My hometown newspaper, the Cumberland Times-News, has been a hotbed of debate on the issue of gay marriage lately. After reading some of the letters to the editor, I was inspired to write the following. It’s not overtly Christian, but it does raise important questions that (I hope) will inspire people to question their presuppositions (particularly as they relate to God and objective morality). I plan to submit this to the Times-News for their consideration. Readers of The MonT-SteR REPORT will be among the first to know if it’s printed.
Answer the Questions Gay Marriage Raises with Care
Rogue mayors and presidential politics have renewed the debate about gay marriage with fresh fervor. Impassioned appeals, both pro and con, are made every day; but the shrill rancor of our national debate has drowned out reason. Those who object to gay marriage on religious grounds are frequently marginalized. Proponents of gay marriage, who have undoubtedly received more than their own share of name-calling, gleefully hurl rude epithets like “zealot,” “bigot,” or “hate-monger” at people of faith who decry homosexuality. On the other hand, many believers hotly (and wrongly) denounce homosexuals as those who practice an incomparably execrable sin — one that renders them irremediably godless and subversive to home and hearth. A meeting of minds and hearts is impossible in such a poisoned atmosphere.
We need to calm down and consider: this issue is much larger than personal rights and finger pointing. It speaks to fundamental logical and existential questions about the human condition. Namely, what is objectively normal, healthy human behavior? Is there such a thing? If so, how do we determine what “normal” is? If not, what does that mean for us as a society? Do we attempt to invent, define, and impose an artificial standard of normalcy by consensus, or do we abandon the very notion of “normal” and leave us all to our own individual devices and proclivities? Most importantly, are the answers to these questions intrinsic to humanity, or are they transcendent, requiring us to look beyond ourselves for wisdom and guidance?
In their outworking, all ideas inevitably produce tangible, practical consequences. Thus, the manner in which we answer the question “What is normal?” has far reaching implications. From a logical perspective, that we are even considering whether or not gay marriage should be culturally and constitutionally licit means that the very idea of objective normalcy hangs in the balance. If monogamous, heterosexual marriage is not exclusively normal, then where does our idea of normal begin and end? Some psychologists have recently suggested that children might actually benefit from a sexual relationship with a pedophile. Like it or not, these psychologists are using the rubric of “normalcy” to legitimize pedophelia. Once we discard what have been considered normal parameters for human relational and sexual interaction by embracing gay marriage, can we reasonably tell pedophiles, polygamists, and practitioners of bestiality that what they do is abnormal and undeserving of cultural or legal sanction? Moreover, if we reject the traditional understanding of normalcy vis-a-vis marriage, what does that mean for other categories of normalcy? How can we tell what is exclusively normal, moral, and good if we are constantly subjecting these things to inclusive redefinition? What meaning can notions of right and wrong have in such an environment?
America must debate the issue of gay marriage, but in doing so we have already opened Pandora’s box. Take care, ladies and gentlemen, how you answer these questions. For my own part, I fear for our nation if we abandon objective — yes, even transcendent — normalcy. To do so is to embrace a destructive, imperialistic moral anarchy with debauching tentacles that will reach far beyond the question of gay marriage.