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Pastors Refuse to Sign State-Issued Marriage Certificates!

 
Don Boys, Ph.D.
 
 
The Bible teaches that “Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge” Heb. 13:4. That verse is true whether it is believed or not. Marriage is God’s business, but was taken over by the state with the consent of pastors; however, the state should have nothing to do with marriage. Nothing. Hundreds of pastors are refusing to sign state-issued marriage certificates!
 
In the Garden of Eden, God set the pattern for all future marriages with one man and one woman constituting a family. A God-approved marriage is publicly declared, heterosexual, monogamous, physical, and permanent. After God established marriage, man’s wicked heart soon twisted God’s plan when Lamech (who became a murderer) took two wives, and marriage has been going downhill ever since.
 
I thought only a few of my fellow preachers believed that marriage was a family affair without any involvement of the government but I was wrong. According to Life Way Research, one in four U.S. pastors think it is wrong for them to sign a state marriage certificate! Moreover, a prominent conservative but unofficial Catholic magazine, First Things, takes that position and more than 400 pastors and laypersons have signed a pledge to “no longer serve as agents of the state in marriage.”  Ministers who have taken the pledge are Roman Catholic, Baptist, Church of God, Episcopal, Church of Christ, Universal Life, Bible Churches, Nazarene, Methodist, and others.
 
They will no longer sign state marriage certificates but will recommend that couples have a civil ceremony as well as religious ceremony. Conversely, I think preachers need to tell the state that a church wedding is sufficient with no state permission required and no civil ceremony is required.
 
Most pastors end a wedding ceremony saying, “By the power vested in me by the state, I now pronounce you man and wife.” Wait a minute, how can that be justified from Scripture? Does a preacher teach a class, preach a sermon, or counsel a family or anything else by powers vested by the state?  According to the American Jurisprudence Encyclopedia, a pastor performing a wedding “is a public civil officer, …not at all to be distinguished from a judge of the superior court….” That makes such pastors tools of the state.
 
What if a state decided that there were too many Fundamentalists and Evangelicals running around and wanted to “thin them out” by forbidding them marriage licenses, would any preacher in America be willing to obey that law? Only the weakest preachers would comply. Real men of God would tell state authorities to go back to the statehouse and continue to do their thing but leave the church house alone. Such preachers would continue to marry their young couples in defiance of such oppressive laws. 
 
Even influential laymen have declared that the state should get out of the marriage business. David Boaz, Vice President of the libertarian Cato Institute, asked, “Why should the government be in the business of decreeing who can and cannot be married?”  
 
Conservative talk show host Larry Elder  declared the state should “leave marriage to non-governmental institutions like churches, synagogues, mosques and other houses of worship or private institutions.” He said that marriage licenses made as much sense as licensing barbers or taxi-cab drivers.
 
Former Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul, radio talker Glenn Beck, and law professor Doug Kmiec (a Roman Catholic layman) have joined the chorus, advocating no state marriages. Kmiec said, “If the state got out of the marriage business. . . . then the question of who can and cannot be married would be entirely determined in your voluntarily chosen faith community.”
 
The state of marriage in the U.S. is a mess and I never thought I would ever support the atheists except in their repenting and trusting Christ, but here I am supporting their position on marriage!  Atheists sued Indiana because atheists were forbidden to perform marriages. Of course, they have the right to perform their own marriages. The fact is, all governments should get out of all marriage entanglement totally and leave all marriages to the churches, sects, etc. I suppose if the state wanted to marry hedonists, humanists, and heretics they could do as they are doing now.
 
No government has constitutional authority to approve or disapprove religion, but government at all levels always seeks more power and screams like a banshee when power slips (or is jerked) from their hands. States continue to reach for or hold onto power for the sake of power. They often look silly in their grab for control as in California.
In September of 2008, California prohibited the use of bride and groom in any state wedding ceremony! Moreover, their schoolbooks may no longer use the terms husband and wife. Of course, you know why. Such terms might offend those who practice perversion. My, my, aren’t public officials super-sensitive to their citizens? Well, they are not sensitive to normal, decent, citizens. If you are a white, heterosexual, creationist, Bible-believing Christian, (you know, the kind of people that founded and grounded this great nation), you must change what you have always been taught or move out of the state! And people are doing that by the thousands!
The California high court declared that the legal definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman was unconstitutional so the marriage license was changed to Party A and Party B as in Alfred and Bill or Alice and Betty. Yes, I know it was nutty and a little slutty, but after all, California is the land of fruits and nuts with an abundance of nuts. Bride and Groom were no longer legal until sane people threw a fit and reversed it. No court or authority can change the meaning of words.
Marriage is what it is as defined by God in the Garden so when a court seeks to nullify God’s definition, they are seeking to do something that cannot be done. It can be debated, decided, and declared but not done. The facts don’t change: marriage is between a man and woman who choose to commit to a lifetime together. No court or legislature can change that.
The above silliness is one of many reasons why the state should have nothing to do with marriage. But many are concerned about a non-state marriage being acceptable and legal. Acceptable and legal to whom? The union of man and woman is a law of nature. Such laws are unchangeable while human laws always change or pass away.  Natural marriages in England, Iraq, Brazil, or any state are considered marriages in any U.S. state, so why should marriages in any U.S. church not be considered acceptable and legal?
 
You don’t have to have a state-issued marriage certificate; and no preacher should use one thereby denying power to the state that God never intended it to have. As long as your family and your church are satisfied with your public commitment to each other, that should be sufficient. 
 
Get the government totally out of marriages.
 
(First of nine columns dealing with no state involvement in marriage. Next column: “Marriages From Ancient Times Were Family, Not State Approved!”)
http://bit.ly/1iMLVfY  Watch these 8 minute videos of my lecture at the University of North Dakota: “A Christian Challenges New Atheists to Put Up or Shut Up!”
(Dr. Don Boys is a former member of the Indiana House of Representatives, author of 15 books, frequent guest on television and radio talk shows, and wrote columns for USA Todayfor 8 years. His shocking books, ISLAM: America’s Trojan Horse!; Christian Resistance: An Idea Whose Time Has Come–Again!; and The God Haters are all available at Amazon.com. These columns go to newspapers, magazines, television, and radio stations and may be used without change from title through the end tag. His web sites are www.cstnews.com andwww.Muslimfact.com and www.thegodhaters.com. Contact Don for an interview or talk show.)
 
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