In light of North Carolina’s vote yesterday, I’ll assert once again that simply denying access to marriage for some citizens is NOT a proper Defense Of Marriage. Sure, it feels good to discriminate against people whom we personally dislike or who otherwise do not appeal to us, but that is not in and of itself a Defense Of Marriage.
So, Friends,I have a modest proposal: we must put some real teeth into these various and sundry bills around the country inspired by the ideal of a “Defense of Marriage” (DOM) Any constitutional defense of marriage must be a true defense of marriage, plain and simple. Yes, it can surely discriminate against homosexuals, because the interests of small groups need not be considered in the political process, nor in matters of governance. But that clearly is not enough. We must strive to ensure that the sacred institution of marriage will be genuinely strengthened by any such constitutional amendment.
First, to truly defend marriage, which has been under assault from heterosexual couples for the past 50 years, at least, we need to start with a sound, biblically-based foundation: NO DIVORCE, ever, except, possibly, in cases of the wife’s infidelity. No true Christian can argue against this stand, for Jesus himself notes in Matthew, 19:9 “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” Refer also to Mark, 10:11-12, Luke, 16:18, and finally First Corinthians, 7:10. They all agree that there cannot be divorce for almost any reason (and only Matthew reports that the woman’s transgression may be acceptable cause.)
So there we have it: three times from the very mouth of Jesus, once from Saint Paul. If we are to preserve the sanctity of marriage, NO DIVORCE. God said it. I believe it. That settles it. And prohibiting divorce would surely make the Pope happy, and I just know that all true American Christians would be overjoyed to comply with the pleasure of Rome!
However, Friends, some may point out that in the modern world it may be impractical to expect that a man and a woman, especially a young man and woman, can always be relied upon to make one choice which will rightly and fruitfully govern the entire rest of their lives. Yet we surely cannot have divorce, as I have conclusively demonstrated above. The answer? Establish a MINIMUM MARRIAGE AGE.
I suspect that men and women in their middle twenties could be counted upon to make reasonably wise choices in selecting a mate, though some may plausibly hold out for early thirties. But I feel a minimum marriage age of 25 would be a tolerable hurdle. Note that I would never be a sexist and impose different age limits based upon gender (though I would guess this would be more salable if the minimum male age were 25 and the minimum female age were 18. But I digress …)
Finally, a MEANS TEST: no one may be married who cannot demonstrate a minimum property/earnings requirement. I would say, again without reference to gender, that no one should be matrimonially conjoined who is not able to earn a minimum of $24,000.00 per annum, or possesses property above a minimum of $72,000.00.
These last two notions do not come from God’s law, but are based upon the practical experience of several Western European legal traditions which were in place until modern times. I add these to God’s clearly stated and unambiguous prohibition, because they would help assure that the men and women who do choose to marry will be more readily able to bear the burdens that God presents them. And plainly our nation cannot enforce God’s indisputable law without supporting those who marry with strict measures to ensure success.
Thus, my modest proposal is a Defense Of Marriage amendment that truly defends marriage: Marriage only between a man and a woman, NO DIVORCE, a MINIMUM AGE of 25, and a MINIMUM FINANCIAL MEANS. This would defend marriage. And if the gender discrimination issue be unjust, then at least the other elements are sure to fly. Labor tirelessly for this goal at home, my friends; the nation will be the better, stronger, more moral, more Godly for it.
If this modest proposal succeeds, dear ones, then the setting will be ripe for another idea whose time has come: the return of slavery! Not that old, pernicious and malicious race-based slavery, but a modern, compassionate slavery that is based simply upon a means test. The Bible clearly and unambiguously endorses slavery, so we have no need to worry that it contradict Christ’s teachings. Yes: bring back slavery; I feel sure we can convince the average American to be all for it!
Flower Mound, Texas
Marriage may be compared to a cage: the birds outside despair to get in and those within despair to get out. — Michel de Montaigne