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Joseph Sobran’s
Washington Watch

Sodomites All

(Reprinted from the issue of November 27, 2003)

Capitol BldgThe supreme court of Massachusetts has ordered the state’s legislature, within 180 days, to revise the law to accommodate same-sex “marriage.” Judicial arrogance is nothing new, but this takes the cake. The court isn’t even pretending that it’s merely “interpreting” the law; it’s demanding that elected officials legislate a perversion of the ancient and universal understanding of the most basic social institution in the world.

Now it’s up to liberal Massachusetts to do what neither any other state nor the U.S. Congress has ever had the fortitude to do: impeach justices who flagrantly abuse their office and usurp power. If it fails to do so, there are indeed no limits.

Did anyone see this coming? Well, yes. A long time ago. When the law legitimated divorce, it effectively reduced marriage to the status of a more or less temporary sexual contract. It wasn’t only Catholics who saw that this might lead to anything, even if nobody could imagine that it would elevate even sodomy to equal status with natural relations.

On the other hand, maybe someone did imagine it, but refrained from predicting it for fear of sounding absurd and disgusting. G.K. Chesterton, prescient as always, wrote of “the superstition of divorce,” by which he meant that if there was such a thing as divorce, there was really no such thing as marriage. Elsewhere he pointed out that a law, like a dog, follows its own nature; when we make a law, its inner logic may lead to all sorts of consequences we can’t foresee.

Many people did foresee that divorce would, quite logically, reduce marriage to the level of fornication; but they should also have seen that it would, just as logically, reduce marriage to the level of sodomy.

As the “gay” Catholic pundit Andrew Sullivan recently crowed, “We are all sodomites now.” He meant that by accepting contraception as normal, the great majority of Americans have surrendered any basis for condemning homosexual acts.

Even more recently, Sullivan has written that he can no longer bear to attend Mass, because of the Church’s “intolerance” of homosexuality. Since he has also announced that he is HIV-positive, you might think he’d have certain second thoughts; but apparently not. Apparently St. Paul’s warnings to the Romans about the natural penalties of sodomy — written long before anyone had heard of AIDS — prove only that St. Paul was “homophobic.” Of course in those days we were not all sodomites yet.

“The world’s gone mad today, And good’s bad today,” as the (sodomite) Cole Porter wrote in “Anything Goes.” Prophetic, eh? Two or three generations ago even a sodomite could see where we were headed! And today, a sodomite who dares to call himself a Catholic actually celebrates the fact that we have now gotten there. Congratulations, Mr. Sullivan.

I once knew a man, now dead, who had divorced, left the Church, and married a divorced Catholic woman with two children. He knew what the Church had to say about that. He knew what his pious parents thought about it. Did he complain about the Church’s “intolerance”?

Never. He taught his stepchildren to say grace before meals and sometimes took them to Mass. One of them, in fact, became a Catholic in large part because of his influence, though he didn’t realize it.

That was my stepfather. I was the boy. I never heard him breathe a word against the Church. He never confided his feelings to me, but after I became a Catholic I slowly came to understand. He could commit what he knew were sins, but he couldn’t bear to try to justify them to a child. Unlike so many lapsed Catholics, he never suggested that he was right and the Church was wrong. Dear old man, whatever your sins, may God have mercy on you for that! In spite of everything, you taught me humility, grace, and charity.

But I digress, rather spectacularly, from the topic of the latest ruling of the supreme court of Massachusetts, which has already earned the praise of Senator Edward Kennedy. Who — to digress again — is the youngest brother of the president who was assassinated 40 years ago, having been elected despite the wholly unfounded suspicion that he would rule America as an agent of the Vatican. By now, as I have often pointed out, the Kennedy family has been thoroughly cleared of any such suspicion. If anything, the enemies of the Church owe the Kennedy tribe their deepest gratitude for saving America from Catholic influence.

To give Senator Kennedy his due, we may add that he has also done his part to save America from Protestant influence, to the extent that Protestantism retains elements of the Faith. This too was utterly unforeseen in 1960. Senator Kennedy himself — never a very imaginative man — would have thought it bizarre to predict that by the year 2003 he would become a defender of sodomy in any form.

But liberalism itself is a continual digression. Nobody can divine its next trend. Even its most profound critics, including John Henry Newman, have been unable to anticipate its particular fads. It may, or may not, embrace pedophilia next. On what principle can any perversion be ruled out?

Human cynicism is bottomless. So is its rationalization. Original sin includes the endless inventiveness of self-justification, scandal, and seduction. Sullivan, like so many liberals (though he calls himself a conservative), is too self-absorbed to consider, or care, whether he is helping lead others into mortal sin.

The Massachusetts ruling hardly comes as a shock. Yet again a court has suddenly “discovered” that the latest liberal fad is a constitutional imperative.

This is fishy on its face. Are we expected to believe that the right to “marry” a member of one’s own sex was implicit in the state’s constitution all along, and that the court only happened to realize this just now, when homosexual propaganda has become fashionable? What a coincidence! It reminds one of another judicial “discovery” that a constitutional right of “privacy” forbids laws protecting unborn children from violent death — a realization that had eluded everyone since 1789, but suddenly occurred to the U.S. Supreme Court just when abortion had become trendy.

Setting aside the merits of the particular issues, such arbitrary judicial fiats are directly opposed to the very principle of the rule of law of which the courts are supposed to be the pillars. Even those who like the results should be alarmed when a tiny group of men, unelected and appointed for life, can impose their will on a whole society this way.

If these justices aren’t impeached for their coup against marriage, it will only confirm that the people of Massachusetts have no defense against an irresponsible judiciary. But we probably can’t expect the legislature to take such a step. Liberals like high-handed courts and depend on them to achieve their agenda, especially its unpopular features. Their favorite way of dodging responsibility is to say, “The Constitution made us do it!” — especially when they’re making constitutional law meaningless.

For a modest fee, I’ll try to provide you with periodic reflection and humor in SOBRANS, my little monthly. Get your free copy of my pamphlet Anything Called a “Program” Is Unconstitutional: Confessions of a Reactionary Utopian. Just subscribe to SOBRANS for a year or more. Call 800-513-5053, or go to the Subscription page.

Joseph Sobran

Copyright © 2003 by The Wanderer
Reprinted with permission.

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