Conservatives and Republicans should welcome today’s Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges [text] which recognizes same-sex marriage as a “right,” and thus, under the 14th Amendment, applicable against the states. They should thank God for the blessing of being freed from the shackles of government, but only if they plan to act on this Divine opportunity.
Our gratitude is for a kick in the pants from God, though it be delivered by the boot of a heathen court. Perhaps it will finally spark us to reclaim our heritage of individual rights.
Of course, this really isn’t about today’s SCOTUS ruling. We should have done this long ago. We should utterly remove government from our intimate relationships. Nothing in our Constitution or Declaration of Independence requires government to incentivize or reward or restrain mutuallyvoluntary intimate relationships. There are only two kinds of rights protected in the Constitution, and they both apply against the federal government: the rights of the states, and the rights of the People. Neither of those is contingent upon whether, or whom, you marry.
For too long now some of my conservative brethren (and sistren) have sought to use the power of government licensure, regulation, benefits and taxation to incentivize the Biblical view of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Of course, any one who has ever loved enough to pledge fidelity for life might wonder why any incentive is needed — a bridal bridle, perhaps, to rein in the straining suitor, but a goad seems superfluous.
Yet, conservatives have gone beyond incentivizing marriage, to defining it statutorily, seeking to specify a scope that matches the one God uses, which Biblical Jesus-lovers know is ultimately a picture of Christ and His church. But this use of government force to mandate or restrict marriage is not a Biblical injunction — unless you would pretend that our government of, by and for, the People, is like unto the Mosaic theocracy.
When conservatives try to use the force of government to favor their Biblical or moral views, they err in the same fashion that Leftists and Progressives do when they push to institutionalize their idols of amorality and sin.
The New Testament is a portrait of grace, mercy, forgiveness, redemption and new beginnings. Jesus didn’t nail the Decalogue (10 Commandments) to the doors of the Curia Cornelia (the seat of the Roman senate). Jesus called on his disciple to believe in Him, to put down your sword, to sell what you have and give to the poor, to take up your cross, to lay down your life and to follow Him.
The Apostle Paul, through whose pen flowed the greater part of the New Testament letters, was transformed upon meeting the resurrected Christ. The old Saul got changed from a man who hunted down law-breakers to compel their submission (or witness their stoning), into a man, Paul, who knew that obedience flows from gratitude for the love of Christ. He realized, like a bolt from the blue, that Jesus fulfilled the letter and spirit of the law through his life, and Jesus paid the penalty for law-breakers through his brutal death. The law is no longer our slave-master, but a tutor to bring us to Christ…to bring us to the point where we understand that God’s holiness cannot be approached through human effort. It took an act of extreme mercy to shred the veil of the Temple from top to bottom, and thus to open a way for us into the Holy of Holies, the very presence of God.
The point is, that you shouldn’t expect the heathen to adhere to the Bible, nor should you enlist the government to compel them by force to do that which you embrace by grace alone. I know there are all kinds of secular arguments about marriage as the cornerstone of a stable republic. Some are useful, but none require the force of government to achieve.
You don’t have to bless or even condone same-sex marriage. And you can do something more than whine about the Court, or “Share” angry memes on Facebook.
Liberty-loving people, who revere the extraordinary innovation of a government that guards individual rights, should work now to get government out of the business of marriage licenses, employee benefits based on marital status, tax breaks for married couples, and any other kind of regulation or benefit, regarding marriage or marriage substitutes. Even if you don’t care a whit for the Bible or for Jesus, you should work to extract government from our intimate relationships, if only because the status quo permits your government to discriminate against single people.
This activity should start, not in Washington D.C., but in local governments; your school district, township and county. As a former county commissioner, I asked why bureaucrats were in the business of deciding whether a person’s intimate relationship qualified her for extra benefits. Why not offer individual benefits or, better yet, just pay the employee and let her buy her own health insurance, and direct her own retirement investments as she pleases?
Of course, most won’t read this, and many who do will ignore it. They will likely resort to the tried-and-false playbook that combines outrage, with a renewed commitment to send conservatives to Washington, D.C., in hopes they will eventually restore your power to enforce your morality on the heathen. Good luck with that.
I propose it would be more fruitful, and more fun, to devote that energy to sharing the good news about Jesus with as many people as possible, and to working at the local level to extract government from any kind of intimate coupling, trebling or dodecatupling.
Change must happen first in the human heart. Instead of wagging our fingers at the heathen, let’s be the people of liberty who help them escape from the burden of law through Jesus, and the burden of government, through reclaiming our heritage of individual rights.