Yesterday our President’s administration made the announcement that they would no longer defend, in court, the Defense of Marriage Act passed by Congress and signed into law by President Clinton.
This move has compelled me to write and try to explain why I think the argument of the right to marry is a fallacy. The use of this fallacious argument simply inflames people’s sense of justice. Let me see if I can use an analogy.
Let’s say tomorrow, the wise people of our federal government decide that breakfast is a very important meal (we’ve all heard that, right?). After numerous studies of cultural, health and social factors, they recognize that not only is it a good thing, it is an important thing. So, in order to encourage this life-enhancing behavior, they make a new tax law. Everyone who eats breakfast, at least 4 times a week, gets a break on their taxes.
But now, they have to define breakfast, in order to regulate the law. So, they define breakfast as, any meal consisting of at least 2 basic food groups that is eaten between 4am and 10:30am (because that’s when McDonald’s stops serving breakfast).
Most people say, “Cool, I get paid to eat breakfast.” But there are two groups of people who are livid! The first is the group of people best defined as “not morning people.” You know, those who just can’t function in the morning hours and hit their stride about 7pm. The second group is people who work swing shift. They get off work at 1 or 2 am, unwind and hit the sack about 4, only to wake up at noon (too late for breakfast).
After a few months, they organize and say, “Hey, we want the right to have breakfast too! But we want it to be whenever.” And the answer of Congress is, “you have the right to eat breakfast, but breakfast is between 4 am and 10:30am and no one is keeping you from eating breakfast.” But our President has now said, “okay, let’s call all meals breakfast, if it feels like breakfast to you.” But we all know the truth don’t we? It’s not really breakfast, is it? At our house sometimes Kris makes breakfast food for dinner, but even then she asks, “would you like breakfast for dinner?” She doesn’t say, “We’ll be eating breakfast at 6pm today.” The truth is, the argument is not about rights. It’s about definition!
The fact is marriage, as defined by the law of this land and by God’s Word, is a covenant relationship between a man and woman. Anything else isn’t marriage. It might have some elements of marriage, it might feel like marriage, but it’s not marriage.
We can debate whether the government should give breaks to married couples. We can debate whether marriage is a benefit to our society – and I believe it is because even bad marriages produce a stability that children and healthy cultures need.
Congress and special interest groups will go on using the rights argument to change the definition of marriage. And some day, we’ll be able to call any meal of the day, “our breakfast.” But let’s be honest, we can’t really debate what it is. I know, and most of you know, by Nature’s law and God’s law, if isn’t between a man and woman it isn’t really breakfast…
What is the compassionate response? For those of us who trust in God’s Word and the redemptive love of Jesus, it is to speak the truth in love. With compassion, we befriend, pray for, encourage and guide those who struggle. But it does no one any good to redefine God’s desires and designs.