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Same Sex Marriage Cannot Prevail

July 21, 2012

Robert P. George harmoniously  links the intellect together with the theological virtues of faith, hope, and love on Marriage, Religious Liberty, and the “Grand Bargain” at Public Discourse, excerpt:

The lesson, it seems to me, for those of us who believe that the conjugal conception of marriage is true and good, and who wish to protect the rights of our faithful and of our institutions to honor that belief in carrying out their vocations and missions, is that there is no alternative to winning the battle in the public square over the legal definition of marriage. The “grand bargain” [that same sex marriage is not harmful] is an illusion we should dismiss from our minds.

Of course, with sexual liberalism now so powerfully entrenched in the established institutions of the elite sector of our culture (and, let us not kid ourselves, fully embraced by the President of the United States and the leadership of the Democratic Party), some view the defense of marriage as a lost cause. I think that is another mistake—one that sexual liberals have every reason to encourage their opponents to make, and ample resources to promote. We’ve all heard the argument (or taunt): “The acceptance of same-sex marriage on a national scale is inevitable. It’s a done deal. You had better get on the right side of history, lest you be remembered in the company of Orval Faubus.”

Of course, this is what we were told about a “woman’s right” to abortion in the mid-’70s. But it didn’t turn out that way. A greater percentage of Americans are pro-life today than in the 1970s, and young people are more pro-life than people of their parents’ generation. The idea promoted by the abortion lobby when their cause seemed to be a juggernaut—that “the American people will inevitably accept abortion as a matter of women’s rights and social hygiene”—proved spectacularly false.

Or, speaking of “social hygiene,” think back to the 1920s and ’30s when eugenics was embraced by the elite institutions of American society—from the wealthy philanthropic foundations, to the mainline Protestant denominations, to the Supreme Court of the United States. Affluent, sophisticated, “right-minded” people were all on board with the eugenics program. It, too, seemed like a juggernaut. Only those retrograde Catholics, joined by some other backward religious folk, resisted; and the thought was that the back of their resistance would soon be broken by the sheer rationality of the eugenics idea. The eugenicists were certain that their adversaries were on “the wrong side of history.” The full acceptance of eugenics was “inevitable.” But, of course, things didn’t quite turn out that way.

Note that my point here is not to say or imply that redefining marriage is morally just like abortion or eugenics. There are obvious and important differences. My point is about the claim by progressives and some others in each case that the triumph of the cause was “inevitable,” and that those who declined to go along were “against progress” and had placed themselves on the “wrong side of history.”

Does that mean that the reverse is true, that the conjugal conception of marriage will inevitably prevail in law and culture? No. There is nothing inevitable in this domain. As the left-wing—but anti-Hegelian—Brazilian legal theorist Roberto Unger used to preach to us in courses at Harvard Law School, the future will be the fruit of human deliberation, judgment, and choice; it is not subject to fixed laws of history and forces of social determinism. As the Marxists learned the hard way, the reality of human freedom is the permanent foiler of “inevitability” theses. Same-sex marriage and the assaults on liberty and equality that follow in its wake are “inevitable” only if defenders of marriage make their adversaries’ prophecies self-fulfilling ones, by buying into them.

Remarkable commentary from Mr. George! Same sex marriage cannot prevail without the people consenting. There is a dire need to bring our heart and intellect to work with one another, to see the obfuscations of arguments led by same sex marriage proponents. But to do so always with charity because they are our brothers and sisters in Christ. What good is our actions, arguments, and will without love (cf. 1 Corinthians 13)? From Sacred Scripture and experience, no matter how intelligent, coherent, and reasonable a man is, without love, his words fall on fruitless soil. Furthermore, action without prayer is like running a marathon without preparation (months of training, eating well, adequate sleep etc.). So in the marriage debate, and with other issues that concerns humanity like abortion, prayer and action must be always entwined in faith that God will give strength to preach the Gospel unwaveringly, as love provides a shelter that can endure all things; and hope, the fertile soil from which all things grow and blossom.

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