To deal with the crisis of the collapse
of family and marriage by redefining what they are is the sign of a
society losing its way.
One significant development in the recent election was
that voters in four states approved same-sex marriage initiatives.
Until now, all previous state referendums to approve same-sex
marriage -- 32 of them -- failed.
The Wall Street Journal editorial page -- where
conservatives usually turn to for intellectual capital -- saw this
as cause for celebration.
According to the Journal, marriage definition
should come from voters, not from court orders. Americans, they
argue, have "shown themselves more than capable of changing their
views on gay marriage the democratic way."
In other words, our definition of marriage should follow
process, not principle. Let voters decide.
"As views on gay marriage change, and a growing number of
Americans support it, politics will follow. This is how it's
supposed to work."
I'd guess if I asked the Wall Street Journal
editors if the U.S. Constitution should be viewed as a "living
document" -- if our understanding of its words and what they mean
should be open to change to reflect attitudes of the moment -- they
would say "no."
Liberals think the Constitution should be re-engineered
every few years like an iPad.
So it is not surprising when liberals, for whom tradition
is meaningless, trash once-sacred institutions in favor of impulses
of the moment.
But it does surprise me when those whose politics are
supposedly right of center, who view America's founding documents
as sacrosanct and give the highest priority to preserving their
integrity, are cavalier regarding the integrity of an institution
thousands of years older than our Constitution.
But it's a point of view not uncommon.
In the 1850s, Stephen Douglas proposed solving the dilemma
of whether slavery should be permitted in new states by suggesting
that they should just vote. What could be more American than
submitting the question of slavery to the democratic process of
To this Abraham Lincoln observed: "God did not place good
and evil before man telling him to make his choice. On the
contrary, he did tell him there was one tree, of the fruit of which
he should not eat, upon pain of certain death .... I should
scarcely wish so strong a prohibition against slavery in
Lincoln's rejoinder to the idea of "popular sovereignty"
-- that states should vote to determine if slavery would be legal
-- was that there are core truths -- truths that define right and
wrong, good and evil -- that precede the democratic
To reject this premise is to buy into moral chaos. Which
is what we are approaching today.
The claim that somehow it is a sign of a healthy, free
society that by way of the vote we can rewrite our language, our
dictionary, our oldest, time-tested traditions is a sign of how
lost we are.
Same-sex marriage advocates argue that their efforts will
save the embattled institution of marriage. But this takes a
symptom of the disease and calls it a cure.
As American society has become more self-centered and
materialistic, family and marriage have been imploding.
According to the Pew Research Center, 72 percent of
American adults were married in 1960. This dropped to 51 percent in
Marriage and family form the pillar of any healthy
society. Marriage is the institution through which children are
born and raised and through which time-tested truths and values are
transmitted from one generation to the next.
To deal with the crisis of the collapse of family and
marriage by redefining what they are is the sign of a society
losing its way.
Fortunately, America is still a free country. Individuals
can make their own choices about how they choose to
But taking personal choices to deviate from our social
standards of right and wrong, true and false, and decide to change
those truths and standards, so that nothing is any longer
considered deviant, is a bridge to nowhere.
Star Parker (firstname.lastname@example.org) is an author and
president of CURE, Center for Urban Renewal and
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