We’ve been told that people who want to maintain the man-woman definition of marriage are “on the wrong side of history.” Perhaps they are correct. Maybe “history,” which is determined largely by how people behave, will continue to move toward defining marriage as genderless in the 90 percent of governments that still maintain the natural definition. But what’s the take-away? Jump on the bandwagon?
Remember, Moses was on the wrong side of the golden calf. And Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation was on the wrong side of Dred Scott — the 1857 Supreme Court decision that declared blacks were “so far inferior that they had no rights.” Being on the wrong side of some popular moral assertion doesn’t mean your position is wrong.
Now that five judges say that same-sex marriage is a new “right,” let’s ask a more foundational question. Where do rights come from? Specifically, where does the right to same-sex marriage come from?
If you say that rights come from governments or constitutions, how can they really be rights? Isn’t a right something you have regardless of what a government says? For example, if same-sex marriage is really a right, then you actually possess that right even if you live under a government that doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage. You may not be able to exercise it, but you have it nonetheless.
Moreover, if there is no overarching moral standard that transcends human governments, then how we could prosecute Nazi soldiers for violating the rights of others? The Nazis were just following their government.
The truth is, rights don’t come from men or governments. Instead, “to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men,” as our Founders wrote in the Declaration of Independence. In fact, that was the entire point of the Declaration — the government of King George was usurping the rights of colonists, so we declared our independence.
Some argue that evolutionary theory provides us with a right to same-sex marriage, but one doesn’t even have to challenge evolutionary theory to see that something is wrong with that argument. If natural selection has a goal of survival and reproduction, then how could same-sex marriage help with that? Such marriages are an agreement to stay in a sterile and medically unhealthy relationship — the exact antithesis of survival. In fact, if everyone lived faithfully in same-sex marriage, the human race would end quite quickly. (I’m not saying that same-sex marriage laws would accomplish this, just that the observation shows a real moral and consequential difference between natural marriage and same-sex marriage).
An even more basic problem with the evolutionary argument is that moral rights don’t result from evolutionary processes. Rights are prescriptive and come from an authoritative person. Evolutionary processes are descriptive and have no authority to tell you what to do. How does a mutating genetic code have the moral authority to tell you how you ought to behave or how you ought to treat others?
The truth is, just as history describes what does happen and not what ought to happen, biology describes what does survive, not what ought to survive. Why should humans survive as opposed to anything else? And which humans? Mother Theresa? Hitler?
Those who want to follow evolutionary theory are led to a dark place. Murder would be OK if it helped you survive, thrive and better reproduce. Rape would be OK because if it helped propagate DNA. And a society might justify exterminating the weak and undesirables to improve the gene pool and help the desirables survive. In fact, Hitler used evolutionary theory to justify just that. Homosexuals were many of his victims.
So if rights don’t come from governments or evolution, then where do they come from? To truly be rights, they can only come from an authoritative being whose nature is the very standard of perfect Goodness. That’s what we mean by God.
Without God, there is no authoritative moral standard beyond humanity, which means that every action or behavior is merely a matter of human opinion. The murder of Jews, gypsies, and homosexuals? It’s just your opinion against Hitler’s opinion. Child crucifixions? It’s just your opinion against that of ISIS. Freedom of speech? That’s just your opinion against that of a dictator. Gay bashing is bad? Again, just your opinion.
The same holds true with any supposed right, including the right to same-sex marriage. While you can get five judges to assert it is a right, without God, it is just an opinion (thus the Court’s judgment is aptly named).
But couldn’t God approve of same-sex marriage?
The major religious books state just the opposite. So does the Natural Law derived from God’s nature. Thomas Jefferson called this “Nature’s Law,” from which we get “self-evident truths,” including the truth that people “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.” Same-sex marriage is not one of those self-evident truths. In fact, Jefferson and other politically incorrect Founding Founders called homosexual acts “crimes against nature” because such acts go against the natural design of the body and frustrate the goal of perpetuating humanity. This observation is not based on bigotry but on biology. (It’s ironic that our Founding Fathers were more apt to follow science than today’s secular left who ignore science when they insist that biological gender is changeable and sexual behavior is not. The exact opposite is true!)
The issue of slavery does not invalidate Jefferson’s judgment. Jefferson understood that slavery was wrong and admitted so, even if he succumbed to the temptation to keep his slaves throughout his life (it was Darwin who believed in the “favored races”). Simple observation tells us that every race of human is fully human. And nature tells us that mixed-race marriages lead to healthy offspring. Indeed, experience has shown that bigger gene pools are healthier than smaller ones. The natural law that points away from homosexual relationships also points away from racism.
Since real rights can only come from God, if you want to insist same-sex marriage is a right then you must assume that God is for same-sex marriage. But then you must also assume the implausible notion that God wants you to harm your own health and that of the human race by contributing to its extinction. How’s that for love? Don’t be fruitful. Don’t multiply. Don’t survive. Same-sex marriage is not only on the wrong side of God and nature; it’s on the wrong side of humanity.
So if not from governments, evolution or God, where does the “right” to same-sex marriage come from? Our imaginations. Perhaps well-intended imaginations, but imaginations nonetheless.
Dr. Frank Turek (D.Min.) is an award-winning author and frequent college speaker who hosts a weekly TV show on DirectTV and a radio program that airs on 186 stations around the nation. His books include I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist and Stealing from God: Why atheists need God to make their case.
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