Will the Supremes redefine existence?

Supreme Court | Marvin Olasky

Will the Supremes redefine existence?

David Boies
Associated Press/Photo by Rich Pedroncelli (file)

USA Today yesterday quoted celebrity attorney David Boies—scheduled to argue for same-sex “marriage” before the Supreme Court in two weeks—saying a solid majority of justices will take his side. If they follow philosophical precedents, he’ll be right.

In two 1986 cases (Thornburgh and Bowers), Justices John Paul Stevens and Harry Blackmun both spotlighted the “moral fact that a person belongs to himself, and not others. …” They were writing for themselves, but six years later, in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, Justices Sandra Day O’Connor, Anthony Kennedy, and David Souter delivered the opinion of the court: “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and the mystery of human life.”

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This victory for existential subjectivity—each person his own definer of everything, including human life—stands in stark contrast to biblical objectivity, wherein God describes the world in the Bible (and that’s the way it is).

Besides, do we just belong to ourselves? Don’t a husband and wife in a covenantal marriage belong to each other?

Many Christians know the first question of the Heidelberg Catechism (1563): “What is your only comfort in life and in death?” The answer: “That I am not my own, but belong—body and soul, in life and in death—to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood. …” When Christians profess faith in Christ, we acknowledge that we belong to God.

In America generally, though, radical individualism rules on social questions. That’s true in magazines at supermarket checkout stands that celebrate the breaking of marriage vows. That was true at the Supreme Court in the past, and—if Boies is right—now as well.

Bizarrely, many combine such individualism with collectivism on economic issues, but the combination makes strange sense: Washington will enable all of us to pursue our individual fantasies—until the money runs out. 

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