Pastor Lee starts out with a pretty good explanation of why words and definitions of words matter, yet in his discussion he veers off course and actually bolsters the claim of those who want to redefine marriage to include same-sex couples.
Before I explain why, I would like to elaborate on what I just stated on "redefining" marriage. The LGBT community has tried to claim that we are not redefining marriage, but instead are opening up marriage; we are not claiming to increase the amount of people in a marriage, only the genders. This my friends, looks to me as if we are splitting hairs. Marriage, no matter its purpose, has "historically" been one man one woman. Now. the reality of marriage - ex. womens property status, racial laws etc. - have clouded our discussion when we talk about the definition itself. When the definition is discussed, we are not talking about the reality, we are talking about what it has been "historically" understood as over the past few centuries. Thus, by opening marriage to same gender individuals, we are "changing" or "redefining" the definition, because it has been mostly been between one man and one woman.
That being said, let us look at Pastor Lee's argument.
Pastor Lee starts his discussion with Vidalia Onions then moves onto (what I presume to be) the Mormon version of Jesus. You see, it is in this discussion that Lee trips himself (albeit unintentionally) up. Lee claims that there is one definition that is true - his definition of Jesus, as understood by mainstream Christianity - and that the Mormons are advocating a different definition. By doing so, the Mormons are able to deceive others in the community because they twist the "understood" definition of Jesus. Yet, Pastor Lee, having a correct definition, knows that their definition is false. This my friends is the contradiction. You see, Lee assumes that once marriage is "redefined" to include gay couples, that the traditional understanding of marriage will disappear. This could be farther from the truth!! Though some within society will have a redefined view of marriage, those who cling to a more traditional understanding of the Bible will stay with their traditional views. By redefining marriage in the public sphere, we are not redefining it in the private. By extending the right of civil marriage ( a redefining of the term marriage itself) we are not in any way redefining private religious traditional marriage.
Even in his defense, Pastor Lee bolsters my own argument, by using his own understanding of marriage from a Christian perspective - an understanding that, its interesting to note, many people within the U.S. don't ascribe too. He states,
When we use the term "marriage," we are referring to a God-given institution that was defined as one man and one woman whose lives, including their sexual lives, are experienced solely through that union. They leave their mothers and fathers, they cleave together, and they become one flesh.
No longer will marriage be defined through the religious communities that originally recognized it as a gift from God for men and women meant to reflect our relationship with God Himself. No longer will marriage be defined as one man and one woman living in a committed monogamous relationship for life.
But Pastor Lee fall short here, for marriage is no longer an institution that is "defined" by the Church. The Church may have started such an institution - that itself is up for debate - but the Church eliminated its "public" defining capacity when it allowed the government to be involved with civil marriage. Pastors Lee's own argument flounders in todays society, though it might be good argument for use in the Church. The Government does not recognize that marriage is a gift from God, or that it was even defined by God; the Government cannot admit such, for to do so would make illegitimate all civil marriages not performed in the Church, for they are not "blessed" by God.
So is Pastor Lee's argument truly viable in our society? Not really. Though I enjoyed his piece, I believe he made some significant flaws in his reasoning. Though words matter, we all are allowed to "define" it by our religious beliefs. Just like I will show in a few days when I discuss the definition of freedom, words do mean things overall, but our understanding of these meanings will differ based on what world-view we come from.