Monday, July 25, 2011

Perry Picks Bill of Rights Over Bible

For Texas governor Rick Perry, morality is important.

Just not as important as politics.

Last Friday, Perry told a group of supporters in Colorado that he's "fine" with New York State allowing gay marriage. Although maintaining he's personally opposed to gay marriage, he claims it's a states' rights issue, with our Constitution apparently meaning more to Perry than the Bible.

“Our friends in New York six weeks ago passed a statute that said marriage can be between two people of the same sex. And you know what? That’s New York, and that’s their business, and that’s fine with me,” he said, as many in his audience of Republicans applauded. “That is their call. If you believe in the Tenth Amendment, stay out of their business.”

Unfortunately, Perry picked the wrong issue to use as an example of protecting states' rights. Professional licencing of doctors, motor vehicle registrations, education, and mineral resources all represent a sampling of valid concerns that individual states can rightfully administrate. Marriage, as it pertains to the legality of particular relationships, also comes under the authority of individual states. So for those with a weak grasp on ethics and a murky mastery of the provenance of marriage, Perry's assertion that states' rights applies to marriage between heterosexual and homosexual partners might make sense.

But if the Founding Fathers, who Perry and his neo-con ilk regularly lionize in their rhetoric, were alive today, I imagine that they'd find Perry's dismissal of basic civil morality highly offensive.

As I do.

Marriage as Covenant, not Companionship

Quite simply, gay marriage is not the same as heterosexual marriage. Governments around the globe use marriage as a logistical tool for legal matters, but not even laws and legal bodies throughout millennia have had the audacity of assuming that governments can actually re-define it. Lately, however, a lot of people, confused about what marriage consists of, have tried.

Can any legislative body take what is essentially a religious - and Christian, at that - contract and impute a paradigm diametrically opposed to it? Since marriage is a religious covenant ordained by the God of the orthodox Bible, just because governments have borrowed it to conveniently regulate their societies, can those governments co-opt any authority to re-write the terms of that covenant? Governments can observe the purpose and practice of the covenant of marriage.  Governments can provide protections for them, and they can even dissolve them, within the guidelines provided in the original framework of the institution which set up the covenant in the first place (which would be the Bible).  But can governments introduce changes which undermine their fundamental purpose?

Just because it may look possible on paper, is it possible in practice?

Gay marriage in no way enhances the perpetuation of the society, since natural procreation is impossible. Gay marriage in no way advances the biological convention of maternal and paternal imperatives for the maturation of progeny. Gay marriage may be sexually fulfilling, socially acceptable, and politically expedient, but even if you deny its Biblical illicitness, it's still a civic frivolity. Society as a whole does not intrinsically benefit from giving gays the right to marry each other. It's about as effective as legalizing bestiality.

Of course, since Perry's comments on gay marriage appear to prove he's as opportunistic as any groveling politician, legalizing bestiality may not be as much of a stretch for him as one might think.

Nevertheless, I'm pretty sure the reasons for why Perry would oppose gay marriage in Texas - which he says he does - would sound pretty much like why he'd oppose legalizing bestiality in Texas. It just ain't right. It's not the natural, biological, or even evolutionary order of things. Society does not gain one thing from legalizing alternative forms of marriage.

Now, I'm not equating being gay with bestiality. Homosexuality itself is a different topic from both gay marriage and having sex with animals. But just as you are (hopefully) uncomfortable with my repetition of the b-word, so you should be uncomfortable with legalizing gay marriage.  The extent to which you're not reveals the depravity to which we've become jaded in our modern post-industrialized culture.

This Isn't Just a Legal Issue

Yes, this is a difficult subject. Yes, it's going to draw a distinction between Biblical ethicists and our friends in the gay community. Yes, some of the gay partnerships I know are more loving and committed than some of the heterosexual marriages I know. And yes, it is counter-cultural to hold the line on marriage as being between one man and one woman. But it's not counter-intuitive. It's the people whose opinions have evolved to consider homosexual marriage as acceptable - or even necessary - who are being counter-intuitive. Who are denying basic principles of civilized law. Not to mention basic principles of orthodox Christianity.

Of course, a lot of people today couldn't care less about WASP ethics and Judeo-Christian principles. And as I've said before, the evangelical Christian community has done a rotten job of preserving the same sanctity of marriage claim with which we're suddenly rushing to enshrine this debate.

This is a religious issue. This is a moral issue. To the degree that you disagree likely illustrates the chill in your relationship with the only God of the Bible. Not the God you may like to think exists. You know the one: the god who lets us imagine how he might be according to our own fancies and misinterpretations of select scriptures. The same god many liberal religious people call upon to justify their apostasy.

Indeed, this is a definitive issue of faith and orthodoxy. And the more anybody thinks they're entitled to make up their own mind on this issue, the less relevant marriage will become in society. Marriage isn't a topic open for this type of re-envisioning.

There will be some who say people like me are entitled to our opinion, but if we persist in this opinion, we would be denying gays who desire to marry their civil rights. To that claim it can only be pointed out that civil rights don't automatically exist in a religious contract like marriage. Remember, the government may assign civil rights to participants, yet they are only valid in the context of the overall parameters of marriage's original design.

But it's a mute point anyway. Most gay couples today can already share assets and familial visitation rights like any married couple. To them, marriage isn't so much essential for equality as it is a narcisistic snubbing of traditional mores in the public square.

It cannot be over-emphasized: changing the definition of marriage - literally the bedrock of civilized society - is not something any government can do. Mortals can try, through emotional appeals and legal contrivances, and an illusion of validity can be created by documents and ceremonies, yet none of us have the authority to alter the intrinsic purposes and intended participants in the marriage covenant.

Unless you're Hell-bent on perverting judicial prudence and social legitimacy - which may literally be what some of our fellow Americans are - then you can't be like Governor Perry and whitewash gay marriage as a states' rights issue.

Believe it or not, some things are more important than the United States Constitution.
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