CRAMER: Praise for the strengthening of marriage

Recently, U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman struck down our state’s ban on gay marriage.
Mar 30, 2014

 

Attorney General Bill Schuette has asked a federal appeals court to freeze Judge Friedman’s decision so that he can appeal the ruling, insisting that this ban was the will of 59 percent of voters when it was added to the state constitution in 2004. While no one can say for sure what the final result will be, I would be shocked if Attorney General Schuette won on appeal.
 
This case raises a key question about the nature of law and rights in our society. Does the majority have a right to enforce their views upon a minority? Was the decision made by over half of the voters in our state almost ten years ago a decision that should stand — or was it one that is in violation of our nation’s higher principles of justice as enshrined in the United States Constitution.
 
From a legal standpoint, I agree with Judge Friedman and others who insist that the rights and freedoms guaranteed to every citizen in the constitution should be equally available and applied to all people regardless of sexual orientation. Even the attorneys for the state acknowledged that the plaintiffs in this suit, Jayne Rowse and April DeBoer, are excellent parents to their three adopted children. Rowse and DeBoer love each other and seek to have access to the same rights and benefits many opposite-sex couples take for granted. 
 
From a Christian standpoint, though, I agree even more firmly with the court’s decision. Marriage, the choice to live in a covenanted life with another person, to promise to live a life of self-giving love for another, is one of the most powerful sacraments in the church. When I do pre-marital counseling at my church, I always tell couples that, theologically, they are the ministers of the sacrament of marriage — not the priest. They are the ones who make the sacrament happen through an exchange of vows, the joining of hands, and the giving and receiving of rings. My role as a priest is simply to declare God’s blessing, on behalf of the church, upon the relationship they have made.
 
Same-sex couples throughout our state, though refused equal rights in the courts and shamed out of far too many churches, have nevertheless created relationships that are clearly of the same self-giving love found in opposite-marriages. Indeed, given how difficult their choice to be together often is, their loving commitment is an even more powerful witness, a more powerful example of Christ’s love in our world. 
 
We are told in Scripture that marriage is an image for Christ’s relationship with the church, a relationship founded upon being willing to give of yourself for another. So many of the same-sex couples I have known over the years have clearly demonstrated that love for their partners. Rather than simply live for themselves alone, they choose to live life with their partner, they choose to love sacrificially with the person God has brought into their life. They persist in commitment despite the misguided shaming of some in our society. My friends, my brothers and sisters in Christ, who are in same-sex relationships inspire me to be a better spouse to my wife.
 
Marriage is indeed under threat in our society. People live lives that are focused solely on individualism and greed. Relationships are seen as disposable. My “needs” are seen as more important than anyone else’s. As a Christian who believes strongly that marriage can profoundly shape people, that it forces you to consider another person in ways you are rarely required when you are single, I am glad that I can now freely invite same-sex members of my congregation into this holy and covenanted state of life—and that it will now be legally recognized. 
 
And I have a hunch that as same-sex couples throughout our state take advantage of this new and just opportunity, opposite-sex marriages will wind up strengthened in ways we do not yet even know.
 
The Very Rev. Jared Cramer serves as rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Grand Haven and as dean of the Lakeshore Deanery of the Diocese of Western Michigan. His reflections on life and ministry can be found on his blog: carewiththecure.blogspot.com.
 

 

Comments

gordbzz231

It would be interesting if we could hear more point of views from the church,s , how does your church feel about this issue, we have read 100,s of views from the people and a lot of mixed reactions ?

skyking007

Rev. Jared Cramer: thank you for showing that some Christians do show the Love of Jesus for everyone.

lol125

Once again an interesting editorial "opinion", but unfortunately not Biblically based. I believe as Christians we should love people as Christ did, including those that we don't agree with. However God still has laws and will judge sin (Hebrews 9:27). The Bible once again doesn't evolve or change in order to fit the desires of the culture. Just because there are many in society that think something is OK or right doesn't mean it is Biblical and "OK" with God (Proverbs 14:12). Romans 1:18-27 clearly defines God's judgement on the issue discussed. So do we say that's a lie, or is it truth? Many teachings in the Bible are not popular with the culture and never will be. The Bible states that God's word secularly doesn't make sense to us and can only be discerned through the Holy Spirit(1 Corinthians 2:14). I think we all need to examine what our faith is based on...our opinions and desires or God's truth as given to us in His word?

deepthink

duplication removed

deepthink

For those who believe the Bible is God's word and that Jesus will return... Apply logic to this issue. Jesus returns to an apostate world... not one growing in righteousness and love. Satan is deceiving the world by "flip-flopping" love and hate. Encouraging people to lead a clearly sinful lifestyle is not "loving your neighbor." Also, why do you think the SSM movement has "locked onto" the terms "hate" and "hater"?

And Jesus answered and said to them, "See to it that no one misleads you. For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will mislead many.'" Matthew 24:4-5

"Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many." Matthew 24:11

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. 2 Timothy 4:3-4

Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness. 2 Thessalonians 2:8-12

Do not allow yourself to be deceived!!!

Lanivan

Who determines who exactly is the deceiver and who is the one being deceived? You?

Who determines what exactly is hate and what is love? You?

Who determines who exactly the false prophets are and who are not? You?

deepthink

No, no and no. God determines all three. I believe, He's told us through the Bible we need to be "on the lookout" for false teaching so that we won't be deceived when we hear it. The best preparation we can do for this is to study the Bible.

I'm not going to hide that I believe the reverend Cramer's message to be false teaching. It sounds good on the surface, but nowhere in the Bible does God tell us to condone sin...nowhere...and nowhere in the Bible does it say that homosexuality is not a sin.

There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death. Proverbs 14:12

Lanivan

You're not answering my question. Of course, the standard interpretation of the Bible, when reading the scripture, "Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many." Matthew 24:11, is that these are the words of God/Jesus. I will ask again: Who determines who is a false prophet? You admit you think Rev Cramer is a false prophet trying to mislead. I disagree. I think a pastor who preaches hatred, bigotry, and intolerance from the pulpit is a false prophet.

So which of us is correct? Is my interpretation of Matthew 24:11 less valid than yours? Maybe someone else might think you are a false prophet for your writings on this forum regarding your interpretation of God/Jesus' teachings. I definitely fear that religion is being abused and manipulation for political purposes, and that the perpetrators are false prophets. This is a question I have asked for years to various pastors, in various bible studies. And it really is never successfully answered.

deepthink

How did I not answer your questions (you actually asked two questions about false prophets)? You asked "Who determines who exactly the false prophets are and who are not? You?" I answered "no" not me and "God determines..."

Before I address your comments and questions....

1. I DID NOT say that Rev Cramer is a false prophet. God decides who is a true/false prophet...not me. What I said was "...I believe the reverend Cramer's message to be false teaching." I am not judging him. I am judging his teachings as false.

2. Please notice that Rev Cramer didn't cite a single Bible verse in his article. Everything he said was conjecture or opinion. In discussions involving God and the Bible, most of the time I try to include verses to support my statements including my responses here.

3. You say at the end of your comment "This is a question I have asked for years to various pastors..." Do you mean the "So which of us is correct?" or some other question? If multiple pastors haven't been able to answer your question sufficiently, I probably won't (can't) either, but I will try.

Lanivan

1. What do you consider to be "false teaching" in an opinion piece written by a community columnist, who happens to be a Reverend, and who speaks of love, laws, rights, and the partnership between two individuals who commit to each other in love? What exactly is "false"?

2. In other words, you search for specific biblical passages to support your opinions.

3. I was very clear. My opinion of who is a false prophet, or who is speaking with deception may be different from yours. So who is correct? We both can say that the Holy spirit has guided us to discern the truth. So who is correct?

I am not interested in debating this. Clearly, if you are truly honest, you would acknowledge this conundrum, instead of evading it with stock answers.

deepthink

You used the "preach(ing of) hatred, bigotry, and intolerance from the pulpit" as a condition of being a false prophet. I have to assume you mean how these relate to people and not sin because the Bible is very clear (I quoted several verses in another post below) that we are to "hate" evil, wickedness and sin. Additionally, nowhere does the Bible condone sin.

From the dictionary..."Hate" is extreme dislike. A bigot is a person who is utterly intolerant of any differing creed, belief, or opinion. Also, and this is very important, according to the dictionary "intolerance" and "bigotry" are synonymous, and neither, by definition, require hate. I bring this up because I believe the LGBTQ and SSM movements have used these words improperly...and they have used them so often as to have inculcated the public with an incorrect understanding of their meaning. As an example, many of the individuals I have engaged in conversation (even ones on my side) have no idea that all three terms can be applied "correctly" to any strict adherent to either side of the LGBTQ and SSM argument.

I'm getting too tired to give the attention and effort your questions deserve. Sorry. I will have to finish this when I have time and am not too tired.

skyking007

Notice the I believe and then the BUT. You think you know better than Jesus. Hate is in your heart and that leaves no room for the love of Jesus. You have made God in your image are one of the false prophets.

deepthink

"Hate is in your heart and that leaves no room for the love of Jesus."...not so.

lol125 did not contradict himself as you imply. Nor do his statements imply he thinks he "knows better than Jesus."

From Your precepts I get understanding; Therefore I hate every false way. Psalm 119-104

Let those who love the LORD hate evil, for he guards the lives of his faithful ones and delivers them from the hand of the wicked. Psalm 97:10

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Romans 12:9

Hate evil, love good; maintain justice in the courts. Perhaps the LORD God Almighty will have mercy on the remnant of Joseph. Amos 5:15

You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy. Hebrews 1:9

nextdoor

The 14 amendment is a joke liberal judges use it when thy want and strike it down when they don't it's hypocrisy.

Lanivan

This is a very serious allegation. Would you please provide unbiased facts to support this allegation?

nextdoor

Us tax code ,job quota

Lanivan

The US tax code is a compilation of all tax laws written and passed by Congress since the ratification of the Constitution in 1788. SCOTUS doesn't pass US tax codes.

Job quotas are an offshoot of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and various cases have been heard and ruled on over the years by both conservative and liberal SCOTUS. It is a controversial issue, and one that was rejected recently by 5-4 ruling by a conservative majority. But that hardly is enough to support your assertion. Maybe it's just your opinion without actually knowing all the facts?

Vladtheimp

Soon, in the name of freedom and egalitarianism, liberals and progressives will champion the right of men and women to engage in pedophilia (it's a natural imperative of a small portion of the population, like homosexual behavior is endemic among about 3% of the population). Or, to quote the very Rev Cramer "From a legal standpoint, I agree with Judge Friedman and others who insist that the rights and freedoms guaranteed to every citizen in the constitution should be equally available and applied to all people regardless of sexual orientation." Who are we to question these "natural" impulses?" Some of us will look back in wonder when the next progressive attack against mores makes zoophilia a "normal human sexual imperative" like transgenderism and the like. When will it stop?

Lanivan

While you are worried about some sort of nonsensical future fantasy liberal/progressive promotion of pedophilia and zoophilia, I am concerned about the present danger of hard right conservative "Christians" who promote the perversion of the Constitution by using it to promote biblical law. And not any biblical law. Just the laws they approve of. And not all Christianity. Just the type of Christianity they approve of. Who are not content with worshiping and witnessing within their religious beliefs, but who want to force all Americans, of all religious beliefs, to live under their narrow, specific laws.

When will it stop?

Tri-cities realist

Please cite "unbiased facts" to support your claim of "hard right conservative "Christians" who promote the perversion of the Constitution by using it to promote biblical law."

And btw, NAMBLA is promoting their agenda today, and have been for years. Sick, but true.

Lanivan

There is a very strong surge of Religious Right/Conservative political activity in the US. There is a web of well-funded networks whose main goal is to bypass the Constitution and replace it with biblical law. These groups are made up of a mixed bag of very wealthy corporate benefactors, politicians, as well as religious leaders. They do not believe in the separation of church and state. They attempt to force this through continual court cases challenging previous SCOTUS rulings that were based on the Constitution as the Rule of Law and the separation. Some cases have to do with overturning US laws regarding:

* Abortion Rights.
* The teaching of Creationism in public schools.
* Prayer in Public Schools.
* SCOTUS strike down of the Defense of Marriage Act.
* SCOTUS strike down of Prop 8 in CA.

The Founding Fathers composed a group of men of mixed religious beliefs (always one God, of course) who argued and debated at length during the writing of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. No matter what your religious beliefs, you are granted the freedom to have those beliefs, and to be treated as equal. Your personal beliefs do not trump the more secular Rule of Law.

The current erosion to women's abortion, reproductive, and family planning rights in Republican states; the rejection of science regarding climate change, creationism, and evolution; same sex marriage challenges;- These are all issues that the Religious Right have chosen to circumvent Constitutional law and replace it with biblical law.

These are the same groups who fight gun public safety laws by passing liberal gun laws, such as Georgia, which has passed a law allowing loaded guns to be taken into churches, as well as everywhere else. These groups are also strong proponents of capital punishment, and the rejection of government social safety nets that help the poor, denying aid to indigent children, the homeless, health care to the poor and disabled. For example, the governor of Georgia, who proclaims himself a Christian, is trying to weaken or block Reagan's emergency room law that provides for free health care to the uninsured, and yet this same governor (Nathan Deal) has rejected MedicAid Expansion. Hence my assertion that they cherry-pick the biblical laws and teachings that conform to their specific narrow beliefs.

Btw, although not defending NAMBLA, according to Wiki, it is currently comprised of a website, and that's about it. And any attempts at affiliation with LGBT groups has been thoroughly rejected.

Google: religious right conservative constitution biblical law. To get started, read: http://www.thedailybeast.com/art...

Vladtheimp

There is a very strong surge of anti-religion/liberal political activity in the US. There is a web of well-funded networks whose main goal is to re-interpret the Constitution and replace it with Secular Humanism. These groups are made up of a mixed bag of very wealthy progressive benefactors, politicians, as well as some so-called religious leaders. They believe religion has no place in our lives or in our society. They attempt to force this through continual court cases challenging previous SCOTUS rulings that were based on the Constitution as the Rule of Law and the separation. Some cases have to do with overturning US laws regarding:

* The rights of the unborn.

* The teaching of Secular Humanism in public schools.

* Disallowing Prayer, including student lead prayer in Public Schools and in public places.

* Challenging (or not enforcing) the Defense of Marriage Act.

* Using unelected, unaccountable liberal judges to strike down valid laws enacted through the normal political process.

* Ignoring the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

The Founding Fathers composed a group of men of mixed religious beliefs who argued and debated at length during the writing of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. No matter what your religious beliefs, you are granted the freedom to have those beliefs unless Obama and Sebelius decide that you don't), and to be treated as equal. Your personal rights must give way to the secular determinations of government and liberal secular beliefs.

The current erosion of the rights of citizens to keep their earnings, the rights of the unborn; the rejection of real science regarding climate change; the denigration of Intelligent Design; and the overturning of centuries of history (except in maybe 1/2 of the world's population that still considers homosexuality as deviant behavior) in promoting same sex marriage rights (impacting a miniscule minority of maybe 3% of the population against the vast majority;- These are all issues that the liberal/progressives Humanists have chosen to circumvent Constitutional law and replace it with their own brand of Secular Humanism.

These are the same groups who fight 2nd Amendment Rights, with a goal of ensuring that only criminals and the government will be armed, currently leaving minorities unarmed and vulnerable in urban areas. These groups are also strong opponents of capital punishment, and the pursuit of policies that keep the poor dependent on the vagaries of government payments, thus ensuring they will remain in poverty, ill-equipped to work.

(I get the joke - proving your points by linking to "The Daily Beast" and a column written by:

"Dean Obeidallah is a former lawyer turned political comedian and writer.  "

Lanivan

What exactly is the surge of "anti-religion" "liberal" political activity in the US? How exactly has religious freedom been denied in the US? I am not aware that any religious group has been denied the right to congregate and worship. I am not aware that there is a movement to deny churches their tax-exempt status. And are you saying that people who are politically liberal are not Christians? Or perhaps you mean that only politically conservative people have the right to be Christian.

Where in the Constitution does it say that future laws of the land must be based on biblical law, but only specific biblical laws, and which must align with specific religious beliefs, not all Christian denominations or beliefs? Take, for instance, prayer in public schools. Christian families can prayer together in the morning, at the dinner table, at bedtime, they can pray quietly during the day at school, after school, at church, or in certain areas/times of public schools (First Priority meets and prays around the flagpole at GHHS at certain times). What is denying or preventing Christian public school students the right to pray?

How has Obama taken away your right to follow your religious beliefs? If you do not believe in contraception for religious reasons, no one is forcing you to use contraceptives. Simply do not take them. Why impose your religious beliefs on others whose religion does not deny contraception? Are you opposed to vasectomies, tubal ligations, and erectile dysfunction medications? Why are you opposed to Free Will?

I don't expect you to answer these questions, even though I pose them with sincerity. The fact of the matter is that you do not have a leg to stand on, and represent the most hypocritical and irrational of arguments, both as a well-credentialed student of Constitutional law and a person familiar with political/judicial US history, and an intellectual.

Vladtheimp

It has apparently escaped your eagle eye that as we write there are two cases before the Supreme Court of the United States concerning how Obamacare and its implementing regulations are denying the plaintiff's religious freedoms under the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act. Other similar cases based on religious freedom, including Little Sisters of the Poor v. Sebelius are in the pipeline.

Unlike your various constructs of the religious aspect of the First Amendment, it says, as I have noted before:

"CONGRESS SHALL MAKE NO LAW respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;" (emphasis supplied); thus every liberal effort to demand and require a "wall of separation" between Church and State, including activist judicial legislating from the bench, is contrary to the plain language of the amendment, including purporting to prohibit student prayer anywhere, in public schools, at athletic events, on the street, etc.

Stop the feminist/liberal/democrat talking points - no one is denying women contraception - some are objecting to the government forcing others, including men, to pay for them under penalty. You can't possibly be so dense as to fail to understand the distinction. If the government isn't paying for mens' Viagra or Trojans, does that mean the government is denying men the right to use them? Of course not. If there's any denial of Free Will it's Obama and the government forcing taxpayers to subsidize the insurance of others to support activities their free will leads them to disagree with.

Regarding your other silly comment on the 2nd Amendment, has it also escaped your attention that criminals don't comply with the law (that's why they call them criminals) so the strict gun control laws in liberal big cities only restrict the ability of law abiding residents to defend themselves?

ChitownGH

Vlad:

You cited a specific line of the Constitution: "CONGRESS SHALL MAKE NO LAW respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;" (emphasis supplied)"

You then stated: "thus every liberal effort to demand and require a "wall of separation" between Church and State, including activist judicial legislating from the bench, is contrary to the plain language of the amendment, including purporting to prohibit student prayer anywhere, in public schools, at athletic events, on the street, etc"

Actually, you are completely wrong. I see you emphasized the "shall make no law" language above, but mistakenly glossed over the next two important lines. In fact, to fully understand this line you need to consider this passage as a whole and not separately.

As such, let's analyze the citation: ""CONGRESS SHALL MAKE NO LAW RESPECTING AN ESTABLISHMENT OF RELIGION, OR PROHIBITING THE FREE EXERCISE THEREOF"

What this means, and has been supported by legal scholars and the Supreme Court, is that the government does not have the power to make laws supporting religion or laws that are based on the exercise of religion. It also allows for the free exercise of religion. There is a substantial difference between permitting religion and regulating or creating laws based on religious beliefs.

As such, your example of "purporting to prohibit student prayer anywhere, in public schools, at athletic events, on the street," is completely unfounded and without merit. What the Constitution prevents (in your example) is the school from creating specific rules for school prayer. This would be seen as the school (government) "respecting the establishment of religion" and is in violation of the Constitution. Nevertheless, the Constitution also allows for the "free exercise of religion." Thus, children or persons are still free to pray anywhere, in public schools, at athletic events, on the street.

Your comments demonstrate to me that you have a clear misunderstanding of Constitutional law in relation to its effect on religion. You should really do some research and be more informed before making baseless statements and arguments.

Vladtheimp

Just because judges have deviated from the clear wording of the Constitution in support of an anti-religious liberal philosophy doesn't mean that my following the plain meaning of the document is wrong or demonstrates a misunderstanding. I have done plenty of research on the Constitution and the canons of statutory interpretation - more than you, I suspect.

ChitownGH

I suspect your "research" this this topic pales in comparison to mine. Especially highlighted by your response.

The judges have not deviated from the clear wording of the Constitution. They have stated the wording is clear and there is not need to interpret it. I described the citation above as it was intended. There is no other reasonable interpretation.

It is akin to taking a (hypotheical) passage that says "Congress shall make no law encouraging people to root for a specific baseball team, nor prohibit people from rooting for any baseball team that want" and arguing that a school district rule that all students in the school district should root for the Detroit Tigers does not violate the Constitution. The plain language CLEARLY does not allow for such legislation.

Also, just because something is anti-religious does not make it liberal and vice versa. You clearly are a politically uninformed individual who bases his information from conspiracy websites.

Also, what makes your interpretation of your religion correct? There are several other religions and devoted persons within your religion that disagree with you. Which is more evidence of why it would be foolish to base the Constitution on religious beliefs - NONE are the same.

Vladtheimp

"There is no other reasonable interpretation." ChitownGH speaking ex Cathedra - "The Science is settled." How very liberal of you - no argument permitted - you must be a huge favorite at your global warming parties. Just another example of "The Chicago Way."

And how disingenuous, attempting to equate students or groups of students praying to a situation where an agency of the government is "requiring" all students to engage in a particular activity. Fine reasoning there, by golly!

Anti-Christian is generally a liberal impulse in the past few decades, not anti-religion - liberals seem quite content to leave Moslems alone to freely practice their religion, be it refusing to transport certain items as driver/employees, refusing to handle packages of bacon as checkout clerks, refusing to transport service animals,and, let's say, having different ideas about the role of women, but let one Christian baker refuse to bake a cake for a homosexual wedding and the wrath of Holder/Obama comes down with both feets. Never mind black Muslims intimidating voters.

I have never identified my religion, so its interesting that you seem to know what my beliefs are. And, I have never claimed that the Constitution should be based on religion - that's people Lanivan fumes about.

Lanivan

"And, I have never claimed that the Constitution should be based on religion - that's people Lanivan fumes about."

So you are admitting that this is the motivation behind those I am fuming about?

Vladtheimp

I'm simply clarifying who is fuming about people who the fumer contends want the Constitution to be based on religion.

Pages

 

Post a Comment

Log in to your account to post comments here and on other stories, galleries and polls. Share your thoughts and reply to comments posted by others. Don't have an account on GrandHavenTribune.com? Create a new account today to get started.