In the last few days, Delaware and Rhode Island have joined the ultra-liberal bloc of mainly northeastern states that have redefined marriage. The institution of marriage has stood for thousands of years without any need of improvement, but it is now fashionable to complain that such reforms are long overdue. Accordingly, these developments were greeted with predictable pompous expressions of vindication and relief from supposedly “right-thinking” people everywhere, as though they have attained some elevated level of consciousness and self-righteously condescend to share their new-found cosmic wisdom with the backwards and ignorant human race.
Proponents of same-sex marriage often claim that conservatives and Catholics especially are hypocrites because Jesus loves and forgives everyone, so if we don’t recognize same-sex couples as being equivalent to heterosexuals, we are not properly emulating Jesus. Mainline Protestants and sadly, dissident Catholics, have largely embraced homosexuality based on this flawed logic. There is also a notion that in order to evangelize, we must walk among the lowly and the downtrodden and be one with them. This is only partly true.
Jesus spent his public ministry walking, preaching, and healing amongst the poor and the sick. However, the words he gave us are not merely a commentary on the world constrained by the circumstances of that time. The fashions and follies of the world are constantly changing but Jesus was and is the living and eternal word of God made flesh. Jesus did not seek popularity or approval or fame, but spoke the truth. As Christians, we are not called to bring the brokenness of world into the Gospel and to reinterpret it according to our wishes, but rather, we are called to bring the Gospel out into the world which desperately needs to hear it.
Critics often argue that the only references to homosexuality are in the Old Testament, but ironically, the scripture reading from this past Sunday reinforces the traditional definition of marriage when the Apostles wrote to the early Christians, “It is the decision of the Holy Spirit and of us not to place on you any burden beyond these necessities, namely, to abstain from…unlawful marriage.” In this context, the “law” in question is the Law of Moses. It being the Easter Season, the reading is from the New Testament and is in perfect continuity with the many statements made by Jesus regarding adultery and marriage.
When Jesus speaks of man and woman being “joined in one flesh,” this is literally true, for in the act of procreation, man and woman are joined together in body and soul to participate in the creation of a new life. One cannot be pro-life and also support same-sex marriage, because the two concepts are so profoundly inseparable. Every child is the living and breathing expression of the sacred union of man and woman. We cannot separate marriage from procreation without separating procreation from life. Marriage in God’s plan is the source of life. The forces at work in Delaware, Rhode Island, and elsewhere are proudly and happily urging the destruction not just of marriage, but of the sacredness of life itself.