Liberal Baptist evangelist Tony Campolo recently has proposed a “compromise” that would remove government from “marriage,” making it strictly a religious observance. The state would instead recognize “civil unions” for opposite sex and same sex couples. Ostensibly this arrangement would defuse controversy and liberate clergy from serving as agents of the state.
Campolo explains: “Marriage would be preserved as a religious institution for all of us who want to view it as such, and nobody’s personal convictions about this highly charged issue would have to be compromised.”
There are several problems with this supposed compromise, and it would likely only redirect rather than ameliorate controversy. It should be noted that Campolo, unlike others on the Religious Left, has not renounced traditional Christian teaching on marriage per se. And there are some religious conservatives, despairing of marriage’s legal future, who flirt with Campolo’s view.