This post is not a point by point argument against the idea of gay “marriage,” nor is it a defense of traditional marriage. Many, many posts and articles have been written on the topic and will continue to be written on the topic. This post is, at its root, about something else.
The debate is not a new one, as we all know. It has been bubbling and bursting in all sorts of places over the last couple decades, and the pro-gay-marriage side has to be recognized as gaining traction, of influencing the minds of many who previously were against it. Although most states that have taken the issue to ballot have succeeded in keeping marriage defined as between a man and a woman, it must be noted that the margins have declined and the proponents are ever more vocal.
We have now reached a time where it seems that any public figure speaking against it is publicly chastised for intolerance. It is no longer a debate about two philosophies or matters of opinion. The one side has now successfully entered the arena of political influence, public pressure, and political correctness to an extent never seen before.
We saw it coming. Even as ballot measures for same-sex marriage were being defeated in elections and in the courts, more and more companies started to provide “diversity training” related to sexual orientation. Our Universities and Public Schools found new and innovative ways of introducing the same-sex relationship as normal, and warnings that this was part of the slippery-slope were met with scoffs and ridicule of paranoia and prudishness.
Within Hollywood, more and more stars “courageously” came out of the closet, and within a few short years such pronouncements went from being a shocking revelation to a badge of pride to be celebrated.
And then came Massachusetts, where the courts famously legalized same-sex marriage. From there, both sides moved quickly and each had victories they could hold up as emblematic of the way Americans feel about the whole thing. But it was still rather taboo in the political arena to be too vocal about it. We had reached the stage of “respecting” individuals and trying to compromise with the concept of civil unions. Civil Unions seemed like the political dream position, in that they could take both sides of the issue. Support same-sex unions, support marriage – a win-win!
But that still was not good enough.
And here we are today. With a President who not only voiced support for it, but then proceeded to go all-in at the convention to promote it as good, moral, and right. And anyone who dares disagree is not only intolerant, but a bigoted and hateful person.
Of course, we know that is not true. But the idea has grown, and as evidence I challenge anyone to state – in the most benign way you can think of – the fact that you are not in favor of same-sex marriage in almost any social situation. Unless you’re surrounded by entirely like-minded people, there is almost sure to be a very swift reaction. Not a discussion. Not a series of questions to try and gain some insight about your thinking. There will almost certainly be anger, accusation, and dare I say hate. If you are fortunate, you’ll avoid blasphemous charges against religion and Christ, or denigrations of the Bible. You’ll probably be mis-classified as an evangelical or fundamentalist and probably anti-science. It is not at all unlikely that there will be a very quick leap to comparisons to Hitler or Nazis. It all depends on the person.
There is a particular verse of Scripture that I think of nearly on a daily basis. It is not my “favorite” verse. In fact, it’s a somewhat sad and depressing verse. Isaiah 5:20 reads “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; who substitute bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and clever in their own sight! (NAS, Isaiah 5:20-21)”
Every day I see around me the evil that I know to be evil (based on the Bible, Church teachings, and my own conscience) being presented as good, and vice-versa.
But why do I use the term “diabiolical?” To be honest, I am borrowing it from a recent conversation my wife had with a Priest.
It has not gone unnoticed by those of us watching the Democratic National Convention that the issues of abortion, contraception, and same-sex marriage have emerged as prominent positions. And while we always knew that the Democratic Party platform always alluded to such things and gave support to them, there was at least in the past some attempt to do so at arm’s length. The balance was to keep the support of proponents while recognizing that they needed to keep opponents happy enough to not be bothered by it.
This has changed. And it does show the amount of progress those who favor socially liberal policies have made. Even if it is a failed assessment, the Democrats are now willing to – and betting that – a full embrace will not hurt them, and possibly even benefit them. It’s the frog in the boiling water syndrome, and it appears to have merit. After all, to the extent that I have seen some African-American pastors take issue with the emnbrace of same-sex marriage by President Barack Obama, it does not seem to be enough to keep them from selling out to politics due to whatever issues they have convinced themselves are – in the end – more important than what they know in their herats is a moral deception. They recognize the moral problem with it according to their own statements, and yet are still willing to offer their support to the candidate and party. Why? You’d have to ask them. I’m sure they’ve rationalized it to their satisfaction. Whether it’s to God’s satisfaction will have to be between them and God, I suppose.
But I digress a bit. Back to this conversation with the Priest. My wife noted correctly that we are not hearing about “same-sex marriage.” We are being given phrases that everyone knows applies to that, but in ways that are meant to defuse any possible objection to it. Three times Michelle Obama used a phrase along the lines of “Should be able to walk down the aisle to marry the one you love.” This was, in its context, a clear allusion to same-sex marriage. The language is not an accident.
This Priest pointed out something else, and here’s where the word “diabolical” enters the fray. He was not using it to describe the person of Michelle Obama, nor of anyone else. He was using it to describe how Satan works. And Satan is the great counterfeiter. And the use of 3 is his great tool.
Yes, we are getting into that whole “spiritual warfare” thing that us Catholics start feeling a bit uncomfortable about. But what else can it be called when obvious evils to the lot of us start being promoted as just the opposite?
Anyway, you may or may not know that 3 is a very important number in our Catholic life. Most obvious is the representation of the Trinity. But you may or may not know that when a Priest blesses an object or your house, they will often sign it three times. It is a very powerful thing. Christ died at 3:00. With God, there are no random coincidences that are meaningless.
Not to be outdone, the devil counters with his own sets of 3. Now, this Priest would know much more about this than I do, but he immediately caught the fact that Michelle Obama presented this evil as good three separate and distinct time within her speech. He went on to point out how often, if you pay attention, you will notice the diabolical as being presented in threes. It is not by accident. Now, I have not studied the issue, but I felt it a very powerful observation.
Beyond the number 3, the entire process of “converting” minds and hearts to the acceptance of something that is against God’s design is intrinsically diabolical in nature. The word often conjures up images of demons and possession. You tend to consider the diabolical as menacing, scary, and heavy-handed. In reality, it’s a much more appropriate view to see it as the manipulation necessary to convince otherwise good and well-meaning people that bad is good in a way that isn’t any of these things. Through a combination of acceptance of general perversions as normal, desensitivity to a great many moral wrongs, devaluation of marriage in general (starting with easy divorce and use of contraception), devaluation of life and the beauty of child-bearing, language that suggests it’s all about love and goodness, along with a dose of intimidation, guilt and ridicule at just the right dose against any and all who oppose it… it has been a decades-long coercion to acceptance. The diabolical forces had a plan, were patient, and have greatly succeeded.
They will never fully succeed, regardless of what it seems. We know that the ultimate victor in all of this is Christ and His Kingdom. And we should never accept defeat, anyway, up to the last person standing who is willing to profess the goodness of God’s design for us and the institution of marriage. The question is not whether God will be victorious, but what our part will be in seeing that about. Will we be the instruments of victory by pushing back? Or will we allow this to become ever more pervasive and see the victory come about through, well, less pleasant means?
One final comment: the use of the word “evil” is difficult to soften. It is a very harsh word. It is natural to feel a bit uncomfortable or even verbally assaulted when certain beliefs and positions are challenged as “evil.” It is not my word, it is often enough used in Scripture, and is not limited to any particular kind of sin. Evil can be used to describe the general consequences of our fall. Natural evils exist that are not a particular judgment on any individual (war, famine, poverty, etc.). In addition, the source of evil are (generally speaking) not individuals who are sinning. ALL off us participate with evil whenever we sin. That does not make us evil. Satan and the demons are evil, and the source from which we defile ourselves through participation with them.
So, do try not to overreact with the usage of the word here. This being a particularly sensitive subject for many, it can be read incorrectly as a judgment of the person, as opposed to what is really intended – the overall movement in favor of it and the nature of the act itself. Any act that one considers a sin is by definition an evil act, despite the harshness of the word. Some things are more evil than others, and this post is not about the relative nature of our sins. The reason for pointing out the evil nature of this particular topic is not to suggest where such a sin lies on the relative scale of things, but to point out a situation where many are not only dismissing it as not being bad, but actually being good. There are other such sins in our culture as well (abortion and use of contraception are big right now).
It may be impossible to convince opponents of this, but there truly is no offense intended to anybody here, and some language is simply unavoidable in explaining my thoughts on the subject.