Crossing the

Delware River…George Washington did, as this painting in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York recounts.

The Commodore Barry Bridge crosses the Delaware.

30th-Street Station rises above the Schuylkill, just up from the Delaware.

Speaking of the Revolutionary War: the Declaration of Independence declares that we hold to be “self-evident” that “all men are created equal.”

Is this self-evident? What do we mean by ‘equal?’

Certainly we do not mean that all men, women, and children are of equal height, weight, toothsomeness, intelligence, earning-capacity, or dexterity. We do not mean that all communicate with equal effectiveness, contribute with equal generosity, or smile with equal radiance or frequency.

In fact, we would be hard-pressed to name a single observable quality in which all men share equally.

The equality of all men shimmers with self-evidence when we take one crucial thing for granted. Namely, that God loves us all with divine love. This has been demonstrated by the Son of God, when He died.

“All men are created equal”–a self-evident proposition, to a Christian. Nonetheless, whenever anyone asserts the equality of men, we need to bear in mind precisely this supernatural dimension of the equality. We are equal in God’s sight. We are not equal in each other’s sight.

The respect in which we are equal trumps. All our natural rights proceed from our equality in the sight of God. We have a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness because we are the darlings of God.

To seek our equality in anything else sets up a fall. To insist that we have rights for any other reason invites calamity. We are altogether unequal, except in the quality which matters most: God made us for no other reason than to love us. That much is true of absolutely every last one of us.

Approval-Seeking Missiles

As I sat listening to testimony about the D.C. Council’s “Same-Sex Marriage” Act, the key question that emerged in my mind is: Why is this happening?

To listen to all of the Council members and most of the witnesses at the hearing, the answer would be: It is happening became this is a matter of justice and human rights. “Marriage equality” is the civil-rights cause of our era. It is something that “obviously makes sense.” (Mary Cheh)

Mary Cheh
Councilmember Cheh

All of this, however, is manifestly untrue. Most of the witnesses who testified against the bill objected to the exclusion of District voters from the debate. The powers that be in the city government refuse to refer the same-sex marriage question to the ballot box. Councilmember Catania took it upon himself to lecture Bishop Jackson about 19th-century voter referendae.

It certainly would make sense to refer the question to the voters. But even if every citizen of the District insisted that someone was suffering an injustice over who can get a marriage license these days, there still wouldn’t actually be any injustice.

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