Thursday, October 26, 2017

Is It Man over God, or God over Man?

This is an outstanding homily on last Sunday's Gospel reading recounting Jesus' skill in handling the Pharisees and the Herodians who tried to entrap him on the payment of taxes to the government (Mt 22:15-22). The Very Rev. John Lankeit, dean of the Cathedral of Ss. Simon and Jude in Phoenix, Arizona, shows Christians how to use Jesus' logic to refute the trick assumption behind the question: "Do you believe in gay marriage?"

The key is not to be distracted from the main issue: in speaking of marriage, what is man's, and what is God's? Since God defined marriage and gave it to man at the very beginning of his existence on Earth, it is not for man to redefine that institution. The most that man can do is establish his own secular arrangement of -- call it civil partnership, or civil union -- which the State has the power to define any way it wants.

The latter is all about the ownership of property in common, health and other employee / survivor benefits, the rights to hospital visitation, titles on official certificates, and the like. All those things belong to the State (i.e., are "Caesar's") to confer in the first instance, and as such may properly be handed over by man back to the State to regulate, specify and define. And just as Jesus taught, the church on Earth has no sway over the State, whose rulers eventually must answer to God in Heaven.

Marriage, however, is by God's definition (Gen. 1:27) between a man and a woman, each of whom is made in God's image. Just as it was proper to render to Caesar one of his own coins stamped with his image, so the only thing that is appropriate in marriage is to have it conform to God's will revealed to us. We are thus bound recognize it as a divinely blessed union between two humans stamped with his image -- one male, and the other female. All else is usurpation, and an inversion of roles: an attempt by man to play being God.

That is why the Supreme Court's decision to redefine marriage in Obergefell v. Hodges is no valid decision at all. It is five actors in black robes playing at being God.


  1. Dear AH, this post is a delight to see, after I'd resolved to post on your October 8th blog posting, and then I noticed that two more since then were written. I am grateful because God works in such ways; He has led me to your uplifting Spirit found within this blog.

    Our neighborhood is still recovering from the flood madness, and we've been praying for those folks in California who have been recovering from fire madness.

    God has worthy plans for humans, but then people take matters into their own hands and 'play being God.'

    I was talking to a neighbor today about several men in Washington State who'd attempted arousing acts of a sexual nature with animals. This statement is not a hoax or joke. One of the men died from wounds associated with his bestial activities involving a horse. I do not intend to make people feel ill with my directness about the incident. Obviously, there are people with very twisted ideas who decide to act upon those ideas and often suffer serious consequences.

    At the time of the Supreme Court's "Obergefell v. Hodges" decision, the majority of the states (where the implementation of so-called gay or same-sex 'marriage' was put to the vote of the people) had voted in favor of God's definition of marriage to be a union between one man and one woman.

    The worst part about the Supreme Court's decision to redefine marriage is the demonstration that children mean nothing, families mean nothing and marriage is nothing more than a feeling.

  2. Mr Haley, before the Supreme Court's "Obergefell v Hodges" decision, it seemed to me that most of the states were opposed to SSM, but were then forced to accept it unwllingly when the decion came down.

    I have wondered if, for those states whose legislatures want to do it, a possible response to the present situation might be to simply get out of the marriage business altogether. This would men offering, to all couples who want it, a Civil Union or Partnership, which, as you say, would take care of all the legal details. But then offer no more than that, i.e., do not "marry" people.

    The spiritual marriage part would then be left to the churches and other similar institutions. It would then be the responsibility of the people with a Civil Union sanctioned by the state to then go out and find a house of worship if they want to get "married."

    It seems to me that this approach would neatly sidestep the present problems, and give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's.

  3. Exactly right, Topper -- that is the solution I have proposed for years. The State has no right to define what "marriage" means for churches, and if it simply allowed civil unions, it could not be forced into anything more. The civil statute that purports to define what "marriage" is gives the anti-Christians a toehold to say: "that definition discriminates against [read your own term in here]." So they should just pull out of trying to define "marriage" as such, and say: "What you will get from us is called a 'civil union' -- like it or lump it. 'Marriage' is for religions to define."

  4. "the majority of the states...had voted in favor of God's definition of marriage to be a union between one man and one woman."

    I'm quoting myself above. We live in a representative democracy (increasingly diminishing), and the simple fact is that children are born through a female from "a union between one man and one woman."

    Certain states have been entertaining a broad view of human sexuality because they do not "feel" like stigmatizing anyone. I think Massachusetts became one of the first states to take away ideas of wholesome sexual relation limits. (But they still have protective services for children? How can we trust any government official there - teachers!?) The Human Rights Campaign's foundation works in every state so that "lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are ensured equality and embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community."

    The other political movement that wanted a similar outcome was in Germany during WWII! One must not only control thoughts through language, but one must be in charge of teaching the children.

    However, the media frenzy that we're seeing in the news recently, on the topic of molestation and rape, is due to the fact that it troubles people to move on and to be normal after they've tried every which way or after they have suppressed bad memories from horrible sexual encounters or experiences.

    Big news stories about sordid behaviors often have an underlying reason for breaking when they do, whether this is because they simply cannot be ignored as in mass shootings or toppling buildings and more; or the stories break because they're finally allowed air time; some stories have been brewing for too many years and then were finally made known.

    To this day, I have been very upset that Lois Lerner, for example was allowed to plead the Fifth! She wasn't in a criminal court; she was testifying in a Congressional hearing! The American Public deserves the truth. While this point may seem entirely unrelated to the marriage debate, to me it speaks of corruption in our government! Trust is the key point here. I digress.

    Even if we had a "State" controlled civil-union, we still have the problem of ACTUALLY the blessing of them! I think it is very important to recognize that the reason people are concerned with the marriage debate is children. Otherwise marriage wouldn't matter at all to anyone. And this point is what the beautiful Homily in Arizona was about. One must think about him or her self. Who is this person and how is he or she created?

    Some day, I envision a civil society that cares enough about the Ten Commandments to recognize these absolutely brilliant set of rules for everyone's safety and happiness. More importantly, I pray that each parent who sincerely follows Christ reads their Bible every day and teaches their child(ren) to do it too.

  5. Catholic journalists elsewhere are concerned that parents someday will not be allowed to raise their children with classic Christian values. There are a lot of ramifications to what is essentially a judicially imposed legal construct.