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Patrick Reardon, signed the Same-Sex Marriage Bill into law in 2013. So to some degree, we may not know what’s going to happen with the press coverage of this event if there are Catholic clergy or a few bishops who say, “We’re going to bring this up next year in Philadelphia when the Pope is there, when the Pope is in town”—I guess it’s not next year; it’s just a season away, because it’s going to affect the NFL football schedule—“When the Pope is in town, we intend to bring this up and ask him what we should do about this”?
And today on Ancient Faith Radio, we’re bringing you two timely interviews on one subject. Patrick was in the news recently regarding a decision he made to no longer sign marriage licenses in his home state of Illinois.
I still want to have pastoral care over the marriages of my people, but I can’t sign those documents.” I could see a lot of guys going for that, to tell you the truth. Mattingly: Yeah, and frankly, also, couldn’t you see a Missouri-Synod pastor reaching that decision in, say, Massachusetts or New York quicker than they would reach it in Texas or Oklahoma or Arkansas or something? If you have any question about this, contact my church.” In other words, in some ways it’s not even acknowledging the state other than to say the state of Texas has agreed that if religious traditions have done a marriage, the state then will say, “Okay, we salute that,” which removes the couple even one stage further. Wilken: I was speaking recently with a Canadian pastor, and this maybe is another wrinkle here. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a story in the mainstream press covered as consistently and poorly as the story in Indiana.
As I told the people last Sunday, when we speak to the world, we can expect the world to -examine us. We don’t hold a sacramental view of it, but I can very easily imagine a good stalwart Lutheran pastor of my ilk saying, “You know, I like Reardon’s solution. They just simply file a form that says, “A marriage has taken place. I believe it was Rod Dreher—might have been Mollie, might have been both; might have been Mollie Ziegler Hemingway, and it might have been both—who simply said, “What we saw in Indiana at the level of the press was nothing short of holy war.” I’ve been at this a long time, and this is really saying something.
It has nothing to do with Pat Reardon’s opinions or certainly not Pat Reardon’s feelings. The simple fact of the matter is a Baptist pastor or a non-denominational pastor isn’t working with the same vows and the same theology that they have to defend. Wilken: In your estimation, is the media capable of… And Reardon stressed at the end: “I’m not making a political statement; I’m making a theological statement.” You should always remember, as you and I have discussed many times, that for many people in the press, politics is the only reality; politics is the only thing that affects real life in the real world.
It makes no difference at all what I feel about same-sex marriage; it’s a contradiction in terms, and these things are decided by the creating hand of God. I know that this is speculative, but I’d be interested in your prediction on whether think the Supreme Court of the United States, which is, as I mentioned in the prelude, is hearing oral arguments today on [the] pro and con of same-sex marriage—I wonder if you feel if they’re going to rule in favor of same-sex marriage, and whether it will then become federal law. He’s not judging them, because he said that’s a completely different moral issue; whether they seek access to a state contract on the same terms as everybody else is a completely different moral decision than a priest’s decision to validate that state contract. I think Reardon would say he doesn’t have a theological option, and thus this is, for him, with his vows and his Church’s theology, that this is an issue of faithfulness. It’s a subtlety, but it’s a very important subtlety. Mattingly: In other words, at the end of my column, I was trying to think of what statement that Reardon said that I could use as a wrap-up, and, frankly, I was anticipating which direction the press coverage might go.