Some Thoughts on Marriage
"Marriage should signify a union of hearts" *The Christian Science Monitor has reported on the emergence in Hawaii of a movement to legalize the marriages of gay men and lesbians, now already legalized in other nations such as Denmark.
As we observe this development in American, and indeed world history, and as we observe this as part of the extraordinary progress gay liberation is making in human society, an important question arises:
In what way is Divine Love deepening our human understanding and expression of love through the advancement of gay liberation in general, and specifically as this liberation manifests in the movement to legalize gay marriage?
The "Marriage" chapter in the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, by Mary Baker Eddy, pgs. 56-69, has much to offer students of Christian Science and all spiritually-minded people interested in answering this question.
Here, Mrs. Eddy makes clear the importance of marriage as a human institution which must always be reforming itself spiritually under God's direction. She encourages us to deepen our spiritual sense of marriage, which should for us, "signify a union of hearts" (Science and Health, pg. 64: 17-18).
The legalization of gay and lesbian marriages (many of which have been existing for up to decades without legal protection) can be seen as fulfilling Mrs. Eddy's vision of marriage's necessary human progress.
I invite the Christian Science community, and its friends, to carefully read "Marriage" to see if this true, and if so, in what way it is true. As a sample for reflection I offer lines from pgs.64-65 of the text. In "Marriage", Mrs. Eddy states what marriage most needs: social justice, a union of hearts, honesty and virtue, experience based on humanity's highest nature, a more spiritual adherence — all of which many currently enduring same-sex marriages would support.
From Science and Health pgs. 64-65:
- "Want of uniform social justice is a crying evil caused by the selfishness and the inhumanity of man." (pg. 64:1-2)
- "Marriage should signify a union of hearts." (pg. 64:17)
- "Honesty and virtue ensure the stability of the marriage covenant." (pg. 64:29-30)
- "Experience should be the school of virtue, and human happiness should proceed from man's highest nature." (pg. 65:1-2)
- "If the foundations of human affection are consistent with progress, they will be strong and enduring." (pg. 65:7-8)
- "The union of the sexes suffers fearful discord. To gain Christian Science and its harmony, life should be more metaphysically regarded." (pg. 65:10-12)
SummaryThe elements of gay liberation, displacing homophobia and establishing full social equality for all gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people — which the then Christian Scientist and gay activist Craig Rodwell captured in his famous "gay is good" sign almost 30 years ago — include the current, strong, worldwide movement to legalize gay marriage. Can we view this as an example of Divine Love meeting all human, including sexual minorities' needs, and the possibility of legal marriage? (see Science and Health, pg. 494)
The above is submitted only to further loving reflection on what is now a pressing question of social justice for Americans. To the extent that religious authority figures and spiritually-minded people are deeply involved in it, along with the general public, it is important that spiritual questions surrounding marriage laws be addressed. In the chapter "Footsteps of Truth", in Science and Health (pgs. 223:14-228:19) we find a strong statement concerning on-going social progress as a necessary manifestation of spiritual progress. I believe it, too, deserves to be carefully read by students of Christian Science seeking guidance concerning gay liberation. At its heart we read "Love is the liberator" (Science and Health, pg. 225:21-22).
— submitted by a member of the NY CS Group, 5/14/98 * Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, by Mary Baker Eddy, p. 64:17