Don’t Panic, But It Really Is That Bad

Don’t Panic, But It Really Is That Bad June 29, 2015

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Jim Linwood Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by
Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Jim Linwood Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by

The news cycle turns and turns.

Friday, when the Supreme Court decision ending marriage came down, pundits jumped on the run-in-circles, scream-and-shout bandwagon. One week-end later, and they are all set to do the don’t-panic-you-unlettered-ones, it’s-not-that-bad pat down.

Today is the day when the flood of there-there-little-buttercup-it’s-alright commentary begins. We’ll be treated to analysis as to how same-sex marriage has not hurt anybody anywhere and there has been no push past gay marriage to an even more elastic set of definitions. We’ll hear how the Church is flourishing in countries with gay marriage and has not suffered harm.

We’ll be told to stand down and go about our business as if nothing has happened. Somebody somewhere is sure to use the meme, Keep Calm and Catholic On.

This is evidently as predictable as pundit ignorance is inevitable. Most of these people couldn’t read a law and tell you what it means if their lives depended on it. They certainly couldn’t look at a statute or a court ruling and see the ez pz ways in which it can be massaged for use in further challenges or revisions or whatnot.

In my humble opinion and for what it’s worth, the decision the Court handed down Friday is as elastic as hot taffy. It is so elastic that it destroys marriage as a legal construct. There is now no marriage in the dependable, this-is-what-it-is way of law under American jurisprudence. We now live in the Wild West of marriage.

It will take a while for the destructive vagueness of this hatched-up decision to roll its way through the body politic, but when it does, the damage is going to be widespread, endemic and generational. The court created a Constitutional crisis that will spawn other Constitutional crises that will spawn civil unrest that will spawn a much uglier culture war than what has damaged this nation so seriously up until now.

The Supreme Court has, in the past 50 years, been the chief creator of civil and cultural unrest in this nation, and it has now outdone itself.

If you want someone to go hush-a-bye and sing lullabies to you, read another blog. I would be lying to you if I did that. Contrary to the things you may read elsewhere, I’m going to tell you that it really is “that bad.”

But I’m also going to tell you not to panic.

Today is not the time to begin the process of talking about how we will respond to this new challenge. People — including me — need a bit of time to process this emotionally.

I wrote Friday and Saturday on the decision itself. I will probably do that again.

But for today I’m going to tell you one thing: The damage the Court did to this country Friday is every bit as bad as your worst thoughts of it. But — and this sounds ironic, I know — there is no reason to panic.

Martin Luther King, Jr, said “A lie cannot live.”

I would paraphrase that to say that a lie cannot live forever. Western civilization is in the grip of a number of lies about the most essential questions of all. We are debating the roots of civilization itself with questions revolving around the basic right to life and what it means to be human.

One question we have not asked, but which is much-needed, is how much nihilistic rot a culture can withstand before it collapses. Another unasked but needed question is whether or not we will impose any limits on human hubris.

Those of us who are traditional Christians, specifically those of us who are Catholic, have a stronger position in this debate simply because we are not balancing, as the Supreme Court did in its ruling, on the ever-rolling marbles of public popularity and poll numbers. We are standing on the Rock.

Notice, I did not say that we are standing on “a rock.” I said “the Rock.”

I’m going to noodle with this decision and its supporting arguments for a couple of days. You and I both need to do this to get our bearings in this new landscape. We’ll deal with the what is part of this situation first. Then, we’ll deal with the personal challenges that we face.

Then — and only then — we’ll look at political responses.

This is going to be a long fight. We have an entire culture that is caught in a self-righteous suicidal frenzy before us, and it’s our job to save it. We have a world to convert and re-convert. Our first work in the conversion department begins with ourselves.

The truth of our situation is that it really is “that bad.” But those of us who are standing on the Rock have no reason to panic.


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20 responses to “Don’t Panic, But It Really Is That Bad”

  1. I hope we can turn the SSM argument around, but this will be more difficult than the abortion issue. For years I’ve been saying that Western Civilization has been crumbling. We are now officially on a pile of pepples. Panic? I have no idea what to do.

  2. Rebecca, what I find the most unsettling about this whole thing is that my own nieces and nephews (and of course, most of their friends) have bought it lock, stock and barrel. They are celebrating this decision, at least in as far as it allows their friends to engage in “legitimate” sodomy. And this, for some of them, after 12 years of Catholic school education. I have spent the past couple days back and forth with them on Facebook and NOTHING of the truth sinks in. They ask why I am so angry , so frustrated , so sad, so hateful, so unloving, so ignorant. That I should “Get real” because it’s the 21st century. One of them has implied that I’m a liar because I “say I love God but hate my brother”. All of which is untrue. That I should try it (sodomy); I’d like it. And the parents of some of these kids (my own in-laws) read what their kids say and have no responses except for support. I do feel very much in the minority. One kid even said I should enjoy my fading into obscurity.

  3. Personal conversion is what I remember St. JPII calling us to well over 20 years ago. Things sure have changed since then.

  4. I’m going to write about these personal challenges Mary Fran. They are a kind of Gethsemane for many people.

  5. We’re going to talk about this a lot on this blog. I’m not so sure it will be more difficult than abortion. This thing is going to come unwound of its own self. To quote Yeats, the center cannot hold.

    I don’t relish that. I dread it. I’ve no idea if the fall of the house of nihilism will be a relatively gradual process that comes from public revulsion toward what they have wrought, or if it will be a cataclysmic implosion of failed institutions brought about by cultural disarray, but I fear the latter. I think we’re all probably going to end up with dust and debris all over us.

  6. Folks, I approve comments, but Disqus ignores me. I’ve just approved a large number of comments 3 times in a row and they keep coming back, waiting for approval. Have patience. I will keep clicking until the great Disqus decides to respond. 🙂

  7. I’m afraid you are right. This decision legitimized behaviors that, until recently, were considered repellant. Now, as Mary Fran said, the kids are saying, “try it, you’ll like it.” I’m afraid they don’t know what they are in for. This is not, as Justice Kennedy said, a smoothie of fuzzy feelings, it really is destructive. It’s sad they can’t see what is going to happen. I’ve even had people deny all accepted facts of gay relationships. And, the critics are already throwing rocks.

  8. Mary Fran, you know what herd animals kids (under 30) are. Laugh at them and tell them to think for themselves. That world certainly make me feel better. YMMV. 🙂

  9. Now that I’m finished being a smart-alek, here’s the one thing that really concerns me. SSM was a done deal when Windsor held. But in King v. Burwell, the Chief Justice of the United States declared that the plain sense of a law was wrong, that if they hadn’t been in a hurry, they would have written what he said the law meant.

    What rule of law? What division of powers?

  10. It is the secular world in which we find ourselves today.
    Our children are taught in public schools, in newscasts, in every media that secular thought is the only legitimate thought. I think this is why you are having the reaction from your friends and even family.
    ‘They ask why I am so angry , so frustrated , so sad, so hateful, so unloving, so ignorant. That I should “Get real” because it’s the 21st century.’ Secular by its fundamental definition excludes religion and religious thought. Therefore, any argument you, the believing Catholic makes, is a religious argument and automatically excluded.
    Pray that our Lord keep the light of love and truth alive in your thoughts and words, and pray, pray, pray.
    Harder times are still on the horizon, but they are becoming more clear every day.

  11. Many people have said this decision finished what Roe started but they are forgetting about Griswold v. Connecticut, decided 50 years ago this month. That decision first found the right to privacy cited in Roe and this most recent ruling. This has been a long the coming. What will we see in the next 50 years?

  12. I agree and was of that same mindset when I made that post. We still are not listening.

  13. I’m wondering if this is the beginning of the final persecutions. I recently took a survey by Word on Fire, Father Robert Barron’s website, and one of the questions asked was, “What would you like to see Father address and discuss?” I said, “How to stand fast and evangelize in an increasingly secular world.” And that was before the SCOTUS decision. I see friends jumping on the “I’m okay-you’re okay” bandwagon, “practicing” Catholics who are far too intimidated to face growing antagonism towards any religion, let alone the Catholic Church and it’s unchanging, unchangeable teaching. I don’t want to be one of them and yet the prospect…a very real prospect, especially in the workplace…of being a pariah looms large. Rebecca, I’m going to stick close to this blog to read what you’ve got to say, and the thoughts of others here. I find myself saying, “Come, Lord Jesus,” more and more and more…

  14. I was asked years ago by a friend if I’d attend her lesbian marriage if she could ever legally get married. I told her I only attend marriages the Church approves. I haven’t attended most of the ones in my family for that reason, and she knows that, so I don’t think she will hold it against me.

  15. I understand and I am so sorry. My adult daughter, who also attended Catholic school, is also very happy about the decision. There are lesbians in her marital family and several of her friends are gay and lesbian. She is unable to recognize the difference between loving her friends, but not approving of their behavior; she sees the both as one and the same. Two years ago she called me a bigot. She calls herself a practicing Catholic, but defends this travesty of a decision against God’s law. Thirty years ago, had my husband and I ever known to give any thought to where this issue could go, we would have taught strongly against this as we did any other sin. I believe we were blindsided under the guise of “compassion” and “tolerance”, and although raised Catholic ourselves, we were not catechized sufficiently. “I was blind but now I see” has taken on a personal meaning. There are more of us than we may think who know the truth of marriage, but some are afraid to speak out for fear of name-calling. The SCOTUS invented a right which does not exist and Pandora’s Box has been opened.

    But, I appreciate what Rebecca has reminded us of, and we must keep it in mind: “We are standing on the Rock.” That despite how bad the situation is, “those of us who are standing on the Rock have no reason to panic.”