How Has Our Culture Redefined Marriage?

Last month Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade kiss between two women was a “first” for the parade. The kiss was watched by millions of people. As one might expect, it drew the ire of too many social conservatives to count.

Oh, wait. No, it didn’t. As I pointed out at The Stream, almost no social conservatives said anything about it. And life went on in America because, frankly, we’ve been redefining marriage for a long time.

An American tradition

I recently read – and cited at Catholic Exchange – Harriet Jacobs’ Incident in the Life of a Slave Girl. Jacobs’ personal stories focus heavily on injustices to families. One of the many injustices she faced was the risk of her children being sold to white owners. Jacobs also frequently points out that married white men would often rape their slaves and sell the children for profit.

Many of these rapists and sex profiteers called themselves Christians. They and their spouses believed they had a God-given right to do anything they wished to their slaves.

Slavery was followed by a century of Jim Crow laws and the illegality of interracial marriage.

I bring this up because it’s important that Christians stop pretending America was once a Christian nation and is now so much worse than it was. Yes, we now have a society which accepts same-sex sexual relationships. We are obligated to call out this immorality, even though so many so-called Christians and social conservatives have given up.

But when we do so with the rose-colored glasses of saying that America was a Christian nation until recently, we ignore all of the horrific things which were done to blacks in violation of chastity and marriage.

Divorce, contraception, and more

This isn’t the first time I’ve written about many Christians’ short-sighted view of when marriage was redefined. I wrote over the summer here at Catholic Exchange that marriage was redefined not in 2015 when same-sex couples were given legal recognition, but rather when divorce, sex out of wedlock, contraception, and abortion were given wide legal and cultural license.

Even as America has improved on racial equality, Christian communities haven’t held our own accountable on these other issues. Most Americans still identify as Christian and one in three Americans identifies as socially conservative. Yet these beliefs don’t seem to matter much. Nearly three-quarters of Americans say divorce is morally acceptable, according to Gallup, despite what Jesus said and what the Catholic Church teaches. One bright spot is that young Americans are divorcing less. Alas, poorer Americans are choosing to shack up instead of marrying.

The data on abortion support is similarly depressing. Most Americans, including many self-described “pro-life” people, back abortion through the first 12 weeks of gestation. This is when 90 percent of abortions take place.

Finally, many Christians use contraception, especially in Protestant and semi-practicing Catholic communities. This is immoral for many reasons which Catholic Exchange readers already know, but it’s especially hypocritical for those who claim to be pro-life. Many contraceptives double as abortifacients, and there is evidence that contraceptive access increases the prevalence of abortion.

This all leads to Macy’s promoting same-sex sexual relationships with a kiss last month. With contraception comes the separation of sex from marriage. Once life is separated from marriage and intercourse, an unborn child becomes an inconvenience instead of a gift. And with sex separated from both unity and procreation, it’s only logical that same-sex couples should be able to have the same legal rights as opposite-sex couples (even though same-sex “marriage” will never measure up to the real thing).

Of course, it’s easy and convenient to blame same-sex couples for redefining marriage. It takes the attention off of Christians who led the nation astray for the last half-century, and possibly the entirety of America’s history.

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Dustin Siggins is founder and CEO of the publicity firm Proven Media Solutions. He was previously Director of Communications for a national trade association, a public relations consultant, and a Catholic journalist.

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