Saturday, May 9, 2015

The State, The Church, and Marriage

This Podcast plays a series of 3 lectures on the issues of Incorporated Churches and the 501c3 status.  I'm unsure if all 3 were actually done by the same person, they're similar voices at least.  It's a very good insightful informative lecture.  I like how he does not defend those Churches that are incorporated yet try to act like they're not.

I just have 3 objections to it.

He makes reference to House churches early on.  But when talking about the issues surrounding having a church building and property for it, how to legally do that and pay for it.  Everything he does say is very good, but he doesn't bring up House Churches.  The New Testament Church never met in church buildings, they met in each other's houses. Church Buildings did not begin to exist until the 3rd century.  Interestingly the oldest still standing church building was already engaging in Idolatry under the Catholic excuse for it.

Secondly, in the third lecture he talks way too much about pastoral authority.  The "under-shepherd" may have been a thing in near eastern shepherding, but it's not acknowledged in the Biblical imagery of the Church as a flock of sheep, Jesus is the only Shepherd, he doesn't need to delegate like a human shepherd would.  His logic essentially says if you're a pastor you're not another of the stupid sheep, you're above them.  That is the heart of what the Doctrine of the Nicolations is.  For both of the first 2 of the pictures of The Church he discussed he was effectively folding the pastor into the role of Christ, and it seemed he was thinking along the same lines for the third also.

The role of the Pastor is to proclaim God's Word, but he's not infallible in interpreting it.  What an individual chooses to do is between him and the Holy Spirit.

Finally, he spoke a lot on Homosexuality and Gay Marriage, mostly at the end.  Clearly he's part of the "we need to oppose legalizing Gay Marriage" crowd.  All that talk about how conceding the State authority over the Church by even using the court system. Yet he can't apply the same logic to Marriage.

My view is not just that you are conceding the state authority over Marriage by even getting a legal marriage license from the state.  Or as a church by seeking for your pastor the right to legally marry people in his church.  But you're also conceding it by caring whether or not legal marriage expands to include same sex pairings or polygamy or whatever else and going out of your way to politically oppose such things.  If you're afraid of being forced to perform a marriage you don't approve of, then you shouldn't have sought that legal responsibility from the state to begin with, and should now give it up.

Some "conservative" Christians may try to respond to me with "I'm denying the state the authority by not allowing it to do what it doesn't have the authority to do".  It's a self defeating logic, you're still conceding that the state can have authority over marriage by thinking how they define it matters at all.

Some may insist that it looks like Marriage is a legally recognized institution in The Law of Moses.  I could possibly do an in-dept explanation of how the kind of legal status marriage had in ancient Israel or any ancient civilization is quite unlike in the modern United States.  Main point is that OT legal marriage still did not involve permission slips from the government.

But that would be besides the point.  That was all in the Old Covenant, which was always imperfect and has now been done away with.  The New Testament says a lot about marriage, largely about it as a picture of the relationship between Christ and The Church.  And there is nothing in anything it tells us about seeking to have our marriages recognized by the state.  Likewise there was no state to marry Adam and Eve, it was just between them and God.

The lecture talks about how all the advantages of a legal incorporated Church are a repudiation of God and lack of Trust in Him.  Well, I think Christians should view the advantages of legal marriage the same way.

So as a Christian, I view the Legal status of Marriage as irrelevant to it's Sanctity.

As a Libertarian, I've decided unlike when I was a younger Libertarian not to seek Legal Marriage being ended altogether, that itself implied my caring to much, let the people who want to bring the state into marriage do it.  But I want people educated.  I saw a movie once where some cops told a woman because their marriage wasn't legally recognized the state could take her child.  I can see the state trying to pull that, but it's really the opposite, it is by getting a legal marriage licence you are conceding the state authority over any products of that marriage.

I have sought in the past to convince fellow libertarians they should support legalizing Gay Marriage.  Perhaps my logic there was flawed, I'm uncertain, but it's a delicate issue.  Many have responded to that by explaining how since they oppose the state having that authority to begin with, expanding who can get married only expands the state's power.

I may update that post, to say how I feel in this context legal marriage should just be viewed as a type of legal contract allowing more then one individuals to share their property and assets, one more binding then most such contracts.  And that those contracts should not be offered only to certain people on primarily religious grounds.

I recently made a post in a Facebook group where I said the following.
"I too would prefer Marriage have no legal status at all.   
But I want to explain here one reason why many Homosexuals feel having a legally recognized marriage is important.  
Many Homosexuals have attempted to do things independent of Marriage like leaving their Same-Sex Lover the sole or primary beneficiary of their Will, or give them the legal authority to decide what to do if they're ever hospitalized without the ability to make decisions on their own. But then their relatives who were disapproving of that relationship when it came to enact such a Will attempt to challenge it in court and have often been successful. Marriage seems to be the only legal contract immune to this problem.  
So many Homosexual partnerships feel they need legal marriages to even have the basic rights straight couples have without it."
I apologize if that felt poorly communicated, I didn't go though more then one draft like I do here.   I got some interesting responses.
It seems that the laws need to be changed to favor individuals rather than marriages. Laws need to be fewer (MUCH fewer), more functional, concise, and fair. As I see it, we have a severe problem with stupidity of laws in this country. Making new stupid, unfair, rambling, open-to-interpretation laws won't fix that.
 Except that marriage is not immune to it. Wills and other legal documents are challenged all the time for undue influence and other reasons even in marriage.
So I don't fully know the answers to how to deal with these issues.  It's something Libertarian minded people need to talk about.

Now, going back to the trilogy of lectures I referenced at the start of this.  It helped clarify to me why I as a Libertarian do not feel Anachro-Capitalism (or Ayn Rand) is true Libertarianism.  I've talked here about my disagreements with most fellow American Libertarians before.  But now I know that even the logic that Corporations are separate from the state is wrong,  Corporations are by definition state regulated affiliations.

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