Much is talked about rights in the issue of same-sex marriage. They say that homosexuals are denied rights that heterosexual couples enjoy. we should add that the quotes made here are taken from the book ed Letter Christians by Tony Campolo.
With that in mind, most people agree when it is asserted by homosexual rights groups that if gays and lesbians par taxes, they should have all the same rights as the rest of us. (pg 91)
The problem with this type of thinking is that those homosexual rights groups ignore the fact that homosexuals reject those rights when they rejected the heterosexual lifestyle. It is not that the homosexual has been denied rights by a group of people or government, it has removed those options by their own choices. The homosexual can still enjoy those rights and have access to them if they will play by the rules.
But one of the more troubling aspect of this issue is the idea that the government has no right to regulate or be involved in marriage:
President Bush has come out strong against gay marriage…He has said that marriage is a sacred institution and should be reserved for the union of one man and one woman. If this is the case…I have to ask why the government is involved at all in marrying people. If marriage really is a sacred institution, then why is the government controlling it, in a nation that affirms separation of church and state? (pg. 93)
There is so much wrong with that misguided thinking and we will try to take each mistaken idea one at a time.
I have to ask why the government is involved at all in marrying people
One simple reason for this is that there are large groups of people who will not darken the doorway of a church even to get married. They do not agree with the idea that marriage is sacred or that it needs to be done in a church. The government needs to provide options for these people as the latter would object strenuously to being forced to having a church wedding done by a preacher.
So the government is involved in marriage for practical reasons– accommodating its people who what options. Where are these people going to go if the church and all its preachers refuse to marry someone or has rules against marrying certain couples? To deny government solutions is to deny the government its right to rule a nation
If marriage really is a sacred institution, then why is the government controlling it
This shows the naivety of those who think this way. They ignore the fact that God has given the government the right and authority to rule its given nation and under that authority falls the institution of marriage. Marriage is not made exempt from government rule by God thus it has the right to regulate it, provide options and even place certain controls on who is allowed to or not to get married. This rule may not be just or fair but as we see in life, all governments are not the same nor are they just and fair.
Marriage may be a sacred institution but that sacredness does not exclude it from government authority or rule.
in a nation that affirms separation of church and state
So tired of this misused and abused statement being thrown out there every time an issue related to the Bible or God is discussed. The concept of separation pf state and church is also one of the most misunderstood ideas to date. The concept of separation of church and state does not interfere nor limit the government on what it can and who it rules. If people would read the constitution honestly they would see that the idea of this separation does not exclude the government from regulating or controlling sacred institutions.
Governments are allowed to oversee churches, their practice and make rules to ensure that those groups are being honest, legal and complying with the law. Too many individuals, even on the religious side of things, lie to find loopholes to exploit thus the government again has the right to monitor and regulate institutions of a religious nature, whether they be marriage, death, or church services.
The Bible tells us that governments must give an account for their governing thus if a government has been unfair or unjust they will pay their penalty when they face God. n the meantime believers are to obey the laws of the land which means they must meet the governmental regulations for their activities, including marriage.
The government should do this for both gay couples and straight couples, and leave marriage in the hands of the church and other religious entities. (pg. 94)
This naive thinking just tells government to leave the keys to the hen house for the foxes and wolverines to use. it would also open up the institution of marriage to anarchy as every church and religious entity has just about their own ideas on who can get married, how marriage should work and so on. Someone needs to be in charge and set the rules for everyone else and if we leave it to the different churches and religious entities then the question- whose ideas will be used and be considered correct? We would have arguments all over the place if this idea was accepted. Not to mention confusion and other negative feelings especially on the part of the unbeliever who does not want religion messing with their unions.
With all this said and done, governments have the right and authority to regulate and be involved in marriage. How they use that right or authority is up to them as they, like all people, have the right to free choice. They can choose to follow God’s way and govern justly and wisely or they can choose to follow evil. God has not omitted governments from that choice. And as we have seen, far too many governments and religious leaders have chosen the latter option.
Let’s not be naive about government and its role in life.
It is very important for Red Letter Christians to demonstrate some sophistication about the issues of gay marriage and gay rights…(pg. 98)
We think that Mr. Campolo should take his own advice as he is very naive and misguided in his thinking about governments and their rights.He also needs to learn that ‘rights’ do not trump God’s rules on right and wrong, good and evil, morality and immorality. But that is what the issue of ‘rights’ is being used for. Bu that is a topic for another day.