Here is Dr. Mohler’s answer from his book We Cannot Be Silent. All punctuation and emphasis is his.
Attending a wedding ceremony always signals moral approval. This is why The Book of Common Prayer (which has provided the traditional ceremonial language known to millions of people throughout the centuries) contains the phrase that asks if anyone knows any cause that should prevent the marriage-“speak now; or else forever hold your peace.” These words reveal the historic function of the wedding ceremony as a gathering of celebrants who come together to grant moral approval to the union of two people in marriage. Attending a same-sex marriage ceremony is to grant a positive and public moral judgment to the union. At some point, that attendance will involve congratulating the couple for their union. There will be no way to claim moral neutrality when congratulating a couple upon their wedding. If you cannot congratulate the couple, how can you attend?
3 thoughts on “Should Christians Attend a Same-Sex Wedding?”
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I have found parishioners and family members faced with this very challenge – an invitation to attend a gay wedding ceremony. Sometimes, the gay couple – knowing the Christian convictions of the person involved – have invited them to the reception afterwards. My counsel has always been the same as Mohler's: Don't do it.
Likewise, I have always counseled my flock to decline an invitation to the remarriage of a person divorced from a spouse. Even if one were to give a nod to the Westminster “permissions,” an invitee would find himself invited to sit in judgment on the previous marriage (which our Lord says is still intact).
Sometime, you might explore the ethics of a Christian opposed to gay marriage when he is expected by other family members to be hospitable to, say, a gay couple, knowing that the bed and roof he offers will be deployed in sexual activity which he deplores.
…which leads me to believe there is a good reason to attend: to answer the question with Scripture. Imagine standing and saying, “I have a reason. God's Word says a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife. A man cannot marry a man.” Imagine that… But that would require fidelity to God over fidelity to our friends, and God would never require that…
Bill, I thought about the divorce issue as I wrote this. That is an interesting scenario and would depend upon one's view of divorce and knowledge of the situation. But I think the principle does apply. Your last paragraph has been harder for my parishioners. What level of hospitality do you show to gay family members and couples? I was not entirely happy with Mohler's answer to that question. He implied that hanging out with gay people is just like hanging out with other non-Christians. My thought was yes and no. In one sense they are sinners like the rest. But sodomy is destructive beyond many other sins (which Mohler acknowledges in another section). Therefore more caution is necessary.
Andrew, if that question was asked then that would certainly be an option. We could stand and publicly oppose the wedding. However, I have never been at a wedding where it was asked. In fact I have been to lots of weddings, but the only ones that use the BCP intro are the ones I do. In most scenarios that line will not be asked.