"The First of Institutions"
In an article called "The First of Institutions," theologian Gilbert Meilaender writes that conversations about homosexuality should begin with a discussion of marriage.
As headlines from both coasts indicate, there is increasing argument about the morality of homosexuality and about the proper response to social and ecclesiastical demands by homosexual rights activists. In an insightful article called "The First of Institutions" (which is available as a pdf file here), Gilbert Meilaender establishes a framework for the portion of the discussion that focuses on theological ethics. Meilaender writes that conversations about homosexuality should begin with a discussion of marriage and its purposes because marriage is the first of institutions and, as such, has much to say about the nature of sexuality and love. He proceeds to define the purposes of marriage and what they imply about sexuality, and only then moves on to the Bible's evaluation of homosexual behavior and what others have said about it. He concludes by measuring the latter against the former. "The First of Institutions" was published originally in Pro Ecclesia, Volume VI, Number 4.
Meilaender has appeared on various issues of the Journal. [Posted April 2004, ALG]