Influential megachurch Pastor Rick Warren and 49 other Catholic and Evangelical scholars and intellectuals have signed their names to an eight-page declaration that opposes society's growing acceptance of same-sex marriages and labels homosexual unions as a "graver threat" to marriage than widespread divorce and cohabitation because it is a parody of marriage.
The declaration entitled "The Two Shall Become One Flesh: Reclaiming Marriage" was written by the alliance called Evangelicals and Catholics Together and is set to be published in the March edition of the religion journal First Things.
Although the Catholics and Evangelicals involved in the writing of this overarching declaration against sexual sin still hold differences when it comes to the legitimacy of divorce and use of contraception, their differences were set aside as they focused on tackling what they consider to be the biggest problem facing marriage in society today.
Although divorce rates are increasing and society has grown more accustomed to loose sexual behavior before and outside of marriage, the declaration, which The Christian Post obtained a copy of, declares that it is the acceptance of same-sex marriages that ultimately "degrades humanity."
"An easy acceptance of divorce damages marriage; widespread cohabitation devalues marriage," the declaration explains. "But so-called same-sex marriage is a graver threat, because what is now given the name of marriage in law is a parody of marriage."
With most states now accepting gay marriages, the American political climate is continually growing more accommodating toward same-sex unions, while becoming less accommodating to those who defend to the traditional Christian view of marriage as being between just a man and a woman.
The alliance's statement declares that society's push in the last decade to legalize gay marriage and make it more widespread could easily lead down a slippery slope, ultimately causing the destruction of the traditional family.
"The law no longer recognizes the primordial, complementary natural roles of mother and father. The natural family as the fundamental context defining where we have come from and who we are is set aside," the declarations states. "The family becomes a creation of the state, and where the family is a creation of the state, children become, in important legal respects, the property of the state."
"Instead of freely accepting God's gift, we seek to dominate (and even alter) nature, constructing our own moral truths," the document added. "The result is a deceptive pseudo-freedom that degrades our humanity."
Notable signers supporting the alliance's declaration include Warren, founder of the California megachurch Saddleback Church; Robert George, professor at Princeton University and vice-chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedoms; Maggie Gallagher, conservative commentator and former president of the National Organization for Marriage; and Robert Gagnon, associate professor of New Testament at the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.
Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, did not sign the agreement because of scheduling conflicts. ERLC spokeswoman Elizabeth Bristow told CP that Moore has read the declaration and "has no objections to anything in it."
Although the statement goes out of its way to label the same-sex marriage as a "graver threat" to marriage than either divorce or cohabitation, President of the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Daniel Akin, who also signed his name to the document, told CP that he does not think that "homosexual sin" is any worse than "heterosexual sin."
"Do I think this statement is trying to isolate specifically one particular manifestation over another? No," Akin said. "What this statement is trying to do is address the political legalization of same-sex marriage, which is a real concern for both Catholics and Evangelicals. We do not believe that it would be wise for our government to legalize same-sex marriage."
One such secular reason for objecting to same-sex marriage is how such marriages will alter the dynamic of the parent-child relationship.
"This proposed change has happened with great rapidity, in about a decade or so, and it is hard to predict how damaging it may be, especially for children who will no longer have a mother or father, but as new marriage documents read, parent 1 or parent 2, (or in California, parent 3 and parent 4)," Dean of the Beeson Divinity School at Samford University, Timothy George, who also signed the document, told CP. "Pope Francis spoke to this issue recently when he said that every child deserves to have a mother and a father."
Gagnon told CP that this document does not serve just a political purpose but also is designed to debunk analogies used by gay supporters who reason that since divorce and cohabitation is increasingly accepted in many churches, churches can accept homosexual marriages, as well.
"This is a faulty use of analogical reasoning," Gagnon asserted. "One can't logically and reasonably move from limited accommodation in lesser offenses to full accommodation in greater offenses."
The declaration also calls on all Christians to defend the Biblical definition of marriage and to not affirm same-sex marriages politically.
"As Christians, we must state, unambiguously, that same-sex marriage contradicts the Gospel," the declaration reads. "Christians who wish to remain faithful to the Scripture and Christian tradition cannot embrace this falsification of reality, irrespective of its status in law."
Akin explained that Christians who affirm same-sex marriages do not hold an authentically Christian points of view.
"I don't think a consistent follower of Jesus can ever willingly knowingly accommodate what the Bible calls sinful behavior, whatever that happens to be," Akin said. "I think that is what the intent of the [declaration] was. It's not questioning in the sense that if you affirm same-sex marriage you are not a Christian, I don't think it is saying that. I think it is saying that to affirm same-sex marriage is a non-Christian affirmation."
Gagnon agrees that affirming same-sex marriages is not a faithful Christian view.
"Christians can hold unfaithful positions. In my view this is a significantly unfaithful position, comparable to, or worse than, promoting adult-consensual incest," Gagnon writes. "It promotes egregious immorality, behavior that God finds particularly abhorrent."