"If there is anything that links the human to the divine, it is the courage to stand by a principle when everybody else rejects it." -- Abraham Lincoln
History is full of warnings about what happens when people follow public opinion instead of standing by their principles. In its most extreme manifestation, public opinion might well become mob rule when vigilantes take the law into their own hands.
Major media have whipped the crowd into its latest frenzy over same-sex marriage, or should I say "marriage equality," the latest euphemism, likely intended to make the masses more accepting of what was once unacceptable. And the masses, which increasingly answer "none" when asked about any religious affiliation or moral code, appear ready for it. The U.S. Supreme Court, not the Supreme Judge, now rules supreme.
But there are consequences for living as one pleases. Look at the fallout that our culture continues to experience from the '60s generation and its throwing off of the ideals and structures of mainstream society. The "Age of Aquarius," and its countercultural revolution, has given way to an increase in drug use, no-fault divorce, cohabitation, out-of-wedlock births and abortion. Everything's fair game. Nothing's off limits. Anything goes.
Now, we are about to witness the latest cultural domino to fall. Imagine states without boundaries and speed without limits. What same-sex marriage proponents seem to be asking the Court to do is to remove ancient boundary lines for human relationships based on what they wish to do. That opens the door to anything and everything else, depending on how well-organized they are and what political clout they can muster.
Personal experience, like that of Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, who announced recently that his son is gay, is now supposed to trump Scripture and the will of California voters? While most politicians take their oaths of office on the Bible, many of them prove by their actions that they don't believe, or follow, what's in it. Better they should place their hands on Rolling Stone or People magazines, which more accurately reflect the direction and attitude of contemporary culture. Perhaps Kim Kardashian should decide where the country stands on same-sex marriage?
It's when individuals, not God, become the standard by which truth and right and wrong are judged that we get a Supreme Court deciding our ultimate direction.
Some liberals believe the Constitution is a "living" document that must constantly evolve to fit the times. It is not. Some liberal theologians believe the same about the Scriptures. They believe these, too, must evolve, because serving God is no longer the standard; serving Man is.
Suzanne Collins, author of "The Hunger Games" trilogy has observed: "... collective thinking is usually short-lived. We're fickle, stupid beings with poor memories and a great gift for self-destruction."
In his 1882 play, "An Enemy of the People," Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen wrote, "Public opinion is an extremely mutable thing."
Indeed it is and the fickle public, relying on the opinion of others, instead of eternal truths, to shape beliefs, is treading on very thin ice that has already begun to crack.
Following public opinion can and usually does, lead to moral, social and political anarchy. I give you the Roman Empire and the ancient city of Corinth, in the event that anything about history and how it can repeat itself, absent immutable principles, is being adequately taught in schools today.
Email nationally syndicated columnist Cal Thomas at email@example.com.