Thursday, May 10, 2012

Matt 24 watch, 152: US Pres. Obama openly endorses homosexualisation -- thus, destruction (cf. post following*) -- of marriage; we are at watershed as a civilisation

The continental-divide watershed lines
of North America (courtesy Wiki)
The concept of a watershed is a classic idea from Geography. 

There is an imaginary line, where if two raindrops fall on two sides of it, no matter how close, they fall into different drainage basins, and so could end up in oceans a continent apart. 

(Of course, (a) while two "drops" on different sides of a civilisational divide are still fairly close together, if one is on the wrong side, it is not too late to step back to the right side. But (b) the key thing about a watershed is that it naturally forces drops on either side farther and farther apart. So, (c) time is of the essence if the polarisation that a divide imposes is to be reversed. That is, (d) there is a window of decision, and time is not your friend, when you are on the wrong side of a watershed. And, let us never forget, that those who promoted various divisive heresies, and those who failed to handle them well in good time, between about the fourth and the early seventh centuries created the deep alienation and disaffection of Egypt and Syria, that opened the way for external invasion by the armies of the Islamic Caliphate. A house divided will not in the end be able to stand.)

That is where our civilisation now stands, at a kairos -- a decisive moment and window of opportunity -- where our history will move in one of two ways beyond this point, for good or ill: either we become reconciled now, or soon from now the polarisation being injected into the body politic by the radicals pushing a destructively divisive agenda will create more and more alienation and irreconcilable differences. 

*And, what is at stake today is the destruction or survival of marriage, the foundational institution of stable families and communities alike. {U/D, May 12:} As Girgit, George and Anderson observe in the just linked Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy paper:
 [T]he current debate is precisely over whether it is possible for the kind of union that has marriage’s essential fea‐tures to exist between two people of the same sex. Revisionists do not propose leaving intact the historic definition of marriage and simply expanding the pool of people eligible to marry. Their goal is to abolish the conjugal conception of marriage in our law 10 and replace it with the revisionist [--> i.e. homosexualised] conception . . .
F/N 10: Throughout history, no society’s laws have explicitly forbidden gay mar‐riage. They have not explicitly forbidden it because, until recently, it has not been thought possible . . . [T]raditional marriage laws  were not devised to oppress those with same‐sex attractions. The comparison [to racist anti-miscegenation laws that forbade inter-racial marriages]  is offensive, and puzzling to many—not least to the nearly two‐thirds of black vot‐ers who voted to uphold conjugal marriage under California Proposition Eight. See Cara Mia DiMassa & Jessica Garrison, Why Gays, Blacks are Divided on Prop. 8, L.A. TIMES, Nov. 8, 2008, at A1.
 [Sherif Girgis, Robert P. George, & Ryan T. Anderson, "What is Marriage?" Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, Vol 34, No. 1, p. 250 of 245 - 287.]

Already, the force of the homosexualist civilisational divide is at work, driving people on opposite sides of the issue farther and farther apart, and creating the perception that those who stand up in defence of marriage as it has historically been established are little better than hateful, racist bigots.

Which, is obscenely slanderous, but is increasingly routine.

Indeed, this smear- and- demonise strategy is not calculated to foster dialogue and build a new consensus, but to shut it down, and to intimidate objectors to the homosexualisation of marriage -- thus the destruction of its essential character. Then, eventually it is intended to crack down on those who insist on objecting, under the colours -- but not the true substance -- of law.  Which, in some jurisdictions, has already begun.

The polarising divide has begun.

So, I am of the view that time is short, and we need to step back from the brink of a division being injected into our civilisation on the core nature of family that once it goes far enough cannot be healed and will do great harm.  Harm, that zealous advocates of "fairness" and "rights" and even "progress" as they imagine them may not even fully understand. 

For instance, a claim to a right is in the end a moral claim that calls for respecting something inherent to our being made in God's image. 

So, rights are not to be equated with political entitlements, and one cannot properly demand a "right" in defiance of the creation order established by God; here, that we are made in two complementary sexes, so that committed marriage is the foundation of family, stable child rearing and a stable community. There is and can be no right to destroy the foundation of a viable society by arbitrarily abusing political power or media and/or academic influence to mislead the public, and backing it up with the organs of state power. That is, there is no such thing as a right to do evil based on falsehoods and then demand approval of evil by force of law. 

That, is injustice -- just as was the notion that one man could steal and trade another, selling him or her to a "master" who then had the power backed up by state power to do anything he pleased with his slave. 

But, once slavery and the evil trade that fed it were deeply entrenched in the halls of power, it cost our civilisation a terrible fight, with much bloodshed involved, to root it out.

And yes, the evil that is now upon us, homosexualisation of marriage and family -- thus, of community, education and law -- in defiance of the patent creation order, is the full moral equivalent of slavery. For, if successful, it will impose an iron tyranny on the conscience; never mind cheap promises to protect sensibilities for the moment. After all, we are already seeing just how clearly ruthless radical factions will forever be demanding more, more and more until they get their way regardless of who else they must trample upon to get what they want. 

Rights, to such, are simply the rewards of power.

In short, we are back to the problem of nihilism: might (and manipulation) make "right" and "rights."

In turn, this points to the root problem in our civilisation, as has been warned against ever since Plato in The Laws, Bk X, c. 360 BC; speaking in the voice of The Athenian Stranger:
 [The avant garde philosophers, teachers and artists c. 400 BC say that] The elements are severally moved by chance and some inherent force according to certain affinities among them-of hot with cold, or of dry with moist, or of soft with hard, and according to all the other accidental admixtures of opposites which have been formed by necessity. After this fashion and in this manner the whole heaven has been created, and all that is in the heaven, as well as animals and all plants, and all the seasons come from these elements, not by the action of mind, as they say, or of any God, or from art, but as I was saying, by nature and chance only . . . . 
[[T]hese people would say that the Gods exist not by nature, but by art, and by the laws of states, which are different in different places, according to the agreement of those who make them; and that the honourable is one thing by nature and another thing by law, and that the principles of justice have no existence at all in nature, but that mankind are always disputing about them and altering them; and that the alterations which are made by art and by law have no basis in nature, but are of authority for the moment and at the time at which they are made.- [[Relativism, too, is not new; complete with its radical amorality rooted in a worldview that has no foundational IS that can ground OUGHT. (Cf. here for Locke's views and sources on a very different base for grounding liberty as opposed to license and resulting anarchistic "every man does what is right in his own eyes" chaos leading to tyranny.)] These, my friends, are the sayings of wise men, poets and prose writers, which find a way into the minds of youth. They are told by them that the highest right is might [[ Evolutionary materialism leads to the promotion of amorality], and in this way the young fall into impieties, under the idea that the Gods are not such as the law bids them imagine; and hence arise factions [[Evolutionary materialism-motivated amorality "naturally" leads to continual contentions and power struggles; cf. dramatisation here],  these philosophers inviting them to lead a true life according to nature, that is, to live in real dominion over others [[such amoral factions, if they gain power, "naturally" tend towards ruthless tyranny; here, too, Plato hints at the career of Alcibiades], and not in legal subjection to them . . .

 If you doubt me on this, hear also professor of the history of biology, William Provine of Cornell,  in the now notorious University of Tennessee Darwin Day keynote address of 1998:
Naturalistic evolution has clear consequences that Charles Darwin understood perfectly. 1) No gods worth having exist; 2) no life after death exists; 3) no ultimate foundation for ethics exists; 4) no ultimate meaning in life exists; and 5) human free will is nonexistent . . .

However, if there is no objective foundation for ethics, and human free will is non-existent, morality is just a name we have for the conventions imposed on society by the manipulative and powerful. 

Ironically, this also means that there is no foundation for trusting claims and alleged processes of knowledge, reason and logic. 

For these , too, would be produced by accidents of nature, the determinism of our genes and the manipulations of whatever social- or psychological conditioning have influenced us to date. 

That is, the very foundation for science has been undercut. 

Evolutionary materialism -- the institutionally dominant school of thought in our day --   is self-refuting, intellectually and morally bankrupt, and thus destructively absurd. (Cf discussion here on.)

Unfortunately, that does not prevent it from being unduly influential, prestigious and powerful.

Especially when it comes to "pushing" the breakdown of the moral consensus of our civilisation at the points where the radicals want to have their own way.

Yes, the erosion of the moral fabric of our society traces to the imposition of evolutionary materialism in the name -- and under the false colours of  --"science." Between it and the various accommodations some have unwisely made, the doorway has been opened to the sort of destructive nihilistic factions Plato warned against. 

Yet again.

It should be clear, then, why I fear that that terrible dynamic of the polarising watershed is what lurks -- perhaps unconsciously -- underneath the following announcement made yesterday by US Pres Obama, in an interview with ABC News' Robin Roberts. 

According to an ABC News report:
[T]he president described his thought process as an "evolution" that led him to this decision, based on conversations with his staff members, openly gay and lesbian service members, and his wife and daughters."I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors, when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together; when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that 'don't ask, don't tell' is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I've just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married . . . " [ABC News Blogs, "President Obama Affirms His Support for Same Sex Marriage," acc. May 10, 2012.]
As is usual with politicians like this, we are hearing here half or less of the story and we have to parse rather carefully. For instance, notice, he does not speak about now concluding that marriage should be homosexualised, but affirming, i.e. saying publicly. 

Similarly -- contrary to the spin that US VP Biden got "a little bit over his skis" but "all's well that ends well . . . " -- it is probably no accident that Biden reportedly spoke along similar lines recently, and it is patently no accident that the announcement comes on the eve of a proposed fund raising trip to notoriously post-Christian and largely anti-Christian "liberal" Hollywood.

Likewise, we should note the implication of "members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together."  It should be quite clear from reading between the lines that Mr Obama has long immersed himself in the ideology of the homosexualist activist sub-culture. 

(He of course does not mention the statistics that show that homosexual unions are notoriously unstable and -- even when presented as "monogamous" and "committed" -- are not generally "faithful," to the point that the phenomenon is clearly disparate from the sorts of commitments that Marriage has historically called for and relied on to provide stability to society. But then, marriage itself has long been under erosion, with easy and all too prevalent divorce, a flood tide of porn, a culture that denigrates or dismisses chastity, and so forth.)

When, therefore, we see Mr Obama wrapping a decision that implies the improper criminalisation of Biblical Christianity (if you doubt me, just keep reading . . . ) in the flag of patriotism and fairness to members of the US Military etc., this is obviously little more than polarising talking points meant to paint those who dare to differ in ugly, stereotypical colours, the better to scapegoat. 

The polarising divide at work.

So, should the law now be perverted to pretend that marriage -- a key aspect of creation order for humanity (as the very complementarity of the sexes testifies) --  can be extended by human fiat to same sex unions, that will be what is taught in school, and what will be enforced by the police, by force of law. If you disagree, you will be deemed the moral equivalent of a racist bigot, and subjected to criminal prosecution. Indeed, eventually, you will be seen as a scapegoat for social ills.

The polarising divide at work, a little farther on.

For relevant instance, a news report on the US House of Representatives Armed Services Committee notes that it has just issued some votes on the subject of homosexuals in the military and comments on the US President's action:
Republicans still angry with the end to the "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays in the military [which was itself opposed when it was first pushed through some 20 years ago, and now looks to have been the thin edge of a wedge] pressed two measures.

"The president has repealed 'don't ask, don't tell' and is using the military as props to promote his gay agenda," said Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., who is running for Senate.
The committee, on a vote of 37-24, backed an amendment that barred same-sex marriages or "marriage-like" ceremonies on military installations. The panel also endorsed an Akin amendment that said the services should accommodate the rights of conscience of members of the services and chaplains who are morally or religiously opposed to expressions of human sexuality.
But in retort, Rep. Adam Smith of Washington state, the top Democrat on the committee, said: 
"Members of this committee are looking to turn back the clock and find new ways to discriminate against gay and lesbian service members . . . These men and women serve with honor and distinction and this amendment sends a message that their service is not valued."
Now, in fact, to say that marriage, the foundational social institution should not be trifled with is not at all the same as to say that people who have served in the military are not valued.

But, the plain demand is that such behaviour be given the seal of approval, or else.

That is what is at stake.

And, yes, Bible-believing Christians are going to stand up on this one and say: "we must obey God rather than men" [Ac 5:29], regardless of consequences before whatever august Council that may decide to usurp the power to judge consciences. (And of course, that ugly issue will be twisted about to blame the victims of the persecution: fanatical bigots, wanting to turn the clock back, hating those who are different from themselves, etc etc. Sadly, we have been down this sad and dangerous road to persecution before, and Stephen has had many who have followed in his shoes.  Worse, even this will be twisted in hostile minds to say that there is a stubbornly hostile and probably insane persecution complex here; why can't you just go along with what some shiny new Antiochus Epiphanes wants . . . )

Yes, that is what is at stake.

That is why evangelist Franklyn Graham stated, in response to Mr Obama:
“President Obama has, in my view, shaken his fist at the same God who created and defined marriage. It grieves me that our president would now affirm same-sex marriage, though I believe it grieves God even more,” Graham said in a statement.

“This is a sad day for America. May God help us . . . ”
  [NB: in related news, North Carolina became the 31st US State to pass a law, here, a state constitutional amendment, "that defines marriage between a man and woman as the only legal union," it seems by a 3:2 margin. Another report shows that blacks voted for the Amendment, 2:1; but a national poll shows a shift from 67% to 49% of American blacks opposed to homosexualisation of marriage in the four years since 2008.]
ad more here:"
In a related development in the UK:
The government of Wales is moving against Catholic schools that are organizing students to protest a new government plan to back gay marriage in that country.

students at the Catholic schools were recently invited by their teachers to sign a petition against the government’s plans to legalize gay marriage. That drew the ire of some Welsh politicians.

And government ministers in Britain are "looking into” whether or not to issue a similar warning to schools in England,
reports The Telegraph newspaper of London.

An estimated 600,000 people so far have signed the Coalition For Marriage's  campaign petition backing traditional marriage, a document supported by major United Kingdom religious figures like Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury . . . .

[H]umanist politicians accused Catholic schools of “political indoctrination” by promoting the campaign among schoolchildren. The government in Wales also is looking into whether the schools could be breaking equality and political impartiality laws.  (NB: The report shows that other politicians are trying to smoothen ruffled feathers, but we are clearly seeing civil rights law being used as a club to threaten those who object to a pretty radical agenda.)
 In short, this issue is clearly a point of no return.  For our civilisation.

Nor, should it be any surprise that -- bearing in mind the leading role of the United States in the world -- our civilisation is here at this terrible watershed today. 

For, all along, Mr Obama was plainly putting an attractive black face on some rather radical secularist and neo-pagan policies. 

In this context, it is now increasingly clear that when in 2008 he chose the term "civil union," he did so as a word that would be easier for many to swallow in the meanwhile, until the agenda had enough momentum for the wedge to be driven all the way through. 

If you doubt me on this assessment, in this blog, in this same series, the Mt 24 watch no 50 warned on March 10, 2008 as follows:


A week ago, in answer to a question from a Pastor in his audience at a town-hall meeting held in Ohio on Sunday March 2nd, Senator Obama has evidently said:
"People who are gay and lesbian should be treated with dignity and respect and the state should not discriminate against them . . . I don’t think it [a same-sex union] should be called marriage, but I think that it is a legal right that they should have that is recognized by the state…. If people find that controversial then I would just refer them to the Sermon on the Mount, which I think is, in my mind, for my faith, more central than an obscure passage in Romans."
There are several points of concern in the above, and his campaign website's open letter to the "LGBT community" underscores many of them; for it shows that the above is no off-the cuff, impromptu, ill-considered remark but instead it is a calculated part of his political agenda:

. . . I’m running for President to build an America that lives up to our founding promise of equality for all – a promise that extends to our gay brothers and sisters. It’s wrong to have millions of Americans living as second-class citizens in this nation . . . Equality is a moral imperative. . . . as president, I will place the weight of my administration behind the enactment of the Matthew Shepard Act to outlaw hate crimes and a fully inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act to outlaw workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

As your President, I will use the bully pulpit to urge states to treat same-sex couples with full equality in their family and adoption laws. I personally believe that civil unions represent the best way to secure that equal treatment. But I also believe that the federal government should not stand in the way of states that want to decide on their own how best to pursue equality for gay and lesbian couples — whether that means a domestic partnership, a civil union, or a civil marriage. Unlike Senator Clinton, I support the complete repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) – a position I have held since before arriving in the U.S. Senate. While some say we should repeal only part of the law, I believe we should get rid of that statute altogether. Federal law should not discriminate in any way against gay and lesbian couples, which is precisely what DOMA does . . . I have worked to improve the Uniting American Families Act so we can afford same-sex couples the same rights and obligations as married couples in our immigration system.
The most obvious problem with Sen Obama's position as stated, is that equality of persons made in the image of God, for excellent reason, does not equate to moral equality of the ideas and behaviours of those persons.

For, as Greg Koukl so aptly points out in his essay on knowledge, truth right and wrong, we should indeed tolerate and respect persons, but we must be discerning in our evaluation of ideas and behaviours, as there are ideas and behaviours that are self- and/or socially destructive. That is, wrong, or even evil.

In short, unchecked error is destructive, and indeed, following Kant's logic on the Categorical Imperative, that is one way that we can discern errors of truth and moral behaviour. Namely, error is destructive so if it propagates across a community it would result in chaos.

Thus, we can identify evils by asking what would happen if a society were to allow that propagation to occur? If chaos would result, the behaviour is evil. [Try it with classical behaviours such as lying, cheating, stealing, murder, marital infidelity, etc. on one hand, and truthfulness, integrity, respect, love, kindness, marital fidelity, courage, etc. on the other.]

Further to this, some forms of immoral behaviour are sufficiently destructive that the Judaeo-Christian tradition, for very good reason, has long since seen such behaviours as injustice or crime to be curbed by the Civil Authorities acting as God's servants to do us good:

RO 13:1 Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established . . . . 4 For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience .

RO 13:6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor . . . .

RO 13:8 . . . he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments, "Do not commit adultery," "Do not murder," "Do not steal," "Do not covet," and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: "Love your neighbor as yourself." 10 Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
Oops, I "forget"!

This is all from "
an obscure passage in Romans" that can be safely dismissed as we pick and choose what biblical texts we want to use.

So "obscure" a passage that it is the (now too often unacknowledged) theological foundation behind the rise of modern liberty and publicly accountable democratic self-government of and by a free people over the past 500 years since the Protestant Reformation. For, if all civil authorities are God's servants to do us good, then if one turns tyrant, lower magistrates have a duty to act jointly with the people to defend the community from the destructive behaviour of the ruler gone bad.

For instance, as we may directly read in the opening paragraphs of the foundational US Declaration of Independence of 1776:

When . . . it becomes necessary for one people . . . to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, [cf Rom 1:18 - 21, 2:14 - 15], that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security . . . .
In short, we are made in God's image and as image bearers of God, we have rights to be respected under God. Governments, through their mandate to do justice, are in part ordained to protect such rights. So, when rulers sufficiently violate these rights they may forfeit the mandate to rule under God, and lower magistrates may properly act with the people and interpose themselves between the tyrant and those whom he would destroy. (Thank God, the institutionalisation of the free, responsible, watchdog press and the democratic, regular General Election --over the past hundred to two hundred years [and largely due to the success of the American Revolution] -- now allows us to do this peacefully. However, we must not ever forget that, proverbially, eternal vigilance is the price of freedom.)

One would imagine that a Constitutional Lawyer would know such elementary points. But, so far has radical secularism advanced in the United States, that basic, easily demonstrated facts that do not sit easily with the secularist, de-Christianising agenda are often obscured by many tortured twistings of history and historical, legal or -- more to our most direct concern -- Scriptural texts in service to the accelerating de-Christianisation of Western culture.

This brings us to my principal concern, addressing the agenda-serving, sad wrenching of the scriptures in Sen Obama's remarks:

1] "I would refer them to the Sermon on the Mount":

A sermon that in material part reads:

MT 5:17 "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them . . . 19 Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven . . . . 7:12 . . . in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
In short, Jesus' teachings must NOT be read as casting one part of Scripture against another, but as an integral, unifying part of the whole. Indeed, explicitly, Jesus' remark on doing to others as one would be done by in the context of God's Moral Law is EXPLICITLY a summary of the law, not its replacement. And, as Paul remarks in Rom 13:8 - 10, as already cited, the point of neighbour love is that it does no harm, so it fulfills the law. (Rom 2:14 - 16 amplifies that this principle is written on the hearts of all men by God, which is the reason why the Golden Rule in various forms, can be found written in the tablets of our hearts; from earliest childhood.)

Or, in other words, if a pattern of behaviour is harmful to the individual and/or the community, it is wrong. And, relativistic refusal to discern good from bad behaviours and treat them accordingly is plainly destructive.

Indeed, here is Isaiah on the folly of such relativism:

ISA 5:18 Woe to those who draw sin along with cords of deceit,
and wickedness as with cart ropes . . . .

ISA 5:20 Woe to those who call evil good
and good evil,
who put darkness for light
and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
and sweet for bitter.

ISA 5:21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes
and clever in their own sight.
The wanton destruction of marriage in the name of "fairness" and "equality" is precisely an example of this evil.

2] The destruction of Marriage:

Marriage is protected by the proscription on adultery, which in Jesus' words a few chapters later in the same Gospel of Matthew in which we find the Sermon on the Mount, encompasses thought and behaviour that would wrench apart what God has joined:

MT 19:3 Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?"

MT 19:4 "Haven't you read," he replied, "that at the beginning the Creator `made them male and female,' 5 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' ? 6 So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate."

MT 19:7 "Why then," they asked, "did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?"

MT 19:8 Jesus replied, "Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. 9 I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery."
Observe carefully: in Jesus' teaching, marriage is an integral part of God's creation order, the context for committed union between man and woman in which children are born and are to be raised up to follow in the path of right.

In that context, the divorce-remarriage game is viewed as fundamentally destructive and only allowed -- note Jesus' change of language from "command" to "permitted" -- for the hardness of men's hearts. In other words, divorce was allowed only as the lesser of evils. So, he underscored the principle: "what God has joined together, let man not separate."

3] How is this relevant to "same sex marriage," so-called [or its near-equivalent "civil unions"]?

A closer look at Jesus' words will help:

Q: Just what what did God "join"?

A: " . . . 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' . . ."
In short, marriage -- reflecting the naturally obvious creation order and purpose of the two sexes -- is between man and woman, not between man and man, or woman and woman. If divorce and remarriage is destructive, how much more so is such a homosexual distortion of the creation order?

But, through the teachings of the Apostle to the nations -- so appointed by the Risen Lord [Ac 9] and so recognised by the other Apostles [Ac 15, 2 Peter 3:15 - 18] -- in his most important, well-known and definitive Epistle, in its very opening arguments, we are not left to speculate:

4] "an obscure passage in Romans . . ."

Romans 1, pace Senator Obama, is neither little known nor hard to understand.

Indeed, it is foundational to the most structured presentation of the theological substance of the Gospel in the entire Bible:

RO 1:16 I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes . . . 17 For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith."

RO 1:18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

RO 1:21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.

RO 1:24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator--who is forever praised. Amen.

RO 1:26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.

RO 1:28 Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
This is plain enough: when men in their rebellion suppress the truth and the right, professing themselves to be wise, they become fools instead, refusing to acknowledge the testimony of nature without and mind and conscience within that we are the Creatures of a loving God and Father. In the old days that led to idols in temples and associated legends. Today, we have images made to look like men, birds, beasts and reptiles in museums, school textbooks and the popular media, and are invited to accept the absurdities of evolutionary materialism, which inter alia undercuts the very foundation-stones of reason and morality:
[evolutionary] materialism [a worldview that often likes to wear the mantle of "science"] . . . argues that the cosmos is the product of chance interactions of matter and energy, within the constraint of the laws of nature. Therefore, all phenomena in the universe, without residue, are determined by the working of purposeless laws acting on material objects, under the direct or indirect control of chance.
But human thought, clearly a phenomenon in the universe, must now fit into this picture. Thus, what we subjectively experience as "thoughts" and "conclusions" can only be understood materialistically as unintended by-products of the natural forces which cause and control the electro-chemical events going on in neural networks in our brains. (These forces are viewed as ultimately physical, but are taken to be partly mediated through a complex pattern of genetic inheritance and psycho-social conditioning, within the framework of human culture.) 
Therefore, if materialism is true, the "thoughts" we have and the "conclusions" we reach, without residue, are produced and controlled by forces that are irrelevant to purpose, truth, or validity. Of course, the conclusions of such arguments may still happen to be true, by lucky coincidence — but we have no rational grounds for relying on the “reasoning” that has led us to feel that we have “proved” them . . .Thus, evolutionary materialism reduces reason itself to the status of illusion. But, immediately, that includes “Materialism.” For instance, Marxists commonly deride opponents for their “bourgeois class conditioning” — but what of the effect of their own class origins? Freudians frequently dismiss qualms about their loosening of moral restraints by alluding to the impact of strict potty training on their “up-tight” critics — but doesn’t this cut both ways? And, should we not simply ask a Behaviourist whether s/he is simply another operantly conditioned rat trapped in the cosmic maze?In the end, materialism is based on self-defeating logic . . . .In Law, Government, and Public Policy, the same bitter seed has shot up the idea that "Right" and "Wrong" are simply arbitrary social conventions. This has often led to the adoption of hypocritical, inconsistent, futile and self-destructive public policies. 
"Truth is dead," so Education has become a power struggle; the victors have the right to propagandise the next generation as they please. Media power games simply extend this cynical manipulation from the school and the campus to the street, the office, the factory, the church and the home.Further, since family structures and rules of sexual morality are "simply accidents of history," one is free to force society to redefine family values and principles of sexual morality to suit one's preferences.Finally, life itself is meaningless and valueless, so the weak, sick, defenceless and undesirable — for whatever reason — can simply be slaughtered, whether in the womb, in the hospital, or in the death camp. 
In short, ideas sprout roots, shoot up into all aspects of life, and have consequences in the real world . .
If we accept such Creator-rejecting absurdities, whether in the guise of ancient paganism or modern evolutionary materialism, we become benumbed and en-darkened in heart and mind, so that our passions twist out of control, most notably our sexual ones, even twisting out of God's obvious creation order into various perversions.

This is personally and socially destructive -- which is massively documented [homosexuality takes literally decades off one's life expectancy and the associated agendas are plainly destructive to the community] -- and leads to the demand that such destructive behaviours not only be "tolerated" but that they must be APPROVED.
Sadly, with Senator Obama, that is where we have now arrived in American politics. And, if his proposed policy prevails, those who object on Biblical grounds will be targetted for persecution as intolerant bigots who would impose a religious tyranny on the latest legally protected group, homosexuals. (This has already begun to happen in Europe and Canada, so this is not empty speculation.)

Therefore, we must reflect soberly on the Apostle Peter's closing remarks in his last Epistle, written shortly before his martyrdom:

2 Pet 3:15 Bear in mind that our Lord's patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. 16 He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.

2PE 3:17 Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever!
Let us beware, then, of such scripture twisting, whether in the ever-tempting guise of political messianism, or in the name of "equality" or "tolerance" or any other persuasive excuse.>>

Yes, we were warned all along out of Mr Obama's own mouth, if we were inclined to heed it. 

Yes, we now stand on the threshold of the fulfillment of Mr Obama's promises to the radical homosexualist agenda and its fellow travellers; who plainly are major funding sources for his campaign.

So, yes again: today, we stand at the threshold of the unwarranted, agenda-driven and unjust criminalisation of Biblical Christian faith, in order to demand our approval of that which God -- from Creation on -- has not joined together, and that which he has plainly termed abomination.

Now, of course, we must distinguish the radicals who have polarising and patently destructive agendas they want to push, from ordinary people who may have or struggle with same-sex sexual attractions. In particular, let us cite the clear counsel of the New Testament on what is to be done about such, with particular emphasis on the way that God's grace offers rescue and renewal:
1 Cor 6:Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
That is, a Gospel-based version of the Alcoholics Anonymous Twelve Step addiction/habituation recovery programme, works for the various life-dominating disordered sinful behaviours; once one is in an understanding and supportive environment and is determined to see it through. Has worked for 2,000 years with many success cases. 

Indeed, despite attempts to deride or dismiss or denigrate and demonise, it continues to work today. (That is not to say, it is easy to get off the hook -- it is in the end much easier not to nibble than to try desperately to throw the hook while being reeled in -- but, that, it can be done, if we genuinely turn back and persist in the path of recovery.)

And, since many are confused on the science, believing that "my genes made me do it," it would be wise to read the online book compiled here -- do, read the summary and the introductory chapter at the very least -- and ponder on what the science actually tells us.

Then, let us ponder long and hard on the watershed our civilisation now stands at, and the consequences -- not just short-term, but long-term -- of stepping to the side that has taken it upon itself to try to "redefine" marriage. END

F/N, May 11: Further reading, courtesy Manhattan Declaration:

Below is a list of ten articles and videos on the subject of marriage. Take an hour to skim them. Don’t try to memorize the data or recite the arguments verbatim; rather, reflect on them. Allow your mind to absorb the broad principles. As the national conversation on this topic reaches a fever pitch in the next few days, you will be primed as a witness to the truth.

One final thought: this is not a war to be won in the blogosphere or on Facebook. We are teachers, co-workers, family members, and friends in relationship with those who have yet to see. Be gracious, be patient, and be kind.

 Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven. (Matthew 5:11)

What is Marriage?
by Sherif Girgis, Robert George, and Ryan T. Anderson

Why I'm Optimistic About Natural Marriage
by Andrew Walker

Why Is Marriage Important? (video)
by John Piper

Who Needs Marriage?
by Chuck Colson

Marriage in Society: The Generation Clash (pps. 47-57)
by Matthew Lee Anderson

What Would Bonhoeffer Do?
by Eric Metaxas

Dennis Prager Debates Perez Hilton on Same-Sex Marriage (Warning: YouTube contains objectionable content)

Religion, Reason, and Same-Sex Marriage
by Matthew J. Franck

A Marriage in Full
by Gary A. Anderson

On Marriage and the Moral Limits of Human Sexuality
by Metropolitan Jonah