Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Same-sex "Marriage" and the Threat to Religious Freedom

Matthew J. Franck has an extremely well-written article entitled: "Religion, Reason and Same-sex Marriage" in First Things on how the current drive for homosexual "marriage" is a danger to religious freedom for traditionalists of all religions. He analysis of several recent court cases in the US and the UK shows that the movement to change the definition of marriage is driven almost entirely by judges and is getting very little popular traction. Yet, it poses a real threat to those who resist "re-education" and "progressivism."

Ironically, we have already passed the point where Christians are now more persecuted under the new regime than homosexuals were under the old regime. This is because the pro-same-sex "marriage" movement is determined actually to "re-educate" and control the thought processes of conservatives, whereas prior to the past few decades there was a long-standing understanding that what homosexuals did privately in their own bedrooms was not of importance in public affairs. They were free to think and act as they wished. Marriage, however, was a completely different matter; an institution centered on the raising of children. Homosexuals then and now have little interest in limiting the rights of adults for the sake of raising children, yet they wish to use marriage as a vehicle to impose their own version of the sexual revolution on the rest of us.

Franck concludes as follows:
It is no surprise that the handful of judges to rule so far in favor of same-sex marriage have uniformly employed shabby reasoning, for no sound reasoning about the Constitution will yield the desired result. But even bad logic has this characteristic: It brooks no compromise as it runs its course. Premises march to conclusions, and, even if the road goes through fallacies, they reach those conclusions, which become the new premises for marching on to the next ones. That’s how principles that began by protecting freedom of religion are converted into attacks on that freedom. That’s how the support that religion gives to morality is converted into an affirmative reason to reject that morality. That’s how people who bring the light of their faith openly into the life of the community—people like Owen and Eunice Johns—are told to take that light, put it under a bushel basket, and go away. That’s how one side in a great controversy about the future of our society gets told that its view amounts only to “hate” that deserves no hearing in the public square.

In the end, this strategy pursued by the advocates of same-sex marriage will be self-defeating. That final defeat, no doubt, will not come without a struggle, displaying more of what we have seen already from these advocates: sloppy reasoning, resort to undemocratic tactics, and animosity toward religious freedom and conscience. No movement claiming to stand for human rights in American history—with the possible exception of the “reproductive rights movement”—has so plainly set itself on a collision course with the moral and religious sentiments of the majority. That majority will not, I think, be argued out of the faith of its fathers and mothers and the historic commitment of that faith to the preservation of the family and the institution of marriage. Nor will it be intimidated out of it, even by the august authority of judges claiming to speak in the name of our Constitution.
I share Franck's long-term optimism, although I think the short-term looks rather more grim.

It would seem that most of the people pushing the SSM agenda are not homosexuals themselves (although many are). What is the deepest motivation for such people? It might be a misguided sense of compassion for homosexual people, although it is hard to believe that a truly compassionate person could be so selectively and one-sidedly compassionate. It might be a mixture of naive idealism and illogical thinking and Franck certainly exposes plenty of poor reasoning in the court rulings he discusses. There is one other, very disturbing, possibility. It may be that secularists who want to eradicate the Christian influence on society in the name of an anarchistic kind of degenerate free-for-all have latched on to this issue as a club with which to beat Christians.

Again, if that latter is the real driver of the SSM issue, it is difficult to see the secularist position winning over the long term because it is fundamentally destructive of culture, civility and freedom. The worst it can do is provoke a right-wing reaction and lead to civil violence. There are signs in California post-Proposition 8 that violence is just below the surface and may well become inevitable if the anarchists don't get their own way. Then again, once the pendulum swings too far in the libertine direction violence may erupt anyway. It is too bad that we can't seem, as a culture, to find a way to live and let live. But extreme individualism coupled with a blind faith in the coercive power of the state to force those who disagree with you to change is a recipe for the erosion of social capital and the loss of freedom and civility.

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