Should we put aside the battle for marriage?

Should we put aside the battle for marriage? July 1, 2015

David Brooks says we Christians should put aside the culture war over marriage.  We have lost, he says, and should realize it.

Instead we should take our energies into neighborhoods to fight for “stable families” by selflessly rebuilding institutions and reaching out to the “lonely” and “stressed.”  We should help people connect to “transcendence” and fight for “right and wrong” in “barbaric” sexual environments.

Ironic, isn’t it?  The very folks he calls us to help are those whose lives and families are disintegrating because they have lost their moral compass in sexuality and marriage.  This is why we have an epidemic of fatherlessness, with the overwhelming social pathologies that have resulted, and now are facing a new generation of children purposely deprived of having a mom and dad.

This is because government has now given its stamp of approval to same-sex couples using other moms and dads to have children deprived of moms and dads.  Government has now stopped endorsing marriage as an institution dedicated to raising children and enshrined a new institution (I won’t call it marriage) all about the fulfillment of desire.  That’s it: the “dignity” (Justice Kennedy’s controlling word) of desire.

So we should stop saying that children deserve a mom and dad?  Because five unelected judges acted as if it doesn’t matter?

Far better is Matthew Franck’s response to Obergefell.  Franck is optimistic (which is good for the millions of us who are discouraged).  Franck is hopeful because Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion is so pathetic, he says, that future readers of it will realize it is an emperor with no clothes. Just as millions didn’t stop fighting after Roe v. Wade, another poorly-reasoned decision, and have won success after success in the cultural war over abortion.  (For the first time in decades, last year a majority of Americans said they were “pro-life.”  And they are led by teens and twenty-somethings!)

Here is Franck:

“As a legal opinion, Obergefell is an utter failure. What the late John Hart Ely, who was politically in favor of abortion, said of Roe v. Wade, we can say of Obergefell: ‘It is bad because it is bad constitutional law, or rather because it is not constitutional law and gives almost no sense of an obligation to try to be.’ But Obergefell is also embarrassingly bad as a contribution to the political and social debate on marriage. From this I take heart that the battle can be rejoined, with the making of better arguments—each side offering its best against the other’s best—in a struggle that will continue for years to come.”

So soldier on.  The war is not over.  And the prospects for victory are not as bad as David Brooks thinks.

But even if things get worse (as the new Intolerance tries to shame us and shut us down), we know that millennia of reason and revelation were not wrong, that conjugal marriage is best for human flourishing because it is best for children, and that victories will be won all along the way in the lives of those we influence.  These are no small things.

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