An appeal to Generation Y


On a weekend when Bridesmaids and The Hangover Part II continued as
two of the biggest-grossing movies of the year, legislators in New York fabricated
same-sex “marriage.” Taken together with the same-sex celebrations in the streets
of New York that followed the passage of that legislation, the thoughtless attitudes
towards sex – and the opposite sex – in these blockbusters appear to reveal something
about young voters' attitudes towards marriage.

Moreover,
they are two of many indicators that demonstrate a gap between the values of Gen
Y and those who went before them.

For example,
all too many in Gen Y are no longer simply walking to the beat of their own drum
(which is a youthful norm), but have actually become disengaged from society altogether.
Somewhere among the myriad new technological distractions unveiled each day, the
mind-numbing medical antidotes available for quelling anxious moments, and the breakdown
in tradition secured by radicals in the classroom and the media, Gen Y exited the
highway our nation was traveling and doesn’t appear to be getting back on the road.

Many have
abandoned active participation in family and community and regard matters of faith
as things devoid of both meaning and relevance. In extreme cases, the pursuits and
traditions that former generations fought to defend have been exchanged for a narcissistic
chase that finds satisfaction only in a hedonistic euphoria.

Because today’s
rising generations lean heavily on information absorbed via sound-bites from the
Internet, television, or their smart phones, many of them have no idea what it’s
like to purposely seek a quiet place to sit and turn pages in Aristotle’s Politics, Plutarch’s Life of
Alexander
, or John Locke’s Two Treatises of Government. Nor do they familiarize themselves with books like John
Bunyan’s timeless Pilgrim’s Progress or the Bible (and they can graduate from four years of
college with nary a course of history or government). As a result, they have but
slight to moderate connections with the ideas that impacted America’s Founders and
little interest in cultivating the intellect or pursuing, much less enjoying, higher
culture.

This self-imposed
isolation has left them susceptible to easy arguments, even fallacious ones, and
therefore reduced them to the role of pawns in a game where they are easy targets
for propaganda and manipulation.

For example,
although California’s Proposition 8 was approved with the support of 7 million Californians
in 2008, it has been found unconstitutional by single judge – former US District
Judge Vaughn Walker – and is currently being re-tried in the court of public opinion,
pending appeal, by attorneys like Ted Olson. In
a recent speech
to the Center for American Progress, a Washington DC think
tank set up with funding from George Soros, Olson pointed out proponents of Proposition
8 “argued vigorously that the word marriage meant something
very, very important … But because it means something very, very special is why
it is wrong to deny it to some of our citizens” (italics added).

Notice the
slight turn in Olson’s speech: how he first concurs with the truth propounded by
marriage supporters – that marriage means something very important – only to turn
it back on them by intimating that they’re denying this important union to same-sex
couples. In this, Olson is accusing the wrong party. For, ultimately speaking, proponents
of Proposition 8 didn’t deny marriage to people who engage in homosexual behavior;
those who engage in homosexual behavior excluded themselves from it by choosing
to act on their sexual desires and then demanding that others recognize those relationships
as “marriages.”

Sadly, these
arguments are often lost on all but those who have already thoughtfully considered
what marriage, an institution that pre-dated all government and law, is about –
what its role has traditionally been in society and what society would become without
the pillar provided through the union of one man with one woman.

But Olson
seems less confident that the arguments are lost on Gen Y. Thus he uses a type of
red herring, via the phraseology of “denying marriage,” to keep our minds off what’s
really at stake and, dare I say, to appeal to the rising generations’ inculcated
aversion to denying anything to anybody. Using this approach, he doesn’t have to
grapple with the meaning of marriage: with what it is, what it offers, or its historicity.
Rather, he simply has to speak to how a certain group of people is supposedly being
denied its “fair chance” at taking advantage of whatever it is that it hopes to
gain from being married.

Perhaps classical
scholar and author T.R. Glover contextualized these things best when he wrote of
how individuals in each rising generation inherit, and are literally molded by, the “long history of civilization” passed on to them
by their predecessors. With this history, they can be citizens who contribute to
the civilization handed down to them. Without it, they live life estranged from
both the religious and traditional aspects of our culture.

Alan
Sears
, a former federal prosecutor who held various posts in the departments of
Justice and Interior during the Reagan Administration, is president and CEO of the
Alliance Defense Fund (www.telladf.org), a legal alliance employing a unique combination
of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious
liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.  

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