The Deeper Issue in the Marriage Debate

Troubling though it is, today’s marriage controversy is a symptom of something even deeper and in the end more troubling yet. It is the loss of connection to what is transcendent and true. For each person there is tragedy enough in the loss of life in God that this represents. For the culture it signals the loss of a different kind of life: that of a community united in pursuit of what is true and good.

I do mean that any human society ever attained to an ideal state of unity in that way; far from it. But today we have lost even any conception of what it might mean. We see this in the marriage debate, specifically in that same-sex “marriage” advocates make their case. It’s not based on what’s true about marriage, but on what people feel about relationships.

It’s impossible to be wrong about feelings: we feel what we feel, and that’s it. It’s also impossible for me to persuade another person that my feelings rightly, truly, and justly rule over his or hers, because of course they don’t. There’s nothing really there even to talk about except as statements about ourselves — which provides no basis for discussion, much less agreement, on common principles or beliefs.

So the basis for agreement is being cast aside; and yet we must come to some agreement in order to make and to practice public policy.

Let me state that another way: we must agree, but the way the current debate is being conducted, any basis for agreement is being undermined. So where does that leave us? Read more on this in my current BreakPoint Worldview and You column, “The Deeper Issue in the Marriage Debate.”