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.


David In TN said...

Several months ago, a retired liberal college professor of my acquaintance went on a rant of "I hate white guys. I hate white guys."

Why? This twerp calls himself a "Party Man," as in the democratic party. He supports whatever the administration and democratic party say at any given time.

By the way, this fellow is a 69-year old "white guy" who lives in an affluent overwhelmingly white neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

David, you identify a key point in how this political control has expanded, by the instilling of self-loathing on a grand scale, especially in white men.

Lee Laurais said...

The State isn't defining marriage. The State has nothing to do with marriage. What's being called "marriage" is better termed civil union. The Court's ruling holds that when it comes to civil union, as a legal status with concomitant rights and responsibilities, the gender of the parties is irrelevant. Sounds good to me.

Whether or not individuals are married in the eyes of religious belief and tradition or in the eyes of religious institutions or in their own eyes is a wholly different matter. The State has nothing to say about that.

There's much fear now that religious organizations may come under attack, i.e. have their 501(c)(3) status revoked if they refuse social services to civil unions between persons of the same gender(or transgender) or if they "discriminate.". When an institution seeks tax-exempt status from the State, the institution is acknowledging the authority/legitimacy of the State to tax it. That is, the organization is trying to have it both ways. Religious institutions worth their beliefs and doctrines will operate according to those beliefs and doctrines regardless of any Supreme Court decision, and if the State closes them down and seizes their property in consequence, these institutions will witness to their beliefs and convictions as well they should.

Christians and Jews (I don't know about Muslims who came later) made their mark in the world by standing up to Caesar and taking the consequences, not by knuckling under. And when the Church became the "New" Rome and swapped Christ for Caesar, the locus of the Holy Spirit became the individual not the institution.

Anonymous said...

Liberals and leftists may rejoice at the current SCOTUS ruling however, be careful what you wish just might get it. By allowing The State to make these determinations they put themselves in great peril. Political Stasis is not an option and one day the pendulum will swing in another direction. I don't think they will be pleased at that time.

gcdugas said...

according to the law of the Medes and Persians which cannot be revoked...

Anonymous said...

I second Lee Laurais' comment. I could not have said it better myself.

D. Saul Weiner said...

It is probably no coincidence that at about the same time that these decisions came through, California passed a law removing religious and philosophical exemptions to vaccines for those who wish to attend public schools, private schools, and daycare.

The State has officially declared war on people whose conscience and judgment leads them to decisions that are not in alignment with official PC doctrine.

David In TN said...

And the Learned Professor I referred to above is just as vicious toward anybody who questions "Gay Marriage." He calls them "Nazis" and "Bigots," which in his world view includes anyone to the right of Barack Obama.

He considers Obama a political moderate.

Jerry said...

John Locke wrote, "". . . whenever the legislators endeavour to take away and destroy the property of the people, or to reduce them to slavery under arbitrary power, they put themselves into a state of war with the people, who are thereupon absolved from any farther obedience, and are left to the common refuge which God hath provided for all men against force and violence. Whensoever, therefore, the legislative shall transgress this fundamental rule of society, and either by ambition, fear, folly, or corruption, endeavour to grasp themselves, or put into the hands of any other, an absolute power over the lives, liberties, and estates of the people, by this breach of trust they forfeit the power the people had put into their hands for quite contrary ends, and it devolves to the people, who have a right to resume their original liberty, and by the establishment of a new legislative (such as they shall think fit), provide for their own safety and security, which is the end for which they are in society." (Second Treatise on Government, 1690). It is time for the States to realize that a declaration of war has been declared against the liberties of us all.

gcdugas said...

^^^ the long version of... to alter or abolish

David A. Laibow said...

I think the purpose of the 14th Amendment is to expand existing rights, and to create new rights, on a continuing and ongoing basis.
As for marriage, if a sparrow and an electric eel want to get married, they can do so, as far as I'm concerned. I couldn't care less how they set up housekeeping.
I think that matriarchal polygamy and group marriage as the late Robert A. Heinlein described it in various of his novels makes sense. Right now, we have a "traditional" monogamous marriage; if my wife decided to expand it with the addition of a "sister wife" (possible but unlikely at this point), that's her business, not mine.
I'm Dave Laibow, and you can contact me any time at "".

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