In my latest reading of It Takes a Family: Conservatism and the Common Good, Rick Santorum criticizes same-sex marriage and laments the erosion of community.
Santorum longs for communitarianism, which entails people thinking
about the well-being of others. For Santorum, traditional marriage is
consistent with that because it entails a man and a woman committing to
each other and to their children. And community associations such as
bowling-leagues foster selflessness and community because members have
to show up because their team is counting on them. When there is a
greater sense of community, Santorum argues, there is social capital,
and this is the sort of thing that can help the poor.
associates same-sex marriage with individualism, for it makes marriage a
matter of romantic attachment rather than commitment to children. But I
ask: Could same-sex marriage be consistent with values such as
commitment and selflessness? I agree with Santorum that it's tragic
that marriage these days has become a lot like dating or going steady,
but I don't think that same-sex marriage is responsible for that, or
that same-sex marriage has to be like that.
At the same time, I
wonder: If we as a country are to disregard what our Judeo-Christian
heritage says about homosexuality, does that relegate that heritage to a
state of non-importance? What narrative, then, would we have that
could help us to strengthen families and communities? Like it or not,
our Judeo-Christian heritage has been a significant factor in
encouraging Americans to be selfless. What could we replace it with?
Or would we even need to replace it, since there are
gay-friendly versions of Christianity, plus even American Christianity
disregards parts of the Bible (knowingly or unknowingly)?
same-sex marriage, Santorum believes that marriage being primarily a
matter of romantic attachment has contributed to the declining birth
rates in Europe. The result, Santorum argues, is that in Europe there will not be
a sufficient younger generation to support the older
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