Following Up on Marriage and Life


Great discussion on marriage and life over the weekend. Thank you for such a thoughtful exchange of ideas. Here are some responses to some of your questions and comments.

Peter Robinson wrote,

“Marriage…creates and sustains not only children but civilization itself.”

Beautifully put, Senator.

Welcome to Ricochet–and although this site hasn’t endorsed a candidate, I think we all agree that this is a better race for your presence in it.

Peter, thanks!  This means a lot to me.  So many people hungry for principled leadership.  I’m really humbled and honored by your kind words.

Chris Deleon wrote,

The problematic assumption underlying the shift in attitudes about marriage in our society is that marriage is for the happiness of the couple.  This is where our very self-centered culture has arrived.

While that is one of the purposes, ultimately the real purpose is deeper.  Marriage is about creating and nurturing children, and about fostering the self-sacrificial, long-term commitment and relationships needed to do so.

Societally, there is no other compelling reason to acknowledge and encourage marriages.  If it were all about happiness, people should be encouraged to do whatever they please and whatever makes them happy.

But because sex has these pesky (from the self-centered point of view) little side effects called children that must be cared for by someone, society has an interest in making sure those who create children are ready and committed enough to care for them.

As I’ve said before, all other issues hinge on these social issues.  You want to see dysfunction and national debt go through the roof (as they already are)?  Teach people to do whatever feels good, and throw the consequences upon the public.

Chris, we humans find it easy to act in ways that fail our high ideals of love, that’s for sure (1 Corinthians 13) but thankfully “with God all things are possible.”  No marriage can survive without a willingness to sacrifice for one another, for our children, and it sure helps to have God in the mix. Appreciate your support for marriage.

Tommy De Seno wrote,

If same sex marriage becomes licensed by the state, will there be more same sex marriages than there are currently same sex relationships?

Tommy, Gee, I’m not sure.  I don’t think that’s the main question.  Other questions loom larger for me such as: Will children be educated in public schools that traditional views of marriage are just bigotry to be discarded, if same-sex marriage becomes the law? Yes, for sure.  The point is that the meaning of marriage will change for everyone–to the extent government can influence our views, and supporters of traditional Christian and Judeo-Christian views on marriage will be treated by government the way we treat racists now. 

Don’t believe me?  Check out this warning from a large group of interfaith religious leaders.

Many religious liberty scholars are expressing increasing concerns.  Appreciate your taking the time to think about this and ask the question, though!

Samwise Gamgee wrote,

Thank you, Senator, for your well reasoned post. 

Some people are afraid to talk about social issues because they fear conservative positions are irrational, purely based on religious sentiment, or knee jerk reactions.  What you have shown in your campaign is that social conservatives are reasonable and that our positions are well thought out and important in comparison to fiscal issues.

Personally, I don’t care if our debt and unemployment are reduced to zero if we’re still murduring millions of babies. Even if a ship is sound, sturdy and decorated with gold filigree, if it’s pointed in the wrong direction, it’s not one I want to be on.

I’m glad to see a major candidate voice these issues, on national TV, in print, but especially on Ricochet :).  I don’t know if we’ve ever had a presidential candidate post here, it’s pretty exciting.

Thanks again

Wow. Thank you.  Showing people that conservative positions on key moral issues are reasonable–that’s such an important thing for leaders to do and I’m grateful and honored you think I’m doing it.

CJRun wrote,

Senator, with sincere respect, do you really?  Do you hold those truths to be self evident?  Are we all created equally?  If you believe that, in what sense do you believe that the federal government also has a role in these areas?

I anticipate that you might reference the previous roles the federal government has asserted and, thus, a need for some remedy.

Why not focus on the issue of getting the federal government out of our lives?

The “values” focus that is attractive in retail politics is divisive and inappropriate.  It makes explicit that we are not, at all, equal, and that we need our paternalistic federal government to sort these issues out for us, instead of extricating us from the mess that the federal government created in the first place.

When your campaign heads south in two weeks, to Florida, the hill you are defending will be a valley.  Amongst my family and friends, we may disagree on the particulars, but could unite on one aspect:  It’s none of Washington’s business.

If you chose to defend married couples and their children from slavery to debt, that might be more pertinent. 

Thanks so much for your expression of sincere respect, I appreciate it.  That’s the way we should treat each other even when we passionately disagree on important moral issues.  To answer your question.  Yes.  Yes and Yes.  I really do hold these truths to be self-evident that all human beings are created equal and endowed by our Creator–not by our government–with certain inalienable rights.  Among these are the right to life.  But not the right to redefine marriage.

None of us has that right.  Marriage is unique for a reason–only marital unions can make new life and connect those children in love to a mom and a dad.  Sorry we disagree, hope you think hard about where the right to marry comes from and what it really means.

Nobody’s Perfect wrote,

There was a time when I despised the gay rights movement.  I hated their attitudes, their rhetoric, their theater, their politics.  When they started demanding the right to marry, I was reflexively opposed, just like most people here. 

But there was one little problem; I simply could not get past the preamble to the Declaration of Independence.  

There was a time, during World War I, when a German immigrant couldn’t get a marriage license.  There was a time when a black man couldn’t get a license to marry a white woman.  There was a time when a Christian who married a Jew was shunned by his community.  There was even a time when a Catholic who married a Protestant was cast out by his family.

Those days, fortunately, are gone.  Now we have only one tiny portion of our population that some people still want to hold as lesser than themselves.  Let this, too, pass, so that we finally, after all, honor the phrase, “…all men are created equal..”

Do you really think millions of Americans are standing up for marriage as the union of husband and wife out of hatred?  It saddens me that you think so.  If that was the root of your previous opinion well, it makes sense to me you wouldn’t want to hold it any more.

By contrast I know that millions of Americans go to the polls, stand up to the charges of hatred and bigotry, because they love this country and believe defending marriage is important for the common good. Even if we disagree on same-sex marriage, can we agree on that? Good people, acting out of love for their country, want to stand up for the idea that marriage matters because children need a mom and dad?

Here’s my view: we all have equal rights: none of us have the right to redefine the meaning of our most basic, foundational civilizational idea: marriage. Take care, and God bless you!

Bernai wrote,

Thank you Senator for posting here and with such eloquence.- I for one stand with you on these issues of Life and Marriage.  Hopefully you will post some other thoughts and ideas concerning some of the other important issues we face in the primary and upcoming election.

Thanks so much for asking! We need to cut taxes and regulations that are putting stumbling blocks to growing jobs, starting with a zero percent rate on manufacturing corporations so jobs don’t migrate to China or even Canada–which has managed to make itself a cheaper place to do business in than the U.S.  We have to repeal Obamacare which is strangling job growth by the large and uncertain costs it’s imposing.  We need a President who understands the dignity of work and seeks to make more Americans self-supporting, not dependent on government.  Pres. Obama’s administration actually boasted they’ve put more people on food stamps than any other in history.  That’s the attitude that has to change to get America back to work.   I will deal with the other critical issues of our future by cutting federal spending by $5 trillion over 5 years, supporting a Balanced Budget Amendment to stop the spending spree, repealing job-killing regulations, unleashing America’s domestic energy potential, and reforming our entitlements on a sustainable path so that the future will once again be better in America.

And we also need a strong military resolute and aware of the threat radical Islam poses and to once again stand with our allies and for our interests and values around the world.

You can find out more here: 

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  1. Profile Photo Contributor
    Basil Fawlty

    Tommy De Seno

    Tommy De Seno: What an honor to have you come back for an exchange, Senator! Most candidates run from hot issues.

    Putting aside the genuine show of courage, more importantly it shows a sense of obligation to the American public to open up, engage and be inspected.

    That sound you hear? Rick Santorum’s stock rising with me. · 7 hours ago

    Edited 7 hours ago

    Despite my happiness that the Senator is here and I like him better for it, make no mistake I still have him marked down with the folks who somehow forget conservatism and opt instead for a government takeover of a religious institution.

    As I said on an earlier thread you can tell the real conservatives from the not so real ones by whether they abandon the ideals, even when the the ideals lead to a place they didn’t exactly wish to be. · 17 minutes ago

    I enjoy these one-person debates. · 3 hours ago

    Addendums and clarification are’t CofC violations.

    • #31
  2. Profile Photo Inactive
    Crow’s Nest: …and we’re talking about gay marriage?

    Exactly my fear for the general election.

    Crow’s Nest — I always appreciate your insights (even if they’re occasionally too much informed by what I take to be an Eastern Straussian view; heh). I must say there’s something you sorely overlook: While there can indeed be political differences in a civil society, there cannot be serious disputes over the very basis of civil society itself. There is no way to have a society in which every person defines for himself the core questions of morality. So long as this dispute holds prevailing sway, then good luck turning back the welfare state. SSM is simply an instantiation of “fanatical obscurantism.” SSM, and disputes over it, do not constitute political differences. Indeed, advocacy of SSM is the complete abnegation of the political. It presumes that everyone can learn the principles of morality without any assistance; that there is no generalized or public teaching of happiness; indeed, that there is no purpose to our society other than idiosyncratic preferences. SSM is autonomy, radical individuality, run amok. Such is the very life blood of the welfare state.

    • #32
  3. Profile Photo Inactive
    Crow’s Nest: [E]conomic issues are social issues–

    Indeed, point well taken. But what do most people mean by “social” issues? I think most people’s understanding of it is simply captured by the label label “moral” (or moral-political). In modern political discourse, sharp divisions between the economic and the political can be difficult to discern, if not illusory, as almost all of the country’s political debates are over broad economic policies. But what’s underlying these debates is in fact a disputation over personal responsibility (ergo my “cleavage” post). The great cleavages between liberals-libertarians and conservatives are going to hinge on the issue of personal responsibility, and not on theoretical notions of markets.

    And needless to say, what type of economic arrangement we are going to have is itself not an economic question or choice, any more than, say, the choice for science is itself a scientific choice.

    Crow’s Nest: necessitates a vision of a certain type of citizen who possesses a certain type of moral character.

    Exactly. But precisely this is in no way an economic proposition. Preservation of freedom relies upon shared knowledge (“the political”) and acceptance of proper norms of conduct.

    • #33
  4. Profile Photo Inactive
    Tommy De Seno

    I still have him marked down with the folks who somehow forget conservatism and opt instead for a government takeover of a religious institution.

    You’re assuming we can have a separation of marriage and state in the same way we have separation of church and state. The freedom to marry should be akin to freedom of religion. But you are confusing two different types of freedom. The ultimate purpose of religious freedom is eternal salvation, the requirements of which we can cannot rationally and publicly determine. The main purpose of marriage, in contrast, is to civilize society, a goal which most of us seek. The state may be indifferent to the former, but not to the latter. Marriage is arguably the most important of all social institutions because it both reflects and shapes the most pervasive and perhaps most problematic distinction within the human species: the natural differences between men and women.

    • #34
  5. Profile Photo Member

    Hi Rick!…glad to see you at Ricochet!

    When you say “cut taxes and regulations that are putting stumbling blocks to growing jobs, starting with a zero percent rate on manufacturing corporations”…I ask: why not take a more generalized approach and simply provide 100% expensive for capital asset acquisition? The current tax code discriminates not only against manufacturing companies, but against ALL hard-asset-intensive businesses, including for example railroads.

    As the Founders understood when writing the Constitution, the more generalized approach to a problem is usually better than establishing all kinds of special cases.

    • #35
  6. Profile Photo Contributor
    Casey: What an amazing country!

    You’re right! In what other country do candidates running for major political office engage with constituents in an internet forum? It’s pretty remarkable.

    • #36
  7. Profile Photo Inactive

    The Senator has earned my vote with this post.

    I understand that many conservatives consider these issues inconsequential to our current national predicament. I just think that’s wrong, and I think a candidate’s ability to think and argue cogently about civilization-defining moral questions is the strongest indicator of wisdom.

    Very encouraging.

    • #37
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