I Feel Marriage is Redefined

The state of Utah has struck down portions of its marriage law and began opening the door for polygamy. This is no surprise, for Christians have been saying polygamy would be an inevitable outcome of the current worldview. What is surprising is that our courts seem to have completely ignored the series of supreme court decisions that outlawed polygamy in the first place.

United States Supreme Court (1885), in the case of Murphy v. Ramsey & Others, 144 U.S. 15, 45 (1885), gave its opinion:

Every person who has a husband or wife living … and marries another … is guilty of polygamy, and shall be punished.… Certainly no legislation can be supposed more wholesome and necessary in the founding of a free, self-governing commonwealth … than that which seeks to establish it on the basis of the idea of the family, as consisting in and springing from the union for life of one man and one woman in the holy estate of matrimony; [Marriage is] the sure foundation of all that is stable and noble in our civilization; the best guarantee of that reverent morality which is the source of all beneficent progress in social and political improvement.

United States Supreme Court (1890), in the case of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints v. United States, 136 U.S. 1 (1890), forbade the practice of polygamy in the United States, stating:

It is contrary to the spirit of Christianity and the civilization which Christianity has produced in the Western world.

So we have a series of supreme court decisions that specifically state that marriage is between one man and one woman, and plural marriages, polygamy, and bigamy are not legal in the US. We have the supreme court telling us that traditional marriage is needed to keep a reverent morality in society so that we can keep a stable and noble civilization.

But like these supreme court decisions, the goals and values behind them are long forgotten in our culture. Today’s morality is built upon a strident belief in no morality. The highest value today is not the civilization as a whole but the individual and his feelings, and we go to great lengths to hold that if an individual has feelings, they must be correct and protected. Thus homosexual marriage is legal because some people feel it should be, polygamy is being legalized because some people feel it should be. Francis Beckwith pointed out that once we allow homosexual marriage, there really is no grounds for stopping anyone from any form of arrangement they want to call a marriage. Someone will want to marry two men and six women, adults will want to marry children, someone will want to marry their pet, and someone from California will want to marry their self. We now have a situation where we cannot call any of these things absurd, for our marriage laws are now built upon an individual’s sense of what they feel is fair, which is based on their feelings. As long as they feel they should marry a sheep, we have no objective grounds for discriminating against such a person. For the present, we have dismissed the pedophiles who lobby to be allowed to marry children, but having given up any objective reason to do so, this too becomes indefensible.  As long as someone feels they should be allowed to do something, a society that prevents them is painted as unfair.

So the slope has started to slip, as we predicted when homosexual marriage was allowed.  Once we allow marriage to be redefined from what it has historically been, then we lose all ability to keep marriage as anything meaningful. When marriage becomes everything, it is meaningless.

Our forefathers on the supreme court in the 1800’s still had the quaint idea that Christianity had produced a noble civilization which needed to be maintained. Once we give up the primary goal of maintaining our culture and civilization and make individual sense of fairness to be our highest value, then we lose such things as marriage having any meaning. What will inevitably follow is that our children will be raised in a society where self is king and a noble civilization is unattainable.



About humblesmith

Christian Apologist & Philosopher
This entry was posted in Culture, Morality, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to I Feel Marriage is Redefined

  1. Bianca H. Bonner says:

    The Supreme Court finally ruled that the federal ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, which means Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard will finally tie the knot — along with millions of other gay Americans whose right to marry was previously denied.

    • humblesmith says:

      Actually what happened, if my memory is correct, was the executive branch refused to defend a law that it was legally required to defend. So a few people violated their legal requirements to do their job and by fiat forced their minority opinions on the rest of society.

      I notice you did not address the main point of the post, which is that if we redefine what marriage has meant for thousands of years, and do so based on feelings and sense of fairness, then we have lost all ability to define the term. Utah courts have recently allowed polygamy, which was predictable. Yes, as long as our courts are forcing some people’s value systems on the rest of us, gay marriage will ultimately be allowed everywhere in the US. But in the end, when every group with every concept of relationship gets to call themselves married, then marriage will not mean much.

      Actually, the old law gave everyone the same rights. Every person was treated exactly the same under the law — everyone was allowed to marry someone of the opposite sex, and everyone was allowed to love anyone they wished. But now we are in the midst of ignoring already-established supereme court decisions (as the post shows) and redefining what the term marriage means, and all because some people feel a certain way.

  2. Vince Q. Hines says:

    like in the practice of levirate marriage , wherein a man was required to marry and support his deceased brother’s widow , as mandated by Deuteronomy 25:5–10 . Despite its prevalence in the Hebrew bible , scholars do not believe that polygyny was commonly practiced in the biblical era because it required a significant amount of wealth.

  3. Pingback: Should We Accept Anyone’s Self-Identity as Legitimate? | Thomistic Bent

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