by Charlie Clough
– Originally published as “RESPONDING TO GOVERNMENT’S DECLARATION THAT “MARRIAGE” IS MERELY A SOCIAL CONSTRUCT: A Proposal to Reform the Wedding Service in Bible-Believing Churches” in Journal of Dispensational Theology, Spring. 2014.
Due to a very successful crusade waged by certain activists, the traditional Judeo-Christian concept of marriage as a divinely designed relationship exclusively between one man and one woman has been virtually criminalized. Expression of that concept in the public square — whether in school, in government agencies (including the military), and in business — now meets with overwhelming disdain and even judicial punishment. Underlying this action by civil authorities is the assumption that marriage is merely a social construct that can and ought to be changed in response to public opinion. Therefore, two mutually contradictory notions of marriage — a mutable social construct and an immutable divine institution — appear in the wedding service when the pastor or other church officer pronounces the couple man and wife, while acting as an agent of both the state and the Lord Jesus Christ. The proposal put forth in this article is that Bible-believing churches in those civil jurisdictions which have written the biblical view of marriage beyond their law must now respond by separating the civil portion of marriage from the ecclesiastical portion and eliminate it from the wedding service. The wedding service itself must now include a robust public defense of one-man-one-woman marriage based upon God’s design. Appendices supply suggested topics to include in such a defense, a letter of official notice to the state government officials of the church’s new wedding procedure, and a sample exchange with government authorities regarding this matter of marriage.
Activists for expanding the definition of marriage beyond that of one man and one woman have succeeded in convincing political leadership to employ their legal authority for forcibly imposing this new marriage concept upon society. They have skillfully employed adjectives like “fair,” “socially just,” and “equal” in indiscriminate fashion. Their arguments have been emotionally appealing in spite of their logical fallacies. The end result of their campaign not only intimidates many into silence but also sets up Bible-believing Christians who express their disagreement in public as “bigoted” and “self-righteous” and subject to dismissal from their jobs and/or liable for criminal charges.
The wedding service is the central occasion when the concept of marriage ought to be explained and implemented in an unambiguous manner. For it to be intelligible, the officiating authority has to remind those present of the institution’s essentials. After all, those present are being asked to witness the couple’s public oath taking and should therefore understand what the relationship is that they are promising to support. An explanation of the difference between the state’s so-called “progressive” view that marriage is a mutable social construct subject to changing definition and the biblical view that marriage is an immutable divinely-designed institution defined by God once-and-for-all should now become part of the wedding service. Consistent with that explanation, civil licensing should be excluded from the wedding service. The pastor or other officiating person should no longer act as an agent of the state lest he lend unspoken endorsement to the false precepts now infiltrating civil marriage. All people present at the service, therefore, should see only the correct view of marriage enacted.
To help Christian leadership understand why reformation of the wedding service is needed the following sections of this proposal will: (1) critique the concept of the new expanded view of marriage; (2) review the manipulative use of terminology that led to this view; (3) analyze the particular paradigm responsible for altering the definition of marriage; and (4) note the potential legal threat to a pastor and his church if they do not separate the civil from the ecclesiastical portions of marriage. Hopefully, by the conclusion of this work, church leadership will be prepared to remind those present in a wedding service of why it is a service exclusively for one man and one woman while minimizing the likelihood of this feature being labeled as bigotry and self-righteousness.
THE TENSION BETWEEN
THE SPHERE OF CIVIL GOVERNMENT AUTHORITY
AND THE SPHERE OF BIBLICALLY-BASED LOCAL CHURCH AUTHORITY
God instituted marriage long before his institution of civil authority. Marriage as an original creation ordinance has prior claim to civil authority. Civil authority came after the later events of the Fall and collapse of antediluvian civilization; it arose when God delegated to humanity the ethical responsibility to execute temporal judgment against the more overt forms of evil in order to preserve society (Gen 9:1-7; cf. Rom 13:1-7). Biblical history reports, however, that mankind soon perverted this divine institution into a tool of social engineering toward a “progressive” civilization as conceived independently of God (Gen 11:1-9, “We will make a name for ourselves”). God responded historically by creating a counterculture through Abraham as a conduit of his revelation (Gen 12:1-3, “I . . .will make your name great;” Rom 3:2; 9:4). Over the four thousand years since this calling of Abraham, tension has persisted between human culture – deceived and empowered by the dark spiritual powers (Eph 2:1-3) – and communities of those trying to adhere to the authority of God’s special revelation. The tension manifested itself in the interactions of the great Gentile powers of Egypt, Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome (first with ancient Israel and later with the early church).
Having rejected the ultimate authority of God’s revelation preserved in Scripture, the pagan perversion of civil government inevitably attempts to relocate that ultimate authority in itself. Authority has to reside somewhere because it is an inescapable concept. Pagan state institutions, therefore, cannot avoid establishing a counterfeit religious faith to safeguard their political authority. The ancient Pharaohs were considered mediators between heaven and earth, which contributed greatly to the stability of ancient Egypt and resistance to Moses’ call for a Jewish exodus. As one learns from the biblical books of Danieland Esther, the Babylonian and Persian kings thought nothing with regard to combining counterfeit religion with totalitarian civil government, using the former to solidify the latter. Even within ancient Israel, apostate Jewish kings created their own state religions to help insure their reigns against the challenge of competing Yahwehism (e.g. King Jeroboam ‘s reasoning in 1 Kgs 12:26-33, and the state-imposed Baalism of Ahab and Jezebel in 1 Kgs 16:30-33). They reasoned that it was better for subjects to owe allegiance to the king than to God, thus granting absolute control in the hands of the king!
After Christ established his church, the tension continued. Early Christians were not persecuted, threatened with fines, punishment, and death because they had taken armaments to use against the Caesars but because they refused to accord ultimate authority to the state. German evangelical pastors who refused to submit their church proceedings to the Nazi Party were jailed, just as believers have suffered and continue to suffer under Communist regimes (e.g. China). The tension similarly continues today under Muslim regimes that demand submission to the counterfeit religion of Islam, upon pain of death.
Christians should not be surprised, therefore, that federal, state, and local governments of the United States increasingly demand that Christians submit to their authority to pervert the divine institution of marriage. Becoming increasingly like pagan states of the past, they cannot tolerate the notion that marriage is founded in God’s design of man and woman because as such it lies beyond the state’s authority and therefore cannot be changed. Notice, for example, the very title of Maryland’s destructive 2012 legislation: the “Civil Marriage Protection Act.” Following the age-old Babel vision of civil authority as the definer and redeemer of society, the Maryland legislature characterized its actions as “protecting” marriage. Marriage in Maryland, legislators argued, was to be protected against the transcendent threat of being defined once-and-for-all by an Authority higher than themselves.
Defenders of Maryland’s “Civil Marriage Protection Act” and other similar legislation have stated that pastors and their associated churches ought not to feel threatened. The legislation, they claim, contains “exception clauses” that permit churches to conduct wedding services in accord with their faith in one-man-one-woman marriage. They affirm that a pluralistic society must accommodate different beliefs. So, what is the problem? The issue is that by granting such exception clauses, the state implicitly assumes that it has the authority to regulate church officers who preside at weddings. Moreover, it asserts that the state has magnanimously granted a special privilege to church leaders (for the time being). The threat is not idle. Gay rights organizations recently demanded withdrawal of such an exception clause in proposed same-sex marriage legislation in New Jersey. Once the state claims the Babelesque authority to redefine marriage, it has denied that marriage is an unchangeable institution with a prior authority claim to that of the state. Marriage has become a mere social construct under the protection and social engineering of the almighty state. What is more, there may soon come a day when this social construct will have to be further “protected” against the allegedly unfair, unjust, and unequal notion of one-man-one-woman being promulgated by Bible-believing churches.
A frightening sign of that mentality can be witnessed at the federal level in the 2013 Supreme Court decision concerning the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Although the Court refused to redefine marriage for the nation, Justice Kennedy (who wrote for the 5-4 majority opinion) reasoned that support for one-man-one-woman marriage prior to 2000 was based upon bigotry (!). Justice Scalia in a scathing dissent wrote:
To defend traditional marriage is not to condemn, demean, or humiliate those who would prefer other arrangements. . . . To hurl accusations so casually demeans this institution. In the majority’s judgment, any resistance to its holding is beyond the pale of reasoned disagreement. . . . All that, for simply supporting an Act that did no more than codify an aspect of marriage that had been unquestioned in virtually all societies for virtually all of human history. It is one thing for a society to elect change; it is another for a court of law to impose change by adjudging those who oppose it hostes humani generis, enemies of the human race. . . . I promise you this: The only thing that will “confine” the Court’s holding is its sense of what it can get away with.
The traditional view of marriage (i.e. the biblical view) will undoubtedly be deemed prejudicial and subject to increasingly aggressive suppression by all levels of civil government in every area of social life.
THE MANIPULATIVE USE OF TERMINOLOGY
TO MAKE BIBLICAL MARRIAGE
APPEAR UNFAIR, UNJUST, AND UNEQUAL
Political causes have for years used words manipulatively as slogans because words have a feature that extends beyond their definition. Over forty years ago, Francis Schaeffer (in examining the example of twentieth century theology) delved into the manipulative use of words. “Every word has two parts,” he wrote. “There is the dictionary definition and there is the connotation. Words may be synonymous by definition but have a completely different connotation. . . . So when the new theology uses such words [as the cross], without definition, an illusion of meaning is given which is pragmatically useful in arousing deep motivations. This is something beyond emotion. An illusion of communication and content is given so that, when a word is used in this deliberately undefined way, the hearer ‘thinks’ he knows what it means” (emphasis original).
Manipulative use of words for the sake of their socio-political effect is a favorite means of propaganda because it bypasses the conscious reasoning process and therefore escapes ethical evaluation. One can detect this kind of word usage by noticing the lack of substantive argument in the immediate context. Words are repeated with unvarying repetition to enlist their connotation power and without relating their dictionary meanings to the present subject. Adjectives like “fair,” “just,” and “equal” have been very effective in rendering biblical marriage suspect in the perspective of public opinion because they create the illusion of a moral superiority over the Bible. When one asks why biblical marriage is not fair, not just, or not equal, one usually receives the response “it just isn’t.” When homosexual activists are the compelling impetus for redefinition of marriage, the response is a little more thoughtful: “It excludes loving, same-sex couples.” In Maryland, one favorite tactic that persuaded hesitant legislators was the claim that defining marriage to be only between one man and one woman was unfair to the children of same-sex couples who had little or nothing to do with the same-sex status of their (adoptive) parents. Who wants to be unfair to children? The tactics worked only because the general public repeatedly hears the adjectives “fair,” “just,” and “equal” manipulatively used to arouse sympathy, and thinks that a legitimate moral argument has been made to alter the meaning of the noun “marriage.”
Of the three adjectives, “equal” is perhaps the most effective, as in the following assertion: “I believe in marriage equality.” The statement is frequently used throughout today’s political spectrum to enlist the powerful connotation of the Declaration of Independence (sterilized, of course, of any notion that equality comes from God’s creation) in juxtaposition with the inequality of American slavery and its aftermath. Further manipulative power comes from the growth of radical egalitarianism that has developed from the so-called Enlightenment and which was so dramatically expressed in the slogan of the French Revolution of 1789: “Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity.” History quickly proved, however, that the liberty of the Revolution quickly became anarchy, equality became the condition only of those outside of the reigning elite, and fraternity survived only within feuding political groups. Applied to the contemporary marriage debate, the word “equal” conveys all these connotations, which give an appearance of profundity to the cause without an explicit argument for it.
Appearance or not, claiming that marriage ought to include other unions besides that of one man and one woman is a radical innovation in human history (as Justice Scalia noted) and therefore warrants critical examination. Without such an examination, it remains a merely arbitrary claim. Just saying something is equal, even if it is repeated a hundred times, does not make it equal. Why, for example, must the relationship of loving same-sex couples be classified as a marriage? Could not the state have devised another term for a contract regarding that relationship? Is that sort of relationship really equal to a heterosexual marriage in its function in society? Does the act of sodomy express the sexual design of the male and female bodies equally as well as normal intercourse expresses it? Are same-sex parents able to provide the diverse male and female perspectives for training their adopted children equal to child training by heterosexual parents? If a feeling of love qualifies a homosexual couple for marriage, why does not that feeling also qualify any kind or number of people for marriage: polygamists, for example? If the terms “love” and “equal” can be repeated enough times in public discourse to persuade civil authorities to equate homosexual and heterosexual couples’ relationships, why cannot these same terms also be used to equate, say, polygamist multiple-partner relationships? Thought-provoking questions are rarely provided and when they are asked, they are not seriously answered.
What the endless use of connotation words hides is an argument that resembles an attempt to change the sport of football by arguing that baseball players are “equal” to football players so they ought to be allowed to play football with baseball rules. As matters now stand, it would claim, baseball players are unjustly discriminated against by their exclusion from football, and such exception is not “fair.” The truth is if one wants to play football, one adheres to the rules of football, not baseball. If one wants to call a relationship “marriage,” one man and one woman are required, not some other combination. God has designed the human language with nouns in order to discriminate between different things and give them stable meanings. Excluding baseball-only players from football in no way demeans their value as human beings; it is simply the consistent use of the noun, football.
The political pressure to deny biblical marriage could have originated from several groups; it could have come from polygamous or pedophilic peoples. Indeed, in one sense, it already existed in the pressure from those who campaigned years ago for liberalizing divorce (and thus allowing serial polygamy), although that campaign focused upon the contravention of the marriage contract rather than upon the more overt changing of its content. Any group that attempts to alter the traditional legal definition is essentially arguing against the biblical notion of an unchangeable marriage institution. As one knows, however, the political pressure did not originate from any of those groups.
The group that accomplished the overthrow and transformation of marriage was the homosexual lobby. Their success in radically shifting public opinion in their favor came from a skilled six-point strategy articulated in two publications: an article in 1987 (“The Overhauling of Straight America”) and a book in 1989 (After the Ball). The homosexual lobby has executed those six points with precision:
1. Talk about gays and gayness as loudly and as often as possible;
2. Portray gays as victims, not aggressive challengers;
3. Give homosexual protectors a “just” cause;
4. Make gays look good;
5. Make victimizers look bad; and,
6. Solicit funds (i.e. get corporate America and major foundations to provide financial support to the homosexual cause).
The execution of the six-point strategy has not always been limited to the manipulative use of terminology to give the illusion of communication. Occasionally, it has also utilized violent mob-like events, personal threats, destruction of property, and financial blackmail (behavior reminiscent of the mobs of Sodom recorded in Gen 19:1-13 and of any people who are spiritually without control). The tactics reveal the true spirit behind the movement. Violent attacks against Christianity always occur when Satan’s false teaching fails to alter believers’ adherence to biblical authority.
The response by churches to homosexuals’ strategy to gain acceptance has varied from a lack of grace among some conservative groups to total capitulation by liberal ones. Sadly, one extremist group from Kansas pickets funerals of fallen American soldiers with signs that blame their death upon the nation’s public toleration of homosexuality. Deceived by the gay lobby’s claim that one cannot distinguish homosexuals from their homosexual disposition, some conservative congregations have reacted with a kind of ostracism. They have unwittingly denied the biblical distinction between a sinner – as a person made in God’s image for whom Christ died and provides his transforming work – and that person’s particular sin pattern. Authentic biblical theology, however, does better than that.
Liberal groups, accepting the propaganda that homosexual identity is unchanging, have responded by embracing both the homosexual and his or her sin. To justify that kind of acceptance they have had to modify their theology to exalt God’s love to the exclusion of his other attributes. Liberals apparently forget that the greatest act of love in cosmic history was the Cross whereupon love fulfilled all righteousness and justice with a substitutionary atonement. Note the balance in Romans 3:25-26 which preserves the righteousness of God while allowing an expression of his love. Biblical love is not an ethically void sentiment.
EXAMINING THE UNDERLYING LOGIC OF THE CASE
FOR FULL PUBLIC ACCEPTANCE OF HOMOSEXUALITY
In contemporary culture, the denial of biblical marriage is based entirely upon the underlying homosexual rationale. To defend biblical marriage during a wedding service, therefore, the pastor needs to understand that rationale. Wedding attendees need to appreciate why one affirms one-man-one-woman marriage in spite of widespread accommodation of the homosexual agenda by federal, state, and local bureaucracies, major corporations, and public school curricula. The dispute is not because Christians “hate” homosexuals; rather, it is because the homosexual lobby’s case (when removed of the superficial connotation words) is flawed logically and ethically, in addition to being hateful of Scriptural authority.
Fortunately, in recent years, increasing numbers of Christians are addressing the issues and legally defending the freedom to adhere to the biblical ethic as Christian citizens. Ed Vitagliano summarized what he calls the “gay paradigm” that forms the basis for the homosexual agenda. He wrote, “This juggernaut has found its success due to the clear and cogent argument it has employed: Homosexuality is natural, moral and healthy, and thus it should be accepted by all fair-minded people. . . . Most Christians are completely unprepared to confront the logic of this paradigm. . . .” Summarizing his analysis and modifying it slightly, one may achieve three propositions that express the underlying logic.
P1: Homosexual feelings are natural.
P2: What is natural is moral.
P3: What is moral ought to be publicly expressible
and not repressed.
Following the advice of the book of Proverbs, one should examine these three propositions in two ways. First, Proverbs26:5 reads, “Answer a fool according to his folly, Lest he be wise in his own eyes.” Christians are directed to do an internal critique of claimed beliefs. Believers are to listen to the fool lest they misunderstand him and respond prematurely (cf. Prov 18:13); then, one is to contemplate the beliefs (i.e. ponders things from the other’s viewpoint), and discern logical problems in that perspective, including any absurd consequences that would result from it. The Lord made use of this form of reasoning in Isaiah 41:21-23. Paul used it to challenge some in the Corinthian church who claimed that the resurrection was not integral to the Christian faith. He demonstrated that their position contradicted itself (1 Cor 15:12-19). Following this procedure, one may then question whether the three core propositions logically support the public impression given by the homosexual lobby’s six-point strategy.
An Internal Critique of P1
Does the statement “homosexual feelings are natural” belong to a general class of statements “X feelings are natural,” or is it a particular statement applicable only to homosexual feelings? If a general class, does it include all kinds of sexual feelings? Does it also include all kinds of non-sexual feelings? If so, then an extensive variety of feelings – heterosexual desires to fornicate, anger, coveting, desire to dominate, etc. – must also be included. All feelings would then appear to be equal in the sense that they are all natural according to P1. What would be the outcome of applying P2 and P3 to this entire class of natural feelings? Not many would accept the absurd consequences that ensue from this reasoning, so P1must be a particular statement applicable only to homosexual feelings. However, if P1 is a particular statement, it implies that homosexual feelings are natural in a manner in which not all other feelings are natural. How so? P1 suffers from ambiguity. The terms “feeling” and “nature” are used imprecisely.
Important in understanding P1 is the matter of determinism. Unfortunately, there is a disadvantage at this point in the examination of P1 as a consequence of its inherent ambiguity. If such feelings actually determine behavior, is one concerned with determinism in all human feelings or just in homosexual feelings? One should try again to understand P1 as making a claim regarding all human feelings. Are all human feelings compulsive or merely tempting of behavior? If compulsive, there is little difference between a feeling and a behavior. One would then have no real freedom to choose whether or not to act upon a feeling. Behavior in this case is merely the response to a biochemical stimulus, and this conclusion would invalidate all rules because law assumes that citizens have freedom of choice and are responsible. Society acts as though most human feelings or desires are only enticing of behavior (i.e. freedom of choice exists between desires and behavior).
Consequently, one may also ask concerning the specific feeling or desire of same-sex attraction. Is that specific desire compulsive or merely an enticement? Whichever decision is made, homosexual feeling cannot be said to be equal to all other natural human feelings; it can be equal only to compulsive feelings or to temptations but not to both. P1 is so ambiguous it does not say one way or the other. Although scientists have studied genetics and brain chemistry for a link with homosexuality, no significant connection has been identified, just as a significant connection between genetics and behavior (in general) has never been found. Humans appear to have enough freedom-of-choice to be held responsible for most of their behavior.
The internal critique of P1 has found that its ambiguity does not distinguish homosexual feelings from any other human feelings, and that failure leads to two problems. First, either homosexual feelings are uniquely natural in some undefined way, or all human feelings are natural, including outright criminal desires. Second, either homosexual feelings are biochemically determined (i.e. compulsive) in a way that distinguishes them from other ordinary human desires, or not. If not, then they are merely enticements and homosexuals have as much freedom-of-choice regarding them as mankind has regarding all feelings. One has a right to ask a question of P1. Are homosexual feelings different from other human feelings or not? If so, how?
An Internal Critique of P2
To argue that something is moral for everyone is to assume: (1) there is freedom-of-choice; and, (2) there exists a universal moral standard by which to evaluate that choice. At this point, one must clarify the ambiguity in P1. If homosexual feelings are compulsive, then an ethical standard would no longer apply any more than it would apply to a birth defect. Compulsory behavior is ethical only in the sense that it cannot be condemned, but it is not ethical in the sense of satisfying some positive moral standard. However, homosexuals are not campaigning for the kind of acceptance accorded to those with birth defects. They want the kind of acceptance like that accorded to moral heterosexuals. Therefore, P2 makes sense only if homosexual desires are non-compulsive temptations. However, if they are genuine temptations, then choice exists, and homosexuals have the freedom to choose or not choose to act upon their desires. If that is true, then escape from unwanted bondage to such powerful feelings might be possible with certain therapeutic aids (something that the activists adamantly oppose).
Moreover, if P2 is a universal claim involving free choice, it has to assume that a universal moral standard exists for all people. Where is the implied moral standard in P2 originating? Since the biblical claim of God’s revealed ethical standards has been rejected, the standard must be derived from man who is thought to be “the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving.” P2 here blunders into the “is-ought” fallacy. One cannot derive a universal ethical standard (an “ought”) from one’s limited experience of reality in a universe without revelation from God (an “is”). The only way to do it might be to posit some sort of self-evident truth, as Adler has demonstrated. The idea in P2 that all feelings – because they are natural – are therefore moral is without any sort of support (e.g. a sort of intellectual magic act of levitation). Whereas P1 was an ambiguous claim, P2 is an arbitrary claim because it merely asserts but does not justify its ethical rationale. One has the right to ask the following questions of P2: What is the source of the standard of morality used to declare “what is natural is moral”? Moreover, if homosexual feelings are subject to moral judgment, does that not imply they also are freely chosen?
An Internal Critique of P3
The assertion “what is moral ought to be publicly expressible and not repressed” omits two considerations. First, merely because something is moral does not mean it must be publicly expressed. Wisdom might dictate that it ought to remain a private matter. Even if it could be proven that homosexual desires are moral, at least some kinds of public expression still might not be acceptable. Red Cross blood donation rules, for example, prohibit homosexuals from donating their blood due to the unhealthy consequences of their behavior. In establishing these rules, the Red Cross is not thereby calling homosexuality immoral any more than it is calling immoral the potential donors who have visited certain geographic areas and are therefore also prohibited from donating. Second, expression and repression are not the exclusive options. There is a third option: personal desires can be supplanted by other desires, as in Christianity. Buddhism proposes yet another option; it strives for a final state wherein there is a loss of all desire. P3 prematurely confines the discussion to two options when there are more; it therefore commits the “either-or” fallacy.
Summary of the Internal Critique
The internal critique of the case for full public acceptance of homosexuality proves that its underlying paradigm, even on its own terms, is plagued with ambiguity, arbitrariness, and logical fallacy. For a paradigm that has been the foundation of the homosexual lobby’s victorious public campaign strategy, it is surprisingly unconvincing; it amounts to them saying, “We experience homosexual feelings so everyone should not only accept our behavior but embrace it.” The homosexual rationale could have been widely challenged on a logical basis. Instead, either because of intimidation or because of laziness, the nation’s superficial culture was simply enthusiastic regarding the activity as the result of a very clever strategy that appeared to create an unchallengeable moral position. When explaining the principle of biblical marriage in wedding services, pastors need to keep these things in mind because it can be assumed that a significant number of attendees believe the homosexual lobby’s propaganda. Moreover, if they have, they are already predisposed to interpret the biblical wedding as a biased and unjust practice.
Using more of the wisdom of Proverbs, one should now consider the second approach to examining the gay paradigm. Proverbs 26:4 reads, “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, Lest you also be like him.” The proverbial advice directs the reader to pursue an external critique. One separates entirely from the presuppositions of the fool, and formulates a response based upon biblical presuppositions founded as they are in the kind of universe the Bible presents. Instead of the pagan metaphysic of one level of existence, a grand impersonal Nature within which are all things – gods, mankind, animals, plants, rocks, and purposeless processes – , one begins with two levels of existence: the Creator and the creation. Instead of locating ultimate epistemic authority in collective mankind (e.g. the state), one begins with locating ultimate epistemic authority in God’s historic revelation preserved in Scripture. Instead of trying to overcome the subjective character of relativistic ethics by securing them in some sort of Platonic idealism, evolutionary legacy, or public opinion poll, Christians affirm the imperatives of divine revelation as their source of ethics. The Lord used this kind of reasoning with Job, in chapters 38—41. Paul warned the believer to submit one’s reasoning to God’s revelation – supremely in Jesus Christ – in 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 and Colossians 2:8-9. Therefore, in one’s support for biblical marriage against the new state mandate, the Christian consciously chooses to identify with Moses against the “divine” Pharaoh, with ancient Israel’s prophets against the corrupt state religions of Jeroboam and Ahab, with Daniel against imperial Nebuchadnezzar, with Paul against the civil bureaucrats of his day, and with the recent martyrs against the utopian delusions of fascism, Communism, and Islamic Sharia. Pastors in wedding services should fearlessly but graciously explain precisely those features of biblical marriage that directly challenge the shoddy pagan paradigm.
An External Critique of P1
The idea that “homosexual feelings are natural” should be critiqued with the comprehensive biblical idea that in this fallen creation all sorts of feelings, attractions, and desires are natural. The major problem here is that the homosexual paradigm completely ignores creation and the Fall, and their implications. Therefore, in addition to being ambiguous, P1 builds upon a false view of reality. Genesis 2:18-25 and 3:16-19 (in addition to the book of Proverbs) is unambiguous that man and woman are both created in God’s image and both suffer from the Fall in sexually distinct ways. Therefore, depending upon the particular wedding service, the officiating person ought to mention the distinctly different nature of man and woman from creation, and how the male and female natures suffer differently from the Fall. Human sexual differentiation as revealed in the Bible is so profound – not only anatomically but also psychologically and in ways not known – that even homosexual behavior cannot totally erase it. The profound biblical distinction in human male and female natures accurately describes an undeniable feature of intelligently designed reality. Moreover, if one defines normalcy as the state of original creation, then after the Fall everyone lives in an abnormal existence. Although natural, all feelings, therefore, cannot be said to be normal. One is expected to control abnormal feelings because actions will be judged accordingly (Gen 4:6-7). The truth that one’s sexual identity is determined by design, not by desires, needs to be prominent in any presentation of true marriage.
An External Critique of P2
The idea that “what is natural is moral” should be brought under the dominion of God’s transcendental ethics. He is the Designer of all things and thus is alone competent to declare what is and is not moral. As the Creator of human sexuality, only He determines what appropriate sexual behavior is because He alone knows all the consequences of violating his intelligent design. Marriage as He has designed it, is revelatory of the special relationship between Yahweh and Israel (Hos 2); it also reveals the relationship between Christ and his Body, the church (Eph 5:22-32). The one-man-and-one-woman design alone is analogous to those relationships; it must be preserved as a component of general revelation lest the capacity to understand those relationships be lost.
Rejecting the homosexual paradigm’s reliance upon man-centered epistemic and ethical authorities, Christians proceed with God’s historic revelation as the epistemic authority and its imperatives as their ethical authority. Asserting such a proposition, one discovers an unsavory immoral cause of, at least, some homosexual feelings; it has been widely observed that homosexual feelings often arise in a person after he or she has experienced physical, emotional, or most commonly sexual child-abuse. Such abuse is a violation of God’s design for the family to produce a godly generation of successors. Child-abuse, though it may be “natural” in a fallen world, certainly is not moral. As one thinks regarding homosexuality, one needs to reflect upon what is occurring among families. Are they nourishing their providentially-assigned children, or are they creating circumstances for the very thing that is opposed?
A biblical analysis also exposes the natural consequences of homosexuality. Poor health effects of homosexuality are well known: greater-than-normal sexually transmitted diseases, higher suicide rates, and greater mental disorders. Tragically, the very child abuse that often causes homosexuality produces yet more child abuse. Publications by the gay community, the academic community, and the American Psychological Association clearly state the relationship between homosexuality and pedophilia (with pedophiles characterized not as child abusers but people who want to help children express their sexuality). Pre-pubescent children “expressing their sexuality” may be natural in today’s world, but they are not moral. Alas, the long-term damage of deviating from God’s design in such a manner is completely ignored in those publications.
Homosexual couples who decide they want to adopt children necessarily share with single-parent families the absence of one or the other sex. The absence makes it very difficult for children to learn the vital roles that God has designed for both men and women: namely, how each sex complements the other in living diverse roles. Homosexual families thus inherit some of the worst features of incomplete or dysfunctional straight families. Commenting upon the increase in “unconventional families” deliberately based upon a single parent for both reproduction and child rearing (by both homosexuals and heterosexuals), Elizabeth Marquardt argued, “Such a family structure is seen as being fine for children. And the only reason this change has occurred is because—increasingly in the eyes of society’s leaders—an adult’s right to children outweighs children’s hardwired need for their mother and their father.” Given this mode of thought, one wonders if children have now been reduced to a new kind of pet and/or status symbol.
The explanation of biblical marriage during a wedding service, therefore, needs to reinforce the supremacy of Scripture as the ultimate ethical authority over all human authorities – including civil government – in directing the couple’s life together. None know enough concerning God’s design of marriage, with its resulting actual or virtual family (e.g. a childless couple who adopt children or minister to children), to make decisions without his guidance. The consequences of violating God’s design of human sexuality are the increase of destruction throughout the social order. Too much damage from foolish decisions already exists in the culture. More is not needed. C. S. Lewis wisely wrote,
The most dangerous thing you can do is to take any one impulse of your own nature and set it up as the thing you ought to follow at all costs. There is not one of them which will not make us into devils if we set it up as an absolute guide. You might think love of humanity in general was safe, but it is not. If you leave out justice you will find yourself breaking agreements and faking evidence in trials “for the sake of humanity”, and become in the end a cruel and treacherous man.
An External Critique of P3
The homosexual lobby’s insistence upon overt public expression is why it demands a “marriage” status from state legislatures and why it is not willing to compromise by accepting a “civil union” status. Behind this demand for total acceptance is an all too infrequently admitted resignation to the lifelong inevitability of overwhelming homosexual desires. Vitagliano described the martyr-like frustration of “gay and lesbian friends who sadly say, ‘Do you think I would choose this lifestyle for myself—with all the mockery and suffering it has brought me?’” In addition to this frustration, there is often a sense of shame that explains the widespread use of the word “pride” in public announcements of gay events (a “feel-good” use of the exact antonym of shame). A troubled conscience needs a proud face. The gay life in reality is not consistently “gay.”
The idea that homosexuality “ought to be publicly expressible and not repressed” needs to be reinterpreted by the doctrines of biblical anthropology and regeneration in Christ. With an authority that no academic or psychological group possesses, God revealed the universal human condition and his miraculous work.
And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh and of the mind, and were by nature the children of wrath, just as the others (Eph 2:1-3).
The fallen condition is true of all humanity, not just homosexuals. All mankind is subject to constant temptations toward evil, and everyone is held accountable for his or her responses to these solicitations. If one yields to temptations and publicly expresses them in behavior, one commits personal sin.
Biblical anthropology acknowledges that while originally created in God’s image, humanity is also fallen beings in need of redemption. The biblical concept of depravity includes what are termed feelings, desires, dispositions, and mental attitudes (not just outward behavior). The principle that pre-behavioral lusts are more needful of attention than overt behavior was revealed in Jesus’ exposition of the Ten Commandments within the Sermon on the Mount. In Romans 1, Paul’s critique of pagan society included not only homosexual behavior but also the homosexual “lusts” and “passions” that precede such behavior, in addition to similar propensities toward other sins (1:24-27, 29-32). Some Christians assert a distinction between the inner propensity toward homosexual desire, which they consider ethically neutral, and the outward behavior, which they deem as sinful; but that distinction is not scriptural. Though the temptation or solicitation toward homosexuality is not sinful, mentally entertaining it and lusting for it are as sinful as they are for any other area of life.
There is one thing special about homosexuality. Paul ended his analysis in Romans 1 with this statement regarding depraved humanity: “who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them” (Rom 1:32). Notice, in his statement, that approval of the social expression of the mental attitude sins, sins of the tongue, and overt sins listed in 3:29-31 is worse than the expression itself! When pagan society morally approves of the public expressions of sin that it did not previously, they are observing what the late U.S. Senator Daniel Moynihan 20 years ago called “defining deviancy down.” Senator Moynihan proved that when social behavior morally deteriorates, the common social standards judging such behavior also necessarily worsen. According to Paul, when homosexuality appears widespread enough to warrant special attention, it is evidence that God is withdrawing his restraints. As that happens, social ethical standards deteriorate universally. Homosexuality is thus a kind of “litmus test” for the spiritual state of a society. Due to the frustration and shame it causes, those overwhelmed by its power formulate their entire personal identity around it in a manner that is unlike those with other sinful addictions. Homosexuals tend to see themselves primarily as homosexuals, not as ordinary members of a fallen race who are sinful like everyone else. Their political agenda, therefore, demands free expression that requires that society publicly approve of them (as Paul stated).
Beyond biblical anthropology is biblical redemption. The biblical response to those who grapple with homosexual feelings should differ fundamentally from how society at large would respond. Biblical anthropology and redemption in Christ make a difference. As trained Bible-believing counselor Pastor Kevin Carson approached a homosexual counselee called “Jason” (not his real name), he described how he analyzed Jason’s responses to his queries concerning his behavior.
Do I see him as the product of his biological make-up or his genetic code, the result of a poor relationship with his same-sex parent, the outcome of early sexual stimuli, or one fearing rejection by others due to low self-esteem? If I accept contemporary secular explanations for homosexuality as part of the cause, then I am ultimately accepting culture as the authority for understanding and helping Jason. Or I can take the perspective that the ultimate cause of Jason’s homosexual behavior is his sinful heart and that all of these important pieces of data make up various significant influences or pressures to which his sinful heart responded.
Carson’s discussion of sin is not hate-mongering, but quite the opposite; it is actually good news for the homosexual because it means he can be free of the annoying burden just like any other believer can be freed from sin. Will he have a prolonged and difficult journey? Yes. However, the rewards are many because homosexual feelings are but a part of a larger amalgamation of spiritual problems that the person possesses. As Pastor Carson discovered, Jason’s problem was not just homosexuality. Describing the combination of problems, he wrote this list:
- lives for his feelings;
- craves attention from others;
- longs for affection, affirmation, relationship, acceptance;
- some rebellion against the legalism of his church
and against his parents; and,
Carson continued, “As you scan this initial list, you will notice a striking absence: the sin of homosexuality is not even on the list yet. This is because it is one issue among many.”
After difficulties during many months of weekly counseling, Jason learned how to manage and overcome his homosexual feelings. Commenting upon his progress toward the end of this period, Carson wrote:
In a recent conversation I asked him how his struggle was going. To my delight we talked for 30 minutes as he expressed many different pressure-filled situations, but same-sex attraction never came up. It was not even on his mind as one of his most pressing struggles. . . . When we stop to minister to someone like Jason, we must be vigilant to see his sin for what it really is–not what the culture teaches. . . . The reality is that every one of the issues surrounding Jason’s life could be equally true of heterosexuals.”
God’s Word through its gospel message of redemption in Christ establishes an entirely new option to the homosexual besides the “either-or” dilemma of P3. God can work today in lives of homosexuals as he worked 2000 years ago in Corinth (1 Cor 6:9).
Summary of the External Critique
The gay paradigm has been subjected in this external critique to biblical authority and content rather than examining it internally (as with the internal critique). The three propositions not only suffer from internal logical problems, but they are also based in a false view of reality (P1), a denial of God’s capacity to reveal how human sexuality is designed to function (P2), and ignorance of the power of redemption in Christ (P3). The pastor or other officiating person in the wedding service can assume that some attendees are unaware not only of the logical fallacies of the homosexual propaganda but also of the pertinent biblical truths – even those attendees who have attended biblically-based church services for years.
To summarize this section addressing the homosexual case for altering the definition of marriage, one may conclude that its persuasive power has been due not to its underlying logic but to its manipulative use of connotative words that create the illusion of moral superiority. To cite Francis Schaeffer, terms like “fair,” “equal,” and “just” have given the American public the illusion of communication and content. Consequently, the ruling political and media elite and an increasing number of citizens at large think that it is fairer to adjust marriage to meet these demands than to leave it as an unalterable institution designed by God for one man and one woman. A biblical wedding service which presents marriage as a divine institution now directly conflicts with civil authority.
SEPARATING CIVIL MARRIAGE FROM ECCLESIASTICAL MARRIAGE
Marriage, civil government, and the church are divinely-designed and divinely-authorized structures according to the Bible. The separate spheres of governance differ profoundly, however, in that marriage began at creation and is therefore an integral part of human life. Furthermore, marriage was made to endure until the end of mortal history. Civil government, conversely, came millennia afterwards as a result of the Fall and subsequent failure of early human civilization; it is God’s means to manage man’s depraved social existence. The church also came later – at Pentecost – as the community of believers separate from the rest of mankind for this age under the authority of Christ and the Bible. Therefore, marriage has the prior claim; it consists of a loving personal relationship between one man and one woman for the growth of civilization.
As part of its divinely-commissioned function to restrain societal chaos, the state supports the marriage institution by establishing licenses or contracts. Marriage contracts define responsibilities for things like property ownership, child-rearing, terms of dissolution (divorce), and tax payments. In recent times, as the U.S. civil government has absorbed more of the messianic Babel vision, its efforts to regulate marriage now include specifying qualifications for civil benefits. The church’s concern for marriage differs from that of the state; believers are concerned with evangelizing unsaved couples, nourishing marriages of believers as part of the sanctification process, and injecting biblical wisdom concerning the purpose of marriage into society, including having a political influence where participatory citizenship exists. The church’s historic interest in marriage is called the ecclesiastical component and the state’s interest is called the civil component.
William Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England is a classic text that put English common law into consistent written form and became a primary source for colonial American law. The following citation from Blackstone addresses the distinction between the separate interests of civil law and ecclesiastical law pertaining to marriage.
OUR law considers marriage in no other light than as a civil contract. The Holiness of the matrimonial state is left entirely to the ecclesiastical law: the temporal courts not having jurisdiction to consider unlawful marriages as a sin, but merely as a civil inconvenience. The punishment therefore, or annulling, of incestuous or other unscriptural marriages, is the province of the spiritual courts; which act pro salute animae [for the health of their souls]. And, taking it in this civil light, the law treats it as it does all other contracts; allowing it to be good and valid in all cases, where the parties at the time of making it were, in the first place, willing to contract; secondly, able to contract; and, lastly, actually did contract, in the proper forms and solemnities required by law.
The state’s interest in marriage is based upon the legal contract and restraining the neglect of the contractual responsibilities. The church’s interest is based upon whether the marriage is biblically authorized and growing spiritually. The role of Christian church officials in establishing (solemnizing) the civil marriage contract in England at the time was viewed by Blackstone as a peripheral matter for the convenience of the state rather than as something required by biblical law.
It is held to be also essential to a marriage, that it be performed by a person in orders; though the intervention of a priest to solemnize this contract is merely juris positivi [of civil law], and not juris naturalis aut divini [of natural or divine law]: it being said that pope Innocent the third was the first who ordained the celebration of marriage in the church; before which it was totally a civil contract.”
A Christian wedding expresses the church’s interest in establishing a biblically authorized marriage and securing a commitment for it to grow in wisdom and love of God. The wedding is conducted within a gathering of interested persons with, at least, a core of believers to witness the taking of oaths and to hear a scriptural explanation of what constitutes the marriage relationship. Accompanying that is the challenge for believers to support the new relationship with all the assets that Christ has given to his body. The pastor thus acts chiefly as an under-shepherd of Jesus Christ. Within the sphere of a biblically-submissive fellowship of Christians, the new marriage can mature in a positive manner. The church’s interest thus exceeds the civil state’s negative interest which is merely a restraining concern against social chaos. The pastor’s role as an agent of civil government in a wedding, while convenient logistically, is actually supplementary to the most important event as far as church interests are concerned.
However, by acting as an agent of civil government, the pastor necessarily comes under the authority of his state. The right to pronounce the formation of a legally binding contract of a couple “by the laws of this state” only can be granted by the state. The state controls what its agents can, cannot, and must do. Currently, states which have adopted same-sex marriage have granted “exception” clauses to “allow” ministers to officiate in establishing contracts where the couple remains one-man-and-one-woman. However, this granted right could be removed at any time by the civil authority of the state. With the new approach by a state that treats marriage as a changeable social construct, the pastor as an agent of that state can potentially be required to perform marriages where the parties could be two homosexuals, three or more polygamists, or some other combination. Bizarre? Yes, but it was only a few years ago that same-sex marriages would have been considered bizarre. Reports have already appeared from Europe where civil authorities are contemplating forcing ministers, particularly those in state churches, to perform same-sex marriages.
Under these circumstances, the interests of the state and of the church come into increasing conflict. As mentioned in the first section of this article, the ever-present tension between these two spheres of authority is evident once again. The state that redefines marriage is no longer trustworthy as the protector of God’s design so the church should no longer solemnize its marriage contract. Christians rely here upon the separation of church and state which predates the First Amendment. Eighteen hundred years previous to that Amendment, the Lord Jesus taught that believers are to render unto Caesar his rightful due and unto God his due (Matt 22:21; Luke 20:25). A number of evangelical groups are already looking at separation from civil policies that are aimed at destroying God-designed marriage. Marriage between one man and one woman is God’s design and the church must do what it can to nourish and strengthen it. All other things being equal, living in accordance with God’s designs has superior economic, health, and social benefits compared to pagan lifestyles.
Once the local church leadership decides upon this separation, there are some procedures that should be taken. Church bylaws should be revised explicitly to declare the biblical definition of marriage and that only that definition will be considered for wedding services. The Pacific Justice Institute, a nonprofit legal defense group that specializes in church-state issues in California has a website of suggested wording for such bylaws. Alliance Defending Freedom also provides information on this topic in addition to marriage law in general. Church leaders should also consult with legal counsel on whether to end any policy for renting the church property for weddings to the general public. Renting can be considered a business, and recent court decisions compel Christian business owners to compromise their faith and accommodate all public persons. Generally, it is considered wise for churches to get their beliefs in writing before a dispute arises; otherwise in a court of law it could appear as if something were done after the fact as an attempt to hide hostility to gays. Furthermore, it is also a wise step to formally notify state authorities that the church is no longer acting as their agent in conducting wedding services.
Sadly, this action will require the couple to go to other agents beyond the church (e.g. justices of the peace) to establish their civil marriage contract. The church does not cause the logistical inconvenience; it is caused by the state in replacing biblical marriage with a changeable social construct.
In response to recent state governments changing the definition of marriage and thereby affirming that marriage is merely a social construct subject to change, the proposal herein is that local church leadership in those state jurisdictions cease performing the civil function of solemnizing the civil marriage contract. Church and state are separate spheres of divinely-authorized governance. One should not intrude upon the other’s sphere. When the state enforces same-sex marriage upon its citizens, it has intruded upon the domain of the church by denying that marriage is exclusively for one man and one woman and potentially requiring the pastor or other officiating person to accept that definition. By so doing, the state claims authority over God’s authority in defining marriage.
The homosexual lobby is chiefly responsible for redefining marriage. The article herein has demonstrated that its case has been persuasive only because of its skilled manipulation of terms like “just,” “fair,” and “equal” to give the appearance of moral superiority over biblical marriage. However, appearance is not substance. The underlying paradigm is ambiguous, arbitrary, and logically fallacious. Moreover, it relies upon a false view of reality, a denial of God’s capacity to reveal how human sexuality is designed to function, and ignores the power of redemption in Christ. The ruling and media elite accepted the homosexual agenda emotionally and thoughtlessly. As a result, an increasing percent of the public influenced by them is now predisposed to view biblical marriage as unjust, unfair, and unequal.
Local church leaders in same-sex states, therefore, should take appropriate action now to defend biblical marriage, protect their religious freedom, and formally notify their state authorities that they no longer will serve as agents of their state regarding marriage. Weddings should include a robust and persuasive defense of one-man-one-woman marriage for those attendees who either have accepted the new view of marriage or are not certain how to speak as an ambassador for Christ (see Appendix 1). The pastor and any other officiating person should cease functioning as an agent of the state in establishing its marriage contract. Couples seeking to marry will have to go to other state authorities to establish their civil contract. To make it apparent to their state civil leadership that the church will no longer support the civil component of marriage, the church should formally notify the governor and its legislative representatives (see Appendix 2).
WEDDING SERVICE SUGGESTIONS
Each wedding is different depending upon the circumstances. One of the common circumstances, however, is the attendance of those who now are predisposed to view a biblical marriage – being a relationship exclusively for one-man-and-one-woman – as unjust, unfair, bigoted, and simply old-fashioned and outdated. Other attendees, even those who have attended Bible-believing churches for years, might feel uncomfortable or poorly equipped to defend biblical marriage to their peers and acquaintances. Therefore, the current wedding service has become an ideological “battleground” subtly or overtly.
However, the wedding service also is the pastor’s “home turf.” He is the officiating authority representing Jesus Christ. The pastor cannot control the media messaging the attendees have heard, but he can control what they hear during the service. He has to be careful not to fulfill the homosexual lobby’s caricature of Christians as gay-haters so in the limited time he has in the wedding service he cannot engage in a direct refutation of same-sex marriage. An indirect strategy is wiser. Herein is the reasoning with some suggestions that follow.
An indirect strategy will present biblical truths that imply conclusions opposite to the homosexual paradigm without explicitly saying as much. In internal and external critiques of the paradigm provided earlier in this article, some primary targets for biblical counterattack were mentioned.
Target #1: False view of reality
- Reference creation as a literal historic event, which exposes a metaphysical gulf between the Bible and popular evolutionary nature religion.
- Reference how man and woman are sexually differentiated (Gen 2) and how that differs from that of animals (Gen 1). Sexual differentiation in mankind is greater in mankind than in animals; it includes the psychological and spiritual besides the reproductive aspects. Moreover, it reveals spiritual truths of how God relates to man (cf. Hos; Eph), which implies that marriage is based in God’s design and is not merely a social construction by human society.
- Reference the Fall as a literal historic event that affects men and women in sexually distinct ways (Gen 3), as this reinforces the depth of human sexual design.
- Conclude that human sexual identity in the Bible is by God’s objective once-for-all design, not by subjective changing feelings.
Target #2: Assumed silence or non-existence of God and the speculations of man
- Reference the historic, logically-consistent, self-disclosure of God in word and action over millennia of time to a diversity of people, which exposes an epistemological and ethical diversity between the Bible and the widely-varying speculations of man.
- Reference how God as Creator alone has perfect knowledge of how humanity ought to think with regard to marriage, as this implies that the imperatives of the Bible are superior to the moral musings of man, especially fallen man, and superior to social consensus expressed in civil law (note the epistemic implication of Rom 3:4).
- Reference the purpose of marriage of man and wife to support civilization either through birthing and raising godly children, or exercising godly influences on adoptive or other children, as this implies that both sexes are necessary to fulfill marriage’s purpose.
- Conclude that God’s Word alone is sufficient for entering into and fulfilling the designated purpose of one-man-one-woman marriage, not the conjectures of limited man.
Target #3: Hopelessness of being ensnared by homosexual feelings
- Reference the universal need for personal redemption in Christ. Present the gospel with an emphasis upon the “universal” aspect that communicates a situation “fair” to all so that homosexuality is not seen as something so unique that it is unrelated.
- Reference the hope of spiritual growth (sanctification) that can overcome every spiritual obstacle whether an addiction, depression, or anger. By not mentioning homosexuality, the focus remains upon generic sin as already mentioned in the pastoral counseling example, which again undermines the claim that homosexuality is somehow unique.
- Reference the possibility that the marriage never ought to end in divorce, if both man and woman submit to God’s revealed instructions for family life, as this denies that someone could be “ensnared” by some sin pattern.
- Conclude that no test, no pressure, no addiction has the power to confine and halt the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit in those who have believed in Christ for eternal life.
Finally, the church ought to create a formal document replacing the marriage license, which certifies that marital vows were exchanged under the authority delegated to the pastor from God through the Bible. The document could also mention the pledge by those present to support the new marriage with prayer, encouragement, and other aid. At the end of the wedding service, the couple would then possess two formal documents: the civil license and the church certification.
A SAMPLE LETTER TO CIVIL AUTHORITIES
There are, at least, two reasons to inform the state authorities of a church’s decision to resign from participation in the civil marriage procedures. First, it alerts them to several important truths they often overlook. One truth is that changing the law never eliminates discrimination because by definition every law specifies behaviors that society will not tolerate and will therefore punish. Changing a law, therefore, merely redirects discrimination against different behaviors. In the case of adopting same-sex marriage, the state refrains from discriminating against same-sex marriages but continues to discriminate against incestuous, polyamorous, and pedophilial marriages while adding a new discrimination against those who limit marriage to one-man-one-woman in public speech and actions. Another overlooked truth is that no less than two entire worldviews are in conflict here so that the state cannot find a place of neutrality; it has to rule on either the pagan side or on the Judeo-Christian side. In the case of a same-sex marriage state, the civil authorities have unwittingly begun an official persecution against the Christian faith. They need to be reminded that the new law forces their Bible-believing Christian constituents to deny their faith and live in the public square as virtual pagans.
A second reason for an official letter is that it formally establishes a date when the church’s pastor no longer can be considered an agent of the state; it thus eliminates any further state requirements regarding civil marriage for him to meet. Moreover, it also eliminates any claim of discrimination by a gay couple whose same sex wedding the pastor refuses to conduct. The pastor becomes completely free to conduct wedding services authorized by God in Scripture without any state controls and compromises. Such a letter implements the true version of separation of church and state taught by Jesus long before modern First Amendment controversies. In those states where a federal judge has ruled that the state cannot ban same-sex marriage and the state has proceeded to legalize it as a consequence of the judge’s decision, it might also be prudent to address an official letter to that judge in addition to the governor and pertinent state legislature representatives. The following sample letter should be typed on official church stationery.
TO: [Governor, State Legislator(s)]
Dear [Proper title of address]
The enclosed letter is to inform you of [church’s name] carefully considered response to the redefinition of marriage [would be best to name the piece of legislation exactly with its date] by the State of [state name]. By redefining marriage, the State of [ ] has made it impossible to affirm in the wedding service both the biblical view of an unalterable divinely-established institution and the new civil view of an alterable social construct. We therefore have decided to separate the civil and ecclesiastical components as defined in English common law by William Blackstone. We must respect the teachings of Jesus Christ that distinguish your civil authority from God’s authority (“Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s,” Matt 22:21). Your authority extends over the civil aspect of marriage. Our authority as a local church of Bible-believing Christians extends over the ecclesiastical aspect.
Therefore, we will henceforth refer couples seeking to be married to justices-of-the-peace and others under the state’s authority for licensing of the marriage contract. Our pastors will no longer act as agents of the State of [ ] by conducting civil marriages. The state, therefore, cannot require them to perform same-sex or other unbiblical forms of marriage. They will instead perform only ecclesiastical marriage services according to biblical doctrine.
Since the state’s action appears to have been taken without any serious discussion of the reality and truth claims underlying this new, historically unprecedented view of marriage, we want to include the reasons for our response. Contrary to what has often been emotionally stated, as Bible-believing Christians we do not hate homosexuals. People can love while adhering to diverse ethical standards, as any family well knows. However, like all residents of [state name] we do try to live by an ethical standard that we believe is true to reality. We certainly consider that ethical standard when we are called upon by [state name] to accept a radical alteration in the very basic structure of our society.
Our ethical standard is based upon the biblical claim of divine revelation, which encompasses more than three millennia. Since this Judeo-Christian tradition has always been opposed by pagan culture, the current ethical differences between adherents of each view are not new or surprising. The Bible states that God established marriage at creation, not arbitrarily, but based upon divine design of the human male and female — a design that purposefully includes anatomical, psychological, and spiritual differences for the advancement of civilization. In our view, therefore, it cannot be considered as a construct by human society and thus is not subject to arbitrary changes.
Civil marriage and family law (as with all legislation) necessarily discriminates against, and thereby restrains, destructive behaviors that would weaken the institution and thus undermine a moral society. Therefore, when those laws change, the discrimination criteria also change. Therefore, it is not surprising that the biblical view of marriage is increasingly being discriminated against in government, business, and education. We recognize that those in civil positions of authority – regardless of your personal viewpoint – must enforce the new law and discriminate against our belief. To minimize conflict between the church and state, therefore, we have decided to avoid participating in the civil aspect during our wedding services.
We recognize the extremely difficult job you face in trying to govern a society with such profoundly conflicting worldviews. We will continue to honor your office by respecting your civil authority and will pray for you as the Bible commands.
[signed by church leadership]
A SAMPLE EXCHANGE WITH A FEDERAL LEGISLATOR
CONCERNING THE MANIPULATIVE USE OF WORDS
In early January 2014, the U.S. Congress was considering two bills a result of the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) decision in United States vs. Windsor regarding the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that had defined marriage at the federal level as the union of one-man-one-woman. While invalidating the definition part of DOMA, that decision did not redefine marriage for the nation and left that action to the individual states. A more recent bill, H.R. 3829, attempted to prevent the bestowal of federal benefits for same-sex couples residing in states that had not changed the traditional definition of marriage. One of this author’s sons urged his Congressman to support that bill, entitled “State Marriage Defense Act of 2014.”
Notice, in the following reply, that the Congressman avoided that bill entirely and then attempted to agree with my son using a second, completely different bill (H.R. 2523, “Respect for Marriage Act”) that would allow federal benefits to same-sex couples if they were married in a state or U.S. territory that had changed the definition of marriage but now resided in a state that had not changed the definition. The two bills accomplish opposite objectives. The first and third paragraphs are standard text that many federal legislators use in their replies to constituents. In the second paragraph, however, the Congressman used the expressions “equal rights for all Americans” and “marriage discrimination” in the manipulative method discussed in the second section of this article.
The text below is the actual response my son received on official letterhead from the Congress of the United States, House of Representatives, Washington DC. Inclusion of that letter’s content is intended to be illustrative – not to indict any particular party nor to vilify one particular member of Congress (as there are certain many others who would reply similarly) – and thus the specific Congressman’s name has been obscured.
January 10, 2014
Mr. Jonathan Clough
8917 Arley Drive
Springfield, VA 22153-1504
Dear Mr. Clough,
Thank you for contacting me with respect to gay marriage. I appreciate the opportunity to hear from you about this issue. Your views are important to me.
I believe in equal rights for all Americans, and I will not support attempts by government to control decisions of churches or other places of worship with respect to this issue. I am a cosponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act, which would eliminate marriage discrimination.
Once again, thank you for expressing your concern on this very important issue. I appreciate hearing from you. For more information on my views on other issues, please feel free to visit my website at http://connolly.house.gov. I also encourage you to visit the website to sign up for my e-newsletter.
Gerald E. Connolly
Member of Congress
11th District, Virginia
My son perceived the semantic manipulation and responded to the lack of logical argument in his Congressman’s use of the word “discrimination.” Note how the response demonstrated that discrimination is not eliminated by such “progressive” legislation; it is only relocated (i.e. the truth has been totally suppressed in all the marriage redefinition propaganda).
Sent: Friday, January 10, 2014 11:59 PM
To: Congressman Gerald E. Connolly
Cc: Jonathan Clough
Subject: RE: Responding to your message
Thank you for your response, sir, but it’s clear you did not read or understand my original correspondence that prompted your letter. So, please allow me to repeat myself and hopefully clarify my message.
I requested that you support the State Marriage Defense Act of 2014 (H.R. 3829), not the doublespeak-labeled “Respect for Marriage Act” (H.R. 2523), which, as you well know, is specifically designed to nullify DOMA, effectively “un-defining” and disrespecting natural marriage as understood for all of recorded human history, not to mention specifically discriminating against anyone who holds this historic/traditional view.
And yes, it will discriminate against them — one only has to look at states that have endorsed gay “marriage” to observe the legal juggernaut brought to bear against small businessmen and women seeking to live within the dictates of their conscience on this matter (e.g. Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Denver, CO, Barronelle Stutzman of Arlene’s Flowers in Richland, WA, Aaron & Melissa Klein of SweetCakes by Mellissa in Gresham, OR, or Blaine Adamson of Hands On Originals in Lexington, KY, to list a few.)
While you and your staff can slyly employ platitudes like “eliminate marriage discrimination”, you know very well such verbiage is devoid of real meaning. Every law discriminates, by definition — they discriminate against behaviors or relationships deemed harmful to individuals or communities at large. All you’re doing is seeking to change what categories of relationships the Federal government discriminates against.
The Federal government discriminates against incestuous, poly-amorous, and pedophilial marriages today, and it will continue to do so, even if the “Respect for Marriage” act is ever passed. So please, let’s agree to communicate with clarity on this issue, and drop the rhetorical camouflage. Marriage discrimination will continue to occur, and it must for marriage law to have any distinct meaning whatsoever. The question is whether the Federal government continues to discriminate natural marriage from unnatural gay “marriage”, along with the other perversions listed earlier.
In light of blatant Federal over-reach (exemplified as recently as today’s Department of Justice recognition of Utah’s briefly legal same-sex “marriages” in spite of a still-pending court ruling on the matter), I am requesting you throw your support behind the State Marriage Defense Act. This bill will reaffirm what the Supreme Court affirmed in their U.S. v Winsor ruling, namely:
“The recognition of civil marriages is central to state domestic relations law applicable to its residents and citizens.”
“The definition of marriage is the foundation of the State’s broader authority to regulate the subject of domestic relations…”
“Consistent with this allocation of authority, the Federal Government, through our history, has deferred to state law policy decisions with respect to domestic relations.” (all quotes from page 17, Opinion of the Court, U.S. v Winsor)
As I’m certain you were a fan of this ruling, I’m confident you will agree with the Court’s opinions regarding State authority on the matter as noted above and offer your support to the State Marriage Defense Act. I strongly encourage you to do so. Otherwise you are putting Virginia’s state constitutional amendment banning gay “marriage” at grave risk.
While nothing legislatively significant may result from this exchange, at least, two consequences follow. One or more of the Congressman’s staff will become aware that some constituents now perceive the attempts to distract from the issues. Secondly, those who read this exchange will gain skill to challenge the semantic manipulation should they encounter it and to compel conversations toward a more rational and mature level.
 Federal employees and members of the military who believe the Bible are increasing targets of anti-Christian bigotry. In a recent example, gay activists demanded that the USAF Academy dismiss one of their civilian analysts merely because he worked on his own time for Exodus (a ministry helping homosexuals seeking to follow the Lord to leave the lifestyle) and Focus on the Family (Stephen Losey, “Academy Stands by Controversial ‘Ex-Gay’ Official” [article online] [AirForceTimes, 20 December 2013, accessed 23 January 2014] available from http://www.airforcetimes.com/article/20131220/NEWS/312200018/Academy-stands-by-controversial-ex-gay-official). Recent examples of criminal charges against Bible-believing business men and women seeking to live within the dictates of their conscience regarding the definition of marriage include the following: Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop (Denver, CO); Barronelle Stutzman of Arlene’s Flowers (Richland, WA); Aaron and Melissa Klein of SweetCakes by Mellissa (Gresham, OR); and, Blaine Adamson of Hands on Originals (Lexington, KY).
 The term “pagan” here is used in a technical way to mean the disbelief in the revelational authority of the Old and New Testaments and the metaphysical, epistemological, and ethical consequences that reshape society. The definition is the same as that used by Encyclopedia Britannica editor, Mortimer J. Adler in his book How To Think About God: A Guide for the 20th-Century Pagan (New York: MacMillan, 1980). Since everyone utilizes an ultimate authority, that authority never disappears; it is simply relocated.
The motivational parallels here with the Old Testament “sin of Jeroboam” are becoming remarkably obvious. Fay Voshell recently wrote on the American Thinker website regarding the federal government’s health care assault upon religious beliefs: “In direct contradiction of the First Amendment, which forbids the establishing of a state religion, the Obama administration is busily doing just that. . . . It is establishing the faith of secular statism, a religion currently characterized by the tenets of radical progressivism. Statism is rapidly becoming the only faith in America allowed to operate with complete freedom. . . .Government enforcement of the religion of statism, which includes the belief in the supreme higher power and authority of an absolute State, is nowhere more apparent than in the case of the Little Sisters of the Poor. Whatever the eventual fate of the sisters, their case is an example of our administration trying to force state religion down the throats of Christians” (“Establishing a U.S. State Religion” [article online] [American Thinker, 10 January 2014, accessed 23 January 2014] available from http://www.americanthinker.com/2014/01/establishing_a_us_ state_religion.html).
 Democratic Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg explained that certain gay-rights activists “don’t want any kind of religious exemption” (Ken Klukowski, “NJ Stalls Same-Sex Marriage Bill to Kill Religious Protections” [article online] [Breitbart, 18 December 2013, accessed 9 January 2014] available from http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2013/12/18/War-on-Christians-in-New-Jersey). They are demanding that the law allow for full and vigorous prosecution under anti-discrimination and public accommodation laws of anyone who will not embrace and celebrate homosexual marriage.
 The recent pluralist argument that the state must accommodate beliefs that go to the extreme of rejecting the philosophical common law foundation of the United States Constitution and its laws is itself a radically innovative philosophical dogmatism. Alan Sears, president of Alliance Defending Freedom, wrote in his introduction to Patrick Henry College professor Robert Stacey’s book Sir William Blackstone: The Common Law (Powder Springs, GA: American Vision Press, 2008) as follows: “The common law, contrary to what critics have said, did not establish Christianity as an oppressive state religion. Blackstone wrote that the law of England (and eventually that of America), ‘gives liberty, rightly understood, that is, protection, to a Jew, a Turk, or a heathen, as well as to those that profess the true religion of Christ.’ Those founding fathers that were not devoted Christians still shared the understanding of the religious underpinnings of the common law and accepted the fact that our country was being founded on Christian principles. This was true religious liberty, a freedom that protected all people of faith and favored no religion above another, but acknowledged that all law came from God, not from man” (p. 14, emphasis supplied). Like every belief system, pluralism contains its own ultimate authority, and this recent form of legal pluralism tries to extend the notion of accommodation to include both beliefs in the Creator/creature distinction and pagan denials of that distinction. In the first view, the Creator is the source of law; in the second, man is its source. The state cannot logically accommodate the two mutually conflicting concepts. Consequently, states like Maryland and others that redefine marriage have shifted the basis of their laws to a pagan belief system under which law is derived wholly from man. There is then no transcendental standard to inform the conscience regarding a law. Conscience thus cannot claim any higher authority than individual, subjective opinion or a statistical compilation of such opinion. All citizens of these states regardless of their personal faith are now compelled to live their lives in the public square as functional pagans.
 As cited by Ryan Anderson in his essay entitled “What Three Dissents Signal for Marriage’s Future” [article online] (RedState, 2 July 2013, accessed 9 January 2014) available from http://www.redstate.com/users/ryantanderson. Anderson is a co-author of the book What is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense (Encounter, 2012) with Princeton University scholars Sherif Girgis and Robert P George.
 Francis A Schaeffer, The God Who is There (Chicago: InterVarsity, 1968) 57.
 For a recent example of how one Congressman categorized the traditional marriage view as “marriage discrimination,” but was properly challenged on his manipulative vocabulary by one of his evangelical constituents, see Appendix 3.
 During their campaign for same-sex marriage, the gay lobbyists and their media allies, such as The Baltimore Sun, ridiculed the “slippery slope” argument that such redefinition would grant freedom to any conceivable “loving” relationship. However, in December 2013, the federal judge in the United States District Court in Utah ruled that the state’s anti-polygamy law is unconstitutional (in spite of the U.S. Supreme Court’s DOMA decision that refused federal interference with existing state marriage laws). Albert Mohler commented, “If marriage can be redefined in terms of gender, it can easily be redefined in terms of number” (“Moral Mayhem Multiplied—Now, It’s Polygamy’s Turn” [article online] [AlbertMohler.com, 16 December 2013, accessed 9 January 2014] available from http://www.albertmohler.com/2013/12/16/moral-mahem-multiplied-now-its-polygamys-turn). In addition to Mohler’s notion, marriage can now be defined in terms of non-human partners. A French city mayor recently blessed a marriage between a woman and a bridge! See how far this foolishness can be applied in the following: Sara Malm, “Rock-solid Love” [article online] (MailOnline, 5 July 2013, accessed 23 January 2014) available from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/ news/ article-2356774/Australian-woman-Jodi-Rose-marries-bridge-France-gets-mayors-blessing.html.
 The authors were Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen. Madsen wrote the earlier article under the pseudonym Erastes Pill. See documentation and complete discussion of this well-executed strategy to transform public perceptions in The Homosexual Agenda: Exposing the Principal Threat to Religious Freedom Today (Nashville: B&H Publishing, 2003) by Alan Sears and Craig Osten. With its apparent victory for social acceptance, the agenda now is affecting the public schools by convincing prepubescent elementary students to begin experimenting with homosexuality. The manipulative use of words is evident with terms, such as “anti-bullying” and “making schools safe for all students,” that create the illusion of moral superiority. Use of such terminology deliberately distracts observers from ethical evaluation of such projects.
 For years, liberal churches have been adopting this practice regarding other matters. Therefore, the Presbyterian Church USA excluded the hymn “In Christ Alone” from their new hymnal because members objected to the line “On that cross as Jesus died, the wrath of God was satisfied” and wanted the writers (Keith Getty and Stuart Townsend) to replace the last clause with “The love of God was magnified.” Mary Louise Bringle, the chairwoman for the hymnal committee, explained in the August 2013 issue of The Christian Century magazine that the committee did not want to claim that Jesus’ death on the cross was an atoning sacrifice needed to assuage God’s anger toward sin. Love here is clearly divorced from a justice based in God’s revealed essence when, ironically, the same Presbyterian Church USA has been involved in numerous political campaigns in the name of “justice.” Thankfully, Getty and Townsend refused to change the hymn so the Presbyterian Church USA exercised its anti-biblical dogmatism by omitting it from their hymnal.
 The silly idea that because one ethically disagrees with someone’s behavior, one must hate them is easily refuted by observing parental disagreement with their children’s behavior. Do parents “hate” their children because they differ with their children’s choices? Moreover, this idea is self-refuting. Homosexuals ethically disagree with those of biblical faith so they must hate them. They make conclusions in exactly the same manner as they accuse others of doing.
 See, for example, the excellent compendium complied by Wayne Grudem, Politics According to the Bible (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2010), especially chapter 7 addressing marriage and the law (pp. 213-44).
 Ed Vitagliano, “Piercing the Gay Paradigm,” AFA Journal 37 (September 2013): 8, 10-11.
 The noun “feelings” is used as a class label for the varied and usually undefined terminology used in this debate which would also include terms such as “attractions,” “orientation,” “disposition,” “desires,” etc.
 All quotes included herein are from the New King James Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1997). The author herein is indebted to Dr. Greg Bahnsen who in his various lectures and writings identified the application of these texts in Proverbs for internal and external apologetic critiques.
 The same problem occurs when neo-Darwinian evolution is introduced into the discussion as a supporting proposition for P1. Since man is said to be a highly evolved animal, human behavioral characteristics are often thought to be a sort of evolutionary legacy. Homoerotic behavior is observed throughout the animal world. Therefore, the reasoning is that homosexual behavior in man is indeed natural. However, Biologist Kevin Anderson identified two problems here. First, “various forms of rape, pedophilia, incest, theft and murder occur in the animal world. Does that give us a justification for the normalcy of these behaviors as well?” Second, “overlooked in these arguments is that actual same-sex copulation between animals is rare. While various animals may display forms of homoerotic behavior (at least defined by the human researcher), the human version of homosexual intercourse is far from widespread in the animal world” (Kevin Anderson, “Not So Gay,” Creation Research Society Journal 48 [Winter 2012]: 3, 199ff).
 Anderson recounted how repugnant to homosexual activists is the idea that change from homosexuality is possible. “Masters and Johnson (1979) stated that ‘reparative therapy’ was often effective for individuals who wanted to change. I personally remember the sharp criticism they received for making such a claim” (“Not So Gay,” 198). Recently, one study that demonstrated change was possible received such emotional negative feedback that the journal editor wrote an entire article on it (see Kenneth J. Zucker, “The Politics and Science of ‘Reparative Therapy’,” Archives of Sexual Behavior 32 [October 2013]: 399-402). The California legislature has been so receptive to homosexual activists that it has passed a law that prohibits any attempt at reparative therapy, which is a clear example, incidentally, of the state defining its own religious beliefs as discussed in the first section of this proposal.
 Such are the words of Bertrand Russell in his essay, “A Free Man’s Religion,” which he wrote in 1903. He published the essay in the following: Mysticism and Logic (New York: Longmans, Green and Co., 1917) 45ff. Russell honestly expressed the foolish but terribly logical consequence of the modern pagan worldview.
 See discussion of Mortimer J. Adler, Ten Philosophical Mistakes (New York: MacMillan, 1985) 108-27.
 In 1 Corinthians 6:9, Paul used two words to describe the homosexual relationship: one for the partner exercising the “male” role and for the other partner exercising the “female” role. There remains a heterosexuality in homosexual relationships that demonstrates God’s creation design cannot be totally suppressed. Paul referred to this in Romans 1:26-27 where — in spite of the attempted suppression — the “natural use” of human male and female sexuality continues to be known, else the perversion would not be recognized. Homosexual apologists attempt to argue that this passage only addresses pagan temple prostitutes because they interpret the worship language in 1:25 as specific ritual. They ignore Paul’s use of these very same words in 12:1 which proves that he used them in reference to the entire sphere of life, not just what one might do while in a temple ritual.
 See discussion in Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, Israelology: The Missing Link in Systematic Theology, rev. ed. (San Antonio: Ariel Ministries, 2001) 828-36.
 Here, if one honors a literal hermeneutic of the sacred text, one observes the consistent wisdom of God in how he created woman (Heb. isha) from man (Heb. ish), which is revealed in a special way in the Genesis 2 narrative, unlike how He created the sexual distinction in animals. The divine act established a conceptual perspective of the profound distinction between man and woman that reveals much with regard to God’s redemptive relationship to mankind which otherwise would not be understood. This entire matter of humanity’s sexual design is destroyed when marriage is redefined.
 See discussion in the following: Helen W. Wilson and Cathy Spatz Widom, “Does Physical Abuse, Sexual Abuse, or Neglect in Childhood Increase the Likelihood of Same-Sex Sexual Relationships and Cohabitation? A Prospective 30-year Follow-up,” Archives of Sexual Behavior 39 (2010): 63-74. Biblical counselors report the same thing. See the account of a multi-month long counseling ordeal of helping a 25-year old Christian young man escape homosexual bondage in the following: Kevin Carson, “‘Jason’ and Homosexuality,” in Counseling the Hard Cases: True Stories Illustrating the Sufficiency of God’s Resources in Scripture, eds. Stuart Scott and Heath Lambert (Nashville: B&H Publishing, 2012) 227-55.
 See discussion, with bibliography for each of these categories, in Anderson, “Not So Gay,” 199.
 Sears and Osten, Homosexual Agenda, 87-92. The latest term for pedophiles is “minor-attracted persons.” See defenses of such terminology by B4U-ACT [online] (Living in Truth and Dignity, 3 August 2013, accessed 23 January 2014) available at http://www.b4uact.org.
 Elizabeth Marquardt, “Do Fathers and Mothers Matter?” Propositions 3 (April 2011): 7. Published by the Institute of American Values quarterly, this article specifically focused upon the new movements, Single Mothers by Choice and Single Fathers by Choice. The two movements resort to such practices as women choosing their child’s father from a sperm bank and men relying upon a female “egg donor” to conceive with their sperm and upon a surrogate womb mother to bring the fetus to birth.
 C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (C. S. Lewis Signature Classics) (New York: HarperCollins, 2009) 11-12.
 Vitagliano, “Piercing the Gay Paradigm,” 10.
 Daniel Patrick Moynihan, “Defining Deviancy Down,” The American Scholar (Winter 1993): 17-20.
 For a concise one-hour presentation of Romans 1:18-32, see John MacArthur, When God Abandons a Nation, Immanuel Bible Church, Springfield, Virginia, 6 October 2013 (available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature= player_embedded&v=qOUHmt3q8YE).
 Carson, “‘Jason’ and Homosexuality,” 231.
 Ibid. 240.
 Ibid. 254ff.
 By political participation, one should not think here with regard to institutional participation by churches but participation of individuals and groups of Christian citizens as citizens.
 William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England (1765-1769), Book 1, Chapter 15, “Of Husband and Wife” [online] (LONANG Library , 7 August 2013) available from http://www.lonang.com/exlibris/blackstone/bla-115.htm.
 The North American Mission Board (NAMB) of the Southern Baptist Convention has announced it is prohibiting Baptist military chaplains from performing, attending, or supporting same-sex weddings, either on or off base.
 “Sample Policies & Bylaws to Help Churches Defend Biblical Marriage” [article online] (California Southern Baptist Convention, 11 July 2013, accessed 23 January 2014) available from http://www.csbc.com/article370250.htm? title=1body=1.
 “Marriage and Family” [online] (Alliance Defending Freedom, accessed 23 January 2014) available from http://www.alliancedefendingfreedom.org/ issues/marriage-and-family.