Al Mohler on Marriage as a Civil Right

Dr. R. Albert Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, wrote in April about “same-sex marriage as a civil right — are wrongs rights?”  The article noted that activists decades ago made an intentional effort to move the discussion away from “homosexual sex,” which was considered impolite conversation at best, to “civil rights,” which many supported.

Mohler’s discussion is enlightening:

At this point Christians have to think very carefully. We do not want to deny anyone his or her civil rights. To do so would not only violate the Constitution but also deny the rights that are granted, not by the government, but by the Creator. But is same-sex marriage such a right?

Mohler’s answer: 

The answer to that question must be no…

While recognizing the complexity of issues related to sexual orientation, we cannot define a behavior as an intrinsic characteristic. On that basis, why not grant theft or other sinful behavior the same civil rights protection?

Mohler says that homosexuality is becoming not only “normalized” in American society, but actually protected.  Even making the same statement as Mohler did — questioning the moral difference between allowing same-gender protections but not protections for other conduct — has been called bigotry.  Even if one grants the presence of intrinsic characteristics, Mohler objects to the argument of intrinsic behavior — something also highlighted at the Witherspoon Institute.

The severe reaction has caused some to note with irony that sexuality has been pushed out of the closet in the post-DADT environment, but Christianity is being forced into the closet.

For example, following a spate of high-profile YouTube invitations to dances by military members, an apparently homosexual US Air Force Academy cadet invited Ellen Degeneres to her USAFA Ring Dance.  The AP and other news agencies routinely cover stories of the “non-event” of homosexuality in the military, while issues of controversy are either ignored or quickly forgotten.  When Christian ESPN commentator Chris Broussard noted a self-professed Christian athlete who “came out” as homosexual was living in unrepentant sin, he was demonized.  When homosexuals demanded Greg Laurie be banned from a National Day of Prayer event, no one defended his rights to hold views with which they might disagree — they preferred to have those disagreeable views silenced.


  • Priscilla Parker

    The point of whether same-sex copulation is ‘morally’ or biblically permissible is irrelevant when it comes to civil matters. This is not about who someone has sex with, it’s about the governments recognition of who can or cannot enter into a legal contract and with whom they can hold that agreement with. People in a genuine same-sex relationship are in it for more than just the sex part, at least the ones I know. Why shouldn’t it be seen as a civil right when the issue wasn’t simply confronting the stigma of homosexuality, especially in the 80’s with the outbreak of AIDS/HIV, but extending the same rights heterosexual couples are extended through government sanctioned partnerships/marriages?

    One of the main reasons I got involved in NC amendment one issues wasn’t so much because it would prohibit same-sex couples from being able to marry, that was already a law in the state. It was because the issue was aligned with same-sex marriage and it eliminated civil unions in the state, including heterosexual couples who maybe don’t want to fork out money to enter into a contract with the state as well as their partner. That WAS an imposition on a citizen’s civil and constitutional right of life, liberty and, most definitely, pursuit of happiness. In other words, if the religious can conflate the issue of marriage through correlating it with stereotypes of homosexuality, why can’t homosexual advocates do the same by claiming marriage as a civil right that they’re denied based off of the same stereotypes?

  • We don’t grant “theft” civil rights for a number of reasons. None of which are because it is considered sinful according to a particular religion. After all, many religions consider the worship of other deities to be sinful, and yet we allow those.
    The main reason we don’t grant a civil right to commit theft is because it harms the rights of other people to their own property. When you steal from me, I am harmed. I no longer have my XBox, or my car, or whatever. That is, considered by society, to be a denial of my rights. However, when it comes to consensual sexual activity, there is no harm to anyone else and so the same principle of protection of the rights of others is not applied.