The stampede to change not simply the laws regarding marriage but the morality of a nation is really quite incredible. For anyone who’s paying attention to the gay marriage movement, it has to be apparent that what’s going on here is not simply a desire to change the marriage laws in this country but a sustained effort to change the sexual morality of the country. It’s been going on for a long time now. The legalization of contraceptives was but a part of a broader effort to change the whole morality related to sexual activity both inside and outside marriage. It was not simply about giving married people the legal right to purchase contraceptives. No, giving married people the right to purchase contraceptives openly was part of a much bigger plan to fundamentally change the way people look at marriage and at sexual morality in general. It was ludicrous to think, as some church leaders thought at the time, that the sale of contraceptives could be limited to married couples. And, of course, that was never the aim of those who were driving the movement to change those laws. The overarching goal was to change, to revolutionize, the whole morality of sexual activity, and it was so successful that today everyone recognizes that a true revolution in fact began shortly following the legalization of contraceptives.
Today, we are seeing the scope of this victory of the sexual revolutionists. Contraceptives are freely distributed among teenagers, and most recently this will now include teenagers down to the age of 15 who will be able to purchase the morning-after pill without any parental involvement. But, then, that too was one of the aims of the sexual revolution, the undermining of the Christian notion of the family and the proper relationship between parents and children. And now we have the incredible surge of a sexual revolution that would have been thought impossible not that many years ago, the granting of a legal right for homosexuals to contract a union that is now considered by some states, and even some religions, as a true marriage. It is yet another sign that Western societies have completely thrown off any Christian influence and have now rejected any form of universal morality.
Of course, for any Christian who believes that there is a real continuity between the Christianity of the ages and his or her Christian belief, it can never be the case that this Christian will ever accept homosexual marriage as anything but a legal construct of society that has lost its moral underpinnings. He will never see it as a true marriage, that is, a marriage in the eyes of God the Creator. And, make no mistake about it, this position is going to become increasingly the object of tremendous anger on the part of the sexual revolutionists and tremendous incomprehension on the part of many people who still consider themselves Christian, at least in name. There will almost certainly be an effort in this country, once homosexual unions are considered marriages, to make any expression of such Christian belief a hate crime, which has already happened in the country to our north.
What a weird thing it is to insist that respect for homosexuals as persons requires changing legal institutions that have existed for millennia and to change the morality of the whole Christian tradition until the 20th century. There is this perverse notion today that love and respect for homosexuals requires that we change our whole legal tradition regarding marriage, and ultimately our whole morality when it comes to sexuality. And of course that is the goal of the sexual revolution that has been underway for 50 years, for the drive for homosexual marriage is simply a working out of the logic of that revolution, a necessary step to total victory.
To see how ludicrous this notion is that love and respect for a person whose conduct we have to condemn requires favoring the legalization of that conduct – which is the perverse logic driving public opinion today – let’s simply apply the same rule to other situations.
Surely, a parent or family member, of a serial murderer cannot be accused of lacking compassion or love for their family member who is a murderer unless they favor making murder no longer a crime. Just try to imagine a parent who would say I love my son who has done these things, and my love requires that I support the decriminalization of murder. Or imagine again a parent or sibling of a pedophile, saying that pedophilia should be legalized in our society as it was in Greece in the ancient world, and that respect for the dignity of pedophiles requires that change.
There is no doubt that all Christians have a religious duty to love and respect the sinner, no matter how heinous the sin or crime, but that love and respect does not require one to bypass the laws of justice or work to change the laws that criminalize such conduct. Indeed, the intelligent Christian knows that what is aimed at in this case in the effort to change the law, to create a homosexual marriage, is quite impossible in reality. The state can change laws, but it cannot change reality. Marriage is what it is, and what it is has been determined by the Creator and not by the state. The first attack on this divine prerogative was the legalization of divorce some centuries ago when the state claimed the power to separate what God had joined. That usurpation of divine prerogative implied that there was in fact no natural law, and that implied that there was in fact no universal morality. The French revolution, for instance, tried to divinize the state by this usurpation of divine power. It was then not a huge step to making the state the source of morality as well. That’s exactly why today the state’s changing of the law of marriage to include homosexuals will be taken by the masses to be a fundamental change in morality as well as law. We saw that with contraception; we saw that with abortion; and now we are seeing that same pattern in the way society at large is responding to the demand for homosexual marriage. It will not simply be a matter of legality, but almost instantaneously a matter of moral revolution.\
The saddest thing in all this will be the ultimate undermining of the only firm basis for respect for homosexual persons themselves, that is, the guarantee of the universal morality of the church. States can undermine the absolute moral laws of God, but they cannot substitute any absolute morality of their own. The state can alter the legal system and undermine the moral system, but in doing so it ultimately undermines everything. If there are no moral absolutes, then the moral duty to respect and love my neighbor, including my homosexual neighbors, is simply a matter of politics, and politics change inevitably. The state today could even enforce a certain kind of respect by its power to punish those who say certain things or act in certain ways that are insulting and disrespectful toward the persons of homosexuals. But the state cannot guarantee that this will always be the case. Governments and even political systems come and go over time. So what is criminalized behavior today, when it comes to speech or attitudes that disrespect homosexuals can easily be decriminalized by some future government that is not particularly respectful of human rights, just as homosexual activity was criminalized for centuries in this country and became decriminalized with a change of government today, that is, a change of those who are running the government. And the same thing can happen to the laws that criminalize certain behavior toward homosexuals. Only an absolute morality governing conduct toward persons, whose behavior one morally condemns, is a true safeguard for the well-being and dignity of every human person.
It is certainly a good thing that modern society has adopted a demand for respect for persons whose conduct we may not respect, adopted, I say, because the Church has been teaching this right along. But no society can really foster let alone demand the other attitude mentioned above, the duty actually to love not simply those whose conduct we disagree with, but even those who are truly our enemies. Only a true absolute power can demand such love for neighbor and for that power itself, and that power is God. And only one earthly power can rightly act in the name of the higher power, and it is not the state. Whenever the state has tried to do so, we get the concentration camps and the end of real liberty, for all and will not just for the enemies of the state. Only the Church alone, which is so abused today because it sticks fast to its teaching, can foster and even demand such love.