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April 18, 2015

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Christianity was never meant to rule over society at large. Christ did not come to overthrow Caesar. True Christians should welcome these new developments. The church will go back to basics and rediscover the fundamental truths that Christ taught - the same truths that fat cat Republican leaders make a mockery of.

John Moore,

I am puzzled about which breed of fat cat you are speaking of: the Establishment Republican (which, in order to appear moderate, espouse any liberal notion that they would figure would make them electable), the Tea Party Republican (which seemed to be the Establishment Republican of the previous century), or those bizarre hybrids, the RINO and the DINO (whose personal political theories transcends those of the party hard line)? I am sure you could never mean the secularistic portion of the Democratic Party which strives to guarantee your first statement: Christianity was never meant to rule over society at large. This only because they have other ideas of who is to do so, even if it means the smashing of every concept of the separation of Church and State.

The only reason this seems to be happening is that we have forgotten the core meaning of that separation: each group, Church and State, in its own functions and roles, has every right to influence the society at large. Only a statist would deny such a separation.

This become the problem with your whole post. Christ did not come to overthrow Caesar, and, in the light of a true cooperation of State with Church to promote the "peace of the city," Christ should not have experienced the jackboots of Caesar. As it happened, He did, but only because this cooperation was imagined to be competition.

The fundamental purpose of the separation of Church and State is based on this spirit of cooperation. But a statist would see Church as a competitor that needs to be removed. So it occurred in Marxist societies. Shall it happen again?

Chesterton saw the problem not so much as government but an inflation of governmental roles in life. He spoke of the characters of Hudge and Gudge, which are big government and big business. In a world where all a man would want is a home, this pair would try to push the fellow to live in the front yard (the fresh air is beneficial they would say) and earn his living in the established workhouses (not to gain a home, but to enliven the economy for everyone). Thus, a warning sign is when government becomes a "givernment." All for Hudge and Gudge, nothing for you.

The danger sign will be when a government has failed to listen to the needs of the common citizen to harken to the dreams of its utopians.

Perhaps social ostracism will be an effective teaching mechanism for conservative Christians with regard to reaching out to the socially maligned and ostracized. Regardless of that possibility, I think it's more certain that,consistent with the import of St. Paul's statement on rejoicing in difficult situations, social ostracism will serve as an effective mechanism for teaching and sharpening skills in engaging in effective ways with secularist and other non-Christians--amounting to a special expression of love that seeks to present Truth regardless of the circumstances. Since we're living in times when many things that were taken for granted no longer have that status, our putting on the "full armor provided by God" is going to prove of the highest importance in our interactions with those who for one reason or another are marching to secular tunes. The numbers of evangelists-in-fact may actually greatly increase.

John, even in exile, the Jews were told by God to "seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you." We care about our nation, therefore we seek its good by trying to persuade people of what is true about marriage, the most basic building block of our society.

As for your comment about Republicans, I can only assume that's a swipe at limited government, and that it's based on an assumption that Jesus taught us to create a welfare state. This is off the subject, so for that, I point you here to start with. Many of us (including the creators of this country) think the corruption and oppression that comes from powerful governments is something to be avoided, and that caring for the poor in our communities is better accomplished through other institutions.

So to bring the two parts of this comment together, marriage does a great deal for bringing people out of poverty. And unfortunately, the change to a genderless view of marriage (separated from procreation and focused only on adult desires), is leading to a drop in the marriage rate (see here for some numbers).

So ironically (ironically in terms of your comment), it's partly our care for the people who will be hurt most by a change in the definition of marriage (the poor) that spurs us on to argue for a man/woman view of marriage.

You don't "persuade people of what is true about marriage" by passing laws, by using state power to force people to conform to Christian morality (on the outside). That isn't "limited government." It's totally the opposite.

Christians can certainly promote "the welfare of the city" by working as private citizens, directly in person with their neighbors in the community. It's a perversion of Christian teaching to think you must take over the government.

I feel sorry for Christians who vote for Republicans just because they exalt themselves and stand on street corners praying with loud voices. Those slimy politicians are deceiving you and blaspheming the name of the Lord.

John, marriage is pre-Christianity. We're not passing laws to change things and force people to conform, the other side is. I've posted more than once that the side in this case that requires the force of law (and more and more intrusive laws) is the same-sex marriage side, not the man/woman marriage side. And with man/woman marriage reflected in the law, no one was forced to do anything against his will. Not so with the other side, as we've been noting.

It's not a perversion of anything for people in a Republic to vote for the people who represent the policies they want. That's actually how it works.

I don't know a single person who votes for Republicans because they exalt themselves and pray on street corners. In fact, I don't even know people who vote for Republicans just because they claim to be Christian. Just consider the possibility that we've actually considered the issues in politics and our convictions about what is best are different from yours, and we vote on those convictions. Just like you.

I feel sorry for non-Christians who vote for Democrats just because they exalt themselves and stand on street corners proclaiming their progressive morality with loud voices. Those slimy politicians are deceiving you and blaspheming the name of all that's good and right in reality. They don't really believe anything they say. All they're after is Soros's and Planned Parenthood's money.

See how silly that sounds? It sounds just as silly when you say it. Don't say it here again.

"You don't "persuade people of what is true about marriage" by passing laws, by using state power to force people to conform to Christian morality (on the outside). That isn't "limited government." It's totally the opposite."

Hi John Moore, are you seriously so blind to not see that what you've argued for here is that in no way should cultures disclipline their people so that they will come to see that some behaviors are better than others?

Are you also against discliplining children?

Making rules to protect them?

Enforcing rules made to protect them?

Punishing them for breaking rules that are there to protect them?

"Christians can certainly promote "the welfare of the city" by working as private citizens, directly in person with their neighbors in the community. It's a perversion of Christian teaching to think you must take over the government."

It is also a perversion of the separation clause to say that Christians who are in office cannot live and act like Christians as office holders or else the are de facto "establishing" a state religion.

Months ago John Moore argued that whatever the SCOTUS says goes...didn't say anything else after I posted links that showed all of the areas where the 9 tyrants in black robes have overstepped their constitutional bounds...same with the progressive presidents who believe that the Constitution is a living breathing document...if John Moore has his way, every change toward anti-Christian cultural law is fine but any push back is in no way Christian.

I wonder where this guy got his credentials to bark out what is and isn't Christian in the first place?

John Moore, why single-out Republican leaders? Do you truly believe that Democrat leaders don't also make a mockery of Christ and his Gospel?

Democrats might be just as bad, of course, but it is the Republicans almost exclusively who have claimed Christ's endorsement for themselves and who claim that the U.S. is a Christian country founded on Biblical principles.

Sorry, but the Constitution does not place itself subordinate to the Bible. The first amendment actually forbids it. More importantly, Christ himself stated clearly and repeatedly that his kingdom is not of this world, and you should render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's, and you should go into your closet to pray, and you should not let the right hand know what the left hand is doing, and you should remove the log in your own eye before you attend to the mote in your neighbor's eye.

Christ does not need Caesar's might to force other people to be moral. And that's exactly what you're trying to do if you support laws meant to uphold Biblical virtue.

Suggest all who are commenting go to a third world country and actually live in circumstances similar to what Jesus, Paul exerienced. Perspective just might change on Biblical truths that are in context. Us in America can't really understand fully since our god's of privilege, comfort, status, intellect color all we think and do. A dose of living no air conditioning, hot water, bucket of cold water for shower, hole in ground toliet, mat on floor for bed might get us off our high horse. My rant for the day, sorry.

There were some great points in the article, but this confused me a bit:

"Maybe the way God is teaching us to reach out to the maligned and marginalized is by letting us taste the same kind of social ostracism."

People like the homosexuals who have now declared open war on us, the Leftists who run the media and the schools, and those who are making and enforcing these new laws to continue to trample on our rights are not "maligned and marginalized".

THEY are the aggressors. They are bullies! So I am not sure why the author is lumping us all together here, like we have something in common. (In that particular regard. Obviously, we are all sinful people in need of Christ's mercy.)

@ John Moore

"Democrats might be just as bad, of course, but it is the Republicans almost exclusively who have claimed Christ's endorsement for themselves and who claim that the U.S. is a Christian country founded on Biblical principles."

Oh, really? Got any evidence for that?

That aside, historical fact is that America was founded upon Judeo-Christian principles. All you have to do is read the founding documents.

"Sorry, but the Constitution does not place itself subordinate to the Bible."

The Constitution is based on Judeo-Christian principles. If you'd read our founding documents and the Bible, you'd know that.

Now, what does any of this anti-Republican bigotry have to do with the article or the topic?

Politics is causing great harm to the church. If Christians lose their majority political power, that will actually be good for Christianity. It will lead to a return to Biblical principles.

Going back to my first comment, I think Christians should be happy about having a less dominant position in society.

@ John Moore

Where are the answers to my questions, as well as the evidence for your claims?

If in a mere decade, a society can overturn a pillar that has undergirded civilization for thousands of years,

In what sense is this really true, though? To take the examples from our own faith tradition, the Jewish/Christian Scriptures are replete with all sorts of non-traditional "marriages."

Sorry, but the Constitution does not place itself subordinate to the Bible.

That's not exactly true. Our government was specifically founded to be under the moral authority of God and His moral law. Our rights are given to us by God, not the state (see the Declaration of Independence). The whole idea that the government has no right to deny us our right to free speech, free association, religion, etc. comes from the fact that the government is answerable to God—i.e., there's something higher than human government. If there's nothing above human government, then there is no such thing as "unalienable human rights." The government can remove or add any idea of "rights" it likes. Because of this, we should be more worried about your voting in accordance with your atheist ideas than you should be worried about ours.

you should render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's

Yes, and what is "Caesar's" is our vote. Once again, our system of government is that we are the government. Every citizen has a duty to seek the good of our country by voting for what he thinks is right. What makes all of this so odd is that you think there's something different about Christians that means they and they alone should not express their political opinions and vote accordingly. No Christian is voting to establish a state church. Voting for man/woman marriage (which, by the way, we have argued for here using non-religious arguments) is not establishing a church. It's no more establishing a church than your voting for the values you hold to be important is establishing your church.

brgulker, every single marriage in the Bible is between a man and a woman. The specifics of how those two came together, how many marriages a person was allowed to have, etc. may have changed at times, but the fact that marriage is the union of a man and a woman has never changed. This is because the union of a man and a woman (and only that union) is a particular type of union that the public has an interest in. This is because that is the union that creates society. That's why it's referred to above as "a pillar that has undergirded civilization for thousands of years." If children were created and raised in some other way, there would never have been such a thing as marriage.

every single marriage in the Bible is between a man and a woman.

I guess this really depends on how technical you want to get, here.

For example, Take Abraham and Sarah. Technically, sure, their marriage was between the two of them. But, there is sanctioned adultery in order to produce offspring.

Take Solomon and his wives and concubines. I guess you could say that technically, each relationship was between him and one woman... but the credibility of the argument gets strained to the breaking point, in my opinion.

That's why it's referred to above as "a pillar that has undergirded civilization for thousands of years."

As I understand it, the argument being made here is that marriage is defined as one man and one woman, and that type of marriage has been the bedrock for civilization. If I am mischaracterizing, I welcome correction.

What I am questioning is whether or not marriage really is defined that simply within our own faith tradition. I would argue it is much more complex than that. We see polygamy, polyamory, prostitution, sex slaves, etc. Certainly, some of those behaviors are presented without a moral judgment attached to them, but many of those behaviors are totally and completely sanctioned.

If the argument is that historically marriages have not been between two men or two women, well, I think that's historically pretty accurate. But if the argument is that marriage is strictly defined as one man being married to one woman until death do them part, I think that's tenuous. The institution of marriage has been a lot more flexible than that.

How does the fact that Abraham had offspring through another woman change the fact that he and Sarah were a married man and woman?

How does the fact that Solomon had concubines change the fact that each of his marriages was between a man and a woman?

And as far as I know, there has never been group marriage in history. There have been multiple man/woman marriages, but not group marriage. A man married one woman at a time. That was a marriage. Marriage has been the union of a man and a woman, regardless of how long it lasted or how many marriages the man had. Those differences don't change the fundamental essence of marriage—the union of a man and a woman. And that is the very point that's being challenged here by same-sex marriage. That's part of the reason why same-sex marriage is a fundamental change, not a change like whether or not polygamy is allowed.

Through marriage, society binds together a man and a woman because society cares about what the union of a man and a woman produces. That's not a faith tradition, that's societies across the world throughout history. The reason why it's across time and space is that it's based on biological realities about men and women and on the reality that this union matters to society. It has public implications and meaning.

Same-sex marriage ignores the real implications and denies the meaning. It separates marriage from procreation and changes marriage from the kind of comprehensive union possible only for a man and woman to a contract made because of strong feelings between adults. This is a fundamental change in marriage unlike any of the variations you mentioned.

In a comment above, I linked to an article that gives numbers for the drop in marriage rates in the states and countries that have fundamentally changed their understanding of marriage in this way.

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