Easter, Marriage, and Other Things

NB: I really appreciate the discussion that has occurred over the last week. Instead of addressing each reply individually, I am trying to collectively address some of larger issues I saw as I read through all the comments.

I was discussing with some friends that the Supreme Court taking up constitutionality of same-sex marriage this last week has been challenging because it has been a distraction from Holy Week and Easter. However, my opinion is that there may be no better time than now to proclaim what Christ died for on the cross, all of our sins.

Intent of Marriage

One of the more challenging issues, in my opinion, is addressing what God’s intent of marriage is versus what actually happens in the world (i.e. “the social construct”). As the LCMS resolution affirms and which I affirm as well, “marriage as the lifelong union of one man and one woman (Gen. 2:2–24; Matt. 19:5–6)”. I think it is important to note that in this affirmation there is no mention of being Christian to be married. Just a man and a woman, together, forever.

If we look around though, that is unfortunately not what happens most of the time. For example, the world is filled with divorce, and indeed even people who identify themselves as Christians divorce at disturbingly high rates. Society may be okay with that, but I am not. I don’t condone it, I’m not in favor of it.

From www.lcms.org:

Divorce, destructive of what God has joined together, is always contrary to God’s intention for marriage … A person who divorces his/her spouse for any other cause than sexual unfaithfulness and marries another commits adultery. Anyone who marries a person so discarding his or her spouse commits adultery.1

The Bible is also rife with examples of people engaging in unholy things, including polygamy, but that does not make that okay:

From witness.lcms.org:

Polygamy certainly was not part of God’s original design. After the Fall it was an innovation by Lamech (Gen. 4:19), a descendant of Cain, the first fratricide (Gen. 4:8). Lamech, the first bigamist, bragged to his wives about his prowess at murder (Gen. 4:23–24). The Old Testament recognized the existence of polygyny among some of God’s chosen people. It could be the result of a lack of faith that God would fulfill His promises (Abraham and Hagar in Genesis 16). In the case of Jacob (Genesis 29–30), it was the result of trickery and a human solution for infertility. Although it caused family conflicts, God used it to multiply His people, including the family line of the promised Messiah. However, no Old Testament passage requires it or commends it as God-pleasing. Many passages advocate monogamy as the normal and ideal form of marriage.

(emphasis added)

I’m not sure if same-sex marriage is a greater or lessor sin than adultery; at the very least they are both sinful and I’m not okay with either. I don’t condone them, I’m not in favor of them.

The Law

Reading and understanding Old Testament books is a tricky thing because they have to be read with context. It’s inappropriate to cherry pick a passage and use it to justify anything without understanding it. For example, Leviticus 19:28 says, “You shall not make any cuts on your body for the dead or tattoo yourselves: I am the Lord.”

Prima facie, it appears that Christians should not get a tattoo.

From www.worldvieweverlasting.com:

Leviticus is wrongly used to argue many things. …[T]he prohibition of tattoos as well as other prohibitions and admonitions in Leviticus were due to cultic practices. The whole point of the Levitical law was to make a way for the people of Israel to be set apart from the nations and made holy so that Yahweh might make his dwelling among them. In order to set them apart, certain laws were given to keep them from falling prey to the pagan religions of their neighbors. Also in Leviticus we see the sacrificial system established via the Tabernacle. All of this was provided for the purpose of cleansing Israel of their iniquity and making them holy before God that He could dwell with them. But today, Jesus has come! And in his coming into our flesh, and taking on our sin, and dying on the Cross, he has fulfilled the law in full. Therefore, it is no longer adherence to Levitical law that sets God’s people apart. It is no longer the blood of tabernacle/temple sacrifices that makes them Holy. We are set apart and made holy before God by the blood of Jesus poured out for us on the cross. We are set apart in Him.

It’s at this point where I get in a bit in over my head since I don’t know the specific contexts for the Old Testament, so I’m relegated to using examples from sources that I trust. Regardless, I think we can get hung up too much on the law.

From www.worldvieweverlasting.com:

Indeed, it is precisely our inability to keep the law for which Christ died. He kept the law perfectly for us and he died for us thus taking the penalty for breaking the law upon himself. However, it is true that the law still does exist. Jesus Christ said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” Christ’s death did not take the law away; it satisfied it for us. Now for us in Christ, the law serves a number of purposes; chief among them being to show us our sinfulness that we would turn to God in repentance and receive forgiveness in Christ. The law also serves to curb us from sin and to guide us in living the Christian life. We should indeed strive to keep the law, for in so doing we generally live better lives and are better able to love and serve others. However, the law cannot save us; it only condemns us. Our salvation is found only in the Gospel which delivers Christ crucified for our sins.

Biblical Infallibility

From www.lcms.org:

The teaching of Luther and the reformers can be summarized in three phrases: Grace alone, Faith alone, Scripture alone.

Grace Alone (Sola Gratia):
God loves the people of the world, even though they are sinful, rebel against Him and do not deserve His love. He sent Jesus, His Son, to love the unlovable and save the ungodly.

Faith Alone (Sola Fide):
By His suffering and death as the substitute for all people of all time, Jesus purchased and won forgiveness and eternal life for them. Those who hear this Good News and believe it have the eternal life that it offers. God creates faith in Christ and gives people forgiveness through Him.

Scripture Alone (Sola Scriptura):
The Bible is God’s inerrant and infallible Word, in which He reveals His Law and His Gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ. It is the sole rule and norm for Christian doctrine.”

The Lutheran Church expanded on this in “The Inspiration of Scripture, A Report of the Commission on Theology and Church Relations of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, March 1975″:

From www.lcms.org:

Even though there are differences and variety in the Sacred Writings which sometimes perplex us because we can find no harmonization for them that satisfies human reason, faith confesses the Bible to be the inerrant Word of God. Since the inerrancy of the Scriptures is a matter of faith, it is by definition a doctrine which is believed solely on the basis of the witness of the Scriptures concerning themselves and not on the basis of empirical verification.

  1. This is nor to say that in no case is the inerrancy of the Scriptures demonstrable by extra-Biblical evidence. The Scriptures, for instance, report historical events through which God worked out His saving purposes. Since these events occurred on the plane of human history, they are to that extent susceptible of investigation and even of verification by historical research. The Christian faith does not relegate the acts of God for man’s redemption to the arena of super-history so as to detach them from the realm of reality open to examination by the historian. While the Biblical witness to what God was doing in history is not verifiable or unverifiable by the techniques of historical research, Christians gladly submit the Scriptures to investigation with the full confidence that whenever the extra-Biblical evidence is correctly read and understood it will vindicate the complete reliability of the Biblical records relative to that dimension of the events which is subject to human examination.
  2. This is to say that faith in the inerrancy of the Scriptures does not rely on corroboration of Biblical truth by empirical evidence — faith holds to the inerrancy of the Scriptures even when there is no extra-Biblical substantiation and even when other sources appear to be in conflict with the Scriptures. Luther explained that he used writers of history in such a way that while he did not disregard them, he did not permit them to induce him to contradict the Scriptures. In the Scriptures God speaks. Historians make mistakes.2
    Faith affirms that God could speak His Word of Truth even through men whose knowledge of nature and history apart from direct revelation was partial and limited. Faith affirms that even in the presence of difficulties which human reason may regard as deficiencies, we have, nevertheless, in the Scriptures God’s totally reliable Word which cannot mislead and deceive us.
    “None of the natural limitations which belong to the human mind even when under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost can impair the authority of the Bible or the inerrancy of the Word of God; for Holy Scripture is the book of divine truth which
    transcends everything called truth by the wise men of this world (1 Cor. 1:17 ff., 27; Col. 2:8) and is therefore able to make us ‘wise unto salvation’ (2 Tim. 3:15).”3
    Inspiration was not mechanical dictation but rather an operation of the Holy Spirit that allowed a function to each author’s individuality in writing the Scriptures. Therefore the predication of inerrancy to the Bible does not imply that when the New Testament reproduces and applies Old Testament statements this must always occur by means of verbatim quotations, or that there must be verbal correspondence between parallel accounts of the same event wherever they are found either in the Old or the New Testament.
    Each writer inerrantly imparted God’s truth as the Holy Spirit moved him to do so in his own way, from his own perspective, and for his own purposes. Far from impugning the veracity of the Scriptures this multidimensional application of whatsoever was spoken aforetime and this multidimensional view of events reported serves to impart more fully the truth which God reveals for the edification of His people. The Biblical conception of inspiration does not see these differences as errors, but as inspired variety which we should recognize with thanksgiving and study prayerfully imploring the Spirit’s help so that we may receive all the instruction He wishes to imparts.

Love is a Verb

In my opinion, love is not just what we say, but what we do as well. I can say “I love you” to Rachel as much as I want — and it is important to do so. Yet if my actions do not reflect what I say…have I really loved her?

1 Corinthians 13:4-7:”4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;[b] 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

I would argue that as a Christian, I am not loving if I don’t say anything about homosexuality (or adultery, murder, etc). Since I believe that those who do not follow Christ are condemned, I should speak out when I see wrong doings, not because I am judging, but because I care and I do not want anyone to be condemned to Hell.

And honestly, when it comes down to it, we are all sinners.

I rebel against Him, you rebel against him, Pastor rebels against him. None of us deserve His love. But He sent Jesus, His Son, to love the unlovable and save the ungodly. That’s you, me, and everyone else on this planet.

Secular Legal Implications

Where the United States is now, legally speaking, with regard to marriage is what I would call an “undefined state” in engineering, and a state that should not have been allowed to occur but for some reason has.

Legally speaking, I would suspect all marriage laws enacted by the state that provide benefits run afoul of Section 1 of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States:
“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” (emphasis added)

However, this argument against state laws providing equal protection immediately breaks down at the Federal level (i.e. Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)) since it only applies to the states, and not the Federal government. The question of the validity of DOMA will be likely one of federalism. I am not a huge fan of federalism to begin with, but I’m honestly not sure on what legal grounds DOMA could be overturned.

My opinion is the best thing to do would be to remove the concept of marriage from the law completely. No tax benefits, no legal entitlements, nothing. I think one could make a good case that such benefits (when the combined collective benefits outweigh the individual component of such benefits) for any two people, regardless of sexual orientation, would also be a violation of the equal protection clause for those that are single. I won’t hide the fact this also plays into my libertarian ideals, but I think that this is also a legally cohesive stance.

Render unto Caesar

Let’s get one thing clear, in the United States Constitution: there is no separation of church and state.

There is the First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

From a legal perspective, I do not read this to mean my theological views cannot or should not inform my political decisions (i.e. how I voting).

However, there is no denying that a “culture war” does exist, as address in Render unto Caesar…and unto God: A Lutheran View of Church and State, A Report of the Commission on Theology and Church Relations of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, September 1995:

From www.lcms.org:

The evidence of serious problems in the relationship between Americans and their government is all around us. In fact, sociologist James Davison Hunter has argued that these problems reflect an underlying “culture war”:

America is in the midst of a culture war that has had and will continue to have reverberations not only within public policy but within the lives of ordinary Americans everywhere.
I define cultural conflict very simply as political and social hostility rooted in different systems of moral understanding. The end to which these hostilities tend is the domination of one cultural and moral ethos over all others. Let it be clear, the principles and ideals that mark these competing systems of moral understanding are by no means trifling but always have a character of ultimacy to them. They are not merely attitudes that can change on a whim but basic commitments and beliefs that provide a source of identity, purpose, and togetherness for the people who live by them. It is for precisely this reason that political action rooted in these principles and ideals tends to be so passionate.4

What is new about this, argues Hunter, is that in the past American politics took place within a generally biblical framework while today that framework is selfconsciously secular. As a result, according to Hunter, “the older agreements have unraveled. The divisions of political consequence today are … the result of differing worldviews.” What is at stake, he concludes, are “our most fundamental and cherished assumptions about how to order our lives–our own lives and our lives together in this society. Our most fundamental ideas about who we are as Americans are now at odds.” (James Davison Hunter, Culture Wars: The Struggle to Define America (New York: Basic Books, 1991), 34; 42.))5

What The Bible Says

The problems of church and state are relatively recent. Through most of recorded history they were problems of church and empire or kingdom. In contrast to modern states, where power is quite abstract and bureaucratic, the governments of ancient empires were personal and often authoritarian. The emperor (such as the Roman Caesar) or king was in direct personal control of the government and, as the absolute authority in many societies, the royal word was law. Indeed, the kings and queens frequently exercised such tremendous powers of life and death that they often were considered gods.6
It is important to begin our study, therefore, by observing that the Bible makes a fundamental distinction between divine and human authority. While from the beginning humans have wanted to be like God and to play god, the Bible persistently proclaims only one God who is sovereign over everything and everyone:
Remember this and consider, recall it to mind, you transgressors … for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not done, saying, “My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose.” (Is. 46:8–10)

For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth–as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”–yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist. (1 Cor. 8:5–6)
Above the empires and states of history stands one everlasting divine authority to whom all are accountable–even kings and queens, presidents and dictators. And so, while kings and empires pass from the scene, the church continues to proclaim God’s divine authority. As Arthur Cleveland Coxe once penned it:
O where are kings and empires now Of old that went and came?
But, Lord, thy Church is praying yet, A thousand years the same.7

Is There Really a Lutheran Perspective?

The Lutheran perspective is grounded finally in that radical distinction between Law and Gospel that both establishes and affirms the distinction between church and state. While there is unity in the Lutheran view — since God rules in both kingdoms, both church and state — it is also true that this unity is and always will be visible only to the eyes of faith. Christians cannot, and must not attempt to, force this world to become what it can never be, since force will only create the appearance of Christ’s kingdom and never the substance.
The Lutheran model is, admittedly, complex. Thus, even Lutherans have often succumbed to the simplicity of other models–models that resolve the tension either by pursuing a more this-worldly kingdom of Christ or by ignoring this world’s problems. Yet, the difficulty with which Lutherans hold to their perspective does not invalidate it. Indeed, the Scripture provides ample support for the contention that authentic Christianity is a hard teaching, difficult to bear (John 6:60). The issue is not whether Lutheran teaching is easy to understand; the issue is whether it properly reflects what the Bible says.
The Lutheran perspective is also, admittedly, difficult to apply. Even when agreeing, for instance, that the church does not have a Gospel-based responsibility to promote the transformation of the civil realm, Lutheran theologians and church bodies have disagreed about whether the corporate church (and not just the individual Christian) has a Law-based duty to teach the state ethical principles. Theologians and church bodies have also disagreed about the most prudent and effective means by which the church might actually teach those ethical principles in a pluralistic and democratic society. The paradoxical tensions of the Lutheran perspective, therefore, make its practical application in diverse cultural and political systems a challenging task.

I will admit I have not had the chance to read all 96 pages of the report, however I am in the middle of it. The take away I have as of now and subject to change is that how my faith informs my political actions will never be a simple matter that can be distilled down to a list of policies that should or should not have Biblical influences.

Coda

Whether I’ve actually been able to satisfactorily address the prominent and important issues will remain to be seen (in the comments). Part of the problem of social media, including blogging, is the lack of ability to gauge in real-time if I’m addressing the issue appropriately or not.

Regardless of my abilities to communicate, the important fact still remains:

From witness.lcms.org:

The Gospel declares that Jesus Christ is the atoning sacrifice for the sins of the world8, and that Christ, who knew no sin, was made to be our sin so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God9. It is the church’s proper evangelical work to proclaim the reconciliation of the sinner to God in the death of Jesus Christ10 in a spirit of compassion and humility, recognizing that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His grace, through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus11.

And that is what Easter is about.


  1. Divorce and Remarriage: An Exegetical Study, A Report of the Commission on Theology and Church Relations of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, November 1987 

  2. St. Louis Edition, XIV, 491. 

  3. Theses of agreement, “Theses on Scripture and Inspiration,” adopted by the conventions of the merging churches of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Australia in 1956 and 1959. The “Theses on Scripture and Inspiration” were reprinted and distributed by the Commission on Theology and Church Relations in “Statements From The Lutheran Church of Australia,” 1973, pp. 6-7. 

  4. James Davison Hunter, Culture Wars: The Struggle to Define America (New York: Basic Books, 1991), 34; 42. 

  5. Richard John Neuhaus agrees: “Our present moment and the decades ahead, it is reasonable to think, may best be described as a Kulturkampf over the defining of the American experiment.” “From Providence to Privacy: Religion and the Redefinition of America,” in Unsecular America, ed. Richard John Neuhaus (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1986), 60. 

  6. See, e.g., Ethelbert Stauffer, Christ and the Caesars, trans. K. and R. Gregor Smith (London: SCM Press LTD, 1955); Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (New York: The Modern Library, n.d.), 1:61. 

  7. In Excelsis: Hymns with Tunes for Christian Worship (New York: The Century Co., 1897), hymn 637:1. 

  8. 1 John 2:2 

  9. 2 Cor. 5:21 

  10. 2 Cor. 5:18–19 

  11. Rom. 3:23–24 

Marriage As The Lifelong Union Of One Man And One Woman

The events up to now:

red_equal_sign There has been a large contingent of people whom I am friends with on Facebook who have changed their profile picture to an image of an equals sign. Based on the context of my friend’s status updates and in light of the Supreme Court hearing oral arguments this week regarding same-sex marriage, I surmised that displaying such an image implies such friends endorsement of same-sex marriage.

lcms_logo Partly because I was feeling a bit antagonistic1, but mostly because it’s what I believe, and I’ve found it important to speak up for what I believe. I changed my profile to an image of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod logo…a cross. I didn’t pick it because of the color, I literally just did a Google Image search for LCMS and picked the first one. It was later pointed out that I had used the older version of the LCMS logo, the new one is nice shade of blue. I used the LCMS logo because I am confirmed in the LCMS.

Now what:

Several people have left some very pointed questions and comments, and at least one person has unfriended me. To be honest, it does cause a bit of a gut wrench because I’m selfish want to be thought of as a “good guy” and if people are unfriending me…well, it’s easy to for me not to feel like a “good guy” if I’m going against the tide. But I am also steadfast in what I believe, which in turn gives me peace in my actions.

You will just have to believe me when I say that I have talked with many people and pastors over many years about the issue of same-sex marriage, always seeking to understand more. Even still I seek to understand more so that I can get to the point of being able to teach effectively.

The challenge I have in attempting to answer questions surrounding same-sex marriage is that A) these are not easy questions to answer; and B) I am not a teacher of theology, I am an engineer2. I have internalized many elements of my belief system (just as I internalize many elements of my engineering knowledge), but I have not yet gotten to the point where I can adequately explain them. Some may point to this as an “Aha!” and claim that perhaps by faith is flawed. I disagree.

At this point in time, my opinion is that my inability to effectively teach, combined with arguments having generally become too polarizing, cause this to be an issue not worth arguing about. The arguments quickly devolve into shouting matches and escalate in intensity with no real or meaning outcome. So, I typically just make my stance clear and leave it at that.

However, there have been some requests for clarification on Facebook, and I feel like that is a worthwhile endeavor. I’m not going to address every issue point by point, but give a general summary of where I stand:

I believe “on the basis of Scripture, marriage [is] the lifelong union of one man and one woman (Gen. 2:2–24; Matt. 19:5–6).” That is the relevant-to-this-conversation conclusion from the 2004 LCMS Convention Proceedings, RESOLUTION 3-05A, “To Affirm Marriage as Union of One Man and One Woman”, which I also agree with:
From www.lcms.org:

WHEREAS, The LCMS, in convention, in 1973, stated in Res. 2-04 (Proceedings, p. 110): “That the Synod recognize homophile behavior as intrinsically sinful” (Lev. 18:22; 20:13; Rom.1:24– 27); and
WHEREAS, The Gospel declares that Jesus Christ is the atoning sacrifice for the sins of the world (1 John 2:2) and that Christ, who knew no sin, was made to be our sin so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:21); and
WHEREAS, The church’s proper evangelical work is to proclaim the reconciliation of the sinner to God in the death of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 5:18–19); and
WHEREAS, The Synod, in convention (2001 Res. 2-08A), encouraged its congregations “to minister to homosexuals and their families in a spirit of compassion and humility, recognizing that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His grace, through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus (Rom. 3:23–24)”; and
WHEREAS, Many in American society are demanding legal recognition of same-sex unions as “marriages” by appeals to “equality under the law” (e.g., the Supreme Court of the State of Massachusetts, Feb. 4, 2004); and
WHEREAS, God gave marriage as a picture of the relationship between Christ and His bride the Church (Eph. 5:32); and
WHEREAS, Homosexual behavior is prohibited in the Old and New Testaments (Lev. 18:22, 24; 20:13; 1 Cor. 6:9–20; 1 Tim. 1:10) as contrary to the Creator’s design (Rom. 1:26–27); and WHEREAS, For our Synod to be silent, especially in the present context, could be viewed as acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle; therefore be it
Resolved, That the Synod urge its members to give a public witness from Scripture against the social acceptance and legal recognition of homosexual “marriage”; and be it further
Resolved, That in ministering to homosexuals, “A Plan for Ministry to Homosexuals and Their Families,” prepared by the President’s Task Force, be commended as a resource for study and a guide for pastoral care; and be it further
Resolved, That the members of the Synod deal with sexual sins with the same love and concern as all other sins, calling for repentance and offering forgiveness in the Good News of Jesus Christ when there is repentance; and be it further
Resolved, That husbands and wives give thanks to God for the blessings of marriage, lead a chaste and decent life, and each love and honor one’s spouse; and be it finally
Resolved, That the LCMS, in convention, affirm, on the basis of Scripture, marriage as the lifelong union of one man and one woman (Gen. 2:2–24; Matt. 19:5–6).

To be perfectly clear about this, mostly because I feel like this point is missed and then people end up calling me a bigot: I do not hate, have contempt for, or am intolerant of people who identify as homosexual. If you catch me doing this, call me out on it.

As Tad pointed out, “There’s a difference between affirming one’s behavior and affirming one’s dignity as a human being … A good and reasonable person can disapprove strongly of what another does and still strongly affirm the person as a human being.”

I absolutely agree with and do affirm one’s dignity as a human being.

I do not affirm homosexual behavior.

I do not believe this is an issue of equality, or “loving your neighbor as yourself” as some have put it. Matthew 22:35-39 (NIV) is very clear:
From www.biblegateway.com:

35 One of them [a Pharisee], an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’3 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’4

Love the Lord your God first. Then your neighbor.

I will say I think there are some other interesting constitutional arguments to be made, both for and against, if I was to ignore the theological implications. Maybe I’ll write about them another day.

—-
Edit: I added the original thread here to help keep the context. I have obfuscated the names because it provides little relevance and the comments were not originally posted here.

The Thread that Started it All:

O.Q.: Is this to “boycott” the ridiculous red equal sign going around?! …because it should be…
March 26, 2013 at 2:25pm (Like: 1)

E.S.: I’m so changing mine. Genius!
March 26, 2013 at 2:31pm

Andrew Ferguson: @O.Q. yes it is.
March 26, 2013 at 3:50pm (Like: 2)

O.Q.: You are a good man. lol
March 26, 2013 at 4:28pm

C.F.: Really? Why is it ridiculous? I think it’s pretty great.
March 26, 2013 at 5:00pm (Like: 1)

G.F.: Did you pick this particular pic because it’s red or because it’s the MO Synod emblem?
March 26, 2013 at 5:01pm

Y.Z.: Andrew, you’re no stranger to posting your opinions on facebook, and that’s a good thing; it encourages hearty debate on important issues. Frankly, I probably post more than my fair share of political opinions.

But the thing is, when you make a political post on facebook, what you’re really doing is tacitly agreeing to engage with anyone who might want to discuss/challenge your opinion. This is a standard I try to live by when posting, because otherwise there’s no point in broadcasting your opinion to the public.

Why do I bring this up? During the November elections, you posted a link to your blog in which you argue against approving Referendum 74. I applauded you for making your opinion known and inviting debate on the issue. If you remember, I posted a challenge to your argument. I wish I could reproduce the argument I made, but I can’t find the original post or my response anymore. However, I remember that the only response I got from you is that you had to put my argument through your “mental matrix” or something of that sort. That was the end of the debate.

Now here we are, I with a marriage equality profile photo, and you with a rebuttal to the argument implicit in my photo. Once again, there’s nothing wrong with making political posts on facebook, but you should realize, when you make an argument, but don’t address its critiques, and then continue to make the same argument, the integrity of your argument invariably suffers.

Maybe this doesn’t matter to you; I have my argument and you have yours. What I do know is that I presented you with an argument that you were either unable, unwilling or simply forgot to respond to. If the first is the case, I can respect that; maybe we have value systems which are simply incompatible, in which case we can leave it at that. If the second is the case, I would suggest you think twice before posting political opinions to facebook if you don’t care to engage with critics. If the third is the case, I’ll remind you:

If your conception of marriage is a man and a woman united in matrimony within Christ, as stated in the New Testament, it would seem that, not even considering same sex marriage, a non-Christian heterosexual couple would be unable to get married. If this is an outcome you are comfortable with, well, I think you’d be hard pressed to justify how such a conception fits within a liberal democracy. If this not an outcome you are comfortable with, I urge you to think whether there is any better solution than to allow you to have your definition and religious meaning of marriage, non-Christians to have their definition and religious meaning of marriage (including same sex marriages), and accommodating these diverse viewpoints by legislating simply that marriage is the legal union between two people.

One of these days, I may get married. What being married means to me might not be what it means to you, but I certainly hope my future marriage will be valid in your eyes despite the fact that I don’t subscribe to the same religion as you. I can assure you, this will be my opinion when you marry.
March 26, 2013 at 5:06pm (Like: 6)

D.Z.: Yeah, I want to know the reason behind the choice of that cross in particular..
March 26, 2013 at 6:31pm

D.Z.: Also, I don’t think the New Testament teaches that marriages between non-Christians are invalid. The Bible presents marriage as a union between a man and a woman, regardless of their religion..people are married before the call of Abraham.
March 26, 2013 at 6:41pm (Like: 2)

O.O.:
Sorry but I don’t see what equality has to do as an attack on Christian values. Jesus said love thy neighbor without asterisks. I really have zero reason to be friend with bigots and those who will be on the wrong side of history. In 20 years when you look back I hope you and those sharig your virw realize how homophobic and bigoted this statement you made was. Until then I wish you the best and will be unfriending you. Once you reach the point where you realize God is love and Jesus’ teachings extend to EVERYONE feel free to send me a friend request.
March 26, 2013 at 6:56pm (Like: 1)

G.F.: I’m not a fan of the Missouri Synod, as they don’t support women in ministry. I’m using this cross instead.
March 26, 2013 at 6:57pm

D.Z.: This is why people have a hard time successfully marshalling Jesus to their side in arguments. Jesus was far more conservative with regard to what counts as ethical living than any “tolerant” person would want. He was also far more accepting of those who failed to live up to those standards than any hard-hearted conservative would want.
March 26, 2013 at 7:07pm (Like: 2)

E.S.: Division, everywhere!
March 26, 2013 at 7:25pm

E.S.: Quinn- I feel an important part of the acceptance statement was that the sinner recognized their depraved state, repented and turned to Christ, they didn’t flaunt their sin as if it was something to have pride in.
March 26, 2013 at 7:29pm (Like: 1)

G.F.: There’s a difference between affirming one’s behavior and affirming one’s dignity as a human being. Unfortunately, people on both sides have equated behavior with identity. It’s not so black and white. A good and reasonable person can disapprove strong…See More
March 26, 2013 at 7:29pm (Like: 4)

N.Z.: Personally, the pride I take in celebrating the LGBTQ community is in who God created them to be–not their sin. They don’t have to repent of who they are. They’re children of God, just like me.
March 26, 2013 at 8:15pm

E.S.: Annie, I feel your point is biblically uninformed as God (via his word=bible) states that homosexuality is a sin just like premarital sex is a sin, adultery is a sin, idolatry is a sin, etc, etc. Love the sinner, not the sin
March 26, 2013 at 8:23pm (Like: 1)

N.Z.: Rachel, we all choose to interpret the Bible in different ways. There are two basic camps on this issue–you and I fall into these two camps. I’ve chosen the one that fits with my understanding of God’s character and who God calls me to be in my church, my family, and my community. It’s a view that’s held by many, many, many churches and dedicated followers of Christ like myself.
March 26, 2013 at 8:28pm

Andrew Ferguson: @Everyone: Here are my thoughts: https://andrewferguson.net/…/marriage-as-the-lifelong…/
March 26, 2013 at 11:20pm (Like: 1)


  1. Nitpickers Corner: I’m not saying it’s right for me to be antagonistic, I’m just owning it 

  2. This is not an excuse, but rather a statement of fact 

  3. Deut. 6:5 

  4. Lev. 19:18 

Bullets Dodged or Opportunities Missed

My former girlfriend1, Sarah, recently became engaged. I really don’t have anything to say on the subject, I only met her boyfriend fiancé during a fleeting moment at E-Days while I was taking photos. After we broke up, we both moved on and I think it was, and still is, for the better. For me, the more interesting thought is the What If….

Over the last six years, I’ve had what I’ll graciously call four encounters; of those four, half are now engaged2. Now, I’m not saying I want to be engaged3. But, it does make me pause to wonder…what if I was engaged to one of these persons? How would life be different? Would I even want to be engaged to one of these persons?

As I continue to grow, more and more friends are getting married. Although statistically speaking, I’m still in the majority4).

Just some free flowing musings.


  1. I’m not a fan of saying, ex-girlfriend…it seems unnecessarily cruel 

  2. Three out of five if you count the girl I took to prom 

  3. Can I get a hells-to-the-no, please. Thanks. 

  4. Median age of marriage in the United States is 27.7 for males (source 

Thoughts on Proposition 8

The following is a short response for an in-class quiz we had today in Introduction to Law. Lately, I’ve been thinking about the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8 and so I was pretty excited to be able to take a stab at determining its validity. Since the following was an in-class quiz, it should not be considered as a thorough argument. I picked a response format similar to a Supreme Court Majority Opinion.

The facts being evaluated are two fold: A) Is Ms. Sykes sill married? and B) Is California’s Proposition 8 allowed under the United States Constitution.

In the matter of Ms. Sykes current marital status, several facts must first be established. We will assume that Ms. Sykes was legally married to another person of the same sex under California State law and such marriage was valid and recognized. Second, we shall assume that Proposition 8 is now a part of the California State Constitution and in full effect. Finally we shall assume that, for the purposes of this question only, Proposition 8 is constitutional.

Article 1, Section 10 of the United States Constitution states, in part, that “No state shall…pass any…ex post factor law, or law impairing the obligation of contracts.” The rule prohibiting ex post fact law is not applicable in this instance because the issue does not deal with anything criminal. That is to say, Proposition 8 does not make same sex relationships illegal, it just does not deem a marriage between people of the same sex as valid or recognized.

The second part of the quited Article 1, Section 10 address the obligation of contracts. Marriage is the joining of two people to become one. Taxes are filled jointly, property is owned jointly, and certain legals privileges exist between spouses because of their joint operation. In fact, for a marriage to be legal, both parties must sign documents that, for all intents and purposes, is a legally binding contract. To allow for the passing of a law which impairs the obligation of that contact is thus unconstitutional. Held: Under Article 1, Section 10 of the United States Constitution, Wanda Sykes is still married and her marriage is valid and recognized in the State of California.

In the matter of the constitutionality of Proposition 8, it would seem that the afore argued point would be significant cause to declare the proposition as unconstitutional as it is written. However, we shall endeavor to further prove this point. The 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution states, in part, that “No state shall…deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protect of the laws.” This amendment and the subsequent Brown v. Board of Education (347 US 483, 1954) ruling lay the groundwork. It would seem self-evident that denying the marriage of two people because of their sex would be denying them equal protection under the law. It was not that long ago that a black person was not legally allowed to marry a white person or that black children and white children were to be educated in separate but “equal” schools. We fine this law to be no different in its meaning or intent: to disenfranchise a particular class of individual because one thinks lesser of them.

Our Man McConnell

I’m not sure where to start with this story. It is one that has been in the making for at least the last ten years1, some might argue even the last twenty-three. I’ll skip the boy-meets-girl, boy-falls-in-love-with-girl part and go straight to the boy-gets-married-to-girl part.

Saturday night was the first time one of Us got married. To think that ten years ago, we were sitting around playing video games; and then to think that a decade later, we would be here: celebrating the union of two wonderful people and loss of our friend Kelly2.

Kelly’s marriage raises the bar for all of Us and is yet another reminder that I’m growing up. I’ve spent a lot of time over the last few days pondering.

But enough of my doom-and-gloom thoughts. Kelly and Kristin’s wedding really was spectacular. It took place in the wonderful backyard of Kristin’s parents’ house in New Castle. The weather was pretty much unbeatable.

At one point during the reception, I caught a glace of orange out of the corner of my eye. I turned my head to see what it was: the plastic-like tablecloth the cake was on had caught fire.

I jumped up out of my seat and ran over to put it out. I got a round of applause and everyone at my table was relieved to find out that I was solving problems and not causing chaos. Staples thinks I should have snapped on my latex gloves3.

Around 11:30pm, Kelly and Kristin finally departed in Kelly’s rebuilt baby blue ’65 Nova Wagon.

Photo: Copyright 2008 Jen Emert


  1. How long I’ve known Kelly/been in TheBS, more or less. 

  2. I kid. I kid. 

  3. This an another story that I should probably tell at some point.