Dieter Boenhoffer is a personal hero of mine. He was a Lutheran minister in Germany at the time of the Nazi takeover in Germany. Most churches submitted to the will of the Nazi Government by preventing Jews from worshiping in their congregations, recognizing the government as having supreme control over religion and looking the other way when government began mass extermination of those the government felt were undesirable.
Rather than consent to the will of the German government, Boenhoffer (along with other ministers) formed the Confessing Church. This led Boenhoffer down a path that would eventually lead to his execution in the final days of World War II.
Nazi Germany is only one example of many times when churches allowed government to exert control over their theology. In ancient Rome, Christians were sent to be eaten by lions until Constantine accepted Christianity. Religion then mixed with the Roman government, and sacred Christian holidays were changed to match up with Roman Pagan holidays.
In England, when King Henry VIII wanted a divorce he decided to create a state religion, a decision which led to the beheading of one of Henry’s former confidants, Sir Thomas More. Individuals were executed in various barbaric methods depending on which religion had the favor of the government at that time.
We recently celebrated Pioneer Day in Utah. One of the primary reasons the early settlers of the Salt Lake Valley fled the United States of America was because the U.S. government attempted to intervene in their practice of polygamy.
History provides many more examples of the negative effects of government interfering in the practice of religion.
Christians who support traditional marriage now stand at a pivotal time with the recent Supreme Court decision Obergefell v Hodges, in which the Supreme Court changed the definition of what many believe to be a sacred ordinance.
Unfortunately, by relying upon government to enforce its values, Christians are now left with a government that is hostile to their traditional beliefs. History is repeating itself.
It is time to decide what marriage truly is. Is marriage a holy ordinance? If so, why are we allowing government to interfere in this practice? We would never allow government to dictate our form of baptism, nor would we allow them to dictate how the sacrament or communion is delivered.
It is time for those who support traditional marriage to support government getting out of the marriage business. As government simply views marriage as a contract between two individuals, government could facilitate this function.
Traditional marriage supporters are concerned (and I believe rightfully so), that government will exercise its considerable control to remove tax exempt status if they do not support same-sex marriage. They are also concerned that their rights to free speech and freedom of religion could be threatened.
If supporters of traditional marriage want to save marriage and preserve their first amendment rights, it is time to support getting government out of marriage and out of religion.