So Much for Tolerance

The Aftermath of Prop 8

The ad ran all over California on Election Day—and surely sets a record for anti-religious bigotry. Two clean-cut young men knock at the door of a lesbian couple. The men identify themselves as Mormon missionaries. "We're here to take away your rights," they announce.

They snatch the women's wedding rings off their fingers and ransack their home. When they find the couple's marriage license, they rip it in half. "Say no to a church taking over your government," the voiceover says. "Vote 'no' on Proposition 8."

Despite such vicious attacks, California's Proposition 8, which defined marriage as between one man and one woman, passed. But the assaults on churches have just begun.

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Two days after the election, 2,000 homosexual protesters surrounded a Mormon temple in Los Angeles chanting "Mormon scum." Protesters picketed Rick Warren's Saddleback Church, holding signs reading "Purpose-Driven Hate." Calvary Chapel in Chino Hills was spray painted. Church members' cars have been vandalized, and at least two Christians were assaulted. Protesters even hurled racial epithets at African-Americans because African-Americans voted overwhelmingly in favor of traditional marriage.

This is an outrage. What hypocrisy from those who spend all of their time preaching tolerance to the rest of us! How dare they threaten and attack political opponents? We live a democratic country, not a banana republic ruled by thugs.

Clearly, Christians need to redouble their efforts to help people understand what marriage is all about. In Los Angeles, when protesters gathered at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, they chanted, "What Would Jesus say?"

That's a good question, and the Church should not hesitate to answer it. What would Jesus say about same-sex "marriage?"

To get to the answer, let's first understand the meaning and purpose of marriage. In his book The Clash of Orthodoxies, Princeton philosopher Robert George writes that matrimonial law reflects a moral judgment—that marriage is inherently heterosexual, monogamous, and permanent—a union of one man and one woman.

This view reflects the biblical and natural law understanding that marriage is a two-in-one-flesh communion of persons. This communion is consummated by sexual acts that are reproductive in nature. They unite the spouses as a single procreative unit—an organic unity achieved even by infertile couples. Only a mated pair can be a complete organism capable of human procreation.

Since homosexual acts have no relationship to procreation and cannot unite persons organically, these acts cannot be marital—which means relationships integrated around them cannot be marriages.

We've got a winsome case, but we've got to get better equipped to explain it to our neighbors. You could start by reading The Clash of Orthodoxies and other material available on our website. And then, start discussing these issues in your small groups, Sunday school classes, and youth groups.

By protecting traditional marriage, we aren't taking away anybody's rights. We are simply upholding the framework of society's most basic institution, the loss of which would irreparably damage our families and our society.

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