Civil, Secular Authorities and Marriage and The Dippy Christian “Marriage Pledge” Preachers are Being Asked To Sign

Civil, Secular Authorities and Marriage

This is a critique of the following post, and related ideas:

(Link): The Euphemism Of Marriage by J. Morgan

The guy that wrote that post has a tendency to make his blog temporarily private once he sees I’ve linked to one of his posts, then he makes it public again after so many weeks. You can read more about that wacko situation (Link): here, here, and here.

Lately, on other sites, there has been discussion on whether or not Christian preachers should stop holding weddings altogether, or if Christian preachers should only perform weddings for Christians…

In other words, some Christians are so upset over the possibility of Christians being forced to perform same-sex marriage, some are thinking that maybe Christians should not have anything to do with the government or secular groups in regards to marriage.

Here are a few links about the situation:

(Link):  Separating Civil and Christian Marriage: Should We Sign the Pledge?

(Link):  Should Pastors Disengage Civil and Christian Marriage?

(Link):  Pastors Sign Pledge to Separate Christian, Civil Marriage – via CBN site

Excerpt, from CBN article::

  • A new LifeWay Research survey on marriage and an online pledge drive shows support for a movement to further separate church and state roles in marriage.
  • Six in 10 responding to the survey said the government should not define or regulate marriage. More than a third also said that clergy should get out of the civil marriage business. 

I am not necessarily in agreement with all views by this blogger or this particular page, but it’s a critique of the Marriage Pledge position by Protestant Christians:

(Link):  The Marriage Pledge: Why You Should Not Sign It

Excerpt:

  • Their heirs, especially the Puritans and later the neo-Reformers, knew that all of life must be Christian, and to be Christian, it must be biblical.
  • The Bible provides the guidelines on what all of life, including the state, should look like. If the state is anti-biblical, you need to work to make it biblical, just as you would do in the family and church. You don’t get to opt out of them.
  • …But this option of cultural withdrawal isn’t available to the neo-Reformers. Douglas Wilson has offered several excellent practical, pastoral objections to The Marriage Pledge.
  • I would add that The Marriage Pledge is flawed at its root.The state, no matter how perverse, has a vested interest in marriage (will the church enforce disposition of children and property in the case of divorce? Hardly. And if she did, who would enforce the enforcement?). Should the church “disentangle” itself from the family since the family, too, is being redefined?
  • To be sure: the state can and does act unjustly (“no-fault divorce,” etc.). But the alternative isn’t anarchy, which despite its best intentions, is what The MArriage Pledge is suggesting. The state, even an apostate one, has a legitimate vested interest in marriage and the welfare of children springing from it.

Some Christians have a weirdo, odd ball view point that Christians marrying HETERO couples in today’s climate somehow is associated with the marriage of HOMOsexual couples.

I have written of this topic before, like here:

Yes, there are some Christian kooks who are teaching other Christians that if you, a hetero Christian, gets married in a state that has legalized homosexual marriage, this somehow invalidates YOUR (hetero) marriage.

These Christian kooks are teaching if you are a HETERO, Christian VIRGIN, yet marry your spouse in a state where homosexual marriage is also legal, this means you are NOT EQUALLY YOKED to your spouse because your entire marriage is invalidated, and they seem to imply you are sexually impure by extension.

And doesn’t the God of the Bible say he does not hold the sins of the father against the sons, that each person is responsible only for his or her own sins?

So what gives with Christians who are teaching this heresy that a hetero, Christian marriage magically becomes improper or sinfully tainted if it was held in a state where homosexuals are permitted to marry? God does not hold the sins of homosexuals against hetero Christians.

Anyway, this John Morgan guy seems to argue along a similar line in his post,

(Link): The Euphemism Of Marriage by J. Morgan

My intent here is not to copy tons and tons of this guy’s post, but it’s so hard to find just one or two paragraphs that summarize his thoughts here, I’m not sure what parts to excerpt.

Excerpts.

  • …We hear euphemisms everyday: Correctional facility instead of prison, collateral damage instead of accidental deaths, enhanced interrogation techniques instead of torture, pregnancy termination instead of abortion, etc.
  • We can add one more – marriage. Turning to the Oxford Dictionary again, we see that marriage is: “The legally or formally recognized union of a man and a woman (or, in some jurisdictions, two people of the same sex) as partners in a relationship.” In short, it’s a legal sexual relationship recognized by the state you live in.

  • The legality of marriage via a marriage license and wedding ceremony give it its formal social recognition. But it does not in any way reflect the relationship between God and his church. Do you think a state that recognizes a homosexual relationship can honor a same flesh union in the eyes of God? Of course not.
  • …There is an increasing attack on Christian virtue today and church leaders have no clue what to do. They have, in large part, brought it on themselves – whether through pride or just plain ignorance.
  • Many of the inroads the homosexual activists have made can be traced back to the fact that the church has never defined marriage – other than a courthouse visit, a sprinkle of rice, and a preacher with a few talking points. When compared to the biblical description of a permanent one-flesh union, marriage today is but a euphemism.
  • …And it has come to mean no more than a marriage license, a wedding ceremony, and a tax break.
  • …This may come as a shock for many, but a biblical marriage has nothing to do with a marriage license, wedding ceremony, exchange of vows, justice of the peace, preacher, or three day cruise. But wait a second, you say. If you take away all of those things, then what is left?
  • That’s just my point. What we know as marriage today is not even remotely akin to God’s original plan. A biblical marriage is a man and woman becoming one person in Christ; witnessing together, making decisions together, raising children together, reading the bible together, etc. They move in one accord. Their love is unconditional. They sacrifice for each other. Divorce is a foreign concept to them.
  • …While the Bible supports marriage being a covenant of one flesh between a man and woman and God, it does not support it as a contract between a “committed relationship” and a state government. The marriage license today is but a means to an end, a means for men and women to objectify each other and enhance social status.
  • …The marriage license and its ties to the state are the very means by which the Defense Of Marriage Act was struck down in 2013. So now we have a legal contract on the civil state side and a sacrificial covenant between two baptized people on the church side

If I am not mistaken, in previous posts on Morgan’s blog, and in a post here or two in the past (on my blog), I think he defines marriage largely by the idea that when a man and a woman have sex, this makes them bonded for life, or sex is what makes a relationship a marriage.

If that his position, I cannot fully agree.

Here Morgan puts these words in the mouth of Jesus in his post (Link): The Woman at the Well – he is saying this is what Jesus was conveying to the Woman at the Well:

  • “But your definition of husband is based on legality and the court system. It’s based on the world. My definition of husband is based on a sexual relationship where a man and woman are united and become one flesh. Nice try with those legal words.
  • …But your husbands do include every man you’ve ever had sex with. In your case, you’ve had five husbands and you didn’t marry the guy you’re sleeping with now.”
  • (- John Morgan putting words into the mouth of Jesus Christ)

And edit (Jan 4, 2015), in his blog post entitled (Link): Virginity Beyond the Mechanics, he makes a similar claim,

  • Adam and Eve were married the moment they had sex. They did not go to the courthouse to sign a license and did not call a preacher to officiate a wedding. They did not have premarital sex. When they had sex, they were married. Isn’t that simple to understand?
  • …Virginity maximizes that bonding and provides the greatest chance for marriage to last a lifetime, for both guys and girls, whether officially married or not. Those chemicals bind us to a spouse in marriage and to a prostitute in fornication (1 Corinthians 6:15).

We are Americans living in the 21st century, and our cultural understanding of marriage and sex is that yes, it takes a government license. If a Christian couple today does not get that license, but has sex, that is FORNICATION (which is a sin) and also called “shacking up.” In that post, he continues to run this argument into the ground, and he sounds off his rocker.

First of all, some women are raped in youth.

Are you telling me a woman who is raped as a child is “married” to her rapist- after all, there was most likely penis in the vagina penetration that took place. I don’t think they are married. We are not living under Old Testament laws.

There are asexuals – people who experience little to no interest in having sex. Some of them still want to be married – not for sex, but for companionship. (For more on Asexuals or Asexuality, please see (Link): this post or this post).

There are marriages where a couple may have sex the first few years they are married, but then lose interest in sex later, for whatever reasons.

How about marriages where the husband gets dementia and therefore is incapable or unwilling to have sex with his wife as the marriage progresses and his dementia worsens? (See this post for example.)

There are military families where one spouse is sent away by the government for a year or more, and the spouses are not having sex with each other during deployment.

In these relationships, where there is no sex – because the couples are asexual or lack low libido or what have you – are you going to seriously argue that those are not marriages?

I know a lot of people, both secular and Christian, like to compare sexless marriages to room-mate situations, but not all people in all sexless marriages regard their marriage as anything less than an actual marriage, and would, I would suppose, feel really offended that other people would insist, “Your marriage does not count and is not “real” because you and your spouse are not having sex.”

I do not think it is sex only or even primarily what makes a marriage a marriage.

Quotes by Morgan,

  • In short, it’s a legal sexual relationship recognized by the state you live in.
  • The legality of marriage via a marriage license and wedding ceremony give it its formal social recognition.

Yes? And what is wrong with that?

Do you know up until the last few years, if a Christian couple lived together and did not formalize their marriage with a certificate from the state, they were said to be “Shacked Up,” “Shacking Up,” or “Living in Sin.” And at this, by other Christians.

It sounds to me as though these pro-Marriage Pledge guys are suggesting that all a couple needs is to go through a religious ceremony to be “married in the eyes of God.”

Or else, like this John Morgan guy is suggesting, that a man and woman just living together, reading the Bible together, and having sex with each other is enough, or that this is a “biblical” definition of “marriage,” but it’s not, it’s known in prior decades as “shacking up” – and it’s also known as “fornication.”

The Apostle Paul discusses in one or more of his letters that Christians should go along with culture in so far as they can, so that they will not appear to be weirdo freaks to the rest of the Non-Christian culture.

For example, if you are living in a culture that considers it normal to wear yellow baseball caps, but you keep wearing a purple cap with orange spots, which gets you strange looks from people, and as there are not specific injunctions from God saying that wearing hats is a sin, Paul would encourage you to ditch the purple hat with orange polka dots and wear a yellow one.

To refrain from fitting into cultural norms, to insist on wearing a purple hat in a sea of yellow hats, is to be a stumbling block to non-believers.

Guess what? For decades in America, we have regarded a marriage as being real and valid, in a cultural, legal, and moral sense, only if the couple has a license from the state.

It’s not enough for a Christian couple to stand before a preacher in a church only wedding ceremony and declare your intent; you also have to get the license. Even my devout Christian parents felt this way. Marriage is not marriage unless you go down and through all the proper channels.

Anything minus the certificate or license constitutes SHACKING UP as well as fornicating (assuming there is sex taking place).

I find it odd and hypocritical that John Morgan, who maintains a blog where he expresses concern over sexual purity, would tell folks it’s a valid, moral marital relationship and there is no sexual sin taking place, if they avoid getting a state license or government recognition.

By the by. I was reading on another blog another problem. Once you start separating secular and religious overtones of marriage, it makes the way for Mormon polygamy.

Someone at another blog says that some Mormons practice a two-fold marriage: they get legally married to Wife 1 (get state recognition to Wife 1), but then go on to have spiritual or “religious” wives. This is how they are able to justify to themselves having more than one wife.

So maybe you Christians who want to remove the state from marriage might want to rethink that, since it can open another can of worms.

The state recognizing marriage can offer protections to women. Women who divorce a man under a state license have the right to get child support, for example. I don’t know what legal standing wives would have if they leave an abusive husband and who have kids and could use financial support fro the husband, under a church-only wedding.

You can compare this view to other situations, for example:

Aren’t adoptions handled by state governments/agencies? Do you really think it’s a good idea to toss out all rules, laws, and the state from the adoption process?

Do you really want only churches to recognize adoptions? I can imagine what a mess that would make, with no over-sight in situations in which an abusive family adopts a kid. That kid would have little to no recourse.

Quote by John Morgan:

  • Do you think a state that recognizes a homosexual relationship can honor a same flesh union in the eyes of God? Of course not.

Sure it can, and of course so.

You, who are hetero-sexual, have a driver’s license, as do homosexuals in your state who drive cars.

Are you telling me that God does not honor or recognize your driver’s license just because homosexuals in your state get them too? That is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard of.

Are you also afraid to buy bread and eggs at your local grocery store because horror of horrors, homosexuals may shop there too?

Paul said to avoid sin and sinners, one would have to leave the world entirely. It is possible to take the “separate from sinners” thing too far. You have to share the planet and the country with sinners. That’s a fact of life.

I don’t agree with homosexual behavior, but I don’t think that I will get “homosexual cooties” just for getting a fishing license from a state where homosexuals can get them too, or from using a barber who homosexuals also see to get their hair cut.

Your marriage license or marriage itself is not going to be tainted or get homosexual cooties just because your state has also legalized homosexual marriage. This is one of the most idiotic things I’ve ever heard.

And, God is not going to hold me personally accountable for the sins of other people.

Morgan said,

  • That’s just my point. What we know as marriage today is not even remotely akin to God’s original plan. A biblical marriage is a man and woman becoming one person in Christ; witnessing together, making decisions together, raising children together, reading the bible together, etc. They move in one accord. Their love is unconditional. They sacrifice for each other. Divorce is a foreign concept to them.

Those are mostly HIS, Morgan’s, opinions of what comprises “biblical marriage.”

I don’t recall any part of the Bible defining a marriage as Husband and Wife sitting around a nice, American, middle class kitchen table, sipping hot tea, reading Bible passages aloud.

That’s YOUR idea of what a “Christian” marriage should look like. I dare say your view on what is a proper, biblical marriage is less informed by the Bible and more by American Hallmark Card TV commercials, or by repeats of 1950s “Leave it to Beaver” television episodes.

By the way, Christian gender complementarians don’t believe that wives should make decisions with their spouses. They teach that the husband gets all or most decision making power in a marriage.

See this off site link for more on that,

Related off site link:

The Bible itself does not say a whole lot on the topic of what comprises a godly or biblical marriage, other than Jesus’ comments in the Gospels that in the beginning God made humanity male and female and that a man should form a unit with a woman.

Beyond that, not much of anything.

We actually see “biblical marriage” being described like this in the Bible itself:

Deut 21:10-12.

  • “When you go out to battle against your enemies, and the LORD your God delivers them into your hands and you take them away captive, 11 and see among the captives a beautiful woman, and have a desire for her and would take her as a wife for yourself, 12 then you shall bring her home to your house, and she shall shave her head and trim her nails.…

As a woman, I find it pretty repulsive that God allowed the ancient Jewish guys to treat women like spoils of war, and take them for wives against their wishes. If that is your idea of marriage or “biblical marriage,” no thank you.

1 Kings 11:1-3

  • …from the nations concerning which the LORD had said to the sons of Israel, “You shall not associate with them, nor shall they associate with you, for they will surely turn your heart away after their gods.” Solomon held fast to these in love.
  • He had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines, and his wives turned his heart away.
  • For when Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart away after other gods;

For more information, see,

(Link): ‘Biblical’ marriage unmasked

Excerpts:

  • Those who claim the biblical model for marriage is one man and one woman for life apparently haven’t been reading the Bible.
  • By Miguel De La Torre
  • Many Christians today speak about the traditional biblical marriage, but if truth be known, the traditional marriage is not a biblical concept. In fact, it would be hard to find a modern-day Christian who would actually abide by a truly biblical marriage in practice, as the biblical understanding of marriage meant male ownership of women who existed for sexual pleasure.
  • Upon marriage, a woman’s property and her body became the possession of her new husband. As the head of the household, men (usually between the ages of 18 and 24) had nearly unlimited rights over wives and children.
  • A woman became available for men’s possession soon after she reached puberty (usually 11 to 13 years old), that is, when she became physically able to produce children. Today we call such sexual arrangements statutory rape. The biblical model for sexual relationships includes adult males taking girls into their bedchambers, as King David did in 1 Kings 1:1-3.
  • Throughout the Hebrew text it is taken for granted that women (as well as children) are the possessions of men. The focus of the text does not seriously consider or concentrate upon the women’s status, but their identity is formed by their sexual relationship to the man: virgin daughter, betrothed bride, married woman, mother, barren wife or widow.
  • Her dignity and worth as one created in the image of God is subordinated to the needs and desires of men. As chattel, women are often equated with a house or livestock (Dt. 20:5-7), as demonstrated in the last commandment, “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, wife, slave, ox or donkey” (Ex. 20:17).
  • Because women are excluded from being the subject of this command, the woman — like a house, slave, ox or donkey — is reduced to an object: just another possession, another piece of property that belonged to the man, and thus should not be coveted by another man.
  • There are many ways in which the Bible cannot be a literal reference point or guidebook to modern-day marriages. Because the biblical understanding of the purpose for marriage has been reproduction, marriage could be dissolved by the man if his wife failed to bear his heirs.
  • Besides reproduction, marriage within a patriarchal order also served political and economic means. Marriages during antiquity mainly focused on codifying economic responsibilities and obligations.
  • Little attention was paid to how the couple felt about each other. Wives were chosen from good families not only to secure the legitimacy of a man’s children, but to strengthen political and economic alliances between families, clans, tribes and kingdoms. To ensure that any offspring were the legitimate heirs, the woman was restricted to just one sex partner, her husband.
  • Biblical marriages were endogamous — that is, they occurred within the same extended family or clan — unlike the modern Western concept of exogamous, where unions occur between outsiders.
  • Men could have as many sexual partners as they could afford. The great patriarchs of the faith, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Judah, had multiple wives and/or concubines, and delighted themselves with the occasional prostitute (Gen. 38:15). King Solomon alone was recorded to have had over 700 wives of royal birth and 300 concubines (1 Kings 11:3).
  • The book of Leviticus, in giving instructions to men wishing to own a harem, provides only one prohibition, which is not to “own” sisters (Lev. 18:18). The Hebrew Bible is clear that men could have multiple sex partners. Wives ensured legitimate heirs; all other sex partners existed for the pleasures of the flesh.
  • A woman, on the other hand, was limited to just one sex partner who ruled over her — unless, of course, she was a prostitute.
  • Biblical marriage was considered valid only if the bride was a virgin. If she was not, then she needed to be executed (Dt. 22:13-21).
  • …As much as we do not want to admit it, marriage is an evolving institution; a social construct that has been changing for the better since biblical times. Those who claim that the biblical model for marriage is one husband and one wife apparently haven’t read the Bible or examined the well-documented sources describing life in antiquity.
  • ((read the rest here))

John Morgan quote,

  • Divorce is a foreign concept to them.

Only to those Christians who have turned marriage into an idol and believe in something called the permanence view of marriage. Such views keeps women trapped in abusive marriages. I wrote more about that in (Link): this former post.

Another edit (Jan 4, 2015), in his blog post entitled (Link): Virginity Beyond the Mechanics, he writes,

  • His commandments against fornication and sexual immorality are not stifling rules that we must follow. They are guidelines for our benefit.

Er, not it’s not one or the other, it’s both. God’s is against fornication because it is immoral, and therefore is forbidden for Christians, and secondly, I would suspect God put that rule in place so that we would not risk chances of obtaining sexually transmitted diseases and the like.

To argue that sexual purity is only beneficial and not a rule means I can disregard the rule if I choose to take the risk of fornicating.

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Related posts:

Critiques of other posts by John Hugh Morgan:

(Link): Ageism Vs. Age Preferences and Creepy Older Men

(Link): Male Entitlement and Adult Virginity: Who has it worse, Male Vs. Female?

(Link): Celibacy is Not Just for Homosexuals or Roman Catholic Priests / and a critique of a post at another blog

Other related posts:

(Link): Hetero Couple Forced to Divorce Because They Say Homosexuals Are Ruining Their Marriage

(Link): Christians Not Only Accept Pre Marital Sex Among Adults But Are Also Now Accepting “Shacking Up” as The New Norm

(Link):  Christians Are Following Secular Trends in Premarital Sex, Cohabitation Outside of Marriage, Says Dating Site Survey (survey/article)