Sign My Petition for a Constitutional Amendment to Ban Divorce!

Source: http://divorce.avvo.com/

It’s time to ban divorce.  That’s right, I said it.  We need to protect the sanctity of marriage by following the New Testament teaching of Jesus that couples are not to divorce.  The days of Moses are over and marriage is too important to allow for anyone (unless there is provable adultery) to corrupt this holy institution by calling it quits, even when life gets hard with your partner.

I’m so tired of the statistics being thrown around about how evangelicals choose divorce just about as often as people who are unchurched. We need to make sure that those unchurched types have absolutely NO way out of their vows that they made before a judge in a courtroom.  Christian or not, our society will be more moral if we make it legally impossible for any couple to call it quits!  And what’s my defense?  Jesus said it… I believe it… that settles it! This is why, starting with this blog article, I want to invite you to sign my petition to add a constitutional amendment banning divorce to the next ballot. If we can win the battle for marriage at the amendment level, we will have won a great victory by turning this nation back toward its fundamental Christian roots.

Source: http://www.newyorkdivorceattorney.com

For the past few years we’ve been so consumed with things like Prop 8 in California that we’ve failed to also impose this other basic command of the New Testament on people that don’t ascribe to its teachings.  So, get ready my evangelical friends, let’s take our fight for marriage into the public domain.  We’re losing ground on the LGBTIQ marriage issue as is evidenced by recent events in New York.  This means it’s time to take the Bible seriously and make divorce illegal. Only such action will assure the world around us that we take our sacred Text seriously.  Once we forbid divorce, we will be able to put a stop to the so-called “equality movement,” which wants to give gay women and men the civil rights to marry whomever they choose.

Ok.  I can’t keep going on with this satirical rant. Clearly, banning divorce would be ridiculous in the eyes of almost any reasonable person – evangelical or not. Divorce can, at times, be the best thing for people stuck in a cycle of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse.  To literally prohibit this in a society, wouldn’t lead to anything good.  Yet, Jesus taught that divorce is wrong. Most evangelicals also believe that Jesus would have also been against the practice of homosexuality.[1] Here’s my point: If evangelicals want to ban gay marriage through the legislative process, shouldn’t they also (with the same sense of urgency) work to ban divorce?

Source: http://www.sanfranciscosentinel.com/

Recently I took a study trip where I was immersed in various elements of culture and religion.  Part of these encounters included a trip to Metropolitan Community Church, which is part of a denomination founded on the premise that LGBTIQ folks ought to be fully included in the life of the church.  As I listened to some of the stories about the discrimination and hate crimes the LGBTIQ community at-large endured early on (and unfortunately even in our day), my heart broke.  No matter what one may believe about what Scripture teaches about sexual orientation, the greater law at work is the call to love God and love neighbor.  One can’t accomplish either command while hating anyone.

When asked about gay marriage, the pastor of the church thought it odd that any Christian would desire to outlaw the practice, even based on a conservative reading of the BibleGranting that the “traditional” reading is correct, isn’t it hypocritical of Christians to not also want to make it illegal to get a divorce? Either legislate both or none. From the pastor’s perspective, any other move is hypocrisy.  I have to say that I agree with this pastor.

Personally, I believe that civil unions should be granted to both straight and gay couples by the state.  Then, at the religious level, congregations can bless those unions as marriages as is consistent with their beliefs.  Why should we allow something as holy as marriage to be in the control of secular government? Tony Campolo summarized my view well recently:

I propose that the government should get out of the business of marrying people and, instead, only give legal status to civil unions. The government should do this for both gay couples and straight couples, and leave marriage in the hands of the church and other religious entities. That’s the way it works in Holland. If a couple wants to be united in the eyes of the law, whether gay or straight, the couple goes down to the city hall and legally registers, securing all the rights and privileges a couple has under Dutch law. Then, if the couple wants the relationship blessed — to be married — they goes to a church, synagogue or other house of worship. Marriage should be viewed as an institution ordained by God and should be out of the control of the state.

So, are you with me?  Is it time to petition our government for an amendment to ban divorce in this great nation? If it is, then you might have the most consistent political application of what you believe the Bible teaches about marriage and sexuality that I’ve seen.  If not, well, evangelicals run the risk of hypocrisy, which makes Christianity look as though it’s driven by fear rather than love.

*Sign your name below if you agree!


[1] I realize that there are some evangelicals (many of my friends who read this blog) who have adopted an “open and affirming” stance on issues surrounding homosexuality.  Debating the varying theological views isn’t the point of this article.  Rather, I assume that many of my evangelical readers hold to a more traditional view or are trying to find some sort of a “third way.”  For a great resource, see Andrew Marin’s,  Love is an Orientation – Elevating the Conversation with the Gay Community.  The point is that it’s possible for one to hold to a conservative view on the theology and a progressive view on the politics.

  • Gillstrap1

    Very well said.

    • Sharon Doyle

      Ok,I’m all for consistency. I will sign your petition.

  • http://susanjoan.wordpress.com Susan Stabile

    Nicely done, Kurt.

  • http://twitter.com/Amy_R Amy

    Ok, at first, I am pretty sure my jaw hit the floor, but as I got past the satire, I couldn’t agree more with you. Thank you for sharing this.

  • Andy

    “The point is that it’s possible for one to hold to a conservative view on the theology and a progressive view on the politics.” Awesome.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve been saying the same thing for a few years now. Love the satire Kurt, I’m actually surprised you kept it up for as long as you did. ;)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001395795787 Nicole Chojnacki

    I think that people don’t take divorce seriously nowdays. People think to themselves, “Oh, if it doesn’t work, we’ll just get divorced.” I’m Wiccan but I still think marriage is sacred and not to be entered into lightly.

    • http://thepangeablog.com Kurt Willems

      @Nicole! First, thanks for coming by the site. Second, I couldn’t agree with you more. Well said!

      • http://www.facebook.com/agent707 James Vaughn

        Nicole, taking marriage and divorce seriously is one thing, but making a Federal Law to PROHIBIT divorce is another thing entirely. Look for my longer comment towards Kurt on the problems with his proposition.

    • http://www.jonesgough.com/ jason_personal_injury_lawyer

      not only do they not take divorce seriously. they don’t take there marriages seriously ! they idolize the celebs who no offense seem to get married after ten minutes then divorced 2 mins after !

  • http://www.fatherhoodetc.com David Ozab

    Excellent satirical commentary. Also good to know I’m not the only one who thinks “that civil unions should be granted to both straight and gay couples by the state: ” http://fatherhoodetc.wordpress.com/2011/02/25/civil-unions-for-all/
    Looks like I’m in good company.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000330817562 Amber Caudell

    Very nicely written.. the satire had me fooled for a minute but I’m a new to the blog lol

  • Stephen G. Parker

    Wow, Kurt! You had me going there for a bit! :lol: I kept thinking: “I can’t believe Kurt’s saying that!” I even checked a couple of times to see it this was written by a “guest poster” in order to fairly give an opposing viewpoint. :grin:

    Then I began t0 realize that it must be satire. I was glad to see you finally acknowledge it. Good points, and I agree with you.

  • Anonymous

    Spot on!

  • Ltos55

    Good points, kurt. Hadn’t thought about it this way before.

  • http://www.facebook.com/wmonn Whitney Monn

    When I was a student at Eastern University, I remember this entire conversation being played out in a New Testament Survey class. As the “liberal” Christian college, we have received a lot of flax, especially when the group Soulforce visited our campus. For those of you who are unfamiliar, Soulforce is a group of people who travel to religious institutions talking about equality. The professor I had for the Old Testament class addressed the visit of this group with the same message: We need to fix our problems with marriage and specifically divorce before we go attaching GLBT individuals who would like to marry.

    Interestingly, I remember the day they visited vividly, because not of the presence of Soulforce, but of a religious extremest group that put a table on our campus protesting gay marriage. While I firmly believe that the bible indicates marriage is between a man and woman, I was disgusted with the blatant discrimination and hatred going on, and that the peaceful group visiting us needed to experience it. I think it is important to point out that Eastern University did not ask religious extremist group to come. Instead this group petitioned that they should be given access to Eastern University, if Soulforce was getting access. It was a horrible display, and I echo your statement that Christian love trumps all. I have long shared Tony Campolo’s view of civil union, so I am thankful that you brought it up as an option for Christians to consider.

    • http://thepangeablog.com Kurt Willems

      Whitney, excellent points in your story. Yes, fundamentalism can be a nasty display of hatred and I for one am sick of accidentally getting lumped into that group because I love Jesus. Thanks for sharing your story and for reading!

  • http://blog.rrchapman.us/ Bob Chapman

    I think you should have kept up the front on this Modest Proposal.

  • mattfourcf@gmail.com

    I think you’re kidding. Right? Jesus said the only reason for divorce is adultery. Then he defines adultery as being a lustful thought, not just the act. Therefore if one member of the couple does have a lustful thought even if they do not make it known, since God knows that thought, He will see that person as having committed adultery. If a couple divorces for another reason that reason, I’ll bet, will be rooted in that adulterous thought. So they would be right to divorce. Maybe we can institute capital punishment too to sinful tranfressions while we’re at it. This way everyone can be put to death.

  • http://www.theology21.com jonathan Keck

    While I believe that divorce is very serious and something that should be avoided at nearly all costs. That being said, I absolutely reject the imposition of Christian morals on the wider secular culture. Often it results in little more than morality-policing and bible-thumping. When we try to legislate morality, hearts are not changed—just restrained. But when we change hearts through scripture and relationships, we have the opportunity to truly change behavior through the power of the Holy Spirit. Here is a bit more on just this topic which I wrote this last week. http://bit.ly/oaZm0m

    Awesome job Kurt.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jason.ekk Jason Ekk

    great post!

  • Luke Thomas

    I am now waiting for your outlaw Harry Potter books and movies amendment.

    • http://thepangeablog.com Kurt Willems

      LOL…

  • Ray sanchez

    Hey, I watched the movie Eat, pray, love, you mean i wouldn’t be able to leave my wife cause i didn’t want to be married anymore! What are you guys trying to do? I can’t pray to leave my spouse? I don’t think i like this idea. I guess i will sit at home, and watch Secret life of an american teenager. Now that’s reality! Seriously try to ban divorce and i’m all in not my will but thy will amen..

  • Ray sanchez

    Hey, I watched the movie Eat, pray, love, you mean i wouldn’t be able to leave my wife cause i didn’t want to be married anymore! What are you guys trying to do? I can’t pray to leave my spouse? I don’t think i like this idea. I guess i will sit at home, and watch Secret life of an american teenager. Now that’s reality! Seriously try to ban divorce and i’m all in not my will but thy will amen..

  • http://naturalaw.failuretorefrain.com jurisnaturalist

    Christians don’t really believe in marriage anymore. They mostly want to build political coalitions protecting the status quo and their privileges. A real modest proposal would suggest banning all (state recognized) marriage, as Campolo recommends, and then making Christian marriage the communal institution, covenant, it has the potential to be. There’s a reason we invite witnesses to weddings, they have a stake in them lasting. But when marriage is ultra private, it is bound to either fall apart or become a power struggle. Marriage is a reflection of God’s relationship to man, His holiness, purity, faithfulness, and distinction from us.

    • http://www.fivedills.com Greg Dill

      “Christians don’t really believe in marriage anymore.”

      But, a single, first-year Ph. D. student from George Mason University does? You’re a bit presumptuous; and arrogant I might add. There are plenty of Christians that I know who cherish, honor (and believe) in marriage. Not every Christian is on a political bandwagon as you implied. Anabaptists like myself can care less about politics, but wish to honor and protect the holy union found in the institution of marriage that God designed (Ephesians 5:31). We hold it dear to our hearts. Some of our marriages fail indeed. But, throwing our hands up in the air and saying, “Oh well, let anyone get married!” doesn’t solve the issue. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

  • Peter Thomas

    Here are a few questions from a conservative, fundamentalist, neo-reformed, dispensationalist…and a long time friend.

    1. Do you find it ironic that you are making a joke out of people who oppose gay marriage by signing petitions while encouraging people to “petition” against Mark Driscoll by emailing Mars Hill Church?

    2. Your blog makes the point that I’m being inconstant if I support a gay marriage ban, but am not actively pursuing a ban on divorce. I’m curious if you can pass your own “consistency” litmus test. Would you oppose unions of 3 or more individuals? Humans and animals? Brothers and sisters? Parents and children (adult children)?

    3. Why must Jesus’ words about non-violence be taken absolutely literally in every case while taking other issues he discussed literally has become “ridiculous in the eyes of almost any reasonable person”?

    • http://thepangeablog.com Kurt Willems

      Peter… First of all I don’t consider you an angry voice. I feel like we could sit down and have, not only a civil conversation but one where we find lots of common ground. So, let me simply begin with that. I’m not sure I’d call you a fundy either ;-)

      1. The issue of gay marriage ban is one that is a legislative issue. Obviously I deal with that issue as it is… an “issue.” So on the other end. Pastor Mark’s consistent comments have gone too far. Alienating women and men through stereotypes that are unhealthy. Just because a guy is not a jock, doesn’t make him a sissy… and well, Pastor Mark takes his logic further than that into calling into question one’s commitment to discipleship. This is cancer in the body of Christ. Do you not agree that his comments were demeaning toward guys that happen to not fit his “man” mold? I just got an email from someone today who’s husband was mocked by a disciple of Driscoll, send him and his wife into depression… not cool. So, my letter to Mars Hill (which was gracious in tone) had a sound reason. I’m not trying to “legislate” how he runs his church… just trying to get him to acknowledge the damage he’s doing to the larger church with his rash comments. The use of “petition” for the gay marriage post was fully tongue in cheek. Hope you caught that friend :-)

      2. Peter… my own litmus test. Well, you just created a scenario that is a bit unreasonable. For me, anything beyond 2 consenting adults would not be good. BUT… the whole point of my post is that the state ought to simply give “civil unions” to anyone and get out of the business of interfering with a sacrament of the church: marriage. Why are you willing to delegate something Christian and holy to a secular government? I am not married because I have a certificate from the state of california, but because before God and the church I gave my life to Lauren and to striving to love her as Christ loves the church (you should know… you were on stage afterall ;-) ). Lets take back what is God’s… marriage. Lets quit worrying about what a pagan nation tells us is or isn’t marriage. Thats why I’m for splitting up civil unions and Christian marriages.

      3. My point is that divorce is inevitable in a fallen world. The nonviolence issue is clearly what the church taught up till constantine… thats some pretty good evidence of the intent of those texts. BTW… I could just as easily reverse your question and put you in the same situation :-) Nevertheless, by NO means do I believe that divorce is part of God’s design as you seem to think i do. Divorce is the opposite of God’s design. BUT… its needed in a fallen world. For instance, would you be ok with a woman who is in a pattern of violent abuse staying with that husband out of some kind of obligation to the text? I sure hope you’d tell that woman “leave and don’t look back!” Anyway… divorce is needed in a society that is full of sin.

      Hope that gives you some scattered (quite tired) thoughts about your questions…

      • Peter Thomas

        Glad to hear you don’t consider me an angry voice…just a completely different point of view.

        I do have a few follow up comments……

        1. I still find it ironic that you are using humor (that would possibly offend people who believe strongly in male/female only marriages) to make make a point while on the very same day correcting Driscoll for using humor to point out what he sees as a problem in the church.

        2. If you believe that scenario is “unreasonable” then look at history. 50 years ago gay marriage wasn’t on the political radar…certainly stranger (and worse from my perspective) types of “unions” will be on the table before we know it. I agree with you that our marriages are first and foremost before God and the church, but that doesn’t mean that it is good for a pagan (unbelieving) society to have laws in place that are in direct opposition to God’s Word. Every human being is sinful, but not as sinful as they could be. The laws of our land can protect us from certain sins (not sin nature) if they are in accordance with God’s nature and character.

        3. First of all I never said that you believe that divorce is part of God’s design, but was just pointing out what I see as inconsistency in you reasoning. You are all for legislation that promotes your theological views (social programs, health care, etc.), but are against it when it doesn’t fit your view point.

        • http://thepangeablog.com Kurt Willems

          Peter…

          1) I believe that God’s original design is for a man and a woman for a lifetime. As much as I’d like to change the biblical text… I cant. Satire is a form of creative writing. What Pastor Mark does is dehumanize people. Again, read through the list of issues that Rachel Held Evans lists in the blog post that led to writing my email. Pastor Mark has a consistant pattern of unChristlike behavior when it comes to issues of male identity.

          2) Peter… I mean that its unreasonable in that it really would be an issue for me. But again, I don’t want to impose my Christian standards on the state… except for cases where there is a biblical call to do such… like social justice issues. Which leads to…

          3) Social programs promote the common good. The BIBLE makes this clear. Read the prophets. They are speaking of social injustices cause by Nations… that is enough reason for Christians to do the same. On issues of sexuality, we have no evidence that we are called to tell other people how to live. Rather we are called to model a better way. In the church… yes we must hold people to high sexual ethics. But we can’t expect a pagan to live like a Christian. The NT doesn’t have this expectation and neither should we. I see your point, but my defense is that social justice and health care is the call of any nation according to the bible. Marriage is an issue for the church. these two issues are distinct.

          • Peter Thomas

            So a pagan, greedy, American capitalist should be subject to legislation that forces the “pagan to live like a Christian” by paying high taxes to support welfare, healthcare, etc, but we shouldn’t support legislation against gay marriage because it is forcing a “pagan to live like a Christian”? Still seems inconsistent to me.  

            You say social programs promote the common good as though that is a fact and then speak as if gay marriage has only personal implications with no impact on society as a whole. Keep in mind that gay marriage only further validates homosexual adoption/parenting which has huge effects on society as a whole.  I would like to know how you define a “social justice issue”. Isn’t a child being raised by two dad’s (legally married) unjust from the child’s perspective? No need to answer these questions unless you want to. We can save it for coffee…which is long overdue.

          • AmyS

            Butting in here :)

            Will you cite credible evidence for the claim that homosexual parents are bad for children? What are these supposed “huge effects on society as a whole?” I know that there is a popular perception among some that this is so, but social science does not bear this out.

            Actually, the bulk of research on the subject shows that there is no demonstrable difference between children raised by heterosexual couples and homosexual couples–not in general social development or gender identity or sexual orientation. In fact, some research indicates that female co-parents (that is, the non-birth-mother in a female-female partnership) tend to do a better job supporting healthy child development than do fathers in heterosexual partnerships.

            I would argue that it is more unjust to prevent a child’s parents from becoming married, simply because they are of the same gender. Isn’t it also unjust for children to remain in foster care, simply because would-be parents are not allowed to adopt them based on irrelevant characteristics of the would-be parents?

          • Peter Thomas

            Amy… This may be unpopular and politically incorrect, but my source of “credible evidence” is the inspired Word of God. I believe that the Bible is clear and consistent in teaching that homosexuality is a sin. Not the “worst” sin (any sin is a trespass against God), or an unforgivable sin, but absolutely a sin. Why would I as a Christian support something that is an offense to God?

            Sinful behavior always has negative effects. Whether it is condoning homosexuality or gay-bashing, unrepentant sin separates us for God. A child growing up in a a situation where sin is encouraged is not something I am prepared to support.

            The point about foster-care/adoption is well taken. Fresno County (near my home) has 1,800 children that need to be adopted and I believe that there are around 13 million orphans world wide….Heartbreaking numbers.  Let’s pray that the church is stirred up to meet this need and not turn to pagan/sinful solutions.

          • AmyS

            First off, I’m always curious about the “I know this isn’t politically correct” preface. Is that like “no offense, but…” or something like that? It always comes off as a thinly-veiled insult.

            For whatever it’s worth, I’m not concerned about “political correctness” (if I were, I certainly wouldn’t confess to being an aspiring pacifist, among other unpopular ideas). Do I hope to have good manners? Yes. Disingenuous respect? I hope not. 

            As to your plea to scripture, don’t construe my reply to indicate anything about my opinions about what the Bible says about sexuality. My point is this: whatever one thinks about whether or not homosexual unions are sinful, children being raised in such partnerships do not demonstrate any more negative (or positive) effects developmentally than those raised by heterosexual partners. Whatever the effect of sin is in human development, presumably there is enough to go around, regardless of the sexual orientation of parental units. 

            Your assumptions seem to be that 1) homosexual partnerships, by their very nature, provide a more sin-filled environment for children, and 2) children are negatively affected by the sin in their environments to the degree that their environments are sin-filled. You conclude, therefore, that homosexual partnerships negatively impact child development more severely than do heterosexual partnerships. Did I get that right?

            I could point out significant problems with the two assumptions, but I’ll just stick with the conclusion. If your conclusion is correct, it seems to me that the social sciences would notice and support it. But instead, there is a good deal of credible science giving evidence to the contrary.

            All I’m saying is: If you want to argue against same-sex marriage, do so with valid and informed arguments. Pleas about the danger to kids or society in general simply do not hold water. Arguing theology with science, or science with theology is a tricky business with a tragic history. 

          • Peter Thomas

            Amy, No insult intended toward you…I will avoid that phrase in the future. 

            Regarding your last post, I couldn’t disagree with you or Kurt more on this subject, but I doubt continuing to debate it here will get any of us anywhere. 

          • AmyS

            That’s cool. Thanks for the conversation :)

          • http://www.facebook.com/agent707 James Vaughn

            Amen.

          • AmyS

            @google-43b9cdbd0867f2fcf89ef79f563f23b7:disqus Regarding your last comment about the church and adoption. I agree that the U.S. church alone could easily provide homes for all of the orphans currently in the U.S. foster care systems. I read a statistic recently that suggested that only a minority of households represented in the church would be needed in order to place all children (and that means placing only one child per available home). It is the church’s mandate to do this work. In general, the church is failing miserably. Where you and I part ways is in the opinion that individuals with same-sex orientation and same-sex couples within the church are equally included in this mandate to care for the orphans and are not disqualified for the work based solely on that fact.
            For whatever it’s worth, the same-sex couples I know, who are raising kids together, are all more conservative in their personal ethics and social values (especially regarding parenting duties) than I am. I have found them to be exceptionally nurturing through both kindness and discipline. In other words, they often do a better job than I do with my own kids (I am in a 20+ year covenantal heterosexual marriage).

          • Kerrie-Anne

            I’m sorry but I can’t let this pass: if you are not prepared to support a situation where children grow up in a “sinful” homosexual household, and you are sincere in saying that homosexuality is not a worse sin that any other, then shouldn’t you ban all unrepentant sinners from raising children? It is inconceivable.

            There is really no basis for your argument here.

          • http://www.bethgray.norwex.biz/ Beth Gray

            Peter, it’s great that you are here discussing with Kurt, being his friends, and loving each other no matter how various your political/religious ideas are. I am sure both of you are spiritually deep and that is what keeps you connected. I also want to encourage you to re-consider using comments like, “Amy… This may be unpopular and politically incorrect, but my source of “credible evidence” is the inspired Word of God. ” . It can sound quite offensive – as it implies that you have the ‘right’ answer and well, “others must find theirs from ‘secular’ sources or worse, their ‘feelings”’. I’m publicly saying this, probably because I know Kurt and Amy personally, and I know how many hours they’ve studied and continue to study the scripture and are both pastors because of their passion for the scriptures. I love how the scriptures are ‘alive’ and were written in an era when people thought differently than us, wrote for different reasons than us and therefore it is important for us to discuss these scriptural concepts/images together.. being open to learning and changing our views and re-looking from a different viewpoint. We all come to scripture with our personal lenses (built through our upbringing, our experiences, our culture, our religious/political community). I may be wrong, but I would assume that one of the main reasons that you and Kurt see so differently is your ‘larger view’ on what ‘sin’ actually means in the scriptures. It can be hard for you as a person who may see ‘sin’ as an action against God to ever fathom why anyone would ever want to be ‘okay’ with ‘going against God’. No wonder you would feel strongly about what you believe. And I could imagine if Kurt or Amy were to believe that Sin is not a ‘set of rules’, but instead when a relationship is broken between two human beings, two communities, us and nature, and us and God, no wonder they would see the importance of standing up for the rights of those who live in same sex relationships.. because if they didn’t, they would be a part of encouraging brokenness in so many relationships. So it’s important to remember, you are all coming from the same place.. with a passion to love God and others. I encourage each of us to get to know one another’s ‘lenses/worldview’ .. as this can help us understand why we speak/believe the way we do. Blessings to you as you continue to journey on this spiritual path with God.. and good friends like Kurt.

          • http://www.facebook.com/agent707 James Vaughn

            To back up what AmyS said, I’ve seen no studies that conclusively prove same-sex parents are bad for children, nor increase a child’s chance of turning out to be homosexual or in any other way disadvantaged. Such notions are the common output of ignorant, fearful people who make claims based on what they’ve been taught, not by what they’ve actually *learned* from objective investigation and scientific process. They make their projections based on what they’re familiar with and relate to. It’s essentially a form of xenophobia.

            To further back up what AmyS said, there are studies which suggest that same-sex couples (not just lesbian couples, although those have a different dynamic by nature) are more stable because they lack the inherent friction of the imbalanced power dynamic between opposite sex couples.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ZOBFY3WNNSBQ3PYIBKQWULKAVM WILLIAM

    Right. My partner’s uncle has been married and divorced 9 times! If there is a limit to that in the state of Indiana then I think he may have reached it. But he can’t have marriage ‘ruined’ by allowing two people of the same gender marry. THAT would be blasphemy!……. definitely a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

  • James Lott

    I find this all very interesting. I absolutely agree: Marriage is a religious rite, not a governmental right. Each and every religion has their own ideologies and practices when it comes to religion, and there is not one that should be promoted or legislated over another by our government in a country that has freedom of religion. It’s not just Christianity that is being violated: It is all religions.

    I’m a polyamorous pagan, by the way, and I think civil unions are the way to go for everyone. Religions can consecrate their unions in the eyes of whomever (or whatever) they worship. The government can recognize civil unions for whatever purposes they need. That covers the basic needs, and the two should never have been involved with each other in the first place.

    And a thought occurred to me after reading Kurt’s response on more than 2 consenting adults. We could take this one step further, and allow additional persons to be added into the civil union, recognizing them as dependents.

  • Kurt Anders Richardson

    Kurt,
    This is kinda dumb; there has been no Christian majority nation anywhere, at anytime, that has instituted such a law. The NT provides for divorce at least in cases of adultery. Now if you allow for this exception, then it seems to contradict what this website communicates. On the other side, the church is not the world and as long as we have the liberty to follow the law of Christ, we are fulfilling our responsibility. Yes, the state is a sorry place, but as an Anabaptist, there is no room for imposing our order on the world.
    Sincerely,
    Kurt

    • http://thepangeablog.com Kurt Willems

      Kurt Anders Richardson… I feel like you only read the first half of the article… It was a piece of satire. Not sure that you understood what I wrote based on your comment… please read the whole article and then comment. I am not for actually banning divorce and my whole point was that we ought not force our views of sexuality on the larger culture. No imposing indeed.

  • Conrad

    Damn it Kurt! I just worked all of this out in my head last coming to basically the same conclusions you do and then I get on today and see you already have a blog on it LOL

    • http://thepangeablog.com Kurt Willems

      Conrad! Damn indeed! OR… great minds think alike :-) Fun to see us agreeing more and more!

  • Ian

    I’m surprised at myself, but making all marriages considered “civil unions” in the eyes of the government is not a bad idea. Very little would change practically and so long as polygamous, incestual, and human/animal relationships are still excluded from having that privilege then I’m ok with it. I still think that homosexuality is wrong, but making marriage illegal between them won’t show them the error in their ways. I also like that marriage won’t be a state affair, but a purely spiritual one.

    • James Lott

      Again, interesting. Do polygamous persons not deserve their rights?  I mean, I can understand incest as wrong, and it’s not even a moral issue. As Eddie Izzard said, “First rule of genetics: Spread the Genes apart.” 

      There are many cultures in the far east that did marriages among matriarchal lines  (Mother-Son/Grandson) way back in the day to continue their heritage if the father passed away, so I might suppose they have a basis for requesting something like that, but I do think that the Genetics issue should hold up because inbreeding creates all sorts of issues. That, and it’s against the law in most states here in the US. I don’t know about other countries. 

      As for zoophilia, I don’t intend to set forth information for or against it, as I have done no research in it’s modern day uses. I know that it was used in rituals back in the day (to be a bit ambiguous), but I don’t see it having any potential role for governmental standards like tax breaks and combining income, or whatever else the government would use a civil union as.

      But polyamorous people are people, too. It’s not traditional, but why should a partnership be limited to two people? There are many functional polyamorous relationships that are getting along fine, but they suffer in the same manner the other members of the LGBTQIQ do in that their relationship is simply not even recognized. This puts them in the same circumstances originally stated.

      Take, for a moment, that there are three men in a relationship. They’ve lived together for 30 years, sleep in the same bed, all work their own jobs, and end up combining their incomes to pay the bills. Suddenly -TADA! Gay Civil Unions! Now, who’s to say which two get the union, and who gets left out? Why should they have to work that out? 

      In their minds, they are all equal. None of them is greater than the other. They are all the same, and all three of them love each other dearly. Truthfully, a system could be devised to give all three the same status, instead of having to have a pair and a dependent. Once it place, it would have little to no effect on how the government functions, excepting having to re-train the officials on the new legislation, software, and creating new paperwork.

      But I think I have rambled on in the wrong place for this type of discussion. My apologies. I promise to do my homework on how to use this site properly tonight, lol

      • Ian

        Well if any relationship that I would find spiritually immoral is to be included in the state definition of “civil union” then I guess polyamorous would be included. Though I think it could organized as between two people, but you could have more than one, but I’m not so interested in the details. As I’ve said, I still find it immoral and if it is ever implemented I’ll only be reminded of the declining moral state of the country.  

        • http://www.facebook.com/agent707 James Vaughn

          Ian, on what grounds do you find a polyamorous relationship immoral?

      • Robert Smith

        Excellent post.  The inherent problem with our humanness is that we need to create boundaries and that we (typically) cannot see beyond what we know and experience.

      • http://www.facebook.com/agent707 James Vaughn

        James, I think you make an excellent and challenging point about how to determine which 2 of a partnership of 3 can marry. IMO, I think they should all be allowed to marry. If people love each other, I think they should have the right to make a formal, ceremonious commitment to each other and be recognized by their community and government.

  • Timberlake A

    Kurt, if you want to get real technical about it, according to Deuteronomy 22:28 people are married to the first person they have sex with and and not able to get divorced so we ought to be promoting “shot gun wedding” laws. 28 “If a man meets a virgin who is not betrothed, and seizes her and lies with her, and they are found, 29 then the man who lay with her shall give to the father of the young woman fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife, because he has violated her. He may not divorce her all his days.”(ESV)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1634396012 Robert Anthony Martin

    I’ll probably get slapped for this but…

    How Libertarian of you, Kurt. ;-)

    • http://patheos.com/blogs/thepangeablog/ Kurt Willems

      Ha! @facebook-1634396012:disqus … you made me laugh!  But, here’s a question for ya since Libertarianism is a tad to the right of the Republicans.  How would you answer my friend @google-43b9cdbd0867f2fcf89ef79f563f23b7:disqus ‘s concerns above?

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1634396012 Robert Anthony Martin

        To be honest, you’ve said everything that I would say.  The only thing I would add is that the difference between calling out Mark Driscoll and commenting on gay marriage or any other morality issue in the secular culture comes down to something we are instructed by two different writers of the New Testament, that to restore our brothers and sisters to The Way if we see them straying.  To me, Driscoll is an embarrassment and is damaging the Christian witness.  It’s harder for anyone else to speak the gospel when we have folks like Driscoll running around.

        As for your comments about men and male spirituality, at the Mennonite Church USA convention in Pittsburgh last week, I was able to sit in and listen to Gareth Brandt and his discussion about seeking new metaphors for male spirituality that don’t have to be the “warrior” metaphor.  I’ve picked up a copy of Brandt’s book “Under Construction” where he uses the example of Joseph from the book of Genesis for 12 new models of male spirituality.  I have yet to read the book but from what I heard from Brandt, it seems that it is about time we had a male spirituality that wasn’t the “warrior” view but was still distinctly male. 

      • Conrad

        To the right of republicans? As someone whos gone (at least politically) from basically a conservative republican to more of a libertarian independant, this makes no sense to me…

  • Anonymous

     When it comes to divorce and remarriage in the Kingdom and Body of Yeshua-ha-Meschiach, we greek-dualist + Protestant + Calvin informed christians are ill-served by our historical and traditional interpretations of both OT & NT texts because we aren’t aware of the additional accurate knowledge of the workings of Jewish culture at the time. Whereby we can drill down and understand the true Biblical, practical pastoral principles at work as seen thru the eyes of the 1st century NT readers and from there, bring them forward into our own cultural and technological here and now.

    Thanks be to YeHoVaH,  He has blessed us with a trailblazing rediscoverer of these original contexts in the form of David Instone-Brewer, a scholarly, wise and compassionate student of many rabbinical writings. He wrote an academic book, ‘Divorce and Remarriage in the Bible – The Social and Literary Context’ which formed the basis of its pastoral sequel ‘Divorce and Remarriage in the Church – Biblical Solutions For Pastoral Realities.

    Teaser and other resource material can be found here:

    http://www.instonebrewer.com/divorceremarriage/index.htm?add=http://www.TyndaleArchive.com/Brewer/PPages/DRB/

    Under the Books section to the left of the main page, click Pastoral to take you to the ‘Divorce/Remarriage in the Church book.

    Of particular interest to many folks will be Chapters 12 thru to 14 which gives a rundown of exactly why we have so badly got our thinking wrong on this topic for so long.

    Shalom. The Truth shall set you free

  • http://blog.chron.com/thepeacepastor Martintroyer

    Kurt,
    Ha! And I’m preaching on Jesus’ teachings on marriage and divorce this Sunday! Great timing. Love the snarkiness, and appreciate the perspevctive.
    I’m all in, sign me up for this petition.

    Marty Troyer (Pastor, Houston Mennonite Church)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kim-Kliewer-Becker/1021828101 Kim Kliewer Becker

    Freakin’ hi-larious!  Heard it before, but this made me chuckle.  Thanks.

    “Christian or not, our society will be more moral if we make it legally impossible for any couple to call it quits!”  Worked with abortion, right?

  • http://www.fivedills.com Greg Dill

    “No matter what one may believe about what Scripture teaches
    about sexual orientation, the greater law at work is the call to love
    God and love neighbor.  One can’t accomplish either command while hating
    anyone.”

    Why does it have to be either or? Just because the biblical text condemns homosexuality doesn’t mean we straight folks hate homosexuals. We can love God and love neighbor and still exercise grace and truth in love. I think you have it all wrong about divorce too. Although the numbers are certainly a travesty, God does allow for it (see Matthew 5:32, Matthew 19:8-9, 1 Corinthians 7:15), unlike homosexuality. I see the point you’re trying to make. Clever. But, it doesn’t work. It would only work if the Bible truly condemns divorce in the same way it condemns homosexuality.

    • http://patheos.com/blogs/thepangeablog/ Kurt Willems

      @fivedills:disqus , it is clear that you ignored the previous statement to that quote.  You’re making unfair assumptions based on extraction from my literary context.  Read the quote carefully with the previous sentence attached:

      “As I listened to some of the stories about the discrimination and hate
      crimes the LGBTIQ community at-large endured early on (and unfortunately
      even in our day), my heart broke.  No matter what one may
      believe about what Scripture teaches about sexual orientation, the
      greater law at work is the call to love God and love neighbor.  One
      can’t accomplish either command while hating anyone.”

      • http://www.fivedills.com Greg Dill

        So, is this a generalization against all who reject homosexuality as a godly lifestyle? Or, is this only in reference to those who intentionally discriminate or hate homosexuals? Because it seemed you went from isolated cases to overall generalizations.

        • http://patheos.com/blogs/thepangeablog/ Kurt Willems

          Really Greg???????? Its about DISCRIMINATION and HATE CRIMES!  Not a theological position!  *sigh*  Please read the quote for a third time if you must.  Those who do the above two things are not “loving their neighbor”.  People have been murdered, beaten, and abused in the name of christ because they are gay.  Don’t believe me?  Watch the news or talk to one of my friends who knows this first hand.

    • http://www.facebook.com/agent707 James Vaughn

      Greg, how do you mean that God allows for divorce in Matthew 5:32 and 19:9, when it says, “But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery.” That seems a very clear condemnation of divorce, with only one exception.

      As for 1 Corinthians 7:15, it says “If the UNbeliever leaves, let him do so.” However, it seems to be contrary as it continues, “A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace.”

      This is confusing, and somewhat vague in it’s meaning. But if we assume Jesus is referring to divorce, then it is an outright contradiction to a few passages just prior to it which go, “To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.” (7:10-11)

      If you read more of 1 Cor. 7, you’ll see that Jesus really only seems to care about marriage as a means to prevent sexual immorality among those who lack (sexual) self-control; but Jesus said, “I wish that all men were as I am.” Indeed, 1 Cor. 7 begins with Jesus saying, “It is good for a man not to marry. But since there is so much immortality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband.” In 1 Cor.7:8-9, Jesus said, Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.”

      Personally, I think the whole concept is flawed no matter how you slice it, because anyone who’s ever married knows that marriage does not necessarily keep people from burning with passion. Indeed, I think most people idealize their marriage will burn with passion; but eventually, they find it stops burning, and, not finding it anymore in their marriage, they find it outside the marriage. We wouldn’t consider that a bad thing though if we had no repressive laws that prevented people from having sex with whom they pleased. My only issue with that, as 1 Cor. 7:4 expresses, is that we have to respect the health and welfare of our partner’s body with regards to possibly contracting and passing STDs.

      Now I’d like to spring from what I just discussed to this: Why is it okay for God to love everyone, but it’s not okay for everyone to love whom they desire? I know, I know, God’s not having sex with everyone, but after all is said in 1 Cor. 7:1-15, where at the end it says “God has called us to live in peace” then if peace means leaving a partner that causes us misery, or at the very least we do not feel happy and at peace with, then why would God not want us to find peace and happiness however we find it?

  • http://twitter.com/alextencate Alex ten Cate

    Hi Kurt, I retweeted this blog to my Dutch followers as we have the same discussion over in Holland (where gay marriage has been legal for ten years now). I couldn’t agree more that separating the civic legal union and the marriage ceremonial would be a sensible solution for all sides – all are equal before the state, sacred ceremonies belong in church – and the unchurched can throw their own party and call it ‘marriage’.

    However, Tony Campolo’s statement about Dutch practice is (unfortunately) incorrect. In Holland, marriage ceremonial is done in the townhall by an officer of the municipality. Churches don’t marry people, they “bless” or “confirm” marriages established at the town hall. So, “progressive” as our country has been labelled to be, in this particular case we’re in need of the same structural reform that Campolo suggested, and that I wholeheartedly agree with.

    • http://patheos.com/blogs/thepangeablog/ Kurt Willems

      @twitter-104969269:disqus  Thanks for the clarification… Glad to have you as a reader!  If your not already, I invite you to join our email update list!

  • AmyS

    Some thoughts that I have not seen mentioned on this thread yet:

    I. Civil marriage is a mutually binding contract which is protective for children and non/lower-income producing adults (i.e., less powerful) in domestic partnerships. It is a standardized domestic partnership contract which can be modified by additional contractual arrangements (e.g., pre-nuptual agreements).

    When a standard civil marriage contract is dissolved the court gives consideration to providing financial means  (alimony/spousal support) for partners who have a significantly lower earning potential (based on a wide variety of factors) and for children of the dissolved partnership. This provides protection in 2 significant ways.

    A) Spousal support and child support help to empower individuals who choose to leave abusive relationships by reducing the, potentially devastating, financial consequences to dependent partners and their children if they choose to leave.

    B) Spousal support and child support also provide incentives for more financially powerful partners to remain in marriages that they might otherwise abandon more easily.

    In these ways, the civil marriage contract is protective of weaker family members (reducing barriers to salvation from abuse when necessary) and encourages stability of family units (making abandonment of vulnerable dependants more difficult). We know that divorce and serial partnerships are generally bad for the social and psychological health of both children and adults (even when necessary in order to control the more significant damage done by domestic violence and abuse).

    As a protection for the weak and vulnerable, especially children, it is certainly Christian to promote (or at least allow for) civil marriage contracts for the care and protection of any who may be at risk of abuse and abandonment, regardless of the sexual orientation of parties entering a mutually binding contract.

    How is protection for the weak somehow construed, the the church no less, as a bad thing?

    II. There is a fundamental difference between civil and “religious” marriage.

    A) Civil marriage is “negative.” It is oriented towards the potential for
    dissolution. As a contract, civil marriage says: If you…, then I… ;
    and if you don’t…, then I won’t… . It is an arrangement contingent upon
    mutual benefit. And, as described above, it is a provision for when
    things go wrong.

    B) Covenantal marriage is “positive.” It is oriented toward the expectation
    that life together will be fruitful and blessed. A biblical covenant is not a contract but a commitment made in the context of a faith community. It is a declaration of intent to faithfully pursue a shared life in the Spirit of God, being accountable to fellow disciples of Jesus, for the sake of the gospel. Each
    partner declares: I am yours and you are mine, as long as we both live.

    Where a contract says, “I will until you don’t” a covenant says, “I will.” That said, I don’t think the civil contract should necessarily be abandoned by Christians; at least, not until the church is ready to truly care for our widows and orphans.

    III. The Roman Catholic church already makes a formal distinction between marriages performed by the state and by the church.

    I have no objection to removing the word “marriage” from the standard domestic partnership contract offered by the state. Why should anyone, accepting of homosexual behavior/sexual relationships or not, discourage full participation in the benefits of legal protection offered to all residents. Furthermore, why should either the state or citizenry have any stake in whether or not the state calls the contract a marriage or anything else?

    Whether or not a given faith community chooses to bless and support marriage covenants between one kind of couple over-against another is up to each community. What does that have to do with the state? Can you imagine having a public debate over who can apply for a certificate of baptism from the state, or a license to serve communion? Then why is it so with marriage?

    • http://www.facebook.com/agent707 James Vaughn

      Amy S, excellent points.

  • http://moonchild11.wordpress.com/ Moonsn11

    “Personally, I believe that civil unions should be granted to both
    straight and gay couples by the state.  Then, at the religious level,
    congregations can bless those unions as marriages as is consistent with
    their beliefs.”

    I really liked that point. I also liked your satirical rant! After gay marriage was legalized in NY, and after I saw the hateful facebook statuses of my evangelical friends, I posted an article from John Shore’s blog entitled, “What would Jesus do if invited to a gay wedding?”

    My pastor commented that my suggesting the Lord would attend such a ceremony was “disgusting.” Yet, not even a month before he had been the officiant for the wedding of two divorcees. I’m not sure why there’s such a double standard.

  • Dayna DeHaven

    All religious feelings aside, gay marriage should not be legal because it does not provide any benefit for our government and just costs more tax dollars. When heterosexuals get married they get a tax break, it’s true, in hopes of the next steps: buying a house and HAVING CHILDREN. Perpetuating society is a plus for the government so they reward heterosexual couples. What benefit would the government have for a homosexual marriage? None. So why cause more government paperwork, spend more tax dollars, etc., for something that simply does not benefit America? If our government leaders would use a bit of their brain to think about this in the way they’re supposed to (how does this directly affect the good of the USA besides making people “feel good”), then we wouldnt be having these debates.

    dmdehaven.wordpress.com

    • http://mystic444.wordpress.com Stephen Parker

      Dayna – While homosexuality and “gay marriage” is certainly a hot topic these days, your argument in opposition to it seems to me to be very dangerous. It reminds me of Jesus’ statement that the  Sabbath was not made for man, but man for the Sabbath. Oops! I got that backwards, didn’t I? (lol)

      Your argument implies that the government was not made for man, but man for the government; that we have only those rights which benefit the government. If my freedom does not have some government benefit, I really don’t have that right. That is a most evil manner of thinking, and is the backbone of all tyranny.

      If we go by the Biblical creation story, marriage was instituted long before government and society. So any function government may have in marriage is just to protect the institution of marriage – and all other “unalienable rights”; it cannot grant or refuse the right.

      I am aware of the argument that God instituted marriage for “Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve”; but that is an entirely different argument, which I’m not willing to get into at this time. My point is simply that human rights (including marriage) are not invented and granted by the government for its benefit; rather, the government is “invented” for the benefit of human rights (including marriage). So far as I can see, when any two people wish to enter into a marriage covenant between themselves and perhaps God, the only function the government can have is to enforce and protect their right to do so. Any benefits the government may grant to married couples must apply equally to all married people.

      Again, whether or not two people of the same sex may be married to each other still has to be determined; but your argument that government can grant or refuse the right based on whether or not it benefits from the arrangement simply won’t do.

    • AmyS

      Setting aside the problems with your fundamental assumption that civil rights should only be afforded when doing so benefits the government, your assumption that same-sex marriage doesn’t benefit government is also wrongheaded. 

      Do same-sex couples not purchase homes? Do same-sex couples not have children? How is it good and just to disenfranchise a minority group of people and then mandate that group to subsidize the lifestyles of those with more social power? Is it remotely fair to “reward heterosexual couples” for being married and disproportionately tax all others (regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or reproductive status)?

      How did Jesus address the issue of disenfranchisement? Who did he elevate and advocate for? Who did he knock off their pedestals? How is it remotely Christian to support what Jesus deplored? 

  • http://www.bretmavrich.com Bret Mavrich

    I totally get Tony Campollo’s poin, but I think it’s missing something: a concern for culture. Sure, Christians in the prop 8 debate generally might not be mistaken for having a concern for the LGBT community, but we should. I recently met a Christian who actively volunteers in his community by serving on the zoning board. Last year he aggressively defeated an application for a pornography shop in his municipality. How many young men will be spared the real harm of exacerbated and distorted lust? How many marriages will be saved simply by having the porn shop 12 miles away instead of 12 blocks? Campollo’s suggestion of a separate blessing of union’s misses the point: everybody is insinuating their “faith” perspective into the public square of culture. Christians, in that regard, are no different.

  • http://manlytheology.com Jason Barr

    Love it. I also find it somewhat unfortunate that you had to explicitly state that it was satire…

    As an Anabaptist-influenced Christian, I tend to believe the Gospel imperative to hospitality and welcoming the stranger requires us to accept a person as s/he presents him/herself to us, rather than forcing our own categories upon them and making them interact with us on our own terms. I also find it very strange that Christians rail about a topic that gets mentioned 5 times in the whole Bible, but are often quiet on the subjects of justice for the poor and love for enemies – which are each given considerably more weight (especially the former).

    • AmyS

      @JasonBarr:disqus, Your blog sounds fascinating. I recently wrote a short biographical paper on Reta Finger, former assistant professor of New Testament at Messiah College, who has written widely on affirming Feminism from an evangelical perspective. In my opinion, much of the negative reactions to feminism within the evangelical world are based on radical misunderstandings about what Feminism actually is. Thank you for wrestling with these questions. I hope that you invite women to guest-write for your blog :)

    • http://www.facebook.com/agent707 James Vaughn

      Totally.

  • NuRadical71.wordpress.com

    I’m actuallystarting to understand this point. Right now I am leaning towards what Tony is saying. However, and this is an honest question, are there sociatal pitfalls that we are not seeing with this position? 
    Here is my other concern, will the Lesbian and Gay community be satisfied with civil unions, or is it really all about reshaping the institution of  traditional hetero marriage?
    Once this battle is over will all of the energy and money that has gone into this fight, (don’t kid yourself, there’s a ton of money and jobs linked to this cause)  then be poured into restoring hetero marriage, or maybe the plight of the unborn?
       

    • AmyS

      @b13a32ab51aa5bc0781a6fc880c1ce5a:disqus , How would allowing same-sex couples to marry redefine the marriages of different-sex couples? I’m female and my husband is male. We have been married for over 20 years. No amount of same-sex marriages will change the fact that we are a heterosexual couple. No amount of same-sex marriages will reduce or increase our commitment to one another or make our marriage more or less harmonious.

      The same-sex couples I know are pretty mainstream. They just want to live simple and quiet lives, to make their marriages/partnerships last, and to raise their children to be good and happy people, just like anyone else. They have no agenda for my marriage (except, maybe, that it be a happy and healthy one). Are my friends typical of the so-called community? I don’t know and I don’t really care. And I don’t think LGBTIQ folks care at all about my sexual orientation either, as long as I am as respectful of them as anyone else.

      I think the pitfalls we face are inevitable if we *fail* to grant the rights of full citizenship to everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, gender, or sexual identity. Just like all other civil rights issues, once the conversation begins, it won’t stop until rights are granted. And, if basic civil rights were being withheld from *me* I know who I’d want to stand by my side in the struggle–not the blissfully ignorant and privileged.

  • http://swordofthelordbook.com Andrew Himes

    Kurt, I loved this post! Thanks for sharing it. I am also a fan of Andrew Marin’s excellent book.  My own book on the history of Christian fundamentalism was published in May, in which I make the same point that “greater law at work is the call to love God and love neighbor.” I would be happy to send you a review copy if you are interested. The book’s web site is http://www.swordofthelord.com. 

  • http://twitter.com/Crutch4 Joshua

    I totally agree with this one point in particular: Marriage should have never become a state-sanction thing, especially if everyone does not get to earn those privileges that come with marriage.  Thanks for the fresh perspective. Civil unions for all types of relationships would be a better way. 

  • Pdiwill

    Well being beaten with the conservative belief. Strum. I have to admit. I still struggle some but I am 98% in suport of gay marriage & 98% against. Divorce so I would support manditory pre councling & no divorce allowed without a trike seperation, & privet consoling for both partys & children if apicable for all.

  • Doug Craig

    I am a “Christian-in-exile” as Bishop Spong describes it.  I take my marriage vows very seriously and although it hasn’t always been easy my wife and I will be celebrating our fiftieth anniversary next year.  Divorce has never been an option to consider.

  • Dennis

    And in 38 years I thought I heard it all.

    —signed—

  • http://www.facebook.com/wmonn Whitney Monn

    Well said… I remember this argument being brought up at Eastern in an Undergrad class many years ago, and it made so much sense.  Makes more sense now to me, with how things are progressing!  

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1332317638 Karen Allanach

    Great post Kurt! I DO think people-and the church should talk about divorce more. SO much is discussed about marriage rights, but not enough attention on keeping families together. Healthy, happy families–to avoid getting to the point of divorce. Its like the folks who put SO much time, money and energy planning a wedding, but don’t think about the marriage in the long run.

  • http://twitter.com/Ryan_LR Ryan Robinson

    I agree wholeheartedly, and I appreciate the satire. If you’re going to legislate one biblical command that is fairly fuzzy on its modern interpretation, you can’t get away with not also legislating things that Jesus was much more clear on: no divorces except for maybe adultery, mandatory feeding the poor, non-violence, etc.

    But nobody will ever do that, because the Christian majority still wants to be able to divorce, to be greedy, and to be violent toward our enemies, etc. And really when it comes down to it, it has nothing to do with following Jesus and everything to do with the majority maintaining control by alienating those different from them.

  • Aaa

    Come on, be serious. Times have changed, we don’t believe in fairy tales, and certainly don’t let fairy tales rule our lives.

  • Chuck McKnight

    Well, Kurt, for a few seconds I thought that I was going to agree with you for once. ;) Actually, I don’t think we should be legislating anything about marriage. Marriage is a commitment before God, not the government. But I do believe that divorce is every bit as wrong as homosexuality.

    The fact that much of the church has compromised on divorce is inconsistent and hypocritical, but it’s not a reason to slide further and allow for something else that God calls sin. Rather, we should back up, confess our own sins, and then move forward.

    Yes, the law of love is what God has called us to. It is through love that we should be reaching out to the homosexual community. We cannot approve of their actions, because God does not. But we must lovingly remind them that there is healing and forgiveness in Christ alone. We must always remember, “Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11, NASB).

  • Ck-mom

    Please give chapter and verse on what you say Jesus said.

  • SusanRogersStLaurent

    Yes!

  • http://www.facebook.com/agent707 James Vaughn

    Kurt, I’m having a hard time believing you’re the same person who wrote this article about Christians not condemning homosexuals and same-sex marriage:

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thepangeablog/2011/11/02/it-is-time-for-the-american-christian-church-to-surrender-the-gay-marriage-fight-apologize-and-share-love/

    These two articles appear to be quintessentially in complete contradiction to each other.

    In the other article you said:

    “The quest to deny gay individuals the right to marry in the broader culture is an example of Christian conquest which is and always has been a perversion of discipleship. ”

    How do you see your proposal in this article as congruent with that statement from your other article? How is denying marriage to anyone any different than denying divorce? How are you not proposing Christian conquest of our government, and of all people?

    You said:

    “The church ought to be immersed in the business of transforming lives through teaching, compassion and care, instead of treading in the shallow waters that have us trying to govern lives through legislative force. God extends to all of us freewill and patience and it’s time we truly extend both to the GLBT community.”

    Do you realize that this article is in complete opposition to that statement? How is the free will to marry any different than the free will to divorce? Why do you believe God extends such freewill and patience only to marriage, but not divorce?

    In that article, you referred to:

    “real problems with serious consequences, like unnecessary war, sex trafficking, extreme global poverty, gender inequality, our prison industrial complex, increasing poverty at home, growing income inequality, greed, rampant corruption and an unlawful and unaccountable federal government.”

    So please, tell us, how is divorce a “real problem with serious consequences?” How does divorce cause any actual *harm* the way these other problems you mentioned do?

    This article here seems to contradict itself in its own logical fallacy. You say:

    “Why should we allow something as holy as marriage to be in the control of secular government?”

    And yet you want to institute a NEW FEDERAL LAW that prohibits divorce? You want the government to not ban anyone from marrying, but you want the government to ban divorce. Do you see the contradiction?

    You said:

    “The mistake of the anti-gay marriage movement in the Christian church is that it is an attempt at indirect discipleship by way of restricting another’s freedom, and discipleship has never succeeded in that way.”

    That statement is in direct opposition to what you’re proposing by a Federal Ban on Divorce.

    I propose the simpler solution: Let marriage and divorce be an individual’s right, supported by the government, not enforced by the government. Let each human being be free to make their own choices and let God be the judge.

    America’s government was founded on the principles of supporting “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” Ultimately, our government was created with the purpose of supporting individual freedom. Yet in this article, you’re insisting that both the church AND the government interfere with people’s freedom to divorce.

    Everyone should have the rights to their beliefs and practices, so long as those practices do not interfere with the rights of others to practice their beliefs. I think our government should simply provide the legal environment to support that freedom. I think a church should have the right to excommunicate members that don’t follow their code of beliefs and practices. There is community and spiritual fellowship for people of every belief. If they don’t like what’s available in one place, they can easily go to where they can find it. That’s what the Pilgrims did after all, isn’t it?

    If Jesus really did believe that a married couple should not divorce, then let Jesus be the judge of those who choose to divorce.

    • http://patheos.com/blogs/thepangeablog/ Kurt Willems

      James,

      You clearly didn’t understand that the title was *satire*. Read it again, fully. I believe divorce is not out of the question. Just pointing out the “literal” approach to biblical interpretation is full of holes. Many in the LGBT community and many Christians seeking answers on these issues loved this piece.

  • Weeping over Jerusalem

    I think we should make children suffer for the beliefs of their parents. If a parent believes divorce is ok and they need to get a divorce, then the children should just suck it up. They’ll get over it.
    If you talk to the teenage or adult children of divorced parents, you will find many “reasonable people” who would consider banning divorce a good thing. As the adult child of divorced parents myself, when my boyfriend broached marriage, I told him it was for a lifetime– no outs. Thirty-three years later we are still married, and we have two well-adjusted adult children. And I have counseled many children and young adults throught the grief and anxiety of seeing their families fall apart. Yes, there are sad cases where a spouse needs to leave a marriage to get away from abuse, but that’s a small percentage of the divorces that take place in our society. And no one seems to consider the children, including you, Kurt.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ray.sanchez.10420 Ray Sanchez

    you put anything before the great commandments Jesus spoke of you only putting the judgement on yourself. Love God with all you got, love everyone as you would yourself. That’s the jagged little pill, seeing gay people together i think reminds us of our own sin, sin that needs to be confronted but we can’t take the log out of our eye our hand is to busy pointing a finger at our neighbor. Love lots of people use this word loosely, they tell their wife’s i love you, and then look at other women all day long in lust. trust, another word for the holy commitment between you, your wife, and God. I know that is the biggest thing a marriage struggles with money, infidelity, sickness, jealousy these’s are issues couples deal with all the time. God says the two shall become one, but how can you become one if there is no trust, or love among the holy matrimony. this is why i agree with the outlaw of divorce, but then you will see allot more death doing people part, so i know putting God first in your family will put a end to the curb balls evil will toss at you. I see what this world is trying to do to people we love, i love Jesus and try to walk in his word everyday with no compromise. I will never join anyone who hates people i can’t bring my self to knock a person down for what they are doing behind closed doors. If they choose to be joined together in this world so be it. they are not beyond God’s love so i’m still hacking the log out of my eye to see a different point of view, God Bless.

  • http://www.nevadadivorce.org/ James Smith, Attorney

    People in marriages need to consenting so you can’t get rid of divorce.


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