Jewish World Review May 28, 2004 / 8 Sivan, 5764
Homosexual Marriage: A Slippery Slope?
I disagree that society's march toward sanctioning homosexual marriage represents enlightened thinking. I also strongly reject the notion that our movement in this direction is no big deal.
The homosexual lobby casually dismisses that heterosexual marriage has been established for thousands of years, saying human beings have evolved from the bigoted thinking of the past, just like with slavery.
No offense, but the comparisons to slavery and the civil rights movement are off base, cynical and exploitive. There is no legitimate comparison between denying people basic civil rights because of their skin color and the refusal to redefine the institution of marriage to include unions between people of the same sex. But by couching the argument in terms of civil rights, homosexual activists have put traditionalists on the defensive.
Apart from eradicating slavery, have we really "evolved" morally? How can we possibly be improving ourselves morally when we have moved into the nihilistic postmodern age, characterized by its outright rejection of absolute moral standards?
Who are we trying to fool? Instead of becoming more moral, we are just redefining terms and standards to accommodate our addiction to licentiousness and our shameful repudiation of personal responsibility and accountability. If we don't like to live within certain standards we instinctively know are beneficial, healthy and morally sound, fine, we'll just change the standards.
What surprises me is not the cultural pressure to abandon traditional values, but the lame resistance of traditionalists. Apathy is one thing, but rolling over without a fight is quite another.
Part of this is attributable to complacency: Everything is "no big deal" -- let's just live and let live. But also involved is a willful ignorance of the inevitable implications of losing the culture war.
More significant than either complacency or ignorance, though, is our acute moral negligence, which is probably born of our cowardice. That is, we are often unwilling to stand up for what we know is right (moral negligence) because we don't have the courage to withstand the ridicule of the politically correct thought police.
How many times have we all declined to state our true opinion on a moral issue not out of a noble desire to be inoffensive or gracious, but because we didn't want to take the heat or wanted to avoid being stigmatized as a homophobe or narrow-minded bigot?
I'm not advocating gratuitous stridency, but shouldn't we have the courage to be honest about our moral beliefs even when they are quite unpopular among the most vocal in our upside-down culture?
Some on the right consider social conservatives an annoying single-issue breed and argue that the redefinition of marriage is nothing to fret over. They pooh pooh the slippery slope argument that if we completely legitimize same-sex marriage it will just be a matter of time before we sanction polygamy, bestiality, incest or pedophilia. Not to worry, they say. We always draw the line somewhere.
Oh? Upon what basis will we draw such lines anymore? With postmodern relativists having prevailed in the struggle to remove absolute moral standards as a foundation for our laws, how will we logically limit further transgressions? What's to transgress?
After all, if the hallowed concept of constitutional privacy is the justification for gay marriage, why shouldn't it be the basis for these other behaviors? I realize that pedophilia and some cases of incest might be different in that one of the parties to the relationship doesn't have the capacity to consent.
That's true, but that can be rationalized away just as easily. Some already glorify the practice of pedophilia. You see, it's not a matter of a slippery slope we fear. It's pure, unadulterated moral freefall.
But speaking of slippery slopes, let's not fall into the slippery slope of non-thinking to the point that we treat social issues as just one cog in the wheel of political conservatism. Our approach to these moral issues -- our worldview -- is foundational to all other issues.
So those who think that the erosion of traditional marriage is just one little setback in the overall societal struggle are sorely underestimating its substantive significance as well as the rationale upon which it has occurred. Gay marriage is a blow to traditional morality no matter how you cut it. But the wholesale abandonment of moral standards leading us to legitimize it is even more troublesome.
Let's treat everyone with civility and respect, but could we please treat ourselves with a little, too? Or will we continue to devalue ourselves as moral beings?
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David Limbaugh, a columnist and attorney practicing in Cape
Girardeau, Mo., is the author of, most recently, "Persecution: How Liberals Are Waging War Against Christianity". (Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR.) Comment by clicking here.
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