Why Church and State Must Separate on Marriage

Perhaps we need to take a hint from President Obama's inaugural address, wherein he acknowledged that we are "a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, and non-believers." This last group may change the game entirely. It may be time for the state to get out of the marriage business entirely, allowing only for "civil unions" as the least common denominator to regulate the rights of united couples. This would certainly present a level playing field for all couples of whatever orientation, and would avoid infringing upon the church's right to define marriage as it sees fit.

Same-sex couples could be legally united, granting them the rights and privileges of civil union, and churches would remain free to make up their own minds as to whether or not these unions constitute marriages. That is their own business.

The State cannot-and must not try-to define marriage any further than it already has. It is tantamount to the state prescribing details relating to baptisms, bar mitzvahs, or confirmations. American government needs to turn marriage back to religious groups entirely, and institute civil unions for whomever is still interested.

Noel K. Anderson, author of Those That Leap (Tate Publishing), currently serves as Executive Pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Bakersfield, CA.


1/1/2000 5:00:00 AM