Muddy Thinking

I find it difficult listen to “muddy thinking,” you know, the kind of reasoning that fails in its premises, confused in its logic, disordered in its choices, and dominated by passions.

Muddy thinking is what is occuring in our society today about marriage.

Here is my take on the whole issue of trying to equate same-sex relationships with marriage.

Those pushing the “same-sex marriage” laws in state legislatures throughout the country (indeed in many other nations of the world) are using the civil rights argument. They argue that one should be able to establish a sexual relationship with whomever – male or female – and obtain the state’s, and society’s sanction and support. This  includes most importantly the legal rights afforded marriage. To restrict marriage to only heterosexual persons is a violation of the civil rights of homosexually oriented men and women. To support traditional marriage (one man and one woman) is considered intolerance and homophobism, and the struggle to obtain marriage rights is similar to the 1960s civil rights movement for racial equality.

The problem with their reasoning, their muddy thinking, lies in the premise that it is a civil rights issue. It isn’t. The issue, in part, has to do with the state’s role in regulating sexual behavior and defining family structure.

Now some will say that the state has no right to do either. This too is muddy thinking. The state has always, from the beginning of history, establish laws and norms regulating and sanctioning both sexual behavior and family life.

The fight that is on now has to do with just that, and secondly with the question of whether society (you and I) dare to assume the authority to define as we wish marriage and family. Are we the ultimate authority of marriage? Can we make it whatever we will?

Careful before you respond. Some will say, “Yes. This  is what we must do as a society. We must define what will be marriage.” To those, I would ask, “What then of future challenges to marriage definition? Can you refuse such to recognize the relationship between a 30 year old and a 12 year old as marriage if they are in love and involved sexually? Many people are deeply loving to their pets. Many people in fact are amorous with them. Can you refuse to recognize as a marriage such a relationship if a man or woman wanted to make it so? And if you do refuse, on what grounds and to what authority do you appeal in making the refusal? On what grounds do we continue to refuse to permit a man to have several wives, or a woman to have several husbands concurrently?”

Society has always defined marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman in which sexual intimacy occurs and children are reared. Society has always appealed to a higher authority on which it grounded its definition. Society has always recognized something we now call natural law to which it tried to adhere and support. Society has always known that children are best raised in a family inclusive of a man and a woman. This is not something being pulled out of thin air nor prejudicial persecution or homophobia.

The concerted effort to recognize same-sex relationships as marriage is not a matter of civil rights. Opposing changing the definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman is not homophobic. 

Protecting marriage is a matter of the state’s interests in promoting that which is in accordance with natural law, the value of sexual difference, social stability and a recognition that there is a larger authority to which we need listen, an authority that is part and parcel of human nature — the natural law as many would say.

This is far too huge of an issue to be quiet about. We must protect marriage. We have an opportunity to do so in Minnesota this November. Go to the polls and cast your vote to protect marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Pray that “muddy thinking” not confuse the hearts and minds of the many.

About Deacon Bob

Moderator: Deacon Bob Yerhot of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester, Minnesota.
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