Is Opposition to the Respect for Marriage Act Pharisaical?

Sep 16, 2022 by David Fowler

Is Opposition to the Respect for Marriage Act Pharisaical?
I got a call this week from the U.S.A. Today network wanting my take on the appropriate content for family life (sex education) curriculum and a different media call wanting comment on a drag queen show at a museum in Memphis. I am also getting emails urging opposition to the Respect for Marriage Act passed by the U.S. House of Representatives and soon coming up for a vote in the Senate. These issues are inextricably intertwined, and my question is this: Has the Church has lost the moral high ground by which to speak authoritatively and convincingly to them?

The Moral High Ground Context—Biblical Cosmology

Human sexuality, family, and matrimony are all of one piece in Biblical theology. They cannot be viewed strictly in isolated terms as if sex is unrelated to matrimony or family.
But that belief only makes sense in one understanding of the nature of reality, one view of cosmology, namely, that God created all things apart from His own eternal being as a creaturely mirror of Himself. As the creator, distinct from the creation, God, not human beings, gives definition (meaning) to all things and determines their purpose, i.e., the end or telos to which each created thing is directed. 
Therefore, from the testimony of Scripture about God and the nature of the cosmos, matrimony is to sex and then to family what soil and sunshine are to acorns becoming oak trees. Matrimony is the cosmological seed bed and light given by God for understanding sex and procreation. 

Biblical Cosmology Repudiated as a Matter of Law

However, unbeknownst to most people with whom I speak, a cosmological revolt against God as creator has been underway for over 100 years.
It began in earnest with the United States Supreme Court’s reasoning in Erie Railroad v. Tompkins. The Court said there is no transcendence source or grounding for law. For the purposes of law, civil or common law, God was thrown out of His cosmos.
The revolution continued with United States Court decisions in 1965, 1972, 1973, and 1976. Those decisions were all based on the rationale that for the now autonomous person (there is no God, remember) sterility in sexual intercourse, whether in marriage or not, was fundamental to what it means to be human. Of course, this understanding had to include the right of a woman, whether married or not, to kill her unborn child should other means not render intercourse sterile

Same-Sex “Marriage’ Completes the Cosmological Revolution Against God

In 2013, the United States Supreme Court completed its revolution against God.  That year, in United States v. Windsor, the Court said Congress could not define matrimony as a relationship between a man and woman for the purpose of its own statutes. In 2015,  in Obergefell v. Hodges, the Court said no state in the union could enact statutes that reflected a Biblical cosmology relative to an understanding that matrimony is predicated on male and female as distinct categories of persons in relation to each other, though having a same and equal essence in terms of their being. 
However, Obergefell wasn’t just the rejection of a creator God. It was a rejection of the Trinitarian understanding of God. The doctrine of the Trinity grounds the Christian’s understanding of the unity and diversity of creation and the basis for believing there can be a harmonious ordering of creation, even between man and woman and the family.  The Christian God was thrown out of His cosmos!
Same-sex marriage is the apex of the view that sterile sex is fundament to a “correct” understanding of human beings. It is the repudiation of the cosmology in Genesis 1 and 2. It is the rejection of a Trinitarian understanding of the nature of reality in toto. 
In sum, nothing remains of Christianity when the Church accepts Obergefell as law.

Losing the Moral High Ground

Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Christian Church and its parachurch policy organizations have done absolutely nothing to object to the fact that by means of rules and regulations the federal government has been acting on the Court’s repudiation of Biblical cosmology since the Windsor decision in 2013. Nine years of silence.
Granted, the odds of getting Congress to act after 2013 were slim, but that does not explain why the Catholic Church, nor any protestant denomination or parachurch policy organizations have not done anything to in any way challenge the cosmological revolt against God since Obergefell in 2015. 
None to my knowledge have even gone so far as to call legal scholars together to consider how to craft legislation to challenge in any way the capitulation of every state in the nation to this repudiation of Biblical cosmology by the Court even though it has no constitutional power to make law for the states.
Now they are upset that Congress wants to put into its statutes what none have objected to the federal government doing since 2013 or to what the states have been doing since 2015? 
The cosmos is overthrown in 2015 and now Christians who care about public policy are upset? I want to say, “Give me a break, please.” All the parade of potential horribles now being decried have existed in principle since 2015.

My Position on the Matter

That being said, I oppose the Respect for Marriage Act because it would be the first time the members of Congress, by their vote, will have affirmed the belief of that body in this cosmological revolution, namely, that man and woman do not have any objectively true and metaphysical meaning and that matrimony is not predicated on man and woman, but on a humanistic and, therefore, God-less view of law. 
Moreover, I believe those members of the U.S. Senate who vote for the bill if it provides “religious liberty” protections will demonstrate that they have embraced the cosmological revolution, regardless of what they say they believe about God. 

Does My Position Make Me Pharisaical Too?

I admit that in 2012 I did not understand Obergefell as the culmination of a cosmological revolution against God. But, with the help of a few Christian legal scholars in recent years who did object to that decision, we developed the Marital Contract Recording Act. It was presented to the state legislature last year.  It made some progress, but ultimately failed.
Ironically, same-sex marriage proponents were among the few in the country who understood its cosmological implications. A lawyer opposed to it said, 
Specifically defining marriage between one man and one woman as something that the government then has an obligation to recognize as a valid union sets up the stage for Obergefell being rendered meaningless.
When the government is obliged to recognize something existing independent of the government, one is speaking of a Biblical cosmology.

Will the Push for the Respect for Marriage Act be the Needed Wake Up Call?

My “rant” is now done. 
I recognize that God brings different people and leaders of organizations along at different times, and when, if ever, is a matter of His choosing. Before Him my will must bow.
But perhaps seeing that our national representatives have the 50 votes needed to pass RFMA, and appear to have the 60 votes needed to call the question will be a wake-up call for Christians that America, as a whole, is past the tipping point in its understanding that this is God’s cosmos.
So, I pray that next year churches and Christian parachurch policy organizations will support the step the Marital Contract Recording Act makes toward restoring a Biblical cosmology.  
I pray they will support it to the same degree and passion with which they oppose the Respect for Marriage Act, the approval of homosexual conduct and transgenderism in sex education classes, transgender procedures performed on minors, and drag shows at public schools and libraries, all of which flow from this cosmological revolution. Not to care about the cosmological revolution that has taken place makes opposition to these “issues” appear to others as mere moralism, which is Pharisaical. 
Will my prayer be answered? We will find out when the Tennessee legislature convenes in January. I pray God wants not just marriage back, but His cosmos too.

David Fowler served in the Tennessee state Senate for 12 years before joining FACT as President in 2006.

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