Friday, May 15, 2009

Some Thoughts on Marriage

Carrie Prejean’s answer at the Miss USA pageant has certainly excited no little controversy. It has been interesting to watch. Her answer was gracious and from the heart. In that context it was an excellent answer, communicating compassion yet commitment to principle.

However, from a logical standpoint, she could have taken a more definitive position. This is not intended as a criticism but simply to highlight how compassionate her answer was. When addressing the issue of marriage, it is important to go back to first principles. In this case, it is impossible to address the issue of marriage without addressing it in its historical context. Marriage, in western civilization, cannot be divorced from the Bible. The western consensus has been from the middle ages and earlier that marriage was established by God in Genesis. “For a man shall leave his father and his mother and cleave unto his wife and the two shall become one flesh.” Genesis 2:24. There is no condemnation here, but if someone seeks to conform his or her conduct to an established norm, it is necessary to conform his or her conduct to the established norm. If you accept marriage as an institution, you must accept the institution as established and not only bits and pieces of it. If you want to be called a lawyer, you have to meet several historically established requirements. Marriage is no different.

It is also rather ironic that the Christian church is attacked for taking this position. Inherent in the institution of marriage is the portrayal of the relationship between Christ and His Church. Those who are attacking Ms. Prejean are attempting to confirm the institution of marriage. Although they confirm it for a different purpose than Ms. Prejean would, they confirm it nonetheless. In their confirmation of the institution, they confirm the institution that images the relationship between Christ and the Church at the same time they attack the Church for defending the image of its relationship. I find this curious.