Progressive politics, ideas & culture


Do you Pat, take Chris…

This Magazine Staff

Here’s a link to the Supreme Court’s reference on same-sex marriage.
Much palaver today about it, the emerging consensus seems to be that, as a decision, it was well-crafted, facing up to the Court’s responsibility to defend the Constitution while avoiding forcing the government’s hand. (Though Jeffrey Simpson disagrees — he cut-and-pasted the same column he runs every time the court rules on the Charter. He must have the phrase “we live in a Charter democracy now, not a Parliamentary one” tied to a hotkey.)
The best piece I’ve seen so far is in the Post, by one Roland De Vries, Presbyterian minister and McGill PhD candidate. He argues that, once gay marriage becomes federal law, he’ll have to turn in his badge as a solemnizer of wedding vows. He has this wonderful argument:
“If the new definition prevails, Christian ministers will no longer be able, in good conscience, to officiate at weddings in conjunction with the state, for they would be doing so under a definition to which they cannot adhere… I cannot, and will not, accede to such a hypocritical practice.”
The background to his argument is the claim that the solemnization of marriage is one of the last vestiges of the inextricable joining of Church and State in “that 1700-year-old reality called Christendom”
After spending two millennia watching Christendom degenerate from a great perfectionist civilization into just one other conception of the good life among thousands, the minister has decided that here, on gay marriage, is where, like Luther, he must stand his ground.
So, it’s ok for the 1700 year old Church to give up on the Inquisition, on burning witches, on excommunicating heretics (LIKE PRESBYTERIANS), on preventing divorce, on preventing abortion, on preventing oral sex, on denying the orbit of the planets around the sun, on denying Darwin and Galileo and Bruno and all the rest of it. No, no point in trying to stand on principle there. BUT NO WAY SHALL GAYS BE MARRIED.
Nice church you’ve got there, brother De Vries.

Show Comments