Chase: Who gets to define marriage?

July 15, 2013 


— I would dearly love to declare that double bogies are actually birdies, so I could brag about my golf game. But the Professional Golf Association gets to make that determination, and, alas, I doubt it will.

We must all revere historical context and display approbation and respect to those who have earned the right to define things.

The botanical community has earned the right to name plants and to define them.

The zoological community has earned the right to name animals and to define them.

The state (meaning federal, state and local governments) has earned the right to define civil laws, including civil unions.

The Roman Catholic church, as the original Christian church, has earned the right to define the sacraments.

Marriage is a sacrament. The Catholic church, therefore, is the arbiter of the meaning of the word “marriage.” Christian churches, all of which grew out of the Catholic church, don’t have the authority to change the meaning of the word marriage.

I am not a Catholic, and I love my gay brothers and sisters and believe that the state should treat them the same as all of us, but I also have a great respect for history and authority. The only true meaning and definition of the word “marriage” is the one accepted by the Roman Catholic church. Marriage is, therefore, the union of one man and one woman.

Civil unions can be a secular reflection of marriage, but they are not marriages in the religious context, history and meaning of the word. Only the Catholic church can change that definition, but I doubt that will be forthcoming in my lifetime.

I believe that soon civil unions will cover polygamy and a possible host of other associations, but in a civil secular society that is the right of the majority of the people to decide.

But let’s keep church and state separate; secularists need to make up their own words and not steal those that rightfully belong to the religious community.

Tom Chase

White Oak

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