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Editorial columns

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Traditional marriage worth upholding

HJR 6 necessary to preserve sacred bond of man, woman

This legislative session, the most-anticipated bill is one that would allow Hoosiers to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman in our state constitution. We recognize that there are people of good will on both sides of this issue. We also know that there are many well-intentioned people who want to do the right thing but have not thought about what marriage really is and how it benefits society.

As Christian leaders, we hold marriage to be sacred. The Book of Genesis tells the story of how God created us male and female and instituted marriage for the sake of having and raising children. Christ himself endorsed this view (Mark 10). And indeed, marriage is a picture of Christ’s sacrificial love for his church (Ephesians 5).

Marriage, however, is not simply a religious issue. Not long ago, Hillary Rodham Clinton spoke on the Senate floor and called traditional marriage a “fundamental bedrock principle.” She claimed it was one of the foundational institutions of civilization that serves for the raising and socializing of children. Though she no longer holds that position, we do well to consider the truth in what she said.

Traditional marriage is good for society. It is good for men, who are called to personal responsibility and to their duty as fathers and husbands. It is good for mothers, who are vulnerable, especially in childbirth. And most of all, it is good for children, who should reasonably expect that their mothers and fathers will care for them and provide an umbrella of protection and love while they are growing up.

While it is true that men and women are intrinsically equal, we are not, however, interchangeable.

Men and women complement each other physically, socially and psychologically.

Only a woman can be a mom, and only a man can be a dad. Indeed, as we think about the crime rate in our own city, we are painfully reminded that too many of our children are growing up without dads.

Social programs and policies may prove helpful, but a child does best when she has a mother and father who protect and provide for her.

The biology of the situation is clear enough. At the birth of every child, the mother is present.

The purpose of marriage is to do our best to ensure that the father will be there also, ready to care for his wife and child.

Admittedly, as a society, we have a lot of work to do, and we have not treated marriage with the respect it deserves. But now is not the time to abandon or redefine the institution but to strengthen it.

So-called same sex marriage would not fix the problem of fatherlessness, but would only institutionalize it. In Scandinavian countries, where same-sex marriage has been legal for more than a decade, marriage itself has fallen into disuse, and the institution is on the verge of collapse. Now in Denmark, 61 percent of first-born children have unmarried parents.

We should not fool ourselves. If same-sex marriage becomes the law of the land, the marriage debate will have only just begun.

Already, groups are pushing forward to advance polygamy, polyamory and other forms of group marriage. Words like “thruple” and “monagamish” are entering into common parlance. If it is indeed discriminatory to limit marriage to one man and one woman, who could argue against a committed threesome?

This is not mere speculation. Just recently in Utah, portions of laws against polygamy were declared unconstitutional. And by supporting the marriage amendment, we will also stand up for religious liberty. Already, Christian florists, photographers and bakers are being harassed and sued for following their consciences. Those who advocate for traditional marriage are said to employ “hate speech.” Now is the time to stand for liberty and the constitutional right to the free exercise of religion.

Marriage, traditional marriage, is worth preserving, worth fighting for. We call on our fellow citizens to join us in declaring that marriage is between one man and one woman. It’s not only biblical, it is the right thing to do for our children and for our community. Please, contact your legislators and support HJR 6.

Peter Scaer, associate professor of exegetical theology at Concordia Theological Seminary, and Rev. Steve Jones, president of Missionary Church, Inc., wrote this for The Journal Gazette on behalf of Shepherds United. A complete list of members can be viewed at shepherdsunited.org.

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