Transgender Fallon Fox recently received criticism for breaking the eye socket of Tamikka Brents in a mixed martial arts match. Having a sex change in 2006, he-now-she has successfully won match after match in the women’s league. As Brents points out, “I’ve fought a lot of women and have never felt the strength that I felt in a fight as I did that night.”
Biologically, men are stronger than women; so it is no wonder Fox easily beats her opponents. She has a man’s body in a women’s league. But, while there is criticism there is no stop to it because our country currently prides itself on being a tolerant society. So, where did this tolerance come from? And, can our country continue to keep its tolerance, yet rule in the favor of one side in two different world views?
In the via Antiqua, the third to twelfth century, morality was defined as the pursuit of man’s happiness by living a virtuous life. The virtues in a man inspired his Reason and his Will, both of which gave him interior freedom. That interior freedom resulted in peace and joy. This thinking was endorsed not only by religious belief – but by the State. People found that only states that laid foundations upon this belief were secure, happy and prosperous.
In the fourteenth century however, there was a rupture in the public’s understanding of morality. Happiness and virtue were suddenly on opposing ends in the minds of new philosophers. Ignoring the historical evidence, they declared that virtues were obligatory because of the divine commandments, but that a chasing after happiness was only possible if man succumbed to sinful passion (Find this and more in Morality: The Catholic View by Fr. Servais Pinckaers, O.P.)
Continuing toward progress and change, Cardinal John Henry Newman explains about the public in his nineteenth century Letter on Mr. Gladstone’s Expostulation (abbr.). He says there has been an even greater change that has occurred in the public’s understanding of morality. A person’s conscience is no longer based upon the divine commandments at all. Conscience now listens to the reasoning of each man’s prerogative – each man’s ever changing opinion.
And so we come to the via Moderna, our modern era: a time where each man’s morality is whatever each man wants his morality to be—in other words, moral relativism. With this as the current philosophy, our country must become a country of tolerance – which brings us back to the Fox case, and into the gay marriage debate.
The opposing sides of gay marriage vehemently disagree, but they are allowed to explain their arguments under the societal umbrella of acceptance. In the public square, we see these debates all the time. Red-faced and bull stubborn, they argue their morality before the public eye. But what happens when it enters a geographical region? If you own a plot of land, aren’t you free and able to practice your morality on it – ensuring a tolerant society?
In the days before the Supreme Court must rule on gay marriage, this comes to a head. Those who pitch a tent on the side of gay marriage exclaim that their morality must be tolerated in all the land, whether you own it or not.
Those on the Catholic Christian side scoff and respond that to enforce a morality of gay marriage would be to shut down a Christian morality in the places where Christian morality is practiced; and in a tolerant society, such an all-bars-none approach cannot be allowed.
Arguing like children and blue in the face, all resolutely forget that neither “idea” of morality is truer than the other since both are solely based upon the opinion of each man.
Today though, their argument has gotten so loud that Mother Supreme Court is making a decision just to get them to shut up. However, the question still remains–can one morality (gay marriage) be forced upon a tolerant society and still keep that society tolerant?
The answer is no. Ten years ago, Canada walked this same path, and voted on the side of gay marriage. Today, those with opposing viewpoints are being singled out and removed one-by-one. It shows that there is zero tolerance if one view is forced upon all.
In these coming days, will the Supreme Court be wise enough to recognize that there is a very real chance that a decision in favor of gay marriage will upheave the very foundation of tolerance she stands upon? We have a threat that marriage will be redefined in our country and both parties are currently freely crying out. To silence one of them would be to eliminate tolerance. The tolerant response is to oppose gay marriage and not change a thing.