Some time after his death, an editor was going through the papers and books in J. R. R. Tolkien’s library when he came across an old copy of C. S. Lewis’s pamphlet “Christian Behavior,” which would later be re-published as one section in Lewis’s classic Mere Christianity. Folded inside the book was a letter Tolkien had written but apparently never sent to his long-time friend and fellow Oxford don. In it, Tolkien took issue with Lewis’s treatment of divorce in the pamphlet.

Briefly, Lewis argued for the creation of two separate marriage institutions within the United Kingdom. The former, church marriage, would be handled by the Church of England and defined by Christian conception of marriage while the latter, civil marriage, would be overseen by the state and would be governed by the moral norms in favor with British society. Through this, Lewis thought, British Christians could preserve Christian ideas of marriage, including the prohibition against divorce, while honoring civil laws that were far more permissive regarding divorce.

Tolkien objected strongly to the idea and wrote an aggressive letter to his friend saying so. “No item of Christian morality,” Tolkien said, “is valid only for Christians.”

In other words, Christian morality is human morality because Christianity is a true account of reality, including the human person. You can’t create bifurcations between a kind of privatized religious morality and the real public morality that governs our common life together. Tolkien continued,

The foundation is that (Christian morality) is the correct way of “running the human machine.” Your argument reduces it merely to a way of (perhaps?) getting extra mileage out of a few selected machines.

The horror of the Christians with whom you disagree (the great majority of all practicing Christians) at legal divorce is in the ultimate analysis precisely that: horror at seeing good machines ruined by misuse…. Toleration of divorce — if a Christian does tolerate it — is toleration of a human abuse, which it requires special local and temporary circumstances to justify (as does the toleration of usury) — if indeed either divorce or genuine usury should be tolerated at all, as a matter of expedient policy.

To be sure, sins and crimes are separate things. There are any number of sins that oughtn’t be made illegal and punishable by the government. But Tolkien here is not arguing for sectarianism or theocracy.

He is merely insisting that we flirt with disaster when we presuppose that the moral law and our nation’s civil laws have (basically) nothing to do with one another. If you can change civil laws in ways that make them explicitly contrary to God’s moral law, Tolkien thinks, you’re headed for trouble.

If this debate sounds familiar, there’s a reason for that: It closely mirrors the debate that has happened in recent weeks between David French, Carl Trueman, and Al Mohler regarding the Respect for Marriage Act (RFMA).

In short, French sounds strikingly like Andrew Sullivan these days, supporting a conservatism defined far more by its Burkean deference to custom and to a gradualist political method than by specific, positively stated moral content.

Trueman, meanwhile, thinks French is indicative of a shift in conservative Protestantism which he attributes to “evangelical elites,” and Mohler thinks French is a cautionary tale for political conservatives. All of them, I think, are focusing their attention on the wrong problems. Before getting to that, let’s deal directly with the Respect for Marriage Act. Then we can consider the more interesting questions lingering around the edges of this debate.

Essentially, the way we should approach the RFMA is this: There is a good prudential case for supporting it. If the choice put before us is the RFMA or the Equality Act, the RFMA is obviously preferable as it at least pretends to care about religious liberty and has some language included in it that may genuinely provide protection to religious conservatives. In the possible event that the contemporary SOGI regime is here to stay, we should take what protections we can get now. This is my friend Matt Anderson’s prudential argument for supporting it and I think it is a compelling case. (Tim Schultz has written a similar argument.)

There is also a good prudential case against it: The religious liberty language is extremely weak — Mark Joseph Stern makes this point in a recent piece — and the bill gives up an enormous amount from a social conservative perspective in exchange for very little. That, of course, has been the social conservative style for time untold.

As long as we’re reasoning on the grounds of what is prudentially best in this moment for our particular nation, I think a number of possible approaches are admissible and none should be cause for division or for Christian discord.

Where the problem arises, I think, is that most of the argument so far isn’t really about prudential political reasoning amidst challenging circumstance, but is instead a debate hopelessly constrained and conditioned by the culture war, such that the interesting questions get backgrounded while boring disputes largely propelled by personality are foregrounded.

For Mohler, there isn’t really a prudential case here at all. The RFMA must be categorically rejected, full stop, and anyone who says otherwise is clearly just a woke, weak, compromised fraud. There is no attempt to reason, no attempt to consider prudential questions that should obviously arise given the church’s weakened position in American life. There is only Mohler’s characteristically vain declamations.

Also, contra Trueman, the problem isn’t “evangelical elites.” If the past several years have shown us anything, it is that most of these “elites” have quite limited influence with many self-identified evangelicals. One also begins to wonder at what point a chaired Christian college professor and best-selling evangelical press author will, himself, become an “evangelical elite.”

Yet French’s acceptance of gay marriage as an inextricable part of the pluralist order which cannot be transgressed or challenged is no less a solution. The subtext to so much of French’s political writing is an under-developed doctrine of creation, which allows for Christian morality to exist at a remove from questions of public order and common life in precisely the ways Tolkien addressed in his rebuke to Lewis. For civic libertarians like French, and here I suspect you might also include figures like Paul Miller, Christian morality exists atop the world, as it were, and tells individual Christian people how to live in the world. It guides Christians in how to engage with the world when they step down into it. But it doesn’t itself shape the world in any sort of direct, tangible way; the world is governed by other laws. That Christian moral norms would supply the moral content that actually defines our common life in the world is to him anathema and to most in the historic church so obvious as to be banal.

Strikingly, it almost seems as if French and Mohler are vexed by slightly differing versions of the same basic problem, which is an over-estimation of America’s importance in God’s redemptive story and a potentially idolatrous tendency to privilege the concerns of their idea of America over the concerns of Christian faith.

For French, the post war American conception of civil liberties must be preserved, even if the cost is so high as enshrining in law what God’s Word calls wicked. Thus French’s argument for the RFMA goes well beyond the prudential reasoning of Anderson and strays into a more normative mode. Thus he ends up proposing a more extreme example of Lewis’s gambit: Give the culture what it wants via “civil marriage” while preserving “Christian marriage,” unstained from the world.

The fact that Lewis was arguing for more permissive divorce laws while French is arguing for the acceptance of gay marriage is perhaps all the commentary required to understand why this idea will not work. Indeed, it is entirely possible that ten years from now we’ll be redoing this argument yet again, only this time with state-sanctioned plural marriage in view. If we aren’t, I suspect it will have less to do with any principled and widely shared objection to plural marriage within our culture and more to do with the fact that marriage itself has almost altogether withered and died.

Meanwhile, for Mohler, the status of Christoamericanism is sacrosanct and the church must do all it can to preserve that failing regime, even if it means betraying one’s long-stated principles or, more to the point, taking up practices and postures that are antithetical to Christian piety.

Trueman at least gestures toward the idea that should be central to our thought in this moment, which is that the horizons of the kingdom of God stretch beyond the American regime, beyond the neo-liberal open society, beyond American notions of civil liberties (which often collapse down into political atheism), and beyond the American experiment itself. This is the direction in which we all ought to be thinking. The Christoamericanism of Mohler’s dreams is dead; the civic libertarian America favored by French has become incoherent and corrosive to the life of the church and Christian community in the ways T. S. Eliot predicted it would long ago in The Idea of a Christian Society.

The reality facing us is that a new moment in church history is beginning as is a new moment in American history. If we are to be writers of use to the church of today and the church of tomorrow, then we must reckon with these facts rather than trying to preserve a status quo that has already failed.

This is the situation we must confront: The Baby Boomers, who have provided the lion’s share of our financial and volunteer resources for 40 years, are retiring and dying. Their resources are going away. The rising generation won’t replace them, both because they lack the wealth and don’t give what wealth they do have to the same degree as their parents and because the past 25 years have seen 40 million people, predominantly younger people, leave the American church. So in the near future, the American church is going to get numerically smaller and dramatically less resourced in both its financial and volunteer capacities. Churches will close. Colleges and seminaries will collapse. Non-profits will disappear. Any serious political proposal must reckon with this fact.

This, of course, is the best prudential case for the RFMA: The American church is about to get far weaker and whatever civic protections we can build for ourselves now will be hugely important in ten years time. So let’s take what we can get while we can still get it. If we reject this proposal, the next time we come to the bargaining table our position will be even weaker and we may well be staring at the probable passage of the Equality Act, which would be far worse than the RFMA. That’s one account of the American church’s future and America’s future. But it is not the only plausible account.

Alongside this bleak reality facing the church is another reality facing America, which is no less bleak: Our fertility rate has fallen off a cliff. And as Germany, Russia, Ukraine, South Korea, Japan, and China are all discovering now, disastrously low fertility leads to other social disasters. But it isn’t just that we aren’t having kids in America; we are enormously dysfunctional when it comes to sex more generally. Whether it is the rise of the incels, the ubiquity of porn, or heartbreaking studies like this one which recently found that a quarter of all women at one university reported being choked during their last sexual encounter, it is clear that we have very little idea what sex is for.

This, in fact, is precisely as Tolkien predicted decades ago. Elsewhere in his letter to Lewis, he said that the disorders and abuses brought about by more permissive divorce laws would never be limited to more permissive divorce laws:

Wrong behavior (if it is really wrong on universal principles) is progressive, always: it never stops at being “not very good,” “second best” – it either reforms, or goes on to third-rate, bad, abominable.

Of course, an ignorance about the most basic human community in creation —the family — will inevitably manifest as more general confusion about human community writ large. And so here we are.

We live in a deeply unhealthy society marked by loneliness, rootlessness, and the dissolution of the family and most other forms of thick community. This has created a crisis of meaning and belonging for millions. Unsurprisingly, many are now turning to drugs, gambling, and alcohol to slake their thirst for something real. This, then, is the best prudential case against the RFMA: We are living in mad times marked by uniquely unhealthy and destructive beliefs about the body, sexuality, and marriage. It cannot go on forever. So why would we encode that madness even more explicitly and intractably into our nation’s laws?

Mark Sayers argues that in gray zone moments, such as our own, the dying era often becomes a gross, exaggerated caricature of itself before it finally passes away. Certainly one could consider current ideas about sexuality and gender to be an example of precisely those dynamics. In which case, we would do well to heed those suggesting we may be closer than we think to an era of “sex negativity.” Far better, than, to preserve the truth about marriage and the family as much as we can and to fight against the codification of lies into our nation’s law in order to make it all the easier to restore the truth to our political lives in the years to come.

The RFMA debate is significant for us in two ways: First, because it raises the interesting and vital questions that the post-boomer church in America will have to take seriously. Second, because most of our current leaders aren’t reckoning with the problems staring us down but are instead relitigating tired old debates whose relevance has long since passed.

If the church is to have a future in America — and I am quite convinced that we can actually have a very bright future in this country — then our leaders will need to stop adjudicating old disputes and reckon with the emerging shape of the post-boomer church.

Mere Orthodoxy is a reader-supported publication. Support our work by subscribing to our print edition.

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Posted by Jake Meador

Jake Meador is the editor-in-chief of Mere Orthodoxy. He is a 2010 graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where he studied English and History. He lives in Lincoln, NE with his wife Joie, their daughter Davy Joy, and sons Wendell, Austin, and Ambrose. Jake's writing has appeared in Commonweal, Christianity Today, Fare Forward, the University Bookman, Books & Culture, First Things, National Review, Front Porch Republic, and The Run of Play and he has written or contributed to several books, including "In Search of the Common Good," "What Are Christians For?" (both with InterVarsity Press), "A Protestant Christendom?" (with Davenant Press), and "Telling the Stories Right" (with the Front Porch Republic Press).


    1. I have a great idea… How about Christians fuck off? They don’t even follow their own religion’s morality, let alone basic human morality, and they sure as fuck have no business trying to dictate their bigotry into law. I’m so glad religion is dying, it’s long overdue.


      1. Bundle of joy here


        1. The bundle of joy is the BS the church is trying to force on others.
          I have zero use for religion, especially a religion like this.


      2. Amen, my friend. Not sure how this garbage ended up in my news feed, but at least the first comment I saw was on the money.


        1. I was thinking the same thing. How did this article ended up in my feed?


          1. One doesn’t have to agree with everything read. For society reading to learn about others’ perspectives is perhaps a mark of one’s liberal mindedness.

      3. How about you take your own advice first, I.B.? LGBTQ ideologies are hate speech and intolerance by default and any and all arguments otherwise on the matter are invalid, period, full stop. Moreover, your stupid human opinions never last in the scope of eternity. However, YAHWEH EL ELOHIM and His Holy Word DO last in the scope of eternity. Let me ask you a question…can you name one long lasting culture that has accepted LGBTQ ideologies as normal ways of thought? Oh, that is right, it never happens because it is a part of a real life Anti-Life Equation, alongside abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide, and a whole host of evil ideologies that are not just from the left, but also from the right, the middle, and the fringe as well. You want to educate people on things, how about you learn how the real world works first, you hypocrite?


        1. Jonathan D. Herr December 2, 2022 at 10:33 pm

          Wow, so much vitriol and hateful rhetoric from someone from a supposed religion of peace.

          Do you have any evidence of any of your claims? Like how supposedly LGBTQ=Hate speech?

          Or are you (seemingly) a sour ol’ grump that doesn’t like the fact the world is changing and being more tolerant and accepting of /different/ ways of life and love, as long as it’s between concerning adults, or if BOTH are of similar age (like teen romance amongst other teens and such)

          Just let your archaic ways of marriage exclusivity die out. If they want to marry in a church or not is up to THEM, not you.


          1. You didn’t answer his first question. Please do.

        2. LGBTQ+ PEOPLE are not ideologies. Christianity is an ideology. We just want to exist without you people shoving your ancient bullshit on us.


          1. So, same question. Can you name ONE society that has continued while embracing LBGTQIA behaviors? In fact, you die off. It’s the only viable alternative darling.

        3. God is just pretend.
          The rest of your comment is incoherent.

          “F” you, and by that I mean forget you. We don’t want or need your angry little imaginary friend.


          1. Can you prove God is just pretend?

      4. The concept of unalienable rights can be traced through the Judeo-Christian tradition, but that does not mean the Constitution is imposing Christianity or any other religion. Rather, John Locke and others are an offspring of this tradition.

        The fetal human has an unalienable right to life, and the pro-life movement asserts this to be true. Self evident, as they say. It is popular, among the death cultist pro-abortion movement, to gaslight this as some kind of movement towards theocracy so they can rail and spittle in their narcissistic rage that someone might hold them accountable for their actions.


    2. Gail Lambert Emerson December 9, 2022 at 7:07 am

      There are 130 comments ahead of mine so I’m not sure this will make mush difference. But I just finished a global missions course for my undergraduate degree. One of the discussion questions dealt with contextualizing the gospel to our own culture. The greatest problem I face is untangling the unholy union of evangelical Christianity and politics. My non-Christian friends are genuinely confused as to why evangelicals supported Trump for president. They see a dissonance and rightly so. They are drawn to the Jesus of the gospels, specifically the beatitudes. But, they can’t make reconcile that with the prevailing attitudes of prominent evangelicals.
      The way I handle this is to walk them through the last fifty years of American Christianity. I talk about the moral majority and how it left an indelible mark. So, my response to my non-Christian friends is the same one I give to the author of this article: American Evangelicals are seeking to usher in God’s kingdom through political means. Jesus’ contemporaries made the same mistake. They wrongly thought the Messiah would overthrow the government. This isnt why Jesus came. The testimony of the early church is an explosion of the gospel in the face of opposition. These early converts were marked by meekness. Moreover, church history shows us repeatedly, starting with Milan, the kingdom of God can not be expanded through political means, codifying personal morality. The truth is—evangelicals continue to live in a world of contradictions, one where they vote for a serial, unrepentant adulterer and then try to champion the importance of “biblical marriage” and “family values”. And you know what? It is tainting our gospel witness.


      1. Great point(s). Thank you.


      2. You don’t drop voting because you’re a Christian. So, a Christian votes for the person they believe is closest or will provide closest to biblical values/rules/dictates, whatever word you’d like. Trump verses Biden isn’t close. Biden loses on all levels even in his ‘charity’, which isn’t charity at all, but stealing. Charity is YOU giving willingly to the PERSON(s) you choose to give to, not government confiscating your money and giving it to ungodly alliances such as Planned Parenthood and such. It’s really not a difficult question and you ‘should’ be able to give a reasonable response.


        1. Codifying Christian morality into law doesn’t make people Christian. You seem to recognize that free will is requisite to charity, so even as a Christian, how could you possibly think the purpose of a nation’s government is to fully pander to a specific religious tradition? Denying a gay couple the right to marry won’t convert them to Christianity; the only thing it will ensure is that you don’t have to… well, I was going to say “see” it, but presumably you won’t, because homophobic bigots don’t have gay friends anyway. So what are you even arguing? That because you don’t agree with it and don’t want it in your orbit, the law of an entire nation should conform to your moral standards?

          And I should clarify: these are rhetorical questions. You’ve demonstrated your level of capability in this argument with the whole, “Can you prove God is just pretend?” nonsense. Flashback to the early days of the internet, when the sheltered children of religious morons were drooling that same sentiment onto their keyboards anytime someone brought up religion because it was literally the only real-world gotcha! that Sunday School prepared them for. If the best you’ve got is, “yeah but can you prove this imaginary phenomenon DOESN’T exist?”, you deserve to be ignored. Period.


  1. Mr. Meador makes some great points here. I appreciate this reasoned tone on an issue that has brought out intemperance in many Christians. He’s correct when he writes:

    “As long as we’re reasoning on the grounds of what is prudentially best in this moment for our particular nation, I think a number of possible approaches are admissible and none should be cause for division or for Christian discord.”

    When I read French’s opinion, I thought it was mostly a prudential argument. At the time, I didn’t see voting or supporting a compromise bill as an endorsement of everything in it, but Jake’s argument that a Christian shouldn’t endorse anything even if it contains a tiny shred of something of what “God’s Word calls wicked” has given me pause. I have to think about this.

    Mohler’s argument isn’t very good and he’s a horrible messenger* for it. By bringing up the lack of religious liberty protections in the bill and positively quoting Sen. Lee’s tweet, Mohler makes it sound like he would support the bill if it contained stronger protections for religious liberty. He seems to want to take high-minded opposition to French while also leaving open the possibility of compromise to get a better deal.

    Jake writes:

    “The fact that Lewis was arguing for more permissive divorce laws while French is arguing for the acceptance of gay marriage is perhaps all the commentary required to understand why this idea will not work. Indeed, it is entirely possible that ten years from now we’ll be redoing this argument yet again, only this time with state-sanctioned plural marriage in view.”

    I don’t think this is exactly right. It is certainly possible that we’ll be redoing this ten years from now with plural marriage. But that won’t be because David French and others supported this bill anymore than gay marriage is the result of no-fault divorce. Gay marriage was a done deal long before this bill. If we redo this debate we’ll be doing it because, regrettably, plural marriage has become popular.

    As Jake notes at the end, this debate is a tempest in a tea-pot. The larger problem is how Christians and the church face the future in America. French, Mohler, Trueman and others probably agree that the church needs to do a much better job of explaining to its own members why traditional sexual ethics are right.

    *The guy voted for Donald Trump – Exhibit A of a Christian making a compromise with wickedness for dubious gains.


    1. This all presumes the existence of a Christian God who has established laws and is invested in our lives, which is obviously untrue


      1. Did we ask you for your moronic opinion, Jenny? No? Then know your role and shut your pie hole!


        1. Obviously a very holy and pious response Jal. Jesus is very proud.


        2. Jonathan D. Herr December 2, 2022 at 10:38 pm

          Again, here you stomp in with your antiquated nonsense and vitriol.

          “Know your role?” Seriously? What is so offensive to you about a contrary opinion to yours that you have to lash out on such a way? And what’s wrong with learning how to sew or knit or cook or do other things like that? If you think it’s beneath you, then boy are you lazy… As well as being sexist.


          1. “Know your role” is pretty telling. Big bad but h man telling a woman to know her role.

            There is no place in a civil society for “men” such as this.

      2. “This all presumes the existence of a Christian God who has established laws and is invested in our lives…”

        Yes, it does. I’m sure why you’d come to a website hosted by Christians just to post you’re opinion that God doesn’t exist. It seems troll-ish…


      3. What makes it wrong for someone to murder you, or wrongfully imprison you? Why is it necessary for government to secure your right to life and liberty? Is it the presumed existence of a Christian God? In other words, in your mind (such as it is), does the Constitution’s assertion of unalienable rights have any foundation, and if so, what is it?


        1. Your premise is wrong from the start.
          You refuse to acknowledge the innate dignity and respectability every gay person has, and to cap off this dehumanization, you transmogrify and compress untold millions of unique individuals into some mysterious, perhaps threatening “LGBTQ ideologies.”
          The process of dehumanizing is the challenge. Once accomplished, human cruelty knows no bounds.
          Gay people are human beings. They are your fellow citizens, which is why I have no idea what gay [or LGBT] ideology is.
          But I know what it’s not:

          “[H]ate speech and intolerance by default. and any and all arguments otherwise on the matter are invalid, period,full stop.”

          Hate and intolerance are far more prevalent than you think.
          “Physician, heal thyself”!


          1. Oops, my comment was meant to respond to the article, not to the reply above. Hate when this happens.
            Sorry for any confusion.

    2. Your last line was the only alternative outside of not voting. You have your choice in office now. So, as in China, XI is better than Mao, and they hope they can get a Trump. By the way, my three lines are in a nutshell the example the author is advocating in his article. Take what you can get and work it best you can until there’s a hopeful turnaround.


  2. That the debate is still ongoing in some circles may be interesting. But the real debate itself is over. Gallup shows 70% of Americans support same-sex marriage — the highest it’s ever been. A good chunk of that percentage (probably most) not only support it, but consider opposition to it to be immoral. The RFMA may be attempting to carve out certain protections from Federal gov’t action (*not* state govt’s, if I read it correctly); but if the social consensus is that you’re evil and nasty for refusing to affirm SSM, then it *will* find ways to shut you down regardless. French, Mohler, et al are just wasting ammo shooting at each other, not apparently realizing that the enemy has them surrounded and is alreadly flying the “No Quarter” flag.

    The marriage fight’s over, and the church lost. If leaders really wanted to make themselves useful, they’d start focusing on strengthening Christian communities and developing new and creative ways of operating. God knows the kids being born into this culture are going to need some adults still around who are solid examples of what men and women *can* be and can accomplish *together* when actually living out the Gospel rather than just baptising secular therapeutic nonsense.


    1. Confederate patriot December 1, 2022 at 1:56 pm

      Jake meador,
      Great article and the bottom line is that Truth cannot be watered down.
      However, what we see across the board from the Catholics to almost all the protestants, they are lukewarm and neither hot nor cold.
      In fact, they’re the same temp as the recently DECEASED that they are !!
      Truth isn’t a flavor of the month.
      It is Christ and therefore everything fundamentally real(authentic) in the universe.
      We search for it where we don’t yet know it, but we don’t recreate it where we already do.
      It isnt adjustable.
      Our American Founders explained truth to us as well and gave a description on it for 3 levels of it.
      #1 Absolute revealed Truth, ie that there’s a God who created the universe and to whom we owe allegiance and worship and thanks, just as Washington’s Thanksgiving proclamation made clear.
      #2 proof beyond a reasonable doubt, and
      #3 proof by a preponderance of the evidence.
      The last 2 are components of the same thing, ie “search and you will find”.
      That is the command and then the effort that is exhausted to the final purpose.
      If we use this biblical truth and the methods explained by America’s Founders even to answer moral and political questions of the state, so long as we start with #1, we will answer those #2s and #3s correctly and in the case before us of degenerate satanic kikerat supported filthy sodomy, the answer is as clear as the “jewish problem” that thrust this nonsense upon us in the first place.
      Kanye West and the young Nick fuentes have been just the latest of many to point this out(not unlike Martin luther, Ben franklin, general grant, Charles Lindbergh, George Patton, Henry Ford, Billy Graham, and many many others).
      See the brilliant truth, of this reality by following orthodox pastor brother nat kapner at .
      He’s a converted jew and he understands full well the truth of this problem, and also see the converted jew dr Benjamin freedmans 1962 speech(unabridged version on utube) and then read his 80 page letter(for free online) to a jewish convert protestant pastor. The letter is called “facts are facts” by Benjamin freedman. Again see as well.
      We need to get the TRUTH out about these “people”(posing as the ancient hebrews) whom Christ called “the children of the devil who would lie and murder just like their father has done since the beginning” in John chapter 8.

      In Christ,
      Confederate/Authentic American Patriot


      1. You don’t get to just say “truth cannot be watered down” in a conversation about unprovable imaginary friends for adults.

        People aren’t buying theists’ self-righteous “I’m right because I know the TRUTH! How do I know it’s true? BECAUSE I SAY SO!” bullshit anymore


      2. Oh, wait. It’s actually agreeing with delusional fuckheads Kanye West and Nick Fuentes. What a sad, pathetic little creature lololololololol


      3. The dudes who wrote the founding documents, thus creating our form of government, weren’t “Christians”, didn’t want the United States to be a “Christian” country, and made it clear in writings to each other. Any attempt to claim otherwise is a bald faced lie, and the antithesis of what “Christians” claim to believe.
        Christian’s didn’t invent religion, morality, or marriage. In fact, what they created, they stole from the Jews.


      4. There you go. A perfect example of the type of wretched human Christianity too often produces.


        1. I am speaking to the Confederate Patriot.


          1. With a name like Confederate Patriot, was there any doubt he’d be a wretched human?

      5. You are either a follower of YAHWEH EL ELOHIM and His Holy Word or you are of Lucifer, period, full stop, Johnny Reb. Moreover, as has been said in the Holy Scriptures, you cannot serve two masters, for you will love and obey one and you will hate and betray the other one. The Book of Exodus, Chapter 20, and The Book of Deuteronomy, Chapter 5, both are very clear about concepts like Nationalism, Patriotism, swearing by, and taking, oaths, saluting national anthems, and such, and YAHWEH EL ELOHIM Himself, as well as His Holy Word, both say that they are all wrong, period, full stop.


        1. Jonathan D. Herr December 2, 2022 at 10:44 pm

          You talk of black and white, good and evil, god and devils, but what if we as ribe to none of them? Neither god /nor/ devil. But you’re too seemingly shortsighted to comprehend that. So maybe it’s best you not “remove all doubt” about your position by continuing on and on with your religious claptrap.



      6. So here we have an anti-Semite and a homophobe.
        Will fundamentalist Christians condemn all bigotry, which strips human beings of their innate dignity and respectability?
        Or will they condemn anti-Semitism but (at least implicitly) agree that gays are “filth[y]” “sodomites”?

        American Christians are great at whitewashing history, including their own church’s. Not long ago at all, animus toward Jews was fundamental to fundamentalists. Today, most Christians (clearly not all) have been enlightened and reject their forebears’ sincerely held religious belief.
        The same is true for racism. Jim Crow laws and laws banning interracial marriage were “morals-based.”
        Actually, they were based on religious prescriptions and proscriptions, highlighting the distinction between morality and religion.
        Most (not all) have abandoned the sincerely held religious belief that God put all the races on separate continents after the Tower of Babel, making race-mixing a slap in God’s face.
        Nowadays, many Christians deny that miscegenation used to be a sincerely held religious belief in their church community, which is bonkers but it allows them to celebrate Loving v. Virginia (Supreme Court nullified state laws banning interracial marriage) and rabidly condemn Obergefell v. Hodges (Supreme Court nullified state laws banning same-sex marriage).
        For over a millennia, up to the 1960s, many Christians believed being left-handed was a sin, with remarks identical to those who now condemn gays:
        “It’s unnatural!”
        “You choose to be left-handed!”
        “No, you have not been ‘that way’ since you were born!”
        “God wants you to change.”
        “You can change. You just don’t want to!”
        “God won’t let anyone living that ‘lifestyle’ into heaven!”

        It’s safe to say this religious belief is no longer sincerely held, like those mentioned previously.
        In this light, is it not reasonable to consider whether the present anti-gay sincerely held religious belief will (or even should) join the anti-Jew, anti-Black, anti-leftie sincerely held religious beliefs, which now seem contrary to Christianity?


    2. No, it will end as YAHWEH EL ELOHIM Himself says in His Holy Word, namely with any and all LGBTQ movement promoting bigots either leaving such ways of thought, or being dead, and this is the only way that things will ever be resolved on this matter, period, full stop, RonH.


      1. Are you threatening death on people? Cuz it sounds like you are making death threats.


  3. Sterling A. Minor November 30, 2022 at 4:54 pm

    Meador, as do many persons, makes synonyms of the word moral and the name for followers of his particular faith. I and many other persons reject this use.
    Religious institutions’ as well as civil society’s recognition of same sex marriage is the moral position which all moral religions should adopt.


    1. Confederate patriot December 1, 2022 at 2:04 pm

      Morals of the Christian faith do not change based on democratic vote.
      The bible is EXPLICITLY CLEAR that sodomy is repulsive to God and that homos should be “roof-topped”(a punishment borrowed from the muzzrats for my point).

      If I say that the sun rises in the south becsuse I’m a Southerner, does that change the truth of the sun’s path ?
      Obviously it does not.
      Nor do DEMON-RAT-IC(democratic) votes to change the fundamentals of Christian morality.
      There’s a reason that we call these degenerates child molestors SODOMITES.
      See and also read my other post.
      This issue is one of REVEALED TRUTH.
      The people that don’t like it can pack their bags and GET THE HELL OUT OF AMERICA, just as our Founders made the British sympathizers do after the revolution.
      Asta LA Vista baby GOODBYE !!


      1. Who gives a shit what a Bronze Age book of fairytales (written by goatherders who didn’t know where the sun went at night) has to say about modern morality?


        1. Who cares about a person that is ironically peddling either their own fairy tales and myths, or those of other people, Burzghash? Also, your username looks like a monkey randomly typed letters on a keyboard, and yet the monkey is smarter than the “useful (useless) idiot” that is yourself. Moreover, “The fool has said in their heart, ‘There is no God'”! Please, keep being a mentally deficient moron and type a response on here…I dare you. Darwin may have his bulldogs, but Christianity and Judaism will have their honey Badgers.


      2. So much hatred for debentures people, and so many lies your telling about us.


        1. Are you on drugs by your comment, Rob?


      3. 1st Timothy 2:12 December 1, 2022 at 11:36 pm

        The fact that your username is confederate patriot pretty much rules out any possibility of you having anything useful to add to modern conversations.

        Add in your insane skewed stance that the Christian god is clearly the one true god, and you can be pretty easily ignored as yet another Trump touting christofascist.

        More specific to your argument… Why on earth would a modern human give one single shit what a 2000 year old musty tome written by dozens of bronze age stoners and collected by late bronze age slave owners has to say about reality? I guess given your username you’re probably cool with the slave owning part… The bible is a self contradictory pile of garbage filled with logical holes and 1st century barbarism.


        1. Wow, another moron that ironically acts no better than the person that they condemned…it is entertaining to see two dimwitted Satanic polititard trolls attacking one another. You are of the Antichrist system yourself, Timmy.


      4. The Bible is also crystal clear about owning slaves…Leet me guess, the parts you like are TRUE, but the parts on slave ownership are allegorical.


        1. Actually, you mentally deficient moron, in ancient Hebrew, one word encompassed the words “slave”, “servant”, “worker”, and several other related words, and yet you ironically chose to think that people were cherry picking the Holy Scriptures instead of doing any decent amount of etymological research on the ancient Hebrew language, but then again, I would expect nothing less from a “useful (useless) idiot” like yourself. Now if you are going to lecture people on the Holy Scriptures,then you should at least know the Source Material before you open your mouth and insert your foot. The CORRECT interpretation of the word is NOT “slave”, but, rather, it would be essentially closer to how modern day Norway utilizes its white collar prisoners and makes them work normal jobs inside of minimum security prisons as a way to pay back society for their misdeeds against the state, or, if their land no longer exists, to work in Israel as essentially like migrants do with green cards Get educated, you mentally deficient moron.


      5. God died in a freezer December 2, 2022 at 10:58 am

        So if you believe gay people are wrong, do you also get your hair cut, wear mixed fabics (like most of whats available now) or have tattoos and pircings? Cause, the bible says those are a no no, but i cant count how many “good Christian women” are offending your god with their cross earrings. Also, how exactly does other people doing whatever it is they like affect you personally?


        1. Ah, another historical revisionist moronic troll with no proper understanding of the Holy Scriptures…if you are going to correct someone on the Holy Scriptures, then you should at least be properly educated on them first.


      6. Jonathan D. Herr December 2, 2022 at 10:52 pm

        Yes, goodbye. As in go away with your homophobic and xenophobic blatherings on about stuff you don’t truly know about and are just regurgitating nonsense from those telling you what to say and feel.


  4. Opposition to same sex marriage IS immoral, it violates Christ’s law: love your neighbor as yourself.

    Further, antigay theology, the interpretation of cherry-picked, fraudulently translated passages to create the heresy ” homosexuality is sin” on all its variants, is not only immoral, it bears evil fruit.
    False teachers ignore the violence caused by denigrating and demonizing GLBTQ+ people, but that violence proves that antigay theology is evil and does not come from God.

    Bear in mind, as well, that the religious freedom og GLBTQ+ people, and allies, is violated by any attemp to criminalize consensual homosexual sex, or to withhold humans rights, like marriage, from sane-sex couples and GLBTQ+ people.

    As for the argument that society is in a moral decline, conservatives need to look in the mirror and see that they are responsible.


    1. Confederate patriot December 1, 2022 at 2:17 pm

      Are you insane ? A jew ? A degenerate filthy sodomite ? Or a strict satanist ?
      All of the above?
      If we love our children we discipline them.
      If we love Christ and the church then we discipline those in society that attack truth and especially those who endanger children.
      Who were the child molesting priests of the catholic church ? Nearly 90% were closeted homosexuals.
      So it wasn’t a “priest problem”, it was a FAGGOT PROBLEM.
      There is a reason that in our Founders time they passed laws in every state to outlaw filthy degenerate satanic sodomy, ie “feces fucking and feces and sperm eating between men”.
      There’s a reason those laws remained until just recently and until after the satanic kikerats had total control of social media, government, and tv/cinema and had long ago taken over academia. Look up the satanic italian traitor antonio gramsci and you’ll see this was an organized plan to overthrow white Christian civilization so that whites and Christians could be genocided and the satanic new world order could take over.
      Mussolini threw gramsci in an italian prison where this satanist wrote the map for the destruction of Christianity and the west.
      Again see and Google Ben freedman and read my other comments here.
      May God convert you to SANITY for your remaining time on this earth.


      1. There’s no such thing as sin. It’s a made-up illness to sell you a make-believe cure. And more and more people are waking up to that fact every day.

        Enjoy watching your bigotry be erased from history in real time.


      2. 1st Timothy 2:12 December 1, 2022 at 11:38 pm

        You are a delusional toxic person. Try to be better


    2. It does not. Im a gay man mys6and the bible is very clealy and openly anti-homosexuality. Now is not the time to go half in when we all know how to read the book. This was your hill, it never hid its bigoty anti-gay views. Its your hill to die on, so die. Buy the book or dont believe, but dont be naieve


    3. No, co-deviancy is the thing that violates the Holy Scriptures and what YAHWEH EL ELOHIM Himself says on the matter, as these evildoers are violating what YAHWEH EL ELOHIM Himself has banned in His Holy Word. Argue otherwise and you are an intolerant hate mongering bigot, as well as a liar that serves Lucifer, period, full stop.


  5. “ We are living in mad times marked by uniquely unhealthy and destructive beliefs about the body, sexuality, and marriage. It cannot go on forever. So why would we encode that madness even more explicitly and intractably into our nation’s laws?”
    Amen. Same goes for those we lend our political support to. I very much appreciate David French and how he did not compromise when it came to Trump and others. I think he should not compromise on policies either.


    1. Confederate patriot December 1, 2022 at 2:26 pm

      We also need to make sure that people read about what’s really going on in the ukraine and listen to president Putins speeches and see why the russians are REALLY fighting the TOTALLY SATANIC KIKERAT government that is destroying the ukraine and was pushing all this sodomy shit on the Ukrainian children beifore this war started.
      Putin AND his front line soldier young men have EXPLICITLY SAID that they do not want our SATANIST AGENDA IN THEIR LAND.
      Putin has explicitly put the Orthodox church back in charge of moral teaching in the public schools of russia.
      This is EXACTLY what Mussolini did when he also drove out kikerat worshipping communists.
      Just this week Putin will be signing a law that was passed by the Russian congress with 100% support, that will BAN the promotion of ANYTHING SODOMITE EVERYWHERE IN THE NATION.
      Putin is the modern defacto Holy Roman Emperor who is DEFENDING CHRISTENDOM from his capital in Moscow as opposed to doing so from Constantinople(because Constantinople is still occupied by muzzrats since the LAST TIME Christendom failed !!
      Let’s not let Moscow and Christendom fail this time !!
      See realjewnews and and follow Kanye West and Nick fuentes. They are both correct about the kikerats too !!


      1. What’s it like watching your bullshit beliefs and ideology being erased by history in real-time, you walking garbage can?


      2. 1st Timothy 2:12 December 1, 2022 at 11:45 pm

        I can’t imagine you know how you sound to other people.

        Picture a stopped up toilet that someone flushes. That is more pleasant to be around than someone with your position.

        Burzghash has it right, you are a pile of garbage. It truly is distressing that fools like you are allowed to vote, however, unlike you, I support your right to do so despite how hideous your opinions may be because everyone deserves respect and to have their voice heard. That is the difference between us. I find you a repugnant pond scum, and your proselytizing to be a hideous blot on this fine(ish) nation (not as bad as the slavery you’re all about), yet I still feel your voice deserves to be heard. You won’t find me at a ballot box with my AR-15 and “atheists for Satanic sodomy” shirt (or whatever you loony toons think we support) staring bullets at you as you cast your ballot.


      3. Jonathan D. Herr December 2, 2022 at 10:57 pm

        Found the Russian simp.


      4. Fascist antisemite, period, full stop.


  6. This article totally misses a major cause of American culture’s ills. It’s not ”
    woke-ism; It’s not SSM, or certain music, books, etc. It’s loss of real COMMUNITY, caused by sprawl and car-dependancy where kids live in boring suburbs with no heart, there’s no place to walk to, one must drive or be driven everywhere, for starters. Think again…


    1. Reading this article was quite depressing as hearing that someone would try and use Tolkien’s (a British citizen) personal beliefs to try and argue what should be done in America in the next century is honestly laughable and a complete fallacy. However reading these comments where rational people used actual Christian beliefs to argue that the only moral solution is to embrace social change and treat everyone equally, love thy neighbor as thyself, and all the other moral lessons that we should know. If Christianity wants to continue to exist it will have to radically adapt to the future and become much less bigoted and exclusionary or risk falling into obscurity.


      1. In other words, Christianity needs to be more Christ-like.


        1. Tondalaya Gillespie December 1, 2022 at 11:38 pm



      2. Speaking of Tolkien, it bears remembering he wasn’t living under an American Constitution, which mandates separation of Church and State. The Founding Fathers explicitly set our system up to be a system of laws, rather than religious dogma from ANY religion. We should also understand that if we ignore the constitution and start making laws based on one religion, we open the door to laws being based on other religions as well. Anyone really want to start seeing laws based on the satanic Bible?
        Beyond that, prohibition and the horribly failed war on drugs demonstrated trying to legislate morality is a losing proposition.


  7. The basic issue that surrounds the RFMA is about equality in society. Should Christian American impose their morals so that they are reclaiming a degree of privilege and supremacy in America or should Christian Americans live as equals with those with whom they disagree. We don’t have to insist on theocracy to choose the former. But we also should note that to choose the former makes opposing democracy a part of the Christian’s message and life.

    As for evil, there are some evil things listed in Romans 1 that we don’t codify into law while there are other evil things that are now criminalized. In the end, if we are warned not to lord it over fellow believers, how is that we can be comfortable with lording it over unbelievers to whom we want to preach the Gospel? How people will listen to our preaching partially depends on what we associate with it. And then there is Paul’s statement at the end of Romans 5. Is a concern to legislate sexual morality that does not violate adult consent a concern that goes beyond what the Great Commission requires of us?

    BTW, Jake should realize that overpopulation is a contributing factor to environmental problems and climate change. The more people we have, the more negative impact we make on the environment and climate. Also, what Scriptures is Jake using to make his argument here?


    1. This isn’t a debate about criminalizing homosexual sex, it’s a debate about whether two men or two women should be able to have their relationship recognized by the state as a “marriage.” If a polity is going to have a concept of marriage (and every polity more complex than a hunter-gatherer tribe does), it will have to define what’s in and what’s out. Christianity has a particular account of that, and advocating that account doesn’t mind criminalizing homosexual relationships, but merely declining to privilege them.


      1. CPT,
        The legality of same-sex marriage is part of gaining full equality in society for those in the LBGT community. If society views SSM as wrong because it views homosexuality as evil, then there can be no equality. And a Christian can hold view that says it is not evil if done within the right context. We already do that with the Establishment clause of the 1st Amendment. From a religious perspective, other religions are nothing more than idol worship. But within society, the Establishment clause moves us to count other faiths as being equal to our own.

        As for criminalization, that pertained to other parts of Jake’s article.

        It is our ability to see things from multiple contexts that allow us to regard and treat unbelievers as equals without compromising our faith.


      2. No. It’s not.

        The Supreme court has ruled that Marriage is a fundamental right.

        Rights are superior to governmental powers, and cannot be granted/denied by the government.

        The Christian stance on gay marriage is completely irrelevant – as America is not (per the founding fathers) a Christian nation.
        Touting it as such is akin to sedition.

        Separation of church and state is a tenent of American society.

        Christians have no rights beyond those of any other American citizen.

        They can cannot stone someone for adultery – or it is murder.
        They cannot execute indiscriminately in another crusade.

        Refusing to recognize someone else’s right is a crime.
        Passing the authority to deny/refuse to allow someone else to exercise their equal inherent rights (of which marriage applies), is a crime.
        Title 18 chapter 13 sections 241 and 242 of the federal code.

        Prohibiting same sex marriage based on religious morality is religious sponsored crime.

        And if it’s the “same sex” that really sets you off, you’re looking at it wrong.
        If either party was of the other sex, would you protest their marriage? No?
        Then you’re just engaging in plain sex discrimination.


        1. Allow me a quibble with what you wrote.

          In the Obergefell case, the Court found that “the fundamental right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples by both the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.”

          The Court did not argue that the right to marry is “superior to governmental powers, and cannot be granted/denied by the government.” It said that if the state is going to provide the benefits of marriage to some people, it must provide those benefits to all people.

          I believe that some rights are superior to government power, as did the American founders (i.e. inalienable rights), but not all rights are inalienable. Some rights are granted by the government and those rights can be taken away by the government. The benefits conferred by the government on my marriage are not inalienable rights.


      3. CPT, your position presupposes that the State’s definition of marriage should be based on the Christian definition. That is then imposing religious belief on others in a country that strictly forbids such behavior, particularly by the State. Christians did not invent the institution of marriage and do not have a monopoly on how it is defined, nor should they in a legally secular state.


    2. Confederate patriot December 1, 2022 at 2:41 pm

      All you lying ass fake Christians or 5th column kikerat sabateurs are full of shit.
      The kikerat led left and all these degenerate sodomite(feces and sperm eaters/fuckers) ARE MILITANT.
      Faggots just wanted “equality”??
      Really ??
      Then why are they FORCING tranny story hour with kids in schools, libraries, and street corners ?!?!
      Why are they promoting sexual mutilation of minors into trannies without their parents consent ?!?!
      Yall are HELL BOUND.
      And there’s many of us that would love laws that allowed us to send you there a LOT QUICKER.


      1. Lol! Die mad about it you salty bitch.


      2. Love me some kikerat stew about now


        1. Religion is quickly dying in America and not a moment too soon. I can’t,for the life of me, figure out why people who believe in magic think they have a right to dictate how others live their lives. We have civil jurisprudence. Keep your fairy tale in your church and leave the rest of us alone.


      3. When will the good people at MereOrthodoxy start reading your comments so that they know what to block and delete?


        1. God died in a freezer December 2, 2022 at 12:38 pm

          Can you please give an example of a forced attendance of drag queen story hour, or are you too busy frothing at the mouth over what other people do with their lives to back up the stupid, hateful, and wrong shit you say?


          1. I believe that you asked the wrong person

      4. Luckily for everyone that isn’t you… You don’t get to decide who goes where in any afterlife. If your vitriol is any indication you are about as anti Christian as it is possible to be, and while I do not waste my emotional energy much on people through the internet, I hope that those around you are more sane than yourself.


      5. Jonathan D. Herr December 2, 2022 at 11:04 pm

        Maybe they want to show children that there are multiple ways of being yourself? That it’s not one size fits all in society?

        Oh and by the by… shouting in capslocks isn’t “cruise control for Cool”, it just shows the rest of us how much you love to throw temper tantrums it seems.


  8. Timothy J. McDermott December 1, 2022 at 12:48 am

    What possible relevance does the personal correspondence of Tolkien, or any author writing well over 100 years past have regarding a modern civil rights issue? Does Tolkien stand as some authority on morality by virtue of his remove from our times, or merely the resurgent popularity of his fiction? Seeking to justify religious beliefs in such sources is the very definition of confirmation bias.

    As for judgments on “morality” derived from one textual manifestation of “The Word of God,” I direct those readers possessing an openess to fact to consider God may indeed be infallible, but man certainly is not.


    1. Well, that argument makes morality malleable – which may not be your intention. It also makes all opinions and wisdom worthless (or at least heading in that direction) as soon as they are expressed because some time has passed. Neither of these thoughts are true, though. If so, we’d never study history, trends, or rate a restaurant. The only wisdom worth having would be that which you don’t have. Christian wisdom is irrefutably worthwhile. The game plan is great. Our understanding, execution and practice is the problem.

      I’m not sure we should even vote (here comes the attacks.) Mostly, because there is evidence (both politically and biblically) that the outcome is already decided, but also because there is no evidence that Christianity either thrives or abates in a democracy. I can cite multiple verses and biblical accounts of how exercising our own judgement and opinion fails. I love how the author refuses to commingle the Kingdom of God with the American dream.

      All this said, I am against the act but would be unlikely to vote on it. There is already a law written against it both in the Word and in our hearts. Writing another one will not change compliance. Take note my 2A friends. I believe many of us have made that argument.


  9. When I see Evangelical leaders loudly pushing for legislation to outlaw divorce and expelling divorced members from their congregations I will take seriously their objection to gay marriage. Until then its just antigay bigotry. The Scriptual statements about divorce are far more explicit those about gay marriage yet many Evangelical churches have “divorce recovery” groups and I have never heard it said in those groups that attendees cannot remarry. Indeed a divorced member of our Sunday School class recently shared that God had lead her to remarry and everyone is the class supported her. Imagine what would have happened if instead she announced she was marrying another woman?


  10. After reading this article, the majority of these comments give me faith. Even on this echo chamber of a website, it is clear that the majority of us will not stand for bigotry; because that’s what this article argues for. We are built on the grounds of a separation between church and state, so when any religion uses it’s beliefs to mandate the lives of others, then we move into a theocracy. I say all of this as a proud Christian, but one who does not believe my God hates anyone for who they love. Jesus died for our sins, not for your ability to judge.


    1. “We are built on the grounds of a separation between church and state, so when any religion uses it’s beliefs to mandate the lives of others, then we move into a theocracy.”

      I disagree with this. Christians of all political stripes justify many of their public policy stances and make arguments for their preferred public policy based on their faith. I’ve heard Christians justify their support for environmental protection laws and universal health insurance using their faith, as well as those opposed to the death penalty and abortion. I’ve heard many Christians (in fact, a few have in this comment section) make arguments for gay marriage using their faith. The mantra of “separation of church and state” does not require people of any faith to sit on the sidelines or avoid making faith-based argument for their preferred public policies.


  11. […] Tolkien Was Right: Notes on the Respect for Marriage Act and the Post-Boomer Church […]


  12. Thanks for clarifying why I should not GAF about Tolkien’s personal beliefs nor over-invest myself in his literature.


  13. It’s not only laughable, but demonstrates that the writer is truly grasping at straws to justify an erroneous and diminishing view in the modern world, hell, even in the Christian world.

    It’s also nonsensical to me when Christians claim the realm of marriage as their own, as if they were the original creators of it. This flies completely in the face of history as we know it now. They have as much claim to it as any other theist or non-theist; especially in this era of secularism.

    You’re right that things need to change. We can already see in several different sects, a diminishing population. Take Mormonism for example. A religion that is not so secretly bleeding generational followers because they do not wish to adapt to a changing world, and have always remained two steps behind progress.


  14. I see a lot of the commenters here are making Jake’s point for him, although not intentionally.

    If you don’t affirm the Biblical understanding of sexual morality you should understand that you’re not part of the intended audience here.


    1. I was thinking the same. Conspiracy-brain wonders if Jake’s _real_ piece is the comment section, for which the article was just a troll…


    2. And if you live in a secular country, you shouldn’t be pushing for its laws to revolve around and be based on the norms dictated in a Bronze Age book of fairytales (one which, hypocritically, is filled to the brim with accounts of this supposedly “moral” deity being an absolutely immoral shitheel).


  15. The varied comments here underscore a thought I often have. Lord, we are all over the place. Jesus prayed that those who believe would be one as He and the Father are one. Only by the Spirit of God. Two thoughts I would mention. Paul wrote to the Romans still dealing with immorality, “Present your bodies to God as a living sacrifice.” He was encouraging them toward godly living, to be transformed, to be like Christ. The second thought from Jesus Christ Himself. On the subject of divorce, He kept it simple, :It was not so from the beginning (from creation where God created one male and one female). One thing kills a marriage. Adultery. It is quite simple. Tolkien did get it right. We live in this world as strangers if we truly follow Christ.


  16. If David French may support RFMA out of political prudence, Dr. Mohler may vote for Trump out of political prudence.


    1. BC,
      Is voting for fascism done out of political prudence?


  17. I would like to know the reasons supporting the conclusion that the religious protections in the RFMA are weak?


    1. Me too


    2. Christian colleges refusing to recognize gay marriages may lose their tax exempt status (a privilege granted to them for complying with the law – as they seek to deny a fundamental right in breech of the law).

      There’s some other guy that wrote a whole “Christian beliefs are more important than the law and need special authority to commit crimes while tax exempt” bill for the senate…


  18. This article might be good if it didn’t depend entirely on belief in a Bronze Age book of fairytales about a deity who, really, is an insecure douchebag cunt.

    Since your very first premise is bullshit, none of what follows has any relevance.


  19. I understand the intent of the reply. There is rumination that was made which is beyond Tolkien that is worth examining. There are curious observations that are left hanging as sort of a wink that suggests ‘yes, we know what you mean.’

    “What sex is for”, that’s a great one. Assumed purpose. Often, only married man and woman. Forget single people or those who don’t want yo marry. Widows and widowers? Too bad sex for pleasure? Forget it. Marry, even a total reprobate and suffer abuse, or no sex. So much is unsaid but implied without counter. There is so much left unsaid that makes this problematic. Fertility treatments, invitro for childless, and now advancements in external wombs all increase human happiness potential. Science fiction baby labs are a different discussion, at its core, a zygote us the objective, not methods. Sex is a massive dopamine rush. Somehow that is criminalized if not obtained only by religiously prescribed methods.

    The observation of incels, that’s actually a good one…insofar as a social maladaptive psychological phenomenon. But an incel feels entitled. Entitled to what they consider ‘good looking women’ and not ‘ugly.’ They are motivated by resentment, frustration, a hunger for power over another and even violence. That exists and persists with or without divorce. We now have a name for it but it has always been around.

    What constitutes a marriage and family is the core of the argument though it’s not said explicitly. That’s the biggest tragedy of all. An officiate, rites and custom has a long tradition of stamping with approval lopsided rights and power. It’s natural that such a perspective is embraced when one fever has the force of law and religion behind it and the other having few rights in many places even today.

    Loving nurturing people seem to be worthless compared to even the most disfunctional and abusive ‘official’ families. If there is one thing that is indisputable, it’s that humans have progressed in understanding about the human mind, disorders wrong information and harmful compulsory practices. What was approved without question in early Christianity and down through the centuries are not tolerated and unthinkable today (except by narcissists and sociopaths). Tolkien and Lewis certainly knew this.

    Religions tend to cling to the strangest things that often are the most brutal ti the human condition and causes harm. There is a lot to be said in all this. But when the topics of ‘what sex is for’, marriage and equality or lack of balance, I have yicdiesk uo.


  20. Jesus was a socialist December 1, 2022 at 5:21 pm

    This is lazy, even for conservative standards. This is going to convince no one to change their mind and only serves as self aggrandizement and general pot stirring.

    Your justification for theocracy in the U.S. is what is weak and as a Christian I find it offensive you would attempt to use this platform to promote yourself under the guise of moral “clarity” or whatever nonsense you’ve concocted to justify this farce.

    Your words are empty and false like a pharisee.


    1. While I don’t have a dog in the fight (I’m not a Christian), it seems that Jesus was about as opposite to a socialist as is possible. He never (whether in truth or in myth) advocated for confiscation of property, forced redistribution of wealth, or the creation of an elitist class of rulers. When he said to give your neighbor your coat, he meant YOUR coat – not the mob-enforced confiscation of SOMEONE ELSES coat.



  21. If this keeps up, MereO is going to turn into yet another troll ranch.

    Probably time to kill the comment feature, Jake.


  22. The whole conflict comes from conflating marriage under a religion with marriage in the eyes of the state. They are not, and should not be called the same thing – as doing so creates division and misunderstanding. In the U.S., marriage is essentially an element of the tax code. Married couples form something analogous to an LLC. The term “domestic partnership” better describes this. There is only one tax code, and we can fight out in the voting booth what it means and probably all get along with the outcome.

    Meanwhile, we have a host of religions and secular traditions performing actual “marriages”. This too can and should continue unabated. It was connecting them at the hip way back in the day when all the trouble began . .


  23. This bill grants no new rights to gay people. It does however provide explicit new rights for churches and anyone holding sincerely homophobic views to discriminate against LGBT people on all levels while receiving millions in government funds. I wish people would read the bill.


  24. Stop imposing your moral values on others, church people


    1. Why should “church people” be the only ones to stop imposing their moral views on other people? Lots of people, of all faiths and no faith, and of all political stripes, are trying to impose their version of right and wrong on the rest of society.


  25. Came here to try and give another perspective and promote discussion but Holy crap the comment section is a dumpster fire. Does this site just have zero moderation? You have a literal Confederate using multiple slurs, along with people doing nothing but insulting others, and people acting very disrespectful. How can we grow from this? This is not” turn the other cheek.” Remember, Christ said “I bring not peace, but a sword.”


  26. A great article, pointing out the arrogance of Tolkien and any Christian superiorists.”No item of Christian morality is valid only for Christians”. It is not the 16th century and you are no longer slaughtering indigenous people to show them the blessings of Christian morality! You have a church that believes in an infallible Bible despite thousands of scientific reasons to know otherwise. Christianity’s history of inquisitions, witch burnings, and other horrors brought on by “believers” that knew they were enforcing the only correct ideology has lost you the right to speak of morality.
    Tolkein should have stuck with tales of hobbits. His attitude is “My way or the highway”- so common today as we sadly see in the plague of Christian nationalists and others. Well, society has answered. You can hit the road.


  27. Whose definition of Christianity? From the standpoint of my mainline church, much of this represents a heretical view. Christianity is based on love, not doctrine.


  28. As a Christian,the Pauline position would best supported by French. St. Paul’s moral/ethical vision is for the Church,which is the domain over which he is to hold Christians accountable. Those outside those those bounds are God’s business, not his business.The Church has been blinded by various manifestations of “Constantinianism”. Only when it rejects this quasi -civil religion mentality, can it fully embrace its Kingdom mandate as a faithful witness to the Good News in a Christ honoring manner.


  29. Nothing wrong with discussing ideas of wrong, right, truth and God. But these are human opinions. They apply to that tiny space each of us occupies. And if they are of God, they come from within and apply to ourselves alone.

    The notion of Religious Liberty stands firmly on the premise of freedom of choice. Any imposition becomes a human imposition, not the expression of spirituality that only emerges from within. God can be found within, dnd only by each of us in our personal internal journey. That some resonate to one expression and not necessarily to our own is simply God’s way of telling us to honor the diversity He creates.

    God created Man, Woman and every variation. They are all His.


  30. “We” who, Kemosabe???


  31. The idea that Christians are outside the world and must step into the world with Christian laws (not sure what is meant by this) is absurd.

    You are in the world. You must coexist with others. Your absolute failure to understand the separation of church and state shows just how flimsy mainstream American Christianity has become.
    Devoid of reason, humility and history.

    Ironic isn’t it.


  32. I am surprised to see polygamy disparaged here when it is so intrinsic to the history of the Church. Will you also condemn Esau? Jacob? Solomon? And will you deny my wives?

    Powerful to see several unreluctant citations of Tolkien, though, in response to the MSM’s worry about antisemitism.


  33. ‘Confedetate Patriot’…what an ovxmoron.


  34. What has become sad here is that the folks at mere orthodoxy seem not to be monitoring the comments. And that has led to anti-rational responses that are highly emotional and care more about using pejorative labels than than providing useful comments


  35. […] Tolkien Was Right: Notes on the Respect for Marriage Act and the Post-Boomer Church (Jake Meador, Mere Orthodoxy): “Some time after his death, an editor was going through the papers and books in J. R. R. Tolkien’s library when he came across an old copy of C. S. Lewis’s pamphlet ‘Christian Behavior,’ which would later be re-published as one section in Lewis’s classic Mere Christianity. Folded inside the book was a letter Tolkien had written but apparently never sent to his long-time friend and fellow Oxford don. In it, Tolkien took issue with Lewis’s treatment of divorce in the pamphlet.” Recommended by an alumnus. […]


  36. FuckThisShitImOut December 3, 2022 at 1:15 am

    I’ll be the first one to say that having faith is a beautiful, amazing thing.

    However faith is something PERSONAL, not a societal building block. Human morality existed long before Christianity, and will exist long after. I don’t need a book or a threat from a deity to tell me to not murder, rape and pillage. I don’t do those things because I, like any person capable of human empathy, respect humans as autonomous individuals. You have every right to practice your faith however you please, but when you use it against others by spouting harmful rhetoric…well.

    I can’t speak for Jesus, but I get the feeling he wouldn’t be very proud of you.

    I’m fairly anti-church. If I have to pay taxes then a church should, too. It’s called Separation of Church and State here in the US. Why should an organization that makes money on handouts and fundraisers get special treatment? Because your chosen deity “lives” there? Okay. Well, let me use that logic against you: I’m a proud Asatru. Odin and Freya reside in my home, so why should I pay taxes on it?

    If your argument is anything like “Well Odin and Frey aren’t real.”, then I beg you: shut up. I can no more prove their existence than you can Jesus or Jehova/Yahweh/God’s. It’s our faith that makes them real to us.

    Religion is a deeply personal thing. In no way, shape or form should it be a foundation for a society. I certainly wouldn’t force my religion down my children’s throats. When they come of an age to become curious about faith, I intend to tell them thusly, “Faith is a journey you choose to start on your own. You find the one that makes you feel the most at home. And never compromise yourself. If a faith says you’re a sinner or bad person for being who you are then that faith isn’t a faith. It’s a group of bullies.”

    And, unfortunately, that’s what 90% of the comments I’ve read have been: bullies. Not just Christians, but the atheists, too. I’m ashamed to share a species with you lot. How DARE you consider yourself better based on personal beliefs. The arrogance is absolutely appalling. There is no one, true way. There is no right or wrong when it comes to faith. The author stating that Christian morality is human morality is a fantastic example of the very arrogance I condemn. What gives you the right to frame something so ubiquitous as fact? Who are you to dictate that Christianity is the superior of all the religions in this world?

    I’ll end things here on one, final note. Christianity is dying because of one, simple reason. It refuses to change with the times. You rigidly cling to a text that has been mistranslated and misinterpreted so many times that the number is outright offensive. Christians will outright ignore the corrections to the text because they’d rather keep hating than be wrong.

    And for those of you saying “Fuck Christians”: grow the hell up. Everyone has a right to their faith, everyone has a right to believe in whatever they damn well please. If they weaponize it and use it to hurt others that is not a Christian behavior that is an *asshole* behavior. Just like demonizing an entire group of people based on their faith.

    In short: the author, while eloquent, is a sanctimonious clown. Those of you in the comment section bullying others with harmful language and cruel mocking are sad, immature children in desperate need of a time out.

    We’re all human. We deserve love. We deserve decency. We deserve empathy and kindness. So be better.

    Note: For anyone who wishes to respond to this, don’t bother. Whether it be positive or negative, I won’t be responding or even coming back here. If you want to tell me I’m going to the fiery pits of hell, then don’t worry. There’s a line and I’ll be holding the door open for you. And don’t you let it hit you where nature split you.

    For those of you having actual meaningful and respectful conversations, keep it up! You’re a sterling example of what humans should be!


    1. “If your argument is anything like “Well Odin and Frey aren’t real.”, then I beg you: shut up. I can no more prove their existence than you can Jesus or Jehova/Yahweh/God’s. It’s our faith that makes them real to us.”

      Hey, this whole comments section is really grizzly. But this is a reasonable and moderate tone. To that end cheers.

      There are other things you cannot empirically prove yet are very real: inherent human value and dignity, any basic ethic of right and wrong, etc. Why should we not be bullies? Why should we not consider ourselves better than others? Why do humans deserve love, decency and kindness? Any reason you give is something that you can’t empirically prove, but is very much a faith claim. Yet those are things that we must bring into the public square clearly. (BTW I agree all those things are objectively wrong for good reasons that I cannot empirically prove but accept by faith.)

      Anyways, its an important debate but I don’t think its as simple as we can’t prove xyz.


  37. Fr. John Peter Boucher December 3, 2022 at 9:15 am

    “In a recent podcast, Matt Walsh challenged host Joe Rogan’s support for same-sex “marriage,” correcting Rogan as he repeated incorrect definitions of marriage and fallacious, worn-out talking points about the nature of homosexuality….
    “Rogan repeatedly asserted that people are born homosexual and that marriage ‘solidifies’ unions based on ‘love’ but that the institution of marriage is ‘not necessarily for society’.” (Life Site News 11/15/22)

    Although these arguments are all based on humanistic vantage points, we deny our Creator the credit for our very existence and our being sustained in that existence. We can’t beat our own hearts (70 times a minute). We can’t cause our bodies to stay alive in any way; and certainly we had no part in making the dust or slime from which God formed us. Without God, we cannot exist. Nor can we sustain ourselves in the existence that God has given us. We have free wills, but when we stand before our Creator, we will be accountable for each and every decision that we make without Him, or make without regard to Him and His Law.

    I made the following comment to the above article and it warrants being screamed from every rooftop:

    Genesis 1:27, 28 says: (27) “And God created man to His own image: to the image of God He created him: male and female He created them.
    (28) “And God blessed them, saying: Increase and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it, …”

    In the beginning there was only Adam and Eve, a male and a female. They were the society created directly by God, Himself. Is there really any other way then to define society or marriage? Can you deny the composition of society, or who the progenitors of society are? Is there any other book known to mankind that has the antiquity of the Bible, and therefore is more authoritative than the Bible in informing us of the mind of God in creating us?

    The “Big Bang” really took place when God created time and interjected His own raison d’etre… LOVE into His direct progeny… Adam and Eve.

    St. Matthew 19:5,6: (5) “For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and cleave to his wife, and the two shall be in one flesh.”…
    (The Sacrament of Marriage is truly what makes them two in one flesh. The Eternal Trinity, after having filled up Adam’s rib with flesh in Genesis 2:21,22, God “brought her, (Eve), to Adam,” just as the father presents the bride to the groom. The wedding vow is actually pronounced by Adam when he said in verse 23: “This is now bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man.” So the Eternal Trinity actually officiated at the First Marriage, and it was between a man and a woman… the only two existing human beings at that moment. See Genesis 2:21~24.) …
    (6) “Therefore now they are not two, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.”

    What God has defined, let no man redefine!

    The Big Bang was God laying the cornerstone for society … Marriage and Procreation… for His creature “man” who would become also His Church.

    Armageddon in Apocalypse 16:16 is defined as “the hill of robbers” and is exactly man trying to steal God’s prerogatives/definitions and remake God in his own image and likeness. Genesis 5:3 reads: “And Adam lived a hundred and thirty years, and begot a son to his OWN image and likeness…”

    Man is still trying create his own god in his own image and likeness.


  38. I’d suggest that you and French are not addressing the same question. You’re addressing a rather abstract question of political philosophy. But French is addressing a rather practical question of the application of US Constitutional principles.

    It’s worth noting that Tolkien’s undelivered letter was written at a time when England and the US were still fairly homogeneous, both socially and culturally. Tolkien’s argument makes some sense in that context. After all, the pluralism of the day was mainly that of a society composed of Christians and lapsed Christians. The soft influence of Christianity waned in the ensuing years because both of our countries accepted a large number of immigrants who were neither Western nor Christian. And, in doing so, we elected to maintain our Constitutional order and to extend equal rights under the law to those who settled here. Whether we appreciated it or not, we were thereby giving up the benefits of living in a nominally Christian society in which some legal deference was given to Christian morality.

    It’s an interesting philosophical question to entertain Tolkien’s proposal. But what does it mean practically? What does it mean in the context of our present Constitutional order? What does it mean in a country where Muslim morality and Christian morality are equally normative?

    One proposal is to move towards a “common good constitutionalism,” which is a more salient way of saying that constitutional interpretation should give weight to how any particular ruling would impact “real Americans,” namely, white Christians of the sort who predominated here before 1945? But that would necessarily upend 160 years of Constitutional jurisprudence, and create something akin to an Apartheid state. No one outside of the Claremont epistemic bubble takes such a suggestion seriously.

    In that sense, French implicitly acknowledges that, starting in about 1945, our culture adopted a much more generous view of what it means to be pluralistic. We took in people from every corner of the world with the promise that they could come here and enjoy the same liberty as those whose families had been here for generations. French accepts that as our present reality, and is guided by what the principles of equal protection and due process necessarily mean in that context.

    Meador asks an interesting question, and it’s one that was relevant at Tolkien’s time. But it’s not one that has much relevance today. It’s only relevant in an imaginary America that exists in some parallel universe—an America that retreated into relative isolation following the War and sought to maintain itself as a predominately white and Christian nation. But in evaluating this proposed Congressional act, we have to evaluate its merits in the context of the world in which we presently live, not the one in which we wished that we lived if only America had charted a different course 75 years ago. In other words, French isn’t proffering a philosophical defense of the course we’ve taken as a nation; he’s merely accepting the political and legal reality we face in view of having taken that course.

    And that probably gets at my chief critique of the NatCon project. It’s based on a kind of virtual reality. It implicitly invites us to hop into a time machine, go back to 1945, and warn America of what would happen if we didn’t heed Senator Taft’s warnings. In short, it’s a project in relitigating the battles that cultural conservatives litigated and lost in the 1940s and 1950s. It’s fine to think that history has shown Taft to be correct. But it’s folly to think that we can discount the past 75 years and recreate the America that we suppose would have resulted had Taft succeeded. It’s overly harsh to critique French as a mere proceduralist because he refuses to entertain such folly.

    As for Mohler and Trueman, they’re both carnival barkers who’ve created a cottage industry in peddling lies to people who want to be,I’ve those lies.


    1. This is well thought out, thank you.


  39. Since the editing feature is gone, I’ll add an addendum to my earlier comment.

    Meador criticizes French for defending a kind of proceduralism that doesn’t really conserve much. I’d suggest that this is wrong in two respects.

    First, it misunderstands the American conservative tradition. George Will probably provides the best summary of what American conservatism is: It’s focused on conserving the principles of the American founding. Those principles are fundamentally liberal in nature, and stand in direct opposition to the illiberal, crown-and-altar conservatism against which the founders rebelled. It’s fine to criticize French on that point. But it should be noted that that critique applies with equal force to the entire American conservative tradition, and echoes of the Tory critique of the American founding. So, it makes no sense to pin that critique onto French. If you have an issue with French’s proceduralism, then your issue is with the American founding and the principles related to it. French is merely accepting the reality of a decision that our forefathers made nearly 250 years ago.

    Second, it misunderstands why we are no longer a nominally Christian liberal society. The Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965 (INA) is the main reason why we are no longer a nominally Christian society. The INA ended preferences that favored immigrants who were white and Christian. Under the INA, most future immigration would be non-white and, in most cases, non-Christian. At the time when Tolkien penned his unsent letter, England was 99.9% white and Christian. In America, the figure was around 90%, and most of the 10% of minorities couldn’t vote. With the passage of the INA, America implicitly declared an end to being a nominally Christian society. One can certainly question the merits of passing the INA. But its passage is a fact, including the fact that it passed by whopping veto-proof supermajorities in both houses and enjoyed 88% support from Republicans in Congress. This was a resounding public declaration that we were choosing NOT to remain a nominally Christian society. French accepts this as a given fact. Your critique of him on that point is better directed to the INA itself and the broad swath of Americans who supported its passage.

    It’s unclear to me why French has become a popular punching bag for the NatCon crowd. French’s chief sin seems to be that he takes for granted that: (a) nearly 250 years ago the American founders rejected crown-and-altar Toryism in favor of a constitutional order based on liberal principles and natural rights; and (b) more than 50 years ago, Congress passed by wide margins a law that effectively ended the cultural reign of a kind of nominal Christianity. Thus, French’s chief sin seems to be that he refuses to enter the NatCon parallel virtual reality, where America is still 90% white and Christian and where constitutional rights take a back seat to Tory concerns of crown and altar. It’s not that French isn’t trying to conserve those things. No, it’s that, as an American living in the 21st century, he recognizes that he lives in a country in which the population has overwhelmingly decided not to conserve those things and has ratified a Constitution and passed laws giving voice to that. Those battles were fought and lost long ago. If you’re unhappy with that, you should probably join Rod Dreher in Budapest.


  40. Epilogue…

    This was overall a well-reasoned and thoughtful piece. I enjoyed reading it and appreciate the time and effort the author put into it.

    The observation concerning the waning power of Christianity in American society is quite apposite. And I agree that a lot of it’s due in large measure to the Boomers. The Boomers came of age around the time when the evangelical movement began to grow, and many evangelical priorities are shaped by the cultural hobby horses of the Boomers. Moreover, many conservative Boomers have a certain nostalgic fetish for the America of their youth—an America where white Christians were the dominant cultural force. In my view, conservative Boomers focused too much on the lost cause of reclaiming the America of their youth, forced the evangelical church to go along, and created a situation where the church seemed rather irrelevant to younger generations. It’s unclear to me that the Boomers are prepared to see evangelicalism reinvent itself as a remnant movement. I suspect that they’ll just cling to the hope of cultural hegemony and let the ship sink. So, younger Christians will have to go outside of existing institutions—with less money and time at their disposal—and create something wholly new that accepts that reality that a redux of 1953 isn’t just around the corner.

    I also don’t want to give the impression that I’m a cheerleader for liberalism. I agree that it has numerous flaws. I largely agree with your critique. But I’m far more pessimistic about any sort of post-liberal alternative. Illiberal populist regimes seem to devolve into authoritarian personality cults in fairly short order. And the gulags arrive shortly after that.


  41. Fr. John Peter Boucher December 3, 2022 at 8:27 pm

    Judging from these comments, it becomes rather obvious what the root cause of this problem really is…a complete disdain for our Creator, and a complete disregard for where we will spend eternity!
    The tail has forgotten Who the Dog truly is, and that it, the tail is truly the “stinky and soon to be charred end”.


    1. So, are you suggesting that anything other than a Christian integralist state is a “disdain for our Creator”? If so, are you denying communion to or seeking to excommunicate anyone in your parish who’s sworn a duty to uphold the Constitution of the United States?


  42. This mine field of comments is an apt demonstration of how most of us are not looking to persuade but to purge. Lord have mercy.


  43. […] commentateur culturel Jake Meador adopte une approche différente, Attention nous qu'”un nouveau moment dans l’histoire de l’église commence comme un nouveau […]


  44. […] commentator Jake Meador takes a different approach, warning us that “a new moment in church history is beginning as is a new moment in American […]


  45. I came to the comments for the simple purpose of finding a reference for the Tolkien to Lewis letter, as I would like to read the whole letter, if possible.
    Mere Orthodoxy editors/site managers – any possibility that this culd be provided?


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