What’s Really at Stake with the (Dis)Respect for Marriage Act?
In all the hullabaloo over the Senate vote on the (Dis)Respect for Marriage Act, there is one argument that may have gone overlooked that gets at the heart of God’s design for framing marriage to be between a man and a woman.
When God created humanity, He fashioned us out of His immeasurable love and goodness. Despite our current cultural definition, love isn’t just anything. As 1 John tells us, “God is love.” The family was meant to be an earthly reflection of God’s love and goodness. Within a healthy relational context, both male and female were entrusted with unique aspects of God’s nature to steward and to serve, love, and lay down their lives for the other.
As Scripture says, He made them male and female, and He made them in His own image. This means that each family member has a unique role that cannot be co-opted by the other in how the character of the Divine is represented. The differences between the sexes are not meant to be for competition but rather an expression of God Himself. These differences should be honored and not treated with contempt. By demeaning one of the sexes, we essentially dishonor an aspect of the nature of God. Simply put, this is the essence of God’s idea for creating two different sexes and bringing them together in the union of marriage.
When this union produces children, the differences between male and female are also intended to be instructive to a child’s development. Parents have an incredible responsibility to impart God’s nature to the upcoming generation. In other words, without both sexes represented in a family, there’s an aspect of God’s nature that goes without representation to a child. That said, God is the Redeemer and the Healer. He is very adept at making up for anything that wasn’t learned through the family structure because of divorce, death, abuse, etc. His redemptive capabilities, however; do not undermine His original plan for the family.
For example, when we think about someone who nurtures and comforts, individual differences and life experiences aside, we generally think about the role a mother plays in a child’s life. This attribute is readily seen with Holy Spirit who is the Comforter. When we generally think about the role of a father, we may think of someone who protects, which is an aspect of the Father we see throughout Scripture as He fights against those who would lead His children down a path of destruction.
What’s happening now through this current legislation is an attempt to remove our earthly examples so that we have no representation of how our heavenly Father relates to us and to the other members of the Trinity. While no family is perfect, the real impact on our society is that fewer children will be given an opportunity to live in homes where there is a full expression of the diverse aspects of the Divine nature embedded into the family structure.
What’s our response? Pray that God will raise up marriages that are formed by His Spirit and are centered around reflecting His nature to a broken and orphaned world. Pray protection over currently married people. There are spiritual forces that want to mar the image of God through the marriage union. Be prepared to stand, knowing that you are standing for a greater cause than even our religious freedom but for the image of God Himself!
Dr. Jennifer Bauwens is the Director of the Center for Family Studies at Family Research Council.