Thoughts About the Gay Rights Movement
The Movement's Undercutting of its own Foundation
To all apperances, the gay rights movement seems to be picking up steam. The supreme judicial court in Massachusetts has declared that the limiting of marriage to only heterosexual couples denies equal rights to homosexual couples. City officials, quite often acting alone, have attempted to issue marriage licenses to homosexual couples regardless of the wording of the law in San Francisco, New York and other localities. More of the same is happening in the churches. In the Episcopal Church, the decision has been reached to bless same sex unions and ordain homosexual pastors. In the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the issue is coming to a head where the congregations are studying the issue and being fed . . . er . . . led in studies that suggests that the Biblical teaching is unclear on the issue of homosexuality which is ultimately herding that ELCA body towards the blessing of same sex unions.
Two essays I read this morning have me thinking about the shaky foundation of the gay rights movement both in terms of absolute morality and in terms of Constitional law.
In Star Parker's most recent editorial entitled "Black pastors join gay-marriage debate," she notes that more and more African-American pastors are actively taking up the conservative point of view on the gay marriage debate. Since the gay rights activists seek to identify their cause as a struggle for equal rights, it would seem that the African-American community would be one of the most sympathetic to their cause as the sufferers of what is probably the most egrigious denial of civil rights denial in our nation's relatively short history (the Native-Americans may be able to claim worse). Yet, these pastors are standing against the claims of the gay marriage advocates. In analyzing why the African-American community is rejecting the claims of gay rights advocates, Ms. Parker notes:
Wilfred McClay, a history professor from the University of Tennessee, gets it with the following observation about black attitudes on this issue: "It is not just that they know when their movement is being hijacked. It is that the religious sensibility that animated the civil rights movement, and that is still very much alive in the American black community today, is bound up in a biblical world view that would no more countenance the radical redefinition of marriage than it would the re-imposition of slavery."
There is real outrage in the black community and McClay is on the right track in his analysis. Blacks know instinctively that the debate on gay marriage is the symptom and not the problem. They know that the root problem is the implicit de-legitimization and marginalization in the United States today of traditional standards of right and wrong.
Blacks know that it was such rationalizations of ultimate standards that opened the door to slavery and its perpetuation and justification by our nation's highest political bodies and courts for a good portion of our nation's history. Without an anchor in ultimate standards, blacks know that the best politics and law, even in as great a country as ours, can lead anywhere. (Emphasis added.)
Our true safeguard against tyranny is not in unbounded freedom, but in the legitimate footing of that freedom on an absolute morality. Without reference to God, there is and can be no absolute morality. So it is with the gay rights movement: in arguing for equal rights, they are arguing for a right that can only come from God. But in denying the Biblical teaching on homosexuality (a teaching I believe to be clear and convincing), they undercut the very source of the right for which they are arguing.
But what about the Constitutional principals involved? It appears that Justices are confused. They want to uphold the highest principals of the Constitution, but have more and more separated themselves from the actual text and original purpose of the words by adopting the "Living Constitution" approach to Constitutional Law (which is, interestingly enough, discussed on the About.com webpages under "Agnosticism/Atheism"). In doing so, the courts, like the gay rights advocates, are undercutting the very foundation that serves as the source of the Constitution itself. Consider the following comments from Professor Clayton Cramer in a comment entitled "Destructive of These Ends".
The pastor was reading a really subversive document this morning during the sermon--a document that fundamentally runs against everything that our courts believe. It's a document that says that government's legitimacy comes from the consent of the governed--not from the fanciful theories and falsifications of history that the left has used to strike down law after law:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
If there is any better example of the naked abuse of power than judicial mandating of homosexual marriage in Massachusetts, it has not happened in my adult lifetime.
Agree or disagree with Prof. Cramer, he is on the right track. The consent of the governed is noted in the Declaration of Independence (quoted above--and numerous other of our founding documents--as the basis for any government's legitimate claim to power. If the judges depart from that to which the people agreed in promoting their own political agenda, then they are undercutting the very foundation that they rely upon to add legitimacy to their decisions. Thus, when judges use the language of the Constitution (such as the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment) to grant equal rights to homosexuals on a par with heterosexuals--a position that would have been unthinkable to most people in the 1860s and 1870s when the 14th Amendment was adopted--contrary to what the polls suggest is contrary to the vast public opinion even today, the decision is being made without the consent of the governed, and the edifice is built without a firm foundation.