Up until [recently] the Church, in hunting down [the sin of lust], has had the active alliance of Caesar, who has been concerned to maintain family solidarity and the orderly devolution of property in the interest of the state. Now that contract and not status is held to be the basis of society, Caesar need no longer rely on the family to maintain social solidarity; and now that so much property is held anonymously by trusts and joint stock companies, the laws of inheritance lose a great deal of their importance. Consequently, Caesar is now much less interested than he was in the sleeping arrangements of his citizens, and has in this manner cynically denounced his alliance with the Church. This is a warning against putting one’s trust in any child of man – particularly in Caesar. If the Church is to continue her campaign against lust, she must do so on her own – that is, on sacramental – grounds; and she will have to do it, if not in defiance of Caesar, at least without his assistance.
– Dorothy Sayers, from The Other Six Deadly Sins
Now I know that is not the full story. I'm aware that with any such seismic shift in culture as we have seen with the widespread embrace of so called 'gay marriage' there is more than one factor that has lead to this point. As someone has said, a tall tower requires a deep foundation whose bricks were laid long before the visible ones at the top. I've actually written elsewhere about how the Church is largely responsible for the tragic car crash that is the decline of Christian morality in the West. However, I think Sayers is onto something here in that the State has been encouraged to care less about the traditional family with the depersonalization of property. As Matthew Jepsen says:
The rise of the legal contract (versus inheritance by blood), the stock market, and public corporations, set the foundation for people to act as free agents apart from their money and land and families in a way unprecedented in civilization before. During the sexual revolution, Caesar (the government) woke up one day and realized that IT no longer cared who slept with who and so the champions of traditional morality lost a powerful (though incidental) ally. The irony is that this new foundation was often laid by conservative capitalists – sometimes very religious ones – who never dreamed of it’s far-reaching consequences.
Wow. Yikes. Let me give you a moment to recover...and then having recovered we need to think quickly how as Christians who are committed to Capitalism (is there another sort?) need to respond biblically and faithfully. Answers on a postcard please.