Build on Marriage

December 16, 2013

For years, marriage advocates have argued that legally redefining marriage to include more than a man and a woman would lead inexorably to polygamy, polyandry, etc., because once marriage is redefined, there is no limiting principle to prevent its redefinition again and again. The closest proponents of same-sex marriage have come to offering a limiting principle is love and consent, which is to say, no limiting principle at all.

Last week, a ruling in the District Court of Utah decriminalized polygamy based on the holding in Lawrence v. Texas, wherein the Supreme Court discovered a constitutional right to sodomy. Regardless of how higher courts rule, Brown v. Buhman is the intermediary legal step to recognizing bigamous and polygamous relationships as "marriage" just as Joe Carter explained that the Lawrence decision has been the foundation for all legal decisions allowing same-sex marriage, and the necessary precursor for the Supreme Court to strike down key provisions of the Defense of Marriage Act last summer.

As a general rule, marriage domesticates men and protects women and children by linking them through moral, social and legal bonds to the children they father. Through neglect, indifference, and legal activism we have undermined that marriage ideal as we've sought to make marriage whatever consenting adults want it to be. Let's not be shocked then that we're countenancing the re-subjugation of women in polygamous unions, and all the collateral damage that comes along with it for their children. Scratch civilization and you'll find the veneer is very thin, held together only through institutions like marriage and the social and moral bonds they encompass. These bonds are easily broken, and built only with great difficulty.

Yet even as we see cracks multiply in the edifice, and watch the great structure of civilization teeter and sway, we build. And we build not for ourselves only, seeking to retain what goodness and beauty this life has to offer. No. We build for the children and grandchildren yet unknown, who will one day look to our example to understand what faithfulness requires.

And we build for glory of God, because there is nothing in this world which images the nature, the magnificence, and the mystery of God like marriage. We build because there is no argument for the gospel so strong as a man willing to incarnate Christ in his marriage through the laying down of his life for his bride. We build because a wife's response to Christ in her husband makes the Church intelligible to a watching world.

Christians, look well to your household. Look well to your marriage. Because a day is coming, and indeed is here, when a hungry world will want what you have by the grace of God. If you have it.