There is a saying among the finches who visit my balconata: “The Lord Denizen of the High Doganate works in mysterious ways.” Or rather, I’m convinced that they don’t understand me. My seeds they are happy enough to take, but they will not trust me. They let a Jay, on one occasion, alight on my railing. Four of the finches prattled about it at the other end, discussing perhaps whether they should stay or leave, but they did not fly away. Yet I, who have the most charitable intentions towards them — more charitable, surely, than any Jay — have only to turn my head, behind a window screen, and they take flight in alarm. They have the strongest objection to letting me read on my own balconata, and will shun the vicinity for an hour after I have gone inside. For all the evidence I have presented, they question whether I am their benefactor.
Similarly, with the humans, and their Lord Creator. They partake freely of the feast He has laid out before them, but do not like Him watching while they eat. At the rumour that He is in motion, they flee. They may tolerate the most provocative intruders, consort with those who do not wish them well, mutter and chirple about this and that. But they do not welcome the company of their Feeder; nor even try to understand Him.
I have heard so many complaints against God, lately, from people who pretend to doubt that He exists. They blame Him for things like suffering and death; or making various pleasures conditional upon fleeting health and luck. They are irritated by anything resembling rules or commandments coming from that Source, and make a show of flouting them. They turn to Him only, if at all, when every other choice has been obviated, and then ask help they have done nothing to deserve. Whenupon often as not, they get it.
They think they know everything. Seldom does it occur, and then only to the deeply religious and odd, that God is working with more information. Yet even these “believers” seldom glimpse what the larger scheme might be.
He allows horrors: sufferings and deaths. He allows the rain to fall on the just; and the hail, and the lightning, and deluges; He allows thieves, and He allows taxes. He lets good men go to prison, and bad men roam free. On Friday, Stateside, in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges, He allowed five spacy judges, including two who should have recused themselves, to outvote four partly sensible ones, on a matter of crucial and enduring public importance.
These judicial legislators also went about it in the most foolish available way, by ponderously invoking the sorry nonsense of “substantive due process” — and now there will be hell to pay for all faithful Christians (Jews, Muslims, &c). Rather than review the merits of the case before them, on the basis of existing law, they made new law from whole cloth.
Let me dwell on this a moment, for the media have all but obliterated the circumstances of the case, in their rush to celebrate the outcome. It was not about gay marriage, per se. The question was originally whether a registrar in Ohio was obliged to record the homosexual partner of a man, deceased, as his “surviving spouse,” — given that they had been legally married out-of-state. Ohio had previously recognized all out-of-state marriages as valid, including those between cousins, or minors, which could not be legally performed in Ohio. A case could be made that the registrar was so obliged, that would not require Ohio to change its marriage laws, let alone every other State in the Union. The judicial overreach was breathtaking.
By invoking this (hallucinogenic) doctrine of “substantive due process,” where nothing of the sort was required, Justice Kennedy (a Reagan appointee) breached the dam. His majority opinion enables a flood of further petitions to follow through the same gash. As Chief Justice Roberts pointed out in his dissent, the same reasoning could be used to legalize polygamous marriage, and anything else you can imagine. As Justice Scalia observed, the doctrine itself is among “the mystical aphorisms of the fortune cookie.” Anything could be meant by it — above, beyond, and then infinitely beyond what it is taken to mean at this moment.
Moreover, Justice Kennedy, with the four stooges behind him, reasons “empirically” from his own arbitrary and personal notion that “heterosexual” marriage and family life are flourishing in the United States, and so “homosexual” marriage can only contribute to this happy state of affairs. All the major evidence — all — runs contrary to that. The institution of the family is disintegrating in the same United States, as throughout the Western world. It has been pulled to pieces by the very inversion of moral values which Justice Kennedy is advancing. He is thus a lunatic. But of course, he is not alone.
Polygamy, &c, won’t happen in the near future, because America’s progressive elites don’t want it, yet. Something else will happen, immediately. The decision positively invites the gay lobbies to go after Christians, with legal bullying; it renders every claim to freedom in the practice of our faith, legally indefensible. We are all bigots now, in American law, and any who refuse to accommodate homosexual demands for public recognition are in the dock with racists.
I have some firsthand experience, for the benefit of U.S. Americans, especially journalists, of what is coming next.
Twelve years ago, my column started disappearing from the CanWest newspapers (starting with the National Post), as I persisted in opposing “same-sex marriage.” This was when it was coming to Canada, as the result of an Ontario Superior Court decision — after which the (nominally Tory) judge partied with the plaintiffs. The media kept mentioning that a “debate” on the issue was taking place, so I joined in, taking my knocks, which were many, personal, and often low and nasty.
Only one other journalist in Canada was, to my knowledge, not only on my side but dug in. (Others would say, “I’m against,” then change the subject.) This was Rory Leishman of the London Free Press. To Rory’s eternal credit, he got dumped as a columnist in his own home mainstream newspaper, years before I finally walked from mine.
For of course there was no debate, and no debate had ever been intended, and those opposed who did not choose silence soon found silence chosen for them.
I used many arguments, when I fought this fight on our Canadian national front line, but at the heart of them were these:
That once marriage is defined as no longer between “man and woman,” but “two persons,” all marriages become gay marriages.
That once homosexuality is defined as equivalent to race creed or colour, all faithful Christians become bigots, for the purposes of “human rights” legislation. (Along with the entire human race, born before yesterday.)
Alas, these arguments proved too simple to understand.
From that Christian view: What good could come of it? Why has God allowed it? Why has He let the basic building block of human society be overturned in this way, so totally and so vastly?
These are good questions, the answers to which we are unlikely to learn in the course of our earthly lives.
Given the trend of American and Western society, however, the decision could come as no surprise. Nor has it significance in itself, except as a key link in a longer chain of monstrosities. More particularly, we should never be surprised by a perverted ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court. It has a long history — more than two centuries, now — of whimsically undermining every principle of Natural, Common, and written positive Constitutional Law, in service to powerful elites of the moment, and for the purpose of enhancing their powers. They have long been hirelings for the Zeitgeist.
From Marbury v. Madison, to Dred Scott v. Sandford, to the Slaughterhouse Cases, to Buck v. Bell, to USA v. Carolene Products, to Korematsu v. USA, to Katzenbach v. McClung, to Roe v. Wade, to Chevron v. NRDC, to the Obamacare ruling one day and this horror the next (I omit hundreds), the American Supreme Court has proved a law unto itself — as, too, courts modelled on it around the world: arrogant and stinking with moral corruption. This includes the one with which we were saddled in Canada, after the innovations of 1949 (if not earlier).
No men, with the powers conferred on Supreme Court justices, will fail to abuse them. And the way in which they will abuse, given the foundation of their power in abstract reasoning, will be especially damaging. Each pregnant decision, like this — but also as others of more limited pretence — has the effect of tossing another monkeywrench into the Natural Order. Eventually, it comes spitting back.
For God, the final author of that Order (which mediaeval lawyers attempted only to “discover”), is great and good. He allows us to make a mess, and even helps us to recover from the mess that we alone have made, by means that would be beyond our humbled powers.
What is happening in this instance I cannot tell, but I do have a glimpse from one angle. The false prestige of American and other modern Western institutions — consciously founded on secular ideals, which may not deny God but certainly ignore Him — grew with outward material success. “We are rich and emancipated, therefore cannot be wrong,” is subtext throughout Justice Kennedy’s meandering Opinion. This sand was spread in the very foundation of our North American “freedom,” as in the modern European “freedom” advanced by Enlightenment and Revolution. In retrospect, we have been able to claim, plausibly, that “we did it, and we were not stopped.”
Though painful to believers and unbelievers alike, the conditions have been brought about for the breakdown not only of our material order, but of the premisses that underly it. Or put another way, we are committing the final acts of self-destruction.
In parochial American terms, the heresy that Pope Leo XIII defined as “Americanism” is being shown for what it is. Individual initiative cannot much help us, let alone save us, from the cumulative effect of individual initiative. The final “separation of church and state” does not lead where we expected. And while the Church may now be under systematic attack, by the State; and while the attacks will surely crush the little faith of innumerable callow Christians, delivering the “novo” section of our Church to extinction; the Rock beneath them begins to be exposed. In the end, that State is dashing itself upon that Rock. It has already dashed its own brains out.
The “American dream” must perish. We have believed ourselves to be independent in just those areas where we are not and never can be. Conversely, we have denied that we are independent in just those areas where we are, indeed, capable of real moral choice. The Declaration of Independence is soon a dead letter; we are feeling our way mysteriously back towards the contrary Declaration of Dependence.
Here is a quote that a reader (Perfesser Smith, no less) has copied to me, from Romano Guardini, in his beuk, The End of the Modern World (1956). It may not at first seem relevant to the above, but on a few minutes thought will be found to address the point directly:
“It is cheap and false to condemn the medieval use of authority as ‘slavery’. Modern man makes this judgement not merely because he enjoys the discovery of autonomous investigation but because he resents the Middle Ages. His resentment is born of the realization that his own age has made revolution a perpetual institution. But authority is needed not only by the childish but also in the life of every man, even the most mature. Integral to the full grandeur of human dignity, authority is not merely the refuge of the weak; its destruction always breeds its burlesque — force.
“As long as medieval man was gripped by his own vision of existence, as long as he heard its music sounding in the depths of his heart, he never experienced authority as shackling. It was a bridge leading to the absolute; it was the flag of the world. Authority provided medieval man with the opportunity to construct an order whose magnificence of form, intensity of manner, and richness of life were such that he would have judged our world as paltry.”
And too, I should think, as a dictatorship of fiends.