There is more news today about a cranky little group of Lutheran churches leaving the ELCA overÂ gay pastors who are not married.Â This focus on the chruch’s big, even huge, role in marriage is not part of the long history of human beings.Â That is, it is not part of “traditional marriage”.
In the millions of years of humans living on earth, insertion of the church into the practice of marriage is a very recent thing.Â Traditional marriage falls under theÂ responsibility of government, notÂ the chruch.
Government has been the decision maker in marriagesÂ of couples in extended families, clans and tribes for most of human history.Â TheseÂ governments, the clan’s leaders,Â hadÂ to adopt strategies of survival. That is, how does the clanÂ find enough food andÂ ward off attacking clans?Â Â Sending a daughter off to marry into a differentÂ clan was part of that strategy.
We now call theseÂ “arranged marriages”.Â Â Arranged marriages are traditionalÂ marriages.
The is a common belief that having theÂ pastor and church performÂ the marriage ceremonyÂ makes the marraige “better”.Â Â It does not mean less likely to end in divorce.Â We have had several couples as friends, born in other countries, whose marraiges were arranged.Â Those marriages seemed wonderful.
If people want to get married in churches and churches want to provide this service, those are choices of the people involved.Â But,Â it isÂ dishonest forÂ some Christian churches to portrayÂ themselves asÂ the ultimate authorities of what is a good, traditional or successful marriage.