[guest post by Dana]
On Friday, I posted about Cleveland’s latest news. One item of particular interest was the selection of Cleveland to host the 2016 Republican National Convention. The driving force behind the successful bid was Sen. Rob Portman.
I noted in the post that Portman’s:
…views on it (same sex marriage) evolved after finding out his son was gay.
In response, commenter happyfeet provocatively asked:
wouldn’t yours? mine would.
I guess if it were to change, then that would seem to be the time it would.
But here’s the thing, a change of mind would depend on what motivated the belief that it was wrong in the first place. Regretfully, I did not pursue this in the comments and instead gave an off-the-cuff response. I did, however, make a mental note that this brief exchange begged further consideration of what informs our beliefs in moral rights and wrongs, especially in light of politics.
Included in my response to happyfeet was the explanation that I chose the term “evolved” as I recalled President Obama’s evolution on SSM came at a politically opportune moment. This could also be suggested of Portman’s evolution.
What provokes questions about this evolution is that both Portman and Obama have claimed that their non-supportive views of SSM were informed by their belief in God and the tenets of their faith.
At the time, my position on marriage for same-sex couples was rooted in my faith tradition that marriage is a sacred bond between a man and a woman.
From President Obama:
“What I believe is that marriage is between a man and a woman … What I believe, in my faith, is that a man and a woman, when they get married, are performing something before God, and it’s not simply the two persons who are meeting.”
In essence, their prior stands were shaped by a belief in God and foundational principles stemming from Him. And certainly, to those of us who profess faith, that source supersedes the politics of mere man. To put it another way, faith informed their politics, not the other way around. In light of this and that both have changed their stands, does this speak to God’s changing nature and ceasing immutability? Or does it speak to a shrewd calculation made in an ever-shifting political landscape? Or, maybe it’s something else, altogether?
Commenter Mark responded to happyfeet’s original question with this analogy:
So if he found out his son had a common-law wife and another wife in a neighboring community, and they all knew about one another and were perfectly fine about it, should the father’s views therefore evolve on the issue of polygamy?
Commenter Millhouse questions further:
If your views were correct before you found this out, how could this possibly make them wrong? And if they were wrong before, then why didn’t you change them earlier? What possible difference can it make whose ox is gored? Besides, anyone with any brain should have realised years ago that they’re almost bound to have close relatives who are gay; hardly anyone doesn’t. If it wasn’t your son it might be your granddaughter, or your favourite neice, or a cousin. And if it’s nobody in your immediate family, then it’s someone in your neighbour’s family, or your best friend’s. So what difference does finding out who it is make? What’s right remains right, and what’s wrong remains wrong, and you have to decide that based on solid principles, not on whom it affects.
If one believes something to be morally wrong and has stood on a solid principle of faith supporting that belief derived from God, what must take place to allow what was once believed wrong to now be right?
P.S. happyfeet, Mark and Millhouse – thanks for your interesting comments. I really hope none of you mind me using them in this post.