The state should not permit or prohibit a marriage except when the best interest of society is at stake. Such exceptions would be when underage children want to marry. Then statutory rape and other laws would kick in. If family members wanted to marry, incest laws would be invoked. If the severely mentally handicapped want to marry, a state could permit it, prohibit it, or stipulate that one or both of the couple would be rendered incapable of conception.
“But what if a man wanted to marry his goat?” Well, other laws would kick in that would prohibit that. Most states have laws against bestiality or even animal rights laws would prevail! After all, how can an animal give permission? There are people who consider themselves married to their goat, horse, or dog at this present time.
My critics will argue that promiscuity, polygamy, polyandry, polyamory, and perversion would become widespread but taking the state out of marriages would not make it any worse than now. Everyone knows that millions of people are living promiscuously in a nation where an unmarried male could not be in a hotel room with an unmarried female only 60 years ago. Some couples change bed partners as often as they change their socks. Maybe more often.
As to polygamy, it is rather common (although illegal) in Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and other western states where Mormons have been influential for a hundred years. In recent years, Muslims have been added to the mix making multiple wives more common. Two ways to go with this issue: Let each state permit or prohibit polygamy in the interest of society. I predict that the U.S. Supreme Court will decide that any sexual arrangement will be permissible.
Less known is the act of polyandry where a woman has more than one husband. In some societies, a woman marries a man and gets all his brothers in the deal. Again, let states permit it or prohibit it in society’s interest. Whatever becomes legal, God will have the final word!
In recent years perversion has become acceptable, approved, even applauded in most states so what will preachers do when they are told that they must perform same-sex “marriages” since they perform natural marriages? They should stop doing any state-approved weddings and limit all weddings to couples they know. Preachers should not wait until they are kicked out of the wedding business by the state. We (for I did like everyone else for many years) never should have taken a license to perform weddings in the first place. If a grandchild asked me to perform his or her wedding approved by the state, I would refuse.
If a state has the authority to permit you to get married, they can tell you that you cannot. So will you obey them? You say it is God’s will for you to marry, then why ask the state? If a state prohibited members of a specific denomination from getting married, should they obey that law? No sane Christian would agree they should. One of my oldest friends was a missionary in Spain and told me that the government refused to permit Evangelicals and Fundamentalists to marry. Marriage licenses had to be approved by the Roman Catholic Church and such permission often took many months, if given at all, so the Christians simply had their wedding ceremonies, without a license, as they had been doing for centuries. Later, the government relented and anyone could get a license; however “they also had a civil ceremony before a judge.” If we agree with that, we have lost the battle.
Medieval Christians disregarded the law and married without any “required” approval from the state. In 1551, Baptists in Europe refused to be married by the clergy of the dominant church, but were united in marriage in the church of which they were a member. Their enemies charged them with encouraging licentiousness. Having unapproved marriages in their own church brought scorn and false accusations upon them but they refused to obey the government. John Bunyan and others in England went to jail rather than permit the government to license them to preach, baptize, marry, and bury the dead.
My suggestion: Take the state and federal government totally out of the wedding business. Permit any church to marry any couple who is willing to satisfy the church’s requirements, rules, and regulations. Then the state would recognize any church-approved weddings without any state approval. The couple could then record their marriage at the county courthouse thereby recognizing the legitimacy of any children, and protecting property of heirs, Social Security, insurance beneficiaries, retirement plans, etc.
Government officials could still perform weddings, usually of atheists or anti-religious individuals but they would be no more official than those performed by a pastor of a small store-front church in Harlem or Houston.
Astute thinkers are looking ahead and asking “But what about divorce?” First of all, most of the pastors I know who use a marriage covenant will not marry any couple who does not eschew divorce. Marriage is for a lifetime. However, in a broken world divorces happen. It would be no problem to expect state regulations to kick in although they would be as unfair, unreasonable, and unworkable as the present circumstances. The premise is that no government has authority to control marriage; but in breaking up a home, children and innocent parties must be protected by law just as the state is responsible to keep the peace, enforce contracts, protect the public, etc. In other words, continuing the massive failure that is taking place now.
To those who yell “inconsistent,” I reply that they have not thought the issue through. Slavery, concubines, and multiple wives were never approved by God but He did provide guidelines for those who broke His pattern of one man–one woman, for life. If a man held slaves, contrary to God’s will, the slave owner must treat the slaves well and set them free in the seventh year. So if men did not obey God, it was wrong; but they had to exist and God made provision for the innocent parties to survive.
Friends of mine who only marry couples with a “marriage covenant” usually give each couple a family Bible and record the fact of the marriage, date, and witnesses, along with signatures of witnesses as proof of their marriage. Such a record has always been valid in every state.
If two atheists or a same-sex “couple” choose to “marry,” the couple could announce their marriage in the local paper, have it recorded at the county court house and “set up housekeeping.” Again, no church or government would be involved or give permission.
If we the people take back authority from the states, especially concerning marriage, then same-sex “marriage” becomes a moot issue. However, that is not the reason for getting the state out of marriages but it is a very good consequence.
If the state can permit marriages, it can prohibit marriages. Would you obey?
(Seventh of nine columns dealing with no state involvement in marriage. Next column: “Biblical Marriage, Not Polygamy, Polyandry, Polyamory, Promiscuity or Perversion is Acceptable!”)
http://bit.ly/1iMLVfY Watch these 8 minute videos of my lecture at the University of North Dakota: “A Christian Challenges New Atheists to Put Up or Shut Up!”
Fact, Fraud or Faith?
by Don Boys, Ph.D.
Only an uninformed fanatic says that evolution or creation can be proved scientifically. Christians believe in creationism because we believe in the veracity of the Bible but we also have scientific evidence to support our position. In every debate I’ve had with evolutionary scientists, the arrogant, asinine accusation is made, “Well, evolution is scientific while creationism is religion.” Evolution is about as scientific as a voodoo rooster plucking ceremony in Haiti. Almost.