Tuesday, 22 January 2008

What Is Marriage?

With delicious irony, after my last post extolling the wonders of modern technology, a five-day (so far) Internet outage struck! Ah well...


I read in this BBC News article that US presidential candidate Mick Huckabee (former governor of Arkansas) "has been under fire for remarks apparently equating same-sex marriage with bestiality." Quoth auntie,

"Marriage has ... as long as there's been human history, meant a man and a woman in a relationship for life. Once we change that definition, then where does it go from there?" he said in an interview for Beliefnet online magazine.
"I think the radical view is to say that we're going to change the definition of marriage so that it can mean two men, two women, a man and three women, a man and a child, a man and animal."

David Smith of the gay rights Human Rights Campaign told CNN that Mr Huckabee, a former evangelist preacher, was "out of the mainstream of American thought".

Two things to note here:

  • Candidate Huckabee has, it seems, raised the point that if we're going to redefine what marriage is, then what are the limits on this process?

  • In response, a "gay rights" group's speaker charged that Candidate Huckabee's way of thinking wasn't "mainstream".

My thoughts:

  • What kind of argument is that? Since when did the gay rights' groups adopt what's "mainstream" as its litmus test of what was right and wrong? Was it after "gay rights" ideas became mainstream, or before?

  • I think that Mr. Smith is wrong. Whenever I see a poll, it indicates the opposite. When there have been measures on US state referenda in recent years to address the question, the public have come down against gay marriage. See here.

  • If "mainstream" shows us what is right and wrong, why just restrict it to the US? Why just restrict it to the present generation? Why not take a poll of the whole world? Over the last 1000 years? Presumably because the answer wouldn't be what Mr. Smith wanted.

  • Seems to me that when Mr. Smith talks about "mainstream", he's talking about the leftie press and university departments where secularism dominates. The lefties love to redefine their preferences as "mainstream", and call everyone else an "extremist". Raspberries to that. From the perspective of history and humanity as a whole, it's actually them who are the extremists.
None of the above points though have addressed the main point - the one which Mr. Huckabee raised. There are two key questions here:

  1. Firstly, what is marriage?

  2. Secondly, who gets the right to define what marriage is or isn't?

Huckabee's point is actually pretty logically sound. If the definition of marriage is going to be broadened from its historical one of the covenanted, exclusive union of a man and woman to be something else, then where do we stop? On what grounds can it be modified in one place, and not in another? "Because gay rights activists want to" is not a coherent answer. Paedophiles and all manner of other sexual deviants might want to as well. Never heard of the "man-boy love league"?

Who gave the state the right to re-define the nature of one of society's fundamental institutions? Historically, the role of the state in marriage has been to recognise it where it exists, and to provide the basic necessary regulation, which is a very minimal role. It has not been to declare what marriage is, or to change it when it didn't like it.

If gay rights' activists and their friends in high places are allowed to re-write one part of the definition of marriage, then why cannot other groups do it elsewhere also? Muslims and traditionalist Mormons would like to change the law to allow the practice of polygamy, a practice which is deeply degrading to women. If we're allowed to change the "one-man and one-woman" to "two men", then why not change it to "one-man and four-women" also? Why not, as candidate Huckabee says, have a man and three women - or even three men and three women, or a man and a goat? If marriage is just a nose of wax which can be shaped as society pleases, then why just stop at the preferences of gay rights' activists? Don't other groups have preferences too? I suppose that this is why Mr. Smith has to appeal to what (he believes) is "mainstream" - because the logic to back up his desires is lacking; hence he just makes a subjective appeal to what's popular in his circles.

How to answer those tricky questions?

Once you assume a couple of simple truths, the tricky questions aren't actually tricky at all. At the beginning, God created the human race to be male and female. He made man and woman to relate to one another in lifelong marriage - it was his intention. He made us to be complementary, physically and emotionally, and gave us the drive for sexual intimacy, and for an exclusive relationship, as the right context in which families could both begin and thrive. Who gets to say what marriage is? The one who made both it and us!

Even from the viewpoint of basic biology it's blindingly obvious that man and woman are intended for each other, and not man and man. Homosexuality is completely sterile. It s practice cannot be any kind of basis for a coherent society.

Who has the right to say what marriage is? Our maker. If you don't start there, you have to go wrong. Once you decide that man decides what marriage is for himself, then you lose the right to logically and coherently object to the man-boy love league and those who would enslave women in polygamy - that's just your personal preferences against theirs. We're made for one man, one woman relationships, and all the parliaments and laws in the world can't change what we are. Men will never be complementary to men, any more than they will be to boys or to animals. The fight for "gay rights" is a fight against nature, and its proponents need to repent.


Whilst on the subject of the US presidential candidates, yesterday I passed a Nairobi bookshop and saw Senator Obama's face smiling out at me (Obama's father is a Kenyan). I learnt by peering through the window that he has a biography called "The Audacity Of Hope". To my mind, leaders ought to be proven and experienced - especially if we're talking about becoming the most powerful man in the world. Senator Obama, from what I understand, began running for president a mere two years after joining the US Senate, on the back of a well-received party conference speech. The audacity of hope, indeed!

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