In a Sunday newspaper commentary Thomas Wenski, the Bishop of Orlando, Florida decried the California Supreme Court’s decision to overturn a ban on same sex marriage, saying the act of “raw judicial activism” reminds us that “society’s culture wars are far from over.”
Writing in the Ocala Star Banner, Bishop Wenski said advocates of homosexual marriage erroneously label their opponents as intolerant bigots. “To defend marriage as a monogamous union between one man and one woman is not bigotry,” Bishop Wenski wrote. “Nor are the efforts of those who seek to enshrine in state or federal constitutions the ‘traditional’ understanding of marriage intolerant.”
Bishop Wenski also addressed those who tolerate homosexual acts they believe are immoral and sinful as long as they are kept private. These people, he said, “do not invoke the coercive power of the state” to change homosexuals but instead “they might invite the person who experiences same-sex attractions to conversion and, in place of behavior viewed as sinful, propose chastity.”
The bishop accused proponents of same-sex marriage of “imposing their views and lifestyle on the larger populace” by redefining marriage to include same-sex unions. “Once legal the state's coercive power will punish those who refuse to embrace gay marriages,” Bishop Wenski warned.
He said that under a legal regime that permits homosexual marriage, public officials will be obliged to officiate at same-sex “weddings,” public schools will be required to teach children homosexual marriages’ acceptability regardless of their parents’ disapproval, and even First Amendment freedoms could face legal assault.
Bishop Wenski said marriage “has been primarily about the raising of children, who seem to be hardwired to be best raised by a father and a mother who are married to each other.” He also noted the state’s legitimate interest in favoring traditional marriages to help upcoming generations flourish.
He characterized the “culture wars” as a conflict about “the understanding of man and his relationship to truth and reality.”
One side, which, he argued, includes homosexual marriage advocates, “holds that anyone can essentially create his or her own reality. This side holds for a radical autonomy by which truth is determined not by the nature of things but by one's own individual will.”
This position, in the bishop’s view, is a “recipe for tyranny.”
The other side, the bishop argued, thinks men and women are “not self-creators but creatures.”
“Truth is not constructed, but received and thus must reflect the reality of things,” he said. This position promises freedom that is achievable only “through adherence to objective truth which we do not, and could never, invent.”