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Catholic and Evangelical leaders: Same-sex ‘marriage’ more harmful than divorce and cohabitation

Kirsten Andersen Kirsten Andersen Follow Kirsten

March 10, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Redefining marriage to include same-sex couples will damage the institution far more than divorce and cohabitation already have, a joint statement signed by several dozen Catholic and evangelical Christian leaders argues.

They warn that since same-sex “marriage” was created by the state, “where the family is a creation of the state, children become, in important legal respects, the property of the state.”

The statement, authored by the group Evangelicals and Catholics Together and contained in the March issue of First Things magazine, calls same-sex unions a “parody of marriage” and warns that divorcing marriage from its original purpose of uniting a man and woman for the purpose of creating new life will have devastating consequences for society at large – and children especially.

“An easy acceptance of divorce damages marriage; widespread cohabitation devalues marriage. But so-called same-sex marriage is a graver threat, because what is now given the name of marriage in law is a parody of marriage,” the authors wrote. “We are today urged to embrace an abstract conception of human nature that ignores the reality of our bodies. Human beings are no longer to be understood as either male or female. Our culture encourages us to exalt our personal desires and choices over the created order.”

“No one should doubt or deny what is at stake here,” the authors cautioned. “To sustain the fiction of same-sex marriage, the natural family must be deconstructed. Birth certificates will no longer list ‘father’s name’ and ‘mother’s name’ but ‘Parent 1/Parent 2,’ a change already made on certificates issued in some jurisdictions that recognize same-sex marriage.”

“In this brave new world, the family – the institution on which our social order rests – is being redefined as a socially constructed unit, constituted by our sovereign will, not by nature itself,” they added. “And if a ‘family’ is anything I want or choose it to be, the corrosive individualism that already leaves too many people lonely and disconnected in twenty-first-century Western society is intensified.”

The authors stated that while “legal” parenthood has for centuries been granted as an exception to the biological rule for those who adopt orphaned children, today “the most basic principles of family life are being reconstructed around exceptions.”

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“Because the male-female difference must be erased to make way for same-sex marriage, the procreative potential of the male-female union must be set aside as well,” explained the authors. “A child’s parents are whomever legal documents designate as Parent 1 or Parent 2 – or, as California documents now allow, Parent 3 or Parent 4. Thus, children are exposed to the risk of coming into the world as strangers, in which the biological ties that form the natural family are arbitrarily broken.”

“The law no longer recognizes the primordial, complementary natural roles of mother and father,” the authors continued. “The natural family as the fundamental context defining where we have come from and who we are is set aside. The family becomes a creation of the state, and where the family is a creation of the state, children become, in important legal respects, the property of the state.”

The statement’s authors also expressed their concern that redefinition of marriage will ultimately have a chilling effect on religious freedom.

“Freedom itself is severely compromised when our speech about the difference and complementarity of male and female must be policed, and any dissent from the new orthodoxies assiduously suppressed,” the signers wrote. “[O]nce opposition to same-sex marriage is judged to be discriminatory, no institution that declines to substitute unreality for reality will remain unaffected. Some individuals are already being censured and others have lost their jobs because of their public commitment to marriage as the union of a man and a woman.”

“A society that seeks to erase the difference between male and female in marriage is asking us to believe something we know is not true and cannot be true,” the authors continued. “If the truth about marriage can be displaced by social and political pressure operating through the law, other truths can be set aside as well. And that displacement can lead, in due course, to the coercion and persecution of those who refuse to acknowledge the state’s redefinition of marriage, which is beyond the state’s competence.”

The authors urged Christians to actively resist those who would rob marriage of its true meaning and dismantle the natural family by redefining the institution to make it genderless.

But they warned that those who dare to do so can expect persecution by their adversaries, and ultimately, even by the state.

“A society that identifies the two parties in marriage as Spouse 1 and Spouse 2 has lost sight of a deep truth of human nature. We must do everything in our power to distinguish this falsification of marriage from its true form as the lifelong union of a man and a woman…All Christians and men and women of good will must work to rebuild the culture of marriage and live lives that attest to the joy and beauty of marriage. On this basis alone can we succeed,” the signers wrote.

But, they cautioned, “[t]his will not be easy. The proponents of these so-called marriages are powerful, and they do not hesitate to use the tools of calumny to defeat their opponents. Keeping in mind the obligation to speak the truth in love, we must find ways to distinguish true marriage from its distortion, and we must do so without abandoning the public square. We owe our fellow citizens a socially engaged witness to the truth about marriage, which, with the family, is the unalterable foundation of a healthy, humane society.”

“In some contexts, consistent testimony to the truth about marriage may require clergy to refuse to serve as officers of the state by signing marriage licenses,” the signers wrote. “Whatever courses of action are deemed necessary, the coming years will require careful discernment.”

“The time is approaching – indeed, in some instances it has already arrived – when Christians in this country will suffer abuse for upholding the truth about marriage,” the authors warned. “We encourage our fellow Christians to stand firm in obedience to Christ, for that obedience is the most compassionate service we can offer society. In doing so, we must strive to heal the wounds of a confused and broken culture, to foster human flourishing, and to honor the God who created human beings in his own image, male and female. For Christ said, ‘I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly’ (John 10:10).”

To view the statement by Evangelicals and Catholics Together in its entirety at First Things, click here.

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