By Maurine Jensen Proctor
Last week’s 6-3 Supreme Court decision overturning Texas’ sodomy law has met with nearly deafening silence by Meridian’s readers. If we run an article on anti-depressants, visiting teaching or whether Coca Cola is against the Word of Wisdom, we are swamped by mail that nearly shuts down our systems. You have opinions. You are passionate.
Yet, in a watershed decision that upends the moral underpinnings of society, crafted in law and tradition for centuries, the mailbox is nearly empty. We hope this doesn’t mean your response in general is flat as well.
It reminds me of a dinner conversation we had some years ago. We were talking about an earthquake that had left thousands of people homeless. Our daughter, with a horrified tone in her voice, said, “That is just terrible. That’s the worst thing I’ve ever heard,” and then, with the dismay instantly vanished commanded, “Pass the rolls.”
Pass the rolls. Life is demanding, urgent. We have stuff to do, places to put our attention. We are torn and absorbed by exigencies. Did something happen last week?
Didn’t you feel the tremors? It was not just about sodomy and a law which could have been struck by the Texas legislature if enough of its citizens considered it inappropriate. The concern is that in striking down the Texas law, the Supreme Court justices appealed to the due process clause, inventing a new privacy right not found before in the Constitution-“the full right to engage in private conduct without government intrusion.”-in this case for consenting adults to engage in a certain kind of sexual conduct. This may sound acceptable until you begin to explore the ramifications. It means, the court said, that constitutional right outweighs the right of the citizens of a state to decide what sexual conduct is legal.
End of all Morals Legislation
Justice Antonin Scalia, in a dissent he felt so keenly he took the unusual measure of reading it aloud from the bench, noted that the Court was “effectively decreeing the end of all morals legislation.”
“Countless judicial decisions and legislative enactments have relied on the ancient proposition that a governing majority’s belief that certain sexual behavior is ‘immoral and unacceptable’ constitutes a rational basis for regulation,” he noted.
Now, the Court has made a radical shift, saying that even if the majority of the citizens felt something was immoral, it is not sufficient reason for upholding a law prohibiting the practice. The promotion of the sexual morality of the majority, suggests the Court, is not even a legitimate state interest.
Forget history, tradition, past laws, the intent desire of the majority to set the moral climate in which they wish to live-in the future a law on sexual practice may not-and probably won’t–pass Constitutional muster, based on this precedent. Ah well, pass the rolls.
Scalia said that every single state law against bigamy, same-sex marriage, adult incest, prostitution, masturbation, adultery, fornication, bestiality, and obscenity “are called into question by today’s decision.” Quoting an earlier he case, he stated, “The law is constantly based on notions of morality, and if all laws representing essentially moral choices are to be invalidated under the Due Process Clause, the courts will be very busy indeed.
What happened is the people and their legislatures lost their voices in an area of vast importance. The litigation is about to begin as state by state, scores of laws are sifted according to this new standard. As one pundit said, “Prostitutes, get your lawyers.” Yes, yawn. Pass the rolls.
What’s more, the homosexual agenda was energized and enlivened by the decision, which they fully expect paves the way to homosexual marriage. Conservative commenter, Jonah Goldberg, shrugs, “Let’s face it. They’ve won.”
Revamping the Constitution
Then there’s what happened to the meaning of the Constitution. Justice Anthony Kennedy said that if the framers of the Due Process Clauses had known about freedom in all its “manifold possibilities,” they might have been more specific. “They did not presume to have this insight. They knew times can blind us to certain truths and later generations can see that laws once thought necessary and proper in fact serve only to oppress. As the Constitution endures, persons in every generation can invoke its principles in their own search for greater freedom.”
This is not just the definition of an elastic Constitution. It is elastic stretched so far, it has lost its pull.
Pundit Cal Thomas writes, “Justice Anthony Kennedy takes us on a journey with no fixed origin, no map but a certain destination. His constitutional rewriting takes us to same-sex ‘marriage’ and a Constitution that means to liberal judges what the Bible means to liberal theologians-a document to be tailored to the whims of culture, not the reverse.”
“That’s terrible,” we say. “Pass the rolls.” While we’re munching, or taking our children to soccer practice, or trying to navigate the rapids of daily life, while our attention was deflected, the seeds of radical change have been planted-and we’ll look around someday at a society that is vastly eroded morally and say, “How did all this happen?”
Charlton Heston once called us the most silenced generation since the Concord Bridge, and frankly, it’s true, and no more so than in anything that touches on homosexuality. We are afraid to talk about that subject, knowing full well a blast will follow.
We’ve been cowed, shamed and embarrassed. We’ve been gagged. We’ve seen what happens to those who oppose the homosexual agenda.
The Attack is Personal
It is not their thoughts that are debated, their arguments that are discussed and probed. Instead, the attack is personal. The homosexual activists and their supporters in the media, who claim to decry hate speech, become the most hateful and name-calling. It is not argument, but character assassination. Speak on any issue regarding homosexuality, and you will be vilified and pilloried. You will be called a homophobe. You might ask, “Is this the stake I want to be burned on?”
We get it. We’re not slow. It’s not cool to oppose the strident marching forward of the gay agenda in America. In fact, it’s downright dangerous, which should send up red flags. Even though the majority of Americans poll as being against homosexual marriage, the media calls that stance “right-wing” or “ultra-conservative.”
Justice Scalia who wrote a dissenting opinion has become the latest whipping boy. For decrying the end of society’s ability to create morals legislation, he is public enemy number one.
Maureen Dowd’s acid tongue took him on in The New York Times. She first accused him of belittling and then, ironically, launched these more than belittling salvos-including taking on Scalia’s Catholicism. “He’s so Old School, he’s Old Testament, misty over the era when military institutes did not have to accept women, when elite schools did not have to make special efforts with blacks, when a gay couple in their own bedroom could be clapped in irons, when women were packed off to Our Lady of Perpetual Abstinence Home for Unwed Mothers.. Antonin Scalia is Archie Bunker in a high-backed chair. Like Archie, Nino is the last one to realize that his intolerance is risibly out-of-date.”
Andrew Sullivan, a gay conservative commentator, says of Scalia, “What troubles me about Antonin Scalia is not so much the substance of his views (although I share very few of them) but the angry, sarcastic, bitter tone of his judgments.The truth is: anyone whose views are that inflamed shouldn’t be anywhere near a federal bench.”
This week, pundits have accused him of “industrial strength prejudice.” They have called him Ayatollah Antonin and those who made and upheld Texas’ law, the Taliban. Those who oppose the homosexual agenda are “mindless bigots.” One headline screams “Justice Scalia has a dirty mind.”
This kind of commentary is not designed to match argument for argument but to marginalize and paralyze the opposition-anyone who dares stand in the way of the homosexual version of progress.
Frankly, it works. Very few conservative commentators have taken on this issue from the Supreme Court this week, even though the possibilities for how it might impact us are sweeping. Who likes to be cut by the media’s sharpened barbs or be labeled as a hate-monger just for raising legitimate questions?
So how about us-a family-centered people, socially conservative who have already fought battles in California, Alaska, Nebraska and elsewhere to defend marriage as an institution between a man and a woman. Do we watch the world change around us without so much as a whimper or do we speak up, write letters to opinion shapers, and get involved?
The homosexual activists are persistent, well organized and funded, and they have ploughed ahead on their agenda to restructure society with the precision of a sniper’s rifle. Though family-centered people have made efforts to defend the natural family, we have not matched their gusto, their funding, or their zeal, and the results are clear.
What are our hesitations?
The few letters we have received from readers ask a range of questions and make interesting points. We don’t pretend to begin to answer them here, but only suggest some possible ideas.
Some readers point out how homosexuals deserve fair treatment, that historically they have been shunned and disdained. People have been bigoted and prejudiced against them.
We agree with these readers. The hate that has been piled on homosexuals is not Christian and not loving, and we do not want to be a party to that in any way. This does not mean, however, that we can support the radical restructuring of society in a way that undoes marriage and promotes a lifestyle that many studies have shown shortens life and leads to personal upheaval. (See Jim Birrell’s “Relativism and the Homosexual Agenda” http://www.ldsmag.com/ideas/030605relativism7.html) This is a social experiment that flies in the face of the accumulated wisdom of human history and social science.
Some of you say, it doesn’t matter. We know that the world will disintegrate before the Lord comes, so why should I try to stand up against what is inevitable?
So what’s the timetable on the Lord’s return? You pretend to know? In many periods in history, things looked dire, and the world changed for the better because of the relentless effort, good will and sacrifice of people.
“I’d like somebody to tell me how granting the right to homosexuals to marry in any way hurts traditional marriage.”
Society has a vested interest in supporting and promoting those institutions that give it strength and stability. The natural family and the children nurtured in that setting is society’s very foundation and must be accorded the widest possible support. Married-parent homes have less violence, promote safer communities, produce children with fewer physical, emotional and behavioral problems and who delay sexual activity longer. Children from stable families do better academically, financially, and are healthier. A mother and father each play a key and unique role in a child’s life. Society has to promote what keeps it stable-and that is the natural family.
To call any kind of loving relationship marriage, dilutes and dissolves this foundation for the future, removing any clear vision of what marriage is for the next generation. To open the definition of marriage to nearly everything obliterates marriage to nothing. If marriage can be between two members of the opposite sex, then why not between several people? Legalizing homosexual marriage removes marriage between a man and a woman as society’s norm and its ideal. It suggests that tomorrow’s children should grow up looking at several styles of marriage as options.
What is the Church’s stance on same-sex marriage?
In The Family: A Proclamation to the World, it states:
We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God.
In California and a number of other states, the Church has urged members to actively campaign for defense of marriage laws-whose object is to define marriage specifically as being between a man and a woman.
In the November 1998 Ensign President Gordon B. Hinckley answered the question:
What is your Church’s attitude toward homosexuality?
In the first place, we believe that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God. We believe that marriage may be eternal through exercise of the power of the everlasting priesthood in the house of the Lord.
People inquire about our position on those who consider themselves so-called gays and lesbians. My response is that we love them as sons and daughters of God. They may have certain inclinations which are powerful and which may be difficult to control. Most people have inclinations of one kind or another at various times. If they do not act upon these inclinations, then they can go forward as do all other members of the Church. If they violate the law of chastity and the moral standards of the Church, then they are subject to the discipline of the Church, just as others are.
We want to help these people, to strengthen them, to assist them with their problems and to help them with their difficulties. But we cannot stand idle if they indulge in immoral activity, if they try to uphold and defend and live in a so-called same-sex marriage situation. To permit such would be to make light of the very serious and sacred foundation of God-sanctioned marriage and its very purpose, the rearing of families.
Some people say: I don’t know what to do about all of this anyway, but lament when I read these articles.
Here are some ideas.
United Families International is a group headquartered in Arizona that “seeks to secure a safe future for families by influencing public policies and programs created at the local, national and international level.” They “seek to educate and inform citizens and governmental officials on issues affecting the family unit.” They also “unite the pro-family efforts of individuals and organizations to work synergistically together to strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society. To find out more about UFI or join their ranks go to www.unitedfamilies.org
It is expected that the Massachusetts Supreme Court will in the next few days legalize same-sex marriage, and since the Constitution’s Full Faith and Credit Clause provides that a contract made in one state is legal in any one of them, other states may be forced to legalize same sex marriage or at least find their defense of marriage laws in jeopardy, a conflict that would undoubtedly end back in the Supreme Court. Richard Wilkins points out, In light of the reasoning applied by the majority of the Supreme Court in the Texas case, “it is not outside the realm of possibility that they could also ‘find’ some other constitutional basis for legalizing same sex marriage in the due process or some other clause.” Many suggest that the only solution is a defense of marriage amendment to the U.S. Constitution. For more information on this issue, as well as to sign up for periodic updates on this serious threat to marriage and the family, please go to www.defendmarriage.org.
Since the Supreme Court’s decision has moved the issue front and center, every candidate running for office in the next election will be asked for his/her stance on homosexual marriage. Work for and financially support those candidates that support the natural family. They will need to know they have a swell of support in order to be encouraged.
Lawmakers cannot afford to offend their constituents, thus if the homosexual lobby is loud, persistent and backed by the liberal media, they will need to hear from the largely silent majority who don’t support homosexual marriage. Even if you are busy raising a family, for their sakes, this is the time to be politically involved. The next Senate may be in the position to confirm Supreme Court justices whose stance on this issue will be important.
Become knowledgeable and write letters to your congressmen, the editors of your newspapers and periodicals. Know how the homosexual agenda is infiltrating your children’s schools and curriculum. Make an uproar, but an intelligent, measured one. This is not the time to stand back and politely and passively watch to see what happens next.
It may seem that it demands uncommon courage to speak on this issue that is so volatile. Silence may appear safe, but it is not golden. It will take a groundswell of people who are willing to have voices to stop this freight train. Fear-or perhaps ignorance–has silenced too many people on something that is so central to the well being of our world.
2003 Meridian Magazine. All Rights Reserved.