Jennifer Turley writes to the editor in the Akron Beacon Journal Tuesday May 29th edition that she is interested in truth. I am glad. I hope she takes this analysis of her letter in that same vein.
Take this sentence from her letter; “How much longer must we endure the ‘traditional’ concept of marriage that’s being sullied by every celebrity on the planet (Kardashians anyone?) while those in loving, faithful, and devoted relationships are being denied the opportunity to solidify their commitment with a vow or ceremony?”
One might argue that not everybody who is in a “traditional concept of marriage” is trashing it nor are those not in “traditional” marriages honoring it. And there certainly isn’t anybody preventing anyone from exchanging a vow or having a ceremony. But I am fairly confident that is not what she means. She wants these nontraditional marriages to be officially recognized by the government all of which sounds innocent enough. I would also imagine that she realizes just because a same sex couple moved in next door to her that civilization would not come to a screeching halt, planes will not fall out of the sky, and the parousea will not begin.
She requests that nobody “thump a Bible” at her and I quite agree. It will do little good. To begin, not everyone in the United States believes in the Bible. Further, not everybody believes that the Bible says the same thing. As one Episcopal bishop put it about 10 years ago, “Don’t go quoting the Bible to me about this. You can make the Bible say just about anything you want to.” And he is correct. That is what happens when there is no authority or tradition.
It is better to respond logically. If I were a bettin' man I would wager that Turley did not write the title to her letter but that it was given by the paper. It states, “Allowing Marriage for All Loving Couples.” This title is rather short sighted and I would suppose that Turley would find it offensive and narrow minded.
Whereas the Church (and by that I mean the Catholic Church) cannot change its teaching on marriage because it would have to change the very definition of marriage thereby throwing most of its theology and tradition into chaos, the state is not thusly encumbered. It can break with precedent (which in this case does go back to the Bible) and simply change its definition.
But if this is done it spits amounts of toothpaste out of a tube most never imagine. Once precedent is done away with, the definition of marriage can be whatever we want it to be. (That doesn’t sound so bad does it?) Here Turley states very well that marriage should be for those in, “loving, faithful, and devoted relationships.” But who is to say that this should be between just two people? Precedent is now done away with and the idea that having children (naturally) is done away with and eligibility for marriage is simply based on persons in a committed relationship, what is to prevent us from having three people married even if they be of the same or mixed sexes? Why not 5 of various sexes and preferences? Why not 20? How can we possibly limit it to 2 people? What is to prevent us? What of those in truly committed relationships that are not in the “traditional” limit of 2?
I contend that once “tradition” is breached then there are no safe guards, nothing to which we might refer that could morally or legally keep marriage to two individuals. As long as there is a strong enough backing, marriage can come to mean just about anything.
It is not about hating anybody or depriving a good thing grom anyone. It is about recognizing that when marriage can mean just about anything – it ceases to mean anything.