Congressional Issues 2010
MORALITY AND CULTURE
The Nature of Marriage
Congress should recognize that:
- God invented "marriage"
- both church and state have a duty to conform to God's decrees
- marriage is an institution created, ordained, and defined by the God of the Bible as a union between one man and one woman for life.
Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.
3 The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?”
4 And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who created them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ (Genesis 1:27; 5:2) 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? (Genesis 2:24) 6 So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”
7 They said to Him, “Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?”
8 He said to them, “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. 9 And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for porneia, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.”
10 His disciples said to Him, “If such is the case of the man with his wife, it is better not to marry.”
11 But He said to them, “All cannot accept this saying, but only those to whom it has been given:
On June 3 of 2006, on the President's Radio Address, President Bush endorsed "a constitutional amendment that defines marriage in the United States as the union of a man and woman."
From a historical and constitutional perspective, such an amendment is completely unnecessary. And since the rest of the Constitution is almost completely ignored, an amendment to the Constitution would also have zero legal effect by the time the Courts got through with it.
We must always remember that the federal government has proven itself to be the greatest enemy of the Family.
Marriage is not defined by a State or a constitution or a court. The Declaration of Independence says that our nation and its laws are subservient to "the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God." Marriage is an institution created and defined by God.
But the same Republicans who deliver stirring speeches about marriage will not allow students in government-run schools to be taught God's definition of marriage, or the rest of the the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God, or that anything else in the Declaration of Independence is really true. We're now seeing a generation raised as practicing atheists. See Education.
For the first 300 years of American history, and for centuries of English common law before that, marriage laws in this country were based on the origin of the marital union in Genesis. It was only in the last few years that judges who had taken an oath to "support the Constitution" declared the entire legislative process and the process of popular amendment of constitutions to be "unconstitutional." Overwhelming electoral and legislative majorities have passed laws and amendments to affirm the traditional view of marriage. Judges that negate constitutional processes violate their oath to support the constitution, and should be impeached.
No judge, no court, no government has the right to compel anyone to hold that any but a man and a woman can be united in "marriage." This is the position of America's founding charters.
In 1913, the Texas Supreme Court reflected the views of the Founding Fathers when it declared:
Marriage was not originated by human law. When God created Eve, she was a wife to Adam; they then and there occupied the status of husband to wife and wife to husband. . . . When Noah was selected for salvation from the flood, he and his wife and his three sons and their wives were placed in the Ark; and, when the flood waters had subsided and the families came forth, it was Noah and his wife and each son and his wife . . . . The truth is that civil government has grown out of marriage . . . which created homes, and population, and society, from which government became necessary [sic] . . . . [Marriages] will produce a home and family that will contribute to good society, to free and just government, and to the support of Christianity. . . . It would be sacrilegious to apply the designation "a civil
contract" to such a marriage. It is that and more; a status ordained by God.
Grigsby v Reib, 153 S.W. 1124, 1129-30 (TxSupCt 1913)
This opinion hearkened back to an earlier decision by the Texas Supreme Court in 1848, which declared that the legal contract of marriage
is the most solemn and important of human transactions. It is regarded by all Christian nations as the basis of civilized society, of sound morals, and of the domestic affections. . . . The mutual comfort and happiness of the parties are the principal, but not the only, objects of the engagement. It is intended also for the benefit of their common offspring and is an important element in the moral order, security and tranquility of civilized society. The parties cannot dissolve the contract, as they can others, by mutual consent, and no light or trivial causes should be suffered to effect its recision. . . . [A]ccording to the experience of the most enlightened nations, the happiness of married life greatly depends on its indissolubility.
These courts were articulating the position of America's Founding Fathers. Alexander Hamilton lamented the anti-Biblical, anti-Family evils of the French Revolution:
Sheffield v. Sheffield, 3 Tex. 79, 85-86 (TxSupCt 1848)
Equal pains have been taken to deprave the morals as to extinguish the religion of the country, if indeed morality in a community can be separated from religion. It is among the singular and fantastic vagaries [freaks] of the French Revolution that . . . a new law of divorce was passed which makes it as easy for a husband to get rid of his wife and a wife of her husband as to discard a worn out habit. . . . [T]hose ties . . . are the chief links of domestic and ultimately of social attachment.
James Wilson, who was a US Supreme Court Justice after he signed the Constitution, emphasized the importance of a Biblical concept of the family:
Syrett, Harold C., et al., eds. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, 27 vols. New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 1974, vol. XXI pp 402-404, "The Stand No. III." New York, Apr. 7, 1798.
Whether we consult the soundest deductions of reason, or resort to the best information conveyed to us by history, or listen to the undoubted intelligence communicated in Holy Writ, we shall find that to the institution of marriage the true origin of society must be traced.
In James Kent's Commentaries on the Constitution, one of the greatest legal works of the 19th century, we are reminded:
By that institution the felicity of Paradise was consummated . . . . Legislators have with great propriety . . . provided as far as municipal law can provide against the violation of rights indispensably essential to the purity and harmony of the matrimonial union. . . . By an act of the legislature . . . all marriages not forbidden by the law of God shall be encouraged . . . . But of causes which are light or trivial, a divorce should by no means be permitted to be the effect. When divorces can be summoned . . . a state of marriage becomes frequently a state of war.
Works, McCloskey, ed., Belknap/Harvard Univ Press, 1967 II:598-603
All Christian states favor the perpetuity of marriage, and suspicion and alarm watch every step to dissolve it . . . . Unlike other contracts, marriage cannot be dissolved by mutual consent . . . . The laws of divorce are considered as of the utmost importance as public laws affecting the dearest interests of society . . . . The domestic relation . . . of parent and child . . . [and] the duties that reciprocally result from this connection are prescribed . . . by the positive precepts of religion and of our municipal law.
Adulterers and polygamists were quick to seize on ambiguous language in the constitution and attempt to legitimize their anti-Biblical acts with the protection of the First Amendment. Courts didn't buy their arguments:
Kent, Commentaries on American Law, DeCapo Reprint of 1st ed., 1826-30, II:96-98,159
[The Founders] did not mean that the pure moral customs which Christianity has introduced should be without legal protection because some pagan, or other religionist, or anti-religionist, should advocate as a matter of conscience concubinage, polygamy, incest, free love, and free divorce, or any of them . . . . No Christian people could possibly allow such things.
These views were echoed by the US Supreme Court in the anti-polygamy cases.
The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, in Commonwealth v. Nesbit 84 Pa. 398 (1859)
The Seventh Commandment was the basis for American Family Law.
The State of California recently considered adopting legislation on sex-education for public schools requiring that:
Course material and instruction shall stress that monogamous heterosexual intercourse [one man and one woman] within marriage is a traditional American value.
The ACLU was outraged:
It is our position that monogamous, heterosexual intercourse within marriage as a traditional American value is an unconstitutional establishment of a religious doctrine in public schools. . . . We believe [this bill] violates the First Amendment.
Those who wrote, debated, and ratified the First Amendment did not. Heterosexual marriage is a part of "the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God"; homosexuality is contrary to it.
As a Libertarian, I oppose all government laws regarding marriage. I believe the Mafia should not recognize the moral legitimacy of homosexuality, and I would say the same thing about the federal government. I am also working for the abolition of both institutions. Homosexuals who seek the licensure or approval of the State for their relationship seek that which is unconstitutional and against their own interests.
I believe heterosexual marriage is essential to the flourishing of humanity, and government recognition of homosexuality impoverishes us all. As long as any proposed marriage amendment which recognizes marriage as defined by the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God does not advocate the initiation of force as a means of achieving political or social goals, I would vote for it.
There is much that could be said about this issue, and I hope any who oppose my views (or can't exactly figure them out) will post their comments.
Marriage and Family Topics:
The Fascist Agenda of "Gay Marriage"
Stephen Kinsella probably doesn't agree with me, but I agree with him when he says:
Second, it also seems obvious that there is a mixture of motives among advocates of gay marriage. I think two of the primary motivations are (a) to use the power of the state to try to “officially authorize” the “normalcy” and “legitimacy” of homosexuality and homosexual unions, in turn to try to force society at large to see it as normal and acceptable; (b) to take part in various illegitimate welfare rights married couples have access to, like social security; and (c) to legally legitimize homosexuality and gay unions so as to remove one remaining obstacle to including homosexuality as a “protected minority class” who must have affirmative action and anti-discrimination law protection.
All these goals are unlibertarian and illegitimate, in my view.
from The Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience
The man said, "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, for she was taken out of man." For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.
This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
In Scripture, the creation of man and woman, and their one-flesh union as husband and wife, is the crowning achievement of God's creation. In the transmission of life and the nurturing of children, men and women joined as spouses are given the great honor of being partners with God Himself. Marriage then, is the first institution of human society—indeed it is the institution on which all other human institutions have their foundation. In the Christian tradition we refer to marriage as "holy matrimony" to signal the fact that it is an institution ordained by God, and blessed by Christ in his participation at a wedding in Cana of Galilee. In the Bible, God Himself blesses and holds marriage in the highest esteem.
Vast human experience confirms that marriage is the original and most important institution for sustaining the health, education, and welfare of all persons in a society. Where marriage is honored, and where there is a flourishing marriage culture, everyone benefits—the spouses themselves, their children, the communities and societies in which they live. Where the marriage culture begins to erode, social pathologies of every sort quickly manifest themselves. Unfortunately, we have witnessed over the course of the past several decades a serious erosion of the marriage culture in our own country. Perhaps the most telling—and alarming—indicator is the out-of-wedlock birth rate. Less than fifty years ago, it was under 5 percent. Today it is over 40 percent. Our society—and particularly its poorest and most vulnerable sectors, where the out- of-wedlock
birth rate is much higher even than the national average—is paying a huge price in delinquency, drug abuse, crime, incarceration, hopelessness, and despair. Other indicators are widespread non-marital sexual cohabitation and a devastatingly high rate of divorce.
We confess with sadness that Christians and our institutions have too often scandalously failed to uphold the institution of marriage and to model for the world the true meaning of marriage. Insofar as we have too easily embraced the culture of divorce and remained silent about social practices that undermine the dignity of marriage we repent, and call upon all Christians to do the same.
To strengthen families, we must stop glamorizing promiscuity and infidelity and restore among our people a sense of the profound beauty, mystery, and holiness of faithful marital love. We must reform ill-advised policies that contribute to the weakening of the institution of marriage, including the discredited idea of unilateral divorce. We must work in the legal, cultural, and religious domains to instill in young people a sound understanding of what marriage is, what it requires, and why it is worth the commitment and sacrifices that faithful spouses make.
The impulse to redefine marriage in order to recognize same-sex and multiple partner relationships is a symptom, rather than the cause, of the erosion of the marriage culture. It reflects a loss of understanding of the meaning of marriage as embodied in our civil and religious law and in the philosophical tradition that contributed to shaping the law. Yet it is critical that the impulse be resisted, for yielding to it would mean abandoning the possibility of restoring a sound understanding of marriage and, with it, the hope of rebuilding a healthy marriage culture. It would lock into place the false and destructive belief that marriage is all about romance and other adult satisfactions, and not, in any intrinsic way, about procreation and the unique character and value of acts and relationships whose meaning is shaped by their aptness for the generation,
promotion and protection of life. In spousal communion and the rearing of children (who, as gifts of God, are the fruit of their parents' marital love), we discover the profound reasons for and benefits of the marriage covenant.
We acknowledge that there are those who are disposed towards homosexual and polyamorous conduct and relationships, just as there are those who are disposed towards other forms of immoral conduct. We have compassion for those so disposed; we respect them as human beings possessing profound, inherent, and equal dignity; and we pay tribute to the men and women who strive, often with little assistance, to resist the temptation to yield to desires that they, no less than we, regard as wayward. We stand with them, even when they falter. We, no less than they, are sinners who have fallen short of God's intention for our lives. We, no less than they, are in constant need of God's patience, love and forgiveness. We call on the entire Christian community to resist sexual immorality, and at the same time refrain from disdainful condemnation of those who yield to it. Our
rejection of sin, though resolute, must never become the rejection of sinners. For every sinner, regardless of the sin, is loved by God, who seeks not our destruction but rather the conversion of our hearts. Jesus calls all who wander from the path of virtue to "a more excellent way." As his disciples we will reach out in love to assist all who hear the call and wish to answer it.
We further acknowledge that there are sincere people who disagree with us, and with the teaching of the Bible and Christian tradition, on questions of sexual morality and the nature of marriage. Some who enter into same-sex and polyamorous relationships no doubt regard their unions as truly marital. They fail to understand, however, that marriage is made possible by the sexual complementarity of man and woman, and that the comprehensive, multi-level sharing of life that marriage is includes bodily unity of the sort that unites husband and wife biologically as a reproductive unit. This is because the body is no mere extrinsic instrument of the human person, but truly part of the personal reality of the human being. Human beings are not merely centers of consciousness or emotion, or minds, or spirits, inhabiting non-personal bodies. The human person is a dynamic
unity of body, mind, and spirit. Marriage is what one man and one woman establish when, forsaking all others and pledging lifelong commitment, they found a sharing of life at every level of being—the biological, the emotional, the dispositional, the rational, the spiritual— on a commitment that is sealed, completed and actualized by loving sexual intercourse in which the spouses become one flesh, not in some merely metaphorical sense, but by fulfilling together the behavioral conditions of procreation. That is why in the Christian tradition, and historically in Western law, consummated marriages are not dissoluble or annullable on the ground of infertility, even though the nature of the marital relationship is shaped and structured by its intrinsic orientation to the great good of procreation.
We understand that many of our fellow citizens, including some Christians, believe that the historic definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman is a denial of equality or civil rights. They wonder what to say in reply to the argument that asserts that no harm would be done to them or to anyone if the law of the community were to confer upon two men or two women who are living together in a sexual partnership the status of being "married." It would not, after all, affect their own marriages, would it? On inspection, however, the argument that laws governing one kind of marriage will not affect another cannot stand. Were it to prove anything, it would prove far too much: the assumption that the legal status of one set of marriage relationships affects no other would not only argue for same sex partnerships; it could be asserted with
equal validity for polyamorous partnerships, polygamous households, even adult brothers, sisters, or brothers and sisters living in incestuous relationships. Should these, as a matter of equality or civil rights, be recognized as lawful marriages, and would they have no effects on other relationships? No. The truth is that marriage is not something abstract or neutral that the law may legitimately define and re-define to please those who are powerful and influential.
No one has a civil right to have a non-marital relationship treated as a marriage. Marriage is an objective reality—a covenantal union of husband and wife—that it is the duty of the law to recognize and support for the sake of justice and the common good. If it fails to do so, genuine social harms follow. First, the religious liberty of those for whom this is a matter of conscience is jeopardized. Second, the rights of parents are abused as family life and sex education programs in schools are used to teach children that an enlightened understanding recognizes as "marriages" sexual partnerships that many parents believe are intrinsically non-marital and immoral. Third, the common good of civil society is damaged when the law itself, in its critical pedagogical function, becomes a tool for eroding a sound understanding of marriage on which the
flourishing of the marriage culture in any society vitally depends. Sadly, we are today far from having a thriving marriage culture. But if we are to begin the critically important process of reforming our laws and mores to rebuild such a culture, the last thing we can afford to do is to re-define marriage in such a way as to embody in our laws a false proclamation about what marriage is.
And so it is out of love (not "animus") and prudent concern for the common good (not "prejudice"), that we pledge to labor ceaselessly to preserve the legal definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman and to rebuild the marriage culture. How could we, as Christians, do otherwise? The Bible teaches us that marriage is a central part of God's creation covenant. Indeed, the union of husband and wife mirrors the bond between Christ and his church. And so just as Christ was willing, out of love, to give Himself up for the church in a complete sacrifice, we are willing, lovingly, to make whatever sacrifices are required of us for the sake of the inestimable treasure that is marriage.