I read with interest this morning a comment from a formerly-believing Latter-day Saint. On the matter of same-sex marriage (to which he is enthusiastically committed), he pledged to try to treat opponents of the redefinition of marriage civilly, despite his conviction that our view proceeds from hatred and bigotry, is evil, and does incalculable harm.
I appreciate the candor, and I return it.
I pledge to continue to treat proponents of the radical redefinition of marriage civilly, despite my conviction that, although undeniably well-intentioned, they are deeply confused, and despite my sad expectation that, by further undermining the already gravely weakened foundations of marriage, their efforts will cause much additional suffering to untold millions of men, women, and children, many of whom aren’t even born yet.
(Please note that I haven’t mentioned religion here. But I certainly don’t deny that my faith is part of my approach to this topic. I see no more reason to pretend that my deepest beliefs don’t help to motivate me than did the Rev. Martin Luther King and the Southern Christian Leadership Council or, earlier, Harriet Beecher Stowe and Julia Ward Howe.)
The radical redefinition of marriage is neither the first assault on the institution nor, almost certainly, the last. And the effects will be gradual and their cause less than immediately obvious — especially given the congruent ideological commitment of many to ignoring the obvious and to hoping that it won’t be noticed and/or will go away. (I have it on solid and multiple authority that whole areas of social science research are, already, effectively off limits for ambitious scholars. “Here be dragons!”) So triumphant announcements, on the day after any particular triumph of The Relentless March of History, that the sky hasn’t fallen just because Progress has won another victory over Obscurantism and Hatred, will be largely beside the point. The sky will, simply, lower, darken, and grow gray. Visibility will be substantially reduced, and few will be able to recall what the heavens once looked like.