In response to same-sex marriage, hundreds signed a pledge endorsed by First Things to separate civil and Christian marriage. LifeWay Research found that 1 in 4 pastors (and 1 in 3 Americans) support such a move.
Here’s how theologians and other experts answered the question. Answers are arranged on a spectrum from “yes” answers at the top to “no” answers at the bottom.
"For a long time, Christianity has sewn its teachings into the fabric of Western culture. That was a good thing. But the season of sewing is ending. Now is a time for rending, not for the sake of disengaging from culture or retreating from the public square, but so that our salt does not lose its savor."
~R. R. Reno, editor, First Things
"The pledge is a small gesture, but gestures provoke and can galvanize. It’s a bit of political theater, but theater can shatter complacency. Political theatrics must be preceded and followed by principled and strategic discussion, but effective political theater raises the stakes and intensifies debate."
~Peter Leithart, senior fellow, New St. Andrews College
"Not yet. We cannot so easily divorce Christian and civil marriage, because everyone has a compelling interest in legal, natural matrimony. It is a common grace. Every important measure of social thriving is driven by the prevalence of natural marriage in a community."
~Glenn T. Stanton, director of family formation studies, Focus on the Family
"Not yet. For now, by registering gospel-qualified unions as civil marriages and not officiating at unions that are not gospel-qualified, we call the government to its responsibility even as we call attention to its limits."
~Russell Moore, president, Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission
"The people who would be punished are the ones who conform to the pastor’s vision of marriage, who now have to have a second ceremony with a civil figure. Every First Amendment scholar agrees that religious figures won’t be asked to sanction marriages they don’t believe in."
~Robin Fretwell Wilson, law professor, University of Illinois
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