Sunday, April 28, 2013

Open Letter to Supreme Court of the United States of America (Part 1)

Part 1, here. Part 2, here. Part 3, here.
     I am posting in parts this letter that I originally wrote to SCOTUS concerning their upcoming decisions for homosexual marriage. This went through three drafts in which each draft is completely different and rearranged based on inputs I received from my colleagues.
I really thought earnestly about how to frame the arguments and when to hold back in certain places, and how aggressive I needed to be. I will never meet these justices and this is my only shot.
     As I mentioned in previous posts, as a theonomist I certainly recognize that natural law arguments are useful, and I use them here. While I feel that these arguments are effective, I fully understood that these arguments in and of themselves are not fully and logically sufficient unless you fully refer back to the transcendental standard. I wasn't fooling myself into thinking that they were actually logically (biblically) sufficient.
     I had to try to balance this issue with the immediate and focused intent of getting the message across for the justices to be convinced to uphold (traditional) marriage. Especially since I will never meet these justices, I had to think of a way that they will actually read through my entire letter without them throwing it in the trash after the first page.
     My approach would have been much more forward if I were to actually have a sit-down with them but since I cannot, I made the tactical decision to focus more on the natural law arguments and hint at the transcendental aspects. (I also put in references that I used, which appear in the later parts of the letter).


March 29, 2013

The Chief Justice of the United States
Justice Scalia, Justice Kennedy, Justice Thomas , Justice Ginsburg, Justice Breyer, Justice Alito
Justice Sotomayor, Justice Kagan

The Supreme Court of the United States
1 First Street, NE
Washington, DC 20543

            Dear Mr. Chief Justice, Justice Scalia, Justice Kennedy, Justice Thomas, Justice Ginsburg, Justice Breyer, Justice Alito, Justice Sotomayor, Justice Kagan,

            My name is Christopher Lee. Before I proceed, I want to thank each of you for your service to our country in the Supreme Court. I have been following the court cases regarding Proposition 8 and DOMA and I would like to humbly offer some insights into the sociological and moral dimensions of this issue. I hope you will find this information helpful. First, let me be clear. This issue isn’t whether homosexuals are made in the image of God who deserve to be treated with love and respect. They are, and they do. Below are the typical arguments made for homosexual marriage, and my responses:

Claim 1)          Marriage is a voluntary union of persons in a committed relationship
Response 1)     How something is phrased can certainly affect how one views that particular thing. This is true with homosexual marriage. Very subtly, we have begun to talk about marriage as a union of persons in a committed relationship, rather than a union of a man and a woman. Never before has marriage been spoken about in this way and the implications are profound. This shift in terms has been attendant to a shift in how we think about marriage. Unconsciously we begin wondering: if marriage is really the union of persons in a committed and loving relationship, why shouldn’t homosexuals be allowed to participate in this institution?

The only problem with construing marriage in these terms is that this has never been how it was understood since the beginning of human history, even among cultures like ancient Rome which might have been most inclined to understand marriage as the union of persons. Those who take this view must acknowledge that throughout most of human history the laws, customs, culture and language built up around marriage was apparently based on a misunderstanding of what marriage actually was, for until recently no one understood that marriage has actually always been the union of persons. It would be difficult to say that the Framers of the Constitution thought of marriage as a union between two persons, and not one man and one woman.
Now to be fair, the fact that marriage has never been understood as a union of  

persons does not itself prove the new concept. However, at a minimum it does establish that it is a new concept, a novel definition that is discontinuous with the institution of marriage as it has been understood and practice for thousands of years. This is something the champions of gay marriage are reluctant to acknowledge, since their case for “equal access” depends on maintaining some degree of continuity with the norms of an existing institution. This pretence of continuity enables them to form their arguments in quantitative terms, as if they were merely expanding the pool of people who can get legally married, rather than qualitatively altering the very essence of what marriage is.

Claim 2)          It’s not enough to have partnership. The title of marriage is
something special and homosexuals are entitled to it.
Response 2)     As Chief Justice Roberts mentioned, there is something special about the label “marriage.” But to simply change the meaning of marriage would be doing exactly the opposite of what homosexual marriage advocates are hoping for. If the term “marriage” were now to not exclusively apply to one man and one woman, the term has no standard anymore, becomes meaningless since we can define it any way we want, and has no boundaries. Logically, marriage could then be applied to incestual relationships and polygamous relationships.

Part 2 next time....

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