VOL. 16, NO. 5
Sept. 10, 2014
Back to the Basics:
Straightening Up America, XIII
America’s Marriage Miasma, Part 6
By Virginia Armstrong, Ph.D., National Chairman
In this Briefing, we continue asking the question, has America bent over backwards so far in our spiritual, moral, and constitutional life that we are in danger of “breaking”? Precipitated by America’s Culture War, this concern echoes the anguished cry of the Father in the famous musical production, “Fiddler on the Roof,” a father who felt that revolutionary changes in his world were pushing him to the “breaking point.”
We here are proving that America is indeed undergoing revolutionary changes similar in deadliness to those feared by Tevye in “Fiddler.” America’s dire need of a massive “straightening up process” is nowhere more clearly demonstrated than in the recent same-sex marriage decisions of the U. S. Supreme Court – Perry v. Hollingsworth and Windsor v. U.S. To understand more fully these egregious decisions, we are engaging in constitutional/jurisprudential apologetics — analyzing the various court opinions in these cases, employing the unique and powerful analytical tools crafted for us by the preeminent Christian apologist, Francis Schaeffer. A major theme of Schaeffer’s paradigm was to find, and respond properly to, the tension between the real world and the illogical positions of unrealistic philosophies — the “tension point truth” theme.
Thus, we are currently comparing the Judeo-Christian worldview of law and culture (which is consistent with reality) to the Humanistic worldview (which is incongruent with reality). This analysis reveals the gargantuan distance and depth of the chasm between reality and the Humanist/Reconstructionist worldview. Six crucial components constitute a worldview’s theories of law, and we shall consider in this Briefing the fourth component – anthropology. As in past Briefings, we first define the worldview component with which we are working, then state the Judeo-Christian position concerning that component in bold type and include in italics the relevant characteristic of the Western legal tradition which Professor Harold Berman has declared that the West, including America, is losing. Finally, we analyze Perry/Windsor through the lens of Judeo-Christian/Schaefferian thought to discover the fatal flaws in these decisions.
4. ANTHROPOLOGY: The nature of man and of human society. What are the inherent, immutable qualities of “humanness/personhood” and what/who is their source? What are the institutions composing society? What/who is their source, and how are they to relate to one another?
As a creature of both finiteness/depravity and dignity, man cannot function alone. Civil law/government is one of multiple societal institutions ordained by God for man’s benefit, and is to function in balance with other God-ordained agents (e.g., family and church) — effective but limited in power. Civil law/government is likewise to be an institution composed of multiple agencies operating in proper relationship to one another.
- Our first central anthropological issue concerns the nature of man/“persons.” The Judeo-Christian worldview unarguably declares that man is a special and unique being, directly created by God. At this very beginning, God created man in two — and only two —sexes: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” (Gen. 1:27) Massive evidence in subsequent Scripture also makes clear that certain behavior and characteristics were assigned by God to each sex — and only to that sex. Any effort today to alter God’s original design — and especially to celebrate and give special legal treatment — to such practices as bisexual, transsexual, homosexual, bestial, and ”transgendering” actions/relationships/etc. crashes head-on into Scripture and the God who authored Scripture. A severe degradation of man as God intended him to be results. The Perry/Windsor “model” of law inevitably inflicts such degradation. Truly has it been said that “Man does not break God’s law; man breaks himself against God’s law.”
- Our second central issue concerns the nature of society. The Judeo-Christian worldview can be said to recognize four basic societal institutions — the individual, church/religion, family, and civil law/government. We have discussed just above the “individual”/”person.” While much more could be said, we must move on to another institution, one which we have also already discussed in some length — the church and major effects on it due to Perry/Windsor.
- The Church/Religion: While “church” and “religion” are not precisely the same thing, we can discuss them simultaneously here. U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker, whose Perry opinion so perfectly expresses Humanist/Reconstructionist attacks, laces his opinion in Perry with some of the most virulent, hateful, anti-Biblical arguments one could imagine, as we have already discussed. Just a brief review of our past analyses reminds us that, according to Walker (parroting the politically correct Humanistic views) Biblically based opposition to same-sex marriage is “unscientific, mere value judgment, only private moral views, and based solely on ‘bigotry, prejudice, and animus’” toward homosexuals.
He finds Biblical teachings to have nasty effects on homosexuals. Judeo-Christian positions “harm gays and lesbians,” “stigmatize” homosexuals, “discriminate against” homosexuals, and are “the chief obstacle for gay and lesbian political progress.” Because we have already destroyed these arguments, let us here consider more fully the effects of the “Walker-type” of opposition to Scriptural truths on the Judeo-Christian community which espouses them.
Walker does state two unassailable facts — ones which are the most important foundations of this entire debate, but which many of his Humanist/Reconstructionist comrades attempt to deny. First, he asserts with massive supporting evidence the proposition that Judeo-Christian positions in this battle ARE “religious.” Second, he asserts with massive supporting evidence the proposition that Judeo-Christian religious positions ARE Biblically based. Thus, he calls into play all the forces of logic, empirical evidence, the religious freedom guarantees of the Constitution, and other types of support for Judeo-Christian thought. When these are objectively and logically applied to the homosexual rights debate, it is inarguably the Judeo-Christian community and the Holy Bible which are the victims in the Culture War.
The arguments of Walker and company inhibit fundamental Judeo-Christian religious views/values and viciously attack advocates of those views/values. The “bigotry, hatred, and prejudice” of which homosexuals are allegedly the victims, are, in reality, equaled — or surpassed — by attitudes and actions of Humanists/Reconstructionists against pro-family/morality proponents. This is certainly understood by business people whose Biblical convictions prevented their doing business supporting homosexual demands (and who have been persecuted and pilloried as a result) — e.g., the Washington state florist, the New Mexico photographer, and the Oregon baker. But homosexual animus plunges beyond the business level to the personal level. In my earliest days of fighting for marriage and family (in the 1980s) I was called, after a short debate with Humanists, such names as ”Hitler, Khomeini, Haman, and a rattlesnake.” This attack has only intensified through the years and has been experienced by countless numbers of my colleagues in the pro-family movement. How accurate is the observation of radio talk show host Tammy Bruce, a self-proclaimed “gay conservative woman, that “the gay civil rights movement has morphed into a Gay Gestapo.” It [the Gestapo] “is now pushing well beyond ‘live and let live’ territory into using the law to punitively enforce their political and social agenda.”
Under these circumstances, it is Judeo-Christian advocates who are the battered victims of “bigotry, animus, and prejudice.” It is this community which is “being stigmatized,” and whose constitutional guarantees against establishment of religion and in protection of the free exercise of religion are being flagrantly violated. Such is the true nature of the overwhelming damage being done to “the church/religion” in America today by Perry/Windsor and similar Humanist/Reconstructionist court decisions.
- Marriage/The Family: The blows struck against Western civilization’s Judeo-Christian concept of marriage is also obvious in the Perry/Windsor decisions. At the heart of this constitutional and cultural disaster is the radical re-definition of “marriage” itself, and also the “family.” Walker quotes from California state cases of the 1970s, when the legislature declared that “[marriage] is a personal relation arising out of a civil contract between a man and a woman . . . .” This definition ignores both the highly public dimensions of marriage and also reduces this institution to a mere “personal contractual relationship.” And it contradicts the 2003 Goodridge case in Massachusetts, where the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court stoutly declared that, civil marriage is “a highly public celebration.”
This plunge in the sanctity of marriage reached the deepest abyss in 2003, when the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court also declared that, “. . . civil marriage is, and since pre-Colonial days has been . . . a wholly secular institution.” Despite the Massachusetts judges’ assurances that homosexual partners “do not want marriage abolished” or “even “undermined,” the abolition of marriage as a primary social institution established and defined by God at the time of the Creation is accomplished. R.I.P. Genesis 1:27, and all Scriptural teachings and human history subsequent to that.
Justice Scalia’s alarm over the “massive social disruptions” that these views and values would precipitate has been more than justified. This is obvious as we move now to discuss the last basic societal institution over which the two worldview adversaries in the Culture War are fiercely contending.
- Civil Law/Government: “Massive social disruptions” inhere in Humanism’s efforts to redefine “marriage” and “family.” If Humanism/Reconstructionism ultimately prevails, any relationship can be a “marriage”; and any kind of group can be a “family.” The terms “marriage” and “family” thus have no meaning. Such meaninglessness not only destroys this institution, but it also destroys or severely damages civil law. As we have explained earlier, law requires “categories” —– fixed units with a core meaning, inherent characteristics, and fixed limits. No categories, no law.
A second attack on civil law/government results from the Perry/Windsor model’s bulldozing of the distributions of governmental power among different government agencies — an essential safeguard for personal liberties. But Perry/Windsor up-end federalism, separation of powers, and consent of the governed — a few federal judges overturn Congressional measures, state measures, and popularly-based initiatives such as California’s Proposition 8. Thus, the courts, in the name of “liberty,” trample the very constitutional scheme designed by the Framers to protect liberty. The courts have become a “judiocracy” exercising over other institutions even the most basic power of defining what those institutions are in the first place (a tactic I have elsewhere described as the “define and destroy” tactic — define a value, institution, etc. so oppositely to its real meaning/nature that it is destroyed). R.I.P. America’s precious concepts of republican government.
A third anthropological attack by the Perry/Windsor model threatens civil law/government by freighting it down with responsibilities and powers which it has neither the ability nor the authority to handle. This can ultimately cause the collapse of the entire legal/governmental system. Twentieth Century American political science guru, David Easton, wrote extensively on political systems and places particular emphasis on the dangers of “stress” to a system — as to an individual. He argues that a system can be so stressed that it suffers “output failure” (i.e., cannot do its job). And a major cause of stress is internal dissension and conflict among members of the political system. This is a frighteningly accurate picture of American law and government today — precisely because of the stress on American civil law/government generated by Perry/Windsor and similar Humanist/Reconstructionist attacks on our culture and Constitution. As law professor Carl Esbeck warned more than thirty years ago, “The extent to which a government can be neutral and equally tolerant of all held values, including religious beliefs, has very definite limits.” Unless the system is cleansed of this pathology, Easton warns, the system will be undermined and, eventually, collapse.
Finally, the flip side of Easton’s coin is that if civil/government fails to perform its responsibilities as a fundamental societal institution, there is no other entity or agency to assume those responsibilities. As Easton points out in his famous definition of a “political system,” this is the institution which “allocates values for society” in an authoritative manner binding “on society as a whole.” No other institution does/can “bind society as a whole” with authority (i.e., ultimately, the use of legitimate force). Not only the political system, but the entire society, faces collapse unless the political system and its courts are confined to the performance of the duties for which they do possess the authority and ability as designed by God — maintaining peace and order, punishing wrongdoing, and upholding right standards of living (the purposes of civil law/government espoused by the Judeo-Christian worldview but denounced by Humanism/Reconstructionism). Rampaging far beyond their legitimate boundaries as do the courts in Perry/Windsor is a recipe for impending disaster unless adequately and quickly reversed.
Thus, we see that the anthropological component of the Judeo-Christian worldview is vastly superior to the same component in the Humanist worldview in the former’s protection of the individual and all basic societal institutions — church/religion, marriage/family, and civil law/government. Against the homosexual movement’s ferocious assault on these institutions, the Judeo-Christian community has reacted far too ineffectively. May we be challenged as well as encouraged by the Old Testament admonition of the Lord speaking through Ezekiel about repelling the foes of His people. God ordered His people to set a watchman on the wall to warn the people if the enemy approached. “If the watchman sees the sword [i.e., enemy] coming against the land and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword takes a life, the watchman will be accountable for the blood.” (Ezekiel 33:6)