The Supreme Court Rejects Natural Law

It's now up to the churches to guard what is graven on the heart of man

On the face of it, the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling that the government should stay out of people's bedrooms seems reasonable enough. Had law evolved "ex nihilo"—from nothing—then indeed why not strike down Texas' ban on private consensual sex between adults of the same gender?

But until now there seemed to have been a consensus among societies with monotheistic traditions that all civil law was rooted in natural law, which is written upon created order and, as the apostle Paul put it, "graven on the heart of man."

Natural law is God's witness even to societies, which do not acknowledge him. Since time immemorial most healthy cultures have shared a belief that it is wrong to murder, steal, lie, commit adultery—and commit certain sexual acts considered deviate.

This is not to say that for every violation of natural law, including homosexual behavior, people should be locked up or fined; if this were so, more straight than same-sex couples would find themselves behind bars, simply because the former outnumber the latter. Much of what is against natural law is thankfully no longer punishable.

However, much as we may agree on this, the Supreme Court has taken matters considerably further. "The court system legalizes the departure from natural law," warns the Rev. Gerald E. Murray, a Catholic priest and canon lawyer in New York. "The Supreme Court reads the current liberal agenda as if it were incorporated into the Constitution by those who wrote it. And with that the court is engaging in a major falsehood."

Of course, it is open to debate to "what extent civil law must follow natural law," allows the Rev. Gerald R. McDermott, an evangelical Episcopal priest and professor of religion and philosophy. Yet the Texas case has probably ...

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