Originally posted on February 12, 2004.
The following was sent to me by Daniel Newby, who I do not consider a libertarian, but do consider a Constitutionalist and fellow traveler in the fight against tyranny. Daniel Newby is one of the chief instigators of AccountabilityUtah.org, though this piece was written separately from that endeavor.
“Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not yet sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favor; a long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defence of custom. But the tumult soon subsides. Time makes more converts than reason.” — Thomas Paine, Common Sense, Introduction
Consider the following statement from the New Testament:
“Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” — Matthew 19:6
The above scripture, if taken literally, implies that the Creator of the Universe is the force that joins and binds two individuals together. Based upon this scripture and belief system, it would stand to reason that man is not rightfully permitted to separate what the Creator has joined together.
My question then is this: Why are we attempting to empower the state to recognize and validate this joining or separation of two individuals?
Under the same Christian belief system, men are also admonished to, “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.” (Matthew 22:21) Is it natural and consistent to attempt to grant such powers of recognition to Caesar?
If the Creator is solely capable of joining or putting asunder, what is the legitimate role of government? Does government have the same power? Does government have lesser power or none at all?
Unless the state is God, it stands to reason that the state’s only legitimate role is to recognize contractual arrangements for the purposes of potential litigation should conflicts or disputes occur.
In modern times, however, we have added the specter of tax breaks — or the image of Caesar — to compound the question. Today, when we debate the validity and power of Caesar’s marriage contract, we speak not only of the contract itself, but the financial incentives Caesar adds to the contract. Marriage bound by financial incentives does not appear consistent with rendering separate due to God and to Caesar. Neither does it give the impression that “the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32), but rather that Caesar must throw in some “bennies” in order to sufficiently bind the individual to his Creator.
Does the sanctity of marriage hinge on whether Caesar recognizes and condones the union of a man and woman? If it does, then why do we need our Creator at all? Let’s cut out the middle man and rely upon the state solely. Or let Christians practice what they preach and demand that the state enforce contractual arrangements and leave the question of marriage to private individuals and structures.
But to claim as many do that marriage stands or falls based upon Caesar’s arm is to admit that God and Caesar cannot be separated. Even worse, it supposes that the Christian God is weak and incapable without the aid of Caesar.
So, what is the proper role of government in this instance? Let us consider how we treat other contractual arrangements. If two homosexual men were to enter into any business arrangement and one cheated the other financially, does the fact that they are homosexuals disqualify them from the benefits of appropriate litigation to enforce the contract? Of course not.
So, with marriage, I propose that we only let Caesar step in when litigation is unavoidable. Of course, deference needs to be paid to the true natural birth mother or natural father in cases of homosexual contracts, as they participated in the process of creation and therefore have some claim as to the results of that process. But otherwise, let the dispute be generally treated and resolved as would any contractual arrangement between two individuals.
I, for one, do not lose sleep over whether someone is homosexual or not. But I am not tolerant of efforts by some homosexuals (and others) to indoctrinate our children or attain special rights (example: thought crimes). At the same time, however, I am angered by non-homosexuals who want to use taxpayer dollars to teach children things they should learn in the sanctity of their homes.
This is the bottom line for me: If a homosexual can mind his own business and respect my right to find his behavior perverse and lamentable (and visa versa), then we should be able to get along all right. I will admittedly pity them for what I perceive to be self-destructive behavior, and I can tolerate their same opinion of me and my lifestyle if we ever discuss it. But the thought is not the crime. Using government to obtain supremacy is the crime.
To be frank, I would rather live next to a homosexual who respected my rights and left me alone than I would a heterosexual who claimed to worship God on Sunday and then attempted to rob me of my rights and property on Monday. But that is precisely the weakness of many who refer to themselves as Christians. They attempt to teach a supreme God who requires the recognition of the state to have any real validity and staying power. What they forget is that it is wrong to use the force of Caesar to establish religion.
I have often heard the argument that consenting adult homosexuals harm the community by their very influence and therefore we must band together to curtail their rights. I find that argument difficult to accept or to defend with regard to both Caesar’s contract and those God-given rights granted to all men. Again, I know many individuals who call themselves Christians who probably do more damage to the community than do most homosexuals. Are we simply repulsed at thinking about how they engage in sexual activities? This does not seem to be sufficient justification to refuse to honor Caesar’s contractual recognition for the purposes of potential litigation.
And even further, if the shoe were on the other foot and the homosexual leaders increased their hold over our government, would their disdain for heterosexual practices cause them to return the favor? I believe this is why we are having a hard time defeating efforts to grant special rights for homosexuals today precisely because we are morally backwards with regard to our entire philosophy on the role of our Creator and the role of Caesar.
The recent marriage debate has given me great pause with regard to all of the fundamental rights we are losing ground on. This debate has explained to my satisfaction the apparent dichotomy of thinking that allows someone like Senator Chris Buttars to promote Caesar’s heterosexual-only contract recognition while simultaneously allowing Caesar to destroy the God-granted right of man to own property and to receive due process (Senate Bill 175).
It is all about empowering Caesar to — at gun point — take over the role of our Creator. Sen. Buttars is at least consistent. But that does not make him, or others, right.
Daniel B. Newby
Got comments? Email me, dammit!