July 30, 2010

Timely topic: Should religions intermarry?

The Washington Post

(Continued from page 1)

Debra W. Haffner, executive director, Religious Institute:

"Good marriages are based on responsibility, equality and love. ... It's not interfaith marriage, same-sex marriage or interracial marriage. It's just marriage."

David Gushee, professor of Christian ethics, Mercer University:

"Religious intermarriage, or one might say moral intermarriage (marriage to someone who fundamentally does not share one's moral values), can be deeply problematic."

David Wolpe, rabbi, Sinai Temple, Los Angeles:

"Religious traditions are complex, ramified cultures. They are not checklists. To adopt a tradition is to orient one's soul toward the universe. That is far easier to accomplish if both parents represent the same tradition."

Chester Gillis, Amaturo chair in Catholic studies, Georgetown University:

"Religion provides a rich dimension of commonality for couples and thus accords a legitimate priority when seeking a spouse. Shared dimensions lay the foundation for harmony in a marriage. Differences bring novelty and often expand the horizons of each partner, but they also present obstacles."

Albert Mohler, president, the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary:

"Statistics indicate that a growing number of Americans are marrying someone from outside their own religious commitments. Is this a trend we should encourage? Not if you are committed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. ...

"It is clear that theological differences really do matter. These belief systems develop into worldviews that do have real consequences. It is not primarily a matter of which holidays the family observes, but how the children are raised, how the major decisions of life are framed, how the priorities of the couple are aligned.

"The sociological evidence points in one clear direction -- toward the inherent instability of true mixed-faith marriages. Even among the more liberally minded, the tensions remain.

"For Christians, the issue is not settled by sociological data, however. In 2 Corinthians 6:14, the Apostle Paul commands that Christians must 'not be unequally yoked with unbelievers.' This command reaches far beyond marriage, but it certainly includes the covenant of marriage within its span. Paul's principle is clear: The Christian's commitment to Christ is determinative of his or her other commitments. A believer must not marry an unbeliever, for this violates the very logic of the Gospel and the believer's union with Christ."

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