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Pastor Needed

I recently received an email from a reader. She's aware of the Marriage Pledge, the initiative formulated by Ephraim Radner and Christopher Seitz that called for Christian ministers to set aside their civil authority to sign government marriage licenses. The purpose of this pledge is to clarify . . . . Continue Reading »

While We're At It

Writing in National Review (“President Obama’s Civic Religion”), David French observes an irony in President Obama’s statements about religion and public life. The president has declared himself “a big believer in the separation of church and state,” saying he’s “very suspicious of . . . . Continue Reading »

Letters

marriage pledge R. R. Reno writes in “Government Marriage” (December) that he “can’t see how a priest or pastor can in good conscience sign a marriage license for ‘Spouse A’ and ‘Spouse B.’” Then, in support of the Marriage Pledge put forward by . . . . Continue Reading »

Not Yet

With the legal affirmation of same-sex marriage in some states, should churches, synagogues, and mosques stop performing civil marriages? No, not yet. Marriage is, of course, more than a matter of statecraft.  Continue Reading »

A Legal Perspective on the Marriage Pledge

Many of the responses to the Marriage Pledge from both sides of the divide on same-sex marriage have reflected substantial confusion over the distinction between Christian and civil marriage and what the role of the clergy is in the marriage ceremony. My purpose here is to clarify that distinction and then to evaluate criticisms of the Pledge when the distinction between the two types of marriage is properly understood. Continue Reading »

Marriage Pledge is Not an Imperative of Conscience

Last week, I wrote in favor of the Marriage Pledge and suggested that signing a government-provided document designating Spouse A and Spouse B is contrary to conscience. Ed Peters has rightly criticized me. There is nothing intrinsically evil about politically correct euphemisms in government documents, including ones pertaining to marriage. And thus there’s no complicity with evil when a pastor, priest, or laymen sign such documents.  Continue Reading »

To Rend Is Not to Retreat

Does the call for Christians to separate matrimony from government marriage mean we’re retreating from the public square? Damon Linker thinks so: “First Things, the intellectually formidable monthly magazine that played a decisively important role in formulating the interdenominational and interreligious ideology that once galvanized the religious right, has decided to pick up its marbles and go home.” He calls it an “unprecedented retreat of theologically conservative churches from engagement in American public life.” Continue Reading »

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