Does Marriage Matter?

As I was getting my daily fix of Jon Stewart on The Daily Show (on cable’s Comedy Central) the other day, I was struck by how he made fun of Senators speaking on the floor about a “terrible threat to our country.” The next scene showed Stewart ducking under his desk—“What is it? Another terrorist attack?” The video continued to reveal that the senator was speaking about how the destruction of traditional heterosexual marriage is the biggest threat to America. Jon Stewart was thoroughly unconvinced. And I could not blame him. Simple inflammatory rhetoric and baseless mythology has often been the Right’s way of making their case on issues, so when conservatives say things like this, the Left will (correctly) scoff.

So it got me thinking: Granted, Christians understand the sanctity of marriage. We understand biblically how God instituted it and how it is the foundational component of society. We rightfully worry about our government redefining marriage away from God’s way, for when we go against God’s design it often causes us great hurt (just like if we used anything contrary to how it was designed). But I also sympathized with Jon Stewart. He is not a Christian, and so he will not be convinced by our biblical rhetoric. If we are going to expect non-Christians to live under the same morality as we do (which in itself is questionable at times), we must give them evidence other than “Thus Sayeth The Lord” that doing so will cause them greater good than not doing so.

I wondered, What secular evidence is there that the allowance of homosexual marriages can bring apocalyptic doom? (Other than what pundits like James Dobson writes on his website, “The culture war will be over, and the world may soon become ‘as it was in the days of Noah’ (Matthew 24:37). This is the climactic moment in the battle to preserve the family, and future generations hang in the balance. This apocalyptic and pessimistic view of the institution of the family and its future will sound alarmist to many, but I think it will prove accurate unless — unless — God’s people awaken and begin an even greater vigil of prayer for our nation.”)

I began a search, and found a few articles citing sociological reasons to protect the traditional institution of marriage. On my website I have a link to one of the most extensive articles I found, which states “Marriage is an important social good, associated with an impressively broad array of positive outcomes for children and adults alike”—then listing 21 conclusions in topical fashion and heavily footnoted dealing with family, economics, physical health and longevity, mental health and emotional well-being, and crime and domestic violence. Check in out at http://www.vanguardchurch.com/social_action.htm#Marriage .

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