Special Answers Edition

  1. Different Gods?
  2. Is Obergefell the new Roe v. Wade?

1

I was delighted to hear Fr. Lawrence Farley finally address in podcast, with thoughtful Christian nuance, a question that I’ve heard peremptorily bungled roughly 100% of the time:

Do Christians and Muslims worship the same God?

The question is not as simple as it may appear, and defies a quick and easy response. Moreover, one must first deal with the underlying issue of what that question might possibly mean ….

[Update: The peremptory bungling of this question typically treats it as “do Moslems believe about God what Christians believe about God?” I assume the source is deep-seated fear of Islamic influence.]

Someone has kindly underwritten a transcript of the 9:06 podcast. Read or listen as you wish.

By the way: Fr. Lawrence comes closer to a “no” than I would have come before listening to him, and not because I was unaware of Islam’s denial of the Trinity or of Christ’s crucifixion. I had not considered part of the witness of the Christian scriptures.

2

Damon Linker thinks the analogy between Roe v. Wade and Obergefell is flawed:

Unlike with the consequences of Roe, no one can plausibly claim that a person is killed as a result of exercising the right proclaimed by Obergefell. That would seem to render the comparison somewhat lacking in cogency. (It also points to why the constitutional triumph of same-sex marriage is exceedingly unlikely to spark powerful, enduring grassroots opposition like the pro-life movement.)

Even if I weren’t conversant with some legal arcania, I’d think that was cluelessly superficial. One might as well argue that Obergefell is more galvanizing than Roe because it affects people like us who already cleared the birth canal without our organs being harvested and sold, and who therefore have no more stake in abortion. But let’s not leave it there.

Linker’s wrong, first, because he’s blind to how both cases are unusual examples of naked judicial usurpation.

For 42 years now, various friends of feticide have been trying to re-write Harry Blackmun’s Roe majority opinion – heck, Harvard’s Lawrence Tribe has personally given it a couple of failed shots – because an early assessment by Yale’s John Hart Ely [It’s actually dated 21 days before Roe, probably because law journals back then were notoriously late getting published and they slipped it into an overdue Winter volume] was so devastatingly true:

It is … a very bad decision … because it is bad constitutional law, or rather because it is not constitutional law and gives almost no sense of an obligation to try to be.

(Emphasis added) I have little doubt that Chief Justice John Roberts had Ely’s famous truth in mind when he wrote, in response to Anthony Kennedy’s incoherent (I won’t call it “incoherent” quite yet; some smart fans of the sexual revolution with too much time on their hands may in coming months connect the dots better than Kennedy did) ramble, that:

If you are among the many Americans—of whatever sexual orientation — who favor expanding same-sex marriage, by all means celebrate today’s decision. Celebrate the achievement of a desired goal. Celebrate the opportunity for a new expression of commitment to a partner. Celebrate the availability of new benefits. But do not celebrate the Constitution. It had nothing to do with it.

(Emphasis added) Roberts is a right as Ely, and early pro-SSM legal commentary tacitly admits it. Transparent judicial usurpation has been mercifully rare, but these are two clear examples. So in that sense, there’s a great analogy.

Second, prediction is a fool’s errand, but I would not be at all surprised if Obergefell does indeed produce “powerful, enduring grassroots” – even subterranean – “opposition.”

Paraphrasing and expanding R.R. Reno, the male/female difference is fundamental. The current “gender identity” hysteria cannot endure because it is so blatantly contrary to sexual reality (e.g., writing about men who menstruate or give birth). The reality of binary sexes, and the fructifying potential thereof, will continue to assert itself, slipping out of the fever swamps, where it lives with pseudonymous thought criminals like me, to trouble men’s dreams and consciences.

Lack of ­enthusiasm for gender blending and bending is not “phobic,” but divinest Sense, which therefore will eventually win out … “if,” as some pious Christians say, “the Lord tarries.”

Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

(Rudyard Kipling)

* * * * *

“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.