FAITH MATTERS: On ‘gay marriage’ think natural law

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By Uwe Siemon-Netto

It’s hard to say what is more depressing about the same-sex marriage madness: Is it the huge triumph of its proponents who have turned this into a human rights issue in the befuddled public mind? Or is it the profound inability of its opponents to argue in a coherent manner that would appeal not just to Christians but all people with common sense and a sense of right and wrong?

Take Bill O’Reilly, the incarnate proof that ignorance in areas where knowledge was once considered essential for being part of the educated class — theology, philosophy, the law, logic and ethics, for example — has become a formula for success in this era of massive media moronization.

Bill O'Reilly.
Bill O’Reilly.

Here is O’Reilly’s opinion on whether homosexuals should wed:

“The compelling argument is on the side of homosexuals. That’s where the compelling argument is. We’re Americans. We just want to be treated like everybody else. That’s a compelling argument, and to deny that, you have got to have a very strong argument on the other side. The argument on the other side hasn’t been able to do anything but thump the Bible.”

O’Reilly is of course a child of the execrable Sixties; still, I wonder who taught him critical thinking in his Catholic school, at Boston University, my Alma Mater, and, Heaven help us, Harvard. Arguing irrelevantly that “gay marriage” should be a matter for the states to settle, he gets it wrong on virtually every point except one, which he articulates crudely and insultingly by calling it “Bible thumping.”

He is right in as much as Christians are ill advised to argue in the public square on the basis of Scripture, which is meaningless to nonbelievers. But he doesn’t know the real reason why what he calls Bible thumping makes no sense in this context; it has not occurred to him that Christians would have an infinitely stronger argument if they appealed to natural law.

It is to the shame of O’Reilly’s Catholic teachers in the nineteen sixties as much as many catechism instructors of today’s evangelicals, and most practitioners of the legal profession, that they have simply discarded natural law thinking, which had guided our and other civilizations for millennia.

It is a catastrophe with enormous genocidal consequences that this universal ethical code no longer applies, to wit Roe V. Wade, which prompted the slaughter of 56 million unborn babies in the last 40 years.

By and large natural law parallels Mosaic Law but is independent of it. It is not part of what theologians call the revelatio specialis (special revelation), which is only found in the Bible. But it is definitely part of the revelatio generalis (general revelation) that has been given to all of humanity. It is what Martin Luther called the lex inscripta, the law written upon everybody’s heart, according to the Apostle Paul.

You don’t have to be a Christian, a Jew or a Muslim to know that it wrong to suck the brains out of an unborn child’s head in order to make the skull collapse thus facilitating the little corpse’s removal from the mother’s womb. You know it’s wrong because Natural Law is inscribed in your heart regardless of whether you are a Christian, a Buddhist, a Hindu or a nonbeliever, which is why there exists an Atheist and Agnostic Pro-Life League.

By the same token, no belief system other than the tyrannical confusion governing the minds of declining empires would consider the physical union of two people whose parts don’t fit and who therefore cannot procreate a “human right.” Let these two negotiate other rights for themselves, but please don’t equate this with marriage and family, the keystone of any healthy society since time immemorial. Call marriage an order of creation, as Christians would, or call it just commonsensical, as the rest of mankind will affirm. Both are valid arguments. So why drag the Bible, which is holy to us, into the hyperbolic sewers of narcissistic politics?

What the “gay rights” agitators demand is as insane as would be the claim of plumbers to the “human right” of being called dentists. It’s time to wake up, take a cold shower, shake ourselves and realize that this cannot be so, even if Fox commentators, who are supposedly on the side of the traditionalists, insist on the contrary.

If Christian theologians wish to contribute to the survival of a sane and free system, they should urgently begin teaching natural law again: to the public in general and specifically to media stars such as O’Reilly and his entourage of beautiful blondes and brunettes, almost all with law degrees but apparently with scant knowledge of the lex inscripta governing human conscience. As for the rest of the mainstream media marching in ideological lockstep, allow me to sigh: God help them!

Dr. Uwe Siemon-Netto, a veteran foreign correspondent, is director of the Center for Lutheran Theology and Public Life in Capistrano Beach, Calif.