The New Zealand Parliament will consider a bill legalising homosexual "marriage". A private member's bill has been drawn in the ballot. Parliament will now consider the bill and vote it either up or down. What should be our position and response?
From the foundations of the Christian faith and its Head, Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son, our Lord the matter is straightforward. The institution of marriage is a divine one and binds all human beings. Marriage constitutes a man and a woman leaving their respective parents, and cleaving to one another for life, until death parts the couple. Nothing else is marriage. Everything else is an aping of marriage, not the real thing. These things are the teachings of holy Scripture and, therefore, of the Church of our Lord.
Sin and evil, native to the human heart, rebel against this divine institution from the Fall of Adam onwards. The rebellion takes many forms. One of them is the current fad to recognize homosexuals who live together as being married. At one level this is laughable--but its the sort of foolishness and errant stubbornness of man that has dogged the Seed of the Serpent to this day. What will the pagans think of next? Will they be going out "renting" wombs for the conception of children so that homosexuals can "bear" and raise children? Oh, sorry--we forgot--they already are.
A second consideration is this: God is not mocked. Societies that sow to the flesh--to sinful human nature and its lusts--will reap the world wind. That whirlwind may come in the form of tsunami's and other natural calamities, or in the form of wars, or pestilence, or global financial crises, or the slow desiccation of society itself. But come it will. The Bible calls this the curses of the Covenant. The bottom line is that evil does not prosper. When evil is institutionalised, institutions gnaw upon themselves to eventual death.
A third consideration is this: if homosexual "marriage" is recognized in secular law it represents one more opportunity to draw a line of demarcation between the pagans and the Church. This is something we have not been good at. Far too many Christians would prefer that pagans thought well of us. In itself this is perfectly understandable. Everyone wishes to be liked and respected. If you respect yourself you would prefer that others agreed with you. But in a fallen, pagan world that respect can be sought in two ways--one good, the other bad. The completely wrong way is to curry the favour of pagans by attempting to show them that we, as Christians, are just like them. The right way is to agree with them and seek common cause with them only in all things lawful and for Christ's sake, not our own.
Homosexual "marriage" is an invention of Mordor. It is from the Land of Shadows. It is a Satanic caricature of the truth. It is not lawful, but a pagan abuse. Attempts to sanction it by putting it on the statute books will not change this at all. Therefore it provides Christians and the Church one more opportunity "to come out from among them and be separate, and touch not the unclean thing." (II Corinthians 6:17)
There is one thing, however, that Christians should insist upon--that we retain our liberty of conscience and the freedom of religion with respect to homosexual marriage. We have all now been long enough at this game to know how these things work. The Homosexual "Marriage" Bill now before Parliament says this in it consultation draft:
Marriage, as a social institution, is a fundamental human right and limiting that human right to 1 (sic) group in society only does not allow for equality. This Bill will ensure that there is equality for people wishing to marry regardless of their sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity and will be in accordance with the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 and the Human Rights Act 1993. (Emphasis, ours)On the face of it this necessarily implies that refusing to have anything to do with homosexual "marriage", to deny its validity, not to recognise it, nor participate in it violates someone's fundamental human rights. Does this imply that a church which refused to allow its building to be used for the purpose of a homosexual "marriage" ceremony would be violating the rights of the "couple"? Yes it does. Does this imply that those Christian marriage celebrants who refused to participate should have their licenses to marry withdrawn? It may well do. What if Christians speak against homosexual "marriage"? Will that be construed as "hate speech"? Almost certainly.
Therefore it is important that Parliament be remonstrated with to ensure that there are proper carve-outs, such as have been promised in Scotland.
Ms Sturgeon (Deputy First Minister) said: "It is the intention of the Scottish Government to bring forward legislation to legalise same-sex marriage. We believe that in a country that aspires to be an equal and tolerant society, as we do in Scotland, then this is the right thing to do.Those are the kinds of commitments Christians and churches need to ensure are inscribed in the legislation, should it proceed. Otherwise things will get very interesting indeed.
"However, we recognise and respect the concerns that some people have expressed, in particular the concerns that have been expressed by the churches, and we're determined the legislation we bring forward will be accompanied by protection for freedom of speech and freedom of religion." . . .
Ms Sturgeon said the legislation will "allow churches to conduct same-sex marriages if they so wish", adding that this would be done on an opt-in basis rather than an opt-out basis. "This is a controversial issue, there is no getting away from that. There are very deeply held views on both sides of the debate and it is not possible to completely reconcile those different views. But as we proceed on this issue, the Scottish Government will continue to be respectful of differences of opinion and we will strive to address concerns that have been expressed by those who take a different view."
Commitments the Scottish Government has already given, that no church and no religious celebrant would be compelled to conduct same-sex marriages, will be honoured in full, she said. "The role of the state is to regulate the civil contract of marriage. It's not to tell churches who they should and shouldn't marry."