By Rev. Mark H. Creech
The week of September 12th, the North Carolina General Assembly is expected to reconvene in special session to take up a measure that would give the electorate of this state an opportunity to vote on the much debated question of marriage.
North Carolina remains the only state in all of the southeastern United States that has yet to enact a Marriage Protection Amendment in its Constitution. Without it, the state is extremely vulnerable to court or legislative actions that could provide for a definition of the institution as something other than its traditional one.
Gay marriage is now legal in Iowa, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire and New York – states that didn’t have Marriage Protection Amendments. And, what has happened in these states heightens the urgency for North Carolinians to place marriage’s true definition of one man and one woman in its Constitution – an act that will prevent it from being subject to the whims of future judicial or legislative redefinition.
Baptists have always believed in God’s model for marriage as described by the Genesis account, where Adam and Eve, two similar but distinct creatures, male and female, made after God’s image, were joined together for a permanent union. It was this model Jesus blessed at the wedding in Cana and endorsed when asked questions concerning marriage in Matthew 19:4-6.
For centuries, Baptist pastors performing this rite have declared it the foundation of home life and social order, exhorting that it must so remain until the end of time.
But who would have imagined a day when there would be a concerted effort to redefine the fundamental building block of society to include same-sex relationships? Some now contend marriage is essentially a private affair, created by two people for personal reasons, deserving of a license by the government to obtain certain legally recognized rights. Thus, to favor one kind of personal relationship, heterosexual, over same-sex relationships, they argue is inherently discriminatory.
The historic and biblical view, however, recognizes marriage as designed by God not simply for private purposes, but for the public’s good. Government has a vested interest primarily because every male-female nuptial has the potential for children, either biological or adopted, and societies need babies. Social research overwhelmingly demonstrates children are most apt to be successful when raised by both a mother and a father in an intact family. Therefore, without a healthy citizenry that can reproduce and provide a stable, productive and balanced workforce, the culture’s future is bleak.
Make no mistake; if matrimony is redefined to include same-sex couples and the government’s favor for traditional marriage is erroneously deemed discriminatory, it will mean the beginning of the end of the nation’s best support system – the traditional family.
In places like Norway, which has had de-facto same-sex marriage since the early nineties, marriage is quickly becoming irrelevant.
Anthropologist Stanley Kurtz notes that in that country “we are peering as far as we can into the future of marriage in a world where gay marriage is almost totally accepted. What we see is a place where marriage itself has almost totally disappeared.” Nothing can effectively substitute for civilizing and focusing men on productive pursuits, protecting women, mothers and children from violence and economic harms, while encouraging an adequate replacement birth rate as marriage.
Moreover, the links between the dissolution of marriage and rising illegitimacy levels are profound. Frank Turek notes that in Norway, “where they fly gay ‘rainbow’ flags over their churches, illegitimacy has soared – nearly 70 percent of all children are born out of wedlock.”
Illegitimacy not only produces a less than favorable environment for children to grow up, but consequentially adds significant social and economic burdens for any society.
With considerable certainty, the failure of the traditional family will also precipitate a severe curtailing of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The most important assignment of the family has not only been to propagate the race, but to hand down the faith to children. Malachi 2:15 instructs husbands and wives, “Has not the Lord made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring.” Few things stifle the ability to pass the gospel down to the next generation than the loss of God-fearing families. This accounts for much of Christianity’s decline throughout Western Europe today.
This is to say nothing about the numerous ways the ratification of same-sex marriage will clash with religious liberties and the church’s ability to spread the truth, just as its legalization already does in places like Canada and Sweden.
If Baptists in the Tar Heel state really believe marriage originated exclusively as one man and one woman, if they are genuinely concerned the foundation God ordained for home life and social order remains in law until the end of time, then at this juncture in history they will have to vigorously defend it. That includes zealously expressing their support for a Marriage Protection Amendment to their state lawmakers before they return to Raleigh on September 12th.