By Regina Doman
In light of the US bishops’ plea for prayer and fasting these two weeks before the Supreme Court is expected to rule on whether or not to redefine marriage, I feel the need to make some clarifications that for whatever reason, haven’t really been made.
The message given by our culture over and over again is that when it comes to adults getting their feelings hurt, children are screwed. Literally. Or killed. Or damned. First World Adults are addicted to their gonads, and if kids are in the way of that satisfaction, guess who gets their way, and who has to deal with it?
Prattle about “children’s rights” very seldom means the few rights that actually matter – such as the right to be born, the right to have a mom and a dad, the right to kindness and care and protection of childhood innocence and vulnerability. Children’s rights are usually only brought up when non-parent adults want to seduce, have sex with, kill, or control someone else’s child.
Right now we are on the cusp of ensuring that hundreds of children adopted or born into homosexual unions will be raised without either a mom or a dad, and those children will be expected to be compliant, accepting, and to have no mental distress or hangups, because otherwise Adults Will Have Their Feelings Hurt. The magnitude of the injustice we are about to institutionalize is staggering. And even yet, no one has the guts to tell two consenting adults to be content with civil unions. No, we’re going to sacrifice even more children to a reckless and completely irresponsible social experiment because Americans Feel Bad For Gays. I also feel bad for gays. The gay lifestyle is a misnomer: it is a lonely and dangerous lifestyle. They have my deep sympathy, but a government ruling won’t change feelings. It will not bring happiness to gay couples. It will make divorce proceedings and custody cases labyrinthine beyond our imagination. And children will be asked to suffer once again, so that Adults Won’t Have Their Feelings Hurt. From a generational viewpoint, social stupidity is about to become incarnate.
The life expectancy of a human being is growing but it’s still about 80 years in the First World. The average life expectancy of a law is in the hundreds. A bad law has every chance of lasting just as long as a good one. Read history. The Roman law making Christianity a crime punishable by death was promulgated by a madman and everyone knew it … but it took almost 250 years till someone had the guts to repeal it. Given the unnatural lifespan of a law, getting a law un-enacted is a generational fight. And Americans should be glad about that, because if the abolition movement hadn’t been generational, we’d still have slavery.
We have already foolishly allowed the government the power to define human life: that’s what Roe v. Wade was really about. Those of us fortunate enough to be born after 1973 have begun to resent the onerous government intrusion that began to assert itself in the wake of Roe v Wade, but about half of us still can’t connect the dots. If you don’t think the government should have the power to define life, why on earth would you allow it to decide it can also define marriage?
But let’s talk about the uncanny and inhuman life expectancy of a law. I honestly don’t expect millions of gays to get married, any more than I expect those who do to stay married. The Great Gay Hope, nursed by soft-hearted Americans, that gay marriage will produce the happiness that eluded heterosexuals who’ve tried divorcing, remarrying, shacking up, hooking up, virtual sex, and 50 Shades will evaporate. And yes, a few political fascists see a chance to slap some Christians into submission through bakeries and wedding hall rentals, and we can’t pretend they won’t ignore such a tantalizing opportunity.
But the law will remain. It will outlast liberal Democrats and Tea Party Republicans and even revolutionary libertarians. And it will become the scourge of reasonable reformers and well-meaning politicians of every party. Here’s why. Because if a government can redefine marriage as two of the same sex, why in the world can’t it extend it just a little bit to include two of the same sex and one of the other? If marriage is whatever the Supremes or the ballot box says it is, why not?
The rush to define gay marriage has been a rush of emotion—of happy people waving rainbows, of tearful accounts of gay persecution, of prim condemnation of unfeeling bigots. Emotions make for bad laws, unworkable laws, vague laws, overbearing laws. And *not* easily reversible laws.
And a law redefining marriage will become a snare to the reasonable person. What will the reasonable person say to the decent, hardworking Hindu immigrant who wants to do right by his three wives? Will those wives be denied health care, spousal rights, and a raft of social services because of American government’s bigoted insistence that marriage is for two people only?
Polygamy has all the arguments that the gay “marriage” could never muster: it has historical precedent, social stability, and is the lifestyle currently chosen by millions of people around the world today. It has been looked upon kindly by both Muslims and Mormons. On what outdated ethical standards are we going to deny those people a seat at the table, a voice in the government? Given the right repackaging, polygamy could be sexy, trendy, hip, and the next big thing.
But polygamy also de-equalizes the sexes. It makes women subservient. It sabotages women’s rights. In a polygamous society, marriage doesn’t “catch” a man: he never goes off the market. He can avoid the trauma and financial blow of divorce by placating wife number one and adding wife number two, and a clever man can even get them to get along. We already know that too many women are anxious to sacrifice their self-respect for the promise of love: these same women will demand the right to marry an already-married man if they become convinced their happiness depends on it and the government has the solution.
Who’s going to tell the disabled child of a second wife that she isn’t eligible for life-saving medical treatment because her mother isn’t allowed to legally marry her father? Americans, if you want to let the government redefine human institutions, you had better come up with an answer for this one, quick. And hey, you church leaders, if you’re afraid right now of hurting feelings or going to jail or, Lordy forbid, losing your tax-exempt status, you’d better start holding committees on outreach to those in plural marriages, because the dam is cracking and the flood is coming.
Because if marriage is redefined, polygamy is approaching, and I’m tempted to say we might as well start handing out burkas. Because, feminist utopian fantasies aside, men will be men, women will be women, boys will be boys, and when it comes to teen girls, an average-looking middle-aged man with a good income can out-do, out-buy, out-argue, and out-class a teen guy any day of the week.
Which means, you teen guys who like to brag about how you’re straight but think that gays should marry, get ready to stay single for a long time. Because a middle-aged man knows how to sweet-talk a young woman, how to buy her the right presents, push all her buttons, make her feel loved and liberated, and knows better than to play video games on his phone during a date or to forget to shower.
But if Americans are willing to stop thinking with their hearts and think with their heads, and if church members and church leaders are willing to actually be unfriended on Facebook, we can say “no” to this idiotic and devastating rush to redefine marriage. By saying a few things over and over: such as we can’t allow children to become white rats in a social experiment because Adults Don’t Want to Have Their Feelings Hurt.
And we could actually start protecting children. And we should point out, patiently but loudly and firmly, that just as the state’s role is not to define life but to protect it, the government’s role is not to define marriage but to protect marriage. Because marriage needs a protective environment and shielding from the diseases and fads and lusts of the powerful that an unborn baby needs.
But if we fail in the next two weeks, I have confidence that real marriage, like human babies who’ve survived abortions, will outlast this fight. Marriage will outlast bad laws, foolish governments, and stupid voting blocks. I have this confidence because of God, but also because I’ve read history. And marriage for life between the sexes has protected children, equalized the sexes, and done more good and creative things for the human race than anything except religion.
But because I’ve read history, I also know that just as we judge Germans of the 1930s and 40s by how they treated the Jews, future generations will judge America by how well Americans protected their children. And from today’s vantage point, I’m afraid history is not going to be kind to us.