9/25/09

Same-Sex Marriage: Libertarian vs. Evangelical

Yesterday, I was watching Katie Couric's interview with Glenn Beck from a couple days ago. While I thought Glenn did an excellent job during most of the interview, there was one brief moment which caused me to feel a bit troubled. Katie brought the topic of same-sex marriage up to illustrate that there was one issue in which both President Obama and Glenn Beck agreed. Initially I thought, “Oh good. Glenn agrees with the President that marriage should be between a man and a woman.” However that’s not what Glenn said. He said the issue of marriage should be left up to the states. I still thought to myself, “That’s not too bad. I could see an argument for that. I would disagree because of my interpretation of the constitution, but that’s ok.” Then Glenn proceeded to say something that kind of surprised me. He essentially stated that it wasn’t his business if “gays” got married. That didn’t sound like the Glenn I use to listen to the radio. I knew he had been shifting to a more libertarian mind-set, but I didn’t know it had gone that far. He even said that the government’s job was not to impose morality, yet he believes in national security and punishing murderers. Isn’t that a form of imposing morality? In Romans, Paul maintained that the governments responsibility is the protection of its people. If that is true, would that not include moral protections? Should prostitution be legalized by our states? What about narcotics? These are great questions to ask and debate, because they are important. They get at the root of what we believe government should be doing, and they also prepare us for when non-Christians ask our opinion on different subjects. While I find myself agreeing with libertarians on many issues because they are supported by Biblical principles, I find that when it comes to “social conservatism” I feel as if I’m speaking with an atheist. Without delving deeper into the many issues that encompass “social justice,” let’s examine one issue from a libertarian perspective, and then a Christian perspective. That issue is marriage.
Without boring you with all the details that you can find in other posts on this website on the subject (such as statistics, Scripture, etc.), let’s boil this issue down to the bear minimum. Libertarians approach marriage with this philosophy-

The government shouldn’t get involved. It’s an individual choice. Homosexuals should be allowed to marry.

Christians approach the issue like this-

Marriage was established by God. God says marriage is between a man and woman. Homosexuals shouldn’t be allowed to marry.

In order to reconcile these two opposing views we would have to harmonize a Christian view on God and a Libertarian view on government, and what their relationships are. To be more precise in relation to this issue specifically, the question is, “Who gets to define marriage, God or government?” “And if it’s God, then does the government have to abide by God’s rule?” To answer the first question, from a Christian perspective- “God.” “Why?” Because he instituted the concept of marriage from the beginning. Marriage is His creation, not governments. Therefore to say that two homosexuals (or 3 or 4...) can get married is utterly irrational. When someone says, “Homosexuals can get married if they want,” it’s like saying, “Men can nurse babies if they want.” Both are impossible because God has set up natural law to work according to His design. In other words, “Gay Marriage” is an oxymoron. Now, what about the second question? Is the government required to second God’s motion so to speak? Well, let’s examine what happens if the government opposes God’s mandates. If the Department of Education (yes I know it’s unconstitutional, calm down!) said that it was ok for children to learn that gravity would pull them up if they jumped off a tall building, would that be in accordance with God’s natural design? Of course not. Would it be wrong scientifically? Yes! Would is cause ethical harm? Yes! A teacher who professes that should be charged with manslaughter (if his/her advise is taken). A parallel to this is already in existence. I was taught at public college that being sexually promiscuous is accepted, and that’s its more healthy to be homosexual than heterosexual. If this advise is followed it will lead to harm (physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually). But if the government’s job, according to Romans, is to protect its people, then how is it doing its job by willfully placing a stamp of approval on the actions of those who wander outside of God’s moral boundaries? So the answer to the second question is “Yes,” government does have a responsibility to recognize God’s rules. Inalienable rights are arguably the flip side of Biblical mandates. “Though Shalt Not Kill” translates into the inalienable right “Life.” “Liberty” and “Happiness” go right along with the other commandments that restrict mankind’s relationship with himself. If universal truths are replaced by falsehoods, we have dethroned God and put man in His place, which is where we are heading even deeper. When it comes to moral issues, Humanism and Libertarianism are twin sisters.

2 comments:

  1. Good thoughts on a subject that still puzzles me, Jonathan. My perspective is this. There is no such thing as marriage if it is not ordained by God. The idea that there is a "civil union" or a "state marriage" is preposterous and presupposes that the government has power to define this moral institution one way or the other. I think the root cause here might be something unexpected: the income tax. Obviously this was not originally intended and is arguably unconstitutional. Because the income tax exists, the government has given families a special status to make it easier on them. The government practices discrimination in favor of families. If it were not for the income tax existing, if it were not for the government giving special preference to one group of people, those in families, I think that the motivation for gays to insist that they're "married too" would lose much of its steam since it would remain clearly only a church institution. Marriage would be unquestionably off limits to them, and there wouldn't be any special treatment that they could claim as rightfully theirs. Once again, the less government, the better.

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  2. Well said Jonathan.

    Indeed, the problem with Libertarians is they forget that there is rarely such a thing as an action that does not affect someone else. Their motto is "Do what you want as long as no one else gets hurt", and this includes gay marriage.

    The problem? In addition to what you pointed out, say Gay marriage was passed unanimously...then what? Already we havethe Man-boy love association lining up ready to prove that their love does not harm themselves or society.

    That's why happiness and suffering are not always good indicators of morality and why atheism is just a heightened form of libertarianism.

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