Today is Valentines Day. A local radio station ran a sweepstakes for a wedding package. The prize was to have a wedding and reception completely paid for. The catch? Have your ceremony broadcast over the radio. Maybe that isn’t a catch for some people, but it doesn’t interest me at all. In my mind this is along the lines of billboards on the outfield wall at a baseball field, or brand name logos painted on a race car. The couple who won the sweepstakes might as well have similar advertising attached to their clothing and signs around wherever it is they are having the ceremony. “This wedding brought to you by…” I hope all goes well for them and they have a great day, but I worry about the mindset behind the whole thing, on the part of the hosts, whether that’s the radio station or a local wedding business person. I really hope the two getting married are taking advantage of this offer to have an extravagant party on someone else’s dime, having already planned to be married before this sweepstakes came up. Call me a pessimist but I worry that with our cultural attitude towards marriage on the decline that a couple could get together and enter this contest without any sincere interest in the marriage part.
Earlier in the week I heard a news interview with a few “regular” people asking opinions about the Pope’s retirement announcement. One of the women interviewed said that after so many older Popes maybe this time there will be a younger Pope who will be more in tune with modern times. She specifically indicated allowing women in the priesthood and acceptance of gay marriage. I don’t mind you calling me a pessimist, but to call me prejudiced wouldn’t be fair. I am not a Catholic, so I won’t attempt to say what that denomination should or shouldn’t do, but I do support tradition where tradition supporting is warranted. Just like I worry about people turning their wedding experience into an advertising scheme, I worry about people changing the value system of a religion. Don’t churches claim to be doing the work of God? Don’t they claim to be following his direction? Then how could they change policies or commandments without a clear edict from God?
Just because society changes doesn’t mean that it is in accordance with God’s eternal plans.
I don’t think it is immoral to sell out your wedding to advertisers. I do think it shows a lack of respect for the marriage vow or covenant. I don’t think it is wrong for people to have opinions that are contrary to long held traditional beliefs. I do think it is dangerous to dismiss long held traditional beliefs on the basis of “everyone is doing it.” Remember, social conformity isn’t always right. I believe that morality doesn’t change. It is static. The natural laws existed at the creation of this world and have never lost effect since. People have changed, society and culture have changed, but natural laws of morality have not. This way of thinking demands acceptance of an objective, absolute morality, which I do believe exists. It can’t be proven without subjective experience, however, so my word on it isn’t sufficient. All of this remains simply my opinion, but with the challenge to develop your own opinion on the matter. It is likely that as you’ve read my words you’ve felt your opinion express itself, possibly very strongly, as an emotional reaction to one or another point I’ve mentioned. Emotion is good, it is powerful, but unless it is coupled with reason and rationality it can be dangerous. My next post will consider emotional responses and the matter of rationality.
What do you think? Are the traditional concepts of marriage between man and woman, family consisting of mother, father and children, and a focus on God all out of date? Is the societal trend towards secularism better than the former trend of faith in God? Is morality being cast aside in the interest of adaptation to self-esteem at any cost?