1. I’ve never been opposed to, say, a homosexual couple celebrating a wedding in a Unitarian church. Fine for them, it is a free country, and that sort of stuff is what the Unitarians exist for.
But it has always seemed to me that homosexual sex is by its very nature a private affair and of no importance to the state. The only reason the legal arrangement called “marriage” exists, and the only reason the state enforces the contract, is because normal heterosexual relations produce children whose needs transcend the immediate well-being of the individuals who produced them. Society as a whole has an interest in the production and care of children.
Homosexual relationships, however loving they may or may not be, don’t make babies, and are therefore not public business. “Gay marriage” is an absurdity.
But the reason we can’t see the absurdity of it is because the institution of marriage has long since been hollowed out: thanks to chemical contraceptives, fertile people can marry with no expectation of having children. Since children are optional accessories to marriage and not its reason for being, we have no-fault divorce which places the economic, emotional and social well-being of children second to the emotional needs of their parents. Not seeing the point of getting married, more people start producing children outside of marriage; those children are lacking the support of two parents, so they are then supported by the state.
Gay marriage may be a ridiculous institution, but it is only possible because modern marriage is ridiculous. If contemporary marriage is nothing more than the state blessing your love (as if the state has any business doing that) and enforcing a contract that will do grave damage to at least one of the parties if broken (why then would anybody ever get married?), then gays have every right to complain that they are not able to do it too.
2. Some religious conservatives are throwing up their hands saying they never should have fought this battle. They say arguing from secular reasoning was bound to fail (it wasn’t, they just didn’t know the arguments), voting Republican turned out to be a farce (no kidding), and their only hope now is to retreat into the ghetto and hope to be left alone (they wish).
There is nothing wrong with the churches arguing that men should obey natural law. In fact, the churches were doing the nation a favor by pointing it out. It is a duty we have as patriots to care about the moral direction of the country.
But it is utterly useless to argue against gay marriage when you have no idea what marriage is supposed to be. The reason the churches lost was because they had forgotten the true meaning of marriage, and therefore could not argue it persuasively.
Yes, voting Republican was bound to end in disaster. Democrats go to Washington to get free stuff for their constituents, Republicans go to Washington to make deals with Democrats. How did you think it was going to end?
It wasn’t wrong to play politics, you live in the world after all; it was wrong to put too much hope in politics.
As for the last point, that we now have to burrow into our ghettos, look after our own houses, and hope to be left alone: burrow into your ghetto all you want. By all means, look after your own house and try to recover your tarnished holiness within church walls.
You will not be left alone.
3) The culture war does not stop because the world does not want your tolerance, or your silence. It will take your symbols and your institutions, but it does not really want those either: it wants your soul. Human societies tend to demand uniformity not just in action but in thought and feeling. The more shallow and fragile the society, the more they insist on it.
Americans have always been prone to periodic outbreaks of moral hysterics, and these are going to become more and more common, less and less rational, as the country gets dumber.
The recent court decision is not a week old and there is already talk about revoking the tax exemptions of churches who choose to obey God rather than the government. The legal structure is in place for that to happen and it certainly appeals to the bullying instinct unintelligent people mistake for moral righteousness.
It would, however, be Constitutionally indefensible for the government to pick and chose among churches which ones get tax preference and which don’t. The compromise being floated by some is to revoke the tax exemptions of all churches so as not to appear as if the government is violating the 1st Amendment. It has the appearance of fairness and it stokes the endless greed of politicians who seem to think your money belongs to them, they just let you use some of it.
I honestly don’t see that happening, a slow grinding attrition is more likely. The government can harass churches it doesn’t like the way it harasses businesses or individuals it does not like. There is a marked tendency nowadays towards arbitrary government and selective enforcement of rules, giving friends a pass and enemies the full force of vaguely written regulations, and this will become the norm.
And then there are the courts. Activists will launch lawsuits which will be lost, won, and appealed, over and over in all the states. The very process is the punishment.
The first target of harassment will be hospitals, schools and universities, forcing them to choose between a comfortable existence and their association with churches and they will choose the former.
This is the world in which we are most likely going to be living our faith. Some Christians might fantasize a new age of Christian purity, but in reality this sort of harassment will breed plenty of divisions, defections, and misery in the Church, as it always did in the past.
Then again there is nothing to really be scared of. Bullies will be bullies: obnoxious but lazy. The only thing that can destroy faith is cowardice or a narrow minded resentment, seeing outsiders as enemies and not souls in need of mercy.
And it could be worse: you could always be living in Syria and have to flee from ISIS on the rampage.