September 30, 2015

And Furthermore… (Parliament/Plebiscite Addendum)

There have been interesting responses to my blog post, and I have appreciated the wisdom of people who have pointed out some of the things that perhaps I have glossed.

One in particular is whether or not SSM disadvantage to children by enshrining something that results in a child not having either a father or a mother.  There has certainly been a well-oiled campaign by some within the SSM lobby that two loving parents, regardless of gender, is the key.

It’s not as if the liberal elite that has pushed this has been consistent either.  The Economist weekly journal, notably liberal and historically, and publicly pro-SSM seems as confused in its message as any.  So last year we had contradictory messages from The Economist.  In one week’s cover story the headline pronounced that “boys need a dad”. This was followed up several months later by a front cover article that stated that SSM won’t affect children.  Come on Mr Dickens, was it the best of times or was it the worst of times, it can’t be both!

Another friend pointed out this excellent article by a libertarian with no vested interest in heterosexual marriage OR SSM, who states that to simply say SSM won’t change how the wider culture does marriage because it won’t change how I do marriage doesn’t carry weight as an argument. The article states presciently::The limits of your imagination are not the limits of reality”, meaning don’t get far ahead of yourself in saying what such a change may or may not do.

My primary argument centres on how any such marriage debate in view of a plebiscite will play out in an adversarial media that is far more sophisticated in its ability to shape a message than an Christian group can begin to contemplate.  Now that is not to say we should not mount a clear campaign about wha Christians hold marriage to be, but it would seem that arguing the view that it will damage children is over-ridden by the huge baseline cultural narrative that personal satisfaction and self-actualisation trump this.

The common ground that we may have with some in the culture is that it is not healthy for children to be so brought up, but that is a particularly small plot of land to fly a flag from. It raises questions about how many children we are talking about in the first place, and brings into play the possibility that on the surface, or even at a deeper level, many of these children will not feel the lack.  Are we willing them to so feel this lack to prove our case?  Only the most ardent culture warrior among us would take any satisfaction from such an outcome.

I believe Christian churches should strongly model an alternative ethic to the culture as their manner of protest, and ensure that even if it comes down to being persecuted for this that they hold their nerve. Our biggest reason for viewing SSM as wrong is, in the end, the biggest stumbling block of all – special revelation. We believe that marriage is God-ordained and not simply for self-satisfaction, and not even primarily for the noble task of raising children.  We believe it is God’s way to point to the relationship between Christ and the church, and as such is an excellent visual aid to that end.  That’s why we value it, and that’s our ultimate argument for it.

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There is no guarantee that Jesus will return in our desired timeframe. Yet we have no reason to be anxious, because even if the timeframe is not guaranteed, the outcome is! We don’t have to waste energy being anxious; we can put it to better use.

Stephen McAlpine – futureproof

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