My first reaction to the judicial decision to call same-sex unions “marriages” was the grief and discouragement common to many, but it quickly gave way to a sense of relief. This may be surprising—even scandalous—but there it is. There is no more pretending that we’ve effectively carried forth a Judeo-Christian culture into the 21st century, or that we are grounded in the natural law that guided the Founding Fathers. We’ve jettisoned basic moral principles, and now the courts have recognized that truth: the truth that we will not be guided by truth.
Until now, we could call ourselves Christians while paying mere lip-service to divine precepts. Modernity decreed that human life was expendable, sexual intimacy mere sport, and suffering a horror. Goodness could be severed from godliness, purity is actually prudery, love a passing sentiment, and righteousness bigotry. Today, the noblest religion is the one entrenched in vague and muddled pieties, and the prevailing fraud enjoys the patina of legal sanction. The irony of materialists rejecting biological truth, spiritual souls disparaging religious liberty, and diversity gurus denouncing certain creeds is lost on the bulk of the Rainbow Coalition, but that is to be expected. Students of history have seen this all before.
How do we find peace within the pagan culture that has overtaken us? It’s a question of attitude—an attitude that must be adjusted if we are to bear the proper witness. If we believe that we are to wrest the nation back from those who have destroyed its great potential, we will destroy ourselves. Every news story will cause us to grind our teeth, every display of debauchery will send us into orbit. We can mourn and sob and sigh over how things used to be, with the result that we will be the most morose souls around. We will attract and inspire precisely no one.
A better approach to this new normal is to remember what it teaches us about truth. When there is no truth, all things are permissible—and these things will be paraded before us like a pageant of nightmares. Why should we be shocked? We are a sinful race that has lost sight of its sinfulness, and there is nothing new under the sun. If Nero married a man—whom he castrated and decked in his murdered wife’s gowns—what can we add to the mix? Christians should know the drill: why should we expect those who utterly reject God to choose virtue over vice—or even to recognise the difference?
Interestingly, the reason we expect more is that we believe natural law to be self-evident, and that good makes itself known in the bosom of all persons. That may be so when a soul is inclined to distinguish the good, but when the conscience has been deliberately buried in sensuality for decades, nature has been renounced as a man-made construct, and authority has been defined as an obstacle to freedom, then 2015 is the most natural of destinations.
We must weep for the children—and they’re all God’s children—and commit ourselves to the truth. Our bodies are made for faithful, fruitful love and our souls are ordered to happiness. This is not the short-sighted happiness of a hook-up generation, but eternal beatitude made possible through the blood of Christ. If we remain close to the sacraments and show others what authentic love makes possible, we will offer an attractive alternative to this confused generation. The tranquility of God’s order must reside in our hearts and radiate from there—for grace alone can counteract the madness of the day.