Courtly Things

Update: Here it is. Everybody can now comfort themselves with the knowledge it was never going to be any other way.

Will the Supreme Court legalize same-sex marriage? For some, that is the only question that matters right now. The Affordable Care Act still has its opponents, but the opposition is largely ideological at this point. Despite its many defects and shortfalls, Americans now believe, by and large, that the country is better off for having the legislation in place. Some inevitable tweaking will have to take place down the line. That’s how these things go. But it will not go away. The integrity of marriage, naturally defined, won’t go away either. Legally speaking, however, it’s already on its way out. When that process began is difficult to discern. Some say it was the moment no-fault divorce became normative. Others hold that a larger cultural shift, one commonly associated with the so-called sexual revolution, is responsible. People rarely contemplate the closing of our horizon, the loss of a vision that includes justice and duty, right and wrong, and God. That is, the real God, not the “god” of political convenience or the “god” of metaphysical surety or the “god” of irrational carping, and so on and so forth.

3 comments

  1. I would argue it started when we stopped burning heretics at the stake and allowed those of false religions the same rights as true believers. Maybe there is some theoretical threshold between allowance for a miniscule minority or travelers and actual tolerance much less full, undisturbed citizenship.

    The challenge has always been defining true and false religions. When that difficulty was acknowledged, orthodoxy became optional and the argument about the public square and public v private began.

    I think he’s learned a thing or two about humility since writing this, but The Pontificator once quipped, “Where orthodoxy is optional, orthodoxy will sooner or later be proscribed.” I think it is more accurate when speaking of the voluntary fraternal organizations we call ‘churches’ and ‘denominations’ rather than government, though.

    The fact no Orthodox or Catholic was arguing against the validity of heretical Protestant, Muslim, Buddhist, etc. marriages for their lack of supernatural sacramentality (i.e., not marriages, therefore) undercuts their current disgust at the idea simple natural marriage (which never should have been recognized as a thing anyway) has been undercut. I simply refuse to understand the inability to see the difference between what one believes about marriage personally and what a non-sectarian government of diverse peoples recognizes some of its citizens believe to be marriage. It’s like demanding the President be qualified to be Patriarch.

    1. The problem is the largest institution in American life, the secular State, has decided to come off the fence at this point. The State is decreeing that homosexual unions have equal dignity with heterosexual unions. Soon, it will declare the same for polygamous unions. When your kids get home from public school, it is very clear to them that dumb old dad is well outside the pale. Also, I imagine I’d find the Buddhist view of marriage much more amenable than the atheistic one.

      The State now concerns itself with ontological issues, and those are the sort of debates that really can’t be decided by lawsuits or votes. The secular State has become a jealous god. People will not be allowed to opt out or just go about their business. I’m coming to the conclusion this is what separate countries are for.

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