Marriage by Any Other Name
By Brad Sherman
At last Friday’s Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition event in Des Moines, Iowa, Rand Paul commented on President Obama recently supporting the concept of “gay marriage,”claiming that his position has “evolved.” Rand Paul quipped that he didn’t think Obama’s position “… could get any gayer.”
It was reported that Tony Perkins, of the Family Research Council, was critical of the comment made by Senator Paul. Perkins scolded Paul saying, “We are talking about individuals who feel very strongly one way or the other, and I think we should be civil, respectful, allowing all sides to have the debate…. I think this is not something to laugh about. It’s not something to poke fun at other people about. This is a very serious issue.”
While I agree that the debate on “homosexual rights” should be civil, I disagree with Tony Perkins’ accusation that Rand Paul’s comment was somehow uncivil, disrespectful or poked fun at people. I was there, Tony was not. Rand Paul’s comment was completely appropriate. Senator Paul was in no way disrespectful nor was it a jab at homosexuals in general. It was, however, a jab at the continual disingenuous rhetoric of Obama, who claims his position on marriage has evolved, when in fact his position has always been exactly the same.
In the mix, we find a comment by Rand Paul’s father, Ron Paul, who took his usual position, that the government ought to stay out of marriage and “Let two people define marriage.” This view is problematic (it is yet to be seen if Rand holds the exact same position as his father). If everyone was free to define marriage for themselves, we would have a million different definitions, which means there would be no definition at all of marriage. This erodes the very fabric of communication. Should we just delete the word “marriage” from the dictionary? If so, should we eventually do away with dictionaries all together? If words can be defined any way we wish, there could be no laws, because each person’s definition would be as valid as the next. I think you see where this line of thinking ends up – total chaos and anarchy.
The founders believed some truths were absolute, calling them self-evident. Among these were the fact “…all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” If they were able to weigh in today on this debate, I am convinced they would say that the Creator established marriage as an institution between a man and a woman, it is self-evident, and they would have no problem making it a federal issue. But with all the wisdom and foresight that the founders possessed, I seriously doubt that they saw this one coming.
If they had, they might have saved us all this trouble.
Brad Sherman is the pastor of Solid Rock Church in Coralville, Iowa.