Same old story—same-sex marriage is a slippery slope. Once we allow this change, what will come next? Will people demand to marry their children or pets or sex toys?
Many traditionalists back in the sixties had their own version of this: “Once black folks can marry white folks, who knows what’ll come next?”
The sky didn’t fall after Loving v. Virginia eliminated anti-miscegeny laws in 1967, and it didn’t when the Netherlands became the first country to grant same-sex marriages in 2001 or when Massachusetts became the first U.S. state to legalize them in 2004.
Don’t open that Pandora’s Box labeled “same-sex marriage”!
Here’s a new variation on the Chicken Little fear that the sky is falling. Fellow Patheos blogger Dwight Longenecker doesn’t wonder what’ll come after same-sex marriage. He knows: the U.S. will become a police state.
Hold your arms out for balance, and let’s step through the argument. First, he points to a recent article titled “Legalize Polygamy!” Written by a woman, it argues that a pro-woman attitude should allow women the freedom to enter into polygamous marriages. She argues that marriage is plastic—that it can be molded to take on new shapes.
America has dramatically rejected many of the marriage customs decreed in the Bible, so, yeah, marriage is plastic. But have you considered the consequences? Longenecker has.
Marriage is only plastic … because everything else is too. In other words, there is no such thing as Truth.
This big-T Truth presumably means objective or absolute truth. And here again I agree—I see no evidence for objective truth in issues that affect society such as morality or the definition of marriage. But Longenecker wails and rends his garments:
For the Catholic everything is connected. If marriage is plastic … then everything is plastic … Everything is up for grabs, there is no certainty and if no certainty, then no security.
Changing the definition of marriage pulls the thread that unravels the entire fabric of your reality? I guess it sucks to be you then, since we’ve already resoundingly rejected many of the Bible’s conceptions of the male/female relationship.
The Bible’s nutty interpretation of marriage
- “Do not intermarry with [those in the Canaanite tribes]” (Deut. 7:3).
- King Solomon famously had 300 concubines (1 Kings 11:3).
- A raped woman must marry her rapist (Deut. 22:28–9).
- “Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.” (Num. 31:17–18)
- God said to David, “I gave your master’s house to you, and your master’s wives into your arms. I gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more.” (2 Sam. 12:8). God has his complaints about David, but polygamy isn’t one of them.
- Paul said, “Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry” (1 Cor. 7:8–9). Marriage is clearly the second best option. Celibacy is what we should actually strive for.
- Paul also rejects divorce (1 Cor. 7:10–11).
The sky is falling!
In a society where anything goes everything goes…downhill fast. Where moral disintegration exists societal disintegration soon follows. Everything starts to come apart at the seams. Societal chaos threatens.
I missed how we get “anything goes” from expanding one institution of society to include a disenfranchised minority.
When there is no certainty in a society–no moral absolutes and no reason and no rules …
As for no moral absolutes … well, yeah. Why—do you have any evidence of moral absolutes besides some vague feeling? And here again, the only one who imagines no reason and no rules is Longenecker himself.
And now the punch line.
When there is no certainty in a society–no moral absolutes and no reason and no rules, then something must be done. People demand security. As disorder and chaos increase people demand order and control.
But, of course, this dystopia that’s around the corner won’t reach for Longenecker’s Yahweh, darn it. This obvious answer will be right in front of us, but our fallen race will appeal to government, and the government’s way to provide order and control is a police state.
Thus the ultimate irony that those who wanted a society “completely free” from absolutes where everything was plastic will end up with a police state where nothing is plastic and the total control is drastic.
This breathless argument distills down to this:
1. A same-sex marriage proponent is now advocating that polygamy be legalized. See? Didn’t I say this would happen?!
2. A flexible definition of marriage means that everything is flexible. Absolutes of any kind and even truth itself are no more. Anything goes.
3. Moral disintegration and social chaos follow.
4. The public clamors for order, and government responds with a police state.
(Point #2 is where the argument teleports to Crazy Town, IMO.)
The slippery slope argument is popular, but I reject it. The definition of marriage does change; that’s a simple fact of history. Instead of focusing on that, focus on the test that doesn’t change: does it cause harm?
Does polygamy cause harm? Does same-sex marriage cause harm? These are the questions to ask.
Happiness is the only good,
justice the only worship,
humanity the only religion,
and love the only priest.
— Robert Green Ingersoll
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