OPINION – An LGBT rights billboard from Equality Utah raises eyebrows as well as cheers in St. George. A campaign visit from presidential candidate Fred Karger prompts an angry email from the wife of a local political leader. These are recent examples of how Southern Utah has become part of the front lines of a growing cultural rift in American society. But the ongoing culture war has a lot more at stake than simply gay rights.
Consider the following question: Which is a greater threat to the sanctity of marriage, same-sex marriage or a 50 percent divorce rate?
A reasonable person would be tempted to answer with one of the two choices presented without realizing that they’ve been offered a trick question. The reality is that both answers are merely symptoms of the larger societal problem of a culture that is deliberately discarding its ability to distinguish between right and wrong.
Demands on the part of same-sex activists to use government force to redefine marriage and the divorce-is-just-a-phone-call-away mentality both find their roots in an unwillingness to exercise self-control, an unwillingness that naturally follows the idea of “if it feels good — do it.”
Both mindsets are at complete odds with the concept of sanctity which Merriam Webster defines as: 1: holiness of life and character. Godliness 2: the quality or state of being holy or sacred. Inviolability
While it’s true that many marriages today are lacking the quality of sanctity, it’s also true that those that have it are successful. The greatest threats to marriage aren’t in the commitments it requires, but in the unwillingness of some to live up to their lifelong vows by governing their appetites.
Instant gratification and self-worship often masquerade as true freedom. But those who pursue a pure lack of self-restraint to its logical conclusion find that the destructive consequences of their actions are inescapable.
This is readily observable in individuals who destroy their lives through substance abuse; through excessive debt; through contracting and perpetuating sexually transmitted diseases; through preying upon and abusing others to satisfy their own lusts.
Anyone who has ever witnessed a devastated young mother tearfully confronting her husband’s illicit lover, after learning of his affair, will have an indelible appreciation of why self-control and sanctity in marriage are far from being outdated principles. A spouse who maintains inviolability in their marriage protects not only their own peace of mind, but also the peace of mind of their family members, neighbors, and community.
Those who wish to enjoy the greatest amount of personal freedom must be willing to exercise a greater amount of personal moral restraint in eschewing personal pride, irresponsibility and selfishness.
The truth is that exercising moral self-control allows us to continue to make choices that actually enlarge our freedom to act for ourselves. On the other hand, following the counterfeit to freedom, anything-goes kind of thinking, serves to paint individuals into an ever-shrinking corner of despair and unpleasant consequences.
Modern day sophists find a perverse sense of pleasure in tearing down the moral boundaries created over the course of thousands of years by the combined brainpower of billions of individuals. The arrogance with which they pursue this goal does not allow them to ask why those boundaries were established in the first place.
When our moral boundaries have become sufficiently eroded to the point that we can no longer define wrong or right with any degree of certainty, our society has effectively sown the seeds of its own destruction.
Few things are more certain to invite denunciation and condemnation today than asserting that there remains a clear line between moral and immoral behavior. The self-appointed “enlightened” and “value-free” members of society subscribe to an increasingly inflexible tolerance that is expected to trump both truth and reality by replacing the old absolutes with newer, more progressive ones.
In the same way that patriotism is said to be the first refuge of a scoundrel, moral relativism is proving to be the first refuge of the culture warriors among us who insist that the religious morals of every generation before us were dead wrong and must be overthrown.
We would do well to remember that a key role of religion is to provide an effective moral authority that, unlike the state, does not use force to accomplish its goals.
It’s no accident that the most murderous governments the world has ever known first sought to eliminate religion in order to remove any moral restraints upon the state itself. Society should give this some serious thought before heading down that same path.
Bryan Hyde is a news commentator and co-host of the Perspectives morning show on Fox News 1450 AM 93.1 FM. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.
Copyright 2012 St. George News.