In 1993, Sen. Daniel P. Moynihan (D- N.Y.) published “Defining Deviancy Down.” Moynihan started from Emile Durkheim’s proposition that there is a limit to the amount of deviant behavior any community can “‘afford to recognize’ and that, accordingly, we have been re-defining deviancy so as to exempt much conduct previously stigmatized, and also quietly raising the ‘normal’ level in categories where behavior is now abnormal by any earlier standard. This redefining has evoked fierce resistance from defenders of ‘old’ standards, and accounts for much of the present ‘cultural war. . . .’” As the amount of deviancy increases, the community adjusts its standards so that conduct once thought deviant is no longer considered so. What seems like a trivial accommodation today devolves over time into extravagant ways generationally.
The trimester approach to abortion regulation has since led to the support of partial birth abortion and proposals by some that parents should have a few days time after birth to determine if the born mass meets “quality of life standards.” For example, Professor Peter Singer of Princeton University writes in his book Rethinking Life and Death, “Human babies are not born self-aware or capable of grasping their lives over time. They are not persons. Hence their lives would seem to be no more worthy of protection that the life of a fetus.” There is nothing shocking about his logic if one begins with the premise that we are nothing but “dust in the wind,” an accidental causation of physical elements animated by an electrical charge:
When we reject belief in God we must give up the idea that life on this planet has some preordained meaning. Life as a whole has no meaning. Life began, as the best available theories tell us, in a chance combination of gasses; it then evolved through random mutation and natural selection. All this just happened; it did not happen to any overall purpose. Now that it has resulted in the existence of beings who prefer some states of affairs to others, however, it may be possible for particular lives to be meaningful. In this sense some atheists can find meaning in life.
The only way atheists can find meaning in life is by borrowing the shell of morality from the Christian worldview and then filling it with their perverted view of what constitutes right and wrong, all the while claiming that they are the true righteous ones.
While not quite as extreme as the views of Singer, U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker, a homosexual, overruled seven million voters in the state of California over this simple statement: “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” As we will see, Walker reasons as an atheist. But to reason “godless” means that there is no authentic way to define marriage or anything else.
Judge Walker’s ruling can’t be right at any level. Ted Olsen, an opponent of Proposition 8 and supporter of homosexual marriage, argued that the ruling is similar to a judge overruling a majority who voted to reinstitute a “separate but equal” law. But a “separate but equal” law was not on the ballot, no one has proposed that one should be put on the ballot, it never would have gotten on the ballot if someone had proposed it, and few people would have voted for it if it had been on the ballot. To make such a comparison shows the deep desperation of pro-homosexual advocates. California is one of the most ethnically and racially diverse states in the union, and very liberal to boot. The majority of blacks and Hispanics oppose homosexual marriage. The California ballot measure defining marriage applied to all races and ethnicities and genders equally (men can’t marry men, and women can’t marry women); a law that reiterated what has been the model for marriages for millennia in nearly every nation under heaven, the definition of which is rooted in creation by God.
Olsen’s “logic” leads one to conclude that only judges should be making law. Judges carry the same types of preconceptions and biases as non-judges. Judge Walker is a homosexual. Are we to assume that his predisposition did not taint his decision-making process? What makes his pro-homosexual marriage ruling more pure than the votes of seven million anti-homosexual marriage decision makers? Olsen and other pro-homosexual marriage advocates went into this debate with a conclusion already made: “Homosexuals should be allowed to marry.” Why is this prejudice any different from seven million voters who argued that homosexuals should not be allowed to marry?
Pro-homosexual advocates have been pushing for homosexual marriage to give their lifestyle legitimacy. But who defines marriage? What is the origin of marriage? Judge Walker made it clear that “the evidence shows conclusively that moral and religious views form the only basis for a belief that same-sex couples are different from opposite-sex couples. . . . The evidence fatally undermines any purported state interest in treating couples differently; thus, these interests do not provide a rational basis supporting Proposition 8” (130–131). Let this sink in.
According to Judge Walker, religion is the only determining factor in the prohibition against homosexual marriage. He ruled in such a way that even if God does exist that His laws are irrelevant and intrusive on the lives of His creation. If God does not exist or His laws have no relevancy, then all marriage is a legal fiction. Evolution can’t account for the legitimacy of marriage. We are the products of DNA of which Richard Dawkins has written, “DNA neither knows nor cares. DNA just is, and we dance to its music.”1
Consider rulings from past Supreme Court decisions that concluded “Bigamy and polygamy are crimes by the laws of all civilized and Christian countries”2) and that the “the spread and practice of polygamy is . . . . contrary to the spirit of Christianity and of the civilization which Christianity has produced in the Western world.”3 Marriages were recognized in the United States as long as they were not “contrary to the general view of Christendom.”4 So now what?
Homosexuals want to “marry.” They are borrowing the word “marriage,” filling it with their own content, while disavowing its religious origin, definition, and moral standards. They are borrowing Christian capital to disavow God and His standards. A homosexual marriage advocate is an
interloper on God’s territory. Everything he uses to construct his system has been stolen from God’s “construction site.” The unbeliever is like the little girl who must climb on her father’s lap to slap his face. . . . [T]he unbeliever must use the world as it has been created by God to try to throw God off Hs throne.”5
Marriage cannot be defined outside its religious context in the same way that personhood and morality can’t be defined without God. This homosexual marriage ruling is like “trying to put beads on a string with no holes in the beads,” flying a plane without an engine, trying to make concrete without cement and sand. To work within the parameters of what marriage is, one has to acknowledge the source, definition, and standards of marriage. But how do you do this without a fixed moral place to stand? Today it’s Judge Walker, the State’s representative, making the decision. Who will it be in the future? Associate Justice Marvin Ray Baxter of the Supreme Court of California makes the point:
“The majority . . . simply does not have the right to erase, then recast, the age-old definition of marriage, as virtually all societies have understood it, in order to satisfy its own contemporary notions of equality and justice. The California Constitution says nothing about the rights of same-sex couples to marry. On the contrary, as the majority concedes, our original Constitution, effective from the moment of statehood, evidenced an assumption that marriage was between partners of the opposite sex. . . . Who can say that, in 10, 15, or 20 years, an activist court might not rely on the majority’s analysis to conclude, on the basis of a perceived evolution in community values, that the laws prohibiting polygamous and incestuous marriages were no longer constitutionally justified?”
In a godless, evolutionary world, marriage is inconsequential, and so is everything else. Judge Walker’s opinion has made marriage a social convention and nothing more. Redefined today, gone tomorrow.
- Richard Dawkins, River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life (New York: Basic Books, 1996), 133. [↩]
- Davis v. Beason, 133 U. S. 333, 341-344, 348 n. (1890 [↩]
- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints v. United States 136 U.S. 1, 49 (1890). [↩]
- U.S. ex rel. Modianos v. Tuttle, 12 F.2d 927 (E.D. La. 1925 [↩]
- John A. Fielding III, “The Brute Facts: An Introduction of the Theology and Apologetics of Cornelius Van Til,” The Christian Statesman 146:2 (March-April 2003), 30. [↩]