The world has reached a time of division. God is showing people the state of their souls, gently but firmly. It is easy to miss if you are in a frenzy of malice. Last year’s trial of the murderous abortionist in Philadelphia, Kermit Gosnell, was an example. You may have missed it, as most of the establishment media tried to turn their head, to ignore the logical end of the abortion culture. They turned their heads because there was no defense for this gleeful bloodbath; no effective way to spin it as an aberration from the commitment to ‘care for women.’ This was God speaking to people, saying, “Behold what you have wrought.” Most will keep their heads turned; some few will repent; but none will be able to say they were not warned. How sad that people seldom recognize the hour of their visitation until it is long past.
But as God warns, satan busies himself deceiving. The spirit of anti-Christ is rampant in the world and is profoundly seductive because he deceives people that they are actually doing good. Gay marriage is all the rage today. Oppose it publicly and you will be denounced as a hater and, too often, even lose your job. I have written before that the mark of the beast is most likely an ideology – received in the hand in the form of a book or a pamphlet or in the forehead as a system of belief – and that without it the time will come when you may neither buy nor sell, to participate in ordinary commerce. In America, Christian business owners are being sued and fined for declining to cater to overtly homosexual celebrations. The health care law requires all businesses to provide for birth control and abortion, regardless of any Christian belief. Hobby Lobby is just one employer that has rolled the dice that this will be found unconstitutional while preparing to shut its doors if it is not. In parts of the western world, Christian pastors are being fined or even jailed for preaching authentic Christian doctrine on homosexuality. Even so, many Christians, even orthodox ones, in weariness or in the false hope of not being ‘discriminatory’ are dropping their opposition to homosexual unions or maintaining what they think is a prudent silence.
First, you need not share my faith to be my friend; but you must not force me to pretend to share yours. Second, irrational discrimination is what we have sought to banish, but it is the disordered result of a rational discrimination that is necessary for an ordered and mutually respectful society. If you need heart surgery, you rationally discriminate against barbers, athletes and stockbrokers in seeking a surgeon. When you are thirsty, you rationally discriminate against sand and dust as a means of quenching your thirst. We have replaced the disordered discrimination of racism with the equally disordered refusal to discriminate between what is actually good and what is actually evil. Thus our government lists evangelical Christians and orthodox Catholics as likely terrorists while dismissing Jihadists as a serious threat.
As to marriage, Christianity teaches that God respects free will at all times, so much so that He allows evil rather than rescind our free will. If two people wish to engage in such conduct, however much anyone may disapprove of it, it is not rightly the subject of criminal law. Nor is it a legitimate concern over who one chooses to make the beneficiary of a life insurance policy or to give power of attorney or visitation privileges in the case of disability. That is a solely private matter. But marriage, itself, is an entirely different matter.
First, the privileged status given traditional marriage by almost all civilized societies is not primarily for the benefit of the married: it is for the benefit of the society – and done for the same reason a farmer protects his seed corn at all costs. Marriage and the families it produces are the fundamental building blocks of society. In certain Catholic rites, notably those of Baptism and Confirmation, the celebrant calls on the assembled to publicly “…renounce the false promises of satan.” False promises…a phrase pregnant with meaning. I did not read Pope Paul VI’s encyclical on birth control, Humanae Vitae, until the early 90’s, nearly a generation after he issued it. Though he was heaped with scorn from sources outside and within the Church, it is the single most prophetic modern document I have ever read. It is short; only about six pages. Read it to find a description of today’s hook-up culture, entrenched poverty and exploitation. The promises of the ‘best and brightest’ of the time were that birth control would reduce unwanted pregnancies, thus reducing poverty. When that failed, the next step was abortion. The year after Roe v. Wade enshrined abortion as a right, the number of live deliveries to single women sky-rocketed. You read that right: the number of live births to unwed mothers skyrocketed even as we began systematically executing unborn children. The War on Poverty in the 60’s promised to eradicate poverty in our lifetimes. Instead, it extended and entrenched it, making large swaths of our inner cities unbearably violent ghettoes of poverty and despair. We have trapped people in poverty, some for over six generations. We lost sight of man’s fundamental nature. He is not a mere consumer who can be content when his betters allot him his share of Kibbles and Bits: He is made in the divine image of God almighty and is, at heart, a creator who cannot find peace until participating with God through the work of his own hands and mind. Now the same ideologues who have visited near terminal social dysfunction on us insist it is our duty to abandon the basic building block of all healthy societies since the dawn of time – because they say so. What could possibly go wrong?
America was founded on the theory of natural law. Some of the founders were Deists, that is, though they believed in a supreme God, they did not follow any particular denominational definition of Him. In some cases, Deist was a polite way of saying ‘agnostic.’ This was almost certainly the case with Jefferson and Franklin. Natural law is predicated on the notion that nature has a supreme God and that that God created man and imbued him with certain rights that precede the existence of any state. It also posits that nature’s God established certain natural institutions that precede the existence of the state, notably (heterosexual monogamous) marriage and the nuclear family. Society, itself, is one of those institutions and, though important, is not necessary to this explanation. Even those founders who were functionally agnostic did not consider this a polite fiction. Philosophically sophisticated, they knew that if fiction it was, it was a necessary one, for without God the theory of natural law collapses and without natural law, all possible forms of civil society must ultimately degenerate into a raw struggle for power.
Under natural law, power and responsibility flow from God to the individual and is exercised through the institutions He created; marriage and the family. Working through these institutions, man sets up governments to serve his needs. For the founders, the very test of legitimacy of any state was whether it acknowledged and defended the natural rights of man and social institutions which precede the state’s existence. If not, it was tyrannous or on its way to becoming so.
The matter of institutionalizing ‘gay marriage’ is not a matter of polite deference to your homosexual friends. It requires the overthrow of natural law. Instead of man defining and limiting the power of the state; it transfers to the state the power to define and limit the natural institutions of man. If the state can define what a family is, it can also define what a family is not – and is not bound by any transcendent truth. If it wishes to declare children to be community property, it can do so. If it wishes to rule that any couples who subscribe to Christian ‘superstitions’ may not maintain custody of the children they bore, it can do so. The philosophical coup necessary to enable gay marriage changes the state from servant to master, dis-enthroning both the natural law and God in the process. The state, when so enthroned, has never in history been as deferential to man’s free will as God is. It ever degenerates into a cauldron of blood and despair.
Most people today have some homosexual friends. Christianity does not require you to hector them, or to treat them with disrespect or condescension. In fact, Christianity recommends you treat all people, whether they agree with you or not, with respect and affection. Certainly homosexuality is no greater a sin than the non-marital sex I once engaged in with abandon. We are all called to treat our fellow sinners with respect and affection, even as we refuse to redefine sin as a positive good – even when it is sin we are guilty of. Above all, our affection for our fellow sinners cannot be used as an excuse to participate with them in the overthrow of those foundational institutions established by God and recognized in the natural law.
So a time of choosing has come. Joshua 24:15 describes the only choice that will bring life, and the only choice that rejects the seductive, but false, promises of satan.