Thursday, June 7, 2012

“Live and Let Live” Applied to Same-Sex Marriage

I just read about a politician who is fiscally conservative and socially liberal, being in favor of abortion rights and same-sex marriage. His political philosophy, at least as it applies to fiscal issues, is “live and let live.” I previously blogged about what a contradiction his philosophy is when applied to the abortion issue, since an unborn baby cannot “live” unless the putative mother will “let live.” But what about applying his laissez faire attitude toward the marriage issue?

There are so many in apposite expressions swirling around the marriage issue that I hardly know where to start. But the “live and let live” is, perhaps, representative of the inconsistency, if not hypocrisy, of those promoting same-sex marriage.

First, with the help of mainstream media, the debate has been framed as being “anti-gay marriage” versus “pro-gay marriage.” In reality, most people who want to keep marriage between a man and a woman are “pro-traditional marriage” or “pro-natural marriage,” and would be opposed to polygamy, incest, and any other relationship being called “marriage” that was not limited to one man and one woman who were not too closely related biologically.

Second, since marriage has for millennia been understood as one man and one woman, it is the supporters of same-sex “marriage” who are trying to re-define a term that already has an important historic and societal meaning. If enough people want to re-define what the color “red” is because it makes them feel better and more accepted, is that a reason to change the definition? Keep in mind who attacked whom. Heterosexuals did not agitate against homosexuals to deny them access to the term marriage. It was intrinsically understood, from common sense and the natural order, that marriage mean a man, a woman, and, most likely, children. An infertile couple does not void the heterosexual model that is procreative. It was the same-sex marriage advocates who tried to impose their view on an unwilling society, using the courts (in most cases) to do their dirty work, since they were unable to convince the electorate to embrace their view. In a couple of other cases it was a state legislature, unconcerned about the will of the people, who imposed a re-definition of marriage. As of this moment 32 states in the U.S. have been allowed to vote on what they wanted their social policy to be as it relates to defining marriage. All 32 have voted for marriage to be defined as one man and one woman.

 Marriage has historically been about children and parenting, but the modern approach to marriage uses the adult model of “companionship” and sexual expression. When kids are left out of the equation, the pro-gay marriage mantra of “marriage equality” sounds so fair, so American. The U.S. Constitution’s provision for “equal protection” is used to underscore the notion of “marriage equality” requiring same-sex couples to be recognized as married just as opposite-sex couples are recognized. But is there “equality?” Good heavens, no! It is not about “being able to marry the person you love.” I love my daughters and my close friends, but should not be able to “marry” them. Most would see that as stretching “love and marriage” too far. No one is forbidding a person from loving whomever they choose. It is merely that there is no historical, natural or Constitutional “right” to call a loving relationship “marriage” unless it is between one man and one woman.

Also, for the Constitutional doctrine of “equal protection” to attach, the parties must be “similarly circumstanced.” I submit that a heterosexual couple and a homosexual couple are not biologically nor procreatively equal. When same-sex couples figure out how to procreate within their union, then we can re-visit the issue.

Finally, after millennia of marriage being the bedrock institution of families and civilization, what possible justification can activist judges find for striking the will of the people when the people vote to keep marriage between one man and one woman? In the Perry case in California (the attempt by pro-same sex marriage activists to overturn Proposition 8 in which the voters amended the state constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman), a federal judge determined that “animus” (i.e., “hatred”) toward homosexuals is the only explanation for excluding them from marriage. Two judges on a three-judge panel concurred, and now that case will likely make its way to the U.S. Supreme Court. It is likely news to most of you that the reason you support traditional, natural marriage has nothing to do with its procreative potential, its traditional place as a stabilizing factor in society, nor its place in the religious teachings of Christians and Jews. You merely want to keep marriage between heterosexuals because you hate gays. Glad to finally be disabused of the notion that marriage was about kids. Now, with the wisdom of unelected federal judges, we now know that the vast majority of America is made up of homophobic bigots! What a wholesale return we get from our federal bench from such a meager investment of facts.

If a person truly wants to “live and let live,” then love whom you choose, but don’t expect society to re-define traditionally-understood terms to suit your purposes. To now disclose my “religious bias,” I would like to quote the One who claimed to be the Way, the Truth and the Life, the only way to God, and One with the Father: “Have you not read that He who made them in the beginning made them male and female, and for this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall cleave unto his wife, and the two shall become one flesh….” Matthew 19:4-5.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Live and Let Live

America's Founding Fathers, God-fearing men for the most part, made clear in the Declaration of Independence that our "unalienable rights" come from God, not government. Their words, as written and attested on July 4, 1776, describe some of the rights that are "endowed by our Creator," such as "life" and "liberty."

Some people confuse "rights" with "privileges." "Privileges" are typically man-bestowed authority to engage in a particular act, such as driving a car. A driver's license is a privilege, and man, as government, can insist on a person qualifying before the privilege is bestowed. For example, a person may have to be of a certain age and pass a written and driving test before the privilege of driving is granted. Certain actions can cause the
privilege to cease, such as a propensity to drive recklessly, or driving under the influence of a substance.

"Unalienable Rights" are given by God, and no one has to first qualify in order to possess the right. However, man, through government action, can suspend those rights and even take them away altogether if a person, for example, is convicted of a crime. A conviction can cause the right to liberty to be suspended, with the person confined to jail. A person's right to life can also be forfeited if that person commits murder and is duly convicted and sentenced under the law. Thus, even a "right to life" is not absolute.

So, just what is a "right to life?" Certainly the U.S. Constitution references "due process of law" before rights are suspended or revoked. As a society we bend over backwards to ensure that someone accused of a crime is given every benefit of the doubt. This can be illustrated by a trip to a local law library. Ask a librarian where the books are on criminal defense. You will likely be pointed to several rows of books that deal with case law on criminal law and procedure, books that discuss how to fight criminal charges, and even books on how to expunge criminal convictions from your record. Then ask where are the books on victim's rights? After a puzzled look, the librarian will either tell you that none exist, or that there might be one or two that discuss such a topic.

A burning question in American society is whether the Creator-endowed right to life applies to babies in the womb. I recently read about a politician who is conservative on fiscal issues, but on social issues holds to a "live and let live" philosophy. Just before that philosophy is stated, the article says the politician calls himself "pro-choice." I wondered how many people saw as I did an inherent contradiction between "live and let live" and being "pro-choice." "Pro-choice," usually a euphemism for being in favor of abortion on demand, means it is up to the putative mother to decide if the baby lives. No one consults the unborn baby, even though it is a living human being. It would seem that a "let live" philosophy would be "pro-life," and would not allow the innocent unborn to be killed because of being the wrong sex or simply unwanted.

One aspect of the "life" issue that was glossed over by mainstream media was the vote last week by the U.S. Senate on whether to protect unborn girls from being killed because of their gender. World-wide it is estimated that tens of millions of girls are missing because in certain societies, such as China and India, boys are prized more than girls, and abortions are allowed for "sex selection" purposes. Saddled with an unborn girl? You may kill it, with the help of the abortion doctor. This is not a new phenomenon. There is an ancient papyrus letter written around the time of Christ from a man to his pregnant wife Alis. He tells her simply, "If its a boy, keep it; if its a girl, kill it." In those days they generally lacked the skill of modern medicine that can now efficiently kill the unborn baby in the womb, so, instead, the babies would be abandoned and left to die of exposure. In ancient Greece there were actual drop-off points where unwanted babies could be left, which were picked up and delivered to the Spartans to either be killed or raised up as warriors.

It is sad that our President did not want to interfere with "a woman's right to choose," so he did not support the Congressional efforts to make sex selection abortions illegal. Live and let live? Only if you've managed to escape what has become one of the most dangerous places for human beings--the womb of a mother who thinks it is okay to end the life inside her--can a person "live and let live."

Why does America allow abortion on demand? Because in 1973 our U.S. Supreme Court, in the case of Roe v. Wade and its companion case of Doe v. Bolton determined that the unborn baby was not a "person" under the 14th Amendment (and thereby not entitled to equal protection and due process of the law). Instead, the 7-2 opinion elevated the pregnant woman's "right to privacy" above the unborn's right to life, and disallowed any restrictions on abortion during the first three months (first trimester) of pregnancy. During the second trimester states were told they could regulate how abortions can be performed, and during the third trimester states could, theoretically, outlaw abortions altogether, although in practice all a woman has to do is state that her mental health is in danger, and that overcomes the unborn baby's right to life, even up to the moment of birth.

Is overturning Roe v. Wade the answer? It would help to have laws that protect the unborn. However, the issue of abortion is for the most part a matter of the heart. If there were abortion clinics on every street corner of America, but pregnant women were determined to give life to their unborn child, there would be no abortions. If abortion was outlawed, but women in their hearts elevated their own convenience above that of their unborn babies, abortions would go on as they do now. Thus, in addition to needing laws protecting the unborn, people's hearts need to change. The good news is that the majority of America now identifies as "pro-life," and the numbers are growing, while the percentage of those calling themselves "pro-choice" is shrinking.

I agree with the politician who said, "live and let live." But I mean something different than he does when the statement is applied to unborn human beings. I mean that the unborn should also enjoy the unalienable right to life. Isn't that the logical application of the last two words of the statement, "let live?" Perhaps it is time to point out the illogic of those who fail to give to the unborn the right to life that born people enjoy, and ask them to rethink their position. Doing so could save lives.