In a recent article at The Gospel Coalition, Joe Carter, a co-pastor at David Platt’s McLean Bible Church and a former employee of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission attempts to argue from the Book of Ruth in favor of same-sex civil unions.
Carter starts out the article titled Simple Solution to Same-Sex Civil ‘Marriage’ by attempting to persuade the reader that David French, a far-left political and social activist, is actually a “conservative evangelical.” It is from French’s commentary on same-sex civil unions that Carter begins his expostulation in favor of some sort of “civil union” that not only homosexuals can enjoy marriage-like benefits from, but other “de-sexualized” relationships as well.
He starts by quoting French, who states:
“I emphasize the word civil because my view on the religious nature of marriage has not changed,” says French. “It is a lifelong covenant between a man and a woman, sealed before God, and breakable only on the limited conditions God has outlined in his Word.”
Carter then goes on to lament that French’s article was so heavily criticized by people who actually believe the Bible, hold to a traditional biblical sexual ethic, and believe that this ethic is actually best for society. Carter complains that “some have said he’s not even a Christian.” That’s not far-fetched considering French’s proclivity toward pleasing man and appeasing the Pagan society rather than pleasing God. French is very carnal-minded.
While Carter does at least argue against the redefinition of marriage, essentially, the ultimate solution lands on providing the same type of civil benefits to various types of “unions” including same-sex sexual unions, that married couples have.
“What do we do about homosexual couples who have ordered their lives around the legal fiction of same-sex marriage?” Carter asked rhetorically arguing that French’s solution to same-sex civil unions created problems for conservative Evangelicals because they were historically promoted as endorsing “same-sex “homosexual couplings.” But Carter’s argument then opens the door for something even worse—marriage-like arrangements for any coupling, including mother-in-law-daughter-in-law, nephew-uncle, etc. Carter says that they “excluded relationships more worthy of legal recognition.”
“Rather than using them to provide legitimacy to homosexual relationships,” Carter says, “civil unions should be completely desexualized and open to any two adults who desire to enter into a type of contractual relationship known as a mutual beneficiary contract.”
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“Our model for such civil unions comes from a most unlikely source: the Book of Ruth.”
Carter then goes on to argue that the relationship between Naomi and Ruth would be extremely difficult today because society doesn’t grant benefits to these types of “civil unions.”
“But what if Ruth and Naomi lived in modern-day America? Would they be able to keep this commitment to each other without hindrance from laws that recognize only dependents, guardians, and spouses—including same-sex “spouses”? The law may very well provide them equal protection under certain circumstances, but with the labyrinth of rules and regulations, how would they know what applied?”
Unlike the Ruth and Naomi situation, because of the Obergefell decision, “Any young gay man may enter into a civil union with an older man in order to confer benefits on their sexual behavior. But a nephew couldn’t enter into a similar contract with his disabled uncle in a way that would simplify his ability to provide care.”
“Desexualizing civil unions would alleviate the concerns of people, like French, who want to allow gay couples in civil “marriages” to enjoy the benefits they currently receive,” Carter says, arguing that “Desexualized civil unions wouldn’t be a threat to religious liberty in the way same-sex marriages are and will indefinitely continue to be.”
Carter’s solution is ultimately to open the door to civil unions that offer all of the benefits of marriage but remove the “sexual” aspect from it, therefore creating the illusion that the government, and those supporting this legislation, don’t support or endorse same-sex marriages. Of course, that’s absurd on its face and cannot be substantiated by any logical analysis of what he’s actually saying.
Of course, the biggest problem with this is the entire lack of biblical precept or precedent that even accidentally resembles what he’s proposing. Even in the example of Ruth and Naomi how is that relationship enhanced or harmed by any external civil policy whatsoever? The idea of such a thing is smuggled into the conversation in an attempt to lend credence to its thesis. There’s no way anybody would ever find that there without this cultural corruption as a backdrop for doing so.
Can anybody, including Joe Carter, really imagine, Jesus or the apostles proposing some kind of virtue in anything other than holy condemnation of all romantic relationships that were not set forth by God at the creation of the world?
If we were to open the door to these types of unions, it would absolutely promote the embrace of same-sex unions and, without doubt, it is clearly redefining the institution of marriage, just without using the word. Everybody would recognize it as a redefinition of marriage and everyone would treat it as such. It is a distinction without a difference—and the solution is no solution at all, it’s merely a capitulation by a bunch of leftists who are too limp-wristed to speak what the Bible actually has to say about the judgment of God on the world right now.