Make a Donation

Lots of time and effort goes into creating and maintaining this site. If we've helped you, consider making a donation.  

Current Poll

I'm thinking that the new pope should be...
 

Support Us!

Buy theophiles merchandise from our store!

Maryland Gov. to sign off on Same Sex Marriage
Sex & Sexuality
Written by emperorbma   
Monday, 05 March 2012 11:24

From LA Times:

For Martin O'Malley, the fight to legalize same-sex marriage in Maryland came down to one word: dignity.

Maryland's Democratic governor will sign legislation Thursday making his state the eighth in the nation to allow gay couples to marry, one week after the measure narrowly cleared the state Legislature.

O’Malley’s signature won’t change anything immediately. Even as he is set to sign the law, opponents are in the midst of a petition drive to force a statewide referendum this fall, and the new law would not take effect until January, after the referendum date in November.

Comments
Search
emperorbma   |2012-03-05 11:35:36
Yet again.

I think it's about high time that Christian churches start making a hard distinction between the doctrinal "religious aspects" and the legal "civil aspects" of marriage. (Like we do distinguishing the Church from the state) As far as the civic side of this is concerned it's looking like more and more states will continue to adopt this and the concern should now be for preserving the doctrinal integrity of the religious aspects against the ignorance of Scripture and the false zeal to follow civil changes that will inevitably follow.

At the very least, when it comes to that, the battle will no longer be about denying civil benefits so the case of defending the integrity of our beliefs becomes legitimate.
whitemice  - What comes next...   |2012-03-06 05:57:46
Sadly, what inevitably comes next is discrimination law suits.

I supported civil gay marriage for a long time; until fairly recently when the GTB community started equating 'sexual orientation' with race. Let the real culture wars begin... many in that community desire 'forced acceptance'.

If there was respect for the secular/religious boundaries this would all be much easier; sadly I believe that principle has been discarded by many on both 'sides'.
manhattan42  - Good Thing   |2012-03-05 23:27:48
The Maryland Governor's decision is a right and good thing.

It continues to be sad that the 'world' often comes to understand and implement God's will far in advance of the Church.
PineHall  - Government Role?   |2012-03-07 10:28:31
What should be the role of the government?

Manhattan42 - You, like social conservatives (though you are on the opposite end of the spectrum), feel that the government should take action in molding society for the betterment of all. Right?

Emperorbma - You believe that government should stay out of the life as much as possible, being involved only for the protection of its citizens. Right?

I see 3 potential models in the Bible. First was a loose confederation of the tribes of Israel (in a theocracy). Second there was an authoritarian monarchy (though still technically under God). And the third model was the communal nature of the early Christian church in Jerusalem.

With such a diverse set of models in the Bible, is there one model that correct or does it matter what type of government we have? Or are there biblical principles we need to follow whatever the model? And if so can two different models have the same biblical principles?

With elections happening this year I have been wondering about these questions. So I am throwing these questions out to you and all Theophiles.
emperorbma   |2012-03-07 14:15:15
PineHall wrote:
Emperorbma - You believe that government should stay out of the life as much as possible, being involved only for the protection of its citizens. Right?


In general, the answer is yes.

PineHall wrote:
I see 3 potential models in the Bible. First was a loose confederation of the tribes of Israel (in a theocracy). Second there was an authoritarian monarchy (though still technically under God). And the third model was the communal nature of the early Christian church in Jerusalem.


Actually, I would venture that these are only those models that were historically found in Israel/Judah rather than a prescription for all governments. The "Medes and the Persians," (centralized empire with religious freedom) the Babylonians, (centralized empire with religious oppression) Pharaoh (centralized kingdom with slave-based tyranny) and Caesar (former republic evolving into polytheistic emperor worship) were other models that were referenced in Scripture. There have been Scriptural references to these other models and not all of these were condemning.

Take, for example, Caesar. It was clearly polytheistic and embraced emperor worship.  Yet, Paul also says that the governing authorities were established by God despite the fact that it had these false trappings. As I see it, the only thing really binding in terms of politics from the perspective of the Church is that the people of the faith must remain faithful to God above all else.

With that said, on the face of it, what we have now (democratic republic) is in many ways similar to the "Judges" model. Even down to the "in those days ...every man did what was right in his own eyes." However, there are many ways that the modern republic differs as well. The first is, of course, the obvious Greek and Roman cultural influence.

More relevant, however, for the discussion, is that the modern republic is not directly theocratic. No single religious group controls politics. This conclusion was not rooted on the religion itself being a problem but the fact that the religious leaders themselves became corrupted by the temptations of political leadership and undermined the integrity of the faith. The Protestant Reformation represents the beginning of the end for this method of diabolical corruption since it removed the reins of European politics from the Pope's empire. History shows that the direct theocracy model has disastrous results.

Furthermore, to reestablish such a model would involve the oppression of everyone who is of even a slightly different faith. We would need to reinstitute the authority of the Pope to command nations and subjugate the entirety of the Church again to his vision of Christendom. There is a very good reason why Luther saw in the Papacy the very vision of Antichrist.

Therefore, in the wisdom of those who established the republics of today, it was clear that in order to fairly treat people who do not share the same faith as the others, the modern republic would need to be designed to exclude laws that are based solely on a particular religion's tenets. (i.e. "separation of state and religion") The problem for the religious authorities is that having this kind of government means that religious people can't go and petition the government to make illegal the things that their religion merely considers immoral. For example: It cannot side with the Muslims in forbidding the depiction of human beings. It cannot side with the Hindus in making everyone not eat beef.  Likewise, it cannot side with religions that believe homosexuality is a sinful behavior and make laws against homosexual practices.

Yes, we as a religion can teach and believe what we are convinced by the Word of God is truth. However, the duty of religious integrity belongs to the practitioners of the religion itself and not to the State. It does not belong to the President nor to Congress nor to a King nor to anyone else. The duty to teach the Word faithfully falls solely upon the Church and the members of the Body of Christ. We as Christians can and must teach, for example, that homosexual behavior is a sin. However, we should not be deceived into forcing Caesar to tyrannize the homosexuals with unfair laws. It should not appall us that the government cannot share our convictions on these things. Christ Himself alludes to the difference between Church and state when saying "Render unto Caesar." Rather, we must preserve the integrity of our faith (i.e. "render unto God") without infringing upon the freedoms of others to practice their own faiths which may or may not accept homosexual practices.

The instant we change this model is the instant somebody else will petition the government to make laws that undermine our religion and attack the tenets of our Christian faith. Because we have legitimized them. When we demand the government legislates our religion, we have ruled that the government is no longer that of "we the people" but rather it is the tool of the Church and anyone with any designs on corrupting the Church's whims. As soon as this is true, the people who will be the first in line to take these reins we are handing them are those who do not have the Church's best interests at heart. Is this what we want? By no means.

Therefore, we must resolve to have an indirect theocracy where we remember the distinction between the City of God and the City of man, as St. Augustine describes it. The stage for both cities is the same world... but the story told is different. For the City of God, it is a victory. For the city of man, it cannot but be a tragedy. As Dr. Luther distinguished these Two Kingdoms, so must we.
laika   |2012-03-08 23:33:40
emperorbma wrote:
As I see it, the only thing really binding in terms of politics from the perspective of the Church is that the people of the faith must remain faithful to God above all else.


Could it be just that simple?

emperorbma wrote:
Rather, we must preserve the integrity of our faith (i.e. "render unto God") without infringing upon the freedoms of others to practice their own faiths which may or may not accept homosexual practices.


But what about the all-important, all-consuming Culture Wars?

emperorbma wrote:
We would need to reinstitute the authority of the Pope to command nations and subjugate the entirety of the Church again to his vision of Christendom. There is a very good reason why Luther saw in the Papacy the very vision of Antichrist.


Two-thirds RC SCOTUS + President Santorum = one ring?

emperorbma wrote:
No single religious group controls politics.


See above, or, optionally, mention "the Jews."
emperorbma   |2012-03-09 03:51:33
laika wrote:
Could it be just that simple?


Considering that every government that exists is ultimately a part of God's plan, no matter how corrupt it is, then I think so...

laika wrote:
But what about the all-important, all-consuming Culture Wars?


Personally, I suspect that those who need the government to force others to do what Christ teaches might be suffering from a certain dearth of faith in Him. If we confess that Christ is the incarnate Living God, then why do we need the government to force people to do what He commands?  After all, He established this government and He surely knows what He intends it to do.

That said, I don't impugn those who think that the government should be doing something to help people and to be less corrupt. Rather, I am merely worried for those who place their faith in government as their "helper" and source of "hope."

laika wrote:
Two-thirds RC SCOTUS + President Santorum = one ring?
...
See above, or, optionally, mention "the Jews.


No. As I was using the term, "antichrist" refers to an "office" or a "set of claims" rather than a particular individual or group of individuals.

None of this, whatsoever, pertains to any particular Roman Catholics, therefore.  Even the man wearing a papal tiara isn't actually an antichrist. Rather, he is an otherwise Christian pastor who is simply oblivious to the grevious errors that the doctrine of the Papacy entails. Rather, it is the doctrine of the Papacy, itself, which we Lutherans believe, teach and confess, is the "antichrist."

Summarily, I was specifically referring to that "office" and the resulting corrupted vision of the Church as a political dominion.
PineHall  - The Dividing Line   |2012-03-08 23:57:21
I agree with most of what you say. I am concerned that the lack of government regulation could create instances like the Standard Oil monopoly which used its dominance to crush any and all competition. Unethical behavior in the free market can end up creating a market that is not open and free, a market that benefits only a few. The other end of the spectrum is government as our nanny dictating everything we do. Where should we draw the line? What is too much government intrusion and what is not enough?

Part of the problem is laws are made because of abuses that crop up. It is our sinful nature that causes regulations to be written. The laws of the land are to curb our sinful behavior. But it seems over time the laws become many in number and become skewed and not as relevant. I would say most of them originally had good intentions behind the laws. For what abuses do we need to make laws for and what abuses do we not regulate? Where do we draw the line?

Do we make laws for the good of society? The same sex marriage debate is really about that. Is allowing same sex marriage good for society? Or is it bad for society? People disagree. Do we make laws that move society in ways that we feel will make a better society or do we allow bad behaviors that harm society to exist as legal? Where do you draw the line?

PS This reminds me of the scifi TV series "Babylon Five". There were the Vorlons and Shadows. They were the older races. Both wanted to help the younger races in their development. The Vorlons were the ones guiding the younger races toward their development. The Shadows stayed hidden and stirred up things in order to strengthen the younger races in their development. Both wanted the best for the younger races but the two methods were different and not complementary.
emperorbma   |2012-03-09 02:44:39
PineHall wrote:
I am concerned that the lack of government regulation could create instances like the Standard Oil monopoly which used its dominance to crush any and all competition.


The thing is that libertarian philosophy already opposes certain kinds of monopolies. Namely, monopolies which are based on coercion or aggression. Most libertarians believe, however, that Standard Oil is actually being misrepresented by history and was not engaging in the coercive activities that it was alleged to have been.

Libertarian philosophy is actually nuanced on the topic of monopoly and does not immediately reject all monopolies out of hand. Some monopolies can be a legitimate thing. A monopoly that exists because someone is doing a better job than anyone else is acceptable. A monopoly that exists to serve a niche market with no other alternatives is an acceptable monopoly. A monopoly which leverages its position to hike prices is not a legitimate monopoly.

The thing is, most coercive monopolies can generally be traced to the result of government regulation or some kind. This article, for example, explains both the government's role in sustaining Microsoft's monopoly and the reason why libertarians can oppose Microsoft. The government's role is, put simply, that of enabler.  It creates the laws that support "intellectual property." Microsoft's villainy is simply the abuse of a government-given artificial monopoly. If you remove the government's influence, it dies instantly.

In a natural free market, coercive monopolies would have a hard time maintaining the absurd price schemes that they demand. Too low and they cannot support themselves. Too high and the competitors will scoop customers out of their market. Too big, they will be harder to manage due to the difficulty of the "calculation problem." The free market naturally culls out "too big to fail" because "too big to fail" is "too big to live."

PineHall wrote:
Part of the problem is laws are made because of abuses that crop up.


Sure, laws are made because of abuses.  Scripture itself says this. However, most human laws are actually made to protect the abuse instead of curbing it. Even those which are not have inevitably been abused.

Even God's Law itself suffers this issue. Is it not written that "the sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law?" (1 Corinthians 15:56) Likewise, "the law is good if it is used correctly." (1 Timothy 1:8) Therefore, to use it correctly, we must remember its correct uses and its limitations.

A libertarian does not demand no law, merely that the laws be fair and just. "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" How many regulations have we made in this society that have ultimately become tools corruption? It, therefore, behooves us to be wary of those who would make laws upon laws for didn't the Pharisees do exactly this?

PineHall wrote:
Do we make laws for the good of society? The same sex marriage debate is really about that.


Actually, there are two things going on in the "same sex marriage" debate:
1. The civil rights issues: Social security benefits, Housing, and Food Stamps, Veterans' Benefits, Taxation deductions, Employment Benefits, basic inheritance rights and hospital visitations which are being denied to homosexual couples. Ultimately, each and every one of these can be traced to a government regulation. The proper course of action, as I see it, would be to remove the government from the marriage equation entirely and call these legal benefits something else like "civil unions" or "personal partnership benefits."
2. The fact that the homosexual lobby insists on calling their unions "marriage" in the face of nearly every cultural and religious belief on the planet. As for this aspect, of course, I'm entirely unamused that the homosexual lobby wants to coopt the term "marriage" for their unions but it's not like we could not simply distinguish the religious side of marriage from its civil aspects and maintain the same doctrinal integrity. FWIW, I could care less about the cultural aspect but maintaining the religious aspect as Scripture teaches is absolutely non-negotiable.
laika  - re: The Dividing Line   |2012-03-09 17:29:31
PineHall wrote:
Do we make laws for the good of society? The same sex marriage debate is really about that. Is allowing same sex marriage good for society? Or is it bad for society? People disagree. Do we make laws that move society in ways that we feel will make a better society or do we allow bad behaviors that harm society to exist as legal? Where do you draw the line?


I used to fret along these lines more than I now do, but if Caesar is hellbent on social tinkering like these alternative "marriage" arrangements, then at some point we might have to accept that Caesar's gonna do what Caesar's gonna do. In this case, I agree with empy:
emperorbma wrote:
I think it's about high time that Christian churches start making a hard distinction between the doctrinal "religious aspects" and the legal "civil aspects" of marriage. (Like we do distinguishing the Church from the state) .


At the same time, in a democratic republic, Christians have as much a right to try to shape society as any other group. But we seem to have become associated with various "conservative" causes, almost as if they were our sole raison d'être. So, is it the mission of the Church to shape society through politics? I think not.
emperorbma   |2012-03-09 20:50:40
laika wrote:
At the same time, in a democratic republic, Christians have as much a right to try to shape society as any other group. But we seem to have become associated with various "conservative" causes, almost as if they were our sole raison d'être. So, is it the mission of the Church to shape society through politics? I think not.


Quite right. Conservative or liberal, Democrat or Republican, Socialist or Libertarian or whatever else, the fundamental doctrinal mission of the entire Christian faith can be described in one word as "love."

The greatest commandments, from the teaching of Jesus Christ Himself, are to love God and to love our neighbor as ourselves. The first duty of anyone concerning Christian doctrine is to remain faithful to its central premise. Therefore, while it is important to rebuke and reprove sin, we must never lose sight that our first duty to proclaim the Good News of God's love to everyone. If we do not have love we are nothing but a "clanging cymbal," (1 Corinthians 13) and we will continue to be ignored as such.
PineHall  - Post-Christian Society   |2012-03-10 12:08:47
laika wrote:
I used to fret along these lines more than I now do, but if Caesar is hellbent on social tinkering like these alternative "marriage" arrangements, then at some point we might have to accept that Caesar's gonna do what Caesar's gonna do.

I agree. As I see it we need to accept the fact that Christianity is no longer the dominate influence in American culture. However I have friends who worry about their children and grandchildren in a society that in their opinion is becoming less friendly to the Christian Faith.  I can understand where they are coming from.  Destructive influences condoned by society is scary and understandably they want those bad influences outlawed or minimized.
laika wrote:
At the same time, in a democratic republic, Christians have as much a right to try to shape society as any other group. But we seem to have become associated with various "conservative" causes, almost as if they were our sole raison d'être. So, is it the mission of the Church to shape society through politics? I think not.

As citizens in a democratic society we do have a voice. In the 1960's the Christian voice was identified with the Christian Left. Since the 80's the Christian voice has been identified with the Christian Right. Neither the right or left in politics should be connected with Christianity.  Unfortunately that is how things get reported. I remember about 20 years ago coming out of church on a Sunday morning and Moral Majority pamphlets were on the cars. I remember getting angry because most of the issues in the pamphlet the Bible was silent on and yet it was implied that as Christians we needed to vote according to the pamphlet.

Hopefully the Christian voice can be heard primarily as a voice of love, but right now most non-Christians would say it is a voice of judgment. I am not certain how to change that perception, but the so called Christian voice in politics does not seem to help things.

So how much government is needed and how much regulation should there be to prevent abuses? I still don't know.
laika   |2012-03-09 22:00:41
emperorbma wrote:
The Protestant Reformation represents the beginning of the end for this method of diabolical corruption since it removed the reins of European politics from the Pope's empire. History shows that the direct theocracy model has disastrous results.

Furthermore, to reestablish such a model would involve the oppression of everyone who is of even a slightly different faith. We would need to reinstitute the authority of the Pope to command nations and subjugate the entirety of the Church again to his vision of Christendom. There is a very good reason why Luther saw in the Papacy the very vision of Antichrist.


"Diabolical corruption?" Interesting! You're usually more restrained, more politely circumspect when discussing this topic.

I'm thinking that this election cycle has raised some hackles. I know it sent me to a re-reading of The Handmaid's Tale last month. And of course the heebie-jeebies will manifest differently for different folks...
emperorbma  - I think a camel is crying somewhere...   |2012-03-09 22:43:25
Between SOPA, ACTA, the takedown of Megaupload, and the Supreme Court deciding that Congress can raid the Public Domain on behalf of copyright fiends, this was pretty much the "last straw" for the degree of restraint I was showing, I think. I might still be somewhat subdued, but I think on some level I'm pretty incensed at Caesar basically torching the Library of Alexandria yet again. Oh, and the lovely new law that lets the government assassinate and incarcerate Americans without due process kind of helped too...
laika  - re: I think a camel is crying somewhere...   |2012-03-10 19:22:36
emperorbma wrote:
Between SOPA, ACTA, the takedown of Megaupload, and the Supreme Court deciding that Congress can raid the Public Domain on behalf of copyright fiends..


But we can't blame all that on Popecraft, can we?
emperorbma   |2012-03-11 14:34:56
I was drawing a similarity, not making an accusation.
manhattan42  - HUH?   |2012-03-09 00:22:06
Pinehall wrongly alleged that I adhere to some type of imaginary 'social conservatism' or (God forbid!) adhered to some other far-reaching imaginary spectrum of social change.

Even went so far as to allege I supported that the 'government should take action in molding society for the betterment of all'....

Right?

WRONG!

The US Constitution protects EVERY citizen in his own pursuit of 'life, liberty and happiness'....

There is no "special" role of government in taking an active part in molding society for the betterment of all.

The role of government is to PROTECT the GOD-GIVEN rights GUARANTEED BY THE CONSTITUTION to ALL CITIZENS regardless of their age, gender, sexual orientation, political party affiliation, religious belief, creed, color, education level, bank account amount.... to seek and pursue his own personal life, liberty, and happiness without interference from those who don't agree!

Anyone who thinks otherwise is a subversive!
PineHall  - Sorry   |2012-03-10 10:41:25
Sorry, I pegged you wrong. I figured you were not a social conservative but I thought you were one that favored using the government to mold society. Sorry.
Only registered users can write comments!

3.20 Copyright (C) 2007 Alain Georgette / Copyright (C) 2006 Frantisek Hliva. All rights reserved."

 

Our valuable member emperorbma has been with us since Thursday, 03 April 2008.

Show Other Articles


Statistics

Members : 125699
Content : 1283
Content View Hits : 9077745

Who's Online

We have 40 guests and 69 members online
  • Johnnyer
  • WilliamiTum
  • Abizyalosal
  • jefimignjania
  • RamiSymnJalay
  • schnepftali
  • Agerncheece
  • JoshuaMi
  • Anthonybon