As the secular state continues to march away from the Christian ideals of marriage, more and more people are pondering a post-secular marriage arrangement by which churches institute their own sacramental marriages independent from the state.
While I have been praying for the current campaign for same sex “marriage” to be destroyed, I have also thought about alternatives to marriage. In NSW, for example, there is a relationship register set up primarily for gay couples but open to all couples. This would provide a legal recognition of a marriage celebrated by a church but outside of the legal marriage system.
Roger Olsen comments on the U.S. situation:
Some Thoughts (and a Proposal) about the Religion and Marriage IssueIt seems to me the next step in separation of church and state is one religious organizations should take. They should be proactive. Take the proverbial ball into their own court and decide and announce, very publically, that only they will decide for themselves who is and who is not married. This is the natural parallel with religious organizations alone deciding who is and who is not ordained.
In “old Europe” governments decided who was ordained with all the civil privileges and responsibilities attached to that status. So-called “sects” (religious organizations not recognized by the state) could ordain whomever they wished but, in the eyes of government, those ordinations meant nothing. In “new America,” gradually, through a series of court decisions, all governments got out of the business of deciding valid ordinations. Today, so far as I know, no government entity in the U.S. has the authority to declare any religious organization’s ordinations valid or invalid.
The next natural step is for churches and other religious organizations to take away from government the right and authority to decide for them who is married and who is not. Already some Baptist churches in Texas, for example, are doing this. Some are calling the marriages they perform and recognize “covenant marriage” and relegating marriages they don’t recognize as valid, for them, to the category “civil marriages” or “civil unions.”
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