He who defines, wins. He who successfully redefines, wins. And this is why Christians are not faring well in the current battles over homosexuality. We will not reverse this trend without some imaginative warriors.
Not only do our adversaries want to redefine marriage, they want to do so because they have already claimed the right to be able to redefine absolutely anything they want.
It didn’t start with marriage. It started with other terms, with which Christians went along, more or less, thinking something along the lines of “what could it hurt?” And there were, in our midst, various shills and apologists for allowing these terms to be messed with like that.
I have in mind terms like “hate,” and “public,” and “freedom,” and “religious liberty.” None of those things now mean what they meant when I was born, and while the shift has been attended with some controversy, it has not been nearly enough controversy. The pathway for all this was smoothed by the slow and steady degradation of educational standards — which failed miserably as a form of traditional education, but succeeded spectacularly as a way of preparing good little drone bees for life in their coming Hive.
This is what lies behind the popular scoffing at the notion that the religious liberties of American Christians are in any way being threatened by the homosex rebellion. This includes professing Christians who have decided, for whatever reason, to go along with the broader redefinition project. We have seen this from the former Archbishop of Canterbury, and we have seen it from Christians on the web protesting conservative objections to what they taunt as “paper cut persecution.” But our religious liberties are in genuine peril, and it is not a little deal.
As our public definitions of marriage are being redefined, the ruling elite is not protecting the religious liberties of the Christian opposition in the old sense, but rather are doing so by redefining what religious liberty means.
They are like a manufacturer who gives you a “lifetime guarantee” for their product, and you find out when you return it busted after six months, that by “lifetime” they now mean, not your lifetime, but the lifetime of the product. When you bought it, lifetime meant one thing. Now it means another. The product is now guaranteed for as long as it works.
This is how the trick works. You have the right to free speech, but you don’t have the right to yell fire in a crowded theater. Everybody in the old Christian order understood this — human liberties are precious, but not one of them is absolute, and we do have to balance them against the rights of others. So far, so good. The judges of Christendom, steeped in biblical law, common sense, and the light of nature, were up to that sort of challenge. And every citizen who was not a sociopath could see the sense in it.
But in the new order, every word you speak can be interpreted as fire, and every place you go is interpreted as a crowded theater. You have has much freedom to speak “in your space” as you used to, but now your space has about as much square footage as a 6 x 8 prison cell. It used to run from Delaware to Oregon.
They will maintain stoutly that they are defending our liberties as much as they used to, and if you are a total rube, you just might buy it. They are defending your rights within your territory as much as they used to — but are they defending your territory? Ha.
Do you doubt what I say? What have you been redefined into? You who dutifully sort out your garbage now! You who can’t buy the kind of light bulb you want! You whose phone calls are all stored up by the NSA! You who can’t light up on a windy bluff overlooking the ocean because of the second-hand smoke danger to the residents of a town half a mile away! You who can’t refuse catering services to homosexual celebrations! You who can’t get on an airplane without a federal representative feeling you up! You who can’t donate significant money for political causes! You who can’t buy ad space for certain passages out of the Bible! You are as free as a bird! It is a dead bird, but at least you are as free as it.
We need a better strategy than the one we are using right now. We are currently poking at the dead bird on our lawn with a shovel, telling it to soar.
Walter Kirn recently summed the whole problem up for us:
“Their ultimate goal, of course, is to read our minds, and our final defense will be not to have them.”