Return of the Prodigal Son by Pompeo Batoni - 1773

Evolution for the Catholic Student

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Sunday, April 14, 2013

The War for Marriage

The War for Marriage

As the Supreme Court hears two cases about the legal redefinition of marriage, we are treated to assurances (taunts?) that homosexual “marriage” is inevitable.  I’m not willing to accept that, but it’s not just unsubstantiated bias.  There is plenty of data supporting the fact that American attitudes on the issue have certainly changed. 
The Pew Research Center shows that currently support for redefining marriage in law has reached 48%, as opposed to 44% against.  This switch is a very recent development.  In 2012, we saw four states, for the first time, reject marriage at the ballot box.  Maine, in fact, reversed itself from only three years earlier.
So when did we lose the culture on this issue?  Was it the election of 2012?  Or perhaps 2010?  2011?  None of those answers are right.  I submit that it was in 1953, with the advent of no-fault divorce (though one could make a very strong argument for 1930 at the Lambeth Conference).
The reason supporters and opponents of homosexual “marriage” see the issue so differently is that generally speaking, they are focusing on two different issues.  Supporters focus on “homosexual;” opponents focus on “marriage.”
The homosexual community, by and large, doesn’t want to marry.  The issue is that there is an institution that the government accepts for heterosexual couples, which it denies to homosexual couples.  Therefore, we have discrimination.  In large part, it’s not a matter of being able to be married; it’s the statement the government is making by not recognizing same-sex “marriage.”
Sounds somewhat reasonable, perhaps even to Christians, for though we recognize homosexuality to be disordered, we do not deny that homosexual persons have as much value and dignity as everyone else.
Of course, I could complain that the government refuses to recognize me as a mother, or a senior citizen, or an elephant for that matter.  Is this discrimination?  Perhaps.  Is it reasonable?  Of course.  By definition, and by nature, I can not be a mother, a senior citizen (yet), or an elephant.  I have no legitimate complaint against the government for refusing to acknowledge what is not reality.  Similarly no proclamation of the Supreme Court can make homosexual marriage a reality.  Nature has already defined that.  The Court can simply declare that official U.S. policy will not conform to reality.
The only way of creating homosexual marriage is by changing the definition of marriage, which the Supreme Court has no power to do.  However, it does have power over U.S. law and policy.  And certainly, for marriage to be redefined, even with regard to those spheres, would be devastating to marriage, family, and ultimately society.
Why does our culture refuse to recognize this?  It goes back to our losing the culture on marriage in 1953.  Since then, the definition of marriage has been steadily eroding.  The issue before us now is just the latest in a long line of destructive cultural tendencies.
We will not win this issue until our culture regains an understanding of what marriage is, and its incredible value, especially to children.  If that doesn’t happen, it doesn’t matter what the Supreme Court rules in these cases.
This is an incredibly mighty task.  We desperately need sociologists, philosophers and theologians to make constant, clear, forceful statements on this issue.  And we desperately need married people to live authentic married lives, as God intended, with a focus directed not on themselves, but on sacrificial and committed love for each other, their children, the Church, and the community.
Is homosexual “marriage” inevitable?  The question really is, “Can our culture reclaim an authentic image of marriage?”  I don’t know.  I do know that with God all things are possible.  And I also know that this is a spiritual battle, and our political adversaries are not our enemies; they are souls to be won.  We will only win with Truth and with Holiness, and if we intend to, we had better get started now.