sever ties sooner rather than later and quit pretending it can make that sham of a relationship work.

  • Tom Hering

    Why is anyone surprised by this? That in America, whether the issue is abortion, gay marriage, or gun control, the side that bases its argument on individual freedom will win out over the side that bases its argument on the common good – every time.

  • Trey

    These polls are always in flux. I think it’s closer to 50-50. I attributed the change by the Blitzkrieg that the homosecularist and their propaganda machine- big media and academia- has screamed about this. People are tired of hearing them cry. The thinking is if they get govt. approval they will shut up. That’s not the history of the movement. Religious liberty will be sacrificed.

  • http://tdaviddemarest.com Trent

    There is a deep cultural entropy at work. I don’t expect a reversal of this trend. Ever. That’s not despair; it’s realism. Trust not in princes, they are but mortal…

    Unfortunately, as Jennifer Roback Morse adroitly argues, the “neutral contract” view of marriage just sneaks the State in through the back door: what happens in a custody dispute? The State is now the legal arbitrator. Amazing how, once again, it’s all about children. Part 2 and Part 3, for any interested in reading her full analysis.

    @Trey — you may be right about the recent Blitzkrieg, but it’s been more of a sustained, decades-long push that’s really led to this. It didn’t happen overnight, and it won’t be reversed overnight. Frankly, I don’t think it will be reversed.

    If you’re like me, and gloomy poetry is a balm for your soul at such a time, then you might appreciate this: “How It Was” by Czeslaw Milosz

  • Carl Vehse

    “Washington Post-ABC News poll”
    ‘Nuf said?

  • Hanni

    @3 SK Peterson; I agree but can’t state it so clearly. The worry among Christians, I suppose, is that homosexuality (practiced) is a sin, and is the wrong example for marriage. I don’t mean to be flippant, but isn’t that just the case of 2 sinful people getting married? They will have a civil ceremony and not a church one, I imagine. There are many things we as Christians can focus on other than this. They will just get divorced anyway. Millions of dollars are being spent on ads, defense of marriage act (strange title), etc., whilst children go hungry and people sleep in their cars.

  • nativetxn

    As Christians, we should expect to be on the margins of society instead of the mainstream. Our focus should be on being a faithful witness to our Lord.

  • #4 Kitty

    I agree with Trey and Carl Vehse. Remember back in November when the “polls” (yeah, scare quotes; deal with it) were trying to tell us that Obama was ahead in the election. How’d that turn out…oh, wait.

  • WebMonk

    Let’s take the numbers as accurate; even though it is a WaPo-ABC poll, it tracks decently well with most other polls. Slightly higher, but not by much. Whether the 58% approval point is currently here or whether it won’t come for another two or three years is a moot point.

    Broad support has been consistently growing for nearly 30 years, and there’s no reason to suggest it will suddenly reverse or stop. Give it another decade or two, and I’m sure support will be up above 70% or higher.

    Even among Christians, the main group currently opposed to legalized homosexual marriage, support is growing. I think the latest numbers are somewhere around 35%. Once homosexual marriage is recognized and it becomes common, support for it will soar through nothing else but familiarity.

    Get ready for it, because it’s coming. The only question is how Christians should deal with it.

  • Joe

    WebMonk @ 10 “The only question is how Christians should deal with it.”

    That is not a hard question at all. They should deal with it by faithfully supporting and hearing the preaching of the Law and Gospel in full, including the Law that sex outside the bounds of a one man, one women marriage is sinful and the Gospel that says, Christ died even for such sinners.

  • http://www.cyberbrethren.com Rev. Paul T. McCain

    The title of the post, “58% of Americans Want Gay Marriage.” Want? Perhaps they are willing to tolerate it, or put up with it, or look the other way or “live and let live” but … want? I kind of doubt that many Americans actually want it, but sadly, that many, no doubt, are willing to accept it and tolerate it.

    The Church will need to redouble its efforts to help people understand that while we may well find ourselves living in a nation that now declares what is clearly an abomination in God’s eyes and a fundamental perversion of his good creation, and thus, something that is intrinsically evil, we can not, for a moment, ever “accept” it as something that is proper, good or true. Much as we continue to resist the murder of unborn children, the Church must continue to preach and teach against this evil and uphold the good gift of marriage and the blessings God bestows on marriage as part of his good and perfect creation and intention for men and women.

    Homosexuality is a corruption of creation and anything flowing from this corruption and supporting it is an evil corruption.

    We can tolerate something but we dare never “respect” it.

  • http://tdaviddemarest.com Trent

    No, the issue is not that Christians are upset that sinful people are able to get married. That’s an obvious red herring. The problem is that homosexuality is antithetical to marriage. Marriage is a creation ordinance instituted before the fall; in it we see the normative pattern for conjugal love, support, and procreation. Each of these purposes indwells the others. So while it’s problematic on a theological level when two non-Christians get married, it’s no more theologically problematic than anything else that they do. On a civic level, however, it is a good thing, in accordance with natural law and conducive to human flourishing.

    When a society accepts as normal sexual activity that is willfully closed to the possibility of new life, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that the normalization (on all levels, i.e., including the redefinition of marriage to accommodate) of sexual activity which is completely severed from even the mere possibility of new life is on the horizon, and closing fast. If marriage is just two people who are crazy in love, who want to spend their lives together (but see divorce as a legitimate option if things don’t work out), and who see children as totally extrinsic and non-necessary to their union…then why do the genders of the parties wanting to get married matter? The problem is that “conservatives” are defending this truncated view of marriages, essentially arguing that only straight people have the right to be selfish and hedonistic in this particular way. That’s a pretty bogus, and pretty shameful, position.

    I don’t support gay marriage. But the “conservative” resistance to the ineluctable trend towards its legalization is about as sensible and promising as giving a leukemia patient a blood transfusion out of his own leg.

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

    I think tODD is right on this one.
    More and more I think government licensing of marriage and so on is the intrusion of one estate into the affairs of another estate, and not necessarily a good one.
    As for marriage in the Bible. That gets to be a rather murky issue in the New Testament, and not really the point.

  • Rich Kauzlarich

    “We” have always been at the margins of society.

  • http://tdaviddemarest.com Trent

    Luther on the polygamy of Jacob:

    This is handed down not as an example but in order that we may abstain from the example and from imitating it. We should admire but not imitate it. For there are some things which we should imitate and some things which we should admire. Hope, believe, pray, just as Leah did. But you should not marry four wives, as Jacob did. For this pertains only to Jacob and to those whom God wanted to be exempted from the rule. We should exercise ourselves in the faith, patience, and hope set forth in the fathers, and we should abstain from those heroic examples. – AE 5

  • Steve Billingsley

    tODD @ 1 and Tom @ 4,

    Yep.

  • Ronh

    Trent: Could you help me understand more of what you mean in the last paragraph and perhaps the two sentences prior to that. Thanks.

  • http://theoldadam.com/ theoldadam

    In 20 years, 58% of Americans will be willing to ok marriage between animals and people.

    “Do you, Fred, take this goat to be your lawfully wedded wife.”

  • http://tdaviddemarest.com Trent

    Christian acceptance of contraception, which the Church regarded as aberrant, sinful, and essentially the same as abortion until the turn of the twentieth century (it was termed a “sodomitic sin” by St. Augustine), has led to the promulgation of the view that sex is just a way to say that you “love” someone. You know, like a hug or a kiss.

    A baby is something one chooses to have, but only when it would be personally fulfilling to have one, and not at all inconvenient. You know, like a dog.

    So if two men want to express their “love” for each other by sodomizing each other, they’re just doing what most heterosexual couples do: treating sex as a recreational thing that bears no necessary connection to procreation, and then getting the state’s blessing on their formalized partnership. A fuller fledged version of this argument was made in the January/February 2009 issue of Touchstone magazine by Christopher Oleson in his piece “Phony Matrimony”.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    What do we do? Preach the Word to those who will hear it, and in terms of politics, keep reminding people that family law is not primarily about allocating benefits to people. It is about protecting those who are most vulnerable, specifically mothers and children. We need to come out against government “benefits” for the married which do not achieve this goal–and the mere provision of funds does not achieve this goal. It requires a structure.

    Otherwise, as others note, it’s only a matter of time before we do have a truly horrific family structure called “polygamy” is legally protected in our nation. As any of the ex-husbands of the wives of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young could testify, it inevitably involves the cruelty necessary to part men from their wives in order to give their wives a fraction of a husband–and a necessarily cruel one at that.

    For that matter, if one wants to turn the tide against the welfare state, Christians need to get back to basics and remind the world that Genesis 9:6 and Romans 13 discuss a government/king whose primary task is to punish the wicked and commend the just, not to hand out benefits. As long as we’re centered on the latter, the financials go to Hell–along with our hope for a peaceful society.

  • Steve Bauer

    I tend to go along with Trent. I imagine even more than 58% of Americans “want” divorce (I would interpret the use of the word “want” in this context as “desiring the possibility of having something if one so chooses”). So what’s the big surprise when it comes to “gay marriage”? Our society (including many in the Church) had long abandoned anything remotely resembling the Bible’s teaching on marriage.
    If anything, the change in attitude in the population should give us an indication of just how fast that pillars of “Christendom” that we take for granted can fall.

  • http://tdaviddemarest.com Trent

    @ Steve Bauer

    from the Milosz poem I linked to above:

    “And those who longed for the Kingdom took refuge like me in the mountains to become the last heirs of a dishonored myth.”

    The Church is always a remnant, always fighting a vanguard action against the World, despite brief periods of peace with it. But even these periods of peace and seeming harmony are deceptive, for they belie the truth of the matter: our lot is to be persecuted and spitefully used. Dreams of a World in which the Church is loved and respected by all, wherein Her voice hold sway — such are just that: dreams.

  • Dr Luther in the 21st Century

    I think it is not a destined to as much as it already is we are on the margins of society. We who proclaim sin for sin have already been lumped in with the nuts of Westboro in the eyes of society. Sadly, those forwarding the chasing the god of lust have succeeded in achieving this bit of propaganda. So, now we do not have a political voice. We can make any argument we want with all the compassion we can humanly muster and all they will hear is “God hates gays!” So be it. I am not going to worry too much about it. Let them have their licentious behavior and meanwhile I will hope and pray they see the futility of their sin and hear the call to repent.

    My great fear is that there is going to be a societal blast back and it is going to go towards Islam or something similar. It may not, but I worry about it, we may even continue down the road of licentious entropy or even both. We have witnessed in various areas where extreme “liberalism or conservatism” has abounded there are also large pockets of the very extreme variety of its opposite. Either way, Christians are marginalized

  • John C

    Dan, if you feel as a faithful Christian that you have been marginalized, demonized , mocked and hated then you share some things in common with homosexuals.
    Being a conservative Christian is not yet a criminal offense.

  • JH

    I am opposed to gay marriage and to civil unions. However, I don’t see that legalizing civil gay marriage affects any Christian. They won’t be married in God’s eyes or in the Church’s. It will be a civil marriage only. (I don’t count the so-called Christian churchs that do or would perform gay marriages – I don’t believe God recognizes them) The only way it might affect us is that employers would be forced to extend spousal benefits to gay partners. And many corporations already do that. One I worked for had a provision for ANY unmarried domestic partners.

  • DonS

    These poll results are not at all surprising given the drumbeat of media support for homosexual rights, including homosexual marriage, in both the news and entertainment media, and the increasing tendency of our society to be non-Christian/non-religious.

    I’ve made the argument for quite a while that those pushing for the courts to intervene in the issue were dead wrong — they are winning in the court of public opinion and they should push their views through the rightful political process. Win the hearts of the people to your views — don’t cram it down their throats through the misuse of the courts. The saddest thing about this whole process of watching the American people forsake any sense of absolute morality is to see ostensible conservatives, in a desperate bid to win political elections, actual file amicus briefs encouraging the Supreme Court to throw over any sense of originalism, or an absolute standard of what is entailed by the rights afforded to us under the Constitution, in favor of the view that our rights are affected by political popularity. What can be given because something is currently popular can be taken away when it is unpopular. And the minority is, by definition, unpopular. It’s a mystery to me why folks can’t see this simple fact.

    At this juncture, I would re-structure the tax code to do away with any marriage-based provisions. Childless couples would be taxed as if they were two separate individuals, whether married or not. Couples with dependent children would be taxed at much more favorable rates, whether married or not.

  • tODD

    SK (@3), you said:

    If contract between parties is open, then churches can get out of the state “marriage” business and perform marriages within the Church for their own members without interference from outside society, and without being compelled to recognize marriages performed outside the Church that do not conform to the Church’s moral and theological doctrines.

    You realize that your dependent clause there is unnecessary, right? Churches can already do everything you wrote in your independent clause, right now, should they choose. The question isn’t one of “Can they?”, but rather, “Would that be a good idea?”

    PTM (@13), you said:

    …while we may well find ourselves living in a nation that now declares what is clearly an abomination in God’s eyes and a fundamental perversion of his good creation…

    We may? Honestly, when do you think divorce became legal?

    Much as we continue to resist the murder of unborn children, the Church must continue to preach and teach against this evil and uphold the good gift of marriage and the blessings God bestows on marriage…

    But, quite frankly, the Church has not continued to resist divorce, and has generally gone silent (or resorted to a quiet whisper) when it comes to preaching against it, even though it is equally evil (though with far more societal impact, given the numbers alone) and a corruption of the gift of marriage.

    Trent (@14), you said:

    If marriage is just two people who are crazy in love, who want to spend their lives together … and who see children as totally extrinsic and non-necessary to their union…

    But what was God’s thesis statement, as it were, when he created marriage (cf. Gen. 2)? Was it about children? Or was it about companionship? Why, then, do you decry marriage solely for the sake of companionship?

    TheOldAdam (@20), you said:

    In 20 years, 58% of Americans will be willing to ok marriage between animals and people.

    Sorry, but you look foolish when you try that argument. Because it suggests that you can’t tell the difference between humans and animals, especially in a legal context. That’s certainly the counterargument that those in favor of gay marriage would reply with. If you want to try a slippery-slope argument, a much more realistic one would be to discuss polygamy. You could make a much more accurate prognostication about that one being next.

  • Grace

     ‏

    Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,
    2 Peter 3:3

     ‏

    Although it saddens many to see this transpire, we shouldn’t be surprised. The LORD made it very clear as HE stated:

     ‏

    Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
    Matthew 7:14

     

    Queen fights for gay rights:
    Monarch makes historic pledge on discrimination and hints that if Kate DOES have a girl, that means equal rights to the throne too

    • First time Her Majesty has signalled support for gay rights in 61-year reign

    • Also promotes ‘empowerment’ of women in drive to boost human rights

    • Insiders say her decision to highlight the event is a ‘watershed’ moment

    By Simon Walters
    EST, 9 March 2013

    “The Queen will tomorrow back an historic pledge to promote gay rights and ‘gender equality’ in one of the most controversial acts of her reign.”

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2290824/Queen-fights-gay-rights-Monarch-makes-historic-pledge-discrimination-hints-Kate-DOES-girl-means-equal-rights-throne.html

    I was very surprised that the Queen would have made such a decision, but then we don’t really know her, even though her life has been on the cover of every magazine magazine, newspaper since the day she was born. Everything she has done has been noted – but alas, we don’t know her.

  • Steve Bauer

    God says, “It is not good for the man to be alone.” Note, this recognition and analysis of a problem is not the man’s nor does Adam suggest the solution. He is totally passive. So what does God do? He rounds up the animals and brings them to man, who names them but does not find a helper fit for him. So then what does God do? He makes woman and gives her to man (and, conversely, man to her).

    What is the purpose of marriage? To overcome “aloneness” and give human beings the gift of “oneness”. This is confirmed in Gen. 2:24, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” Jesus also acknowledges this purpose.

    This human “oneness” is realized in the mutual giving and receiving that happens physically, emotionally, etc. between two being who are at once the same, a common humanity (“bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh”) and yet wonderfully different from one another. Kind of a reflection (image, anyone?) of the mystery of the Trinity, three distinct Persons and yet each one of a single divine “essence”, each giving and receiving from the others in total Love, a perfect Oneness.

    Out of the oneness of two beings, fit for each other, comes new life–a child. Community comes into existence. Thus both the begetting of children and life lived in the community are part of the divinely given oneness that overcomes “aloneness”. They are secondary purposes (or maybe results) of the primary end of marriage…oneness (or companionship, if you will, although the word does not really capture the depth of the Biblcal witness).

  • http://tdaviddemarest.com Trent

    @Todd — PTM is a pastor. Please accord him a little more of the respect due his office. Your words positively drip with condescension towards him and everyone else.

    You write: “But what was God’s thesis statement, as it were, when he created marriage (cf. Gen. 2)? Was it about children? Or was it about companionship? Why, then, do you decry marriage solely for the sake of companionship?”

    You cannot induce the conclusion that marriage is only about companionship from the fact that God created Eve as a helper for Adam. God also tells them to be fruitful and multiply, a command and blessing which is repeated nine times throughout the book of Genesis. The fact of the matter is that the Church has always condemned as sinful any sexual activity which is deliberately closed to the possibility of new life. Homosex (to use a Lewisism) is wrong for the same reason contraceptive sex is wrong, and visa versa. When confronted with this, people often bring up the case of infertile couples, or couples who wed after the point when childbearing is a biological possibility. In neither case, however, is the marriage or the intercourse separated from procreation by an act of the will.

    If sex is just friction between two companions (or more than two), then your point stands. But it’s not. It has been said that the case of Onan in Genesis 38 is the only matter on which Rome, the Lutherans, and the Reformed agreed: all recognized the sin of Onan not as being the mere breaking of the Levitical law which enjoined him to foster children for his deceased brother, but as deliberately contraceptive sexual intercourse.

    It is only when the means of contraception became easily obtainable, sanitary, and convenient (about a hundred years ago) that Christians started to change their minds about this issue. This isn’t to say that Christians never practiced contraception before that point, obviously, just as no one would contend that Christians never struggled with homosexual temptation and sin before now. But we would be fools to think of this more recent sea-change in favor of homosexual “marriage” as somehow separate from other perversions of what Allan C. Carlson calls the Great Western Sexual Constitution. His intentionally punny article “Meaningful Intercourse” was featured in the same issue of Touchstone was the piece by Christopher Oleson that I linked to above, and is well worth the read. It would appear that lascivious sexual perversion tolerated, normed, and then celebrated has been the hallmark of the last stages of decline for many a hegemon in world history.

    I fully accept that circumstances may arise in the life of a married couple which force their hand, thus making contraception a necessary evil — the least bad option among several, yet one which should be exercised only as a last resort and under pastoral direction. But this is far from saying that marriage is just for companionship, anyway, so if you don’t want kids, no problem. This latter attitude has always been regarded as worldly — indeed, downright evil — by the Church, until relatively recently, when a marriage was made of temptation and convenience. So, too, it is with homosexuality.

  • tODD

    Trent (@32), I will readily cop to being familiar with condescension, but, sorry, you’ve misread my earlier comments. They were far from “dripping with condescension.”

    And apparently you’re new here. PTM, whatever his training might have been at one point, is the kind of man who goes around repeatedly[1][2][3], and childishly, mangling my name in a pejorative fashion, and refuses to either stop or apologize when this is (repeatedly) pointed out to him. Perhaps you will also talk to him about respect?

    [1] patheos.com/blogs/geneveith/2013/02/projecting-christianity-onto-other-religions/#comment-257356
    [2] patheos.com/blogs/geneveith/2013/02/how-dutch-legalizing-of-prostitution-drugs-euthanasia-is-working-out/#comment-257646
    [3] patheos.com/blogs/geneveith/2013/03/pope-resigned-to-purge-the-filth/#comment-258702

  • Trey

    Look at these numbers from this article: http://www.heritage.org/research/commentary/2013/2/marriage-and-politics

    Here is the paragraph:

    [q]Consider, first, the much-vaunted 2012 election results of marriage-related referenda. In Maine, Romney received 40 percent of the vote, and marriage 47 percent. In Maryland, it was Romney 37 percent, marriage 48 percent. In Minnesota, Romney 45 percent, marriage 48 percent. In Washington State, Romney 42 percent, marriage 47 percent. All this in a campaign in which proponents of redefinition had a four-to-one financial advantage and the backing of prominent figures: President Obama, Vice President Biden, governors, and a host of business, sports, and entertainment leaders. And in May, marriage won in a landslide, 61 percent to 39 percent, in a referendum in the swing state of North Carolina, a state Obama had carried in 2008 and lost fairly narrowly in 2012. [/q]

    It is quite telling on the split view of same-sex marriage and those who voted for Mitt.

  • http://tdaviddemarest.com Trent

    Ugh. Why do I try to moderate these things?

    Yeah, Todd, you’re right. That’s all pretty…childish. You should take comfort in the (a href=”http://www.patheos.com/blogs/geneveith/2013/03/pope-resigned-to-purge-the-filth/#comment-258717″>Freudian typos committed by one FWS in the comment subsequent to your last.

    Anyway, to my point, perhaps? I’ll stop attempting ref.

  • http://tdaviddemarest.com Trent

    Wow. That crashed.

    Ugh. Why do I try to moderate these things?

    Yeah, Todd, you’re right. That’s all pretty…childish. You should take comfort in the Freudian typos committed by one FWS in the comment subsequent to your last.

    Anyway, to my point, perhaps? I’ll stop attempting to ref.

  • http://tdaviddemarest.com Trent

    The internet is punishing me.

  • Grace

    Trent @ 36

    Which post of fws, are you referring to. He wrote a number of posts on that thread.

  • http://tdaviddemarest.com Trent

    This one.

    I really wish it were possible to edit comments. Perhaps the fact that it’s not, though, is evidence that we should all be more careful about what we type. Me first of all.

    And I’ll admit, a brief reading of some other comment feeds does show McCain being immensely uncharitable and juvenile.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Did this end the bold posts?

  • kerner

    DonS:
    At this juncture, I would re-structure the tax code to do away with any marriage-based provisions. Childless couples would be taxed as if they were two separate individuals, whether married or not. Couples with dependent children would be taxed at much more favorable rates, whether married or not.

    Sounds ok so far. What do you propose we do about your family health care plan, your Social Security widow’s benefits, your spousal interest in any investment with a survivorship interest, rules of intestat succession, the entire concept of community property, family based immigration visas, etc.? Does every legal advantage to being married disappear also? I’m not arguing…just asking.

    But if the family as a social unit ceases to have any legal significance, have we not thrown out a whole lot of babies with the bath water?

  • tODD

    Klasie (@40), give up. Trust me, you can’t. Grace introduced an erroneous HTML close tag (in this case, <b/>), and WordPress chokes on those, attempting to automatically turn them off, but failing. I blame WordPress for not addressing this — or maybe it only happens with this crowd more often than usual.

  • DonS

    Kerner @ 41: Your family health care plan SHOULD be a private matter. Every company SHOULD have the right to offer whatever insurance they want to in whatever form they want to. I realize that, post-Obamacare, we don’t live in that world, but you and I should both be in favor of getting the government out of that kind of micromanaging.

    As for Medicare, it SHOULD be privatized. Short of that, it should be individualized, based on each individual’s eligibility. For those who didn’t gain eligibility because of child-rearing, they would fall under their child-rearing partner’s coverage under the same rationale I offered above.

    The contractual advantages of marriage (spousal interest in any investment with a survivorship interest, rules of intestat succession, the entire concept of community property, family based immigration visas) should flow to whomever decides to marry, under whatever laws the state in which they live define that institution.

  • reg

    Nice going Grace! I always knew that sooner or later your penchant for using different fonts, font colors and font attributes would result in judgment being rendered on the whole blog. As one commenter sinned, we are now all under judgment.

  • kerner

    Dons:

    Easy there amigo. I’m not sure what I think about this so help me work through it. In my opinion, the reason there are legal advantages granted to marriages is that there were certain assumptions that have been historically made about marriage. I have said before, and I stand by this, that marriage as we have historically known it (anthropologically speaking) exists because human reproduction creates certain needs. Our offspring require many times more effort, care, and sheer time to raise to maturity than any other species. In the absence if some other social institution, mating for life (or at least for a long time), i.e., the creation of the family, has been for millenia the best means of making sure the new generation safely grows up and takes care of the old one. Our problem today is that many people no longer believe that.

    Some commenters here have said that women were “property” in OT times. I don’t believe that was true, but it certainly was true that a functioning family was critical to the prosperity, even the the survival, of its individual members. Since prosperity and survival have economic aspects, property considerations were very important in making a marriage back then. The reason we don’t “value” traditional marriage as much as we used to is that we have gotten into the habit of meeting the needs formerly met by marriage and family by other means, mostly governmental. So, now marriage is all about emotion and recreation, instead of being the very utilitarian institution it used to be.

    What I’m hearing from a lot of people here is that Christians should pretty much give up on marriage as an institution with practical purposes and focus on the spiritual and/or emotional aspects of it. And I am not completely convinced that is such a good idea. And, for what it is worth, I am not convinced that marriage and the family are done for as practical institutions either. People may yet come to appreciate them again.

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

    Where does that leave conservative Christians who believe that marriage is not just a social construction that can be changed at will? Are they (we) destined to be on the margins of society?

    A better question would be “Why are we attempting at all to be considered friends of the world?”
    James 4:4
    I John 3:13

  • DonS

    Kerner @ 45: At the outset, let me tell you that, as a policy matter, I oppose this whole push toward recognition of gay marriage. I certainly do believe that the traditional institution of marriage, between a man and a woman, is specially ordained by God, and is deserving of its historic unique status in society. The fact that our society has reached a sad point where it can no longer separate worldly foolishness from Godly wisdom, or appreciate the traditions of the ages, brings me no joy or comfort. We live in an evil and godless world.

    Nonetheless, nine states already recognize gay marriage. Many more, it does appear, will do so in the next decade or so. I have two concerns. One is to protect the Constitution from the travesty of yet another created “right”, like that of abortion, fashioned by the courts because people are not patient enough to pursue their social construct goals through the political process, using the power of persuasion. It is essential that we, as conservatives, preserve and protect the inalienable rights recognized in the Constitution, for the protection of future minorities from future majoritarian whims.

    At the federal level, since we already have states recognizing a broader, perverted form of marriage, we must either retain a unique federal definition of marriage for the purpose of federal law, or eliminate the need, at the federal level, to worry about the definition of marriage. The alternative, to allow states to define marriage however broadly they want to, and then loot the federal treasury accordingly, is untenable, as it represents a theft of tax dollars from traditionalist states by apostate states in a way never intended by Congress or the people. That is why I am proposing what I am proposing for the federal tax code, Social Security, and Medicare. Let’s focus on protecting children and the caregiver in the relationship, regardless of marital status, and on protecting and advantaging households that are raising children over those that are not.

    The last paragraph of my comment applies more to state law issues, so that varies from state-to-state. I don’t really have any concern, however, about streamlining household relationships, so that assets flow to whomever people want. That’s part of being in a free society, isn’t it?

  • SKPeterson

    Todd @ Somewhere up above. Yes I’m aware that what I have said can be done now by the Church. What I am saying is that the Church commit to that practice and follow it. The EO’s do it. My concern is for the congregations and churches themselves and their pastors – that given the legalization of homosexual marriage, those opposed will not be compelled because of various legal machinations that would force churches to perform same-sex marriages. I hope I’m being clear that this is a Two Kingdoms issue – but also a “how the Church operates in the Left in order to remain under and in concert with the Right” issue.

  • Grace

    Dons @ 47

    I have two concerns. One is to protect the Constitution from the travesty of yet another created “right”, like that of abortion, fashioned by the courts because people are not patient enough to pursue their social construct goals through the political process, using the power of persuasion.”

    I am against, as you know, homosexual marriage, but I see no comparison to it, and abortion. Abortion is the slaughter of infants lives. We will always have sexual sin, and yes, I hate to see it made law,(faux marriage) but I most definitely, do not compare homosexual sex, or their faux marriages, to killing innocent infants lives by the millions.

  • Steve P.

    tODD,

    I don’t think you are right about the social acceptance of polygamy being “next.” Polygamy is still associated with 19th century Mormonism and obscure fundamentalist sects. More than once I’ve encountered the misconception that the Westboro Baptist Church (of “God Hates Fags!” and military funeral pickets) practices polygamy–only, I think, because that is the sort of group people associate with polygamy.

    Serial polygamy is already socially accepted and widely practiced, but there will be little societal or cultural pressure to extend that acceptance to “simultaneous” polygamy. Who wants multiple spouses or even multiple gay “spouses”? One spouse is difficult enough. Even (or especially) habitual adulterers don’t want polygamy, they want *casual* sexual variety. There are other kinds of perverted “marriage” the social acceptance for which there is much more closeted demand. There are already other perverted sexual relationships and practices that many people, including, significantly, many people who have power and influence certainly are already practicing in secret and at great risk to themselves. Those same people aren’t practicing bestiality (well, not so many of them anyway) and have no desire for polygamous marriage. Those other practices will be “next,” if anything is.

    Why did the cultural revolution occur; why did the gay marriage so suddenly become widely accepted in the last few years? I don’t know but I am sure it was only partly because of the efforts of popular culture, mass media, and change agents. Something else was necessary. Millions of americans have jumped on the gay bandwagon, have embraced the fad. Millions of MARRIED americans have jumped on the gay bandwagon. That could only have happened if those millions of americans either had no conception of genuine marriage or in the case of those who were legally married, could not see very much difference between their own marriages and gay marriage. If that’s the case, if they could not immediately grasp the difference, it can only be because their own marriages really were not much different than gay marriage, and they were already practicing, de facto, gay marriage. Whatever is next will be something that a sufficiently large and sufficiently popular and socially accepted, perhaps influential and powerful, minority will already be practicing. I think incestuous marriage or pederastic marriage (probably automatically dissolved with an option for renewal on achievement of majority by the younger “spouse”) are more likely to be “next,” on that basis, than polygamous marriage.

    I don’t think things will degenerate so far, but perhaps one day polygamy will be legalized along with bestial and any other conceivable “marriage,” but if it goes that far it will only because gay “marriage” will have already destroyed itself and been made irrelevant, a sort of quaint hobby practiced by an eccentric few–like gum-wrapper-collecting, violent sadomasochism and sexual suicide pacts.

  • DonS

    Grace @ 49: Agreed. I was not in any way equating homosexual marriage with abortion, which I view as infanticide. I was merely stating that our courts fabricated the right to privacy as a means of making abortion a fundamental constitutional right, which, besides being murderous, is a travesty to the whole notion of inalienable rights to liberty, life, and happiness. I don’t want the courts continuing the trend of inventing rights to justify ignoring and circumventing the will of the people to act democratically. That is the extent to any analogy I was making.

  • Tina

    Total depravity

  • Grace

    DonS @51

    Thank you for clarifying your views. This isn’t going to get better, meaning homosexuality, and their marital plans, bypassing the LORD’s plan of marriage. Those who partake of these sins, will soon find out, the dismal end and error of their ways. I believe they know

  • http://tdaviddemarest.com Trent

    From Allan C. Carlson’s article, “Meaningful Intercourse”:

    Nearly two thousand years ago, what would become Western Christian civilization began to take form in a time of growing sexual disorder. The moral and family disciplines of the old Roman Republic were fading, being replaced by the intoxications of empire. Slave concubinage flourished in these years. Divorce by mutual consent became easy and common. Adultery was fashionable and widespread.

    In the swollen city of Rome, homosexuality emerged as an open practice. Indeed, there is some evidence that same-sex “marriage” occurred. As a poem attributed to the late second century put it: “The bearded Callistratus married the rugged Afer/ Under the same law by which a woman takes a husband./ Torches were carried before him, a bridal veil covered his face.”

    There was also a disregard for infant life, with infanticide and abortion regular practices. St. Ambrose wrote in the fourth century: “Women are in a hurry to wean their children; if they be rich, they scorn to suckle them; poor women expose their children; and if found, refuse to take them back; the rich, rather than see their fortune divided, use murderous juices to kill the fetus within the womb.”

    As early as 18 B.C., Caesar Augustus, worried about the plummeting Roman birthrate, implemented the so-called Augustan Laws, measures that punished adultery, penalized childlessness, and showered benefits on families with three or more children. These laws appear to have slowed the empire’s demoralization for about a century. Thereafter, the old trend lines returned…

    Read more: http://touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=22-01-026-f#ixzz2OBQYu6NP

  • Joe

    Dons @ 47

    “The alternative, to allow states to define marriage however broadly they want to, and then loot the federal treasury accordingly, is untenable, as it represents a theft of tax dollars from traditionalist states by apostate states in a way never intended by Congress or the people. ”

    I have to disagree with you on this point Don. My understanding (based on limited research) is that prior to DOMA (i.e. before 1996) the federal gov’t did not have a definition of marriage. Instead, the federal gov’t (ie. the IRS, immigration, etc) simply used the definition of marriage used by the state of domicile of the person at issue. That means that couple in say, Tennessee, who are in a valid marriage under Tennessee law were considered married for purposes of federal law. It did not matter that the Tennessee marriage would not be valid in a different state. Indeed, the 50 states have varying marriage laws. Age of consent, degree of relation, common law marriages, (and in the past inter-racial marriages) etc. These differences among who could marry and under what circumstances was never a problem for federal programs/laws during the first 207 years of the republic and I don’t think are really a problem now.

    Our founders never envisioned that the federal gov’t would create a federal definition of marriage, yet our founders did envision situations where the federal gov’t would pay moneys to spouses and dependents. Indeed, one of the first acts of the very first Congress in 1789 was to have the federal gov’t take over the pensions that the State’s were providing to revolutionary war vets, their widows and their dependents. Yet the federal law did not attempt to define marriage for the purposes of these pensions. Instead, if the marriage was valid in the state of domicile it was valid for the purpose of the federal pension.

    This is how federal law worked until 1996 when DOMA was enacted. From a practical standpoint, adding gay marriage to the mix of the various types of marriages that the federal gov’t has historically recognized will not create a new insurmountable burden on the operations of federal law or the treasury.

    Of course, none of this changes the analysis of whether gay marriage is right, wrong, sinful etc. It just means that it does not need to be a federal question. Small gov’t conservatives should be willing to accept the fact that this might mean that a gay couple in Iowa might get a tax break that a gay couple in Wisconsin would not be able to access. That is okay – its called federalism and its the one of the foundational underpinnings of this thing we call America.

  • DonS

    Joe @ 55: Well done, and point taken. I guess the question is whether the definitional changes in marriage now will result in a materially greater percentage of married folks per capita in the liberal states as opposed to the conservative states. Maybe not, I don’t know.

    We can assume that prior to DOMA, though not placed in the statute, because it was not thought necessary, there was a universally accepted definition that marriage was between a man and a woman. DOMA merely codified the traditional definition, in the face of a societal move toward challenging even the most basic moral codes underpinning the culture. The difference in marriage rates because of varying laws on age of consent, degree of relation, and common law marriage, where that status is claimed by the taxpayer or benefits recipient, has to be truly minuscule in the scheme of things. A small fraction of one percent, I would think, though I have no data to that end. For the federal government to define marriage to such an extent as to account for all of these minuscule anomalies would be akin to swatting a gnat with a 2 x 4. And very difficult to enforce (birth certificates? family trees?). Even as regulation-happy a government as our federal government would not go that far.

    On the other hand, now that marriages are expanding to include same sex couples, and perhaps ultimately polygamous relationships, the numbers are potentially much bigger. Certainly, we can agree that the federal government should be permitted to define who is eligible for federal benefits and who is entitled to claim a particular federal tax status. At least I hope we can. I have seen arguments that federalism prohibits the federal government from doing so, in some of the DOMA court cases, by the same liberals who would never dream of invoking federalism for any other purpose, but that is utter nonsense. However, at this juncture, with the battle over homosexual marriage seemingly lost, at least to the extent that 9 states have already gone over to the dark side, and a dozen more probably will in the next few years, and with our current administration hell-bent (no pun intended?) on destroying DOMA by failing to defend it, it seems time to disabuse our federal policy of promoting encouraging marriage, in favor of a policy promoting and encouraging children. That’s all I’m saying — the institution has been sufficiently watered down and destroyed to no longer warrant different treatment. On the other hand, we desperately need to help those who are raising children, and to encourage more children. So, let’s focus our efforts to that end.

  • Paul Reed

    @Trent #21

    Comment is worth reading several times over. Indeed, the idea that birth control is okay is a very new development in the church.

  • Steve P.

    Tina,

    OK, but please don’t go any further.

  • Paul Reed

    @Grace

    “I most definitely, do not compare homosexual sex, or their faux marriages, to killing innocent infants lives by the millions.”

    That’s nice. Thanks for your opinion. But the Bible says that 2 men lying together is an abomination,and is worthy of the death penalty (the same penalty proscribed for the shedding of innocent blood, as in abortion.) But hey, we know better. Homosexual behavior is no big deal. And thanks to your and countless other’s godless beliefs on homosexuality, this time next week gay “marriage” will be the law on the land.

  • Grace

    Paul Reed @ 59 “But hey, we know better. Homosexual behavior is no big deal. And thanks to your and countless other’s godless beliefs on homosexuality, this time next week gay “marriage” will be the law on the land.”

    You managed to misread what I wrote. I don’t support homosexual marriage, or any part of that lifestyle, anyone who has read my posts knows that. I will add this to my comment. We cannot stop two same sex anythings from doing what they do. The unborn are not given the opportunity to make choices, they are slaughtered in the womb, big difference, if you can see it.

    My post @ 49

    “I am against, as you know, homosexual marriage, but I see no comparison to it, and abortion. Abortion is the slaughter of infants lives. We will always have sexual sin, and yes, I hate to see it made law,(faux marriage) but I most definitely, do not compare homosexual sex, or their faux marriages, to killing innocent infants lives by the millions.”

  • http://tdaviddemarest.com Trent

    In case you’d like to take the moral sense temperature of one of our institutions of higher learning (rectally, mind you), this is an article by the student editor of The Scripps Voice, newspaper of Scripps College. Just in case you were wondering, it’s not weird, and certainly not wrong, to have sex with animals. “Zoophilia” has been unjustly marginalized, that’s all…

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