I strongly believe that the marriage is a religious act — even a sacrament. Since “gay marriage” has recently become an issue, I’ve gotten into a discussion about this with family members, and there is definite confusion about whether a marriage is instantiated when the minister says “man and wife” or when the state issues a marriage license.
As a point of reference, my brother, a Mennonite minister and a devout Christian, recently got married to an Indonesian woman. He had one church ceremony in Indonesia, a civil ceremony in the U.S. and a church ceremony in the U.S. Evidently, the first ceremony wasn’t enough for him to consider himself married.
As much as I love my brother, I think that this sort of thing is going to cause pain for those Christians who think like this. As I’ve asked many times, who decides when you are married? If it the state is involved in the process, then what happens when the state makes the decision to alter its definition of what marriage is.
I’m glad I’m not the only loon who understands this. Scott Rosenberg writes:
But if you believe that marriage is “largely a religious matter,” shouldn’t you want the government out of the marriage business entirely? Why do you think the government should enforce your religion’s dictates? Wouldn’t you be a tiny bit worried that the government that enforces your religious beliefs today might turn around tomorrow and enforce someone else’s?
Christians need to recognise (again) that they that they are not “of this world” and they can’t expect this world to behave the way they think it should. Christians cannot define marriage for the state in a democracy because they are only a signifigant minority.