Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A Bad Reason to Support the Marriage Amendment

This commercial has been airing in the Twin Cities of late, in support of the proposed amendment to the Minnesota constitution defining marriage as between one man and one woman.  I've seen it a few times, and in my opinion, it offers a bad reason to support the marriage amendment.  If you haven't seen it, take a look.

Why do I think this commercial does not offer good reasons to support the marriage amendment?  First of all, it offers a pragmatic solution to the threat against the definition of marriage.  The woman in the ad says: "Who should decide the definition of marriage?  We think it should be the people - not judges or politicians."  While there is some merit to the idea that activist judges and politicians legislate their own view of morality instead of allowing the people to have a say, I reject the notion that we decide what is right and moral based simply upon the majority opinion.

If, as the woman in the ad says, the definition of marriage should be determined by the majority opinion, then technically the definition of marriage is a fluid thing, and changes with the tide of public opinion.  This is a notion that Christians should flat-out reject.

Think of how crazy this would get if we allowed all of our laws and moral decisions to be left up to the majority opinion.  This same approach would allow whatever the public wanted, as long as 51% of the population felt the same way about something.  Furthermore, this is not an honest and fair approach to dealing with the issue of gay marriage.  If we really want to leave the definition of marriage up to the people, then we shouldn't be amending the constitution in order to do so.  Certainly the demographics of the public change over time, and at some time in the future the people might (I think will) decide that they actually do want to allow gay marriage.  So according to the logic espoused by the commercial, as soon as 51% of the people want to allow gay marriage, then it should be allowed.  After all, we wouldn't want judges and politicians deciding it (even if they're conservative judges and politicians), right?  What will be our argument then?

Instead of thinking pragmatically about the marriage amendment, Christians and other supporters of the amendment can only appeal to the word of God as why marriage is only between one man and one woman.  We can cite statistics and protest that the majority rules till we're blue in the face, but those are ultimately pragmatic and subjective reasons.  The only objective reason we have to insist on the sanctity of marriage is because the word of God says so (Genesis 2.24, Matthew 19.4-6).  If people disagree with this, fine.  At least they can't argue against it by citing a statistic or percentage of people who think their way.  Their problem is with the word, not with me or my personal opinion, nor the opinions of the masses that are on my side.

Furthermore, what people in this country need to accept - be they liberal or conservative, Christian or otherwise - is that the government has been and is involved in marriage.  In fact, we (Christians) invited the government into marriage when we encouraged it to offer tax breaks and other benefits to married couples to encourage and promote marriage among the public.  Since then, the government has increasingly been involved in marriage, for better or for worse, so to speak.  At the present time, we can't escape government involvement in marriage.  They are in it, and they aren't getting out.  It might even be possible that it's not possible for them to get out of it.  It just is the way it is.  The ad says that if politicians succeed in redefining marriage, then voters will have lost their voice.  I'm afraid that ship has already sailed.  The government has power over marriage, and we gave it to them.

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