Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Bernie Sanders and the Socialist Unicorn

We've been through this before. What began as the Inevitable March to the Coronation of Queen Hillary is turning into Hillary's Worst Nightmare: an attractive candidate, Bernie Sanders, is running in the Democratic primaries that is campaigning to Clinton's left and cutting into her popularity. In 2008, it was Barack Obama, the candidate who convinced Americans that through simple but forceful political will, he would rescue the American economy from recession and transform this country into an oasis of economic "fairness."

While Obama pretty much has governed as he promised, the economy languishes, a tiny fragment is able to snag whatever real gains the anemic economy is producing, and it is abundantly clear that a stagnant economy for most people is in the foreseeable future. That Obama has been able to convince the majority of Americans (with lots of help from his sycophantic media) that the entire bout of economic stagnation is wholly the fault of George W. Bush is nothing short of amazing, but there it is. In fact, he claims that the only reason the economy is not booming is because the Republicans (who get to take on the role of Emmanuel Goldstein) are blocking prosperity, not that Republicans are exactly the soul of responsible governance.

Now, there is nothing good I have to say regarding the Republicans and the economy. The Bush administration really did manage to move the economy from the collapse of the tech bubble (which fell apart in late 2000) almost seamlessly into the housing bubble, all with a bit of help from Alan Greenspan at the Federal Reserve System, who not only provided the low interest rates, but also promised "liquidity" to those financial entities that might run aground pursuing the near-worthless "investments" of "mortgage securities" and their companion "sub-prime" paper.

If President Obama, Clinton, Sanders, and the obscure contender, Gov. Martin O'Malley, were denouncing the triggering of a financial bubble as a cover for a weak economic policy during the Bush years, that would be one thing. Instead, they denounce what they believe to be a mystical characteristic of capitalism in which wealth always accumulates to a tiny group of people (at the expense of the general public), and then call for more of the same policies that are driving the U.S. economy to ruin and creating the very results they claim to condemn.

The modern American character seems to demand more of whatever is currently damaging the economy. For example, since Obama took office in 2009, the Federal Reserve System has pushed down interest rates to near zero, taxes have risen sharply, government spending has exploded, the regulatory state has advanced as though it were on steroids, and the president has escalated attack rhetoric against American business in general and entrepreneurs in particular. Not surprisingly, the economy has not recovered well from the 2008 crisis. And, not surprisingly, the president's attacks on private enterprise are immensely popular.

No candidate does a better job of simultaneously promising to wreck private enterprise and promising to increase our economic standard of living than Bernie Sanders. While Obama and Clinton have given lip service to capitalism, Sanders wants no part of it. Instead, the once-Trotskyite True Believer actually believes that we can have both complete state control over the economy and a more robust economy than what currently exists, with the "re-creation" of the American middle class.

How does Sanders propose to carry out this plan to create the socialist paradise that none of his ideological predecessors could construct? His campaign has created an 11-step "plan" that has been put into a simple meme, courtesy of the hard-left Occupy Democrats:

This is the sort of things that would make modern Americans excited, as it creates a number of promised "benefits" in which others will be sent the bill, most notably the so-called One Percent. (Sanders already has endorsed the 90 percent marginal tax rates of the 1950s as an ideal place to start over with tax policies.) Furthermore, even though Americans lead the world in per-pupil spending in government school systems, the only "acceptable" plan to a socialist like Sanders is to spend even more, and if that does not work, spend more.

As one looks through the list, a few things seem to stand out. First, and most important, the Sanders "plan" depends heavily upon the government forcing up real production costs for businesses. To put it another way, Sanders seems to believe that if government makes the creation of goods to be more expensive, that will raise real standards of living for people who already are not wealthy. He hardly is alone here; the U.S. Government has been doing everything possible to force up real business costs in the name of "increasing incomes" for owners of factors of production.

Second, Sanders advocates the expansion of services that would be "free" to Americans with, of course, the "One Percent" paying for everything. No doubt, he would claim (and he has the company of Paul Krugman here) that all of these new expenses would "stimulate" the American economy because, after all, someone will be forced to "spend money."

The idea seems so simple and so straightforward that even opponents like me can understand the logic behind it. Socialists believe that owners of capital (see Thomas Piketty and others) over time receive increasing returns to capital while individual laborers, over that same period of time, receive diminishing returns to their labor. In the vernacular, private ownership of capital and means of production in general create a situation in which, scientifically speaking, the "rich get richer, and the poor become poorer."

This was the idea behind Marx's views on capital, and modern generations of economists and politicians have taken it to new levels. Because of this unequal situation, over time capitalists gain larger and larger shares of income while workers become impoverished. Capitalists, however, are not able to spend enough money to keep the economy afloat and workers are too poor to spend much, so over time the economy falls into the doldrums, which is where things stand today.

Whether one is examining this situation through the eyes of a Marxist or through a Keynesian (and Keynesians pretty much believe that when an economy is in the infamous "liquidity trap," it will implode in the same manner socialists believe will occur unless government intervenes through more spending), we see pretty much the same recommendation: redistribute income and spend, spend, spend. This "doctrine" is self-evident in the eyes of the Left, and the leftist lack of understanding of capital is so complete that it almost is impossible for people who believe these things even to acknowledge that there could be an alternative explanation for the boom-and-bust cycles, and for this economy's pathetic performance the past seven years.

This is Bernie Sanders' world, too. In Sandersland, capital is useful only in the spending that occurs in building and maintaining it, and the interests in capital are contrary to the interests of labor. As for the production of goods themselves, in Sanders' socialist world, goods automatically appear on the assembly lines and in even greater abundance if those assembly lines either are owned or at least heavily regulated by government. Furthermore, the quality of those goods is identical to anything produced by private enterprise.

There are lots of reasons as to why this is not true -- certainly Ludwig von Mises and F.A. Hayek showed why during the so-called Economic Calculation Debate -- and none to "prove" they are true, but Sanders has chosen to be a True Believer, anyway, so any economic plan a Sanders administration would hatch would be pointed toward governmental activities aimed at measures whose implementation would result in shrinking the U.S. economy. No doubt, Sanders would claim his vision is "expansionary," but no economy can expand by having government force up real costs of factors of production.

So, why the appeal? One explanation has been that Sanders is the "Ron Paul of the Left." At one level, I can understand why people might be attracted to his candidacy. Like Ron Paul, Sanders has not used his office to seek personal financial gain. When he was mayor of Burlington, Vermont, Sanders sometimes slept in his office and was famous for working hard and being available to his constituents.

However, Sanders' so-called honesty does not render him an economic expert, and it is clear to anyone with a whit of understanding of economics that Sanders has no idea how wealth is created, or why creation of wealth is an important thing. Instead, he seems to believe that if government forces up the cost of producing goods (and especially if government forces up labor costs), then society is better off because factors are receiving higher incomes.

(Likewise, Hillary Clinton also is running on a platform of "cracking down" on the "sharing economy," which is a nice way of saying her goal is to force up real labor costs. Thus, she joins Sanders in believing that government "creates" the middle class through transfer payments and by forcing up real costs of production.)

There is no other way to say this: Sanders, and, by association, Hillary Clinton, are under the delusion that the economy improves when the State engages in practices that slow economic growth. When the State interferes with the ability of entrepreneurs to move resources from lower-valued uses to higher-valued uses, as ultimately determined by consumer choice, then the government by definition is impeding the economy and preventing the economy from growing.

Yes, transfer payments will make a relatively few politically-connected people better off, but ONLY at the expense of the greater population. Look at Sanders' list; there is not one item that will result in the economy being able to produce more than it is producing now. Not one.

Unfortunately, most Americans and, I suspect, most American voters, do not see things this way. They apparently believe that government on one hand can impede economic growth through taxation, regulation, and outright intimidation of business owners, and then, on the other hand, increase growth via an "easy money" economic policy.

This cannot work. If either Sanders or Clinton is elected and is able to carry out the policies that define their campaigns, then the U.S. economy will sink further down. There is no other possibility. None.

Most people know the unicorn to be a mythical beast, an animal that looks like a horse, but has a single horn growing out of its head. No one has seen a unicorn, but most likely if someone were to come upon one, that person would recognize the beast immediately.

Likewise, the economy being promoted by Bernie Sanders is a unicorn. No one has seen it or experienced an economy that grows rapidly and creates higher standards of living across-the-board, yet has the government simultaneously suppressing production of wealth. Such an economy is a mythical entity. However, the difference between sighting a unicorn and a growing and healthy economy run by the likes of Sanders is that failure to find the former hurts no one, but a sluggish and backward-sliding economy places the lives of many in peril.

Of course, when the economy does engage in its inevitable slide, Sanders (or Clinton) will blame capitalism and claim that the way to prosperity is through even more state control. And, most likely, the American voters will go along with the scam.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Evangelical Christianity and Its American Future: Churches and Christian Organizations Will Have Government Scrutinize Their Doctrines

In my previous post on the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court's gay marriage decision, I noted that U.S. Progressives are taking their victory laps, and I suspect that before they are done, those laps are going to morph into a marathon. By a 5-4 vote, SCOTUS forever changed the political and religious landscape in a way that ironically breaks down the wall of separation between church and state.

That's right. For all of their endorsement of the principle that church and state must be separate, American Progressives have made the state the final arbiter of the purity of Christian doctrine, and whether or not the state is willing to permit such doctrines to remain legal. This is a line of action that follows a larger pattern of how Progressives use the power of the state and the implication of state-sponsored violence in order by directing the private and corporate lives of individuals.

For example, Progressives have told us for four decades that any opposition to abortion on demand is rooted in the desire of abortion opponents to "have government in the bedroom" of others, and that pro-lifers want government to interfere in the relationship between "a woman and her doctor." At the same time, those same Progressives have pushed through "informed consent" laws that place government agents in the bedroom in order to evaluate sexual contact between individuals to determine whether or not official consent existed at all times.

Furthermore, Progressives want to expand the law on sexual assault to include a stray phrase or instances of hand-holding between couples that one of the persons years later decides to interpret as "unwanted." The American Law Institute is recommending a vast expansion of criminal statutes covering sexual assault including the following scenario as outlined by Judith Shulevitz in the New York Times:
In [the memo], readers have been asked to consider the following scenario: "Person A and Person B are on a date and walking down the street. Person A, feeling romantically and sexually attracted, timidly reaches out to hold B’s hand and feels a thrill as their hands touch. Person B does nothing, but six months later files a criminal complaint. Person A is guilty of Criminal Sexual Contact' under proposed Section 213.6(3)(a)."
Far-fetched? Not as the draft is written. The hypothetical crime cobbles together two of the draft’s key concepts. The first is affirmative consent. The second is an enlarged definition of criminal sexual contact that would include the touching of any body part, clothed or unclothed, with sexual gratification in mind. As the authors of the model law explain: "Any kind of contact may qualify. There are no limits on either the body part touched or the manner in which it is touched." So if Person B neither invites nor rebukes a sexual advance, then anything that happens afterward is illegal. "With passivity expressly disallowed as consent," the memo says, "the initiator quickly runs up a string of offenses with increasingly more severe penalties to be listed touch by touch and kiss by kiss in the criminal complaint."
The obvious comeback to this is that no prosecutor would waste her time on such a frivolous case. But that doesn’t comfort signatories of the memo, several of whom have pointed out to me that once a law is passed, you can’t control how it will be used. For instance, prosecutors often add minor charges to major ones (such as, say, forcible rape) when there isn’t enough evidence to convict on the more serious charge. They then put pressure on the accused to plead guilty to the less egregious crime.
Understand that Shulevitz has outlined a scenario in which someone most likely is going to prison. The ALI has recommended that the new "sex crime" laws be written in a way that require prosecutors to assume sexual assault already has occurred, and it is up to the defendant to "prove" that he (or she, in a few instances) did not commit a crime. In other words, the statutes will overturn the long-held American legal principle of "innocent until proven guilty" and replace it it "guilty until proven innocent," which essentially means that an accusation alone "proves" guilt unequivocally. This is something out of the old codes of the former U.S.S.R. in which legal absurdities were the order of the day.

My larger point is that this movement is driven by Progressives who want to claim they don't want "government in the bedroom," and then place virtual government the bedroom. Likewise, the doctrine of Separation of Church and State that Progressives claim to support is being replaced by a legal doctrine in which the Obama administration, along with state governments, will scrutinize Christian doctrines to see if they are "homophobic," and if they so judge in the affirmative, will be able to levy brutal sanctions on those organizations holding to such doctrines.

This hardly is paranoia. In the aftermath of Obergefell, President Obama himself has called for Christian churches and organizations to change their doctrines regarding homosexuality as Hillary Clinton has demanded that adherents to religions that don't support abortion on demand change their "long-held beliefs." Commentators in Time and other publications have demanded that churches and religious organizations that don't support homosexual marriage be stripped of their tax-exempt status, and Obama's solicitor general in the Supreme Court hearing this year admitted that the government, should the court rule in favor of gay marriage, will most likely move against Christian organizations.

What does that mean? It means that the U.S. and various state and local governments will determine which Christian doctrines are de facto legal and which will be deemed illegal, and any individuals and organizations practicing those doctrines that are unapproved will find themselves facing harassment. I hesitate to use the word "persecution" because much of the harassment will be mild compared to what Christians in other countries (especially in places like Saudi Arabia and North Korea and Iran) are facing. So far, the U.S. Government does not seem hellbent on throwing Christians into prison or executing them, although I am sure there are plenty of factions on the Left that would champion such extreme measures.

What does this mean for conservative evangelicals?

The late Francis Schaeffer (who was a family friend and, in my view, a true modern prophet) essentially predicted what we see happening how. In October 1969 I attended a number of his lectures given at Covenant College and at that time, he was calling the present age a "Post-Christian Era," a term that definitely fits the current zeitgeist.

Schaeffer understood that Christians would lose many of their legal and constitutional protections as the American culture slowly but surely turned against Christianity and its worldviews. For example, in 1955 the New York Times gave a very favorable review of the movie, "A Man Called Peter," something that today would not even be in the realm of the possible. At least Christianity (and not just the "liberal" version of the mainstream churches) was "respectable" in that day, and one cannot imagine the NYT, Time, or any other news or cultural publication calling for governments to scrutinize and approve Christian doctrines, as they now are doing today.

Cultural Christianity was the order of the day 60 years ago, but that era is long passed, as Progressives have moved to a new faith: Non-discrimination. According to the governmental masters of life and culture, Christians no longer are permitted to make choices based upon their faith, especially if those choices have the effect of excluding someone whose actions or lifestyles fall outside of the bounds of what the Christian faith permits in areas of sexuality.

Ours is an age obsessed by sex and superficial beauty (read that, Kim Kardashian), and Judeo/Christian prohibitions on gay sex have been around ever since Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt. Until recently, Progressives and Progressive politicians did not consider such beliefs on sexuality to be a Threat to the Republic, but no more. In the eyes of modern Progressives, and especially the members of the Democratic Party and its satellite organizations, conservative Christian sexual beliefs are motivated by hatred and bigotry, and are tantamount to the practice of Jim Crow laws (which, ironically, were the product of Progressivism a century ago) or the Nazi slaughter of the Jews during World War II.

In the eyes of Progressives, there are no constitutional protections for hatred and bigotry, and it does not matter if Christians are nice people, they help the poor, provide medical care in the worst conditions abroad for the poorest of humanity, and perform other good deeds. Christians are evil bigots that are motivated by pure hatred and nothing else. There is no place in modern society for such wicked people no matter how nice they might seem to be on the surface.

Tish Harrison Warren, an Anglican priest who was a leader in InterVarsity Fellowship at Vanderbilt University, has experienced this reality firsthand, and for her it was shocking. In a Christianity Today piece, "The Wrong Kind of Christian," Warren writes about how her IVF chapter, as well as a number of other Christian organizations, were kicked off Vanderbilt's campus because they violated the university's "non-discrimination" rules, or should I say a new set of rules based upon the secular "faith" of "non-discrimination."

Warren writes:
At first I thought this was all a misunderstanding that could be sorted out between reasonable parties. If I could explain to the administration that doctrinal statements are an important part of religious expression—an ancient, enduring practice that would be a given for respected thinkers like Thomas Aquinas—then surely they'd see that creedal communities are intellectually valid and permissible. If we could show that we weren't homophobic culture warriors but friendly, thoughtful evangelicals committed to a diverse, flourishing campus, then the administration and religious groups could find common ground.
She first met with some administrators, when first informed that her IVF chapter would have to change its by-laws, and the meeting seemed positive. As the meetings progressed, however, she came to find out that even though much of her political and social thought was in line with the Progressives that run the campus, that was not enough:
But as I met with other administrators, the tone began to change. The word discrimination began to be used—a lot—specifically in regard to creedal requirements. It was lobbed like a grenade to end all argument. Administrators compared Christian students to 1960s segregationists. I once mustered courage to ask them if they truly thought it was fair to equate racial prejudice with asking Bible study leaders to affirm the Resurrection. The vice chancellor replied, "Creedal discrimination is still discrimination."

Feeling battered, I talked with my InterVarsity supervisor. He responded with a wry smile, "But we're moderates!" We thought we were nuanced and reasonable. The university seemed to think of us as a threat.
Understand that InterVarsity long ago embraced much of the arguments of economic and cultural Progressivism long ago. The publishing arm of IVF 40 years ago gave the world Ronald Sider's Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger, which blamed capitalism for world hunger and called for massive wealth transfers and world governmental authority that would make Bernie Sanders seem almost like Ron Paul, economically speaking.

The organization has embraced radical environmentalism and other political positions of the Left and is much closer to the positions of Sojourners than anything from Liberty University, but it has stuck to the central orthodoxies of the Christian faith (unlike Sojourners, which rejects many of the basic and ancient Christian doctrines, including the doctrine of the Atonement). That alone has made IVF suspect in the eyes of the Progressives at Vanderbilt:
The line between good and evil was drawn by two issues: creedal belief and sexual expression. If religious groups required set truths or limited sexual autonomy, they were bad—not just wrong but evil, narrow-minded, and too dangerous to be tolerated on campus.

It didn't matter to them if we were politically or racially diverse, if we cared about the environment or built Habitat homes. It didn't matter if our students were top in their fields and some of the kindest, most thoughtful, most compassionate leaders on campus. There was a line in the sand, and we fell on the wrong side of it.
 As I see it, Vanderbilt is a microcosm of what is to come in our society at large. Since the SCOTUS Obergfell decision, a number of Christians have called for a return to the emphasis on good works and doing things that earn favor with unbelieving neighbors, a return to the Christianity of the First Century. Unfortunately, I doubt that will make a difference, anymore.

Writing in Time immediately after SCOTUS released its decision, Mark Oppenheimer calls for ending tax exemptions for religious organizations because, after all, anyone can engage in "good works":
Defenders of tax exemptions and deductions argue that if we got rid of them charitable giving would drop. It surely would, although how much, we can’t say. But of course government revenue would go up, and that money could be used to, say, house the homeless and feed the hungry. We’d have fewer church soup kitchens — but countries that truly care about poverty don’t rely on churches to run soup kitchens.
Although Anthony Kennedy gave passing remarks regarding protection for religious organizations whose doctrines do not embrace the "standards" of the Sexual Revolution, his words are legally meaningless. Christian prohibitions on gay sex are seen not in the light of sincerely-held ancient beliefs, but rather in the modern glare of Jim Crow and Hitler's Holocaust. Christian doctrines are equated with racism and antisemitism and have no place on Vanderbilt's campus or larger American society.

Furthermore, the modern political winds no longer hold any respect for religious belief. If Christians do not wish to "get with the program," then let them be anathema and suffer the consequences. For now, it means their churches and organizations may lose tax-exempt status or be treated as hate groups. 

As Tish Warren found out the hard way, Progressives do not differentiate between Christian organizations which may hold social and political viewpoints compatible with modern Progressive thought and the Ku Klux Klan. I'm serious. When the U.S. Army was teaching classes a few years ago that claimed the Christian-based American Family Association was a "hate group" (the classes were halted after an outcry, but they certain portend an ominous future). 

So, asked Francis Schaeffer four decades ago, "How shall we then live?" That is not an easy question to answer. Whatever "Christian" consensus existed in this country is long dead, but the more important development has been the elevation of "non-discrimination" to a Holy Doctrine and, more important, the expansion of the meaning of non-discrimination.

In the past, Christians like Warren and Ronald Sider could be respected for being against homophobia, be known for treating gays with love and fairness, yet also holding to Scriptural prohibitions of homosexual behavior. That no longer is the case. Sider, who as much as any Christian alive has helped steer much of evangelicalism to the political Left, is denounced as "homophobic," and faces pickets when he speaks somewhere. Warren left Vanderbilt as an outcast.

I believe that things only will accelerate from here. These are the good days, when there is some latent goodwill left over from the good interactions that many Christians have had with secular society. However, the time is coming soon when good works, love, and charity no longer will be seen as having any value as long as Christians refuse to embrace all of the Holy Doctrines of the Sexual Revolution.

That is going to mean massive discrimination, and I believe that the day is coming when it will be as difficult for a confessing Christian to find descent employment in the USA as it was for a Christian to find acceptable work in the old U.S.S.R. Because Progressives also are busily expanding criminal law (and especially the already-malleable federal criminal statutes) into areas where only a generation ago no one even could imagine it being in existence, I look for Progressives to find ways to criminalize thought and religious doctrines that not long ago were acceptable to the majority of Americans.

Yes, I am sure that many readers will believe I am over-the-top in my assessments and especially in my predictions. I would love to be wrong. Really.While I don't believe that these dire predictions will be fulfilled overnight, nonetheless I believe we are on that path.

Look at my point another way. Did any reader believe a decade or two ago that the U.S. Solicitor General would tell a U.S. Supreme Court judge that "it will be an issue" regarding how the U.S. Government and its taxation arm will respond to Christian organizations that do not accept gay marriage? Yet, that is exactly what has happened.

How do Christians respond to the coming onslaught? It is clear we are not going to be able to stem the tide through political action. In fact, as I wrote earlier this year, conservative evangelicals have enjoyed more political power in the past three decades than they have had at any other time in U.S. History, yet the Sexual Revolution has rolled through our body politic unimpeded and today, more Americans embrace that revolution than they embrace anything from Christianity.

At the same time, however, by concentrating so many resources in the political area, which essentially is defined as the "systematic organization of hatreds," Christians have made enemies where they should not have been made. Christians have endorsed the unwarranted U.S. military invasions of Iraq and other Middle Eastern nations, creating death, destruction, massive refugee crises, and earning even more hatred from those directly affected by these military predations. 

As I see it, we are going to have to learn to love once again, but understand that at the same time, that love will not "buy" protection. Tish Warren found out that the people at Vanderbilt think of her as they think of people who wear white sheets, and if someone like Warren, who is known by her good works and her compassion, is seen by highly-educated people as a murderous bigot, then I doubt that the rest of "official" America will see the rest of us any differently.

We have to be prepared to lose our jobs, our homes, our children, our identity as Americans. In other words, we have to be prepared to be like our savior, Jesus Christ. If we have not learned yet how to be like him, I believe those lessons are soon in coming, and I only hope that I can embrace those lessons in the way that I once embraced the privileges of being an American.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Week that Changed this Country -- And Our Lives -- Forever

It really was The Week That Was. Where do I begin? The U.S. Supreme Court has struck down all prohibition of gay marriage in the manner that it struck down state laws forbidding abortion in 1973, and the ramifications for that will be around for the rest of our lives.

In response to the murders of the nine black Christians in a church in Charleston, South Carolina, the Confederate battle flag and, indeed, pretty much anything that has to do with the old Confederacy, from flags to statues of Confederate Civil War generals, to monuments to names on schools and public buildings, are being banned or are likely to be removed. Activists are demanding that the Jefferson Memorial in Washington be torn down because Thomas Jefferson owned slaves. This one seems like a prairie fire that won't be going out for a while.

Then there was the Supreme Court's decision that pretty much ended all formal legal opposition to ObamaCare, save what would be an unsuccessful attempt at repeal, and that would have to be done legislatively, not through the courts. One can say that this was a very successful week, politically speaking, for President Barack Obama and the political Left.

Not surprisingly, the Left has launched an immediate victory lap. E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post  wrote that he "cheered the results" and called it an "acceleration of history." What he really meant was an acceleration of state power, and as a good Progressive, Dionne cannot enjoy enough statism.

However, while in today's society we tend to measure the success of things via political standards, that does not mean that the Law of Unintended Consequences is eliminated or that these events should be viewed in entirely negative or positive ways. The kind of political victories won by the Left means that there is going to be hell to pay for the losers, and I doubt the Left will waste any time. In today's post, I deal with the gay marriage decision.

Gay Marriage and its Aftermath

At one level, I believe that SCOTUS made the obvious decision regarding gay marriage and it is this: if people want for the State to define marriage, then we should not be surprised when political forces within the State decide to change its long-held meaning. After all, the State is justified by...the State.

What do I mean? Marriage is an ancient institution, and it has been practiced since humanity has appeared on the earth. Whether one holds to the Bible or to some other ancient text, we see that marriage has been a part of human society. To put it another way, marriage existed long before even the ancient state was in place, and certainly long before the modern state came into being. 

Thus, for the modern State to "redefine" marriage is a bit of an absurdity, should one hold to the belief that human institutions have been around pre-state. Likewise, when conservatives pushed through various marriage amendments and the Defense of Marriage Act in the 1990s, they were doing, at least in principle, what gay marriage proponents have done through the legislatures and through the courts: using the state to define marriage.

I don't think I am making an absurd argument, and I certainly am not claiming that SCOTUS has done anything that is particularly revolutionary. After all, the State has always tried to reframe reality even if it was obvious that the real world was behaving differently than what state agents have been trying claim. Remember all of those non-existent harvests during Mao's Great Leap Forward, when millions of Chinese were starving to death despite Mao's claims otherwise?

Likewise, when conservatives tried to use to law to define marriage, they essentially were deferring to the government to declare the bounds and meaning of matrimony. While they might claim that they only were having the state affirm what already was in existence and understood to be true, once they permitted the state to write a definition, then it de facto was opening up things to where the state could change its definition. Which it did.

And don't think that the Left does not believe that the State is the true arbiter of marriage. The hardcore Leftist feminist Amanda Marcotte claims that any attempt to get the State out of marriage is an attempt to get rid of marriage altogether.

Unfortunately, we are not dealing in simple intellectual to-and-fro. The SCOTUS decision is going to have severe consequences for people who do not believe that marriage is whatever the legislature claims it is, and especially for people who define marriage through the Bible. Christians who do not believe that same-sex marriage is in accordance with the Scriptures will not face attacks solely from the non-believers; indeed, others who say they are Christians also will team up with the Left to go after them and their institutions. Even conservative/libertarian supporter of gay marriage, David Harsanyi, now admits that the legal fallout is going to be brutal.

In the aftermath of the SCOTUS decision on marriage, Sojourners, a publication of the "Evangelical Christian Left," declared: "This debate, at long last, is done." Please understand what this publication is saying: The STATE is the final arbiter of truth. That is the only interpretation.

After all, when SCOTUS in 1973 ordered all states to allow abortion on demand, that hardly ended the debate, but if Sojourners' logic is extended, then there is no more debate permit on the question of abortion. For that matter, any SCOTUS decision by definition ends all debate.

People who think like that, no matter how conciliatory the language might be on the Sojourners website, are not going to be sympathetic when the feds come knocking at church doors and at the doors of Christian colleges and parachurch organizations. In 1983, the Presbyterian Church USA (which is the "liberal" Presbyterian denomination) filed a friend-of-the-court brief supporting the tax-exempt status of Bob Jones University when the Internal Revenue Service accused it of racial discrimination and stripped it of that status. (The SCOTUS upheld that ruling.)

The PCUSA filed the brief on the principle of religious freedom and the realization that the federal government should not be in the business of determining proper theology. I doubt seriously that when the IRS starts to act against churches and Christian colleges that don't support gay marriage, the PCUSA will be there to defend those organizations. Instead, the PCUSA, as well as most mainstream churches and outfits like Sojourners, will side fully and forcefully with the State.

Don't be deceived. The Obergefell ruling is not an expansion of freedom; it is a vast expansion of state power, and it will unleash the State to force conformity among people whose sets of beliefs do not coincide with those of Barack Obama and others in his administration. Will Grigg has stated it in a way that only he can articulate:
The Secret Police in Orwell’s dystopian society were employed by the Ministry of Love. In that ironic designation we find the genuine meaning of the insistent refrain that “love” triumphed when the US Supreme Court consummated the long campaign to bring the most intimate human institution fully under the state’s control.

Those presently celebrating the state’s “affirmation” of same-sex relationships are intoxicated by the knowledge that they are the “who” rather than the “whom” in Lenin’s famous formula (which defines the essential political question as “who does what to whom”). Like countless others they have been beguiled into believing that “liberation” is achieved by identifying with the exercise of state power, rather than being protected against it.
 In one way, Sojourners is correct. The "official" debate is over, and as far as the American Left is concerned, anyone whose beliefs on same-sex marriage clash with those of the Left must be uprooted, hounded, forced out of their jobs, and perhaps into prison itself. We are not dealing with "tolerance" or anything like it. The Left now controls the American State wholly and demands nothing less than total subservience; even silence or holding quietly to a set of beliefs that contrast with the sexual views held by Barack Obama no longer will be tolerated.

That the present institutional structure of American law does not yet allow for wholesale arrests individuals and closure of churches and other institutions which might disagree with Obama on sex and marriage does not mean very much. We know what representatives of this government have said in public, and we already know that Hillary Clinton has called for churches to change their theology on abortion.

It no longer matters what people actually might believe regarding same-sex marriage, whether or not they believe it to be a good thing. As a Christian who holds to the Scriptures, I do not see the Bible affirming such a marital relationship or even calling it marriage, but I also believe that if Christians want the State to define marriage, then they will have to live with whatever the State calls it. If my gay friends wish to call themselves married and are joined in matrimony by a State agents, so be it. However, we are long-past any point where any set of beliefs that might contrast with those held by the Powers That Be are going to be respected, and the adherents of those beliefs left alone. That I am willing to abide by the current State directives even if I do not believe Scripture condones such a marital relationship does not matter to the Left. I am an enemy and must be treated as such.

The Left that once was not afraid of opposing views no longer exists. The gloves are off, and SCOTUS has just given the State permission to begin to enforce a new sexual order.

This debate, at long last, is done.
This debate, at long last, is done.