A lesson about marriage from the Bible — and from Hollywood.
Marriage is more than just beautiful. Marriage is more than just moral. Marriage is beautiful because it is moral. Indeed it sensitizes people to the beauty of morality, the symmetry and structure and form and nuance and grace of life lived rightly. It often inspires people to moral behavior in other aspects of their lives.
It was not the Bible that turned me on to marriage, but marriage that turned me on to the Bible. It offers an intuitive experience that confirms the truth of the odd narrative presented there as the basis for the connubial bond. The Bible makes the startling claim that man and woman were once part of a single organism that then subdivided, a claim echoed by the evolutionists. When you fall in love with a member of the opposite sex, you can actually sense yourself being drawn back into a primordial state of oneness.
Maimonides introduces his exposition of the Jewish laws of marriage with a preamble. “Before the Torah was given, a man met a woman in the marketplace, and if they decided to marry they could achieve that simply by moving in together. If one of them moved out, that constituted a divorce.” Later commentaries wonder why he thought this relevant to contemporary marital law as codified in the Bible and Talmud.
It seems clear that his goal is to clarify that the institution of marriage is not an invention of the Bible; rather, it is an essential component of the human condition. Man and woman discover each other and merge into their natural unit. They become “as one flesh” with the birth of a child, the fusion of their identities culminating in a new human life astonishingly incorporating the passion of each into an original life force.
As secularized as Hollywood has been from the first, marriage between a man and a woman is still its bread and butter. There may be a crude macho camaraderie in chuckling about sexuality, but the better angels in both men and women are touched by wedding scenes. Study Hollywood fare in any random year and you will be astonished to see how many films managed to work a full-dress wedding ceremony into the plot.
Producers know this to be a sure winner. The radiance, the innocence, the glow, the anticipation, the tenderness, the hopefulness, the sense of moment, the celebration of past and present and future, the opening of a door to unlimited possibility; all the noblest sentiments of humanity are gathered here in one place.
THIS IS A GREAT JUNCTURE in American history. Things have not been going well and we are being called to effect improvements. We have to make ourselves better to make our country better. A good place to start would be by rekindling our devotion to marriage.
The good people of North Carolina have heeded this call. They understood the crisis in their hearts and they came together to embrace this vision of beauty and symmetry. Marriage is a sacrament between a man and a woman — a truly simple yet eloquent concept.
Now is the time to recommit to this vision. Sadly, the forces of destruction are heading in the exact opposite direction. They want to revive the primitive rite of homosexual “marriage” practiced in ancient times. In fact, the Midrash teaches that this type of nuptials was common before the Flood.
The Talmud famously ponders the morality of the countries of its time and finally manages to detect only three virtues they held universally. 1. They did not practice cannibalism. 2. They did not give marriage licenses to homosexuals. 3. They show respect for the Bible. Are we down to just the first of these three?
But this is not the time to focus on knocking the other guys, many of whom are gentle folks who are just trying to be nice. Instead let us take strength from the fortitude of North Carolina. We must celebrate the fine people of that State and the spark which ignites their hearts.
Marriage is perhaps the most beautiful asset of our culture and I cannot bear to see it squandered by a coalition of the self-indulgent and the indulgent, the political and the polite, the pushy and the pushover.
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