Kudos and more kudos to my cyber-friend Jeff Culbreath for taking a firm stand against the evil attack on marriage from homosexual activists. Jeff has asked a homosexual commentator never again to refer to another man as his "husband" in Jeff's comboxes. Says Jeff, "That's one piece of fiction I'll not be a party to."
In this post, my co-blogger Zippy Catholic suggested that the re-definition of "parent" by the U.S. Census Bureau (to make illegitimacy rates in the black community appear lower than they really are) is an example of nominalism. One commentator questioned this diagnosis, arguing that someone could believe that there really is an essence to being a parent but that traditional definitions don't cut it. Naturally, this led directly to a discussion of homosexual pretend "marriage."
I'm more than a bit worried about what is going to happen to all of my good Christian friends if and when homosexual "marriage" is put into place (with or without the will of the people) in their parts of the country. It seems to me not implausible that some of them will simply start referring to same-sex couples as "married," to the partners in such so-called "marriages" as each others' "husbands" or "spouses" or "wives" and excuse doing so by saying, "Well, no matter what you think, it really is the law that they are married." They might even think in some confused way that they, even in private conversation, are obligated to "obey the law" by using this terminology. In fact, I suspect that any employer in such a state or any businessman who sells any goods or services to the public and refuses to go along in conversation with the "marital" status of a homosexual employee or customer will face lawsuit. And the comments of this hard-core leftist commentator suggest that conservatives will be told exactly this: "Shut up. Homosexual marriage is now a legal fact. That is what you are being asked to acknowledge. Whatever you may think about the matter, you cannot deny the legal facts now in place. Just refer to those and keep the rest of your opinions to yourself." (Notice, among other things, his reference to "refusing to accept a plain legal fact.") (See also this story about the ostensibly Christian Condoleeza Rice, though some might well question whether Rice is a conservative in any sense worth mentioning. The homosexual pair did not even have any pretense of legal "marriage," but Rice went out of her way to call the one man's mother the other man's "mother-in-law" nonetheless.)
Whether or not arguments about the homosexual agenda usually involve nominalism, that argument (about our using the word in this way because "now that's true legally") is nominalism pure and simple. The idea is that a positive law can simply create a legal reality regarding marriage--however crazy that new "reality" is--and that we can and should now refer to this new reality in our own usage, regardless of "what we think," as though the fact that a man literally cannot be married to another man is a mere matter of opinion. This is all very bad indeed.
I say that all conservatives, Christian and otherwise, who know perfectly well that two men or two women literally cannot be married must resist this usage to their last gasp. Fight it every step of the way. Do not give in to this specious argument about a legal reality. In using this terminology without some qualifier such as "so-called" or scare quotes, you are, whether you like it or not, both caving in to and furthering the homosexual agenda and the erosion of marriage. Just say no.
It's hard to know what arguments would convince a conservative friend who says he's "just referring to the legal facts." Perhaps you could try a few reductios: If the courts or the legislature were to declare that Barack Obama is a god, would we then be merely referring to a legal reality and doing nothing objectionable and contrary to our Christian faith if we went about saying, "Our god, Barack Obama"? If the courts declared that a man could be legally married to a dog, would we not be promoting insanity if we went about referring to his dog as his husband? If the courts declared that a gorilla is a person, would we then merely be referring to a legal reality and doing nothing to further an anti-human agenda if we spoke of "gorillas and other people"?
But I don't know. People get scared. And people adapt with frightening swiftness. I predict, but hope I'm wrong, that when homosexual "marriage" comes to your town, you will find a solid majority of your conservative, Christian friends going about referring to the people involved as "spouses" or "husbands" or "wives" and telling you, "There is nothing I can do about it. Whatever we may think, it's the law now. I'm just telling the truth about their legal status."
But I stand with Jeff. And I hope some others do, too, and never, never, never give in.
P.S. I am not interested in debating "same-sex marriage" here. This is my personal blog, and I'm more draconian here than elsewhere. I welcome comments on the specific issue raised in this post but have no intention of debating the larger issues with homosexual or homosexual-sympathizing commentators. I would love to hear from my conservative readers as to what they think, predict, and intend to do about the terminological matter I raise here.