Return of the Prodigal Son by Pompeo Batoni - 1773

Evolution for the Catholic Student

Order 'Evolution for the Catholic Student' - Click on the image above

Monday, June 29, 2015

The Supreme Court's Decision - Now What?

The Supreme Court’s Decision –
Now What?

350z33 at English Wikipedia [CC BY-SA 3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons

          Last week’s Supreme Court ruling would seem to have been an answer to a major cultural question.  But rather than an answer, it was really the opening to many more questions: What does it mean?  What will happen next?  What are we, as Christians, to do?  Are we living in the End Times?  Or does it at least spell the end for our country? 
          I have heard all of these asked over the past few days; I have asked some of them myself.  Over the next week or so, I will be reflecting on them and sharing some of my (very unauthoritative) thoughts.
          The first question I need to answer (which all of us do) is a very personal one.  We are probably all close to people (friends, family, coworkers) who see last Friday’s decision as a cause for great celebration.  We have probably all had to endure some of that celebration the past few days.  How do we respond to that?
          There is no question that much of it has been, and will continue to be, crass and revolting.  We will be taunted, called bigots who have finally been placed firmly on the wrong side of history, and scorned.  It seems to me that such responses should be met with patience, but essentially ignored.  They are without depth and dignity, and do not deserve a response.
          However, I do not begrudge the marriage redefiners their celebration.  The day that all human life is protected from conception to natural death, I will certainly celebrate, rightly so.  I will try to be classy and gracious, but such an event would deserve to be celebrated.  Those on the other side of this issue must be feeling the same way right now.  I understand.  Even those who, in their zeal, have crossed the line, I can easily forgive.  It’s easy to go overboard at such an emotional moment.
          But how do we personally respond to those people we have, or certainly will, encounter, who celebrate last week’s decision of those five black-robed politicians?  There is no question that they are wrong; we need not back down on that point.  Last week’s decision no more puts us on the wrong side of history than did the Dred Scott decision put abolitionists on the wrong side of history.  Right is right and wrong is wrong, regardless of historical events.  (Besides, I’d much rather be on the right side of eternity than history.)
          It seems to me that the answer to the question of how we ought to respond is simple: with charity.  As much as I disagree with those who have sought to redefine marriage, I understand their position, and in most cases, I respect them.  I believe that most of the people I know personally have arrived at their position, by and large, compassionately.
          This is what I mean.  They and we hold totally different visions of what it is to be a human person – who we are, what our destiny is, and the genius of our creation.  We hold to a vision of the human person that is much larger and more beautiful than secular society offers.  We believe in a destiny in which our culture not only no longer believes; it no longer finds desirable.  We encourage men to be ruled by their higher nature, given by God, and in which they will find the fullest happiness.  But the world says that we have no higher nature; we have simply a highly evolved bestial nature.
          To be sure, not all those on the other side of the marriage issue have fallen for the entire secular bundle of lies.  But it is certain that their view of human beings, human sexuality, and marriage and family, differs greatly from ours.
          Here’s the point: if they are correct on those fundamental issues, then we are wrong about same-sex “marriage.”  Their view of “marriage equality” flows naturally, and compassionately, from their basic assumptions.
          On the other hand, if we are right about the fundamentals, then they are wrong about marriage.  Our view is the truly compassionate and loving one, loving towards everyone, because what we aspire to for all people, is higher and more beautiful, however difficult it may be.
          Therefore, although I soundly disagree with those who celebrate the Supreme Court’s decision, I can respect them – because both their position and mine are based on charity.  Genuine charity has led them from a faulty starting point to a faulty conclusion, but charity is something I can admire regardless. 
I do not scorn anyone for not knowing calculus.  I have never cut off a friend or family member because they could not properly conjugate irregular verbs.  Why, then, would I act in such a manner to one whose knowledge about man, sexuality and marriage is lacking?
I honor the charity in their hearts, and perhaps they can honor the charity in mine.  Now this does not answer all the questions that I began this article with, and there still remain large cultural questions and battles (probably for survival) to be fought.
But at least with this approach, I can love others as I hope to be loved by them.  In times like these, that’s at least a start.  May we all pray for the grace.