“Criticism is something we can avoid easily by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.”
SCOTUS ruled in favor of same sex marriage. If this was a surprise to you, you weren't paying attention. The response is fairly predictable. Those in support of same sex marriage view this as a huge victory and those oppose see this as a betrayal of tradition, natural law, and fear the limiting of a person's exercise of religion. There is another response that should be considered. It is compassion for those who seem to think that this ruling by 5 judges offers legitimacy to their relationship.
I have argued that marriage is something determined by natural law and cannot be redefined because it is metaphysically unique. Of course, this debate has never been about discovering truth. It has always been about something else. That something isn't hospital visits or legal issues. That something is the legitimizing of a certain kind of relationship by the culture at large. Those who are in favor of same sex marriage are generally concerned with how their relationship is viewed and they only use arguments related to hospital visits and so on when they are in some kind of debate and need some ammo (so to speak).
I am not upset by the ruling, I figured it was only a matter of time. Instead, I feel compassion towards people who seem to think that these 5 judges or even culture at large are the ones who must give credence to their relationship. If you are a person who is gay, let me put this as simply as I know how. Relationships are legitimate or illegitimate based on their own merits. This is a hard truth to face and it may not feel good to read such a thing. Yet, nature and nature's God will not budge. I am sorry if the ruling by SCOTUS is offering you some kind of false assurance. Same sex marriage is a contradiction in terms and nature is the iron clad witness to this truth.
While this truth may be hard, it is also true that same sex attraction does not define a person or determine their value. It is the creator who determines such things and the creator has determined that every person's value is worth great sacrifice. That sacrifice and love was most clearly and blatantly expressed when Jesus willingly gave his life by being nailed to the cross.
Perhaps this truth is not so comforting as it may not relieve the immediate struggle, but it does offer hope for a time when there will be no more struggle. This is true for every person and every kind of struggle, not just homosexuality.
Soon, the Supreme Court will rule on the marriage issue. Many people are holding their breath as they wait to hear the ruling from 1 First St. NE, Washington DC. It is almost as if the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) sits atop Mt. Olympus casting down judgments from on high. Can the court really change the definition of marriage? To some the obvious answer is yes, but this isn't a post about legal language, it is a post about the metaphysical nature of what has normally been referred to as marriage. This post isn't about the law of a particular land ruled by a particular group of people, it is about the laws of the universe.
The Supreme Court cannot change the essence of marriage. It can change what a particular legal body accepts as a definition. It could even come up with another word to define a different kind of relationship (civil union for example). What it cannot do is change the way the universe operates. This is true whether you are a Christian or not. There are certain laws of nature that cannot be altered. SCOTUS will make a ruling and in that ruling it is possible that they will say that states must recognize same sex relationships of a certain kind as a marriage. This would force companies to extend benefits to same sex couple, change health care coverage, change vacation policies, and so on. For some, this is the goal. While those are consequences worth discussing, that is not our purpose here. SCOTUS' ruling has significant consequences in many arenas, but what the ruling cannot do is change the essence of marriage.
There are many elements that are common to marriage relationships, and many of those elements overflow into other relationships, even non-romantic relationships. Intimacy, for example, is experienced in a unique way in a healthy marriage relationship, but, as a whole it is not exclusive to marriage. Two good friends can and should be intimate in sharing with one another and supporting one another. This is the kind of relationship that David and Jonathan had in the Bible. Affection is another example. A healthy marriage is affectionate, but appropriate levels of affection should be shown between a parent and a child regardless of the gender. While I would argue that it is immoral outside of the bond of marriage, sexual acts can, and unfortunately do, take place between people outside of marriage. Yet, with the many common elements a marriage relationship can have with other kinds of relationships, there is one thing that distinguishes marriage from other kinds of relationships. That thing is the production of a family. Some might say that people can choose not to get married and they can produce children. This is true, but when a person speaks in that way, they are talking about legal or perhaps religious recognition of marriage. That is not what I am talking about. From a natural law perspective, when people engage in sexual relations that can produce children, they are at a minimum mimicking marriage; that is to say they are acting as if they are married, at least in those moments.
Historically, governments have seen fit to protect this very special kind of relationship that is unlike any other. They have passed laws to safeguard this relationship for the purpose of protecting the children as well as assuring the continuation of a people and a nation. Many times in history governments have not only protected such relationships, but the government has essentially attempted to bribe its people to get married and produce children. This was the case in Rome just before and after the birth of Christ. People stopped getting married because of loose sexual mores, among other things. Polyamorous relationships, homosexual relationships, and so on were widely permitted. As a result, there was no real reason for people to get married and make a commitment to one person or even one kind of person. Few were getting married and few were having children.
As a result, the government over several hundred years attempted to incentivize marriage. In the first century BC the senator Augustus proposed a law that would require men to marry so they would have children. He said, "If we could survive without a wife, citizens of rome, all of us would do without that nuisance; but since nature has so decreed that we cannot...we must plan for our lasting preservation rather than for our temporary pleasure." The same senator argued for higher taxes on men who were not married. Many benefits have been given to those who were married and had children over the centuries. If you know even a tiny bit about the tax code in the United States you will be thinking about child tax credits and other such benefits to being married and having children. Lycurgus the law giver of the spartans enacted laws to embarrass bachelors. In more recent history, after WWII the Soviet Union, Poland, and Romania enacted tax penalties on adult childless persons.
The list could go on, but no more is needed. The point is simple and clear. Governments have not been interested in the romantic relationships of its people because, as Ryan Anderson puts it, "the government is a sucker for romance." The government is interested because children ensure the continued existence of the state. Marriage is the only kind of relationship that ensures such a thing. Generally speaking, outside of the context of marriage children are a more significant burden than they are inside that relationship. When the ideal of marriage is abandoned, it impacts entire nations. Marriage declines, few people have children, and the propagation of a culture dies.
The SCOTUS can do whatever it likes, I suppose, but the uniqueness of a marriage relationship as it has historically been understood and as natural law demands that it be understood cannot be altered by SCOTUS or any other body of people. Breaking this natural law has severe and dire consequences. There is no compelling reason for the government to endorse same sex relationships by demanding that states recognize such unions as marriage. No matter what SCOTUS says, nature will not comply.
I haven't seen an article, blog post, or TV spot suggesting it, but then I don't watch TV that much and I don't scour the internet looking for such fodder. This is just coming out of my own occasionally twisted mind. Perhaps it is nothing, but I suspect that soon days like "Fathers Day" will become intolerant and offensive to those who do not have both a mom or dad, but instead they have two moms or two dads. It's the next logical step isn't it?
Many have been saying that two dads or two moms can do just as good of a job raising kids as a mom and dad. The last thing we need to do is remind children in such cases that their situation is highly unusual and suggest that they might be missing out on something, right? Mothers day and fathers day do exactly that, don't they? Won't the kid with two moms be led to believe that he or she is deprived because of the absence of a father figure in their life? Moms and dads are interchangeable anyway...aren't they? In light of the interchangeable nature of moms and dads shouldn't we combine mother's day and father's day into one day called parents day?
I guess I don't know for sure this will happen, but I won't be surprised if it does. I hope this strikes you as odd that a celebration of fathers or mothers could potentially be considered offensive, it should. The question is, why? All I did was follow the logic of those promoting a homosexual/same sex marriage agenda a little further down the bunny trail. Gender distinction of any kind is anathema.
Yet, Scripture makes gender distinctions from the very beginning. There is no confusion, there is man and there is woman created in chapter 1 of Genesis. Chapter 2 confirms this distinction as does chapter 3 even in the curses that are a result of the fall gender distinctions are made as curses are given for the man and for the woman. Every time marriage is mentioned in Scripture gender distinction is assumed whether it is the words of Jesus, Paul, or any other author in Scripture. Although parenting is sometimes talked about in general terms, specific instructions are given to dads and moms.
The very existence of mother's day and father's day suggest that kids need both. Many kids don't get both, but the ideal is clear, it is a mom and a dad. This does not negate the struggle that some people face in regards to same sex attraction. This is not an attempt to minimize that struggle nor is it an attempt to offer any answers in that regard. Those struggles are real.
John Byrne is a pastor who has been spouting off his opinions his entire life (just ask his mom). This little blog is his venue for continuing in this tradition.