Rev. Royal Hamel
As this column is being written, same-sex “marriage” is still up in the air in Canada. Though legal and available in seven provinces and the Yukon, there is still no national law. Yet, the federal Liberals seem hell bent on imposing it on an unwilling public. And, apart from a miracle, it seems they have the numbers to push Bill C-38 through before summer recess.
Just for a moment, let’s assume the worst-case scenario and gay “marriage” becomes national law. Canada would then be one of only three countries in the world to have pushed through this kind of legislation. Prior to the modern era, no culture ever practised homosexual “marriage.” Even Sodom and Gomorrah, the cities of the plain that were destroyed by fire and brimstone as a judgement, in part, for sexual excess, never had homosexual “marriage.” By judge-made law, Canada has already gone beyond those two ancient cities. We now live on the other side of Gomorrah.
In the eyes of God and his people, gay “marriage” is not only a contradiction in terms, but an ever-present danger to the society that promotes and permits it. Since God is unchanging, holy, and transcendent, Canada stands in a dangerous place. Note carefully that cultures that transgressed less than we have were judged and brought to destruction.
With the legalization of homosexual “marriage,” a once-powerful taboo has been transformed into virtue. The fall of this taboo lowers the bar and makes way for other taboos to also be transformed into virtues. Secular humanism rejects the value of biblical revelation and has not a hope of standing against the coming polygamists and polyamorists who will soon claim that their human rights are being denied unless they, too, are granted the right of civil marriage. What other ancient wrongs will soon be refashioned as new rights? What else is being refurbished in dark places that will shortly slouch out from Gomorrah to greet us in Toronto and Vancouver?
In the short term, Christians must come to terms with the new reality. We really are living beyond Gomorrah. Clergy faithful to the Bible and tradition must grapple with their consciences. For marriage as a Canadian institution is no longer what it was. The sacred institution of marriage has now been changed to include what former ages called profane. How can clergy possibly participate in an institution that has undergone such violent and revolutionary change? If we continue to pronounce even heterosexual couples as married, and sign their provincial marriage licence forms, are we not compromising and implicitly accepting the redefinition of marriage? For my part, I will not act for the government in this fashion. I deem that the only safe way to avoid ungodly compromise is to abandon participation in civil marriage altogether. Religious marriage ceremonies would still occur, but only between Christians who desire to pledge vows to one another before God. Yes, this would mean that Christians would have to pursue a separate civil ceremony before a justice of the peace, but such a system has long been in place in Latin America and other countries and is quite a workable solution.
In the long term, Christians must be prepared for a lengthy struggle. The allowance of same-sex “marriage” must be seen only as a battle lost, not the end of the war. Almost certainly, the next frontline will be to seek an amendment to the Constitution that enshrines marriage as a one-man/one-woman institution. To be sure, this is bound to be a long and tedious battle. But, this is as good a time as any for a passive church to relearn the lyrics to “Onward Christian Soldiers.”
Though many refuse to admit it, same-sex “marriage” will bring about a sea change in our culture. It will lead to a near-total acceptance of homosexual practice. We who live beyond Gomorrah must look at the example of Lot who lived in the sister city of Sodom. In II Peter 2: 7-9 we read, “At the same time, God rescued Lot out of Sodom, because he was a good man who was sick of all the immorality and wickedness around him. Yes, he was a righteous man, who was distressed by the wickedness he saw and heard day after day” (New Living Translation). It is good news to hear that it is still possible to be a righteous person in the midst of normalized depravity. And, let us not miss the connection between righteousness and Lot’s daily attitude of being vexed by all the immorality around him. It is never futile to insist, even against overwhelming odds, that wrong is wrong is wrong.Lot never changed the cities on the plain. And we may not change Canada. Therefore, our minds and hearts must take hope and be encouraged that we are called to obedience, not necessarily to success. Our call may well be to educate, illuminate and so salt our society with truth and righteousness that God’s judgement will be carried out upon a people who knew exactly what they were doing when they chose darkness over light.