The issue of marriage will be an increasingly prevalent topic of debate in Australia.
All the better for Christians to do their thinking now.
Up front: I believe that marriage was created and instituted by God, and He defines what constitutes one, namely one man and one woman in the Bible.
I can appreciate that others believe marriage is a socially created construct, and that society can define what marriage is.
I think at some stage Christian churches will find themselves in a situation where all unions will be registered civilly and where some of those with civilly registered unions will come to churches and be married.
If the government want to register and give equivalent legal recognition to relationships of two people of the same gender (which is their current position, I think) then a secular society may endorse that position, and probably will.
In the meantime there is a broader discussion about the definition of marriage that Christians, as part of society, are entitled to be involved in, and I believe that there are reasons why marriage should be recognised as distinct, and other committment relationships should be recognised as something else.
Should marriage no longer be understood as involving one woman and one man, but any two humans, does any ground remain for the number ‘two’ or the qualification ‘human’ to be considered integral to the compact. What about the ‘traditional’ concept of ‘to the exclusion of all others?’
If all of these elements are considered non-essential or changeable, what is left of marriage? And what would a society that embraced these changes look like in a couple of generations?*
There may be an inclination by some to instantly label these sorts of concerns as being alarmist or worst case scenarios or the technique of someone who is implacably opposed to change.
Well, I’ve stated my position at the beginning. But again, if society is going to place one of its foundational elements up for change, it needs to think about what the change might bring. There are competing agendas behind this push for change.
Some want it because they wish to fit more naturally within the society to which they belong. I can empathise with that desire.
Others want it because they see it as a means to completely and radically reconstruct the society of which we are all a part.
John Armstrong has written the first of a series of posts on the issue. He explores the themes I’ve mentioned, and provides some references to source materials that show that what might be considered by some as worst case alarmism is already being advocated by some.
This post carries no negative reflections toward anyone and comments of an abusive tone to anyone will not be published.
*The content of the paragraphs above have been excerpted and slightly modified from a couple of responses to a post by Nathan Campbell on St. Eutychus.