Essay / Culture

An Earnest Response

A consistently entertaining and thought provoking blog is the Earnest Iconoclast. He often makes me think and laugh at the same time which is a rare gift.After saying some nice things about my discussion of Terri Schiavo and my stint trying to fill in for the Lord of the Free Blogs of the West, he moves on to point a problem he had with my discussion. First, he is correct to note that newbie that I was I introduced too many ideas into a nine minute segment (I clear my throat in that time in Torrey!). Second, I think I might be able to make my point clear here in the much more relaxed world of blogs.He asks what gay marriage has to do with Terri Schiavo:But I’m not sure what any of that has to do with gay marriage. The fact is there are gay people. The fact is that they often form couples and live together like heterosexual married couples. The fact is that unless they file a bunch of legal papers, they can find themselves without some fairly basic rights that married couples have, like the right to visit critically injured partners. Even with legal papers and contracts and powers of attorney, I would bet that parents could still find ways to interfere in the lives of gay couples. Allowing gay couples some of the same basic legal protections that heterosexual married couples have would hurt no one and would help them to live their lives the way they want to. Whether they can get “married” or form civil unions isn’t all that important. In fact, the whole issue is relatively unimportant compared to the more general problem of courts legislating from the bench. Dr. Reynolds distracted me from his argument about the courts and defining life issues with his comment about gays.I think this is quite wrong, though it is motivated by charity so appealing. The problem with judges in the Terri Schiavo case and in homosexual marriage cases is that they have rejected the teleological view of the mankind that forms the basis for American law and democracy. American constitutionalism is based on the idea that some rights come from God. The state does not give them and the state cannot take them away. One of these rights is the right to life.Each life has a purpose in Divine Providence as the Founders, not all of them traditional Christians, would have put it. So do body and even cosmological “parts” of the Divine order. Stars are at least partly to light the night for humanity. Eyes are for seeing. Ears are for hearing. In a world that rejects Divine order as our cultural elite do humans are free to make up functions and meaning for themselves.At first this seems liberating, especially if you have a desire to try something unusual or new. In the end, men realize that there is no real meaning when they create their own meaning. Their personal meaning is dependent on the whims of the majority or the powerful. They also discover that defying teleology is not good for the soul which is the hidden part of a human courts no longer are allowed to consider.I agree that gay marriage is not the most important issue out there. However, it is a piece of man defying God’s order. The state is sanctioning something unnatural and protecting it. What the state protects it gets more of. . . and I don’t mean more gay marriage. What will be next? With no sensible view of Divine order how many other things will the state be asked to declare wholesome and equal? A gay man and another gay man cannot be married, because they cannot form the one flesh union that can (in God’s good grace) produce children or the union of souls possible in a man and a woman. Thousands of years of human experience and common sense suggest that though pity would avert the eye from such a relationship the state has no business giving a blessing to it.In the same way, it seems to me courts are now in the process of deciding which lives are worth living. Without a divine framework, there is no limit to what a court can say. I am not looking forward to seeing the results. This new secular picture of what makes a man a man is much more horrifying to me.

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