Gay Marriage: a Dietrich Bonhoeffer Moment?

Gay Marriage: a Dietrich Bonhoeffer Moment? April 9, 2019

Larry Tomczak of the “Here’s the Deal” blog is mightily concerned about this whole gay thing. In a post from 2015, “Church Is Facing a Dietrich Bonhoeffer Moment,” he says it’s the church’s great test.

Here’s what the church faces:

Opposition to Christianity is becoming more aggressive and hostile. Nowhere is this more evident than in the areas of natural marriage and sexual purity.

I’ll grant that opposition to Christian stupidity can be aggressive, but where Christians expect no more than the U.S. Constitution grants them, I support their rights as strongly as I do mine. That attitude is widespread in the atheist community.

As for “natural marriage” and sexual purity, it’s an odd world where the sky is falling on Christians and yet they aren’t being forced to do anything.

Same-sex marriage

Tomczak works himself into a frenzy as he imagines modern Christians in the same position as Christian martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

After 5,000 years of Western civilization defining marriage as the union of a man and woman, we are on the precipice (barring miraculous intervention) of the Supreme Court imposing homosexual “marriage” on all 50 states.

Allowing someone else to have consensual sex in a way that’s not your cup of tea is not an “imposition.” Same-sex marriage is now legal nationwide, and no thoughtful person is surprised that the sky hasn’t fallen.

You want an imposition? Remember Bonhoeffer, the man you reference in your post. He was hanged in Flossenbürg concentration camp in Germany just weeks before the end of the war for working with the Resistance. That’s an imposition.

As for your anxiety about marriage being redefined, it’s redefined all the time. Just in my lifetime, laws forbidding interracial marriage have been struck down, divorce is much easier, adultery has been redefined, and marital rape is illegal. Don’t pretend that it’s been unchanged since God invented it.

Recently the largest Protestant denomination, the Presbyterian Church USA, changed the wording of its constitution to fully embrace sodomy-based “marriage.”

So what kind of marriage do you have, Larry? A screwing-based “marriage”? I guess I’m old fashioned, because I thought love was a major part of it. Marriage vows say nothing about making either whoopee or babies. Instead they have a promise “to have and to hold, from this day forward; for better, for worse; for richer, for poorer; in sickness and in health; until death do us part.” But perhaps Larry has no use for traditional interpretations of marriage.

I think I’ll stick with my version of marriage. It’s based on reality instead of hysteria.

Scary times ahead

Apparently it’s time to circle the wagons, because he tells us we’re in the “perilous” end times foretold by the Bible.

We are facing a “Dietrich Bonhoeffer Moment.” You recall that he chose civil disobedience and disobeyed Nazi law that stated that protecting Jewish people was against the law. He was hung for his stand. He also said prior to his death, “Silence in the face of evil is evil itself. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”

It’s hard to believe that he’s doing it even as he’s doing it, but Tomczak is equating these two things:

  1. Christians speaking out against same-sex marriage in the West, which is not especially perilous, given that Tomczak has freely done it, and
  2. Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s standing up to the Nazis, protecting Jews, returning to Germany in 1939 when he had been safe in America, working to overthrow Hitler, and getting executed.

Our host next translates this into examples of biblical heroes obeying God at the risk of their lives: Daniel and his three friends, Esther, the disciples of Jesus.

Take deep breaths, Larry. Maybe a cold compress on the forehead. Tell yourself that it’s just the vapours. You’re back in America, where you can avoid getting gay married all you want.

You’re confusing (1) being imposed upon with (2) being allowed to impose your views on the rest of the country by law. No, you can’t do that. Don’t expect an apology.

Two things stand out here. First, of course, is the arrogance of equating the difficulties of anti-gay Christians today with those of Bonhoeffer in the 1940s. It’s his own example, and it demolishes his position. Unlike Bonhoeffer, Tomczak can say or write or hand out on the street corner just about anything he likes.

And that brings up the second point. He has the freedom to say these things because of the U.S. Constitution. The secular U.S. Constitution, the one that tells Congress not to make laws based on how they would please God. But the same secular public square that protects me from Christian excesses acts the other way as well. How about a little appreciation for that?

In one final failure of this argument, according to a 2015 biography, Bonhoeffer was likely gay.

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—
and there was no one left to speak for me.
— Martin Niemöller (1892–1984),
who spent the last seven years of the war
in German concentration camps

.

(This is an update of a post that originally appeared 4/1/15.)

Image from Wikimedia, CC license

 

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  • RichardSRussell

    I am a strong proponent of traditional Biblical marriage. That is, according to Solomon, wisest man in the Old Testament and much beloved of Yahweh, marriage comprises a sacred union between one man and no more than 700 wives and 300 concubines. And surely that hasn’t changed over time!

    • Len

      Yeah, but all those mothers-in-law 🙁

      • Greg G.

        There is an incentive to make sure many of your wives were sisters before they were wives.

      • Jack the Sandwichmaker

        Jacob had the right idea, marry sisters so you have less in-laws.

  • To stay on Bonhoeffer’s thought, this is cheap martyrdom to the n-th degree…

  • WCB

    Why is homosexuality so opposed by many Christians? The Bible. But we now know that the Bible is not history. There was no Egyptian captivity, no exodus, no wandering in the desert, no bloody genocidal attacks on Canaan. And thus Moses on the mount is mythology. The claims God commanded homosexuals to be killed is a lie. A lie that still causes grief to many for no good reason. It is now time to admit these truths. It is time to throw down the gauntlet and make sure all Americans are made aware of this fact and that the Bible is based on lies.

    We simply cannot allow the lies of some ancient priest to control our lives and politics and laws today.

    • Worse, even if we take the Bible as accurate history, God doesn’t reject homosexuality the way the fundamentalists imagine he does.

      • skl

        Please expand on this.

      • WCB

        Reading Leviticus 20, I am not sure that makes for a good argument. Leviticus 20 is pretty plain and simple. The fact is though, no God ever said this. Again, all of this is faux history.

        • Lev. 18 and 20 are part of the ritual prohibitions, not prohibitions that actually cause harm. Or, if the sexual prohibitions would actually cause harm, that argument is hard to make given that they’re mixed in.

          Example: Lev. 20 includes kosher food rules, which are clearly “just because” rules, not ones that actually prevent harm.

          But of course you’re right that no god ever said this.

        • WCB

          One interesting thing I have noticed, using a concordance looking up marry, marriage, married etc. Marriage in all these laws of Moses is almost not mentioned at all. Only 8 times if I remember correctly. If a woman marries from one Israelite tribe to another, she does not lose rights she had in her former tribe. And don’t marry outside of Israelite tribes. That is about it.

          Why? Marriage was more or less a legal contract. Some of the earliest writings w have are marriage contracts. Especially to protect a woman who has property she brings to a marriage. It was not a religious situation. A most curious thing about the Bible, this lack of holy marriage laws.

          Oh yes, Exodus 20. Rules on marrying your daughter off as a concubine.

      • John Grove

        Jesus didn’t say a word about it.

    • Michael Neville

      Many fundamentalist evangelical Christians want to impose their beliefs on the rest of us. They’ve invented the Culture Wars against abortion and treating LGBTQs as human beings. The fundamentalists, the Mormons and the Catholics all spent millions of dollars to prevent same-sex marriage and lost that battle. So all that’s left for them to do is to whine about sodomy and “Biblical marriage”. Most people aren’t impressed by their whining.

      • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

        Said fundies are also driving off the next generations in DROVES…partly with their nastiness, partly with their support for Repug policies that impoverish people and make marriage / child rearing a losing game.

  • DavidC

    “After 5000 years of Western civilization…” Wait, did you think that one through, guy? So we’re excluding biblical origins and referencing, like, native Americans or something? Not that either actually supports his claim. /pedant

    • Polytropos

      Presumably Biblical origins count as Western civilization even though they were written by and about people who lived in the Middle East.

      • DavidC

        Oh, because Jesus was white. I get it.

        • Otto

          Santa is white too!…He and Jesus have a lot in common.

    • Good point. Greek civilization doesn’t even take us to 3000 years ago.

      • Michael Neville

        The Agean civilizations, the best known being the Minoan Civilization on Crete, were building cities around 3000 BCE during the early Bronze Age.

        • Ah–that must be the 5000-year calculation.

        • NS Alito

          Wow, only 1,000 years after the world was created!

        • Greg G.

          Is that before or after Ye Olde Floode?

        • NS Alito

          The Floode happened ~4,000 years ago, between the time of the Minoan Civilization and the Greeks.

    • NS Alito

      Five hundred, five thousand, what’s the big difference?

    • Chuck Johnson

      Conservatives in the USA admire grandiosity.

  • Lex Lata

    “Opposition to Christianity is becoming more aggressive and hostile. Nowhere is this more evident than in the areas of natural marriage and sexual purity.”

    So let’s nominate, elect, and support a thrice-married, gleefully unrepentant adulterer who bragged on tape about committing sexual battery and paid hush money to keep a porn star from announcing they’d boinked while his youngest son was less than a year old.

    Sorry for veering off-topic. But I’m done listening to right-wing, anti-LGBT evangelicals lecture about fidelity and commitment and sexual morality.

    Just. Plain. Done.

    • I’m done listening to right-wing, anti-LGBT evangelicals lecture about fidelity and commitment and sexual morality.

      I hear you, but we have an election season coming up. Prepare for the GOP to be outraged at the violation of a woman’s honor if a Democratic candidate so much as touches her on the shoulder.

      Hold on: election season hypocrisy season. FTFM

    • aCultureWarrior

      You really need to get out more if you think that Donald Trump is anti-LGBT. My avatar shows Trump proudly flying the rainbow flag of death two days before the general election at a rally in Greely CO. Trump has a very long list of homosexual activism prior to and after becoming wannabe dictator in chief. This quote, made by Donald Trump shortly after being inaugurated should make you giggle with glee:
      On Obergefell v Hodges:

      “It’s settled law, it’s done…and I’m fine with that.”

    • Rudy R

      Tribalism trumps all (forgive the pun). For Evangelicals, the morality of the President is irrelevant, because he has seated two very conservative Supreme Court justices and is anti-LGBTQ. No human is immune to tribalism, but Conservatives are especially susceptible to sacrificing their moral code in pursuit of their religious dogmas.

    • Chuck Johnson

      Yes, the evil of trump worries them a little.
      But the thought of all of those murdered unborn babies worries them more.
      Not to mention “too many Hispanics in our country”.

      Trump was selected by the Republicans to satisfy these conservative needs.
      But the Trump agenda keeps on failing.

  • frostysnowman

    I am in a PCUSA church that had a schism when the General Assembly revised it’s definition of marriage to say “between two people” and our church decided to remain part of PCUSA. The half of the congregation that left (to form a new ECO Presbyterian church) swore they weren’t leaving because of same-sex marriage, but they were lying. After a rocky couple of years, we are now thriving without them. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

    • So you’re part of the church that’s OK with “two people”?

      I went to an Alpha Course at a liberal Methodist church recently. They had their Great Schism conference during that time. The dust hasn’t settled, but it looks like the conservative fraction (with the African congregations) won.

      Some Christians happily point to growth in evangelical denominations in Africa, but it’s going to make it a different Christianity. African-centric Christianity will be a different animal.

      • frostysnowman

        Yes, I am with the “two people” set.

    • I remember when they were just wrangling over LGBT ministers and saying other faiths had validity. Only one person opposed that though in our congregation.

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      Isn’t it wonderful when the garbage takes itself out?

  • ThaneOfDrones

    Just in my lifetime, laws forbidding interracial marriage have been
    struck down, divorce is much easier, adultery has been redefined, and
    marital rape is illegal.

    Going down the list:

    Laws forbidding interracial marriage had Biblical backing.
    Divorce is much easier. The Bible is mixed on this, but Jesus H. Christ made it clear that unlike his father, he opposed divorce.
    Adultery has been redefined: I’m not sure what you mean by that. Could you please elaborate?
    Marital rape is illegal: in the USA, anyway. YMMV in other countries.

    • Michael Neville

      Even today adultery is illegal in several states (the laws are never enforced). However the majority of states have decriminalized adultery in the past thirty or so years.

      • ThaneOfDrones

        Decriminalized I understand. Redefined could be broader, so I want to know what Bob meant by that.

    • Douglas Wilhelm

      In the Catholic and fundamentalist world, marrying a divorced person was typically considered adultery. Divorcing to marry someone else, absent certain circumstances, was considered adultery. Even lusting after others was considered a form or adultery, Plain old adultery used to be considered a sin, but Reagan and Trump both get free passes for this. I imagine this sort of thing is what he means by ‘redefined’.

  • dariofprsia

    In his analogy, conservative ideologues are not Bonhoeffer. They are the nazis.

    • Chuck Johnson

      Their analogy depends upon the Christian conservative belief that in the USA, an enormous number of perfectly good human beings are being executed every year. These are the unborn babies.

      Equating unborn babies with other human beings is at the core of their politics and their philosophy.
      If they can’t persuade the American people that it’s murder to kill an unborn baby, they will fail.
      This has been a very tough sell.
      So they become zealots.

  • epicurus

    I wonder if Tomczak knows that Nazi’s sent gay people to concentration camps just for being gay.

    • Well, yeah, that’s his point–the bad guys sent gays to prison just like Christians today … oops, no, forget that. Not just like Christians in America today.

      My bad.

    • aCultureWarrior

      Homosexuals murdering homosexuals. Where’s the love?

  • grasshopper

    Martin Niemöller (1892–1984),
    … spent the last seven years of the war
    in German concentration camps

    A little bit of nit-picking with regards to the duration of Niemoller’s incarceration, and the length of WWII, (1939 – 1945).

  • Polytropos

    Apparently, recent research suggests that even Leviticus did not originally condemn homosexuality.

    https://youtu.be/3hWiW8eooF0

    • Homosexual rules in Leviticus is in the “ritual” section–that is, rules just because, not because of actual harm.

      • Polytropos

        Or as I call it, the “rules were made to be broken” section.

    • aCultureWarrior

      So God not only created Adam and Eve in Genesis but also Adam and Steve? The things one learns at atheist websites!

    • David Cromie

      The fact that the Pentateuch, in Leviticus, says homosexuality is an abomination is beside the point (the Covenant Code of the OT is, in any case, an adaptation and revision of the Laws of Hammurabi). On top of that, there is no irrefutable, falsifiable, evidence that Yahweh actually exists, nor is there any evidence that Moses ever existed. So why should anyone take either the OT, or the NT, as having anything of substance to say about the reality of human existence?

      • Polytropos

        I don’t, personally.

  • eric

    …disobeyed Nazi law that stated that protecting Jewish people was against the law. He was hung for his stand. He also said prior to his death, “Silence in the face of evil is evil itself. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”

    If Tomczak wants to protect straight couples from being rounded up and sent to concentration camps, I’ll happily stand with him. And I’ll speak against it. And I’ll act against it.

    But…uh…nobody is actually doing that.

    • Rudy R

      Subconsciously, he must know how weak his argument is that he needs to resort to such an inane argument.

  • Jack the Sandwichmaker

    I told my wife I wanted to have a traditional Biblical marriage. Since we’ve been married 7 years now, I asked if I could take her younger sister as a second wife.

    I”m sleeping on the couch now….

    • I asked if I could take her younger sister as a second wife.

      There’s your problem. A true man of God dictates; he doesn’t ask.

  • Otto

    Opposition to Christianity is becoming more aggressive and hostile. Nowhere is this more evident than in the areas of natural marriage and sexual purity.

    So basically….either you agree with Christianity or you are opposed to it. There is no middle ground of being OK with Christianity for the people who want to follow it but against it being imposed on everyone. That would be like a Jehovah Witness claiming that everyone who is not a Jehovah’s Witness is aggressive and hostile to that religion because they are OK with people being allowed to have blood transfusions.

    Oh…and then there is the problem of not all forms of Christianity are opposed to gay marriage….this guy is a huge moron.

    He is really good at nailing himself up on a cross…I just can’t figure out how he gets the free hand pounded in all by himself.

    • Chuck Johnson

      “Oh…and then there is the problem of not all forms of Christianity are opposed to gay marriage….this guy is a huge moron.”

      Not much of a problem.
      These folks live in echo chambers.

      • Otto

        I am honestly not trying to pedantic…but since not all versions of Christianity are actually against gay marriage he can’t argue taking the pro gay marriage stance is anti-Christian.

        OK…he can…but he looks stupid.

        • Chuck Johnson

          Yes, stupid.
          He is using tribalistic thinking.
          He is engaging in the no true Scotsman logical fallacy.
          He is engaging in sweeping generalities.
          etc.

  • aCultureWarrior

    Bob Seidensticker writes:
    I’ll grant that opposition to Christian stupidity can be aggressive, but where Christians expect no more than the U.S. Constitution grants them, I support their rights as strongly as I do mine. That attitude is widespread in the atheist community

    Actually the US Constitution is a Judeo-Christian based document written by Christian men (i.e. the Founding Fathers had no use for atheists and didn’t form this once great country with atheists in mind). Christian rights will completely disappear once your rainbow flag waving allies in Congress pass the ‘Equality Act’ and rainbow flag waver President Donald Trump signs it. Regarding your alleged support of our rights: Tell me you felt the same way when your side wasn’t winning the culture war.

  • NS Alito

    You’re back in America, where you can avoid getting gay married all you want.

    Oh, well…

    Change of plans, folks: We will not, repeat not, hunt down Tomczak and force him to gay-marry. The Sodomy and Avocado party, however, will still take place as scheduled.

  • Heterosexual marriages have more sodomy in them than homosexual ones anyway. I mean, it’s just a numbers thing.

  • Doubting Thomas

    He also said prior to his death, “Silence in the face of evil is evil itself. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”

    Personally, I hope Larry speaks out and acts out against marriage equality as much as he can. The more he does the more people recognize his religion as the antiquated nutjobbery that it is and the faster people flee from it.

    He only hastens his own demise, he’s just too dumb to realize it.

  • epicurus

    Here is an excerpt from Owen Chadwick’s History of Christianity on marriage before 1100 amoung peasants. Probably different amoung upper classes were land and inheritance were involved. The last paragraph says it wasn’t the church making people married, it was just people deciding between each other that they were married. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/61fa3722df6f1418ff094c2a97e9d3b8fd259a7f832331e3935f5414f95be682.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/2760faffe2f88e3d502c790effbc0102eb2efd71e8edcddc45373b75deefee9e.png

  • It’s martyr envy. There’s also a lot of projection in this, since he clearly cannot tolerate anyone that won’t conform to his views. Merely the existence of an alternative is now an imposition.

    They probably wouldn’t like the real Bonhoeffer because he was a very liberal Christian who didn’t actually believe in a literal Resurrection (not unlike MLK, whose theology is rarely brought up).

    • aCultureWarrior

      As a fan of Bonhoeffer (now a former fan), I took what you wrote and did my own investigation. You’re right, he was liberal in his thinking when it came to Christianity (I won’t call him a liberal Christian, because there is no such thing). You also have it right on MLK Jr., someone who I’ve studied extensively. (Check out “The Politically Incorrect Truth About Martin Luther King Jr.” )

    • Chuck Johnson

      And it’s martyr appropriation.

      • That’s true. I deeply dislike that-it shows profound disrespect toward those who were actually killed, imprisoned and tortured.

  • aCultureWarrior

    Hey Bob, I would like to take your article and tear it apart piece by piece in my “Why Homosexuality MUST Be Recriminalized! Part 5” thread at Theologyonline. You’re invited to come over and defend it. Good luck with that.

  • Greg G.

    Off topic but I see more evidence that anti-choice is not pro-life. The Texas House is debating a bill where a woman who has an abortion could get the death penalty.

    https://www-fox5dc-com.cdn.ampproject.org/v/s/www.fox5dc.com/amp/news/texas-lawmakers-consider-the-death-penalty-for-abortion?amp_js_v=a2&amp_gsa=1&usqp=mq331AQCCAE%3D#referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com&amp_tf=From%20%251%24s

    • At least you must give them credit for being consistent.

      Is this just posturing, or do TX legislators really think that this is a good idea?

      • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

        Posturing until it passes.

      • Chuck Johnson

        Since Roe v Wade is the law of the land, this and Alabama’s bills (for now) are posturing.
        However, there will be many who expect (or hope) that these new laws will go to the Supreme Court and overturn Roe V Wade.

        Getting rid of Roe V Wade is their real goal.

        • Greg G.

          They say it is for the babies but it is obvious that turning over Roe v. Wade is about controlling women.

        • Chuck Johnson

          They wouldn’t frankly say that it is about controlling women.
          That would be too tough of a sell nationwide.
          So they play their strongest card, but it’s not strong enough.

        • Judgeforyourself37

          If they do get rid of ROE, that WILL NOT stop ABORTION! It will only stop SAFE abortions. Wealthy women could always access a safe abortion, even in the days prior to ROE. Poor women, on the other hand, died due to having their abortions done by unskilled practitioners.

        • Chuck Johnson

          It is not likely that the Supreme Court would overturn Roe.
          But if they did, then women in the Deep South would travel to neighboring states as in the past.

    • MR

      Texas state Rep. Tony Tinderholt, a Republican who introduced the bill, argued that the legislation does “not specifically target women” nor is he “specifically criminalizing women,” but “equalizing the law so that everyone that is culpable or takes part in what I call murder … can be punished.”

      He’s tacitly admitting that abortion is not the same thing as murder, but he wants the law to be based on his definitions of things. Damn that relativity. It just creeps in everywhere! “Abortion = Murder! Murdering Women = Justice! ‘Cause I say!”

      • Pofarmer

        Not murdering women. Punishing. Punishing women. Because Jesus.

        • MR

          Punishing women by killing them, to be clear. D=

        • Jack the Sandwichmaker

          Killing isn’t against the 10 Commandments when God tells you to do it!

        • Greg G.

          The bill under debate can execute women for abortions.

        • Pofarmer

          So they had it coming. See.

    • Cynthia

      So this is what they do in Texas with the effort that they aren’t spending on Medicaid expansion or trying to lower the sky-high maternal mortality rate.

      Horrified but not surprised.

    • Judgeforyourself37

      These idiots are not Pro-Life, they are Pro-Birth. Once the child is born, it is “to Hell with both the mother and her child.”

  • JBSchmidt

    Bob, are you sitting down?

    For the most part I agree with this post.

    1) Christians are fighting spiritual battle on secular terms. I can understand the first push back against gay marriage as it first entered the publics attention. However, the smart move was not to fight for government regulation, but rather remove marriage from government altogether. Then, assuming you even care about a religious union, do so as a member of a congregation that shares your beliefs. If not, then do what you want.

    2) I think unless your group is being captured and killed, using this comparison diminishes the true horror that the Jews faced.

    • Jack the Sandwichmaker

      1) Why would people agree to give up the government benefits of marriage just for uptight Chrsitians?

      • JBSchmidt

        I thought this was about a loving couples committing to eachother. Are arguing it is not, but rather focused on how to take advantage of the system?

        • Jack the Sandwichmaker

          Would you just freely give up government benefits just because some Christians want to be bigots?
          While those benefits aren’t the main reason people get married, why should they give them up?

        • JBSchmidt

          Why should there be a government benefit to finding a spouse? Are you trying to oppress those that choose to be single?

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Being espoused is encouraged by society / government because it’s seen as a stabilizing influence.

          Can you counter that with any evidence why it shouldn’t be so?

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          It’s recognition of the commitment by the community.

          It’s preventing hateful homophobic relatives from interfering with the couple in childrearing, hospital, death, etc.

          Again, why are you arguing for privilege for hetero couples ONLY?

    • Otto

      1) I actually agree this could have been an option. Equal treatment under the law is the issue, but some (many?) Christians wanted their cake and to eat it too.

    • Damien Priestly

      Not that simple. Long term relationships require many legal issues, inheritance, wills, end of life issue, power of attorney, child custody, taxes, dispute resolution, etc, etc. …

      You just can’t say the government won’t be involved…it will always be very involved, no way around it. Gay marriage should have been legal decades ago when male and female social roles at home and work essentially became equal and interchangeable.

      • JBSchmidt

        Much of what you state, will’s, inheritance, end of life, POA, disputes; rely on government enforcement like any other contractual obligation. That has nothing to do with marriage and exist even if marriage is removed.

        As for child custody issues, those are also at work and resolved outside of marriage.

        As for taxes, why should those that find a spouse receive something different than singles? Does the government reward love?

        • Otto

          Under the law marriage is just a contract…but again Christians want to pretend they ‘own’ the word and definition. They don’t…they need to get over it…and themselves.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Marriage is a contract that deals with all those facets, at a very low cost to the couple and no need to involve a lawyer.

          Why should hetero couples get that but not same-sex couples?

        • As it stands, the surviving spouse automatically inherits even without a will. I think you underestimate the hassle that would happen if these benefits of marriage were removed.

        • eric

          why should those that find a spouse receive something different than singles

          In theory for the same reason that the government gives a tax break on first home mortgage interest – because it is in the state’s interest to encourage people to settle down, work, voluntarily invest to improve their community, and have kids. A transient or portable lifestyle doesn’t do those things as much. IOW the state is using tax incentives to encourage the sort of behavior that is good for the power and economic well-being of itself, the state.

          Now the pros and cons of the state doing that are certainly debatable. Is it ethical in an ideologically ‘equal’ society like ours? Even if it is, does it even work?

          I’m not necessarily defending the practice. I’m personally somewhat ambivalent about it. What I’m doing in this reply is simply explaining the standard/classic argument given for these tax breaks. If you still disagree with them, well, that’s okay by me.

        • David Cromie

          There is no ‘equal’ society’ when the rich get tax breaks and reductions, and the cost of these is levied on the poor.

      • Jack the Sandwichmaker

        And it wouldn’t solve the problem. Christian bakers would still sell wedding cakes. Gay people would still get married, even if it no longer had legal significance. Christian bakers would still throw a fit that gay people wanted to buy wedding cakes them!

        In fact, they would probably be MORE convinced that Christianity owned marriage and gay people were corrupting “their” marriage.

    • eric

      1) Christians are fighting spiritual battle on secular terms. I can understand the first push back against gay marriage as it first entered the publics attention. However, the smart move was not to fight for
      government regulation, but rather remove marriage from government altogether.

      No, the smart move for Christians was to look up the word “hominym.”

      There are two things with the name marriage: the contract witnessed by the state that creates certain legal obligations between two people while also also providing them with certain legal benefits, and the religious ritual that puts that religion’s ‘seal of approval’ on two people living together and having a family. The government has never regulated the latter, and still doesn’t* – the state can’t tell the RCC or Baptists or any other sect who they must marry in one of their ceremonies. Conversely, the government has always regulated the former, and still does, and because of our constitution, Churches get no say in who the government gives that contract to. It is the former governmental contract, not the latter, that was changed by state and federal governments to allow gays to access it. Your religious rituals remain ‘removed’.

      Now, if you dislike the fact that the same word is used for both, then the solution is simple; call your ritual something else. But the government is under no obligation to change the name of it’s legal contract simply because some religious people use the word for their ceremony, any more than they are obligated to change the job title “scientist” to prevent overlap with Christian Scientists’ use of the term.

      *Well, at least in theory and since the constitution was signed. In teh colonies, yes.

      • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

        ExACTly…

        I’ve been telling godbots that they can have ‘Holy Matrimony’ and I won’t complain a bit, as long as it isn’t granted any special privileges in law.

    • remove marriage from government altogether.

      For better or worse, marriage is quite regulated, from tax breaks to encourage marriage to the definitions of divorce and adultery. I’m surprised that a Christian would suggest this.

      2) I think unless your group is being captured and killed, using this comparison diminishes the true horror that the Jews faced.

      You’re saying that comparing Bonhoeffer’s difficulties with those of anti-gay Christians in America today is a bad idea? Yes, I agree.

  • David Cromie

    The law does not force anyone into any kind of marriage, or dictate the venue (as long as the venue is registered as a place where marriages may legally be performed).

    ‘Marriage’ is a civil contract, and the law is concerned only with the civil consequences, such as the proper care of offspring, the equitable distribution of assets, where there is a dispute, should the marriage break down, allegations of rape within marriage, bigamy, etc., etc.

  • Benny S.

    Are we talking about the same Larry Tomczak who is the sociological expert / author of God, the Rod, and Your Child’s Bod: The Art of Loving Correction for Christian Parents?

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f8b08f9d6d4f1a0b0a7f2e869892cc34b5cc288e8f705c294da3e7860821fee1.jpg

    • I’d heard of this book, but I hadn’t made the connection. Nice one.

    • Otto

      That is really an unfortunate and poorly thought out title.

  • Phil Rimmer

    F*ck it. I think we should be their worst nightmare.

    I think marriage, if it is arranged, or for tax advantages, for religious propriety, for breeding purposes etc. should be formally re-specified as a civil union.

    Love and marriage, as the wise one, Sammy Cahn, had it, are what actually go together.

    Marriage is a love thing and shouldn’t be besmirched.

    • Otto

      Marriage is a love thing and shouldn’t be besmirched.

      Really? Cause I see a whole lot of marriages that have little or no love all the time. Sure it is a nice ideal, does not seem to work in reality all that often.

      *I am just sayin….

      • Judgeforyourself37

        If a marriage is based, first on friendship, then love and liking similar things it will survive. Will you and your spouse always agree? No, but you can discuss your differences with respect. For instance, I love mussels but my husband does not as he recalls the fresh water mussels that he would use for fishing bait. He can’t get past that vision. OK, I will never force him to eat seawater mussels. What is the big deal? We agree politically, but know some couples who are 180 degrees apart politically and they survive, they just do not discuss politics. Whatever works for you as a couple, go for it.
        What I cannot fathom are the couples who do not put their money together as a couple. If you trust a person enough to marry that person, shouldn’t you trust that person with your money and vice versa?
        Perhaps this is because when we married we did not have a “pot to pee into.” We were poor, dirt poor for years, finally our kids were old enough for me to return to work and my husband obtained a better paying position, he had been a minister and we all know how poorly they are paid, with housing that is subpar, if not worse. We started getting on our feet when he left the ministry.
        Back when we were poor SNAP, Medicaid and other safety nets were not available. Had these safety nets been available we would have been eligible.
        We bought a disaster of a house, very cheaply and over the years improved it to be a lovely little ranch style home. We work together to make life good. We are not wealthy but we have enough as our needs are few.

        • Otto

          If a marriage is based, first on friendship, then love and liking similar things it will survive.

          I agree with you completely, I have been married for 25 years happily. But I don’t see a whole lot of marriages like mine or what you describe here. People get infatuated with each other, think that is love, and get married. Infatuation is not sustainable…but that seems to be what a whole lot of marriages are based on.

          My point though is that people get married for a whole lot of reasons, love is only one of them.

        • Phil Rimmer

          This is a perfect recipe for a relationship.

          Certainly folk are living in solid long term relationships increasingly without marriage in Europe. But we are discussing the “institution” of marriage. What is it to represent? If all the contractual adjunct, the limited liability, the tax and inheritance issues bundled up into a thing called a civil union, would you object?

          Remember, also, this is somewhat of a tease.

      • Phil Rimmer

        Yep really… a love thing.

        The most effective diets are those you announce to others. Marriage is a publicly announced diet. Sticking to it is another matter. But the public announcement is about the best you can do to gain the earnest commitment of your shameless hussy of a heart.

        Or could it be you have just noticed all those civil unions I detailed first?

        • Otto

          So do people actually have to actually be in love or just think they are? How do you tell the difference?

        • Phil Rimmer

          Why would you need to tell the difference?

          OK. Look, I can see my jest is missing its mark here.

          I’m going to relent and let non lovers get married. The sexist bigots will just have to be teased somehow else.

        • Otto

          Ok…I fully admit I missed the jest. I thought you were actually arguing that there should be civil unions and marriages. My bad.

    • Jack the Sandwichmaker

      Legally renaming marriage to civil union seems an awful lot of work for no benefit.

      • Phil Rimmer

        No benefit!? You mean the sweet tears of your foe count for nothing?

  • John Grove

    I think the whole institution of marriage is outdated.

    • Rennyrij

      “Civil Union” vs.”Marriage” is rather like “Human Resources” vs. “Personnel”. It kind of dehumanizes the situation. I’ve always thought the choice to use “Human Resources” was to give a very cold spin to the job of working with employees in a company. “Personnel” is a reminder that the people are WHOs, not WHATs; People, not Things. “Human Resources” allows the company to think of employees without compassion. That’s about the way “Civil Union” strikes me – cold and dispassionate.