A "Marriage Solidarity Statement" was sent out a few days ago, from the Liberty Counsel's Matt Staver and Deacon Keith Fournier. It was signed by over 200 conservative Christian activists and vowed solidarity against a pending Supreme Court decision should it decide to support gay marriage."As Christians united together in defense of marriage, we pray that this will not happen. But, make no mistake about our resolve. While there are many things we can endure, redefining marriage is so fundamental to the natural order and the true common good that this is the line we must draw and one we cannot and will not cross."
For the base of the law-and-order crowd, it's touching to see their defiance of the Supreme Court, but one is entitled to their religious belief, even if so many others of that same religion believe differently. One question, though -- if they do pray that this doesn't happen...and it ends up happening...will that tell them that their prayers were ignored, and decided to go a different way? My guess not. My guess is that one can twist prayer any way that's convenient, and they'll just suggest they didn't pray enough. Though 200 high-end signatures is a heckuva lot of prayer.
And hey, maybe the Supremes were vote against gay marriage. So, they'll be off the hook. Just in case, though, the group is covering its bases. Their letter addresses the judges, saying --
"If the Supreme Court were to issue a decision that redefined marriage or provided a precedent on which to build an argument to redefine marriage, the Supreme Court will thereby undermine its legitimacy. The Court will significantly decrease its credibility and impair the role it has assumed for itself as a moral authority. It will be acting beyond its proper constitutional role and contrary to the Natural Moral Law which transcends religions, culture, and time."
One tiny tweak for them. The Supreme Court is not a moral authority. It is a legal authority. The high court hasn't assumed that role for itself. The letter writers have assumed it.
But then, the letter assumes a whole lot of things which are unsupportable.
"As Christian citizens united together, we will not stand by while the destruction of the institution of marriage unfolds in this nation we love. The Sacred Scriptures and unbroken teaching of the Church confirm that marriage is between one man and one woman. We stand together in solidarity to defend marriage and the family and society founded upon them. The effort to redefine marriage threatens the proper mediating role of the Church in society.
"Experience and history have shown us that if the government redefines marriage to grant a legal equivalency to same-sex couples, that same government will then enforce such an action with the police power of the State. This will bring about an inevitable collision with religious freedom and conscience rights. We cannot and will not allow this to occur on our watch. Religious freedom is the first freedom in the American experiment for good reason."
The letter-writers and signatories seem to be assuming that the nation they love exists on principles that don't exist. Religious freedom is about all religion, not the Sacred Scriptures and unbroken teaching of the church alone. And they seem to assume that marriage between a man and a woman will cease to exist, which of course isn't even remotely the case.
It also assumes an experience and history that doesn't seem to exist. I'm tried to figure out some case where the frightening police power of the State has forced people to marry others who didn't want to. I think they are confusing the U.S. Constitution with a 16th Century romance novel.
While the first freedom and the Bill of Rights does indeed provide for religious freedom -- again, freedom for all religions -- what they conveniently overlook is the first first sentence that declared that very American experiment. It's not the law of the land, just the foundation of it --
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."
But in the end, I find the letter sort of amusing. After all, what do they mean to do in their defiance? How do they intend to manifest their grandiose stand? If a church doesn't want to perform any marriage for any reason, they don't have to. And if people want to get married anywhere, they don't need the church's approval or granting of a license.
Stating your heart-felt opposition to a matter of public issue is one thing. To stand there and blow a heavy and empty wind is something else entirely.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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