In the wake of the Supreme Courts ruling last week that nationalized same sex marriage as a “constitutional right” many people have been openly wondering and talking about whether or not they should obey “God’s” law when it comes to marriage or to follow the legislating from the bench otherwise known as “Man’s” law.
It’s a moral and legal dilemma for many and it is one that may have an answer in a 2500 year old Greek play by the legendary playwright Sophocles.
Antigone is the title protagonist and is faced with a choice obey the law’s of man, her King, and leave one of her brothers who had just died fighting each other over rule of the city-state of Thebes unburied or to follow the laws of the ancient Greek Gods and her people’s cultural and religious tradition of burying all dead so that their souls could cross over into the afterlife.
Creon, the ruler of Thebes, had decreed that anyone who buried Antigone’s brother would be sentenced to death. Knowing this Antigone steadfastly chose to follower her conscience, the traditions of all Greeks, the edicts of the Gods, and buried her brother.
She was arrested and charged with the crime and openly admitted what she had done and outright challenged the morality and authority of Creon to issue the order in the first place, he was unmoved. Crean was warned that if he carried out his punishment a heavy punishment would befall he and his family for defying the Gods.
In the end Antigone would commit suicide which prompted Creon’s family members to do the same or to disown him.
At least from my reading of Sophocles work it is clear that to the Athenians, the creators of what has become our system of government, there was an order to this universe and that the laws of we mere mortals was secondary or subservient to others.
For tens, if not hundreds of millions of Americans marriage isn’t an advent of man it is something that comes from something higher than us and for them the definition and meaning of marriage starts of with being about a union of one man and one woman, and that is supposed to be set in stone, so to speak.
And thus County Clerks from Kentucky to Alabama, cake bakers in Oregon, photographers here, innkeepers there, and O’ so soon the Priest and Pastors everywhere are being faced with the same kind predicament that confronted Antigone. Do they obey that thousands, and thousands, or years old traditional definition of marriage that has the force of being “God’s Law”, that definition of marriage that should have been protected by the Constitutions circuit-breaker for governmental or judicial overreach the 10th Amendment. Or do they obey the therapeutic psedo-psychological self-esteem boosting goobeldy gook that is to pass for Justice Kennedy’s “Man’s Law” on marriage that now has been meaning, and so no boundaries.
Just as Creon backed-up his edict with the penalty of death, the Antigone’s of today also face similar punishments if those dare to obey “God’s Law” or the whims of man. While the physical punishment of death may be off the table, what is life when ones livelihood is taken from them by punitive fine, or boycott, or other economic threat. What is life when ones rights(Constitutional and Natural) to conscience, speech, and religious liberty are shackled. What is life when ones very liberty is threatened by the antics of a rabid mob of enforcers of the Judicial Tyranny waiting to descend upon any who dare dissent or disagree.
Antigone was willing, and actually did, die for principle and for the natural order of how things are decided in society. To her the rule of law matter more than the temporary arbiters of it.
Those who do, can not, will not surrender on the issue of marriage should take solace in the true Greek tragedy that is Antigone(and the rest of the series Sophocles wrote about Oedipus, his family, and Thebes). After everyone has died at the end Sophocles concluded the play with the people of the city of Thebes wishing Creon had agreed to Antigone’s position.
cross posted from USofArn.com