My wife and I were married in a church, by an excellent pastor, with a clear and full exposition of why we were taking this step. It was not so that we could get a tax break. It was not so that our children would not be bastards and would be able to inherit our assets. It was to mirror the relationship of Christ to the Church and to demonstrate faithfulness and love to those around us.
Unfortunately, we were also married with those horrible words: “By the power vested in me by the State of Delaware…” There is nothing wrong (for greater accuracy – more wrong) with Delaware in comparison to another state. However, there is something wrong with a state granting a pastor power over a wedding ceremony. As with other private-public institutions, there is a confusion between the power of God and the ‘power’ of the state.
David J. Theroux, at The Independent Institute has a great article (Part I, Part II) on this very confusion. Theroux comes at the issue from a different direction than I have, setting the philosophical and historical precedents that ushered religion out of society, only to be replaced by what he calls a secular theocracy. It is at this point that Theroux begins to take a different tack than the majority of Christian commentators. Instead of advocating Christians rise up and make America great again by reworking this theocracy, Theroux supports “de-socializing the public square” by “privatizing government schools, transportation, welfare… civic areas of all types, etc., and allowing covenants and other private institutions and communities to flourish.”