Friday, May 16, 2008


Your missionary to Capitol Hill, Washington, DC, Rob Schenck, reporting:

"And tidal waves couldn't save the world
From Californication."
-- From "Californication" by Red Hot Chili Peppers

My play on words is actually a hijacking of an album title by the alternative rock-pop band Red Hot Chili Peppers. (They released "Californication" in 1999.) Not only couldn't tidal waves save the world from what four justices of the California Supreme Court did yesterday when they ordered their state to issue so-called "same-sex marriage" certificates, but the act itself is, in fact, the beginning of a tidal wave. This decision is far more significant and consequential than the more predictable (and unappealing) but similar ruling of the Massachusetts Supreme Court. California is the largest state in the Union. In this case, the majority of the Justices are Republican appointees. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is a Republican and has promised to obey the order. As one court watcher observed, this has completely changed the legal--and I'd add, political--landscape when it comes to same-sex marriage.

Now, before you jump to conclusions and accuse me of simply gay bashing, please read my reflections on homosexuality and homosexual relationships soon to be posted at my other blog: I think you'll be surprised. For now, though, this posting deals with the California Court's opinion and its consequences there and around the country. So, I continue:

What the Court did in this case was redefine "marriage." Marriage is universally understood to be a ritual formalization of the intimate complimentarity between a man and a woman with a view toward procreation and / or the raising of children. Children need male and female role models to understand how human beings and human society work. Of course, as Christians, we understand and believe strongly that this is God's will and design, and that anything else is violative of this rule. You don't need to go that far, though. Marriage as between one man and one woman has been practiced by virtually every civilization since time immemorial. Its supreme benefit to individuals, to families and to culture is undeniable. The severely negative consequences of ignoring or deliberately rejecting conventional marriage and family structures is painfully obvious and can be seen from the anguish of plural families around the world to the single-parent homes of innercity neighborhoods in the U.S.

Marriage is not a legal arrangement of convenience. It is a recognition that men and women are different and in that difference improve one another. They each bring unique contributions that are uniquely strengthened and maximized through the marriage covenant and subsequent marital relationship. There are some things men do better than women and many things women do better than men. I know absolutes aren't in vogue but there are some things men can only do and some things women can only do. (Think anatomy here!) So, what four judges did in this opinion was to engage in a grand exercise of pathological denial. They said two men or two women can have exactly the same relationship that a man and woman can have. That's patently false.

A tidal wave (more correctly, a tsunami) can be powerfully destructive to anything in its path. The ruling of the California Supreme Court on same-sex marriage is a cultural tsunami, but here's a little fact of earth science: The backwash of a tidal wave is more powerful than its initial swash. A tidal wave-tsunami deposits material when it comes ashore, but its backwash removes more material than it deposits. The California Court's tidal wave decision awaits the inevitable backwash of the citizenry. As was the case in Hawaii a decade ago, when citizens there reacted to a similar court opinion by passing an airtight constitutional amendment preserving traditional marriage, this California ruling may just be the Big Wave moral conservatives have been hoping for!

More later . . .

Rev. Rob Schenck
Faith and Action
109 2nd St, NE
Washington, DC 20002

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