Jun 28, 2015

Obergefell: U.S. Commands Your Symbolic and Material Support for Homosexuality

You Must Provide "Symbolic Recognition" and "Material Benefits" to Homosexual Unions
Under Obergefell v. Hodges, you and every other member of American society must support homosexual unions. Justice Kennedy explains what the U.S. government now requires of its subjects, what no popular referendum or democratic legislation can now change:
For that reason [because of the importance of marriage], just as a couple vows to support each other, so does society pledge to support the couple, offering symbolic recognition and material benefits to protect and nourish the union. Id. at 16.
To be part of American society, you need not pledge allegiance to the flag. But you must now "pledge to support the [homosexual] couple." You can publicly blaspheme God and Christ. But you must give homosexual unions "symbolic recognition." Christian localities cannot teach about God or prayer in the public schools they pay for. But you shall provide homosexual union with "material benefits." Being American binds you to "protect and nourish" homosexual unions. To the extent you want to refuse, you must also withdraw from American society. 

This is why it is risible when Kennedy elsewhere claims:
it is appropriate to observe these cases involve only the rights of two consenting adults whose marriages would pose no risk of harm to themselves or third parties. Id. at 27.
By his own admission, this case also involves the rights and coercion of all Americans. For example, Christians once were free to choose whether to offer "symbolic recognition and material benefits" to what they regard as sin. Christians Americans are harmed by Obergefell because they are coerced to pledge symbolic and material support to homosexual unions. Homosexuals are harmed by this decision because they are encouraged to engage in behavior that destroys their dignity and bodies:
Romans 1:24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. ... 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. 
So, why has the Supreme Court compelled Americans are to support homosexual unions? Liberty, of course. Why are you Christians forced to be accessories to homosexual relationships?  Because of the right to define your personal identity, naturally. Justice Kennedy only binds in order to make you free. He will shape you to become what you are.
"[t]he Constitution promises liberty to all within its reach, a liberty that includes certain specific rights that allow persons, within a lawful realm, to define and express their identity." Id. at 1. 
Now, under Obergefell, the Kennedy Constitution protects homosexuals who want to express their identity by availing themselves of the benefits that a once free people ordained for conjugal, male/female marriage alone. But if you want to express your identity as a Christian by socially withholding symbolic and material support for homosexuality, the U.S. Constitution does not protect your right. You are compelled by American liberty. You must relinquish your false Christian identity to fit into your true public identity as a self-defining American individual.

American liberty -- a term now resembling Dutch treat, Greek gift, and French leave -- does not mean that society leaves American individuals free. "American liberty" means symbolically endorsing and materially supporting the moral and spiritual vision of the Justices of the Supreme Court. There are no democratic checks on this liberty; you are perfectly free only to obey.

So hear the Vox Kenne-Dei, you peon. As an American, you are commanded to recognize that "homosexuals have dignity in their own distinct identity." Id. at 7. You will be forced to join the "greater awareness of the humanity and integrity of homosexual persons." Id.  You must agree that homosexuality is "a normal expression of human sexuality." Id. at 8. And, just so you Christians understand, this is not just a decision about man-made law; it is intended to be a fundamental proclamation about human nature in both its ordinary psychological and transcendent spiritual dimensions. Listen to these oracles of the inner nature of marriage and man:
... immutable nature dictates that same-sex marriage is [homosexuals'] only real path to this profound commitment. Id. at 4.
The nature of marriage is that, through its enduring bond, two persons together can find other freedoms, such as expression, intimacy, and spirituality. This is true for all persons, whatever their sexual orientation.  Id. at 13. 
You didn't think that human "spirituality" was within the jurisdiction of the U.S. Supreme Court? You underestimate the power and insight of our spiritual lords and mistresses! Obergefell is not a mere interpretation of a human document. It reflects the Justices' insight even into the transcendent:
Same-sex couples, too, may aspire to the transcendent purposes of marriage and seek fulfillment in its highest meaning. Id. at 17. 
Peon, listen and learn the true path to transcendent higher meaning.

Jun 27, 2015

Obergefell v. Hodges: To the Tune "Death of a Son"

Psalms 9:15-20
The nations are sunk in the pit they prepared; Their foot in the net which they hid is ensnared.
The Lord by His judgment has made Himself known, He by their own works has the wicked o’er-thrown.
The wicked to death’s dark abode shall be brought, And all of the nations who God have forgot.
Forgotten no longer the cause of the weak, Nor perished forever the hope of the meek.
Rise, Lord, that mere man may not make himself strong; Let nations be judged in Your presence for wrong.
Strike terror within them, O Lord; always then; Let nations know truly that they are mere men.

Jun 24, 2015

Kim Colby Discusses RFRA on Cross & Gavel Podcast

On the latest episode of Cross & Gavel Audio, I asked Kim Colby to talk about the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, its history, and the basis for all the recent hubbub.

Jun 10, 2015

John Donne: The Equipossible Legitimacy of Varying Political Forms

An Ideal Miss Leading the People or an Idol Misleading the People?
Sharp political theology from the Dean of St. Paul's:
All governments may justly represent God to me, who is the God of order, and fountain of all government, but yet I am more eased, and more accustomed to the contemplation of heaven... as heaven is a kingdom, by having been born and bred in a monarchy: God is a type of that, and that is a type of heaven. (S 4:240-41) 
In other words, choice among forms of government cannot be grounded on universal conditions for legitimacy. God has given authority to many forms of government, like monarchies and republics, and has not limited the obligations of obedience to certain forms thereof.  But preference among forms may be grounded in personal and national practicalities. For example, in Donne's high minded case, he prefers monarchy because of the ability of government to draw his mind to God.

After Donne, early modern Christians famously and rightly insisted that God could authorize democratically elected governors as well as kings. If a democracy would clearly be better for ensuring the ends of government, e.g., holiness, justice, order, then a kingship could fairly transition to democracy. Their attacks on the view that only non-democratic, regal leadership could be legitimate was critical to our modern political systems. But it was, more importantly, orthodox. The ultimate ground of Christian arguments for democracy is the equi-possible legitimacy of all basic political forms plus its practical preferableness in certain contexts. This argument is grounded on Romans 13, and more specifically, the indifference taught there in assigning legitimacy based on the form of government.

But this orthodox position has been misinterpreted as the claim that God can only use democratically elected governments or that only democratic governments can be governments that must be obeyed. Worse than politically wrong; this is against faith. It destroys our faith in God's providential provision of political authority. The Scriptures teach us plainly and unmistakably that there is real legitimate political authority outside of democratic government because authority does not flow from the form of political organization; God teaches us to trust Him, not the form of governments.

The Christian's attitude of faith, more than permits, rather encourages practical concern over which form of government would be better for a given social circumstance, but not an insistence that any one form is the unique form of legitimate government. The high offense of the kings of Christendom against faith was their assertion that only monarchs could exercise divine right. This was offensive, not because democracy is uniquely legitimizing, but because the kings denied that God is the source of governmental legitimacy rather than monarchical form. Today, we embrace the divine right of the people and the individual rather than the king as the solely authorized form of government, but the offense is the same.

The Choice of the People is Golden
Rationally, all forms of government may draw their authorization from God and, as Donne reported about his monarchy, direct man's gaze back to God as the source of all authority. Commitment to a particular form of government cannot rest on any universal and absolute principle -- though very broad practical principles might be argued for once national preferences are established. Only personal and national temperament and character can link individuals and nations to particular forms of government. The broadest proposition that might be sustained is that a certain kind of government is best for a certain kind of nation, stipulating to the national unities of that nation. But it is the secondary nature of the nation as a particularized people that allows us to prefer one type of government and not the universal structure of humanity or all nations as nations over another.  

This is, incidentally, why cultural changes to a nation justify and precipitate political changes. For example, if a nation were to lose all its prior moral self-control and cultural identity, then the question of the soundness and usefulness of institutions founded on prior national identities would be rightly re-interrogated.