OPINION – Which is a greater threat to the sanctity of marriage: same-sex marriage or a skyrocketing divorce rate? Most of us would be tempted to answer with one of the two choices presented without realizing we’ve been offered a trick question.
The reality is that marriage is threatened by a growing moral sickness that is spreading through our society. Its symptoms are rooted in a type of selfishness that places low value on the sanctity required to make marriage a healthy institution.
Concerns over how homosexual activists are using the force of government to redefine marriage are not misplaced. As San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone recently stated:
To legalize marriage between two people of the same sex would enshrine in the law the principle that mothers and fathers are interchangeable or irrelevant, and that marriage is essentially an institution about adults, not children.
Another destructive trend is the divorce-is-just-a-phone-call-away mentality that treats marriage as a disposable institution. We are part of a culture that is intentionally discarding its ability to distinguish between right and wrong.
Instant gratification and self-worship love to masquerade as true freedom, but they are not.
They are mindsets that are at complete odds with the concept of sanctity that Merriam Webster defines as:
1: holiness of life and character. Godliness 2: the quality or state of being 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. They are found in the unwillingness of some to live up to their vows by governing their appetites.
Individuals who pursue a lack of self-restraint to its logical conclusion too often find that their actions lead to inescapable destructive consequences.
This is readily observable in those 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 personally witnessed a devastated young mother confronting her husband’s illicit lover after learning of his affair understands this. They will also have a much stronger appreciation of why self-control and sanctity in marriage are far from being outdated principles.
A spouse who maintains inviolability in his or her marriage is not only protecting their own peace of mind, but is also securing the peace of mind of their family members, neighbors, and community.
Modern day sophists insist that every thing that came before us was wrong. They ignore the reality that these limits were created over the course of thousands of years by the combined brainpower of billions of individuals. They have been found in virtually every known civilization throughout history.
Notwithstanding recent cultural efforts to the contrary, sexual accountability and responsibilities such as caring for one’s spouse and any resultant offspring, have always been inseparably connected with the pleasures associated with marriage.
Archbishop Cordileone points out that marriage is part of that moral code:
Clearly something important is at stake, or human beings of such different cultures, histories and religions would not come up with the basic idea of marriage as a male-female union over and over again.
When moral boundaries have become sufficiently eroded to the point that we can no longer define wrong or right with any degree of certainty, we have effectively sown the seeds of our own destruction.
This is not a call for more laws to impose a type of morality such as same sex marriage advocates are seeking. It’s the recognition that our capacity for choosing moral behavior goes well beyond man-made laws.
Alexander Solzhenitsyn said it best:
Whenever the tissue of life is woven of legalistic relationships, this creates an atmosphere of spiritual mediocrity that paralyzes man’s noblest impulses.
The truth is that exercising a degree of moral self-control allows us to continue to freely make the kinds of choices that actually enlarge our freedom to act for ourselves.
On the other hand, the counterfeit, anything-goes kind of thinking serves to eventually paint its practitioners into an ever-shrinking corner of despair and unpleasant consequences.
In order to enjoy the greatest amount of personal freedom, we must be willing to exercise a greater amount of personal moral restraint in avoiding personal pride, irresponsibility and selfishness.
This is where the real battle over marriage is taking place—over the dwindling concept of sanctity.
- Letter to the Editor: State does not, should not control its people; smoking, same-sex marriage, same point
- Family Research Council files friend brief with 10th Circuit Court, Utah’s marriage definition law
- Lawmakers impose waiting period; can 90 days alter the course of a divorce?
Bryan Hyde is a news commentator and co-host of the Perspectives talk show on Fox News 1450 AM 93.1 FM. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.
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