CGG Weekly, January 13, 2006

"The law by which God rules us is as dear to Him as the gospel by which He saves us."
William Secker

The Failure of the American Left and Right—and the Responsibility of God's People

In Ezekiel 22, the prophet speaks of latter-day Israel. Note that God addresses all elements of Israelite society. God asserts that:

  • Israel's "priests have violated My laws and profaned My holy things; they have not distinguished between the holy and the unholy, nor have they made known the difference between the unclean and the clean; and they have hidden their eyes from My Sabbaths . . ." (verse 26).
  • Israel's princes "are like wolves tearing the prey, to shed blood, to destroy people, and to get dishonest gain . . ." (verse 27).
  • Israel's prophets use untempered mortar to shore up morality's falling wall, to no effect. They see "false visions" and divine "lies" (verse 28).
  • Israel's people steal, mistreat the poor, and oppress the alien (verse 29).

Priests, princes, prophet, people—that is just about everyone. No wonder God laments: "So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found no one" (verse 30). Wisdom counsels God's people not to rely on worldly conservatives to fight their battles for them. True Christians will find themselves in the same ungodly dilemma, albeit more slowly.

All of which should give us an inkling of the future of "gay marriage" in America. Yes, some conservatives argue against it, perhaps Lee Harris most notably and articulately ("The Future of Tradition," Policy Review,June/July 2005, p. 3). Yet, Harris, himself a homosexual, plasters the wall with untempered mortar. He rests his argument on tradition, not on God's law. In place of that law, he is left with only what he rather inelegantly terms a "visceral code"—a kind of gut-knowledge—passed from one generation to another. His argument lacks substance.

In the battle that is shaping up, the advocates of homosexual marriage clearly have the weather gauge—the advantage of environment. This is because conservatives have given up so much ground in the past through compromise, refusing to stand firm for Christian values, that today's legal and social environment is undeniably supportive of gay marriage. Peter Berkowitz ("The Court, the Constitution, and the Culture of Freedom," Policy Review, August/September 2005, p. 3) writes of this change in landscape. Yesterday, marriage and family were institutions "bound up with the biological realities of parenthood and recognition of obligations across the generations." Their raison d'être was primarily to bring forth young and train them properly, preparing them for productive roles in society. Today, however, children are of subordinate, almost incidental, concern, as the "cultural revolutions of the 1960s have pushed the bearing and rearing of children from the core of marriage's social meaning." He continues:

Children, once at the center of marriage, have now become negotiable, and what used to be negotiable—love, companionship, sex—has moved to the center. Under these circumstances, legal recognition of same-sex marriage will not represent a change in the meaning of a venerable social institution through law, but rather an adaptation of law to a profound change in social meaning. . . . It is difficult to formulate in the language of freedom an argument for preserving in law a meaning of marriage that it has lost in practice.

In other words, the argument goes, since the centerpiece of marriage has changed from children to sex, and since homosexual unions involve sex but can produce no children, what is wrong with gay marriage? Conservatives, by gradually allowing marriage to be demeaned, have allowed the landscape to morph, and the winds of change are blowing in the deviants' favor. Unaware of God's strictures, most Americans will support gay marriage in the name of free choice. To them freedom of choice is paramount.

Berkowitz even goes so far as to assert that the issue will bring about no "constitutional showdown. . . . Momentum for a constitutional amendment has dwindled." He suggests that most states will follow the lead of Massachusetts and enshrine gay civil marriage as law. So far, fortunately, few have.

Liberals are not the only ones who have bought into the idea of autonomy as a primary good; conservatives have also fallen completely for the proposition that individual choice is the overriding good in a free society. Both liberals and conservatives have pushed aside God's law in favor of freedom of choice. They have no understanding at all that God's law is the vehicle that sanctifies a people; those who obey it are set apart from the ways of Satan (John 17:17; Ephesians 5:26; see also Exodus 31:13; Ezekiel 20:12). In the landscape of rebellion, quoting Berkowitz once more, "religious beliefs slacken, morals relax, and institutions once regarded as sacred or permanent appear more artificial and alterable. The previously unthinkable becomes routine."

Not autonomy (that is, self-law), but God's law must be the centerpiece of any successful civilization, or for that matter, any truly successful person (Deuteronomy 6:1-9). By rejecting God's law, liberals and conservatives alike have shown their unwillingness to stand with God in the wall's gap. God expects us, His children, to do that. Are we up to the task?