VOL. 17, NO. 1
Feb. 12, 2015
Back to the Basics:
Straightening Up America, XV
America’s Marriage Miasma, Part 8
By Virginia Armstrong, Ph.D., National Chairman
How far can you make a man bend over backwards before he breaks? This is the anguished cry heard in one of the most widely acclaimed musical productions of the Twentieth Century, “Fiddler on the Roof.” This question generates the theme for our current series of “Briefings,” the question whether America has bent over backwards too far in its spiritual, moral, and constitutional life. Are we on the verge of “breaking” and in need of a “straightening up process”? A strongly affirmative answer to that question is shouted by the recent same sex-marriage decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court — Hollingsworth v. Perry and U.S. v. Windsor (2013).
The Culture War fires generated by homosexual rights activists have been fanned into even hotter conflagrations (if possible) by recent court actions on states’ same-sex marriage bans — e.g., states’ pro-ban decision by the U.S. Sixth Circuit, pending action by the Fifth Circuit, and the U.S. Supremes’ decision to hear the issue in April. Thus there is even more weight added to our analysis of Perry/Windsor, utilizing the tools crafted for us by the preeminent Christian apologist, Francis Schaeffer. Six crucial components constitute a worldview’s theories of law. In this “Briefing” we consider the sixth of these components.
As always, we first define the worldview component under discussion then state the Judeo-Christian positon concerning that component in bold type, including in italics the relevant characteristic of the Western [Judeo-Christian] legal tradition which Professor Harold Berman has declared that the West, including America, is losing. Our ultimate goal is to prove the unquestionable superiority of the Judeo-Christian worldview of law and the necessity of America’s acting decisively and immediately to protect “marriage” as defined in the Bible (Judeo-Christian worldview).
6. AXIOLOGY: The study of values and principles. What values and principles lie at the core of American law? Are they absolute or relative? How do we define these values/principles/prioritize them? Resolve conflicts between/among them?
Law embodies absolute norms/values/standards of right and wrong. Core concepts/principles of the law as expressed cogently in the U.S. Constitution are PERSONHOOD, LIFE, LIBERTY, AND LAW (the “rule of law”). From this core flows a multiplicity of more specific principles: the recognition of, and respect for, the existence, nature, and supreme role of the God of the Bible in human affairs; the unique personhood of mankind; the sanctity of human life; the simultaneous dignity and depravity of the individual; the maintenance of a godly balance between individual liberty and individual responsibility; the right to godly self-government; the sanctity of marriage; the requirement of sexual morality in thought and conduct; the requirement of honesty and integrity in the conduct of human affairs; and protection of private property/free enterprise in tandem with the exercise of Godly stewardship by mankind of material possessions and over the natural world. These principles are immutable in their existence and essence — not spawned by the transient, chaotic political environment. Law trumps politics.
American jurisprudence revolves around four core or “primary” principles which are stated succinctly in the U. S. Constitution, Amendments 5 and 14. These include (1) personhood; (2) life; (3) liberty; (4) law/rule of law.
1. Personhood. The Judeo-Christian worldview declares that man is a creature of unique dignity, created by God as a special creation in God’s image, each person being thus of unique dignity as an individual, not because of membership in a particular group or any other reason. God granted man certain rights — rights each of us possesses as an individual. God also designed man with certain immutable characteristics which man has neither the ability nor the authority to alter. Divinely granted rights obviously do not include the right to attack intrinsic features of the divine design of man. As a part of this divine design, God created the human race in two sexes — two only, no more, no less. Perry/Windsor are frontal (and futile) assaults on this divine design and concept of rights. These cases, which throw open the door for a person to marry any being he chooses, reduce our concept of the dignity of man/persons to the degradation of man, which God has never/does not now allow. It is an insult to, and attack upon, God Himself, when human beings so attack His divine design and divine corpus of rights.
2. Life. The “sanctity of human life” principle is closely related to, yet separable from, the dignity of personhood principle. Human life is of the greatest value — “sanctity” —because each human life is created by God in His image as a special and unique creation. As such a preeminently valuable being, man possesses precious, inalienable rights granted to him by God. The basic of these is the right to life, because without this right, all other rights are meaningless — they cannot exist. Homosexual conduct poses threats, both physical and non-physical, to human life. The “right to life” becomes, in effect, the “right to death” (see the abortion cases for the same consequence). Furthermore, homosexual relations cannot reproduce new human beings and perpetuate the human race. Indeed, the more homosexual relationships replace God-ordained heterosexual relationships, the later societies will dwindle in number, vibrancy, and necessary diversity of gifts/talents/skills, etc. And same-sex marriage gives this conduct the widest possible sway.
Legalizing same-sex marriage thus legalizes a most severe threat to man’s health and safety. Such legitimization also professes to “sanctify” a most immoral set of practices, in clear violation of God’s moral standards. Thus, the Perry/Windsor arracks upon the fundamental principle of the “sanctity of human life,” like the attacks on the principle of “the dignity of man/persons,” are an insult to, and attack upon, God Himself.
3. Liberty. The inalienable right to liberty granted by God to his special creation, man, like the two rights already discussed is morphed by same-sex marriage into a hideous opposite — the “right to licentiousness.” If “liberty” is so transmogrified, “marriage” can be anything, and both the institution of marriage and “law,” which requires that fundamental institutions be defined as clear, fixed categories, is thrown into catastrophic chaos. NO individual, NO other human entity (such as civil law) has the right to re-define marriage. As already discussed, the basic definition is pronounced by God in the Beginning, and has never been altered by Him. Since “rights” are specifically acknowledged in countless Anglo-American documents to have been created by God and conferred by Him on man, it is nonsense to argue that any such “right” can now be re-defined oppositely to God’s definition.
The founders and advocates of Anglo-American jurisprudence have always understood, rightly, the Biblical fact that “liberty” is not the right of any individual or human group to unbridled license and/or redefinition or exercise. “Liberty” is always to be understood and exercised (1) within the limits prescribed by the God who is the author of liberty, and (2) in a manner consistent with the rights and the interests of others in society. The most cursory look at our Constitution proves this fact — see the Preamble and Amendments 5 and 14, where liberties are recognized and also limited. The Preamble, it is rarely noted, in its intonation of the “blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity” clearly states that definitions of liberty generate outcomes beyond a current society or individual claimant within that society. These outcomes must be adequately and accurately considered in any current action (such as a “re-definition” of a right) affecting future generations of Americans. Anglo-American jurisprudence has always considered homosexual conduct far outside the boundaries of “liberty.” (Recall Sir William Blackstone’s description of this conduct as “a still deeper malignity [than rape or abduction], the very mention of which is a disgrace to human nature.”) Recent history only underscores the “malignity” of homosexual conduct and the inevitably permanent nature of this “malignity.” The pernicious “Perry/Windsor effect” on future America is one we have also just described in more detail above.
4. Law/the Rule of Law. Perry/Windsor contort the “rule of law” into the “rule of lawlessness.” Correctly understanding the revered American principle of the rule of law leads to only one conclusion — that this principle prevails in America ONLY when American law conforms to Biblical principles. The Constitution and Declaration of Independence interpreted jointly shout this truth. These documents recognize a four-fold hierarchy of law in America.
(1) At the lowest level is “civil law-secondary form.” “Civil law” has several meanings, depending on the context. Here the term refers to man-made law. In its “secondary form,” it is intended to provide flexibility in the legal system — to be relatively temporary and to deal with the specific needs of a culture/legal system at a point in time or relatively short period of time. This civil law is to be enacted by legislative bodies, enforced by executive agents, and interpreted by judicial agents. Civil law, to be valid, must conform to the three higher levels of law.
(2) Immediately above (1) in America is the U.S. Constitution (or “civil law-constitution form”). This law, as Chief Justice John Marshall stated so clearly (1803), is the “supreme, paramount, permanent, fundamental law” of our American system. The Constitution is designed to provide stability for the system and is made by human beings, to be changed only with great effort and over a period of time. The supremacy of the Constitution over secondary law is stated in Article VI of the document. But the Constitution must conform to the levels of law above it.
(3) Above these lower levels of law in America is the law described in the Declaration of Independence as “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.” Properly conceived of as America’s founding “charter,” this document contains principles superior to the lower levels of law already discussed. While debate has often occurred over the precise meanings of these terms, interpreting them according to long-standing, universal rules of interpretation leaves no doubt that the principles declared are those of the Judeo-Christian worldview. Furthermore, although the Bible is not specifically mentioned here, “Nature’s God” created not only the “Laws of Nature,” but also authored the Old and New Testament that we have for centuries recognized as the Bible, or “Revealed Law.” The “Laws of Nature” must be interpreted according to the Revealed Law because the latter is the most objective, perfect, and complete verbal expression of God’s Law, verbally inspired and inerrant in the original manuscripts of the Bible. These two types of law may be referred to as the Higher Law.”
(4) At the very pinnacle of the structure of law is God Himself. God is, of necessity, included in this analysis of Judeo-Christian law. This is true not only because He is the source of the Higher Law which is supreme over all other law, but also because of the nature of God and of law. God is separate from law; but the very concept of “law” is essentially rooted in the character of the infinite, personal, sovereign triune God — the God of the Old and New Testaments. “Law” expresses God’s nature. This truth totally separates the Judeo-Christian worldview of God and law from various Humanistic alternatives: e.g., “deism,” which asserts that God is beyond the world and not supernaturally active in it, or “pantheism,” which declares that God and the real world are identical — one and the same.
The Declaration of Independence demonstrates the uniquely Judeo-Christian view of God and law as it describes some of the law-related roles of God: He is the “creator of man,” the “creator of rights,” the supreme judge of the world,” the “supreme being over nature,” the “protector” of the United States, and “the Divine Providence.” There is no plausible way that Perry/Windsor advocates can argue that these truths about God can be reconciled with the legitimization/legalization of same-sex marriage.
Here we have continued to utilize Francis Schaeffer’s “tension-point” tool — discovering the tension between the real world (with which the Judeo-Christian worldview is consistent) and the logic (or “illogic”) of Humanistic illusion about the real world. This tool — applied to the worldviews’ axiological positions demonstrates indubitably the deadly “smoke and mirrors” nature of Humanistic jurisprudence. A summary of this entire argument will appear in an upcoming issue of our Court Watch Briefings. Can we Judeo-Christian advocates do anything really effective to counter the demise of America? We shall vigorously answer “yes” in that upcoming issue and outline part of what we must do to “straighten up America.”
TO BE CONCLUDED . . . .