November 21, 2008

Hale, you've brought up

Hale, you've brought up a number of things I could write about. Let me try one: "why don't we (Christians) butt out?" Good question. 1. We don't accept the idea that religion is to be relegated to the "private sphere," Our task as Christians is to redeem the entire world. We reject absolutely the idea that we should just care about our tribe, and let outsiders bollix up their lives up however they like. 2. Even in a purely secular sense, we are all in this together. If one American group is doing something self-destructive, in the long run it hurts us all. If unwise ideas become currant, it hurts us all. Most Christians think that morality is important, not just personally, but for the health of the community as a whole. 3. The opposition of religion and secularism is the clash of two religions. Secularism is really a religion, in the sense that it holds a worldview that is based on faith that certain things are true. (For instance it's just as much a matter of faith to say there is no God as to say there is. Neither one can be proved.) And secularism is a religion that aggressively proselytizes. It is pushed on us relentlessly by academy/entertainment/news-media/pop-culture etc. Orthodox Christians think it is just as reasonable to resist this right down the line, as it would be to resist a Muslim faction pushing Sharia Law onto our society. 4. We believe that this is really, under the surface, an attack on the Church. Those organizing the "gay marriage" push don't really care about gays. (If you don't think so, imagine what would happen if gay couples voted Republican!) What they are really aiming at is throwing priests and ministers in jail for discrimination. And forcing Catholic welfare organizations into gay adoptions. It's a wedge issue. 5. We care about gays. An ersatz form of marriage in contravention of God's law isn't really a good thing for them. (See John Heard for a gay Catholic perspective on this.) 6. Catholics believe that marriage is one of the Sacraments. A Sacrament is what you might call an "interface point" between God and man. If the wild-and-crazy idea that there is a god who cares about us humans is true, then the last thing anybody would want to do is muck about with the special modems he invented as means to help us. There is also a "why don't we butt out?" that can be asked of conservatives in general, rather than just Christians... 1. In this matter specifically, it is NOT true that it is just about "letting people do their own thing." Wherever gay marriage is allowed the immediate next step is ending discrimination. This requires—surprise, surprise—massive efforts by the state, with many laws and programs. For instance, school children must be educated not to think of gays as different--this is happening right now in Massachusetts. In Spain, right now, public documents must not use terms like "grandmother" and "grandfather---"Progenitor 1 and 2" are used, so as not to suggest that male + female is the norm. "Ending discrimination" sounds oh-so-nice, but another term for it is thought-control. 2. The state has never before defined marriage. It has never dared. Up to now it has merely adumbrated the definition that has been handed down from ancient times and Judeo-Christian faith---a definition the pre-dates any modern state. Therefore, to change the definition of marriage is a massive augmentation of state power. One would think that libertarians would get this point. 3. The above is an example of a more general truth. Traditional American culture dealt with many things locally without the need of state interference. And to a large extent this meant imposing Christian morality on people. Libertarians imagine this was oppressive, but the alternative is worse, I think. Once the traditional "understood" rules are lost, then the vacuum is filled with regulations and litigation. Bureaucrats and lawyers. Posted by John Weidner at November 21, 2008 10:16 PM
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