By Tom Quiner

Gay marriage is a passionate subject.

A gay marriage advocate responded with great passion to my recent post, “What’s wrong with gay marriage?”:

I appreciate him taking the time to present his side of the debate:

“This is the problem with religion. It leads to people like you deciding you have the right to state whether someone can/or cannot get married to someone they love; not because of their sexuality, but because they love them.”

There are two sides to marriage, civil and religious. Let’s separate them.

Civil society created marriage for somewhat different reasons than our religious institutions. Civil society designed marriage as a mechanism to provide more security for children that could be produced from such unions.

Two women can’t produce children. Nor can two men. Thus, there was no need to include same sex couplings under the definition of marriage.

Love, emotions, and feelings, had nothing to do with the establishment of the marriage covenant. That is not to say that they shouldn’t be present, but that wasn’t the crux of marriage. Rather, it was a contract to protect children and their mothers from men who might otherwise love ’em and leave ’em.

Marriage made communities more stable.

Religious institutions view marriage as something even more. In the Catholic Church, it is one of our seven sacraments. A sacrament is:

“A visible sign instituted by Christ to give grace, a sign that is perceptible to the senses. Through them divine life is bestowed upon us.”

Catholics believe that Christ is truly present in the union of a man and women in Holy Matrimony, not symbolically, but in actuality.

Nothing has ever touched earth that is more beautiful than Jesus Christ. That is why Catholics view marriage as a covenant rich with beauty and holiness.

Our Protestant, Jewish, and Muslim brothers and sisters each view marriage as sacred in their own way in their religious ceremonies.

So when the Quiner’s Diner reader says this “leads to people like you deciding you have the right to state whether someone can/or cannot get married,” that’s not quite right.

My Church tells me who can and can’t get married. I am bound by Her authority. A union between two women or two men can never be a marriage, regardless of what someone else wants to call it. And frankly, there is no functional reason for civil society to redefine marriage. People with same-sex feelings are free to pursue such relationships without marriage.

The Quiner’s Diner reader bristles at religion:

“The crux of the matter for me is, you’re telling people how to live their lives by the rules of a book older than anyone alive. If religion didn’t exist today, and you found this book in a used book shop, you’d immediately think the author was smoking something strong as they wrote its hateful words. The only thing I can respect you for is actually following the bible, on this point at least. So many people who pretend to be Christians, of whatever denomination, love to ‘pick and choose’ what they’ll follow.”

We must not be reading the same Bible. The entire sweep of the Old and New Testaments is about God’s unfathomable and delirious love for man. It is the story of salvation for men who don’t deserve it, but who receive it simply because of God’s boundless and inexplicable love us.

The Bible is a love story.

Yes, it tells us how to live our lives by presenting limits to protect us from the weaknesses of our human nature. As parents, we do the same for our children out of love. God does the same for us.

The Quiner’s Diner reader is certainly correct that so many of us have been guilty of “picking and choosing” what they choose to follow. That’s what sin is all about. I have quipped that I am a practicing sinner, because I have a human nature. The Bible is my guide on the direction my life must take to find peace and fulfillment.

How I wish the man whom I quoted in this post would revisit the Bible once again.

There is such beauty in its pages.

There is such hope.

And it has a happy ending.

No Comments

  1. Lisa Bourne on May 12, 2012 at 10:57 am

    Classic case of the tired ploy, “I don’t like what you’re saying so I’m going to call it, “hate-speech.” And given the vitriol with which the message more often than not is delivered, it’s usually also a case of projecting hate onto the messenger. Tom, neither you or any other person are telling anyone how to live their lives when using the Word of God or its manifestation via the Church as reasoning for why gay marriage is wrong. Truth is quite upsetting to many. Some people won’t be happy until God comes down and does things their way. And really, instead of accusing the faithful of misuse and abuse of his Word, it’s easier for many to just pretend God doesn’t exist. God loves man, as you say, to an unfathomable degree. Love does not involve enabling negative behavior or choices. You demonstrate love Tom with your reasoned posts, and even more so with your charitable responses to the negative backlash they may elicit. Thank you for both!

  2. Bob on May 12, 2012 at 11:03 am

    These folks take the Humpty Dumpty approach to language — when they use a word, they think they can make it mean anything they want it to mean. Welcome to 1984: War Is Peace, Freedom Is Slavery, Ignorance Is Strength, and Marriage Is Whatever I Say It Is.

    The marriage laws of the United States were written by people who invariably defined “marriage” as a union of one man and one woman. ALL the existing laws that relate to marriage are premised on this definition. Now along comes a small group of people who want to hijack the definition and thereby change the whole body of marriage law to suit their purposes, to gain what they see as the advantages conferred on married couples. And don’t get me started on the unintended consequences! Look at what happened as a result of the creation of the welfare state, and how it has all but destroyed the family, especially among the poorer classes. Redefining marriage to include whatever aggregation of people and/or other sentient beings who want their relationship to be honored as a “marriage” will have consequences at least as far-reaching.

    • LanceThruster on July 28, 2013 at 4:30 pm

      In the case of Loving vs. Virginia, some *people* (backed by the power of the state) outlawed interacial marriage, yet trying to use your argument to support that would seem a stretch.

      I think the royals of the UK had it codified at one time (still?) that they were not to marry Catholics.

      If people loving who they choose to love (consensual adults) is a problem with anyone’s God, they should trust their God to handle it. Worry about the plank in your own eye before condemning the mote in anothers.

      • Shawn Pavlik on February 26, 2014 at 9:47 am

        Loving was the case of a black woman trying to marry a white man. By all the laws of the states and by the 14th amendment, it was clearly a correct decision, as a person cannot be discriminated against on the grounds of race. But it was a WOMAN marrying a MAN.

        What gay “marriage” is attempting to do is to re-define marriage to something that it has never been before. The Bible never told you you couldn’t marry someone who wasn’t the same race as you (at least I don’t think it has). But it did define marriage as between a man and a woman, and that definition has lasted for thousands of years.

        What if two brothers wanted to marry or a brother and a sister or a father wanted to marry his adult daughter, or a mother her adult son? What if a man wanted to have 15 wives? Should all of these things be legal as well?

  3. danielwalldammit on May 12, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    A happy ending? Not for those it condemns and condemns wrongly. Bigotry is wrong, even when you do wrap it in ancient scriptures.

    • irishsignora on May 12, 2012 at 8:43 pm

      Daniel, what is it that you’re calling bigotry? I ask because while the Bible — and pretty much any other basis for any other belief structure you could name — does stipulate that certain behaviors are sinful (including the failure to succour one’s neighbors who are needy, interestingly enough), in no place does it say that any human being is unworthy of love, compassion, and understanding.

      Who is being condemned wrongly?

      I’d appreciate any clarification you could offer. Peace be with you. — Kelly

      • danielwalldammit on May 13, 2012 at 1:49 am

        Double-speak is not a virtue, even when it is put in the mouth of a god.

    • irishsignora on May 13, 2012 at 6:53 am

      Would you kindly give an example of where the Lord uses doublespeak? I would like to see the evidence for your contention.

      Thank you for your time and assistance. -Kelly

  4. lancethruster on May 14, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    The god of the bible drowns puppies, kittens, and babies on a whim because “He” botched his original creation (if you believe in Noah’s Ark). This god is unworthy of respect, let alone worship. The concept of blood atonement is both barbaric AND silly.

    The xian mythology can be summed up by the following – “God sent god to die for god so that god could forgive god’s creations according to god’s unbending rules.”

    Too Rube Goldberg for my tastes.

    “If there is a God, he is a malign thug” ~ Mark Twain

    • quinersdiner on May 14, 2012 at 5:08 pm

      All I can say is we must be reading different Bibles. I like what Jesus said in Matthew, “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else?”

      I thank you for taking the time to write and hope you come again.

      • lancethruster on May 23, 2012 at 5:08 pm

        Jesus also says he supports the OT (not one jot or tittle, no?). That means he is OK with the drowning of innocents in the Noah’s Flood story. That doesn’t even begin to address how followers can get the message of ‘revealed knowledge’ so garbled. Different sects argued for or against slavery at the same time using the bible. The early Christian church considered many heresies a capital crime. People were murdered and tortured by God’s “proxies” for their claims that their God was outraged when in fact is was just them.

        A more forward thinking deity might have chosen to nip that in the bud. Technical writers say if the material is not understood, it’s not the readers fault, but the writers.

  5. Bob Vance on July 10, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    Num 31: “17 Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, 18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.” After defeating the men in battle, Moses tells his generals how to handle the survivors. Kill all boys and non-virgins. The 32000 virgins would be split amongst the soldiers once tributes were made to the clergy and the Levites.

    Gen 19:5 “They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.”
    6 Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him 7 and said, “No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing. 8 Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof.”
    Lot, Father of the Year for sure.

    Hosea 13: “16 The people of Samaria must bear their guilt, because they have rebelled against their God. They will fall by the sword; their little ones will be dashed to the ground, their pregnant women ripped open.” Nothing says “Love” like ripping open a pregnant woman apparently.

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