September 14, 2017

Right of Marriage

In the current debate concerning marriage equality in Australia, as in similar debates in other countries, including the United States, marriage is often held up as a basic human right. In spite of the wide recognition of the right to marry in such documents as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, some oppose seeing marriage as a right. The opposition often comes from members or leaders of church bodies. However, in denying marriage as a right, such opponents undercut and deny the same principle that protects the practice of religion: not religion merely as singular personal belief as a species of freedom of thought, but religion in practice as gathered worship as a species of the right to assembly. It is a right of expression, not merely of thought.

It is in this that the right to marry, which is also species of the generic right to free association and assembly, that the church finds its kindred freedom, the freedom to practice its religion in a corporate fashion. For according to the author of Ephesians, it is as the assembly of the many into one — the great mystery of Christ and the church — that the church resembles marriage, the fundamental and most intimate form of human association, the type of all society, including the church.

To attack the right to marry is to attack the fundamental basis of all human communion, and to assault the foundational right upon which the church itself is built.

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG

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