OPINION: Postmodernism and the Supreme Court

by Edward B. Vines, |

BESSEEMER, Ala. (Christian Examiner) -- In April of this year (2015) the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the issue of gay "marriage." As the nation awaits the ruling there are individuals on both sides of the argument who are loudly voicing their opinions. There are many others who are indifferent to the outcome as they do not feel that the approval of such unions has much bearing on their own personal lives.

Even among mainstream Christians there is a large number of people who are generally opposed to the idea of homosexual relationships being referred to as "marriage" yet tend to view an adverse ruling as merely one more skirmish lost in the larger American culture war. I fear it is not that simple.

Honorable Edward B. Vines

Though Christian values have suffered numerous setbacks before the Supreme Court over the past few decades this time it is different. The imposition of gay "marriage" is distinguished from other such federally engineered social changes by the extraordinary amount of zeal the government has already shown in promoting this agenda. That is to say, while the courts have afforded legal protection to other morally objectionable practices such as abortion and pornography, very few if any Christians have felt as if they have been pressured by the government to affirm these practices.

For instance, no Christian bakers have been forced to cater events hosted by Planned Parenthood and no Christian bookstores have been required to display copies of Playboy magazine next to volumes of Matthew Henry's bible commentary. By contrast, recently several Christian owned businesses have been hit with government fines and sanctions due to their refusals to provide services to gay weddings. To me, this is the second most frightful thing affecting our nation today. The most frightful thing is that so few people are alarmed by this development.

Today's Americans have enjoyed freedom for so long and have studied history so little that such warning signs of creeping tyranny do not trigger alarm bells as they should. We are so busy enjoying the prosperity that was purchased by previous generations that we don't notice that the freedoms upon which it rests are being chiseled away little by little.

Another area where the threat is being felt is in the substance of Domestic Relations law. The laws pertaining to marriage and divorce in this country are based upon centuries old Judeo-Christian principles of right and wrong otherwise known as equity.

In my home state of Alabama as in many other states Domestic Relations courts are descendants of the Chancery Courts of ancient England. The Chancery was originally presided over by clergymen as these courts were charged with ruling on matters of conscience. Grounds for divorce in Alabama such as adultery, abandonment and substance abuse are based upon biblical principles of morality.

When federal judges decree that a particular activity can no longer be treated as immoral, there are unseen ripple effects. How is the chronic alcoholic who gets an adverse ruling in his divorce case supposed to feel when he learns that the government has declared that unlike drunkenness, homosexuality is no longer considered to be a sin.

The growing cultural ban on condemning any activities as being immoral will no doubt cause criminal dockets to grow over time as the conscience of the individual becomes less of a check on bad behavior in our society. There is no way to know how many young people have made good decisions at crucial times in their lives because their parents had taught them that certain acts are objectively and absolutely wrong.

While many in this country are welcoming the sliding-scale, moral relativism that has come to us in this so called postmodern age I fear that it threatens the very future of the nation. I say this not only because I believe God has richly blessed our country and that faithfulness to him and his commandments is conducive to a healthy nation, but also because in order to be successful a society must have some non-negotiable, fixed points upon which people can rely.

This principle flies in the face of postmodernism which argues that no absolute truths exist. That is to say, something that is true for you may not necessarily be true for me according to this philosophy. This doesn't bode well for our court systems in general by which the dispensation of justice rests upon the foundation of witnesses who are placed under oath to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Is the day coming when knowingly telling a lie under oath can no longer be counted as perjury?

It is no small thing when human beings presume to make themselves moral lawgivers.


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