(Dis)Respect for Marriage Act and the Case for the Christian Family

As Richard Weaver taught us many years ago, Ideas Have Consequences. We live in a world of cause and effect. We reap what we sow and to deny this is to mock God himself. The (Dis)Respect for Marriage Act is slotted for U.S. House approval this week. And what the prophet Hosea once said lands squarely upon our nation: “They have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind” (Hosea 8:7). 

That text is worthy of meditation. There is not only a similarity between what is sown and what is reaped. Wind is sown and nothing less than wind will be reaped. But there is an escalation. We have sown the wind and reaped a tornado. The underlying truth is that God has woven increase into the fabric of this world. Something is always growing be it weeds or vegetables. 

This point can be applied in two ways to our present situation. First, the (Dis)Respect for Marriage Act that will soon codify same-sex mirage in our land is the whirlwind. We sowed the wind years ago and the storm chasers are now headed our way. We are downstream from Obergefell, No-Fault Divorce, and a thorough redefinition of liberty, which used to mean freedom from one’s passions and bondage to sin. The lexical definition now being: I’ll do whatever in tarnation I want to do now get out of my way.

We are downstream from many more types of wind-seed, but those three alone teach us about the present storm encompassing our fields. We have already determined that marriage is disposable, need not be fruitful, and is subject to our passions. It should not surprise us then the we have the audacity to legislate that sodomy should be held in honor. 

The second application of the sowing and reaping principle is that the (Dis)Respect for Marriage Act is just as much more wind in the soil as it is a whirlwind coming up from the soil. All sin is like this. And national sin in which we frame mischief by a law is particularly so, “Righteousness exalteth a nation: But sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34). The implications coming in the wake of the House’s decision this week are nearly endless and they all smell like a three week old lasagna that has been sitting in the back of a fridge that lost power four weeks ago. Why did we put a perfectly cooked lasagna into a broken refrigerator you ask? Well the refrigerator identified as a cold one and its pronouns were Brrrr. 

This destructive act that will soon become law in our land is yet another sign of the dissolving American family. As much as this godless legislation is to be lamented, it affords Christians an opportunity to reconsider just what a family is and how it might be restored. The truth is, Christians do not simply oppose same-sex mirage because it is sexual perversion. We oppose it because we believer north is still north. We are dealing with two entirely different conceptions of reality itself. The restoration project in front of us involves coming to grips with the real world. And that means we need a recovery of the covenant household which involves a recovery of covenant marriage and covenant children. 

I have just published a new book through Canon Press called The Case for the Christian Family: The Covenantal Solution to the Dissolving American Family. One of the foundation stones of that book, which wars against the (Dis)Respect for Marriage Act, is that marriage is a covenant, not a contract. In other words, God really does join man and woman together in marriage. Marriage is more Chestertonian than we realize. There’s a good deal of magic in it, if I won’t get into too much trouble for saying it that way. When Jack Thompson and Jill Williams get hitched, the result is one new thing called the Thompsons. Yes, Jack is still Jack and Jill is still Jill. But there now exists this new entity which did not exist before. That entity is known as the Thompsons and there is both a head and a body of the Thompsons (Ephesians 5:23). 

That point is fairly uncontroversial. But it follows that God deals with the Thompsons as the Thompsons. And that point begins to wade into the waters of controversy. But, if God has made the two one, then would it not follow that God deals with the Thompsons as the Thompsons? At the end of a wedding ceremony, the minister traditionally said, “I present to you for the very first time Mr. and Mrs. Jack Thompson.” The minister did not leave out Jill because he was a thoughtless misogynist. In fact, he did not leave out Jill at all. This is one new thing we’re dealing with consisting of a Mr. and a Mrs.

This covenantal understanding of marriage leads to a covenantal understanding of the whole family, children included. The fruit of this one new thing is included in the one new thing. This explains why Joshua could say, “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15). It explains why Job is commended for sacrificing for his children in case they had sinned (Job 1:5). It explains why God’s covenant promise to Abraham was not only that individuals would be blessed, but all the families of the earth would be blessed (Genesis 12:3).

In a recent White House press release celebrating the (Dis)Respect for Marriage Act, Kamala Harris said that starting a family and raising children are fundamental human rights. That is true enough. But the (Dis)Respect for Marriage Act commends putting a knife to the throat of families rather than starting them, and perhaps this is a point that will demystify the battle line. When a man vows to marry another man, and our nation claims that these two men are married, several truths must be asserted. First, these two men are not married. Second, the two men are in a relationship that cannot produce children. And third, the two men are not family. In the same way Christians refuse to say the pronouns, we also refuse to acknowledge a marriage or a family where it does not exist.

We don’t live in a world of our own making. That is what the present culture war is really about. Marriage is more than the product of the will of the parties involved. Families are not created by humans ex nihilo. And children are not personally manufactured commodities. It all comes from above and we are a nation that has forgotten how to look up.—”Lo, children are an heritage from the LORD: And the fruit of the womb is his reward” (Psalm 127:3).