Wednesday, February 25, 2004

A Little More Marriage Talk

I don't want to turn this blog into a site dedicated exclusively to the sanctity of marriage, but Edward Veith had a post on the World Mag Blog that caught my eye. Recently, I have been thinking about the relationship between civil and religious marriages. Are they one and the same? Are there different roles for each? Is civil marriage even relevant? Veith addresses this question. Here is an excerpt from Veith's post:

President Bush succinctly summarized the issue in his announcement that he was supporting a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union of a man and a woman. [Bush said], "Marriage cannot be severed from its cultural, religious and natural roots without weakening the good influence of society."

Marriage is the institution in which religion, nature, and culture all come together. The state does indeed have the obligation to regulate marriage, which Protestant theology affirms as precisely a civil ordinance. But if the state allows a form of marriage that goes against nature and against religion (ignoring nature's design for the procreation of children and religion's concern for the moral ordering of sexuality), the three realms will fly apart.

Mr. Veith may be right, but the statement "the state does indeed have the obligation to regulate marriage" is a bit conclusory. Why does the state have that obligation? And what does Christian theology actually say on the matter of civil marriage? Hopefully, I will have some more developed thoughts on this issue to post in the future.