Thursday, April 9, 2009

Ethical relativism, deception, and manipulation all present in Iowa Governor's statement on Iowa Court decision mandating homosexual marriage.

Here's the response of Iowa Governor Chet Culver to the Iowa Supreme Court's decision imposing same sex marriage on the 3 million people of Iowa. I found it unusually manipulative, deceptive and disingenuous.

Previously, Culver said he didn't support same sex marriage and my recollection is he said a constitution amendment was a route to address an adverse court decision. He is now singing a very different song.

He's telling Iowans that
“I have carefully reviewed the Iowa Supreme Court’s unanimous decision on civil marriage and discussed it with the Attorney General.

“Let me begin by saying that I recognize that the issue of same-gender civil marriage is one that evokes strongly held beliefs and strong emotions both for and against. These beliefs and feelings need to be respected. I hope that the views of those on all sides will be treated respectfully and will not be subjected to name-calling or fear-mongering, but instead will lead to rational discussion.
“At the outset, I want to emphasize that the question before the Iowa Supreme Court was one of civil marriage only — a state-recognized legal status constituting a civil contract. Civil marriage always has been, and will continue to be, separate from religious marriage that takes place in churches and places of worship.

He's telling everybody to stay calm and be respectful. I certainly think that's appropriate, but I suspect the implicit message is don't get worked up on this issue, especially those who want to take political action to reverse the Court's decision.

Also, he's sending the message, implicitly if not explicitly is "there are fundamentally different forms of marriage, religious and civil. We can, therefore, change marriage civilly if we don't like the man and woman model." While civil marriage may treat the entrance and exit of marriage differently than religious groups but the fundamental nature of marriage, between a man and a woman, are the same under both. He's subtly saying that's not necessarily true.

“As I have stated before, I personally believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. This is a tenet of my personal faith. The Iowa Supreme Court’s decision has, in fact, reaffirmed that churches across Iowa will continue to have the right to recognize the sanctity of religious marriage in accordance with their own traditions and church doctrines. The Supreme Court’s decision does not require that churches recognize marriages between persons of the same gender or officiate over such unions. The Court does not have, nor should any court ever have, that kind of power over our religious lives. Our churches and places of worship are free to decide for themselves, as they were before, who may enter the sacred covenant of marriage. As the Supreme Court’s decision states, 'The sanctity of all religious marriages celebrated in the future will have the same meaning as those celebrated in the past.’

In this paragraph, the Governor's confusion and relativist, postmodern mindset comes through. He personally believes marriage is between a man and a woman. It's linked to his "personal faith". His view of marriage doesn't count in this instance. In fact, he's willing to support a view is diametrically opposed to his own -- same sex marriage. For him, truth is relative. What's true for me maybe not be true for you. He and President Obama are in full agreement on this point. What's interesting is he then supports a view which is opposed to his personal view. This highlights the moral and ethical relativism epidemic in society. Faith is private, personal and should have little to no bearing on public actions. Of course, in Christianity that is no faith at all. James writes that "faith without works is dead."

He then says churches should have the right to "recognize the sanctity of religious marriage in accordance with their own traditions and church doctrines." I wonder whether he really believes this. If he does then he'll allow the practice of polygamy since Muslims and off shoots of Mormonism support polygamous marriage.

Through a subtle slight of hand Culver seeks to marginalize believers in traditional marriage. Implicit in the idea is "religious, man/woman marriage is fine as long as you do it in your church. In fact, we'll let you do it in your church. But to say society should recognize it is another thing."

He's trying to sidestep the question of whether the nature of marriage is rooted in our humanity and the created order not the will of the legislature and the courts. This former view is not only verified by the special revelation of the Scriptures (One believes the Bible, because it's truth not because I simply like it or was brought up believing it.), but also general revelation/reason. We look at the biological and genetic nature of people. How people flourish and do well in life. (There's a mountain of research to verify the importance of a mother and a father in a child's life.) Life, reality point to the truth of marriage between a man and a woman not persons of the same sex.

“Yet, the Supreme Court of Iowa, in a unanimous decision, has clearly stated that the Constitution of our state, which guarantees equal protection of the law to all Iowans, requires the State of Iowa to recognize the civil marriage contract of two people of the same gender. The Court also concluded that the denial of this right constitutes discrimination. Therefore, after careful consideration and a thorough reading of the Court’s decision, I am reluctant to support amending the Iowa Constitution to add a provision that our Supreme Court has said is unlawful and discriminatory.

Here Culver bows before the great wisdom of the justices of the Iowa Supreme Court. He's saying in effect "In their wisdom the Justices of the Iowa Supreme Court have discerned that the drafters of the Iowa Constitution meant to grant homosexuals marriage rights. Because of their wisdom, I'm now reluctant to support amending the Iowa Constitution. In fact doing so would mean supporting something which is 'unlawful' and 'discriminatory' and nobody wants to do that." Thus supporters of a marriage amendment are trying to do something unlawful and discriminatory. Another effort by him and the Court to stigmatize supporters of traditional marriage. I don't have trouble guessing where he would have stood on the1857 Dred Scott decision in 1857 in which the US Supreme Court ruled that blacks were property and had no rights and the legislature had no power to restrict the spread of slavery. The Court said it so accept it.

“As Governor, I must respect the authority of the Iowa Supreme Court, and have a duty to uphold the Constitution of the State of Iowa. I also fully respect the right of all Iowans to live under the full protection of Iowa’s Constitution.

Here Culver suggests he, and by implication the people of Iowa, need to accept the Court's view, because the Court has a higher wisdom on just what the Iowa Constitution says regarding marriage. And of course if one really respects the "right of all Iowans to live under the full protection of Iowa's Constitution" they'll also support the Court's decision. A manipulative technique directed at supporters of traditional marriage and a marriage amendment.

“I urge Iowans who hold beliefs on all sides of this issue to exhibit respect and good will. Our state faces many serious challenges. We are in the midst of a serious economic recession. Tens of thousands of our fellow Iowans are without work. We have suffered the worst natural disasters and most difficult recovery our state has ever faced. We must join together and redouble our efforts to work toward solutions that will help Iowans in this time of uncertainty. That is where, I believe, my focus and energies should lie.
Then he tries to change the subject by saying we have more serious issues to deal with than protecting the foundation institution of society - marriage between a man and a woman. He's in essence saying, "If you get too worked up and work to reverse the Court's decision, you're really distracting the state from more important things."

“Let us not lose sight of the fact that we are all Iowans, all neighbors, united in the promise and faith of a brighter future for our state. Let us all work together toward that common goal.”

Culver's comments highlights everything which frustrates people about too many politicians. In the desire for power or keeping power, truth and morality are cast aside. Or I should say are attempted to be. Ultimately, true prevails but not without pain and suffering along the way.

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