Thursday, December 29, 2011

Marriage, morality, and politics

From time to time a candidate’s marital history comes up in presidential campaigns. I’ll just make a few quick observations:

i) A long and successful marriage takes a lot of dedication. That’s to be commended.

However, it’s easy to judge things superficially.

ii) A man can be married to the same woman all his life, but have extramarital affairs (or vice versa).

iii) A man can be married to the same woman all his life, and be nominally faithful, yet he’s really married to his job. A number of men are ambitious, career-driven workaholics who are absentee husbands and fathers. (The same holds true for some women.) That’s a type of desertion.

iv) In a fallen world, we sometimes see the paradoxical spectacle of men and women who are passionately devoted to each other even though they are faithless. Richard Burton and Liz Taylor come to mind.

v) A couple can be devoted to each other, but still be rotten to the core. Bonnie and Clyde were inseparable, yet they wouldn’t be my first pick for President and First Lady. Hitler and Eva Braun also come to mind.

vi) In biblical ethics, premarital sex is sinful as well as extramarital sex.

vii) The liberal media touts the Hallmark image of devoted homosexual “couples.” That’s largely illusory. But suppose a homosexual “couple” were faithful to each other or monogamous. Although fidelity is a virtue, fidelity in a perverted relationship is a vice. 


  1. Good thoughts. I was reading tonight where King David had three wives. I guess this would be cultural-biblical.

    His thrid wife was Abigail; Nabal's wife. Nabal died in our Lord's sovereign will, and so she was a widow.

  2. Good points. But how does that play out in voting for someone if we are not privy to those sins that are easier to hide? I am not challenging, I am just asking how that looks in practice? Is it just a warning to us not to let those public sins be a show-stopper since other candidates maybe swapping those sins for ones that are easier to hide?

  3. Point iii, or a variation of the same, reminds me of John Loftus using the excuse that his wife "lacked passion" and thus had already left the marriage.

    His excuse, of course, is no better than the ones you give.

  4. Richard Burton and Liz Taylor come to mind

    Wow, you are old.

  5. This is interesting news. Only 55% of 18-29 year olds have jobs.

  6. "In biblical ethics, premarital sex is sinful as well as extramarital sex."

    Is common law marriage a licit option?


    "Is common law marriage a licit option?"


  8. Suppose you are a leader in a church and there is a ceremonially unmarried couple that attends. Suppose they have been together for 4-5 years and for all practical purposes appear to be committed to one another. They may or may not have any children together. They are reportedly content with the present arrangement and have no interest in getting married. Would you confront them about it? If so, how would you do it? What would you say?

  9. It sounds like this "ceremonially unmarried couple" needs the gospel first and foremost.

    Moreover, D.A. Carson has some relevant thoughts here.

  10. Carson also has advice about how pastors should approach counseling in general.