A prominent conservative Christian magazine, First Things, thinks so. As do the more than 300 pastors and laypersons who have signed a pledge to “no longer serve as agents of the state in marriage.”
The petition asks pastors to pledge to:
- “no longer sign government-provided marriage certificates”
- “ask couples to seek civil marriage separately from their church-related vows and blessings”
- “preside only at those weddings that seek to establish a Christian marriage in accord with the principles articulated and lived out from the beginning of the Church’s life”
According to a LifeWay Research poll released today, 1 in 4 Protestant pastors agree it’s time to rend civil and religious marriage. So do 1 in 3 Americans in general.
For starters, this seems like a really good way to get people to avoid churches in general when considering wedding locations. If I have to go to the County Clerk to get a license, then get my witnesses and go to a judge to sign the certificate and get legally married, and then go to a church for some mystical second wedding that makes it official in the eyes of the pastor, I’m going to tell him to get bent, hold one wedding somewhere else where they will sign the damn certificate and stop going to that church.
Then again, maybe I should view this as a baby step in eventual acceptance of our gay brothers and sisters. I mean my own transition from raging fundamentalist to raging liberal included the libertarian step of “Well, maybe we should get the state out of marriage and leave it to churches” and I eventually came around to realizing that if folks want to marry someone with the same parts in their nether regions, we should all be happy that two people are willing to commit to one another for life, devotion, and mutual fulfillment and happiness and the opportunity to build a strong healthy family and we should sit in the front row during the ceremony if they ask us, and do the chicken dance at their reception.