Thursday, May 12, 2011

There can be nothing disordered about lifelong, committed covenanted love: Marriage, Religion, and Law

The following paragraphs will be included in a forthcoming academic book about church-state relations in a chapter on marriage equality. I will post more details once it is published.

The Independent Catholic Christian Church believes that Jesus Christ came to abolish the alienation and isolation separating people from God and one another. One source of this alienation is the rigid classification of people based on sex, sexual orientation, or parentage. We believe that ALL are invited by Christ to participate fully in the life of the church, regardless of sex or sexual orientation. We see this beautifully articulated in Galatians 3:28 -- "There is no longer Judean nor Greek, there is no longer slave nor free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus." Our interpretation of this is that all Christians are to be treated equally as regards the sacraments -- which means that all marriages between two baptized persons entering into lifelong covenant are sacramental. There can be nothing disordered about lifelong, committed covenanted love -- and to declare as "disordered" a marriage because the partners are not of the "right" sex or ethnic heritage is to repudiate one of the central messages of reconciliation in the Gospel.

The Independent Catholic Christian Church is a creedally orthodox, scripturally based, and in many ways fairly traditional church. For our legislators to enshrine into law the doctrines of other churches and deny ours is to establish the Roman Catholic, Southern Baptist, and Mormon denominations, among others, as quasi-official state religions and to deny our church the right to the free exercise of ours. As people of faith who are very serious about our walk with Christ and our prayer lives, we deserve to have our voices heard equally with those of the Religious Right, who do not have a monopoly on the serious practice of religion. Every religious community should have the right to determine its own policies regarding who may and may not be married–I once met a rabbi who, in responding to my question about whether she would marry same-sex couples, replied without missing a beat "As long as they're both Jewish"–but the state should offer civil marriage to all adult couples willing to commit their lives to one another, regardless of their religious affiliation or lack thereof.

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