Saturday, May 25, 2019
Arguing Against Same-Sex Marriage, from a Secular Point of View
Traditional Christians will tell you that marriage is only between man and woman. And sure enough, if you follow the battle over marriage in our swiftly unraveling West, especially if you to listen to left-liberals, opposition to same-sex marriage is presented mainly as a “Christian” or “biblical” thing. By this they mean to imply that those who aren’t Christian should have no good reason to oppose it.
But that represents a gross distortion. One can in fact give compelling secular arguments against same-sex marriage, and one of the strongest is based on what we know of human practice across cultures.
From a neutral, secular point of view, it is only anthropology and history that can offer us something like a “universal human meaning” of marriage. Studying the fruits of historical research, we can speak of a general human understanding of marriage. And in this rubric, it’s the self-confident liberals who appear to be out of bounds.
Across the six inhabited continents, across millennia of recorded history, across literally hundreds of identifiable distinct cultures, we do find a vast array of marriage customs. But the agreement on one thing, at least until the recent decade, is stunning: well over 99% of human groups agree that marriage is only between male and female. What’s more, this holds true even for cultures, such as that of ancient Athens, where homosexual love was seen as legitimate.
In fact the historical record gives us only two solidly attested outliers—i.e. cultures that normalized one or another form of same-sex marriage.
In the African Kingdom of Dahomey, now Benin, elder women of means were for a time allowed to marry a younger “wife”. In some North American Indian tribes, chiefs already married and having fathered children were allowed to take an additional male, a berdache, as “wife”.
That’s it. A list of only TWO against literally hundreds of cultures on all the continents over the course of millennia. Note also that in neither of these two outlier cases were the same-sex marriages anything like what we now see being pushed in our postmodern West.
So: human experience looked at as a whole is nearly unanimous: 99.7 percent or so of cultures, with all their teeming religious and social differences, would find the idea of same-sex marriage incoherent.
Do our left-liberals really want to be "diverse"? If so, they should maybe face up to the weight of real cultural diversity and not just the so-called "diversity" they find in a New Haven Starbucks.
If on the same-sex marriage side of the argument we have one African kingdom and a few Amerindian plains tribes, on the other side we have the Austronesians, Hittites, Mongolians, Aztecs, Chinese, Spaniards, Ethiopians, Finns, Hindus, Greeks, Tibetans, Persians, Australian aborigines, Etruscans, Vikings, Thais, Akkadians, Inca, Celts, Inuit, Japanese, and many many more.
The upshot? Rejection of same-sex marriage is not just “Christian” or “biblical” and is not a matter of "bigotry". Rather, the belief that marriage is always and only between male and female is secular and Buddhist and Zoroastrian and classically pagan. It is Islamic and Taoist and Mayan. It is Korean and Taureq.
It is, in short, a hair’s breadth from being universally human.
Since our own modern western nations, pluralist though they may be, are largely descended from cultures that understood the heterosexuality of marriage, the recent legalization of same-sex "marriage" across the West may reasonably make one suspect that something has gone awry. Myself, watching how same-sex marriage was immediately followed by the "trans" craze and widespread attempts to undermine even the biological duality of male and female, I have no doubt. We are off the rails as a culture; we are in frantic thrall to an unsustainable, self-destructive ideology.
Christians who insist on the traditional meaning of marriage need to remember they are in good company. They stand not just with their Scriptures, but with the whole of recorded human history. When challenged on their supposed "bigotry", they should point out that millennia of human experience across continents and oceans is nothing to sneeze at--although much that passes for "progress" from our current left surely is.
NB: Further (troubling) insights on this issue can be found in anthropologist Peter W. Wood’s hard-hitting piece "Sex and Consequences", written years before the Obergefell debacle.
Check out my Idiocy, Ltd. and begin the long, hard reckoning.