“The political debate on same-sex marriage is over” …?


St. Thomas More

Sometimes it really does not matter what the political trends of the day are telling us we ought to do.

So says Chris Cillizza, political blogger at the Washington Post.

He cites a whole bunch of polls that indicate support in the nation is very markedly trending toward support for same-sex “marriage” across most demographics as his evidence.

There’s a real problem with making categorical statements like this: they ignore the ongoing nature of politics and immutability of Truth.

Now, granted, politics of the state are not governed by Truth unless those who hold the levers of power remain docile to Truth, but just as the political winds have been shifting over time in favor same-sex “marriage” according to the polls Cillizza cites, given more time and more political seasons, the winds may very well shift back in the other direction.

Those of us who will never accept the notion that the contractual arrangement a same-sex couple enters into could be called “marriage” will never accept it because “marriage” means something—something written into what it means to be man and woman, something beyond emotional attachment and sexual gratification, something that is not subject to polls.

“Right is right if the world be wrong.”

And while the world thrashes about from one extreme to the other raging against the authority of Truth, Truth remains where it is, offering the world the opportunity to settle down and be at peace.

In this vein, in his first address to the world’s diplomats to the Vatican, Pope Francis cited “spiritual poverty” as one of the great threats to peace. That does not just mean world peace and wars among nations, it goes right down to the peace within nations, within cities, within communities, within families, and even within our own selves.

Whether that spiritual poverty leads people to hold up odious signs that say awful things like “God hates fags;” or to write the sorts of things people say against us here at CatholicVote when we write pieces like this against gay “marriage;” or to something much less brutal but still a personal assertion of self-will; it is a raging against the peace that comes from docility to Truth.

The politics of the day may be trending toward a codification in law of some contractual arrangement available to same-sex couples that approximates marriage, and they may even use that word in the writing of the law, but that does not make it marriage.

Oh… I can’t quit now without recalling a brilliant exchange in Robert Bolt’s masterful play about St. Thomas More, “A Man for All Seasons.” During one of his interrogations by Cromwell, Cranmer, and Norfolk, More responds to a question about the King’s authority by pointing out (and I’m reproducing this from memory), “Some say the world is flat, while others think it round: it is a matter capable of question. But if the world is flat will the king’s command make it round, and if it is round, will the king’s command flatten it?”

Just so.

  • Roger

    I agree wholeheartedly. While I have nothing against gays, you cannot make marriage something it is not. In discussing same sex marriage with advocates of same sex marriage, I always try to explain the Church’s teaching on marriage. I then challenge them that it is not good enough to support same sex marriage; you must say clearly and unambiguously what marriage is. Not one has met this challenge or thought much about it. They cannot say what marriage should be and what it should not be (e.g., plural marriage). We win when we keep the discussion focused on marriage itself; we are much weaker when we allow the issue to be framed as a civil rights issue.

  • David J. White

    Hi, Tom! I think my favorite line from the play is when Richard Rich has been made Attorney General for Wales, for his part in helping further the cause of the Act of Supremacy, and More exclaims, “For Wales? Why Richard, it profit a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world. . . but for Wales!”

    • http://twitter.com/tomcrowe Tom Crowe

      Absolutely. When I saw the play up in Stratford, Ontario, the venerable actor who played More killed that line. It is, of course, the high drama moment of the play, and his delivery was so dripping with pity and derision and disgust that the entire auditorium just busted up laughing for a few seconds before returning to the solemnity of the action.

  • bill

    great memory

  • bill

    Some men say the earth is flat.
    Some men say the earth is round.
    But if it is flat. Could Parliament make it round?
    And if it round. Could the kings command flatten it?

    • http://twitter.com/tomcrowe Tom Crowe

      Not too far off. And I think it is altered in the film with Paul Scofield (where my memory comes from) to include the “it is a matter capable of question” line.

  • Chris

    Right on.

  • LK

    I think you are mistaken in thinking marriage must be religious-centric. Marriage means many different things in many different cultures. Your definition isn’t “right,” it’s just yours.

    • http://twitter.com/tomcrowe Tom Crowe

      LK– Where did I say it is religious-centric? I said “‘marriage’ means something—something written into what it means to be man and woman, something beyond emotional attachment and sexual gratification, something that is not subject to polls.” I did not say, “The Church teaches thus and such therefore our laws must comply.” Marriage, as an institution, precedes any organized religion, but has been found in every culture throughout history as meaning one man and one woman. Even those cultures where homosexuality and even pedophilia or pederasty were far more accepted and widespread as a matter of life did not take the step of calling those relationships “marriages.” The effort to go against this testimony of culture and history and human nature to redefine marriage is the effort that bears the marks of base religious fervor lacking any supporting evidence.

      • Rich Ketter

        You fail to understand only because you do not want to understand. You defend your misspeaks as if there is value to them, when they are merely unimfromed opinions.
        It is precisely because marriage means something (maybe not what you want it to mean) that others want to be able to participate as well.
        You are more investing in winning an arguement that does not even exist to see that what you hold fast to is both wrong and distructive.
        But in reality, who really cares what you think. You offer nothing but your love of a film adaptation of the play, and can quote a line or two (although being upset when someone challenges your memory)
        Alas poor York.

        • http://twitter.com/tomcrowe Tom Crowe

          You, apparently, care what I and others around here think, judging by how frequently you comment. And that was not me being upset, btw.



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