For five years I have been highly critical of the “institutional” Church for their apparent lack of willingness to work together on a strategy to uphold God’s design for marriage. Why is this?
- There are those who say “we have separation of Church and State and the State can do what it likes about defining marriage – and, we are to obey the authorities God has put in charge to govern”.
- There are those who are caught up in “deeper issues than same-sex marriage” just as P.M. Tony Abbott has said about the Govt.’s attitude toward the Bills that are before Parliament for consideration when the business of Parliament permits.
- There are also those who have believed the lie that same-sex marriage will happen in Australia; and that it is “inevitable”.
- Alongside this we have grass-roots level Christians who have fallen for the lie that the Bible has nothing to say about same-sex marriage, and the prohibitions against homosexuality were cultural and temporary situations that were alright at the time.
- And so a “new way” of interpreting Scripture has been put before us by people who are anti-Christian to begin with! Again, the problem is that grass-roots level Christians have been swallowing the constant barrage of propaganda put to them, while the institutional Church that the average Christian has trusted to lead them, has let them down badly by remaining invisible and silent in the public arena on the matter.
- Even on a local church level, too many leaders have remained silent lest the issue causes divisions within their church.
However, this issue has been creeping up on us for years and should have been “headed off at the pass” by the Christian Churches, before the armies of hedonism hit our beaches and invaded the land.
So it is good news to see that a letter has been written to the Prime Minister by a cohort of the leaders of the major religions within Australia, urging him to defend true marriage and its purposes.
It is a good and gracious letter!
The only two problems I see with it are these:
- You have to go onto the Anglican Church’s web-site to find it! I suggest it might have been an open letter to the Prime Minister taken out in a full page ad in all of the daily newspapers.
That way it would be accessible to most Australians to see that there is another side to the same-sex marriage issue; and it would have been an encouragement to all Christians and other right-thinking people to stand firm on true marriage as being the foundation stone on which our society is built.
- The second issue I have with it, is that much of it relies on the place of children having the right to know their parents whoever, and wherever they might be. Same-sex parenting takes away that right.Children have become a commodity to be bought and sold. Retaining the definition of marriage won’t change that because it’s already happening.
Will the institutional church take a lead in society and fight to roll-back the right for homosexuals to adopt? Because the rights of the children appear to have been scrapped with this “right” being given to homosexual adults!
So even if the definition of marriage remains the same, nothing will protect children from this basic right, because homosexual couples are now allowed to adopt, employ a surrogate, use invitro-fertilization, or whatever else might be in the mix to provide them with children.
This otherwise fine letter is posted below:
The Hon Tony Abbott MP
Canberra ACT 2600 5th June 2015
Dear Prime Minister
Re: Bills to redefine marriage so as to allow ‘same-sex marriage’
As leaders of Australia’s major religions we write to express the grave concerns that we, and those who share our various faiths, share regarding Bills that have or will be introduced into the Federal Parliament to change the definition of marriage in Australian law.
The definition of marriage enshrined in the Commonwealth Marriage Act 1961 – “the union of a man and a woman, to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life” – reflects a truth deeply embedded across diverse communities, faiths and cultures.
To uphold marriage as the mutual love of a man and a woman, open to the gift of children, is not bigotry or prejudice.
At many times throughout history, and sadly still today in some places, people with same-sex attraction have suffered injustice.
This is to be deplored. We should do more to ensure that our brothers and sisters who are same-sex attracted are treated with the dignity and respect owed to every human being. But this does not require the further deconstruction of marriage as traditionally understood.
Vast majority of nations and cultures share our understanding of marriage.
Because of the crucial role marriage plays as the nursery for the future of the community, and its responsibility always to act in the best interests of children, governments everywhere recognise and regulate marriage.
Far from being unusual in the international community for not supporting ‘same-sex marriage’, Australia’s definition of marriage as a union of a man and a woman is consistent with that of the vast majority of world nations, who represent over 91 per cent of the global population.
- To date, only 21 of the 193 member states of the United Nations have changed their legal definition of marriage to incorporate same-sex unions.
- International courts continue to recognise the truth that marriage is a union of a man and a woman oriented to the begetting and nurturing of children.
As the United Nations Human Rights Committee has affirmed, the “right to marry and found a family”, expressed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and elsewhere, “implies, in principle, the possibility to procreate”.
This highlights a crucial way in which marriage between a man and a woman is different from a relationship between two men or two women. Stating this belief publicly and upholding it in law is not bigotry, but an acknowledgment of legitimate difference.
The link to children is essential to what marriage means.
For the sake of children and to encourage men and women to commit to one another and to their offspring, marriage between a man and a woman has always been given the special recognition and support of the state.
This proposed legislation undermines that shared understanding of marriage and places the wishes of adults above the interests of children.
It fails to acknowledge the truth that children constitute the very basis for the state’s recognition and regulation of marriage.
We acknowledge that, sadly, some marriages and families break down. But a stable, loving marriage provides the best conditions for raising children.
Marriage between a man and a woman gives children the best chance of being loved and raised by their biological mother and father.
This is the family structure most consistent with a child’s right to know who they are and where they have come from. It is the family structure associated most strongly with positive child outcomes.
Any adult person can love and care for a child. But, as a couple, two persons of the same sex are not able to provide a child with the experience of both mothering and fathering.
Only the institution of marriage between a man and a woman has this inherent capacity to provide children with both of these relationships that are so foundational to our human identity and development.
The proposed legislation would send confusing messages to the community about marriage.
At a time when marriage is already under significant strains and pressures, we urge you to do all that you can to support marriage – not undermine its meaning and importance, most of all, for children.
Consequences of redefining marriage
As overseas experience shows us, redefining marriage will have consequences for everyone, as the truth about marriage becomes increasingly a truth which cannot be spoken.
It will create legal vulnerabilities for the millions of Australians who will always believe that marriage is between one man and one woman, and who entered into marriage on that basis.
In overseas jurisdictions where the definition of marriage has been changed, the public manifestation of this belief has resulted in vilification and legal punishment of individuals and institutions.
This violates not only freedom of religion, but also the rights of conscience, belief and association, and the right of parents to educate their children according to their own beliefs. The experience of these countries which have redefined marriage demonstrates that attempts to address these concerns through legislative “exemptions” have proven to be worthless.
We urge you and your fellow Members of Parliament to uphold the law of the Commonwealth of Australia regarding marriage as the union of a man and a woman and to continue to support the common good of our community by supporting true marriage.
We would be happy to meet with you and other MPs to discuss this matter further in person.
Pastor Ross Abraham National Chairman of the Movement International Network of Churches
Rev Fr Youssef Akladeos Coptic Catholic Church
Pastor Wayne Alcorn National President Australian Christian Churches
Rev Dr Andrew Ball Executive Ministry Director Churches of Christ NSW
Mar Yakoob Daniel Bolis The Ancient Church of the East
Rt Rev David Cook Moderator General Presbyterian Church of Australia
His Grace Dr Bishop Daniel Bishop Coptic Orthodox Church – Diocese of Sydney & Affiliated Regions
Most Rev Dr Glenn N Davies Archbishop Anglican Diocese of Sydney
Rev Fr Rahal Dergham Syrian Catholic Church
Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP Catholic Archbishop of Sydney Chair, Bishops Commission for Family, Youth and Life
Bishop George of Canberra Vicar Bishop for Metropolitan Hilarion Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia
Rev Ken Graham President Christian and Missionary Alliance of Australia
Rabbi Mordechai Gutnick President Rabbinical Council of Victoria Senior Dayan – Melbourne Beth Din (Jewish Ecclesiastical Court)
Rabbi Moshe D Gutnick Senior Dayan – Sydney Beth Din
Bishop Irinej The Serbian Orthodox Metropolitanate of Australia and New Zealand
Rev Keith Jobberns National Ministries Director Australian Baptist Ministries (Baptist Union of Australia)
Mr Hafez Kassem President Muslims Australia – Australian Federation of Islamic Councils Inc
Sheikh Shafiq Abdullah Khan Chairman of Australian Islamic Cultural Centre Chairman, Auburn, Liverpool and Wollongong Mosques
Rev Mark Lieschke Bishop Lutheran Church of Australia, NSW District
His Eminence Mor Malatius Malki Malki Metropolitan Archbishop Syrian Orthodox Church in Australia and New Zealand
Sheikh Kamal Mousselmani President Supreme Islamic Shiite Council of Australia
Pastor Phillip Mutzelburg President Acts 2 Alliance, Qld
His Grace Bishop Haigazoun Najarian Primate Diocese of the Armenian Church of Australia and New Zealand
Most Rev Amel Shamon Nona Archbishop St. Thomas Chaldean Catholic Diocese of Australia and New Zealand
Rt Rev Mark Powell Moderator Presbyterian Church of NSW and ACT
Dr Phil Pringle Founder and President C3 Church Global
Most Rev Robert Rabbat Bishop Melkite Catholic Eparchy of Australia and New Zealand
Rev Rex Rigby National Superintendent & South Qld District Superintendent Wesleyan Methodist Church of Australia
Metropolitan Archbishop Paul Saliba Primate Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia, New Zealand and the Philippines
Mr Lyle Shelton Managing Director Australian Christian Lobby
Rev Mgr Basil Sousanian Armenian Catholic Church
Pastor Chester Stanley President Seventh-day Adventist Church – Australia
His Grace Anba Suriel Bishop Coptic Orthodox Church – Diocese of Melbourne & its Affiliated Regions
Pastor Wayne Swift National Leader Apostolic Church Australia
Most Rev Antoine-Charbel Tarabay Bishop Maronite Diocese of Australia
Rabbi Yehoram Ulman President Rabbinical Council of NSW Senior Dayan – Sydney Beth Din
Pastor Bill Vasilakis Senior Minister, Christian Family Centre National Chairman, CRC Churches International
Mar Meelis Zaia AM Archbishop Assyrian Church of the East