Friday, January 8, 2010
The Third Annual Great Debate
A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to have lunch with a GBLT (Gay, Bisexual, Lesbian, and Transgender) teacher for CU. We had a great conversation about our particular jobs sharing both the joys and struggles they hold. Not long into the conversation I told him about the debate the AICT (Aquinas Institute for Catholic Thought) is hosting on campus on the subject of same-sex marriage. I was hoping to gain his support for the debate with the anticipation of advertising our event through GBLT. While I was initially disappointed by his reaction, the conversation ended unexpectedly positive.
His initial reaction could be expressed as a polite suspicion and hostility towards the idea of a debate on such a subject. He had grown frustrated with the Catholic Church’s “incessant need to dirty their hands in politics when they should stick to religion.” His conviction was that religion and politics were unequivocally distinct from one another and that the Church had over-stepped her boundaries by inserting herself into the political conversation. According to him, the defeat of Proposition 8 in California only fueled and confirmed his convictions. Simply put, since same-sex marriage affects no one outside of the same-sex marriage circle, it makes no sense why we would make it illegal.
Before I continue I want first to acknowledge that the gentleman I had lunch with has become a dear friend of mine, and we have had great conversations despite the fact we strongly disagree with each other on many topics. When my friend had finished his charitable yet strong criticisms regarding the debate, he granted me the opportunity to respond. Not having much time to respond adequately, I quickly mentioned the fact that political societies are cultural societies and all cultural societies are born from religious ideologies. In other words, there will always be at least one thread that links religion and politics, namely morality. For a moral order to sustain itself, it must have a foundation above that which it tends to govern, namely a society. If it does not, then morality is not truly morality but rather an arbitrary set of rules that have no objective significance outside the current acceptance, and can be changed at any point in time without “negative” consequences since “negative” would imply a standard outside the sphere of society. In other words, from the pen of Dostoevsky, “Without God, all things are permissible” and deriving from the mind of Nietzsche comes the logical conclusion of an ethical world without God: a world which determines morality through nothing more than the will to power. A political world void of religious counsel will inevitably result in political disorder.
All this being said, my friend’s last remark gets to the heart of the debate we are hosting on January 25th. The debate is entitled, “Should the Government Approve Same-Sex Marriage?” which will be held in the beautiful Macky Auditorium at 7:00 pm between Jonathan Rauch and Maggie Gallagher. Both Maggie and Jonathan believe that the institution of marriage is in peril in our country and that healthy marriages lead to a healthy society and economy. The question, then, is will the legalization of same-sex marriage help our hinder our already struggling institution? Mr. Rauch believes same-sex marriage will help while Ms. Gallagher believes it will hurt the already suffering institution. When I explained to my friend Ms. Gallagher’s position his demeanor immediately changed from one of suspicion to one of genuine curiosity. The lunch ended with an openness and almost eagerness to help advertise this particular debate at CU.
I mention all this to illustrate the need for this debate on same-sex marriage. This debate has potentially grave implications for the future of our city, state, and country. We are called in scripture to be informed (cf. Mat. 22.37; Rom. 12.2) and to be able to give a defense for what we believe (cf. 1 Ptr. 3.15). I encourage you to purchase a ticket and attend this timely debate. Please visit our website for more information about the debate and how to obtain tickets. Do it sooner rather than later as it will likely be sold out shortly! May God be Praised!