The Christian Monopoly on Marriage and FamilyMay 20, 2008 — Deacon Duncan
So last night I was listening to James Dobson—you know, the guy who’s always lecturing us on “family values” while he himself worships an unmarried Father, a celibate Son, and a Spirit who got someone else’s fiancée pregnant? Anyway, I tuned in Focus on the Family as I was driving home from work, and let me tell you, Dobson was livid. I’ve been listening to Dobson since before they bought the “Turn Our Hearts Towards Home” tag, and I’ve never heard him so irate. He’d have been shouting if he’d had anybody there to shout at.
The reason, of course, is that a California court dared, dared, to overturn the state’s Christian monopoly on the definition of marriage. Dobson didn’t phrase it in those terms, of course, but that’s the heart of the matter. Christians are all for tolerance and religious freedom, just as long as they can abuse their majority status to make it illegal to adopt any definition of marriage that differs from their own.
As I listened to Dobson rant and rave about how gay marriage would lead straight to legalized polygamy and thus (I kid you not, he really said this!) to THE END OF DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA!!!1!11, it occurred to me that there is a reason why people like Dobson are so panicked and hysterical about losing their monopoly on marriage. And it’s more than just ordinary homophobia.
Here’s the kicker: what if gay marriage were legal, and it failed to lead to the end of civilization as we know it? What if gay couples—and, dare we say it, gay families—turned out to produce greater social stability, greater personal satisfaction, reduced STD’s, and all the other benefits of marital fidelity? Wouldn’t that be absolutely horrible?
Yes, it would, as far as the Dobsons of the world are concerned. You see, for years (centuries even), they’ve been exploiting the “blessings” of marriage as a superstitious argument for faith in God. By claiming that God is responsible for instituting marriage, and thus handing God all the credit for the benefits of marital union, they create an argument that many people find irresistibly compelling. By harnessing the reproductive drive to people’s natural superstition, they create an environment where impressionable children are highly likely to be imprinted, like baby ducklings, on the image of a Heavenly Father.
You can see how horrific it would be for homophobic Christians to confront the spectacle of gay families enjoying the same benefits. The cognitive dissonance would be explosive. “Wait, does this mean that God blesses gay marriages too? that He’s the author of gay unions as well as male/female couplings? But if He isn’t, that would mean marriages don’t need God’s blessing to be happy, beneficial, and productive! Gaaa!”
Christians are really on the ropes here. God lives on these superstitious attributions, since He never shows up in real life to give people an objective basis for believing in Him. The two great Superstitions leading to faith in God are that He is needed to explain Creation and that He is needed to bless marriages and families. Science has crippled the first superstition—it’s still possible to believe in a divine Creator, but it is no longer necessary to do so. If the second Great Superstition also crumbles, what leg will God have left to stand on?