December 2, 2020

Mixed Marriage Messages

What an interesting cast of characters and what a conflicted conversation we’ve had in recent history in American presidential politics when it comes to the subject of marriage.

It wasn’t too long ago, we had public hearings about adulterous liaisons in the Clinton White House.

This year we are being treated to the spectacle of former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards’s trial, in which he is accused of soliciting and secretly spending over $925,000 to cover up his adultery.

Herman Cain, Republican hopeful, suspended his campaign when he could not overcome revelations of a 13-year adulterous affair and numerous allegations of sexual harassment by some of his female employees.

Likewise, on the campaign trail this past year fellow Republican Newt Gingrich had to deal constantly with public scrutiny of his marital and extra-marital affairs. Wed three times, his two previous marriages ended in divorce after he had affairs with younger women, once when his wife was seriously ill.

I guess it could be worse. France just elected Francois Hollande, the first French president to enter office unmarried and living with his partner. Just imagine how that would play in Peoria.

Well, at any rate, now it looks as though it will be President Obama vs. Governor Romney in the U.S. November election.

When it comes to marriage, conservative Christians get mixed messages from both.

On the one hand, you have Mitt Romney, the presumed Republican candidate, who married his teenage sweetheart and has had a long traditional heterosexual marriage. He affirms his support for marriage between one man and one woman for life and says he believes the federal government should codify the institution in law. His faith is the basis for this position, he says. Mr. Romney is a Mormon, a faith that now strongly emphasizes conservative “family values,” but which was once notorious for its practice of polygamy (“plural marriage”).

Mormons officially practiced polygamy from the 1830’s until 1890. Certain Mormon sects even today continue the practice and criticize the main church body for abandoning a fundamental tenet of their faith. In 1856, the Republican party which Romney now represents had an anti-Mormon plank in its platform that berated “the twin relics of barbarism – polygamy and slavery.” In 1857-58 a conflict known as “The Utah War” saw U.S. military forces occupy the Territory of Utah under the charge of sedition and failing to honor U.S. laws (including monogamous marriage).  Under constant pressure from the government, the LDS church officially changed its stance on plural marriage in 1890, when church President Willard Woodruff issued a manifesto urging Mormons to follow the laws of the land with regard to marriage.

Today the LDS church is overwhelmingly supportive of monogamous, heterosexual marriage, and Romney has conferred with leaders of the Mormon church regularly over the years about how he should approach such public issues as abortion and gay marriage so as to stay in line with church teachings. Will his faith commitment pose a problem for evangelical Christians? Although orthodox believers might envy the strong family morals Mormons promote, they still consider them theologically outside the pale of genuine Christianity, and supporting a member of a “cult” may be more than some can stomach.

For a detailed history of Romney’s actual actions regarding issues related to gay rights and marriage, see this LA Times piece. Those on the right tend to think Romney is a waffler when it comes to most political decisions and his record on gay issues may give them some ammunition to question how robust his convictions truly are.

It will be interesting to see how conservative Christians spin this. Unable to agree with Gov. Romney on doctrines of his religion and suspicious of him as a politician, I assume they will nonetheless support him based in part on his conservative social position regarding marriage. They will do this even though his position grows out of his faith, with which they disagree, and even though they see him as a political opportunist rather than as a man of real convictions.

On the other hand, you have President Obama, who is a Christian, and who also has a traditional, heterosexual marriage. He has said repeatedly that his position on gay marriage has been “evolving,” but the direction of that evolution has been clear.

The president has taken some significant steps toward advancing gay rights. His administration moved to stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act, signed by President Clinton, which defines marriage as the legal union of one man and one woman. And he did assist in bringing an end to the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in the U.S. military. So, although he has supported traditional marriage, and in statements has even assigned special significance to it because of his Christian faith, it is clear that he has been “evolving” toward acceptance of gay marriage. He confirmed that this week.

Like Mr. Romney, President Obama said that he came to his position via his faith. He specifically cited the “Golden Rule” taught by Jesus and said that Christian faith should not only be defined by Christ sacrificing himself for us, but also by Christians treating others as they would like to be treated.

It is unlikely that conservative Christians will do anything but condemn this. Frankly, most of the public voices I have heard from the “Christian Right” really don’t trust in President Obama’s faith and never have, and it has been rare to hear anyone engage him or take him seriously on that level. There is too much suspicion about his political motives and agendas.

According to a report in the Washington Post, the President’s announcement is already mobilizing Christians to support Gov. Romney: “Pastors in Ohio, North Carolina, Florida and other swing states are readying Sunday sermons inveighing against same-sex unions, while activist groups have begun laying plans for social media campaigns, leaflet drives and other get-out-the-vote efforts centered on the same-sex marriage issue.”

As one prominent gay marriage opponent and activist stated, “We are going to make this our key issue: the attack on marriage.”

Nevertheless, the piece also points out an ongoing uncertainty among those in the religious right that Gov. Romney is fully committed to this fight. They point to statements in recent days that he supports allowing gay couples to adopt children and that he does not view same-sex marriage as a religious issue.

• • •

So, U.S. Christians, these will be your choices when it comes to presidential candidates and their views on marriage. Now that primary voters have weeded out the adulterers and philanderers, we’re left with two people with positions that conservative Christians are going to have a hard time trusting or supporting without holding their noses.


  1. You read it here first…we watched the Liberty commencement speach on “Liberty TV” [YES, they really have their own TV channel here in town!!] and the longest standing ovation came for the words “…I believe marriage is between ONE man and ONE woman.”

    Romney also quoted MLK, Falwell, Sr., CS Lewis, and so many other Christians that we lost count here at our house.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Since when hasn’t “Teh Fag Card” been in play in Christianese Politics?

      Culture War Without End, Amen…

  2. Christiane says

    I believe that Romney does not even wish for LGBT people to have any rights that accrue through civil unions.

    As an American, I don’t want my fellow Americans to be treated poorly and have to suffer from discrimination. I have no problem with my countrymen who are in civil unions receiving legal rights that I and my own husband enjoy.

    I can’t vote for Romney if he opposes giving the basic rights to LGBT people who are in civil unions. To me, that would be a terrible form of discrimination against these people.

    • Although he has said he would prefer not to support “civil unions” he does support legal rights for “domestic partnerships.” So what’s the difference? In the end he still supports the rights of homosexual partners.

  3. And how long before the first comment stating that O is not a Christian?

  4. Apparently Republicans are wafflers and flip-floppers but Democrats “evolve.”

    The spin doctors are always at work.

    • Of course. It is always the other guys positions that are based on flip flopping, extreme, out of the mainstream, whatever.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      doublethink, comrade, doublethink.

  5. I’m really glad we settled this issue several years ago. I’m still confused over what the “gay lifestyle” is or how its going to “change the culture” and transform “family values”. Since we legalized same-sex marriage in Canada , nothing in the culture has really changed at all. I guess i’m really just tired of the homosexuality issue , the liberal & conservative sides of this discussion simply haven’t swayed me either way ,and probably never will.

    • Yes, other than suppression of free speech and a history of monetary fines for Christians and Christian organizations who are trying to live by their conscience before God, Canada’s gay drift has had no noticeable impact at all.

      • tapji is right.

        Nothing other than Christians having to close their businesses down, or almost go bankrupt defending themselves in court after being nailed by the human rights gestapo. And before my good buddy from Ontario intervenes with his comments, a friend of mine is a lawyer for a couple here in BC that had to close their business.

        In Canada if someone is accused of discrimination against gays they are effectively guilty until proven otherwise. The accuser has all legal bills paid for by the government, the accused pays his own.

        • In light of this information i stand corrected. however in recent years i think things have slowed down.

          • And ,yes i’m aware as a Canadian citizen how strict Canada’s hate speech laws are. I’m not disagreeing with , that it can be ridiculous at times (political correctness gone mad).

          • one more thing. by “nothing in the culture has changed at all” i was referring that to the idea that gay marriage will apparently lead to the destruction of the family & the beginning of Armageddon. I will state one more time to be clear , that as a Canadian i am aware of many of Canada’s wacky discrimination cases.

  6. Marshall says

    The conservative Evangelicals were never going to vote for Obama anyway, judging by the comments I hear out here in the sticks. The liberal evangelicals (like me) are going to be happy to see him making at least a head fake towards the progressivism that marked his first presidential campaign.

  7. Dana Ames says

    My husband said it well in 2008: We aren’t voting for the Pope here.

    I’m with tapji. So tired of this. “Conservative Christians” lost their ground on this 15-20 years ago when we failed to support civil unions with the same rights and responsibilities as marriage.

    The first Christians were not noted for speaking out against the sexual practices of their day, but rather for *holding true to their own teachings* regarding sexual practice. They weren’t interested in creating a Theocracy; legal recognition of Christianity basically fell into the laps of Christians – right after the worst outbreak of persecutions in the +250 years of their existence – and that persecution did not come to them because of any “prophetic stance on marriage”.

    In terms of what’s the law of the land, I think it should be like in Europe. *Every couple* who wants to “be married” – without regard to attraction for the same or the other sex – must have a civil union, so that all may be entitled to their rights and responsibilities. Recognition of a union by one’s faith community is done in a different ceremony, and is an entirely separate matter.

    I’m not inclined to comment any more on this.


    • “In terms of what’s the law of the land, I think it should be like in Europe. *Every couple* who wants to “be married” – without regard to attraction for the same or the other sex – must have a civil union, so that all may be entitled to their rights and responsibilities. Recognition of a union by one’s faith community is done in a different ceremony, and is an entirely separate matter.”

      That is the law of our land here in the USA…all are equal and are to enjoy inalienable rights, and we have separation of church and state. It’s just that the right wingers want to highjack these things and make them in the image of their King James mindsets. As if they and only they can decide what is right for our country. Incredible, the size of the egos! And, by the way, what of that Golden Rule? That’s a good point our president made to remind all Christians….that rule is called The Golden one for a reason, I suppose.

    • “In terms of what’s the law of the land, I think it should be like in Europe. *Every couple* who wants to “be married” – without regard to attraction for the same or the other sex – must have a civil union, so that all may be entitled to their rights and responsibilities. Recognition of a union by one’s faith community is done in a different ceremony, and is an entirely separate matter.”

      That is an excellent suggestion. I would prefer that “one man, one woman” get to keep the title “marriage.” At the same time, I don’t think government should be in the business of favoring one group over another. That’s oppression no matter which side it comes from.

    • Radagast says

      Dana may be on to something here, keep the religious element of union separate from the state.

      I’m an older guy here – so it may seem that I am more intolerant on this issue. The fact is that the definition of marriage from a religious perspective, has been the same for centuries. It is currently vogue to say one has evolved and that we should change the definition when civil unions in many areas provide the same rights. But what does it mean when the definition changes at a state or federal level? Does it open the door to attacks on faiths that do not embrace this in their beliefs? Are these churches or groups then labeled intolerant or forced by the government to comply or face some consequence? Is this out of the realm of possibility?

  8. Richard McNeeley says

    The President’s position on gay marriage won’t have much of an impact on the election. Politically conservative christians won’t vote for Obama no matter what his position on marriage is while politically liberal christians will not vote for Romney. Both parties are only battling for independent voters that more than likely will base their vote on the economy. I on the other hand have opted out of the 2 party system and will vote Libertarian as I have since 1984.

    • Which puts you as a very marginal player here in NC. In our recent primary on the Libertarian ticket for President, None of the Above got 60% of the vote. 2nd place got about 20%.

      D’s also had an interesting result. Obama got only 80% of the vote. No preference got 20%.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Losertarian. After every major election, there’s always some big Libertarian spokesman claiming that a Libertarian was elected dogcatcher in Skunk Apple, Nebraska, and THIS IS THE BEGINNING OF THE GREAT LIBERTARIAN WAVE THAT WILL SWEEP THE NATION AND RESTORE AMERICA (TM)!

      And my county newspaper claims to be Proudly Libertarian. I’d be a little more sympathetic if they didn’t speak of Ayn Rand in terms normally reserved for Deity and/or hold up 1830s England as their shining example of their Free Market Economy (TM).

  9. Democracy, while the best system we humans have come up, only reflects the lowest common denominator of fallen humanity.

    Said it before and I’ll say it again: We don’t need a president; we need a King. We need to support the King’s inevitable invasion, and stop wasting our time on which politician is the lesser of two evils. (Or more, if you bother to vote for third parties.) Remember which Kingdom you’re in. Seek that first.

    • The framers of the Constitution were distrustful of pure democracy, that is why we are a Republic. Our Republic is actually far better than a democracy.

  10. As someone who has been involved in the marriage equality issue since the mid 90s I’m happy to see the president come around to the right side of this issue. Some people (me) might say that it might have something to with the fact that it has finally started polling over 50% in the last year or so, but fine. As with most social justice movements society moves before the politicians.

  11. Does anybody else find it odd that that “stupid piece of paper” was an object of derision at the beginning of the sexual revolution, and now it is an object of worship?

    • People’s positions are evolving. Or flip-flopping. Whichever you prefer. 😉

    • “And it’s knowin’ I’m not shackled by forgotten words and bonds
      And the ink stains that have dried upon some line
      That keeps you in the back roads, by the rivers of my memory,
      That keeps you ever gentle on my mind.”

      —John Hartford

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        “It’s knowing that your door is always open
        And your furniture is GONE!”
        — some contemporary parody of the above

  12. I’ll start believing the “defense of marriage” lobbiers actually want to defend marriages when they start coming out against no-fault divorce. Loose divorce laws have allowed the dissolution of millions of Christian marriages — despite Jesus’ injunction against divorce for any reason other than adultery — but I haven’t heard about any Christian marriages that broke up because gays or lesbians were allowed to get hitched too.

    Just sayin’.

    • As I noted in a comment on the Ramblings post, Skye Jethani made precisely this point: every conservative legal expert he’d consulted said that because churches didn’t protest the rise of no-fault divorce, they allowed the institution to be defined merely as a contract between two people. It’s just taken until now to reach the logical conclusion that two people means, legally, any two people — it’s no big step at all.

      To underscore the point, I recall that a couple years ago a state legislator tried to do something about the fact that Oklahoma, buckle of the Bible belt, has one of the highest divorce rates in the land (though I suspect it’s only higher by a statistical whisker.) Her solution: introduce a separate “covenant” marriage that’s harder to break, though her initiative went nowhere.

      If gay marriage is a battle, it is one having precious little to do with the original “war on marriage” that no-fault divorce could be said to constitute.

    • Here’s my .02. Christians have forfeited their right to talk about gay marriage in so many ways. Why I ask…can’t Christians let gays live in peace and live out their life with the person they live or go about their own business? I ask the following…

      1. Why don’t Christians pass marriage amendments outlawing evangelicals from getting divorce?
      2. Why do Christians act as if gay marriage in the primary and only threat to the family? Why do fundagelicals ignore the divorce crisis raging in Evangelicalism today? Does it hit too close to home? Or is it a “sin” that is tolerated?
      3. Why doesn’t Billy Graham abstain from politics more often?I read what he did in the marriage amendment battle in NC. I thought he gave up political involvement and repented from the politics he engaged in earlier in his life? Has he spoken up about evangelicals and divorce? If there was a marriage amendment outlawing divorce amongst fundagelicals in NC would he speak out for it? What right does he have to decide what a non Christian has in terms of how they want to live? Why are Christians passing judgment on non-Christians?

      Again the entire fiasco in NC with their marriage amendment and the broader culture war shows why church and state MUST BE a separate entity. It’s clear that many fundys always have to have someone to pick on. It’s part of being self righteous and why they have to be elite. Years ago when I was brainwashed I would have supported such a the culture war against gay marriage…however having known people who deal with homosexuality and what they endured, I now realize the issue is more complex than Christians will admit. I’m disappointed that Christians engaged in this and for all Christians who voted for the NC Marriage Amendment,. Can’t Christians move on from the culture wars?

      • Again the entire fiasco in NC with their marriage amendment and the broader culture war shows why church and state MUST BE a separate entity.

        So exactly what do you mean by that?

        Religious folks can’t vote? Everyone gets their values and principles from somewhere.

  13. I will try to vote for the man who will do the best job. That is all I can do. I will then endeavor to honor the winner per the apostle’s admonition to the Romans: “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established.”

    The emperor in Rome at the time was Nero, a man with a sexual “message” far more fascinating than any of the candidates currently running for preside t. Nero was married to three women: he kicked his favorite wife to death while she was pregnant. He then married a man. He then discovered a man that looked like his favorite wife, made him a eunuch, and married him. If Paul could honor, respect, and submit to such a man and instruct the believers in Rome to do the same, surely “conservative” Christians could/should do the same for Obama and surely “liberal” believers could/should do the same for Romney (if he is elected).

    • You know I do wonder….with all the shrill coming from fundagelicals…James Dobson, Al Mohler, etc… How would these folks have fared under Nero or other Roman Emperors who persecued Christians? Would they have pulled have the crap they ahve pulled today?

    • I doubt very much that Paul “honored” or “respected” Nero; if he had, he would have obeyed the laws of the land, which required everyone to make a symbolic sacrifice to the Emporer to agree that the Emporer was a deity. Thousands of Christian martyrs died horribly, rather than honor, respect, or submit to such authority.

      This famous saying of Paul’s — “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established” — is usually used by modern conservatives to beat other people over the head if they object to some terrible thing the current conservative government is doing. I heard it repeatedly when I objected to Mr. Bush’s war on Iraq.

      I do not believe that God established the Nazi government authority, and I wonder if you, “Chill”, would have honored and respected them, and followed their legal orders to turn over any Jews you knew about. I wonder if you would have had Rosa Parks arrested for illegally refusing to move to the back of the bus. After all, those were legal authorities giving the orders, and thus, according to Paul, they must have been set up by God.

      I think you and most of us on this board are better than such beliefs. Paul was a great man, a saint if you will, but he wasn’t God, and not all his sayings are God-given, IMNSHO.

    • Chill –

      Our country was set up to be governed by the Rule of Law, not men. We live in a republic and the current administration IMHO (and it seems that of the Courts) is not submitting to the authority of the Constitution, which is above all individual men. So, according to Romans 13, they would be bringing judgment on themselves. Just another way of looking at it 😉

  14. The princes of this world will let us down every time.

    There is NO savior amongst them. There is no utopia on this earth.

    Bu we still ought do our bit and vote for whom we believe is better. As Christians, we are free to support whatever side we will…realizing the above.

  15. Joseph (the original) says

    “Christian marriage?” yeah…

    been there, done that…

    sure. there are some examples of divine blessing & representation for such a thing.

    however, my 26-year ‘marriage’ didn’t fit the ‘happy-testimony James Dobson poster child’ version, so i must concede there is no Holy Standard today being championed, preserved, defended, etc…

    as i heard once very early in a discussion i had as a new believer: “A Christian can have anything that they want…”

    no wiser words spoken IMHO…

  16. Headless Unicorn Guy says

    It is unlikely that conservative Christians will do anything but condemn this. Frankly, most of the public voices I have heard from the “Christian Right” really don’t trust in President Obama’s faith and never have, and it has been rare to hear anyone engage him or take him seriously on that level.

    Like that hardcore Birther billboard I saw last summer on US 15 between Gettysburg and Dillsburg:


    Down in the corner were the initials of the billboard’s sponsor: World Net Daily. Christianese.

    • “US 15 between Gettysburg and Dillsburg.”

      I know that road well. Up until two years ago I used to drive it every week.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        When I’m on the East Coast (after an annual event in Pittsburgh) I usually visit my writing partner in the Gettysburg area. When I do, I usually stay at the Rodeway Inn in Dillsburg — quiet motel, with small used bookstore and two good eateries within walking distance.

        • I am familiar with both the Rodeway Inn and the Book House. Never stayed at the Rodeway, but I’ve driven by it enough. I was just in Dillsburg this morning to meet my daughter for breakfast before church. Nice little town; The big summer event is the Farmer’s Fair and every New Years Eve they have the Pickle Drop 🙂

          • Radagast says

            … and I was just in Gettysburg with 120 eighth graders at the Quality inn not far from Pickets charge….

            HUG … Pittsburgh… Furries convention?

          • Radagast – If you know the area, can you recommend a good Catholic church around Harrisburg’s West Shore? I haven’t attended a Catholic service since I was a kid and I am curious to see what my response would be as an adult. And then a follow-up question: If, as a non-Catholic, I go forward for communion will I be served?

          • Radagast says


            Sorry, I only visit and have never been to Gettysburg (or Harrisburg/Camphill area for that matter) over a Sunday, but Camp Hill (Harrisburg’s West Shore) should have a few to pick from.

            You didn’t mention whether you were Catholic when you were a kid – The official Church response would be if you were Catholic and have received the sacrament of First Comunion, you should first go to confession before receiving, if not then no altogether. But from my perspective if you were Catholic and fell away and something is leading you back AND you believe it is truly the Body of Jesus and not just a memorial, well…..

            In any event there won’t be anyone that will deny you the Eucharist because they won’t know unless you stand out (like you say “thanks for the cracker padre’ or something like that). In any event – whether you receive or not, just sit back and actually listen hard to the Mass and see how much scripture you can pick out of the words – it may surprise you.

            Oh, and enjoy the experience!

  17. I find it strange that is seems to be acceptable to believe and teach that God the Creator was not the Creator of the Universe, had a phyical body, and had sexual relations with Mary the mother of Jesus – but two non-related consenting adults having even a secular relation is “anti-Christian”,

    It is also amazing that almost every reason given as to why same-sex marriage mirrors those given against interracial marriage. But then recent polls have shown that at last 48% of White Conservative Christians do not approve interracial marriage.

    What I am saying is that while Conservatives insist they are just defending bibical marriage, they have yet to show that they are NOT in favor of extending the Bill of Rights to all.

  18. The situation in Australia is interesting. We have our first woman Prime Minister. She’s atheist and lives with her partner (dubbed “the First Bloke”) in the official PM residence. So conservative Christians don’t really like her.

    Much of her party is in favour of same-sex marriage, but she has stood in the way of it, arguing that all the necessary civil rights are already afforded to de facto couples (like her). So the conservatives are thanking her for standing up for family values.. err, sort of.

  19. Radagast says

    The definition of marriage is mostly rooted in religious norms. When we take away that aspect and change the definition we open ourselves to further changes in that definition as differing relationship scenerios pop up in the future. Our short term thinking doesn’t seem to grasp this concerpt… so I’ll be observing and shaking my head as those on the fringes continue to evolve and call for marriage equality each time that definition is changed….

  20. CM…Many Mormons still do believe in polygamy…’s just not here on earth. They believe they will have multiple wives in heaven. Also the ending of polygamy in 1890 is one of the issues that led to the formation of the fundementalist Momrons (ie Jeffords…) who still take this command serouisly. My take on polygamy in the LDS history is that it was created by Josph Smith to “legalize” adultry. No one knows how many wives Joseph Smith had and many females Mormons have been married to him in temple ceremonies after his death. A good book that will look into all this is Fawn Brodie “No Man Knows My History”

    I also would be interested to know what Mitt Romney would say about “Blood Atonement” which was also practiced in the Utah territory. Brigham Young taught that there were some sins to egregious for God to forgive. the only way a person could be forgiven is if they be “killed” in a ritualistic style OT manner. Basically from what i read (abd this bothered me immensly when I considered the LDS…) a person would kneel next to the grave and their throat would be cut so that the blood would be allowed to run. Some Historians think that the Mountain Meadows Massacre was an example of blood atonement. Many current Mormons deny this and Mike Leavitt the former Governor of Utah and head of EPA (if I remember correctly under Bush II) had relatives invovled in the Mountain Meadows Massacre. He used his legal authority to prevent historians and archaeologists from investigating the site of the massacre in an attempt to re-study and figure out what happened. Historians have done this at other locations to include the Battle of the Little Big Horn in 1876 where George Custer made his famous “last stand” with the 7th Cavalary.

  21. susan wells says

    You know, I would like believers in Christ to care more about where a person’s soul is going than to bring this to a clash of morals. None of us are moral. Take a look into that perferct law of liberty and ask yourself why you are talking sides. Don’t you care about a person’s soul? Your intellect, your choosing sides, your “moral compas” is just making enemies. Christ said, “If I be lifted up from the earth I will draw all men …” So, why aren’t they coming? Instead the unsaved, the lost, the weary, the imprisoned are disenfranchised and polarized from Christ’s message. My President is Christ….. raising the bar.

  22. With these two charlatans (Obama and Romney), God have mercy on us all.

  23. Isaac (or possibly Obed) says

    I’m going to have to be a voice of dissent here. While I don’t doubt that gay marriage is eventually going to be the law of the land, my conscience dictates that I vote against it. Are there other factors that go into voting my conscience? Absolutely. And that has to be weighed.

    Frankly, President Obama openly supports several things that I consider to be moral non-negotiables. His administration’s trampling on the first amendment religious rights via the HSS mandate is also a non-negotiable. The thing is, we KNOW what President Obama will support and enact if he is reelected. And since it will be his second term, he wouldn’t have reelection hanging over his head; he’d do whatever he wants.

    I certainly don’t trust Romney’s claim that he’s as conservative socially as he claims. His record proves that he’s supported stuff in the past that he now claims to oppose. BUT, as a first-term president, he’d have to keep his base happy on these issues if he wants to be reelected. So, even if he wants to re-flip-flop, he’d be at least somewhat reigned in by his desire to be reelected. Romney was my least favorite of the GOP candidates. But in the end, I think I’ve gotta roll the dice on the guy I don’t trust (but can somewhat reign in) over the guy I can trust to do things I know I can’t support.

    So, yeah, I fully expect to be flamed for being willing to vote for the guy who doesn’t support gay marriage. It’s OK. I’ve equipped my asbestos undies.

  24. As someone who lives in a country that has led the Western hemisphere on this issue I can only state what we have experienced.

    When they decided to legalize gay marriage in Canada I stated to someone that the war was over, and all that remains is for them to come in and take the land. If that sounds hard, let me explain. I could see that what would happen is that they would insist that every aspect of civil life be lined up with those values.

    My experience has been that they will not be happy until everyone actually believes their lifestyle is correct. There has been a systematic use of human rights comissions to squash opposition. It started with a Christian printer in Ontario and the cases are many. A young Pastor in Alberta taken to task for a public letter to a newspaper, the Knights of Columbus (a Catholic outfit) taken to task for refusal to host gay wedding banquets, and now pressure on Catholic schools to allow gay/straight clubs. When this happens the people involved have to pay their own hefty legal bills. The complaintant has all legal fees covered by the government. A friend of mine who is a lawyer defended an elderly couple who did not want two young gay men in their family run B&B. Months later I asked him if a decision had been reached. He said ‘I know we lost, Christians never win in these cases, all we can do is show them we are intelligent people’.

    In spite of the government saying they will permit objections on religious grounds, on the ground they have simply stood back and allowed people lives and businesses to be destroyed. I believe if I live another 25 years I will likey see churches taken to court or prosecuted for either sermons saying it is wrong, or refusal to perform marriages.

    I hope that I am wrong.

    • Radagast says

      I listed similar concerns above. If we change the definition of marriage, then all institutions that do not adhere to the definition will be accused of intolerance. It will only rachet up from there. Dana’s suggestions of civil unions for the state, whose definition can change is encouraging. But I can sympathize with your point that the ‘activitsts’, a small portion of the gay community who make the most noise will never be satisfied and will continue to push even as gains are made.

    • Isaac (or possibly Obed) says

      We’re staring down the same kind of thing with the Obama administration’s new mandate from the Health and Human Services department regarding the requirement for insurance companies to provide contraceptives, sterilization, and abortifications (like the morning after pill) should Obama’s healthcare plan go through. These are things that the Catholic Church considers non-negotiable moral evils. The religious exemptions are so narrow that the vast majority of Catholic charities (including hospitals) wouldn’t qualify. So, the RCC is left with a choice: stop providing such charities or violate their consciences. Catholic moral theology requires that the former choice be the one made, as doing good deeds can never be done at the expense of imperiling folks’ souls. Though many of us Protestants don’t have the same moral/theological objections over these issues, how long before we’re being forced to make the same choice?

      When I brought up to some friends that the issue wasn’t about contraception but rather about 1st-Amendment Religious Liberty issues, the response I got was that they thought that the “right” to free contraceptives, etc. is more important than religious rights, despite the latter being guaranteed in the Bill of Rights.