Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Defending the Defense of Marriage

(Also at The Wide Awakes, where I guest blog every couple of weeks...)

Couple of good, strong opposing comments to my first post at the Wide Awakes. Thanks for the opportunity to clarify my position and rebut a few misconceptions.

Let me start with the two summaries against my position that marriage, as traditionally understood (ie, one man and one woman in a healthy, lifelong bond of mutual love), is a preservation agent of civilization. My contention is that any attack against marriage is a serious threat to the stability of our culture and society.

Now my specific reflection last time had to do with opposing same gender unions. But I also include as concerns those issues that seek, or by default hasten, to undermine the family - the misapplication of divorce law, physical/mental abuse, absentee fathers or mothers, casual co-habitation, polygamy, and pedophilia. These are all serious corrosive elements affecting our future as a race.

Now I'm speaking for myself, of course. As a Wide Awake I'm to be "on the alert" for policies, issues and events that might undermine a healthy American society. But I do not claim that other WA members would back me on this particular issue (same gender unions). There are many who see stable monogamous same sex relationships as good for society. I'm in dialog with one such advocate. I just happen to disagree.

Which leads me to those who disagree with me and why.

First, Y2Krashman asked:

So how, directly, does homosexual marriage breakdown civilisation?

I don't know. Though I know that our continual relliance of fossil may. Civilisation ends because of gay marriage 2030. No. Civilisation ends because of oil. Get your priorities straight.

Then Carol stated:

You failed to support your theory that gay marriage will undermine the institution of marriage. The world was going to fall apart if two consenting adults of different races were allowed to wed too. Yeah right. That didn't happen and it didn't undermine society or marriage.

Again, great comments. Here's my response.

First, Y2K, my priorities are straight. Fossil fuel as an issue? Laughable. Such concerns are temporary and fleeting. We didn't need fossil fuel 500 years ago. We won't need it in another 500. In fact, we don't need it now. I won't go into the politics and 'big money' reasons for extending our dependence on oil, but one thing is sure, necessity is the mother of invention. When the market and/or circumstances demand, we'll move on to some other form of energy. (As an aside, think of the combustion engine. I mean, come on. How archaic is that? We could have left that means of generating power 50 years ago.)

The true priorities for any civilization are 1) maintaining a moral foundation on which a society can build a healthy culture and 2) protecting that society from physical invasion and threat/harm from the outside. Rome fell because of the vandals (corruption) from within and the Vandals from without. The United States faces the same threats today.

Establishing and protecting the moral foundation of a country touches on eternal truths, whereas transient issues, although real and demanding solutions - like fossil fuel and job outsourcing and the deplorable state of the Kansas City Royals - are just that, transient. I believe homosexual marriage is a moral issue and therefore will always be a pressing concern. You may disagree. Probably do. But this is where I'm coming from.

Now to Carol's point that I failed to support my theory that same gender unions undermine the institution of marriage. This one is harder to address. And the reason is that I do rely on a biblical argument for my position. I can cite statistics, but the other side would decry my sources as partisan. So. Openly acknowledging my bias, let me simply state my argument as a form of traditionalism. Marriage is what it is and shouldn't be tampered with.

This is not a circular argument as some insist. Whether one adheres to a biblical perspective or not, it is fairly well established that marriage has enjoyed a closed definition for over 5,000 years of civilization. The burden of proof lies with those who want to change the definition. And since I argue elsewhere that same gender couples can enjoy substantially the same benefits as married couples, it's not necessary to 'mess with' what already works. To put it crassly.

Well. That should be enough to generate some more discussion. This argument has been stimulating to say the least. Looking forward to your comments.

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