Commentary on social and moral issues of the day

Homosexuality and the Corruption of a Culture: San Francisco is only the beginning

John Mark Reynolds

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"Traditional marriage is hard to defend. Why shouldn't two people in love be allowed to get married? Aren't we small government conservatives interested in maximizing liberty? Isn't this just another civil rights struggle?"

The people asking these questions then propose an alternative reality. In this reality, children do not need fathers and mothers. We are told to imagine a libertarian paradise: small government that stayed out of our front and back pockets. Sexuality is deemed a private act, mainly centered in pleasure. Character is not formed by sexual action. This paradise will come to pass only if the law is defied and marriage is redefined.

As long ago as Plato, such utopian dreaming was evident as folly. The most important public act my wife and I have performed is to leave our nation four healthy, thriving children. Raising such children demands great sacrifice of time and treasure. For the nation to sustain itself, it must encourage such labor. To fantasize that anything other than a husband and wife will have the significant number of multiple births per couple a culture needs is to deny reality. Only a man and a woman can make a child without resorting to the expensive, and morally questionable, baby boutiques where homosexual couples can purchase their single designer baby.

In any case, it is difficult to see how it can be good for a child, overwhelmingly likely to be sexually normal, to be raised in a same-sex household. The transition to sexual maturity is difficult enough for most young adults without the added pain of being raised by persons who define themselves by their sexual proclivities.

Even if performed in private, sexuality is a profoundly public act, as San Francisco is once again proving. It is also one of the most powerful human impulses. It can elevate or corrupt men and women. Sexuality can turn into a trap or it can be a great blessing. The time consumed by millions of men on pornography saps the productivity of the nation while producing nothing, not even much pleasure in the end. Regulation of sexuality has been the cornerstone of every free society. Why? Free societies depend on the self-regulation of free men and women to allow government to remain small. Sexuality shapes men and women at a very basic level. Deviant sexuality produces character in need of social intervention and care. Big state governments and over regulation are not found in Alabama, but are found in San Francisco.

This explains in part why nations with "advanced" views of sexuality have become welfare states. Infantile adults who spend large amounts of time building their lives around their sexual preferences (whether biological or homosexual) will never make the time to grow up. Sexual libertines can never have full political liberty. Of course, regulation of sexuality by itself does not lead to liberty or Moslem societies would all be free. Sexual restraint is a vital, necessary, but not sufficient characteristic of free men and women.

A sign of a dysfunctional society is when one is asked to prove the obvious. Homosexuality is not natural. Sexual relations, and the body parts that go with them, are designed for reproduction and for pleasure. The two functions are joined. Males and females are quite literally made for each other. Any other form of sexuality is deviant in the sense that it is not natural, not part of God's design plan for human beings. Humans are bi-sexual.

The usual response to this obvious fact is for someone to claim that biological sex is not natural to them. They are attracted to people of the same sex. However, this proves nothing. "Natural" is not determined by the inclinations of individuals, but by the obvious design plan placed in human beings by their creator. Homosexuality defies this design plan and is a sad deviation from it leading, as most deviations for design do, to a reproductive dead end. Such persons should be left alone, if they do not wish to be helped, but they should not receive social approval for their vice. There is no societal good to be gained from approving of actions that have no future.

But isn't homosexuality harmless? How could we measure such harm? Studies on this topic are fraught with bias and political motivation. No matter what the result the study receives more scrutiny and critical attention than would be the case in normal science. However, there does seem to be some evidence that homosexuality is not good for most persons involved in it. (http://www.family.org/cforum/fosi/homosexuality/maf/a0028248.cfm) Unlike race or ethnicity, homosexuality is defined by a behavior or a desire for a behavior. Therefore, outside of sexual expressions it seems incapable of producing any unique culture.

Of course, at the moment no one is talking about making wicked sexual practices illegal in California. There is an argument to be made for laws against adultery and public homosexual practice, but this is not what is at stake in California. California is being asked to confer benefits on homosexual couples. Californians are being asked to approve of homosexuality, not tolerate it. This places a much higher burden on the homosexual couple to prove why society should grant them this approval.

"Love" is usually taken as the justification for giving benefits to couples. However, "love" is not why biological couples are given benefits. In fact, if love is defined as a passion, then it is hard to see why the fact that someone loves someone else shows that it is good that they do so. It would not be hard to cite examples of "loves" that are deemed inappropriate by everyone, including the homosexual activist. Great crimes, as well as great goods, have been done in the name of love.

The state has no reason to give benefits to people in love as love does no societal work. In the end, it will be biological couples that will carry the great burden of securing the future of California and civil marriage benefits are designed to help them do so. Nothing stops homosexual couples from getting religious marriages, by far more meaningful, if they desire to join a church that allows them. In fact, this already happens. Most of the benefits of "couples" most pushed for by homosexual couples, such as hospital visitation rights, should be granted on grounds other than the relationship in question. For example, hospitals have for too long been insensitive to patient needs and wants. A signed card giving permission for hospital visitation in the event of emergency to anyone chosen by the cardholder would alleviate such concerns. State marriage is not necessary.

A lack of natural desires, in fact deviant desires, in a person in one area may not lead to deviant desires in any other area. Persecution of people burdened with the sterile love of homosexuality is not conducive to their healing. However, giving public approval to it is even more unlikely to help. This is as true of "special rights" as of the sanction of marriage.

Giving "homosexuals' protected status, and marriage rights, under the law will prove impossible. Homosexual activists must prevent themselves from being defined by their sexual actions. Therefore, many have argued that they "are homosexual" in the same way people are male or female. Homosexuality is not something one does, but that one "is." Only then can their status even remotely be compared to race or ethnicity. People may even engage in biologically normal sexuality and still be "repressed homosexuals."

However, this means that anyone can simply declare that they are homosexual, marry anyone else, and gain the rights of marriage and protected legal status. One need not engage in homosexual behaviors, in fact would could never have homosex, and still declare oneself to be "homosexual." Homosexuals make a great point that one cannot "pick out" a homosexual person by external factors (as one can with race). What if every person in California opposed to protected status for homosexuals simply began to declare on state forms that they were homosexuals? How would a court determine that they were not, in fact, homosexuals? If two men wanted to "marry" to protect the other from testifying about a business partnership in which they were engaged, then how could the court determine if their marriage was a sham? Sex as a test is out, or homosexuality is reduced to what iis, a behavior. The state will accept the declared sexuality of the partners. Gay marriage and protected status for homosexuals depends on the questionable notion that non-homosexuals will not think of such tricks.

Usually, at this point, some hapless soul brings up laws forbidding interracial marriage in the United States. These laws were always unnatural. The very arguments I have been using show this to be the case. The biology of persons of color is not different in any relevant manner to that of Caucasians. Unlike "male" and "female" the distinctions between races were arbitrary and artificial. However, the very internal and genetic structure of men and women are different. Here is no small basis on which to reasonably discriminate.

Finally, religion is also not a private thing. Traditional religions like Christianity claim to know things, to be knowledge traditions. This means that they make assertions about reality that can be tested.

Christianity claims to have heard from God. One may reject these claims, but should do so only with study and care in the same manner that one would choose to reject the authority of scientists when they proclaim in their areas of specialization.

Ethics is uniquely unfit for science to determine "right and wrong." Just because humans want to do a thing, and can do it, does not mean they should. The end of human action is hard for humans, mixed up in the passion of it, to see. Human behavior is not easy to study. Science has made certain proclamations that things are "harmless" or "bad" in the past. Scientist who posture in public on this issue are talking outside their area of expertise. Priests and pastors are not.

If God who made humans has spoken to us, then this knowledge would be invaluable. Christianity has always taught that homosexual relations are sinful. Is Christianity really hearing from God on this issue? (Since traditional Judaism and Islam agree, with almost all the other world religions on homosexuality, the question is of more than parochial importance.)

If Christianity is true, then God views homosexuality as wicked. He judges wicked nations as well as wicked men. For a nation to allow private wickedness is one thing. For it to call it good and reward it is another. It may be old fashioned to say it, but America runs the risk of falling under the wrath of God.

To what end? The couples being married in San Francisco do not look to be underfed or oppressed. Unlike poor Judge Roy Moore who tried to place the Ten Commandments in the courthouse in Alabama, the mayor of San Francisco does not face impeachment for defying the law. Then why press on an unwilling state, homosexual marriage? And do not be deceived. The demands will not end there. Soon religious colleges will lose the right to student money for their students, if they do not approve of homosexuality. Canada demonstrates that even in the pulpit, traditional religious teachings will not be safe. Anti-homosexual "rights" will not long be tolerated, but will soon be officially proclaimed as evil in public school textbooks. The sad case of the Anglican Church shows the steps clearly. The process is all too familiar to those who have seen their own church fall to the spirit of our age. First, Californians are asked to tolerate the homosexualist. Second, they are cajoled into muting condemnation of what once had been wrong. Finally, they are forced, even in their own institutions, to applaud homosexuality. The love that used to dare not speak its name will now force all of us to talk about it ceaselessly and with politically enforced care. Soon all California will be shaped after the pattern of San Francisco. The left will prosper and the right decline. Libertarians obsessed with simplistic slogans and thinking will approve at first from their fringe, but look in terror as the nanny state grows as it always does. They will not have meant to do so, but the libertarians will have delivered California to the libertines. All so that a small, wealthy, but influential segment of the California public can still for a moment their own consciences and defy nature and nature's God.

John Mark Reynolds is the founder and director of the Torrey Honors Institute, and Associate Professor of Philosophy, at Biola University. Read this article on the California Republic website. Reprinted with permission.

Posted: 9/2/04

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