Anglican Samizdat

February 13, 2009

Hetmoniage to the rescue

Filed under: The fall of the West — David Jenkins @ 4:30 pm
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Ian Hunter: The erosion of marriage

A house built on sand cannot stand. It seems likely that Canadians are about to learn this sobering truth thanks to the polygamous citizens of Bountiful, B.C.

Bountiful residents belong to a breakaway Mormon sect that practises polygamy. Two Bountiful “bishops” – Winston Blackmore and James Oler — have been charged with polygamy contrary to Section 293 of the Criminal Code. The issue is whether Section 293 can survive a constitutional challenge under Canada’s Charter of Rights.

Marriage is the house built on sand. Once the Canadian Courts dictated that marriage no longer meant what it had meant for the 20 centuries of Christendom – namely, the union for life of a man and a woman — but could include same-sex unions, the foundation for marriage was eroded. If two men living together can be called a marriage, why not one man and three women? If two women can be married, why not the members of a commune? When you substitute a definition of marriage based not on reproductive potential but on ideology, then marriage means any arrangement with ideological acceptability.

Perhaps the time has come for the proponents of normal marriage to admit defeat and abandon the word “marriage” as one whose meaning has become so corrupted that they no are longer willing to have anything to do with it. Heterosexual monogamous commitment could have its own new word: hetmoniage, perhaps. Hideous, but at least it’s ugly enough that no-one would be likely to steal it as they have “marriage”.

I fear a linguistic contrivance is unlikely to help: the problem is too deep, too dire and too entrenched. As Ian Hunter reminds us:

“We sit by and watch the barbarian. In the long stretches of peace we are not afraid. We are tickled by his irreverence, his comic inversion of our old certitudes and our fixed creed. We laugh.

“But as we laugh we are watched by large and awful faces from beyond; and on those faces there is no smile.”

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