Friday, June 27, 2003

The Triumph Of Individual License

Yesterday's Supreme Court decision overturning a Texas sodomy law was not a carefully reasoned narrow ruling on the merits of an individual law, it was a sweeping repudiation of anything approaching a classical or Christian understanding of the Public Order. As Justice Scalia wrote, the Supreme Court has definitively "taken sides in the culture war", and it has taken the side of Constitutionally enshrining a conception of "liberty" that is precisely what Christians would define as "license": an absolute personal autonomy that owes nothing to anyone: family, community, society, much less God.

By locating it's argument in the ever-expanding "penumbra" of the so-called "right" to privacy, the Supreme Court has decreed that henceforth, no community has any right to define for itself any standards of what it considers moral conduct. It has decreed that no community has a right to express moral censure on any behavior in any meaningful way.

The logic of this decision, if its trajectory is unchecked, will lead inevitably to state recognition of homosexual marriage. After all, it is strictly a matter between "consenting adults" and the state cannot discourage the arrangements made between people. The logic of this decision opens the way to the decriminalization of child sex-abuse: all you have to do is redefine "consent" (there are people working on that already) and then the way is open. Any legislative attempt to criminalize or discourage any behavior because it is simply wrong cannot stand under this new judicial reasoning: unless the moral judgment so enshrined in law is one our Robed Masters happen to agree with.

This will also open the way for gay activists to force Churches or other religious organizations to recognize homosexual unions and/or be compelled to hire homosexuals. I foresee in the not-too-distant future a challenge to the "moral turpitude" clauses contained in many teacher's contracts: Your parish's school could be forced to hire an openly gay teacher because, under the logic of Lawrence (yesterday's SCOTUS decision) together with other anti-discrimination laws, the "right to privacy" will preclude any organization from making "discriminatory" judgments on the basis of individuals private "lifestyle choices."

The gay activists are giddy with delight, and openly predicting the imminent advent of gay "marriage". Don't think that they will stop there. Those who have embraced sin cannot rest until all others embrace their sin, and all those who persist in calling it sin are silenced.

I hope Catholic lawyers are going over this decision with a fine-toothed comb to anticipate the next move and to prepare to defend against it.