In Michigan, a homosexual man is suing two Christian publishers—Zondervan and Tyndale House—for $70 million dollars. Bradley Fowler claims they violated his constitutional rights and caused him “emotional distress” by publishing versions of the Bible that call homosexuality a sin. In my view, Fowler is suing the wrong party, but perhaps he realizes he is likely to have difficulty hauling the real author into court.
While the lawsuit may strike us as funny, we ought to take such attacks on Christian teaching seriously: We are going to see many more of them if same-sex “marriage” is foisted upon us by the courts.
As Seana Sugrue explains in The Meaning of Marriage, edited by Robert George and Jean Bethke Elshtain, marriage is a pre-political institution, rooted in biology and moral obligations. Sugrue writes, “The reality of sex differences between men and women, leading to the potential for offspring, is essential to the pre-political foundation of marriage.”
But marriage as a political form of social order, independent of the state, “is precisely what advocates of same-sex ‘marriage’ seek to change,” according to Sugrue. “Marriage rooted in procreation and sexual differences is to be replaced by marriage for the gratification of two consenting adults.”
But unlike traditional marriage, “same-sex marriage requires a condition of soft despotism to exist,” Sugrue warns.
“In claiming for homosexuals the right to marry,” she reasons, the “state also claims for itself the ability to declare what constitutes marriage . . . It transforms marriage from a pre-political obligation into its own creation.”
But as an artificial creation of the state, same-sex “marriage” is “an institution that needs to be coddled . . . Its very fragility demands a culture in which it is protected.” This means, as Sugrue argues, that “once marriage becomes a statist institution for the sake of consenting adults, the state will increasingly be called upon to create the social conditions to protect these unions.”
The need for coddling means the state will use public education for this end, and align itself against churches that refuse to recognize same-sex “marriage.”
So, the state has to use its power against two of society’s civil institutions: the family and the church.
Sugrue is right: We are already seeing the courts go after institutions and people who refuse to recognize the legitimacy of same-sex “marriage” where it is imposed. State-ordered gay “marriage” is an attack, not only on legitimate marriage, but upon religious freedom and the freedom not to have one’s children indoctrinated into alien ideas about marriage.
You need to understand the reasoning here so that we can present this argument in a winsome way to our neighbors. And we better be supporting efforts to pass constitutional amendments and laws defining marriage as one man and one woman; the issue is up in Florida, Arizona, and California this year. We also need to find out what the presidential candidates want to do, because they will be choosing the next Supreme Court justices who will ultimately decide this issue.
If we do not act, lawsuits against Bible publishers will not any longer be a joke, but a despotic reality.
From BreakPoint®, July 22, 2008, Copyright 2008, Prison Fellowship Ministries. Reprinted with the permission of Prison Fellowship Ministries. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or distributed without the express written permission of Prison Fellowship Ministries. “BreakPoint®” and “Prison Fellowship Ministries®” are registered trademarks of Prison Fellowship