VOL. 18, NO. 1
Feb. 4, 2016
Back to the Basics:
Straightening Up America, XVI:
America’s Marriage Miasma, Part 9
By Virginia Armstrong, Ph.D., National Chairman
Has America bent over backwards too far in its spiritual, moral, and constitutional life that we are in danger of “breaking”? This question is central to our current series of Court Watch Briefings. The question has been precipitated by America’s Culture War and echoes the anguished cry of the Father in the famous musical production, “Fiddler on the Roof,” who felt that revolutionary changes in his world were pushing him to the “breaking point.”
We are proving that America is indeed in the “danger zone” and is in dire need of a massive “straightening up” process. Nothing more clearly demonstrates this fact than the 2013 same-sex marriage decisions of the U. S. Supreme Court — Perry v. Hollingsworth and Windsor v. U. S. To understand more fully these egregious decisions, we are examining the various court opinions in these cases, employing the unique and powerful analytical tools crafted for us by the preeminent Christian apologist, Francis Schaeffer. A major theme of Schaeffer’s paradigm was to find, and respond properly to, the tension between the real world and the illogical positions of unrealistic philosophies.
Thus, we are currently comparing the Judeo-Christian worldview of law and culture to the Humanistic worldview as applied to the landmark same sex marriage decisions in the Perry and Windsor cases in order to determine which worldview is superior. A superior worldview must include five “crucial components,” and each component must adequately and accurately address six “core concepts.” In our study, we have focused on the core concept labeled “Level 2B: Legal/Political Philosophy,” or “jurisprudence” in Blackstone’s signature, unique “worldview paradigm chart.”
It is in “Level 2B” that the hottest battles over law in America’s Culture War rage because in Level 2B, all other four components converge in a unique manner. We can thus focus on Level 2B as a springboard for analysis of all other four worldview components. Applying this superb analytical tool to landmark Culture War court decisions provides us with an unprecedented means of evaluating the performance of the two polemic worldviews, the Judeo-Christian and the Humanistic, in the “real world of law,” in order to determine which is superior.
In past issues of our Briefing, we have analyzed the six core concepts that constitute a worldview’s theories of law and have included in our statements of the Judeo-Christian concepts the relevant characteristic of the Western legal tradition which Professor Harold Berman has declared that the West, including America, is losing (Berman’s list printed in italics). In this article, we start to reach a conclusion as to which worldview of law and culture is superior, as revealed by our application of the Schaefferian apologetics model to the Perry and Windsor cases. Our conclusion? The Judeo-Christian worldview is superior at every point to the Humanistic worldview.
We reach this conclusion based upon the finest scholarship available. Guided by America’s preeminent modern apologists, including Francis Schaeffer, Norman Geisler, and Edward John Carnell, we evaluate the merits of the two worldviews by applying a three-dimensional “truth test”:
- Comprehensiveness — the worldview must adequately address all the major legal/constitutional questions facing the realm of “law.” That is, the worldview must address all five of the “crucial components” of a complete worldview and all six of the core concepts within each component;
- Consistency — the various components of a worldview must be consistent with one another, requiring vital core concepts of “law” to exist without contradicting one another and without “law” contradicting other crucial components of that worldview;
- Congruity — constitutional/legal elements of a worldview must “fit reality” — the “real world” and the “real self” which man is, or the “external world and man himself” (Francis Schaeffer).
A thorough explanation of these analyses would be extremely lengthy. Thus, we attempt here only to summarize some of the most important arguments from our analyses of the Perry and Windsor cases which demonstrate the superiority of the Judeo-Christian worldview as evaluated by all three of the three “tests of truth.” We shall consider each test individually; in this Briefing, we shall look at the first truth test: comprehensiveness.”
- Comprehensiveness. The superior worldview must accurately and adequately include all five crucial components that we have outlined in the chart above. Such a worldview must also adequate and accurately address the six core concepts of each component of a worldview; and we have dedicated specific study to each of these concepts as we have analyzed Perry/Windsor. Obviously, these components and concepts must be as clearly stated and as clearly amenable to application as possible.
As our paradigm indisputably demonstrates, “theology/religion (Level 1),” far from being separate from “the law,” are foundational to the “law.” Thus, for Christians, a solid grasp of CLASSICAL or PHILOSOPHICAL APOGETICS is essential to defining and defending all other parts of the Judeo-Christian worldview paradigm, all the way through the top levels in specific cases such as Perry/Windsor. Our analysis focusing on Level 2B as applied to the Perry and Windsor cases demonstrates overwhelmingly the superior comprehensiveness of the Judeo-Christian worldview compared to the incompleteness of the Humanistic worldview.
The superiority of the Judeo-Christian worldview as compared to Humanism at all levels of the worldview paradigm is inevitable, if for no other reason than that the former is rooted in the most defensible book in world history — the Bible, properly interpreted and applied as the verbally inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of the infinite-personal-transcendent God.
Illustration: Judeo-Christian jurisprudence, in defining such fundamental values as “liberty,” and such basic social institutions as “marriage,” clearly prohibits civil law from redefining “liberty” and “marriage.” These values/institutions were defined by God and clearly specified in Scripture at the time God created man and marriage. The innumerable benefits of such clear limits as these — e.g., confining civil law to only certain realms of life — protect civil law from having to assume powers over, responsibilities for, issues which it is incapable of handling and which subject civil law to excessive “stress.”
This is the kind of “stress” that David Easton, whom we quoted earlier, demonstrated can destroy civil law. Humanistic law, lacking such clear foundations as Scripture and such clear limits on government powers in defining and regulating “liberty” and “marriage,” thus leaves civil law open to massive “overload.” Anything can be defined as “liberty,” and anything can be defined as “marriage.” Thus, Judeo-Christian law comprehensively covers the issue of what are the limits on civil law and the benefits of those limits, while Humanistic law in its confusion and incompleteness opens the door to destruction of civil law, as well as “liberty” and “marriage.”
The vast superiority of the Judeo-Christian worldview as to clarity and comprehensiveness is thus revealed when very specific, temporal worldview clashes are studied as in the worldview clash in the Perry/Windsor decisions. Our limited study entirely supports this assertion. A lifetime of concentrated study of this assertion on the broadest scale possible could be done, but the conclusion would remain the same.
We Americans this year face nationwide elections of unprecedented importance, and no issue is more critical in these elections than that of same-sex marriage and homosexual rights. The very rule of law is at stake. The decisions we face were well described in 2013 in a blog piece by Dr. Christopher Hammons, Director of the Center for Law and Liberty at Houston Baptist University. Dr. Hammons wrote, “Our system is not perfect. It sometimes fails, and it sometimes does so in big ways. But if we sacrifice the rule of law for a cup of hemlock, the executioner’s ax, or the hangman’s noose [products of the rule of lawlessness in history], we lose far more than we gain.” What will we choose for America in our elections this year?