Talking about marriage

Churches can and should affirm the moral significance of marriage without denigrating those who are not married. So we have argued before in this space, noting at the same time that such affirmations must be sensitive to the diverse experiences of the people in the pews. A dramatic illustration of how controversial affirming marriage can be was provided recently by the National Council of Churches. The NCC’s general secretary, Bob Edgar, felt compelled to withdraw his endorsement of an evangelical-mainline-Catholic statement in support of marriage because of a passage in the document that defined marriage as “the holy union of one man and one woman.” That definition appeared to make marriage off limits for homosexual couples—an emphasis at least one evangelical leader was eager to stress.


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