Thursday, July 15, 2004

Thoughts on the FMA

The Federal Marriage Amendment, or FMA, was struck down in the Senate recently. Details here.

I'm not too depressed by this. I've never really fallen in with the Christian Right party line on this one. I have a problem with efforts to ensure the illegality of homosexual marriage: I don't like using the governmental power structure to enforce laws that are purely meant to impose morality and ethics. Why should we, as Christians, be so concerned about this? Those who are unsaved are sinners, and their natural state is to sin. Yes, it's bad, and yes, we should do something about it. But the solution isn't to force them to conform on the outside -- the solution is for Christ to reach them, through us, and effect a change in their lives from within. Once a person has been made into a new creature by Christ, once he or she has become a Christian, training in righteousness comes into play. Before that, what's the purpose?

I Corinthians 5 (NASB)
1 It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and immorality of such a kind as does not exist even among the Gentiles, that someone has his father's wife.
2 You have become arrogant and have not mourned instead, so that the one who had done this deed would be removed from your midst.
3 For I, on my part, though absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged him who has so committed this, as though I were present.
4 In the name of our Lord Jesus, when you are assembled, and I with you in spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus,
5 I have decided to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
6 Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough?
7 Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed.
8 Therefore let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
9 I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people;
10 I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world.
11 But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler--not even to eat with such a one.
12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church?
13 But those who are outside, God judges. REMOVE THE WICKED MAN FROM AMONG YOURSELVES.

Also, check out Josh Claybourn's thoughts on the issue here (found via Instapundit).

On the other hand, though, I'm definitely no supporter of the push to legalize gay marriage. Just because I refuse to fight against it, doesn't mean I want to fight for it. Which brings me to my big question -- why is marriage in the hands of the government anyway? I don't have a satisfactory answer to that. If you do, please let me know, and my further thoughts on the subject may well be invalidated, since I'm basically writing this off the top of my head. But marriage, to me, seems to me to be primarily related to church more than state. State definitely has a hand in marriage (no pun intended) -- tax breaks, parental rights, and common ownership of property, seem to me to all be more related to state than church.

But maybe -- and you're free to disagree and prove me wrong -- maybe the church-marriage and state-marriage elements should be made distinctly separate. Imagine the ramifications, if only churches (and synagogues, mosques, etc.,) had the right to enable marriage, and the state only had the right to provide civil unions (by another name, hopefully - the term 'civil union' has connotations of marriage now). What I mean is, spiritual/religious institutions would be able to bring two people together into the bonds of holy matrimony, but this would carry no legal backing or benefit. On the other side of the divide, the state would be able to enable the legal rights of two people in a manner similar to that currently given by marriage or civil unions, except that this enabling would have no spiritual or sexual connotations. And I really mean no spiritual or sexual connotations -- in this hypothetical case, two heterosexual males (say, best friends for life) could apply for civil union with no implication of homosexuality.

Obviously, this thought isn't fully formed, and I freely admit that it could be flawed. I don't yet advocate this actual position -- right now, I fully intend to get married, when I do, in the combination church-state fashion that currently exists in America. It just seems weird to me . . .

Please, make your opinion known! I'm looking for critiques, suggestions, affirmation, whatever! I highly doubt that you have no thoughts on the matter, either of the FMA or of my brainstorming related to it. But also, please remember that it is just brainstorming, at this point in time.
UPDATE: Blogfriend of a friend Proverbial Wife has a well-thought-out article on the FMA here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think that the government has virtually no right to either make homosexual marriage legal or illegal. The constitution guaranties us the separation of church and state. The issue of marriage is very much an issue of the church and not the state. So, the government should no be getting into the issue of marriage. Leave it to the church.