Jul 1st, 2013 · Categories: Christianity, Culture · 5 Comments

Church and civil marriage no longer mix

The Supreme Court, in Justice Kennedy’s muddle-headed way, has negated democratic means of defining “marriage”.  One (presumably unintended) consequence of his tortured reasoning is that churches professing orthodox Christianity will have to end their entanglement with secular government and get out of the civil "marriage" business altogether.  Getting “married” will become a little more complicated.

If you want a Christian marriage free of civil baggage, you will go to a church.  If you want a non-binding civil contract (also called a “marriage”) with some financial and legal advantages, you will go to the courthouse.  If you want both, you will have to go to both.

Make no mistake – churches will be sued if they decline to provide non-binding civil contracts for some couples and not for others.  A federal judiciary increasingly hostile to religious expression under the First Amendment will find for the complainants.  The answer for churches that hold to an orthodox Christian view of marriage is to simply not provide civil contracts for anyone.

This result may be ultimately benefit the Church in two ways.  First, it will get civil government out of the celebration of a Biblical covenant.  Second, it may compel some local churches to give serious consideration to their denominational affiliation.

Liberal denominations are likely to require that local churches continue to provide civil contracts.  A church that cannot in good conscience conform to that requirement may have no option but to leave the denomination.  And, in rare instances, a conservative denomination may insist that local churches refrain from the issuance of civil contracts, with a more liberal local church being similarly conflicted.

I suspect that liberal denominations will experience more shrinkage than conservative ones.

This entry was posted on Monday, July 1st, 2013 at 7:55 pm and is filed under Christianity, Culture. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

5 Responses to “Church and civil marriage no longer mix”

  1. Mike Moran Says:

    July 11th, 2013 at 11:39 am

    Pip pip Grumpy. Well said my man.

  2. Grumpy Says:

    June 1st, 2014 at 7:42 pm

    Turns out C. S. Lewis anticipated my argument by more than 60 years: “My own view is that the Churches should frankly realize that the majority of the British people are not Christians and, therefore, cannot be expected to live Christian lives. There ought to be two distinct kinds of marriage: one governed by the State with rules enforced on all citizens, the other governed by the Church with rules enforced by her on her own members. The distinction ought to be quite sharp, so that a man knows which couples are married in a Christian sense and which are not.” [Mere Christianity, “Book 3. Christian Behavior”, “Chapter 6, Christian Marriage”; 1952]

  3. Jerry Van Auken Says:

    June 14th, 2014 at 11:39 pm

    Well said. I like your reasoning and ideas. I think many in the church want to believe we have a Christian government and so fight for Biblical mandates in civil life. I don’t see that in the Bible. Also this is the same reasoning that people want stores to keep Jesus and Mary Christmas in the advertisements etc at Christmas time. I’m not sure it is realistic to expect a secular culture to do this. Christian who believe the Bible (Of course I believe if they don’t they aren’t Christian) should work to be sure the church is living Biblicaly. If it is then we would be lifting Jesus’ name high and He would be drawing people to Himself as they see us living in love as He commanded.

  4. Grumpy Says:

    June 15th, 2014 at 1:56 am

    I do think it makes sense for Christians to say to marketers “you aren’t marketing to me if you’re just promoting generic Happy Holidays. I don’t celebrate generic holidays and I have no reason to give people gifts for a generic holiday. I give Christmas gifts for Christmas.”

  5. Featured post | The Curmudgeon's Progress Says:

    June 26th, 2015 at 4:45 pm

    […] Featured post from the past: Christianity and Culture: Church and civil marriage no longer mix […]

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