Wednesday, 7/1/15

  1. Mere self suffices
  2. A lull in the action
  3. Just 6 little axioms explain it all
  4. The Cost of Discipleship: 50% off


In the heady days since Anthony Kennedy unearthed a constitutional right for Americans “to define and express their identity,” the extravagance of the Supreme Court’s claim has taken some by surprise. It shouldn’t have. In finding for same-sex marriage the way he did, Justice Kennedy made official what he made inevitable a quarter-century back.

That was in 1992. The occasion was a Supreme Court decision on abortion into which Mr. Kennedy inserted a new definition of liberty. Where Thomas Jefferson had grounded human liberty in self-evident truth, Mr. Kennedy holds that the mere self suffices.

“At the heart of liberty,” he wrote, “is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.”

Welcome to Justice Kennedy’s world. Where upholding the Kennedy definition of liberty—the right to define your own truth—turns out to mean denying that same right to millions of Americans who define marriage and truth in a way different from his.

(William McGurn – emphasis added)


I seem to have reached the point where I eagerly read new commentary on Obergefell, highlighting with Evernote Web Clipper, and then … deciding not to save it because it says nothing new and says nothing old notably well.

I’ve also had to enter the hall of mirrors where I, by night a staunch foe of redefinition of civil marriage, by day advise people on how the new marriage reality affects their planning options. I hesitate to give specific examples, but for some couples, being civilly married may have more financial drawbacks than benefits. I actually have to suggest that some couples explore with their Pastor or Priest the possibility of being married in the eyes of the Church and the culture, but not in the eyes of the state. (Caveat: this only works where common law marriage has been abolished. Where it hasn’t, holding yourself out as husband and wife makes you … husband and wife, legally and civilly as well as religiously.)

Another way to put this is that the state’s radical redefinition of marriage (albeit by the illegitimate usurpation of the Supreme Court) has opened me emotionally to the possibility of the veriest Christians ignoring or availing themselves of Justice Kennedy’s bastardized institution according to some pretty crass analysis of financial plusses and minuses.

I know that has been the reality in some quarters before now, but I rejected it. Now things have changed.


Alan Jacobs has written Tuesday’s most dramatic exception from the foregoing trend:

These six axioms provide all you need to know to navigate the landscape of current debates about judicial decisions:

1) The heart wants what it wants.

2) The heart has a right to what it wants—as long as the harm principle isn’t violated.

3) A political or social outcome that is greatly desirable is also ipso facto constitutional.

4) A political or social outcome that is greatly undesirable is also ipso factounconstitutional.

5) A judicial decision that produces a desirable outcome is (regardless of the legal reasoning involved) proof of the wisdom of the Founders in liberating the Supreme Court from the vagaries of partisan politics so that they can think freely and without bias. The system works!

6) A judicial decision that produces an undesirable outcome is (regardless of the legal reasoning involved) proof that the system is broken, because it allows five unelected old farts to determine the course of society.

From these six axioms virtually every opinion stated on social media about Supreme Court decisions can be clearly derived. You’re welcome.


I thought it worth mentioning that Evangelicalism is planning to reduce the cost of discipleship by 50%, so you not only are not called to die, but you’re not even called to be unpopular with the cool kids.

And in twenty years, millennial Evangelicals will be in charge, so the divisions in Evangelicalism will be over. I have that on good Evangelical authority, who leaves it to the imagination on whether the “affirming” or “non-affirming” side wins.

* * * * *

“In learning as in traveling and, of course, in lovemaking, all the charm lies in not coming too quickly to the point, but in meandering around for a while.” (Eva Brann)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.