When Did Marriage and Religion Become Separate?

One of the “Hot Community Posts” that I saw on Sunday was an article entitled “A Religious Definition of Marriage Does Not Have Rights”.  This highlights the core issue surrounding the legality of “same-sex marriage” here in California:  that there is a non-religious definition of marriage.

The author, BGH, writes:

If viewed through a sort of  ‘religious filter’, opposition to gay marriage can be understood … if pertaining to ones personal choices.

Can anyone see what BGH did there?  He assumed that there is a different filter than a “religious” one through which to view the word “marriage”. 

BGH, I’ve got news for you.  This nation was founded by very religious, born-again Christians, who rebelled to be free to practice their brand of Christianity, and allow others to do the same.  America was founded upon these religious ideals.  Especially up to that point, marriage had always been a religious ceremony, and it’s under these circumstances that marriage was written into the law. 

The supporters of gay marriage can change it now, and that’s their right as Americans to try.  However, they must know that that they are the ones changing the definition of a word just because they don’t like the current one.

BGH addresses this point:

A personal religious belief does not become the community’s belief solely because a majority follows the doctrine.

Neither does a non-religious minority belief become the community’s belief solely because they don’t like the majority belief.

Along these lines of thinking and considering America’s origins, I have a question that I honestly don’t know the answer to.  Does it make sense completely divorce a word, indeed a concept, from it’s origins?  When did this switch take place?

A Precedence Is Being Set Here

Let’s reason through this for a second.  We can all agree that the “traditional” definition of the word marriage has been between a man and a woman, right?  Sure, there have been other perversions (polygamy, political and financial gain etc) to the institution, but the “man and woman” part has always stayed the same.  Don’t get ahead of yourself, I’m not saying that the traditional definition is equal to the correct definition, I’m just calling to our remembrance the history of the human race. 

Therefore, in order for the proponents of gay marriage to call this an “equality” issue, the definition of marriage must first be changed within their minds.  Think about it for a second, it’s not bigotry to say that I can’t join the “Red Hat Society”.  The Red Hat Society is defined as older women who wear red hats.  I don’t fit that definition. 

Now, if I changed the definition of the Red Hat Society to include ALL who wear red hats; then yes, anyone who wears a red hat, and wants to be included in the Red Hat Society, should be allowed to join.  If the Red Hat Society (my re-defined version) were to exclude someone even though they were wearing a red hat, then they would be rightly accused of bigotry.

In the same way, it is not bigotry to say that a man and a man cannot be included in an institution defined as between man and a woman.  A homosexual couple just doesn’t fit the definition.  The word “bigotry” can only be used once we re-define marriage from “a man and a woman” to “a legally binding institution between two committed people“.  Once this is our definition, then surely, Christians are being bigots.  However, you have to first force this definition upon everyone in society in order for them to swallow the “equality” claim.

That’s why the precedence being set here is not one of equality, or a rejection of bigotry.  The precedence being set is one of a minority changing the definition of a word because they don’t like the current one. 

The question we should be asking ourselves is:  Are we really a society that changes definitions because a very small portion of our population disagrees with them?  Are we a society that changes definitions even if the majority disagrees with it?

This is a Battle of Worldviews

Why has society in general been able to redefine a word right under our noses?  Why are those that hold to the traditional, Biblical definition of marriage being called bigots?

Society has created it’s own worldview, based upon it’s own wisdom.  One general term that can be used to describe this is “humanism”.  Society has decided that men’s minds can decide what truth is.  This is so far removed from the Biblical worldview that the definition of marriage set down by the Bible is seen as bigotry.  This worldview distinction extends so far that society has it’s own definitions of God and religion.

BGH displays this when speaking about the prospect of gay marriage:

There is not a threat to the person’s religion, religion is a personal matter between yourself and whatever god/gods you worship.

Humans are the ones who’ve tried to confine God to a building or a our idea of Him.  God cannot be confined to any of those things, nor do His laws concede to the constructed truth in the mind of man. 

However, the Most High does not dwell in houses made by human hands; as the prophet says: 

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17 Comments on “When Did Marriage and Religion Become Separate?”

  1. krissmith777 Says:

    Surprised that no one wants to talk about this.

  2. Eric Kemp Says:

    actually, me too kinda. I was expecting a fight on this one

  3. krissmith777 Says:

    I know how they could answer your question, but I won’t give it away. 😛

  4. krissmith777 Says:

    Hey, it’s no fun if no one wants to argue 😦

  5. DB Says:

    “Society has decided that men’s minds can decide what truth is.”

    Cultural relativism! Pilate asked Jesus, “What is truth? Is your truth the same as mine (paraphrased)?” His was the same relativistic view that we see today, so is it any wonder that, beyond God, there is no truth, period?

    We live in a nation obsessed with entitlements and expedient (at all cost) self gratification. Marriage between a man and woman, as with every other Godly imperative, which doesn’t conform to the world’s view of freedom and entitlement, is “bigoted” or “outdated.” It’s the Brave New World psychosis that has much of humanity in a stupor, just as scripture said it would be at this time:

    For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness… For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures… they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. (Romans 1: 18, 21-23, 25)

    But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these… always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. (2 Timothy 3: 1-5, 7)


    I’m surprised at the lack of response, too!!

  6. krissmith777 Says:

    All right, Eric

    I think it’s safe to say that, due to the lack of response to this topic, you have just made an argument to which secularists have no real answer.

    I know how they could respond, but they don’t seem to have thought of the answer themselves.

    I hate it when someone wins a debate by default, but apparently that is exactly what has happened here.

  7. Eric Kemp Says:

    Yea, I’m confused.

    I mean, I thought it was a fairly good argument, but it seems that it is better than I thought. I was fully expecting someone to smack me down into place with an argument that would make me go, “Oh…”.

    Instead, I would like to hear how you would respond to this were you a secularist.

  8. krissmith777 Says:

    Eric says:

    “Instead, I would like to hear how you would respond to this were you a secularist.”

    I would say something on the lines of: “When did marraige and religion separate? — When non-religious people began to marry.”

    I’m surprised no one has said that already.

  9. krissmith777 Says:

    Hey Eric,,

    Just wodering.If you can, could you please critique a post I wrote defending Irreducible Complexity?

    I am re-editing it and looking to improve it if possible.

    Here it is: http://explanationblog.wordpress.com/2009/03/21/more-on-arguments-against-irreducible-complexity/

  10. Eric Kemp Says:


    Your explanation is well thought and and clearly understood. You do a great job of parsing out the purposeful misunderstanding of Behe’s definition of “Irreducible Complexity” and the strawman that is Miller’s entire argument. Your sources are good, and your argument is good.

    However, I think you’re missing a big opportunity here. You should point out just how unscientific Miller’s argument is at it’s most basic. That is, Miller’s argument, even if valid, comes out like this: Because Irreducible Complexity is wrong, therefore evolution is correct. Or, more truthfully: Because God didn’t do it, therefore evolution did. This position is unsupported by any possible scientific experiment, and it’s just not how science works. Even if science refutes a single explanation, that doesn’t prove the truthfulness of any other explanation. Even if IR is wrong, that doesn’t make evolution any MORE right. Miller, and his ilk, accuse ID and Creationists of using metaphysical/religious arguments in favor of their theories and therefore cannot be included in the scientific/academic community. What they refuse to see, and are truly blind to, is that they do the same thing all the time. Miller’s argument can also be restated like this, “Well, since there isn’t a better scientific explanation than evolution, evolution must be true.” This is a metaphysical argument! A scientific experiment certainly didn’t inform Miller that there isn’t a better explanation about the unobservable past than evolution.

    I assume you’re getting this from the Miller’s popular video refuting intelligent design. Throughout the entire video, his argument is, “Because it’s unlikely that God did it, therefore evolution is true” or “Because God wouldn’t do this, evolution is true” It flies in the face of real science and makes Miller a hypocrite for begrudging others the use of metaphysics when he can use them without question or explanation.

    Thanks for asking me, I’m flattered.

    In Him

  11. krissmith777 Says:

    Eric says:

    “You should point out just how unscientific Miller’s argument is at it’s most basic. That is, Miller’s argument, even if valid, comes out like this: Because Irreducible Complexity is wrong, therefore evolution is correct.”

    I’m already planning to do that in a separate post. But thanks for the suggestion.

    “I assume you’re getting this from the Miller’s popular video refuting intelligent design. “

    Yep, I am.

    “Thanks for asking me, I’m flattered.”

    No prop. 🙂

  12. krissmith777 Says:


    Just wondering. Despite the lack of comments and debate, is this post receiving a substantial number of hits?

  13. Eric Kemp Says:

    Not really. But then again, I haven’t been active for awhile.

  14. Eric,

    This is an excellent argument. Very logical and well thought out. The only reason there is a debate at all is because our society has been redefining terms. When sin is no longer sin, then anything goes, right?

    I have been really surprised at the lack of logical thinking regarding this debate. The pro-homosexual lobby has been arguing for ‘equal rights’ regarding the issue of marriage and other things equating their struggle with the struggle of African-Americans or women. Last time I checked, being African-American or being a woman wasn’t something one could choose to be. Homosexuality is not an issue of genetics, but of lifestyle choice. It’s true that the ‘choice’ to be homosexual can be a subconscious choice, but it’s a choice nonetheless.

    Thanks for the great read!

  15. […] over at Apologia had this to say about the same-sex marriage debate.  I found it to be a very well reasoned argument that […]

  16. knowledge Says:

    Article 11 of the Treaty of Tripoli says otherwise. Our founding fathers were mainly Deists, not born-again Christians or bible-thumpers. We’re speaking of a time in history when slavery was still government sanctioned. Interracial marriage was unheard of, yet marriage as an institution was still restrictive. The word games are about as interesting as black people being up in arms about gay rights activists using the term civil rights to define their cause. How funny is that, African Americans owning the term: civil rights? As if it can’t be applied to any other cause in the history of mankind. Absurd. The same arguments used against gay marriage were used against Interracial Marriage in the 1960s.

    By the way, Carl, as a black lesbian I can tell you that you couldn’t be more wrong about your assessment. I’ve experience racism and homophobia; they are equally destructive. I can’t choose to stop being sexually attracted to other women just as you can’t choose to start being sexually attracted to other men, or can you? What I’ve gathered from your comment is that heterosexuality is a choice, even a subconscious one for some just like homosexuality. Awesome deduction.

  17. Eric Kemp Says:


    You’re assertion that many of the founding fathers were Deists is just plain erroneous. Perhaps it suits your worldview and argument to label them as such, but you’re just wrong about that. I’m not saying that every single one of them was a very religious person, but you’re attempting to hit the founding fathers with terms that wouldn’t have been used back then. “Born-again Christians”, 250 years ago there wasn’t any other kind! Only until the last 60 years or so has religion become less influential in society. 250 years ago the lives of individuals were, in general, much more influenced by religion and Christianity was the primary one. The vast majority of these men were, by today’s standards, very religious men who wanted out of the rule of the UK so that they could practice their own brand of Christianity without persecution (this was not the only reason, but it was an influential one).

    Now, all of that aside, you have entirely missed my point. I never said America was founded on the Christian religion. That’s obvious. But, America was founded by Christian men. These men, when they wrote marriage into the law, would never have considered qualifying marriage as being between a man and a woman. Why? Because that was a forgone conclusion!! The word “marriage” meant (and in my book still means) the joining of a man and a woman. That’s what the word meant. Do I really have to qualify a small, furry, four legged animal when I say the word “cat”? Of course not. That’s how obvious the meaning of the word marriage was to the founding fathers. And THAT’S my point.

    So, in order to bring any kind of civil rights issue into the question of gay marriage, you have to first redefine the word marriage to be “the joining of two people“, which it has never been defined as before. Like I said, it’s your right to try to redefine a word if you don’t like it, you’re welcome to try. However, don’t pretend that it’s the Christians who are shoving their definition of a word down your throat when the you are the one doing the redefining. This is where my Red Hat Society analogy worked well.

    Now, marriage was never defined as “the joining of two people of the same race”. So those who were trying to force that definition on interracials couples were ALSO trying to re-define marriage as you are now. They’re purpose was exclusionary while yours is inclusionary. That’s the only difference. And please, don’t put the restriction of interracial marrage in the 60’s on Christianity. MLK was a Baptist minister was he not?

    I’m not concerned wether or not your homosexuality is a choice, I am only concerned with the structure of that argument. You say you cannot choose to stop being attracted to other women…fair enough, I’m not going to try to convince you otherwise. However, what if a pedophile says they cannot stop being attracted to little boys, is that not the same argument? Under your logic, they were born a pedophile just as you were born a homosexual, right? Now, don’t get in a huff, I’m not comparing you to a pedophile, I’m just pointing out to you that your argument can be used to justify pedophilia for the exact same reasons that you use it to justify homosexuality.

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