I have heard many commentators and read numerous articles on the recent Supreme Court decision on homosexual marriage, but one thing in particular caught my attention – a reference by Justice Kennedy to two historical figures. Having some familiarity with certain historical references regarding the concept of marriage, I was interested in knowing who Kennedy had acknowledged. A bit of research turned up an interesting article.
Quoting Justice Kennedy:
“Rising from the most basic human needs, marriage is essential to our most profound hopes and aspirations. The centrality of marriage to the human condition makes it unsurprising that the institution has existed for millennia and across civilizations. Since the dawn of history, marriage has transformed strangers into relatives, binding families and societies together. Confucius [551-479 BC] taught that marriage lies at the foundation of government. 2 Li Chi: Book of Rites 266 (C. Chai & W. Chai eds., J. Legge transl. 1967). This wisdom was echoed centuries later and half a world away by Cicero (106 BC-43 BC) who wrote, ‘The first bond of society is marriage; next, children; and then the family.’ See De Officiis 57 (W. Miller transl. 1913).”
I thought it extremely interesting that Justice Kennedy would refer to history to support a particular position, since Western civilization in general, and America in particular, is based on certain historical positions. It is also an unacknowledged point of fact that the civilizations represented by the individuals quoted leave much to be desired in direct comparison with the nation presently implementing the decision.
A major part of the problem we face is a failure by a growing majority of Americans to recognize the unique value and God-given freedoms we enjoy in this country. We seem to be struggling mightily to discard, or allow to be discarded, the principles that have made this country unlike any other on the face of the earth today. Winston Churchill, quoting George Santayana, said, “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it”; or as a quote I learned as a child, which will be familiar to many, says, “You don’t miss the water ’til the well runs dry.”
The Supreme Court majority opinion referenced the aforementioned philosophical position of Confucius, a key figure in the development of Far Eastern philosophies. Which, of all the listed countries that are offshoots of that philosophy, would you choose to live in, as opposed to America? China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam? Various territories including Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, Singapore? These cultures are apparently those most strongly influenced by Confucianism philosophy.
Perhaps you would prefer the time of Cicero (107 BC-44 BC) whose life coincided with the fall of the Roman Empire? Some may find this surprising, but homosexuality, including homosexual marriage, was alive and well in Rome. It was even celebrated by “select emperors … a spin-off of the general cultural affirmation of Roman homosexuality.” This is nothing new, as the early Christians in Rome learned; it was merely another “part of the pagan moral darkness of their time.”
What Christians are fighting against today, then, is not yet another sexual innovation peculiar to our enlightened age, but the return to pre-Christian, pagan sexual morality. Most of us are familiar with the moral decline which led to the ultimate demise of Rome, once considered “the most powerful nation on earth.”(Hmmm, does that phrase sound somewhat familiar?)
Personally, I found it extremely interesting and enlightening (as to the positions of the majority vote on the court) that while Justice Kennedy could quote historical figures, he totally neglected another historical concept, the transcendent principles upon which America is founded.
These Judeo-Christian principles are found in another historical document, the Bible, which specifically addresses the concept of marriage. The court acknowledges, as Justice Kennedy pointed out:
“There are untold references to the beauty of marriage in religious and philosophical texts spanning time, cultures, and faiths, as well as in art and literature in all their forms. It is fair and necessary to say these references were based on the understanding that marriage is a union between two persons of the opposite sex.”
Interestingly, while the positions of the historical figures Confucius and Cicero were mentioned, I find a peculiar dichotomy in the Supreme Court’s action in this particular ruling between, as they say “on de block,” “What is said and what is did.” Aren’t judges supposed to examine all the evidence, pro and con, regarding a case or issue, prior to rendering a decision?
Every Supreme Court Justice, who is appointed for life, takes this oath and is sworn into office with:
“I, _________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me as _________ under the Constitution and laws of the United States. So help me God.”
They swear this oath with their hand on the Bible. Guess what evidence they would have found regarding this case had they looked into the book under their hand:
“But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh” (Mark 10:6-8 ESV).
I guess it’s OK to quote Cicero and Confucius, but not Jesus.