Colson on gay marriage

Old news by now, but I thought it might be interesting to take a look at Chuck Colson’s reaction to the gay marriage verdict in California.

While the founders of this country wrote in the Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men were created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights,” they never would have intended or imagined that those noble words would be used to support something like gay “marriage.”

Or like the Emancipation Proclamation, for that matter. And that’s just two of the ways we’ve progressed beyond the limits of 18th century society.

In essence, these judges have created a new right out of thin air. Now, they base this decision, in part, on a precedent of the case in California declaring the ban on interracial marriage unconstitutional.

But over the centuries in Western civilization, public policy has recognized the vital role of the family—that the heterosexual family needed to be protected and defended in the law, because it provided crucial benefits for the well-being of society and family. That is different than a question of civil rights. Marriage always, everywhere until recent years, has been protected for the good of the state and the families.

Except that in America’s racist past, you could find plenty of people willing to argue that “racially pure” families were also good for the state and for families. God, you see, separated man into different races, and what God has put asunder, let not man join together.

As it turned out, though, these sorts of values reflect, not a divinely-appointed order of nature, but merely the prejudices of the narrow minded. Mixed-race marriages were allowed, and they turned out to be happy and beneficial to society as a whole. But more than that, the legalization of mixed-race marriages allowed people to demonstrate the value of a deeper and more fundamental right: the right to marry the one you love. It’s none of the government’s business who I choose to marry, beyond a certain basic responsibility to protect those who might otherwise be victimized on account of, say, being a juvenile. The Loving decision, like the decision in California, affirmed this fundamental fact.

Like I said before, the big fear of the Christian right is not that gay marriage will destroy society, but that it will turn out to be harmless or even beneficial, like mixed-race marriages. That would be a fearful consequence for many Christians, because it would expose their irrational bias against homosexuals for the unreasoning prejudice it really is. And indeed, Christian prejudice is already showing, because they’re not content to simply believe what the Bible says about homosexuality, they’re trying to abuse their majority status by using the power of law to force “Christian” behavior on people who aren’t necessarily Christian, and/or don’t interpret Christianity the same way as the homophobes.

Now, the problem is that the people of California cannot overturn this decision. Even an amendment to the California constitution will not help now. It all boils down to this: the need for a federal constitutional amendment—and soon, before other states start doing the same thing.

Some Christians claim intolerance whenever anyone so much as criticizes their beliefs, but look at what their own intolerance is made of: constitutional amendments intended for no other purpose than to make gays unhappy and to deny them the right to marry the person they love—to circumvent the protections of the courts, and create a society in which homosexuals are forever denied the opportunity to enjoy the same human rights as heterosexuals. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you?” Apparently that’s not what it says in the Bible.

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Posted in Society. 3 Comments »

3 Responses to “Colson on gay marriage”

  1. Arthur Says:

    I’ve always been curious about this issue, because it seems to be based on (or perhaps disguised as) strong feelings about the use of the term. Why can’t folks say something like: “Okay, the term ‘marriage’ hereafter refers to things Christians get done at the church in the eyes of God and the term ‘civil union’ [or something] hereafter refers to what non-Christians can get done at the courthouse in the eyes of the state”?

    Assuming, importantly, that the eyes of the law can’t tell the difference, and assuming that Christian concern really is just for the sanctity of their ritualistic version of things, should this not clear things up? You’re homosexual, and your church doesn’t want to marry you–sorry! Nobody can make your church like you. You’re Christian, and you don’t believe homosexuals should have civil unions–sorry! None of your business.

    Christians would be free to continue to believe that they’re getting something special and exclusive, and homosexuals would be free to have the rights and responsibilities of “married” people. Right?

  2. Hoovooloo Says:

    @ Arthur

    I agree with your basic premise, that Christian marriage should be entirely separate from the government and exist as a ritual within the church, performed on top of some sort of governmental system open to everyone. The problem with granting Christians exclusive use of the word “marriage,” however, is that it has already entered common usage, and applies not only to a variety of different religions, but I have heard it used in place of “civil union” as well. Thus, we would have to start creating new words for every union ritual in every religion or denomination that desires it. If we broadly define “Marriage” to cover all religious ceremonies, well, then, the Christians still won’t be happy, since homosexuals could find a denomination of some religion that does allow gay marriage, and become “married.” I do not believe there is a simple solution to this problem: we must allow as the deacon suggests and let the success of gay marriage in areas that allow it to erode the support of the fundamentalists that oppose it.

  3. Deacon Duncan Says:

    Also, bear in mind that there are gay Christians, who believe that homosexual intercourse is only sinful for those whom God created as hetero–i.e. that it’s ok for those God created as gay. Admittedly, that’s a minority interpretation, however we should not be passing laws making it a federal (or state) offense for gay Christians to practice a minority interpretation of the Bible. Anti-gay marriage laws violate even Christian freedom of religion.