Catholic & Evangelical Leaders Unite In Statement Against Same-Sex Marriage

Via the National Catholic Register:

A coalition of Catholic and Protestant leaders has united to call all Christians to an unwavering defense of the truth of marriage, rooted in nature as well as faith. “We affirm strongly and without qualification, following the clear testimony of holy Scripture, that marriage is a unique and privileged sign of the union of Christ with his people and of God with his creation — and it can only serve as that sign when a man and a woman are solemnly joined together in a permanent union,” reads a joint statement between Catholic and Protestant leaders. “If we are to remain faithful to the Scriptures and to the unanimous testimony of Christian Tradition, there can be no compromise on marriage.” Nearly 20 Catholics and evangelical Protestants signed the statement, “The Two Shall Become One Flesh: Reclaiming Marriage.” Signatories represent the ecumenical coalition Evangelicals and Catholics Together (ECT), which is an initiative of the Institute on Religion and Public Life. The statement will debut in the March issue of First Things magazine.

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Signers of the statement include popular megachurch pastor Rick Warren and longtime gay marriage foe Maggie Gallagher, as well as prominent conservative Catholic intellectuals George Weigel and Robert George. Timothy George, a Southern Baptist and dean of Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School; Mark Galli, editor of the evangelical magazine Christianity Today; and J.I. Packer of Regent University also endorsed the statement. The signers say they “do not dispute the evident fact of hormonal and chromosomal irregularities, nor of different sexual attractions and desires.” But they say that in legitimating same-sex marriage, “a kind of alchemy is performed, not merely on the institution, but on human nature itself.” “We are today urged to embrace an abstract conception of human nature that ignores the reality of our bodies. Human beings are no longer to be understood as either male or female,” it says. The result, it says, will undermine society by eliminating any moral compass except that which the state declares to be the norm, to the exclusion of all others.

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“The Two Shall Become One Flesh: Reclaiming Marriage,” comes from the group Evangelicals and Catholics Together, a coalition formed in 1994 under the aegis of former Nixon aide Charles Colson, an evangelical, and the Rev. Richard John Neuhaus, a Catholic priest. One of their goals was to encourage the two Christian communities to overcome their historical suspicions and doctrinal differences in order to battle what they saw as a growing moral laxity in the U.S. Discussions on a document on same-sex marriage began in June 2013 — the same month the U.S. Supreme Court required the federal government to recognize same-sex marriages — according to Russell Reno, editor of First Things and a member of ECT; Reno provided a copy of the declaration to RNS. But Reno said the members first had to agree to set aside their differences on the legitimacy of divorce and contraception, for example, and even whether marriage is a sacrament.