What is happening in our culture is an unraveling of all we once considered normal. Anyone who now appeals to virtue, values, ethics or (heaven forbid!) religious faith is labeled an enemy of progress, an intolerant bigot, a homophobe and a "Neanderthal." There is no debate and no discussion. By definition, anyone who opposes "progress" in casting off the chains of religious restrictions on human behavior - which were once considered necessary for the promotion of the general welfare - is a fundamentalist fool, part of a past that brought us witch trials, slavery and back-alley abortions.
But the problem is deeper than the courts. Some of the people who most loudly proclaim the standards by which they want all of us to live have difficulty themselves living up to those standards. A culture is made up of people, but if large numbers of them no longer "hunger and thirst after righteousness" (to invoke a biblical metaphor), neither will their government.
The constitutional way out of this in Massachusetts and in Washington is an amendment that defines marriage as between a man and a woman. Whether sufficient numbers of politicians have the courage to vote for such an amendment in the face of stiff opposition from gay rights advocates and much of the media will soon be determined.
What is most disturbing about this latest affront to tradition and biblical wisdom is that those who would undermine the old have nothing new to offer in its place. It is like morally corrupt ancient Israel when there was no king "and everyone did what was right in his own eyes" (Judges 21:25).
Is that the way we should live? Do we get to vote? Not if the courts play God. Voters can decide in the next election if they want to continue in this direction, or pull the country back from the precipice. Marriage defined should be the social-issue centerpiece of the coming campaign.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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