In a recent interview with EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo, Sean Cardinal O’Malley, the Archbishop of Boston, was asked why he thinks a majority of Massachusetts residents are in favor of a ballot initiative that would legalize physician-assisted suicide in their state. His response? It’s about “autonomy.”
Our culture, he argued, is infused with a “terrible individualism” that “makes people feel as though they want to end their own life so as to be completely independent of everyone else.” Advocates of the ballot initiative are wrong when they say they are driven by compassion, Cardinal O’Malley added, because “ending your life by suicide is not a compassionate or dignified way to die.”
Indeed, autonomy is the word of our time. No longer do people confer with others, especially the clergy, when trying to figure out how to live a moral life. Whatever I say is moral is moral, the argument usually goes, and anyone who disagrees with me is a bigot who simply wants to impose their values on me.
I can’t help but be reminded of one of Chris Matthews’ ‘Lean Forward’ commercials in which he says something to the effect that the political party that promises voters more freedom and more liberty is the one that usually wins.
While most of what Matthews says is incoherent nonsense, he is right about this particular point. What politician in their right mind would run on a platform that emphasizes less freedom, less liberty and fewer options? No one would vote for that, right? Well, it depends on how we understand freedom.
Unfortunately in California, freedom means having the ability to do pretty much whatever you want. This has lead to, among other things, men marrying men and women marrying women.
It has also lead to SB 1476, a bill that if signed into law by Governor Brown would allow children to have three legal parents.
Advocates against same-sex unions warned about this slippery slope, but marriage re-definers didn’t listen.
Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, head of the San Marcos, California-based Ruth Institute, says that SB 1476 will have dire consequences, but that it was inevitable.
Writing for Public Discourse, Dr. Morse argues that “once we started trying to normalize parenting by same-sex couples and redefine marriage to remove the dual-gender requirement, we had to end up with triple-parenting.”
Morse goes on to add that “triple-parenting and genderless marriage are destructive policies” that “will unnecessarily complicate [children’s] lives.”
Inasmuch as California considers itself a forward-looking place, they are actually behind the curve on this one. In August, a three-person civil union was sanctioned by a judge in Brazil.
However bleak the future may look for traditional marriage, there is some good news. It’s being reported by the National Organization for Marriage that Australia’s House of Representatives has just voted down gay marriage by an overwhelming majority. They are also reporting that several of the New York Republican state senators who voted in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage in that state are having difficulty winning re-election.
As President Obama said not long ago, this year’s elections will offer Americans the clearest choice in a generation between two different paths for our country. Let’s make sure we choose the right one.