Kathryn Lopez: The meaning of marriage
“Charges of bigotry ... are the ultimate secular insult,” Caroline Farrow tells me. “The cry of ‘bigot’ is bandied around so much these days,” she observes, “that it has begun to lose some of its potency.”
Perhaps that’s why people are bullied out of their jobs and into intellectual submission for having ever supported the position that marriage is between a man and a woman.
Such as when Mozilla co-founder Brendan Eich resigned from his executive chair because activists decided to make an example of him for having given $1,000 to the 2011 legislative effort to support a traditional definition of marriage in California.
Farrow, a speaker with Catholic Voices in England, hasn’t lost her job, but she’s been warned. Her crime was similar to Eich’s. During a British current affairs show, she was called upon to defend her view that marriage is a child-centered institution between men and women. The show was otherwise a celebration of Britain’s new same-sex marriage regime. For voicing an opinion that the progressive icon Barack Obama once held, Farrow has been declared “disgusting,” and spat on. The abusive commentary continues on social media.
Austen Ivereigh, a co-founder of Catholic Voices and author of “How to Defend the Faith Without Raising Your Voice,” writes, in the wake of the British marriage shift: “In order to accommodate one group’s desire to have their love legitimated by the state ... the state has emptied marriage of its essential meaning. It has changed marriage from an understandable, recognizable, conjugal institution, one hallowed by faith and civil society, to an ersatz, hollowed-out arrangement that cannot be called an institution at all.”
Around the same time, in Rome, Pope Francis addressed married couples. He said that in the sacramental union of “one flesh,” God blesses married couples so that they might become “living icons of God’s love in our world, building up the Church in unity and fidelity ... Christian marriage also reflects the mystery of Christ’s own faithful and sacrificial love for his body, the Church.”
That’s what it’s all about. We shouldn’t be bullied into abandoning marriage in the name of tolerance disguised as tyranny.
“Marriage is more than a romantic feeling,” Farrow points out to me. And it’s more than a theological proposal or a political campaign. “Regardless of whether or not one subscribes to the metaphysical nature of marriage adhered to by Catholics, the link to reproduction has always been why it has been recognized by the state. It is simply the union of one man and a woman, brought together by love, sexually bonded and faithful for life in order to provide the optimum environment for the creation and rearing of children.”
No small part of the reason that many campaigns to redefine marriage have recently succeeded is what poor stewards we have been of it. “Instead of defending marriage, promote it,” Cristian Rodriguez R., a professor of psychology at the Universidad de los Andes in Chile, said during a recent United Nations panel about marriage and family. There is a liberation for supporters of traditional marriage that comes with the current state of affairs — losing on so many political fronts, we can focus on building beacons of family life, forging real, compelling, accessible options for those who simply want love but lack the example, gifts and wisdom of men and women together for life. Look beyond the b-words and the insults, to find a real alternative lifestyle proposal.