by Joel Lawler
I would like to propose a solution to a problem that has caused a lot of controversy and has the potential to be an even bigger problem in the future. There has been an incredible amount of energy and resources spent and the results have been anger and frustration on both sides of the issue.
The issue is same sex marriage.
Here is my solution. I believe that all those people who believe that marriage is a sacred gift from God and mandated to be between one man and one woman should get legally divorced. They should break away from the government defined institution of marriage and hold only to the church definition of what marriage is. The couple who is yet to be married should not seek legal status or license. Their marriage should be legitimized only by their pastor or priest.
In the case of divorce, the couple married only in the binds of their church would have to seek the grant of divorce from the pastor or priest who married them. They would be accountable to God and the authority of their church for the vows that they stated.
I completely understand that this would be a sacrifice as far as the government benefits of being legally married. It is the benefits that are at the root of why this issue has become so controversial.
We are a nation that has a founding principle that all men are created equal. This stands regardless of sexual orientation.
Abraham Lincoln spoke of a "nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people…". He spoke of the people being all people. The government was not to discriminate against its citizens for any reason.
The church made a tremendous mistake by seeking government legalization of a sacred union. It was not for the government to say "who what and or when" until the church gave up its authority on the matter by seeking government recognition. The definition and parameters of marriage then became subject to the will of the people. The church lost its voice and its authority was reduced down to the single vote of each of its members.
Thomas Jefferson warned of such things in a now famous letter. He wrote, "Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his god, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state."
His warning of keeping the sacred walled off from the secular should not have been ignored.
Jesus' enemies tried to trap him by asking him if they should pay taxes. Jesus asked for a coin. He then asked whose picture was on it. Once the crowd answered that it was Caesar's picture, Jesus answering said to them, give to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.
Marriage was a gift from God. It was never intended to be subjected to the laws of a secular government.
While my idea sounds radical, it is a necessary course correction if the church wishes to return to God the sacred bond between a man and a woman that is marriage.