Cultural GreedJuly 2, 2008 — Deacon Duncan
In the Declaration of Independence, whose signing Americans will celebrate on Friday, our founding fathers declared that every person has been endowed with certain inalienable rights, including the rights to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Sadly, a number of our fellow citizens suffer from a kind of cultural greed, a selfish and insatiable appetite that leaves them unable to be content with their own religious liberties, and drives them to try and rob other citizens of theirs.
Here, for example, is Chuck Colson, fantasizing about What McCain Could Have Said to Ellen Degeneres on the subject of gay marriage.
McCain’s response? “I just believe in the status of a marriage between a man and a woman . . . We just have a disagreement.”
Maybe, given the sensitivity of the situation, that was the best answer Senator McCain could come up with. But suppose the senator and Ms. DeGeneres could talk backstage, away from the glare of TV lights. What could he say to seize the moral high ground? To start, he could discuss the true meaning and purpose of marriage.
Degeneres, of course, should have pointed out that she was not using her disagreement with McCain to try and deprive McCain of the freedom to marry the one he loves. But back to Colson. What is this “moral high ground” he wants to conquer? Quoting Princeton professor Robert George, he says:
[M]atrimonial law reflects a moral judgment. That judgment is that marriage is inherently heterosexual, monogamous, and permanent—a union of one man and one woman. This judgment is based on both the biblical and natural law understandings—that marriage is a two-in-one flesh communion of persons. This communion is consummated and actualized sexually.
If Colson thinks the Bible teaches monogamous marriage, he has not read the Old Testament! King Solomon, for instance, had enough wives and concubines to keep him meeting new people in bed for going on three years. And nowhere does the Bible say anything about polygamy being immoral. Polygamy just went out of fashion. But I digress…
Colson tries to seize the moral high ground by arguing for traditional, heterosexual monogamy, but he soon lapses into confused self-contradiction.
[M]arriage is made real by acts that are reproductive, whether or not these acts result in children. They unite the spouses as a single procreative unit. This organic unity is achieved even by infertile couples. Only a mated pair can be a complete organism capable of human procreation.
So what makes a marriage into a “marriage” is procreation, or at least the physical possibility of procreation, which even infertile couples have even though they lack the physical possibility of procreation. Wait, what? Colson seems to be saying that what makes a sexual experience “reproductive” is not whether it involves any actual reproduction, but whether it involves heterosexual partners. So in other words, his argument is claiming that true marriage requires heterosexual union because only heterosexual union is true marriage. This is called “assuming your conclusion” in Intro to Logical Fallacies class.
I can already hear the arguments your secular neighbors will make: “Okay,” they will say, “that’s your definition of marriage. But why should your views be imposed on everybody else?”
That is when we have to be ready with additional, non-religious arguments for traditional marriage.
Translation: that is why we need to be ready to blow smoke out our posteriors and try and confuse people with secular-sounding goobledy-gook.
For instance, if we expand the meaning of marriage to include same-sex partnerships, on what grounds could we legitimately oppose marriages between three or more people? Or weddings between siblings?
God forbid people today should participate in the kind of marital relationships the Old Testament saints enjoyed, eh? Do tell, let’s hear more about how those so-called Bible heroes were actually promoting immorality and corruption. Hey Mr. Colson, have you ever considered the possibility that it just might not be any of your damn business who someone else marries? You can disapprove of it all you want, but you have no right to oppose (i.e. pass laws against) how someone else chooses to live their life, or whom they choose to live it with. “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness,” remember? “Inalienable rights,” it says. Look it up.
Since the beginning of recorded history, virtually every society and every major religion has revered and protected traditional marriage. Why? It is the institution that produces, nurtures, protects, and civilizes children. And marriage is the cornerstone of society’s foundational institution: the family.
And therefore we need to pass laws preventing two people from uniting into a married couple, and thus a family. Wait, what? If marriage is the cornerstone of the family, and the family is the foundation of society, why is Colson trying to prevent marriages?
It all goes back to cultural greed. Colson can’t be satisfied with his own religious liberty; his faith demands that he rob other people of theirs. Only by hoarding all the religious freedom to themselves can Christians like Colson reassure themselves that their erratic and vengeful deity isn’t going to pop off a few judgments that—oops, sorry!—blow away True Believers along with the infidels. Having lived so long with faith, and experienced so much of what they piously refer to as God’s “mysterious ways,” they don’t dare entrust their well-being into His care. So they have to be greedy.
The problem is, greed like this can never be satisfied. Success just makes the greedy greedier. Once gays have nothing left to steal, do you think your rights and liberties will be safe?