Blogmaster’s Note: I have shamelessly lifted the following essay which is a response from Fr. Hans Jocobse to the article Muzzling Military Chaplains that he posted on the website Monomakhos-dot-com.
Fr. Hans and I, as well as many others, appear to share the same unsettling vision of where things are headed for Christians in the West who support and defend historic Christian doctrine. In the essay which follows, Fr. Hans makes an oblique reference to a recent controversy in the Orthodox Church in America that saw its sitting first hierarch deposed, as well as a public document called the Manhattan Declaration. Both of these items could become sidebars and are worthy of separate discussions by themselves, but I do not intend to cover them here.
There are dark storm clouds gathering on the horizon, and the future for Christians in the West (formerly the “Free World”) seems to be one of increased conflict with the militantly secular state, and open persecution at the hands of civil authorities. While reading his essay, I’m reminded of the recent words of Roman Catholic Cardinal Francis George of Chicago who is quoted as saying: “I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history.” I hope that time proves us all wrong, but many others see it coming too.
The militant secularists have taken charge of our government and are now feeling increasingly emboldened. The great wave of persecution about to be unleashed on our society will be delivered in the name of freedom and tolerance. This persecution will consume many thousands, but will not be without precedent. The 70-year persecution of Christian believers in the former Soviet Union, at the hands of their officially secular government, created many thousands of new Martyrs in just the 20th Century. It’s important to note that the Soviet Constitution guaranteed its people freedom of conscience as well as the right to religious worship, but that freedom was worthless in the face of a radical government with an agenda. This is an historical parallel that America may ignore at its own peril.
By Fr. Hans Jacobse
To define homosexual coupling as marriage violates natural law. It takes one male and one female to create a child and constitute a family. A male-to-male or female-to-female coupling is naturally sterile; biologically closed to the creation of new life (which is not the same thing as saying that either partner is infertile). A homosexual “family” then, is necessarily an artificial creation.
Heterosexual marriage is not a creation of the State nor is the State the final judge or arbiter of the moral legitimacy of heterosexual marriage since it exists in nature and predates the rise of the State. The State merely affirms what already exists in nature when it codifies heterosexual marriage into law. However, when the State decrees homosexual couplings as a morally licit marriage, it violates natural law. It arrogates unto itself an authority to define human relationships that do not exist in nature.
Moral relativism is being crafted into law but this creates a new conflict. A society cannot live with the tension between nature and the State and thus is left with two available choices: 1) return to the norm of heterosexual marriage found within natural law, or 2) destroy the definition of morally licit marriage altogether. The first is the choice of the Christian and anyone else who believes the moral tradition references an authority higher than the State. The second is favored by those who believe that the State is both the source and judge of rights.
President Obama has declared that “gay rights” is a centerpiece of his second term agenda. This is a dangerous development. The arrogation of authority by the State to define what kind of relationship is morally licit, as well as the employment of the machinery of the State to enforce it allows for an encroachment of the State into personal life that will lead to tyranny if not reversed.
The ground is being tilled for the persecution of Christianity because Christians, by the mere fact that they are believers in God, testify allegiance to a higher law that even the State must be subject to. The State, in elevating relationships not in accord with natural law, will necessarily refuse that reasoning because it strikes at the heart of its arrogation of moral authority and what will eventually become the rationale for its legitimacy to rule.
If homosexual marriage becomes the law of the land, exemptions for believers concerning homosexual marriage will be abandoned in short order. The moral relativism codified into law stands against the assertion of a higher law and the tension this creates — particularly the assertion that the State is acting in morally illegitimate ways — will be resolved by prosecuting those who disobey the State.
In the long run, Christians won’t be prosecuted for objecting to homosexual marriage as such. They will be prosecuted for denying that the State has the power to define what is morally licit. That is why we are on a path to tyranny. The drafters of the Manhattan Declaration understand this.
This is understood (albeit intuitively sometimes) by leaders within Christian communions (including the Orthodox). That is why homosexuality has become such a hot button issue and why divisions are occurring around it. That is also why those who say that much of the anger directed at Met. Jonah was because of his unequivocal defense of the moral tradition concerning human sexuality are probably correct.
We are one step closer to the catacombs. Bishops and priests need to take special note because they will become the first targets of the coming hostility in order to demoralize the faithful. Clergy who today still hope for compromise with the homosexual cultural agenda must recommit to the moral tradition and bear the scorn that comes with defending it. If they don’t, they will fall from the faith and lead others with them. Clergy who are practicing homosexuals need to be removed from office because their internal confusion fosters greater moral confusion in the Church at a time when it needs more clarity.