I won’t even try to recount the events that are taking place in Albany these days, because the sands are constantly shifting, and it’s just too depressing to read. I will, however, offer some observations and reflections on their significance for the issues that matter most to me – preserving the definition of marriage, and defending human life.
- The number of Senators who can be said to be acting virtuously is falling to a dangerously low level. Representative government cannot thrive without the personal virtue of those who are in public office. Yet the basic virtues of honor (particularly being a man of one’s word) and loyalty (even the pale virtue of party loyalty) seem to be sliding into obsolescence. This does not bode well for our society.
- What does it say about our government, and those who govern us, that a momentous social experiment like same-sex “marriage” is being considered as a bargaining chip in negotiations over who will sit in what office and what size their staff will be? Yet there seems to be no sense at all that this is an issue that must be considered with calm deliberation, and not in the middle of a circus atmosphere.
- I consider virtually all of the commitments and representation that we have heard as to which way Senators will vote on same-sex “marriage” to be up for grabs. No matter what has been said, there are so many calculations of party and self-interest going on that I find it hard to believe that principles and merit will have much influence over the outcome.
- I fear a repeat of history if the same-sex “marriage” bill comes to the floor of the Senate for a vote. In 1970, the New York State Assembly was deadlocked over the bill to legalize abortion. After the vote was cast, one member rose to change his vote from “No” to “Aye”. By that later-than-last-minute conversion, abortion became legal in our state, and thousands of babies were consigned to death. No matter what is said before legislators take the floor, you can never be sure what the results will be.
- In battles like this, the Church and other defenders of traditional values are at a serious disadvantage. Not only is the media dead set against us, but we don’t have the principal weapon with which to fight the battle – money. The sight of the open and naked bribery taking place in the capital, as Senators are “courted” with promises and favors, is deeply disturbing. All we have to offer are the opinions of little people, and their phone calls, faxes, emails, and visits to legislative offices. Those commodities aren’t going far in the open-air market of the Legislature.
Yet, despite all of this, I remain hopeful, because I believe that the truth cannot ultimately be suppressed. All science and reason teaches us that human life is present in the womb from the moment of conception. To continue to deny that is to deny the basic facts of life, and I believe that our society cannot forever continue to do so. Human history, biology, and common sense uniformly teach us that marriage is, and always will be, the faithful commitment for life of one man and one woman. The Humpty-Dumpty logic of using power to re-define marriage can only go so far, before collapsing into parody and self-evident nonsense.
God, speaking to us through our beloved Church, always reminds us of the essential truths. As we struggle to remain faithful and vigilant in these difficult times, God continues to speak to us and offer us the buoy of hope. In the first reading at Mass today, from the Second Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians, God speaks very clearly about our situation:
We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being given up to death for the sake of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh. (2 Cor 4: 8-11)
So, I am of good cheer, and I will soldier on. Will you join me?