When Government Becomes God: PCUSA Approves ‘Gay Marriage’
On the day after the March for Marriage in Washington, DC, I awakened to read the AP Headline “Presbyterian Assembly: Gay Marriage is Christian” The report began:
The top legislative body of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) voted by large margins Thursday to recognize same-sex marriage as Christian in the church constitution, adding language that marriage can be the union of “two people,” not just “a man and a woman.”
I am deeply saddened for my faithful Presbyterian Christian friends, and there are many of them. I know I will be standing with many of them in the months ahead while faithful, classical Christians, of every major confession and tradition, discern the ways we can come together to defend and proclaim the plan of God that marriage is between one man and one woman, intended for life, open to life and formative of family. No erring church assembly can change the plan of God.
I remembered one of the first encounters I had at the Marriage Rally yesterday. An alleged film crew from Russia picked me out of the early gathering crowd because of my clerical collar. The man, speaking through an interpreter, said he wanted to interview me on why I was at the March for a documentary they were doing for Russian television. Accompanying the man and the woman was a man with a camera on a portable tripod.
I assented to the request. I hoped I could share the good news of the growing global marriage movement with the people of Russia. I know that many Russians are Christians and share our convictions concerning the truth about marriage. I began by sharing with the three of them my joy over the good news that there was a strong renewal and resurgence of the Orthodox Church in Russia.
I should have known right then and there, by their reaction, that the crew held a position on the subject of marriage quite different than my own. The fellow holding the camera, after hearing the interpretation of my words from his colleague, folded up his tripod device and began to frown.
The next question they asked me was “Do you believe that Gays and Lesbians should receive the Bible”. ” Of course”, I answered, ” the Bible is a gift to all of us. Everyone should receive the Bible”. “So”, he continued through an interpreter, ” you would support a rewritten translation interpreting the Bible for sexual minorities?” By then I saw what the encounter was really about. I responded lovingly “If you mean changing the clear teaching of the Bible, and the Christian tradition, of course not. We cannot rewrite the Bible my friend, the Bible rewrites us”.
As they packed up and prepared to leave, I took the time to share a bit of my own personal journey home to faith in Jesus and the Catholic Church. I explained the Good News of the freedom which the Gospel holds for all men and women. The crew packed up their material and left. For the remainder of the event, they moved throughout the growing crowd, seeking other clergy to interview for their documentary. I am certain it was not favorably disposed to the message of the March.
The announcement of the Presbyterian Church USA, no matter how it is reported, will not change the truth about marriage. Nor can it ever change the loving plan of the God who created marriage. He revealed it in the Natural Moral Law, confirmed it in His Revelation in the Bible,and continues to affirm it by the Holy Spirit in the unbroken tradition of the Church of His Son Jesus Christ. In fact, so profoundly important is that plan of God for the human race, that Marriage is the image which is used throughout the New Testament to explain the relationship of the Church as the Bride of Christ, who is the Bridegroom.
The arrogance of some modern Christians who are embracing this error which leads to heresy – such as the synod of the Presbyterian church USA which voted to reject God’s plan for freedom, flourishing and human happiness and refashion their own “other gospel” – is that they actually think any of this is new. Like some Christians in other ages, they are simply rejecting key elements of their faith and succumbing to the errors of the age.
They have a willing and supportive civil leader in a U.S. President who now seems to look for ways to use the power of his office to unilaterally engage in the restructuring of civil society. Part of his apparent plan is to manufacture a legal and moral equivalency between marriage and homosexual and lesbian partnerships by executive action. And then, to use the police power of the State to enforce this new social order.
This is all leading to a growing hostility against all classical, Nicene Creed endorsing, faithful Christians- be they Orthodox, Catholic, protestant, evangelical or any other identifier – who know that they cannot change the truth about marriage. It will only increase in the days ahead.
This is all leading to a situation in our time wherein faithful Christians will be persecuted and denigrated as opposing the public order. Sound familiar? It is underway. Remember, the early Christians were arrested for behavior considered offensive to the human race. The charge with which they were arrested, “odium generis”, was a political charge.
This morning I reread some salient words from G.K. Chesterton. They were contained in his Essay on Christendom in Dublin. He was commenting on the difference between the Irish and the British during his day. He implied that there was a deeper sense of religious truth left in the Irishman. My – how things have changed. He was also speaking to the meaning of those oft quoted words of Lenin that “religion is the opiate of the masses.” In the way that only he can, he turns the phrase on its head.
However, as is the case with most good quotes from truly insightful Christians, there is an insight which is timeless. It speaks to the growing collaboration between the current regime in the United States and some errant Christians who have now succumbed to heresy, like the Presbyterian Church, USA. They now find the State to be supportive of their error. There is a new alliance being forged between some of these Christians who have rejected the truths of their faith and a regime which sees itself as the arbiter of a new cultural and social order.
I end with the words of that great man:
But the truth is, that it is only by believing in God that we can ever criticize the Government. Once abolish the God, and the Government becomes the God. The fact is written all across human history; but it is written more plainly across that recent history of Russia; which was created by Lenin. There the Government is the God, and all the more the God, because it proclaims aloud in accents of thunder, like every other God worth worshiping, the one essential commandment: “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.
The truth is that Irreligion is the opium of the people. Wherever the people do not believe in something beyond the world, they will worship the world. But, above all, they will worship the strongest thing in the world. And, by the very nature of the Bolshevist and many other modern systems, as well as by the practical working of almost any system, the State will be strongest thing in the world. The whole tendency of men is to treat the solitary State as the solitary standard.
That men may protest against law, it is necessary that they should believe in justice; that they may believe in justice beyond law, it is necessary that they should believe in a justice beyond the land of living men. You can impose the rule of the Bolshevist as you can impose the rule of the Bourbons; but it is equally an imposition. You can even make its subjects contented, as opium would make them contented. But if you are to have anything like divine discontent, then it must really be divine. Anything that really comes from below must really come from above.
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