Editors commentary: Legislating a lie

If same-sex marriage is eventually adopted in our country, then what the Coalition Government will have succeeded in doing is to redefine a word.

Presumably dictionaries will need to be amended. At present The Concise Oxford’s primary definition of ‘marriage’ is as follows: ‘the legal union of a man and a woman in order to live together and often to have children’. It will need to be replaced. As a multi-faith alliance wrote in protest to David Cameron in June, in order to pursue the fiction of same-sex marriage: ‘The importance of consummation, procreation, and the welfare of children, as well as issues such as adultery, have been ignored’. In reality, of course, same-sex partnerships are no more marriage than apples are oranges. We are simply legislating a lie.

Red herring
To say this might infuriate some. ‘If you make things like the possibility of procreation essential to marriage then what does that mean for infertile couples?’ they ask. While we have every sympathy for couples unable to have children, actually this is a red herring. A car which breaks down and cannot reach a destination is still a car. And it does not mean that we ought to redesignate as ‘cars’ every caravan / trailer which never had the possibility of travelling anywhere unaided. Same-sex marriage is simply not marriage. But the government will insist it is and woe betide anyone who says otherwise. The word will be redefined.

Actually governments changing the meaning of words ought to ring loud alarm bells. Having participated in left-wing politics amid the Spanish Civil War and witnessed the rise of Hitler and Stalin, George Orwell understood the heart of totalitarianism. Dying from TB, he struggled to finish his masterpiece of a novel 1984. Winston Smith, the novel’s hero, is a small cog in the bureaucratic machinery of ‘Big Brother’, which rules Britain through its omnipresent surveillance and constant propaganda. He works at the ‘Ministry of Truth’ falsifying back copies of The Times. His colleague, Symes, is engaged on the latest ‘Newspeak’ dictionary of government approved words. In order to justify itself, a totalitarian regime has to destroy objective knowledge and the means to do that resides in language.
D.J. Taylor, Orwell’s biographer, explains that totalitarianism ‘is not just about telling a man 2+2=5, it is about convincing him it is so’. With the redefinition of marriage we are not yet at the point of Stalinism rewriting history, but we are entering the world of 1984.
Step back a moment. You know this is about ideology because the rights of gay people are already protected by Civil Partnerships. Why go further? You know this is an ideological move rather than common sense because no conscience clauses are allowed in the legislation. You know that something ideological is going on when evidence is manipulated to suit a case.
What we are witnessing smells awful. It has the dreadful whiff of the liberal elite, assisted by its media propaganda machine, forcing a secular totalitarianism on the nation. It is difficult to recognise because liberalism has always taken a stance against totalitarianism. But now it has been given the opportunity to dominate, it is taking its chance. It has fallen for the great lie first perpetrated in Eden, ‘You will be like God’.

John Benton

This article was first published in the July 2012 issue of Evangelicals Now. For more news, artciles or reviews, subscribe to EN or contact us for more information.
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