Monday, December 01, 2008

Why can't I marry my tractor?

In every state where the question of “homosexual marriage” has appeared on the ballot, it has been voted down. Nevertheless, the powerful and well funded homosexual lobby, abetted by a credulous, pliant and willing media, screams like a spoiled child, and will push and shove our soporific population until it gets its way. And, if it cannot have its way in the charade of the legislature it will, sooner or later, get its way by appeal to the true rulers of these United States, the judicial class. So much for the political scene.

Why is should the Catholic care about this? First, because homosexuals are men who engage in grave sin and I must, as a Catholic, hope and pray that they will find their way out of their sin just as I hope and pray that every sinner bound up in grave sin (myself, when it applies, included) will find his way out of the sin to confession, repentance, absolution, forgiveness, and penance. In that respect I do not view the man who engages in homosexual activity any differently than the man who engages in, say, adultery. The difference lies in the politics, and that is the second reason the Catholic should care about this.

An adulterer is an individual who engages in a grave sin. He may identify himself based on his philandering and may even - correctly - claim that his is a special “lifestyle”. But he doesn’t claim special privilege because of it. No one hears any discussion about “adulterer’s rights” because, in fact, there is no legal difference between the person who practices adultery and the one who does not. The adulterer can vote in an election, and so can the non-adulterer. The non-adulterer cannot break traffic laws with impunity, and neither can the adulterer. On an individual level, the act places the adulterer in a different place than the non-adulterer with respect to God and His judgment, but on a societal level adultery is invisible to the law, and only becomes a problem if it becomes widespread and accepted, because it is destructive to the general good order.
Likewise homosexuality. To be clear, homosexuality is a behavior in which an individual chooses to engage. The reasons that he chooses to do so may be as varied as those of the adulterer and, like the adulterer, the homosexual may identify himself based on his behavior, claiming that he has a different “lifestyle” than the man who does not engage in that activity. Like the adulterer, the act places the homosexual in a different place with respect to God and His judgment. Like adultery, homosexuality is generally invisible to the law, and only becomes a problem for society if it becomes widespread because, like adultery or any other immoral sexual activity, it is destructive to the general good order.

Consider: the homosexual claims he is discriminated against because he cannot marry another homosexual. However, what we really have is a man who desires to marry another man. So, we have a man, let us call him Joe, who wants to marry another man, and claims he is discriminated against because he cannot. But, I cannot marry another man either, so how is Joe discriminated against? Joe will say that the reason he cannot marry another man is because he and the other man wish to engage in homosexual activity. Well, suppose I wish to marry another man because he is a squash player and will play squash with me if I marry him. I still cannot marry him. I can claim that the reason I cannot marry him is because he is a squash player but the true reason that I cannot marry him is because he is a man. Besides, I do not need to marry him to play squash with him. Likewise, the man who engages in homosexual activity does not need to marry another man in order to copulate together. They can do it without being married. Where I live that goes on all the time. But for a man to marry another man is destructive to the institution of marriage in specific, and societal good order in general. Why? Marriage is a unique societal institution whose function is the renewal of society through the begetting, raising and educating of children. This bears repeating: the purpose of marriage is the renewal of society. There are wholesome and legitimate marriages which are for whatever reason childless, but that doesn’t change the primary purpose of marriage. It is also true that children can be begotten in ways other than marriage. They can be created quasi-synthetically, or they can be produced outside of natural marriage using the old fashioned methods of fornication or, perhaps, adultery. But the production of children leaves open the question of how they are to be raised (and, thus, how the society will renew itself), and there are only three answers to that question: the family, the state (which would include various state-derived experiments like communes and “same sex couples” raising children), or the street. Experience across all stable societies and thousands of years has shown the first choice to be, in general, the best one by far. So, marriage is central to the good order of society be cause it is central to the orderly renewal of society. A family comes from a marriage, and a marriage is between a man and a woman because children are produced only by a man and a woman.

So why can’t a man marry a man? Because the definition of marriage is a man married to a woman. I can cohabitate with another man, and I can engage in sex with another man, but by definition I cannot marry another many. Why can’t we broaden the definition? First, because changing the definition nullifies the definition. The “union” becomes a contract between two individuals, nothing more, and whatever it is you have, it is not a marriage. It is something else. Second, if two men can “marry”, there is no logical limit to who, or what, can be “married”. Why can’t three men get “married”? Three men and a boy? Three men and a teenage girl? A woman and a dolphin? Indeed, why I can’t I marry my tractor? I love my tractor, and we are in a stable long term relationship. But this is silly, you say. Well, so is marriage between two men.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You are not alone, this is from National Review Online:

"Traditional religion is the enemy anywhere it runs afoul of complete social acceptance of homosexuality. In New Mexico, a wedding photographer was fined nearly $7,000 for refusing to shoot a gay commitment ceremony. The dating site eHarmony, run by evangelicals, was just bullied by gay activists via the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights into starting up a site for gays. The first 10,000 registrants must get six months free.

It’s often lost on gay-rights groups that they and their allies are the aggressors in the culture war. Indeed, they admit to being the “forces of change” and the “agents of progress.” They proudly want to rewrite tradition and overturn laws. But whenever they’re challenged democratically and peaceably, they instantly complain of being victims of entrenched bigots, even as they adopt the very tactics they abhor."