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America's Culture War: Founding Fathers

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Massachusetts and Gay Marriages

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

Monday, May 17, 2004—a day that will live in moral and spiritual infamy. Homosexual and lesbian couples were granted by the state of Massachusetts the right to marry—the first state in U.S. history to do so. The Associated Press reported:

In Boston, David Wilson and Robert Compton became the first of the seven couples who sued the state to be married. At the Arlington Street Church, Wilson and Compton exchanged vows under a rainbow flag and to the strains of the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus singing ‘Marry Us.’ An excerpt from the landmark Supreme Judicial Court decision that legalized gay marriage was read as an invocation at the Unitarian Universalist church. They were pronounced ‘partners for life’ at the end of the ceremony (see “Gay Couples…,” 2004).

President Bush renewed his call to Congress to pass a constitutional amendment that defines marriage as a union of a man and a woman as husband and wife. He asserted that “the sacred institution of marriage should not be redefined by a few activist judges” (see Belleck and John, 2004).

Incredibly, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court justified its decision to require the state to license homosexual marriages by declaring that “the Massachusetts Constitution affirms the dignity and equality of all individuals. It forbids the creation of second-class citizens.” The court also asserted that the lawyers for the Commonwealth “failed to identify any constitutionally adequate reason for denying civil marriage to same-sex couples” (“Is Homosexual Marriage…?,” 2003).

If the Founding Fathers of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts were alive today, they would be heartsick and outraged. Did it cross the minds of the four activist justices to consult the General Laws of Massachusetts for the intention of the framers on this point of morality? If they had done so, they would have found that Part IV, Title I, Chapter 272 addresses “Crimes Against Chastity, Morality, Decency and Good Order.” If they would have examined Section 34—“Crimes Against Nature,” they would have found the following law: “Whoever commits the abominable and detestable crime against nature, either with mankind or with a beast, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than twenty years” (see “The General Laws…”). Section 35 addresses: “Unnatural and Lascivious Acts.” [Of course such laws were rendered meaningless in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s historically and constitutionally unprecedented elimination of state sodomy laws (Lawrence et al.…, 2003)].

The “politically correct” mentality of the last fifty years is literally destroying this nation. The morally permissive, anti-Christian environment, that has been dumped like toxic waste on the social landscape of America, is a sinister betrayal and stark contradiction of the constitutional principles articulated both in the federal constitution and the constitutions of the original thirteen states. When the justices claimed to make their decision on the basis of the state constitution, did they pause to consider whether the framers of that constitution envisioned their literary production as allowing or approving same sex marriages? As a matter of fact, the original constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts—America’s oldest written constitution, attributed largely to John Adams, and completed in 1780 even before the national constitution—contains within it clear refutation of the leftist judicial activism being perpetrated today. Consider the following excerpts from the Massachusetts constitution:

Part the First. Article III. As the happiness of a people, and the good order and preservation of civil government, essentially depend upon piety, religion and morality; and as these cannot be generally diffused through a community, but by the institution of the public worship of God, and of public instructions in piety, religion and morality: Therefore, to promote their happiness and to secure the good order and preservation of their government, the people of this commonwealth have a right to invest their legislature with power to authorize and require, and the legislature shall, from time to time, authorize and require, the several towns, parishes, precincts, and other bodies politic, or religious societies, to make suitable provision, at their own expense, for the institution of the public worship of God, and for the support and maintenance of public Protestant teachers of piety, religion and morality, in all cases where such provision shall not be made voluntarily (see “Constitution…,” emp. added).

Would the justices be so foolhardy as to take the indefensible position that the “piety, religion, and morality” to which their constitution originally referred, the teaching of which was to be promulgated by the legislature, was anything but the morality of the Christian religion advocated in the New Testament—a morality that includes the unmistakable condemnation of same sex relations (e.g., Romans 1:24-29)? Perhaps the justices would like to explain why their allegedly constitutional zest for social engineering has not extended to a comparable enthusiasm for propagating the constitution’s own concern with the judiciary overstepping its bounds by infringing on legislative powers:

Article XXX. In the government of this commonwealth, the legislative department shall never exercise the executive and judicial powers, or either of them: the executive shall never exercise the legislative and judicial powers, or either of them: the judicial shall never exercise the legislative and executive powers, or either of them: to the end it may be a government of laws and not of men (see “Constitution…,” emp. added).

Notice that the Massachusetts framers anticipated what would happen if the judiciary ventured into the legislative branch: “to the end it may be a government of laws and not of men.” In other words, the Founding Fathers of both the federal government and the state governments understood that America was intended to be a republic—not a democracy. The difference? A pure democracy consists of majority rule. Whatever the majority of the people decide becomes the law of the land. Hence, a democracy is rule by feeling and personal opinion. Conversely, a republic is rule by law. Elected representatives pass laws based on unchanging, eternal, truths that are not subject to the whim of mere humans. The Founding Fathers of America understood the source of these immutable, universal values to be the laws of nature, or “natural law,” i.e., the laws of the God of the Bible—Whom the Declaration of Independence identified as “Nature’s God.” Listen to Founding Father Noah Webster’s observation: “[O]ur citizens should early understand that the genuine source of correct republican principles is the Bible, particularly the New Testament, or the Christian religion” (Webster, 1832, p. 6). You see, in a republic murder is always wrong—regardless of the will of the majority. Stealing, lying, adultery—and, yes, homosexuality, are always criminal behavior. When the citizens of the republic, or their judicial, legislative, and executive leaders, stray from the moral and spiritual moorings provided by the Bible, we should fully expect to be inundated with the sexual anarchy now taking place in our country.

In fact, John Adams, the first vice-president of the United States, and, as noted above, the one credited with much of the wording of the constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, offered these prophetic words that ought to haunt, if not shame, four of the seven justices on the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court:

[D]emocracy will soon degenerate into an anarchy, such an anarchy that every man will do what is right in his own eyes and no man’s life or property or reputation or liberty will be secure, and every one of these will soon mould itself into a system of subordination of all the moral virtues and intellectual abilities, all the powers of wealth, beauty, wit, and science, to the wanton pleasures, the capricious will, and the execrable cruelty of one or a very few (Adams, 1807, 1:83, emp. added).

One would be hard pressed to find a more applicable description of the horrid social scenario unleashed by the judiciary.

One other declaration of the Massachusetts constitution merits consideration as well:

Article XXIX. It is essential to the preservation of the rights of every individual, his life, liberty, property, and character, that there be an impartial interpretation of the laws, and administration of justice. It is the right of every citizen to be tried by judges as free, impartial and independent as the lot of humanity will admit. It is, therefore, not only the best policy, but for the security of the rights of the people, and of every citizen, that the judges of the supreme judicial court should hold their offices as long as they behave themselves well (see “Constitution…,” emp. added).

Were the framers of the Massachusetts Constitution to be resurrected to pass judgment on their successors, there is little doubt that they would deem recent rulings as unmitigated judicial misbehavior. Most certainly, when all people stand before “the Supreme Judge of the world” (see “The Declaration…“), His view of same sex marriage, as clearly stated in Genesis 19:4-27, Leviticus 18:22, 20:13, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, 1 Timothy 1:10, and Jude 7, will prevail. But it will be too late for those who “not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them” (Romans 1:32). Indeed, the “sexually immoral…shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone” (Revelation 21:8).

REFERENCES

Belleck, Pam and Warren St. John (2004), “With Festive Mood, Gay Weddings Begin in Massachusetts,” [On-line], URL: http://www.nytimes.com/2004/05/17/national/17CND-GAYS.html?ex=1085457 600&en=b3c67e73b105e8a2&ei=5065&partner=MYWAY.

“Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,” [On-line], URL: http://www.state.ma.us/legis/const.htm.

“Gay Couples Begin to Wed in Massachusetts,” (2004), [On-line], URL: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,120088,00.html.

“Is Homosexual Marriage a Constitutional Right? (2003), The Bill of Rights Institute, [On-line], URL: http://www.billofrightsinstitute.org/print.php?sid=430.

Lawrence et al. v. Texas (2003), [On-line], URL: http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/cgi-bin/getcase.pl?court=US&navby=case& vol=000&invol=02-102.

The Declaration of Independence (1776), [On-line], URL: http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/document/index.htm.

“The General Laws of Massachusetts,” [On-line], URL: http://www.state.ma.us/legis/laws/mgl/272-34.htm.

Webster, Noah (1832), History of the United States (New Haven, CT: Durrie & Peck).




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