Cultural tsunamis, like those that begin under oceans, are caused by something deep within. When high water hits the shore, it is the result of a subterranean earthquake. When the state of Massachusetts last Monday (May 17) began offering marriage to people of the same sex, this "wave" was preceded by a seismic shift in the moral tectonic plates.
The Old Testament Book of Judges - part of a wisdom and truth long discarded by the "In Dow Jones we trust" crowd - said it best: "In those days there were no kings and everyone did what was right in his own eyes." Once that shift has taken place in sufficient numbers, once we become indifferent to immutable truths, the floodtide is not a matter of if but when.
Legally, the shift began in 1993 when the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled that barring same-sex couples from "marrying" might violate the state constitution's prohibition on sexual discrimination and must be justified by a compelling reason. Morally, the earthquake occurred much earlier.
The shift from personal responsibility, accountability, putting the greater good before personal pleasure, affluence and "feelings," and what once was known as "the fear of God" began following World War II. Consumption and pleasure replaced self-control and acting on behalf of the general welfare. Trying to remind us of the benefits of restraint in 1979 (when it was already too late), the late Bishop Fulton J. Sheen delivered an address in Washington in which he asked how a football field is defined. "By its boundaries," he said. There are now no boundaries in America. Any rule is potentially viewed as oppressive and any law - whether legal or moral - is up for debate, negotiation and overturning if it impedes a single individual from fulfilling his or her desire.
A Utah polygamist challenged his conviction before the state supreme court, employing the "reasoning" behind the same-sex "marriage" law in Massachusetts in arguing his "rights" have been denied.
Who is to say the polygamist, Tom Green, is wrong when the boundaries have been removed? On what legal or moral basis will people who wish to marry more than one person, or a close relative, be denied their wish?
The former governor of Oregon, Neil Goldschmidt, admits to having had sex with a 14-year-old girl when he was mayor of Portland. In most places that's called statutory rape, but the Oregonian newspaper at first chose to categorize it as adultery. Even adultery and statutory rape might soon be up for elimination as "stigmas" because the concepts will be found to be biblically based and, thus, deemed unconstitutional by activist judges who see themselves a demigods.
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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