One thing I’ve noticed in recent months and years is Democratic politicians and the media praising Rep. Frank Wolf for being a…fill in the blank, constructive, reasonable, moderate, helpful, blah blah blah. In reality, of course, Wolf’s a right wingnut who’s been voting the Tea Party line for years, whether on economic, cultural, environmental, or other matters. Today, just to demonstrate his true character a few months before he sails off into retirement, Wolf took to the House floor to rant against the Presbyterian Church’s approval of gay marriages. Unlike most Americans, who approve of marriage equality, Frank Wolf thinks it’s heinous. Here’s what he had to say earlier today.
I rise today as a follower of Jesus and lifelong member of the Presbyterian Church USA who was deeply grieved by what transpired at last week’s gathering of the PCUSA’s General Assembly. I feel increasingly alienated from this rich faith tradition, which includes John Witherspoon, the only active clergyman to sign the Declaration of Independence, and submit for the Record a statement of protest by the Presbyterian Lay Committee Board of Directors which expresses a similar sentiment.
I will begin with marriage. After several years of internal discussion and debate the assembly voted overwhelmingly to take a position which runs counter to the counsel of Scripture, which defines marriage as divinely inspired joining of one man and one woman.
It has long been clear that our culture is in the throes of a seismic shift on this issue. While the current marriage debate has centered around the notion of same-sex unions, in reality there has been a decades’ long assault on marriage, such that what was once almost universally recognized as a God-ordained and created institution, the fundamental building block of any society and the nexus of procreation and child-rearing, has now been called into question both in the larger culture and increasingly in the legal framework which governs this land.
But perhaps most troubling is that increasingly this is happening within the church itself, which has historically served a bulwark against the cultural whims of the day.
In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus says, “Haven’t you read…that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore, what God has joined together let man not separate.”
This passage, and others like it, remind me of Reverend Billy Graham’s comment in the lead-up to the 2012 North Carolina ballot initiative regarding marriage, when he remarked, “The Bible is clear – God’s definition of marriage is between a man and a woman.”
All I can say to that is what I frequently say, which is that thankfully we don’t live in a theocracy, even if the Frank Wolfs, Ken Cuccinellis, EW Jacksons and others of their ilk would like us to do so.
Meanwhile, Wolf also had choice words for the Presbyterian Church on the issue of divestment from companies doing business with Israel in the West Bank. On this issue, while I strongly believe that the long-term interests of Israel require a two-state solution, I am basically with Wolf – although I’m sure for very different reasons – that the divestment campaign is not productive (probably counterproductive) and also highly selective (e.g., where’s the boycott/divestment campaign against dozens of other, far far far far worse countries in the world?!? why the obsessive focus on the “Jewish state?”). Also troubling, as Wolf says, “PCUSA’s deeply misguided decision comes against a backdrop of rising anti-Semitism in Europe, and even here in the United States.” It’s sad, too, because this has almost certainly damaged relations between the Presbyterian Church and the Jewish community, which heretofore have been very strong. Just not a good idea no matter how you look at it.