Both Vice-President Joseph Biden and President Barack Obama have said that their positions regarding same-sex marriage have evolved. When you are “evolving,” you should really watch your grammar. Otherwise, people might suspect you are devolving instead.
Take for instance, the hapless Joe Biden’s pronouncement of why he supports same-sex marriage. It’s all a matter of “who do you love.” His statement is both substantively and grammatically incorrect. It should, of course, be “whom do you love”. “You” is the subject and “whom” is the object of the verb “love.” Biden’s grammatical error reveals the problem with same-sex marriage. It has two subjects without an object.
What is the object of marriage? It is for two to become one flesh. Anatomically and morally, only a man and a woman can do this. Only spousal love is properly sexual for only it provides for the protection of that at which the marital act aims both in its unitive and procreative senses.
But what about “love”? Isn’t it a bit mean-spirited not to allow people who love each other to get married, even if they are of the same gender? Love always seeks the well-being of the loved one. This is true in all sorts of love, whether between parents and children, between children themselves, or between friends. Sexualizing the love in these relationships would be profoundly mistaken since none of these loving relationships is or could be spousal in character.
Therefore, sex between parents and children, between siblings, or between unmarried friends, or between friends of the same gender is objectively disordered and will inflict harm on the parties involved no matter how they “feel.” This is the opposite of seeking the loved one’s well-being.
Biden is now telling the country that this is not so – that if one man loves another man, sexualizing that love in the form of an act of sodomy is not only not harmful, but provides a sound moral basis for marriage. That is why Biden is in favour of sanctifying sodomy.
How does one evolve into this curious position? One undertakes what Nietzsche called the transvaluation of values. In other words, you take Christianity and dump it on its head and turn it into its opposite, while calling it the same thing. Let’s consider how President Obama “evolved” in this way. On September 25, 2004, Obama said:
“I’m a Christian. And so, although I try not to have my religious beliefs dominate or determine my political views on this issue, I do believe that tradition, and my religious beliefs say that marriage is something sanctified between a man and a woman.”
Indeed, that is what Christianity teaches. One wonders what in Christianity is inconsistent with his political views. How are his political views formed? Are they consistent with moral philosophy? Is the judgment of moral philosophy, as in a work like Aristotle’s The Ethics or in Socrates’ condemnation of sodomy, inconsistent with Christian teaching on same-sex marriage? Why doesn’t Obama’s moral reasoning lead him in the same direction as his Christian faith?
In his book The Audacity of Hope, Obama gives us a clue. He writes that:
“Implicit in [the Constitution's] structure, in the very idea of ordered liberty, was a rejection of absolute truth, the infallibility of any idea or ideology or theology or ‘ism,’ and any tyrannical consistency that might block future generations into a single, unalterable course…”
In other words, truth leads to tyranny. Truth does not set you free; it imprisons. Moral relativism sets you free. Then you can do what you want.
But it is absurd for him to say that the Founders of the United States did not believe in absolute truths. Had this been so, there would have been no Declaration of Independence (“we hold these truths…”) and no Constitution. Obama is reading his own moral relativism back into the document and then trying to use it to legitimize the very opposite of what it proclaims.
Here is another example. On January 28, 2010, during a town hall meeting at the University of Tampa, Obama said:
“My belief is that a basic principle in our Constitution is that if you’re obeying the law, if you’re following the rules, that you should be treated the same, regardless of who you are. I think that principle applies to gay and lesbian couples.”
Only a moral relativist would or could read same-sex marriage back into the Constitution. What Obama is really proposing to do is change the rules so that those who are not following them can have their own special set of rules. So, in the name of equality before the law – a sound constitutional principle – he denies equality before the law.
This all leads to Obama’s striking statement on Wednesday, May 9. Here it is with the personal pronouns italicized:
“I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbours when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I‘ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.”
Ten personal pronouns or the word “my” in one sentence. That is an impressive feat of solipsism that undergirds the moral relativism that authorizes what “is important for me” as the standard by which to judge what is right and wrong. Abraham Lincoln said that there is no right to do what is wrong. Obama and Biden are complicit in making a wrong a “right.”
The transvaluation of values requires more than the denial of objective morality. It requires that the negation – the transvaluation – becomes the new religion. It is the sanctification of nihilism, the Church of Nada. It needs to be sacramentalized, as in same-sex marriage. That is why Obama and Biden insist upon it.
Listen to this final, breathtaking part of Obama’s rationalization. Just as he used the Constitution to justify its opposite, he now employs Christianity in the same way. Christianity, which has unambiguously condemned sodomy for more than 2000 years, is enlisted to endorse it:
“The thing at root that we think about is, not only Christ sacrificing himself on our behalf, but it’s also the golden rule – you know, treat others the way you would want to be treated. And I think that’s what we try to impart to our kids, and that’s what motivates me as president.”
After all, Christ died to make the world safe for sodomy…
In other words, if you would like your moral misbehaviour to be rationalized, you should be willing to rationalize the moral misbehaviour of others. That way, we are all equal. That’s equal opportunity. This is Obama’s new golden rule. The transvaluation of values is complete.
Fear for the Republic. For the truths for which it stands have been taken away by this president.
Robert Reilly has worked in foreign policy, the military, and the arts. His most recent book is The Closing of the Muslim Mind: How Intellectual Suicide Created the Modern Islamist Crisis.