Column: We ‘mess’ with marriage at the risk of our future

by Bill Scholl 

Each year it’s a scene that never ceases to amaze: hundreds of Christian men, Catholic and Protestant, gathering to lift up the virtue of purity and get real about the challenges we men face in a highly sexualized culture.

This year’s scene: One thousand men cheering keynote speaker Christopher West as he shared the late Pope John Paul II’s teachings on the theology of the body. I was honored to be one of the presenters for a special breakout session on the issue of gay marriage.

Social justice consultants rush in where angels fear to tread. In preparing the talk, I soon learned how difficult the subject of same-sex “marriage” is to address. How do we talk with compassion about a subject that is so volatile and prone to mischaracterization?

First, it is difficult to confront the articulate, well-organized, strategically sophisticated campaign for same-sex marriage when you are trying to defend a tradition that transcends history. Suppose motherhood suddenly found itself the target of a Madison Avenue smear campaign. One would be at a loss for words initially, while still knowing that motherhood is good and worth defending. Common sense can be hard to articulate just because it is so common. Second, there is now in the culture a hair-trigger readiness to impugn defenders of marriage as bigots. Given that marriage between a man and a woman is one of very few human universals, it is certainly not bigoted to question the prudence of tampering with the means by which we project ourselves into the future through sexual reproduction.

Regardless of nation, culture, creed, or place in history, all peoples create a publicly recognized sexual union between one man and one woman where rights and responsibilities to each other and the children produced from their sexual union are clearly defined and publicly supported.

Marriage is the primary institution by which cultures protect children. Chief among its purpose is that it bonds fathers to their sons and daughters. We as a nation should not mess with our future by messing with marriage. We learned at the Men of Valor conference on Jan. 27 that the marital act between husband and wife images the love of Christ for the church. In marriage, our bodies are meant to prophesy the life-giving love experienced in the Trinity.

However, if our bodies can tell the truth, they can also lie. Without fear or phobia, we as Christians are compelled to speak truth to power and reject the lie of gay marriage, while still acting with compassion and love for men and women who have same-sex attraction.

If your church or parish group would like me to come speak about the issue of gay marriage, contact the office for social justice.

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