Marriage and the State

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by rdwhite, Aug 8, 2009.

  1. rdwhite

    rdwhite
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    Alright gentlemen, I have given this subject much thought and I believe I have come to a conclusion. I would however appreciate your thoughts on the issue, as I may have overlooked something.

    I am no longer willing to act as an agent of the state by placing my signature on a state marriage license. I do not believe that the state has any jurisdiction to license that which God ordained.

    Several states have passed laws recognizing homosexual unions as marriage and I believe more will follow as the sodomites continue to press their agenda. I see the day coming when a homosexual couple will bring suite against a baptist preacher for refusing to officiate their marriage ceremony. An agent of the state who routinely acts on behalf of the state by signing state marriage licenses will have little recourse in a state court of law. If, however, he does not act on behalf of the state and does not sign any state marriage licenses there will be no grounds for a suite.

    I am officiating a wedding ceremony this afternoon, but I will not be signing the state marriage license. They will have it signed by a county judge who is also attending the ceremony.

    I am a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I am called of God and ordained by the Church. I am not a minister of the State and I hereby revoke my state recognized license.
     
  2. Tom Bryant

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    That's, after all, your choice. But what will you do when there is no county judge attending? Will you be telling people that they need to have a legal marriage and a church marriage?

    No one forces a pastor to perform a marriage. It is my right to do it or not. So the issue of a gay couple bringing suit against a pastor for not performing their marriage won't happen.
     
  3. rdwhite

    rdwhite
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    Yes, I am willing to officiate a church ceremony, but they will need to have a JP or Judge sign the state document. This is common practice in other countries. Mexico for example does not recognize pastors as legal agents for the state. A judge has to sign the document, if the couple wants a church ceremony that is a completely separate issue.

    As of now that is true. I hope and pray that it remains that way. However, given the rapid moral and ethical decline of this nation, I am not counting on it. Especially for those churches who are 501c3 non-profit state recognized corporations, but that would be another thread.

    Anyway, If I understand things correctly, the license to minister is the state granting churches the right to legally recognize their ministers in order for them to be agents of the state. As such, they must comply state laws governing their area of agency, i.e. marriage. Thus far, the states have not pressed any issues, slowly, methodically, moving in for the kill, not wanting to alert the prey. However, with the hate crimes legislation, doors are opening for the state to control the church, especially those churches who have forfeit Jesus Christ as their head, becoming rather corporate entities of the state. Non-profit corporations and their officers are subject to state corporate laws.

    Step back just a minute and look at the big picture and see the direction this nation is headed. Oh the enemy is wily, the trap has been set and baited and the church is standing in the kill zone. It took decades, but the enemy is patient.
     
  4. Salty

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    When I went in to obtain my marriage license, the clerk told me there was at lest a 3 day waiting period - part of the purpose was that a computer check would be made to insure that neither of us was currently married elsewhere.
    So in a sense the State or Commonwealth is looking out for the welfare of an individual.
    In addition, the State or Commonwealth is giving the church the authority to bind the couple legally. I see this as a privilege.
    I trust that all those I marry will have a gay marriage, now if it comes to a [email protected] "union" I would refuse - after I had a time of counsel with the individuals

    This would be much like a MD refusing to deliver a baby, because he might be sued for not preforming an abortion.
     
  5. Revmitchell

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    A bit of an over reaction you can contact the Christian Law Association and they will give you free counsel on self protection with regards to homosexuality.
     
  6. gb93433

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    We live in the USA. I am glad that my pastor's signature was on the marriage license rather than a judge I did not know.
     
  7. j_barner2000

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    You know what... if we continue to abdicate our rights and responsibilities as Christians and American citizens then we deserve to lose them. Paul asserted his rights as a Roman citizen and, by God's will, changed his whole world. The Church has stood down too long and we need to stand up and be heard. 50 years we have been too passive. We may have been so for too lomg... Then again, our Lord, Jesus, the Christ, told us we would have problems like these and that is the sign of he end times.
     
    #7 j_barner2000, Aug 24, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 24, 2009
  8. Johnv

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    In regards to the OP, that's certainly your right to do so. However, in the same manner that I would never recommend a person attend a college that refuses to be accredited, I would likewise never recommend a couple have a wedding officiant that refuses to sign a marriage license.
     
  9. rdwhite

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    Have any of you given any thought, study, or research into the history, meaning, and implications of the State licensing of marriage and ministers. Your license to minister has nothing to do with your calling, the Bible, or the Church. The State allows churches to issue a license to minister. In effect, the State is licensing you to minister and they are allowing churches to issue the license on their behalf. That license serves no other purpose than to allow the State to recognize ministers who may then act as an agent of the State by signing marriage licenses on their behalf.

    God called me, the church ordained me. I do not believe the State has the right to license and regulate ministers or marriage. They have taken this right to themselves and have placed themselves in this position of authority.

    Recently, our Government has "requested" that ministers support the health care reform and promote it to their congregations. One more step in the wrong direction. Every state is bound to honor the marriage licenses of other states, and now several states are allowing homosexuals to obtain marriage licenses, which every state must honor, another step in the wrong direction. Can you not see the handwriting on the wall? Do you not realize where this is going?

    I believe that in the near future, licensed ministers may be required by law to recognize and perform homosexual marriages on behalf of the state. I believe that the government may require licensed ministers of 501c3 non-profit corporation churches to support and promote government platforms and programs. I believe that churches who have filed articles of incorporation have placed themselves under the authority and headship of the State, removing Jesus Christ as their authority and head. Before long, the state churches of America will be puppets of the State just like the state churches in China.
     
  10. sag38

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    RD, how can you be sure that one of the wedding couple isn't already married to someone else? How can you ensure that one or both might not go and marry someone else while still married to each other? Your ceremony has no legal protection or standing and is ripe for potential shenanigans. Although I doubt the folks you marry would do such things, nevertheless, it could happen. Many a seemingly good Christian marriage has gone south. With your marriage all one has to do is walk away. There is no legal binding. It's no different than two folks living together (legally that is). Imagine if many more pastors and churches took on your point of view. Polygamy would abound. And, the last time I checked polygamy is illegal. And, it is illegal to be married to one person while still secretly married to another. That is polygamy and a form of fraud.
     
  11. sag38

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    Right now I nor any other minister is required to marry homesexuals, etc. The potential for the government to force this is merely that. It is a potential. So, in the meantime, I'm free to marry whom I choose and to refuse to marry whom I choose without goverment interference. And, as yet, the church has not become a puppet of the state. Until such a time becomes reality, I will continue to sign marriage licenses
     
  12. Jim1999

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    If you are so afraid of what your government may force you to do, then follow Canada's example, and help the government to write the rules before anything is enacted. Couples get married; homosexuals form unions, not marriage. Ministers are not required by law to marry anyone. If a couple want a church wedding, they can publish their banns on three consecutive Sunday services and get married. The wedding certificate will follow without further ado.

    Marriage is a state function because obviously the churches can't handle all weddings.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  13. PeterM

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    I happily sign every marriage license for every ceremony I officiate.

    That said, I only do Christian Weddings (meaning both parties must be confessing Believers with a credible testimony). I have led teh church I pastor to embrace that policy in all weddings done on the church campus whether I perform the wedding or not.

    I also require all couples I marry to meet with me for (4) sessions over the course of three months prior to the wedding date that must be set and on the calendar. I reserve the right to not perform the ceremony if I deem moving forward a problem. here are more than a few policies that the couple must agree to during the course of the couseling period and for the wedding itself.

    As I pronounce the couple married, I do not say by the power vest in me by teh state of Tennessee. I simply say by the authority vested in me as an ordained minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I now pronounce you...
     
  14. rdwhite

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    Well you may not be verbalizing the fact that you are acting as an agent for the state; however, by signing the state document you are in deed acting as an agent for the state. You are affirming with your signature that Tennessee has granted you the privilege to act on their behalf; you are an agent for the State of Tennessee.

    Presently we enjoy the privilege of refusing to officiate wedding ceremonies for certain couples; a form of discrimination. As we further our dissent into government control, I believe the day is coming when the State will no longer tolerate such discrimination, requiring all of their agents to cease discriminatory practices.

    Furthermore, when a couple requests from the state a license to marry, they are in deed acknowledging the state as having authority over their marriage. I believe that God is the only authority over marriage and the state by issuing marriage licenses is usurping the authority of God. If then, I act as agent for the state by affixing my signature to their document, am I not acknowledging the state's authority over the marriage in the stead of God?

    I am not recommending that anybody do or refrain from doing any thing. I am merely expressing my ponderings on the subject, offering this thread as food for thought. It is obvious from the responses that nobody else is concerned about the spiritual implications of being state agents, so HAPPY SERVITUDE! :wavey: :laugh:
     
  15. PeterM

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    I guess I never really though of myself as an agent of the state... not that it bothers me as I am not anti-government. I would agree that God is the only true authority over a marriage, but that doesn't necessarily mean government entities cannot or should not have a part to play in regulating and overseeing the practice. Marriage is a privilege in our society, not a right.

    While each state has its own quirks and differences, things have been fairly static for some time. Its only been with the advent and passage of gay marriage in some states that ministers/pastors are feeling a little uptight and becoming "enemies of the state". There is certainly a battle to be fought here, but it isn't for the institution of marriage. The battle is for the souls of this nation and the world.

    I will be held accountalbe for those that I shepherd and for the stewardship of what God has given me as a pastor. I choose who I marry, period. If I say no to a particular couple they are free to head down to the JOP and get it done there should they so choose. Maybe I'm missing something here but I don't see the state compelling pastors to do what is a fairly easy thing to get done elsewhere.
     
  16. rbell

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    OK, so on one hand, you say, "I'm not trying to be your conscience on this," and then in the very next sentence, you belittle those with whom you disagree.

    That's consistent...:rolleyes:
     
  17. sag38

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    The marriage police haven't been to my door as of yet nor do I expect them to anytime soon. I'm sorry RD but your stance reeks of paranoia.
     

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