First, a little background. When we look back to our country’s founding, we take pride in the reasons for its formation; a “bad king” and his parliament that exercised their power improperly within the American Colonies. Because of these acts of omission and commission from the isolation of 3,000 miles away from London, anger began to develop.
Full of Righteous Anger
We gave our reasons for the anger in the Declaration of Independence document:
The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
This dissent from the centuries long, well established, monarchist way of life in Europe turned into war and then into victory. It was a dissent from the centralized power far away. We did not like many, many things the ruling class imposed and they were listed in the declaration.
How Did We Justify Revolution?
Armed rebellion is and was a drastic way to exempt a people from the laws that were enacted by a legitimate body of legislators. A body that refused to amend it’s goals. Absolute rule throughout history often rested with a single person, but since the Magna Charta’s first signing there was a hint that lowly individuals should have more importance in the grand scheme of nations and principalities.
The leaders that formulated our Declaration of Independence could have just said something like:
We just don’t like what you have done. We are very angry with you so we are declaring ourselves independent from you.
True, but a rather weak statement at the time. Not much to use when trying to sway a superior power or deny its control over you. It is a statement only declaring the personal autonomy of a group. There is absolutely no authority behind this appeal alone to give it any power. After all, parliaments and kings, or some kind of governing leadership, is necessary to keep the peace and provide protection and well being to a people. A structure was in place for the colonies and many believed it was sufficient.
How could the existing structure of ordered civilization trying to balance needs and wants possibly please everyone?
What is Autonomy?
Put most simply, to be autonomous is to be one’s own person, to be directed by considerations, desires, conditions, and characteristics that are not simply imposed externally upon one, but are part of what can somehow be considered one’s authentic self.
The central figure in promoting the moral and personal autonomy of individuals was Immanuel Kant (1724–1804) whose body of work conincides with our late colonial and revolutionary time period, but not yet fully analyzed and determined to be a concept greater in authority than God himself, as it has become today.
The justification for rebellion appealed to a human design by our Creator and His laws:
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them,…
Then gave them another shot of a higher power with this:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…
Fast Forword to June 26, 2015 A.D.
The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has decided in Obergefell v. Hodges (linked with cases from three other states) that homosexual “marriage” will be allowed (under the law) in all 50-states. This ruling is a dramatic change in human interaction since the beginning of humanity, following a trend that started in 2001 in the Netherlands. This order has behind it the ability to force compliance by use of arms within the United States.
It was the result of a decision by ONE justice. If any one of the majority had voted the other way the opposite decision would have been reached. It was a tie breaking vote symbolizing the split in the country as a whole.
Why Decide This Way?
The majority decision itself tells us. Although it takes about 37 pages out of 103 in the entire document, we can distill the essential reasoning. The complaint was that homosexuals were excluded from marriage in violation of the 14th amendment to our constitution. The applicable section states:
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. (emphases mine)
Then the court applied this reasoning to that amendment:
The first premise of this Court’s relevant precedents is that the right to personal choice regarding marriage is inherent in the concept of individual autonomy…Decisions about marriage are among the most intimate that an individual can make…This is true for all persons, whatever their sexual orientation. (emphases mine)
Therefore, the case basically rests on the authority of the individual to marry based on their own autonomous desire to do so. This desire cannot be denied by requiring the marriage partner to be of a specific gender.
Why Not Appeal to God for His Authority?
Because His authority will not support this cause. It has become enough to appeal to autonomy in moral questions because the worship of autonomy alone has given it this power. God is not needed both in law and morality we have found a more appealing way.
There are only two places where God is mentioned in this entire document and they both are in Justice Thomas’ dissenting opinion:
Our Constitution—like the Declaration of Independence before it—was predicated on a simple truth: One’s liberty, not to mention one’s dignity, was something to be shielded from—not provided by—the State. Today’s decision casts that truth aside. In its haste to reach a desired result, the majority misapplies a clause focused on “due process” to afford substantive rights, disregards the most plausible understanding of the “liberty” protected by that clause, and distorts the principles on which this Nation was founded. Its decision will have inestimable consequences for our Constitution and our society.
We, as a new nation recognized our nature under God, are being given the special charge of marriage to produce and raise a family. Justification in this case rests solely on a desire that cannot be supported by an appeal for any historical support. Desire has become the paramount “right” that has no foundation except for desire itself. A circle of faulty reasoning that locks out God from any credit for creation hence also proper use of our bodies.
Autonomy has become our God.
How do I know?
The Supreme Court of the United States said so!