Here in the LightHouse, marriage has been a popular discussion topic for the last several months. We — and when I say “we,” I mean, “I” supported by “we” — spent a large portion of our summer working with the LightUncles to throw a celebration of 50 years of marriage for the LightGrandparents in August. It was a weekend of laughter, fun, joy, and most of all, love. Enormous vats of love. I know that I steeped in it as much as possible. I know that my parents did too.
My parents are still walking more lightly on this earth because of the celebration we all shared together. So am I. So, I would dare to imagine are many of the folks who shared in the festivities together. We gathered together that fine August weekend to remember 50 years of loving well. I had another goal; it was that I wanted my parents to know how their lives had influenced and helped the lives of those around them in their community and family. We are all better for the team of LightMom and LightDad looking out into the world together.
As I reflect on that wonderful (and hectic) weekend I think about the institution of marriage and how it makes families possible. The gender of the parents is not the issue and we should not be creating Sneetches with stars on their bellies, and some without in this case as Dr. Seuss might have so lyrically put it.
THE SNEETCHES , by Dr. Seuss
Now the Star-bellied Sneetches had bellies with stars.
The Plain-bellied Sneetches had none upon thars.
The stars weren’t so big; they were really quite small.
You would think such a thing wouldn’t matter at all.
But because they had stars, all the Star-bellied Sneetches
would brag, “We’re the best kind of Sneetch on the beaches.”
With their snoots in the air, they would sniff and they’d snort, ”
We’ll have nothing to do with the plain-bellied sort.”
And whenever they met some, when they were out walking,
they’d hike right on past them without even talking.
When the Star-bellied children went out to play ball,
could the Plain-bellies join in their game? Not at all!
You could only play ball if your bellies had stars,
and the Plain-bellied children had none upon thars.
When we separate marriages into different sex marriage and same sex marriage and tell our children that some families are “right” but others “wrong” and therefore sort of distasteful, we are creating a new form of racism. Or, perhaps it is a very old form or racism and intolerance. Families are families, they are created by parents and children who love and care for one another.
There are many problems with this from a governmental perspective and from a Christian perspective.
We have a government which claims to value freedom of religion and specifies that there will be no state interference in religion; nor will there be any religious interference in state matters. When our governing documents were written, the assumptions they were based on were that the religion that would interfere would be Christian. That is no longer necessarily the case. While an overwhelming percentage of our population continues to identify with the Christian church, the numbers are in decline and we have rising numbers of other religions who must be accommodated within out borders this includes people who have no faith at all. In addition, if religion is going to be free of the state and vice versa, then it is possible for marriages to be performed by the state, and churches to be free to say “yes” or “no” to whether or not they will perform marriages within their walls. Churches are separate from the state. We need to remember that.
Those of us who claim to follow Jesus Christ have no problem calling ourselves children a Godhead who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit; overwhelmingly male with only female overtones. Yet many Christians cannot conceive of a human family with two fathers. Or two mothers.
It seems to me that the best way to defend marriage is just that. Defend marriage … of all kinds. Make it unassailable. Stop the pretenses and silliness. Build people up. Make them whole. But until the divorce rate in the church is significantly less than that of the rest of our culture, we need to keep our mouths shut and our arms open.
This is part of the October Synchroblog on Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage. Please read these other fine writers below for more perspective on this issue –
Kathy Baldock at Canyonwalker Connections – Marriage “I Do” For Who
Dan Brennan at Faith Dance – Sexual Difference, Marriage and Friendship
Steve Hayes at Khanya – Same Sex Marriage Synchroblog
Sonja Andrews at Calacirian – In Defense Of Marriage
John C O’Keefe – Exactly What Is Gay Marriage
Liz Dyer at Grace Rules – Nobody knows why or how same-sex marriage is harmful
Herman Groenewald at Along The Way – Same Sex Debate
Margaret Boelman at Minnowspeaks – What Have We Done
David Henson at unorthodoxology – ban marriage
Erin Word at Mapless – Synchroblog: Legalizing Same Sex Marriage
Joshua Jinno at Antechurch – The Church Is Impotent
Kathy Escobar at The Carnival In My Head – It’s Easy To Be Against Equal Rights When We Have Them
Peter Walker at Emerging Christian – Synchroblog – Same Sex Marriage
K. W. Leslie at The Evening of Kent – Mountains, molehills, and same-sex marriage
Tia Lynn Lecorchick at Abandon Image – Conservative Christians and Same-Sex Marriage