Western civilization is now described as post-modern. That means among other things that basically, it no longer believes in an objective, universal truth, except perhaps for certain mathematical or scientific information. That is one reason why multi-culturalism and diversity are so popular today. Western civilization no longer believes in itself, those principles and ideals that made it what it was, that set it apart from the Third World. And the United States no longer knows and understands what set it apart from the Old World and what made us exceptional, which is another long-held belief that is being questioned more and more frequently. The younger generation doesn’t even understand it anymore, yet alone believes it.
The more diverse we become, the more our principles reduce to the lowest common denominator; and instead of our principles guiding our conduct, our conduct forms our principles.
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The new guiding principles of life in the West today are equality and tolerance. Equality used to mean equal in worth, such that the idea of nobility and royalty were rejected, and one’s status was based on what one achieved rather than what one inherited (though we didn’t regard our heroes and our most successful as any better than the rest of us.) Now, equality means that we don’t value and reward success, but we seek to diminish it so that we are all more ‘equal’ to everyone else.
The old rule of life was to love your neighbor; now we are instructed to merely tolerate him, which is just another way of saying that we can and perhaps should just ignore him. Instead of having ideals and values that we strived to achieve individually and as a society, everyone is left to decide for themselves what, if any, values they want to value.
What does all this have to do with gay marriage? Gay marriage is less about equality (under the new understanding of equality) than about changing an institution of society that has existed in every culture and society since human beings were first on earth.
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Marriage has always been about raising the next generation, or rather that raising the next generation has always been about marriage. And mothers and fathers have always been considered essential to the well-being of our children.
Since then, our society has essentially removed child-bearing and child-rearing from the structure and strictures of marriage. However, I don’t believe that we actually believe that we have gained anything of real value in the process. I don’t believe that we believe our children benefit in any way from this, except perhaps in those cases where couples had coupled like stray dogs without any concern for the consequences.
The next step is now to remove the idea that children ideally need parents of two different sexes for their optimal wellbeing.
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Gay marriage promotes the idea that the number of parents is more important than the differences of parents, that the fact of a present adult is more important than a biological connection, that a marriage of a man and a woman is not superior in any way to any other human relationship. We already see this in some countries in Europe (and I believe also in California) where the term ‘parent’ is now replacing those of ‘father’ and ‘mother.’
It will be asserted that marriage is about love and commitment and not primarily about children. But you don’t need marriage to have love and commitment, and civil unions have been created to help with legal issues that have arisen with these more accepted new lifestyles.
But when you consider or redefine marriage as an institution, children will become involved. Not in every marriage, but new rules will emerge to reflect new realities. They will effectively scuttle the idea of children having or needing male and female role models. They will diminish the perception that children need a father and/or a mother. I believe also that they will diminish significantly the number of children being born to and raised by the biological parents. This will become thought of more and more as unimportant.
Whether you believe that humans were God-designed or products of evolution, biological parents have always been considered the best way to raise our children. Laws and court decisions will reflect the new reality that gender and biology are minor matters when it comes to parenting.
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In high school, we read novels like “Brave New World”, where sexual fulfillment was encouraged apart from marriage and children were raised apart from families, families as we were accustomed to knowing them. This was done to minimize real thinking and responsibility and to give the authorities more influence (read: control) over the lives of their constituents. What was science fiction then seems prophetic today. But we need not assign sinister motives to those involved.
We need to ask: do we as a society believe that progress as human beings and a society develops in a straight line upward, where any change is viewed as an improvement over what was previous; or should we be very careful in changing basic structures of our society that have existed everywhere at all times?
We often describe change as swings of a pendulum, where prevailing norms are reacted to and final resolutions often meet in the middle, reflecting parts of both positions. Our society is still feeling the exhilaration of having thrown off the shackles of traditional (read: religious) constraints and is now exploring the possibilities of creating a new and improved world order. We should be conscious that the pendulum is still in motion, and we shouldn’t commit ourselves to something that can have serious adverse consequences down the road.
Gay marriage defines a new normal unlike any known throughout history. It is not about rights but recognition. It will seek to remove any connotation in our society that a heterosexual marriage is in any way superior to a homosexual one.
I am asserting that redefining marriage is about a lot more than making homosexuals feeling affirmed in their sexual orientation. It will fundamentally change our society in ways that we can’t even imagine now. It is not so much for the benefit of the gay couples but for its affect on our society.
This is not about tolerance, letting two people live their lives the way they want. This is about a movement to make a paradigm shift in society. It is a statement that we now know better than anyone else prior in history. We think that because we can make a law, we can make something right, that we can make a new reality.
We have civil unions now to reflect the desire of our society to accommodate those who react to the prevailing norm without changing its basic structure. They recognize the desire of some people to commit to relationships that may need some legal refinements to address new situations. But it still leaves intact our basic social structure.
The reality is that a man and a woman make a child. Whether this was God’s idea or Mother Nature’s, that’s the fact. Children do best when raised by their natural mother and father. We have allowed the institution of marriage to crumble, and we believe the fault is with the institution rather than in ourselves. Now we want to make a new institution with the same name rather than trying to fix the first one. We are willing to raise children in ways that existed only in extreme hardship cases in the past, and we seem eager to encourage this.
What is the urgency here? What is the crisis? Adults can pretty much do what they want. But for the sake of our children, we need to promote families with husbands and wives who love and support each other raising their children together. Anything that in any way minimizes that should be set aside without any hesitation.
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by the owners of this website.
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