Among young Catholics there is a growing censorial desire towards adultery and an increase desire to make divorce harder to get which strongly suggests a desire to return to traditional family values, or at least a lament over the loss of such values. But at the same time support for gay marriage, which has long been outside acceptable Christian behavior based on both cultural tradition Biblical edict, despite its being static, sterile, biologically incompatible and culturally new, has increased markedly.
I believe two things have happened to young people at a crucial time in cultural transformation, the decay of the family unit through widespread divorce rates served to create a hollow space in the hearts and minds of young people, a hollow space they desire, either consciously or unconsciously to be filled with any relationship that has the appearance of being committed and lasting. At the same time, since the early 1990’s gay rights advocacy groups shifted their arguments away from personal choice, to family commitments. Homosexuals, no longer argue for the right to be live how they want to live, the so called lifestyle choice, now they argue for the right to be parents, and to engage in marriage ceremonies. The problem for Christians is this… First, to argue that biologically incompatible, sexually inert couples should be allowed to be given the same consideration as biologically normative, sexually compatible couples in committed relationships is a dangerous argument, one that erodes the very foundation of what it means to be a family. To argue against this homosexuals rely on two lines of reasoning, both of them flawed and each rely on the lack of argumentative and rhetorical skill, not to mention general christian and biological knowledge of those whom they argue against.
Homosexuality and Procreation
The first is to turn the argument back around and attempt to compare infertile couples to homosexual couples. We should not allow such arguments to be stand uncontested. The infertile couple, is still fully and in every capacity biologically and sexually compatible. The inability to conceive a child through various dysfunctions of the body is not related to the bodies basic capacity to procreate. BY contrast homosexuals are fundamentally incapable of any act of procreation that is normative to homosexual acts. This is not related to a dysfunction, but to a specific choice of sexual partner, just as masturbation can never lead to procreation neither should homosexuality be considered procreative.
In response you can expect a line of reasoning with either personal attacks, or by retreating into the assumption that the average person does not understand how biological procreation actually functions. The sad truth is that for many honest, well meaning Christians there is a deep lack of human biology. It is worth noting that the same weakness also makes it difficult for many Christians to argue against abortion from a biological perspective.
Another argument is more difficult to address. It posits that marriage is not related to procreation. From a cultural perspective this is actually correct, though it represents a cultural decay, not cultural liberation. It is difficult to argue against gay marriage when as a culture we have distanced marriage from procreation in general. The task for Christian’s is to come to terms with how far we have lost the cultural fight and why. Single parents, no fault divorce, invitro-fertilization, birth control, etc have all conspired to remove procreation from marriage at the cultural level.
Homosexuality and Civil Rights
The second basic argument gay marriage advocates used is one of Civil Rights. This is the argument that stings Christians because it suggests that being opposed to homosexuality means by default that you want to oppress someone. It is the argument that seeks to make a connection between those who love their families and value procreation to the most vile form of American bred terror targeting the black community up to the 1970’s. It is at its core a form of baiting and frankly, Christians need to tread carefully when arguing against this line of reasoning as it can be a veritable minefield to the unprepared. To address this successfully we must first pick the arena. It is foolish to attempt to argue against this on public blogging forums. The ideas are to complex and to nuanced and you can rest assured that this is the line of argument where you will face the most viscous personal attacks. If the argument for the biological aspects of homosexuality are for scoring intellectual points, then this is the arena where blood is drawn and to the unaware Christian who stumbles into this arena it will be a very bloody affair.
Before we can begin to address the arguments against homosexual marriage from a Civil Rights perspective we must first set the terms and understand what they mean. So to begin I ask the following question. Please note that I will use terms that ARE uncomfortable, that ARE offensive and that WILL be hurtful. This is deliberate but is not meant to cause pain, rather I do it to fully illustrate the pain of the subject and why it matters to both a historical understanding and the implications for modern discussion on Civil Rights.
What was it like for a negro slave living in American under Chattel slavery? What better way to answer this question that to show you…
In the 19th century, this was what lacking Civil Rights meant. This is the image gay marriage advocates seek to convey. When they accuse you of denying Civil Rights, they are in fact accusing you of being the same sort of men and women who did this to other human beings in an age not so long ago. In more recent memory, long after the last slave was freed, Civil Rights had a different face…
The above picture is not representative of an isolate crime but is instead relative to the systematic, socially and culturally endorsed, civil minded, pre-Civil Rights America. Even when not technically legal, such actions were considered to be socially responsible. By contrast, homosexuals have nothing to fear from such systematic atrocities and any action taken by individuals is already fully criminalized through numerous laws, thus effectively giving greater protection to homosexuals, as a protected class than that which other non-protected classes now enjoy.
This too is how gay marriage advocates seek to paint you. We must not make the mistake of thinking anything less and so we should be prepared to be painted as such if we choose to stand on moral principle and protect traditional marriage and family values. We should also remember that traditional, family values have been used by corrupted regimes to do great harm to others, from Miscegenation to the Holocaust. Because of this we need to be very careful of the terms we use, how and when we use them and why they matter in very different ways to different people.
Before we begin, ask yourself prior to any argument, why does traditional family matter? In the face of such hateful imagery why should we take a stand? What shall we say in a manner that has meaning, that is creative and that espouses the value of both life and human dignity?
I suggest, as a piece of advice, look at those photos above and always keep them in your mind because no matter what you say there are those who will see in your argument nothing less than the same inhuman savagery that once justified chattel slavery.
Now lets consider Civil Rights in the Gay Community…
To put it simply. Homosexuals enjoy all the same rights and privileges that any one else does. In fact to suggest that there is a real comparison between the need for Civil Rights and the invention of new Civil Rights in the gay community is patently offensive, which is why the black community is so quick to make it clear the fight for black equality is not the same fight for gay equality. Homosexuals engage in a practice of choice. The sexual yearnings may or may not be a choice, that is another discussion, but acting on those yearnings is a choice. Being black is not a choice. Why does this matter? Because it is not the role of government to legislate protections for choice based behaviors, though to be sure the government does this far too often (see addendum 1). For a black man living in the 19th century, or even most of the 20th century the fact that he was born black was enough to render him unequal. His oppression was directly tied to his biological nature. By contrast any opposition to being gay has to do with behaviors and acts, ranging from the effeminate manner many gay men act to the act of parenthood and its benefit to children. There is no particular hostility towards homosexuals that is based on their innate biological character. Let me explain it this way. For a black man in segregates Alabama, he could not live in the closet, he could not conceal his blackness, he could not live as a white person. He was fundamentally black and so all opposition to him as a person was directed against his fundamental being. On the other hand, a gay man or woman is only noticeably gay based on their actions or their professes sexual orientation. There is also no denying that this goes back to biological compatibility. When blacks were prevented from marrying through miscegenation laws it was to curb the black population and to stop the genetic influence of blacks from entering white population. This was of course wrong But it is also wrong from the gay community to use that history as a bolster for their own arguments. Why? Simply put, because two heterosexual beings engaged in opposite sex, biological normative sexual relations can produce offspring. So while miscegenation was morally wrong, it was at least grounded on a basic biological premise. But two homosexual partners, as I stated earlier are pro-creatively incompatible at a biological level.
But the Christian does not need to stand alone in this. To best argue against the comparison between Gay rights and Civil Rights we have but to look at the recent Amicus Brief filled on behalf of more than 100 black clergymen, and civil rights leaders in Michigan. It is worth quoting some sections…
“those who devote their lives to America’s time-honored family values, morality, and the Christian faith”.
“support the vote of 2.7 million citizens of Michigan who cast their vote and enacted the Michigan Marriage Amendment to secure the sanctity of the traditional family, as it is defined by God in the Bible”.
“The Michigan Marriage Amendment (hereinafter “MMA”) does not serve a
discriminatory purpose. Rather, it states:
To secure and preserve the benefits of marriage for our society and for
future generations of children, the union of one man and one woman
in marriage shall be the only agreement recognized as a marriage or
similar union for any purpose.
Mich. Const. Art. I, § 25. The MMA denies no one the right to marry. Every man
in the State of Michigan is allowed to marry. Every woman in the State of
Case: 14-1341 Document: 74 Filed: 05/15/2014 Page: 83
Michigan is allowed to marry. The MMA simply codifies our long-standing definition of marriage, and it is the right of our state’s voters to do so. UnitedStates v. Windsor, 133 S. Ct. 2675, 2691 (2013)(stating that “regulation of domestic relations” is “an area that has long been regarded as a virtually exclusive province of the States.”)”
“A person’s sexuality and sexual preferences, however, are not their state of being, or even an immutable aspect of who they are, as race is. The truth of the matter is that it is merely activity in which they engage.”
” The state has no responsibility to promote any person’s sexual
proclivities, whether heterosexual, homosexual, or otherwise—and certainly is not
required to accept that one’s sexual conduct preference is the same as an
immutable characteristic like race”.
Paul Brandeis Raushenbush writing for the Huffington Post says this…“Indeed, when looked at critically, even the liberal mind should rightly see the usurpation of the Civil Rights movement by the gay community as at best problematic and at worst, devious”.
Raushenbush then goes on to say that in America “I can be targeted if I do not conform to gender norms or reach to show any affection for the one I love.”. Why does this matter to us? Because the seeds of the fallacy lay in the very argument itself. Conformity to Gender Norms exist because gender does have a norm, that being procreative in nature. I argue that gender serves no other purpose in creation (for Christians) or in evolution (for secularists) than to ensure procreation. Every facet of ones gender is specifically geared towards the procreative act.
The history of the treatment of African Americans in the United States is unique in its brutality, injustice, and deprivation. Black history has its own narrative of suffering along with an inspiring, ongoing struggle towards dignity and freedom. Black American history should not and cannot be co-opted by any other group — including the LGBT community. In addition, it is an absurdity to claim anyone is being targeted in a negative sense of the word. Liberals do not call it targeting when they reach out to “rock the vote”, or when they pass out condoms to children in public school. The difference goes back to gender normalization. It is simply not targeting to point to a deviation from the norm, it is instead discernment. This is exactly why the gay community, who espouse a drastic redefinition of gender norms, and sexual rights stop short of aligning with those in the polygamous movement or with organizations like NAMBLA, that promote the free and equal expression of love between men and boys. Gay rights groups are very careful not to align with such groups because it raises to them uncomfortable questions of what is normal and who gets to define it, despite the fact that the gay community is attempting nothing less and no mopre moral than the same sort of call for equality of choice and action. The reality is that if we so easily redefine gender, then we have no reason not to just as easily redefine sexual age of consent laws, or to define what is a socially acceptable age gap between sexual partners. For this reason it is very important for the Christian to see the bigger picture. Homosexuality is not isolated, it is connected to a much larger liberal social agenda that seeks in part to confer upon children at ever younger ages all the rights of adulthood. What some Christians see as an erosion of parental authority in liberal social causes is in fact part and parcel of a more general erosion and redefining of what it means to be human.
But what does the Bible really say?
The Bible is a single work of collective wisdom so we must understand it in totality to understand what it actually says on any single issue. So what does the Bible say about homosexuality? First of all there is no doubt that the Bible condemns sin as a moral sin. One need only to look at Leviticus 18:22, Judges 19, Romans 1:18, 1 Corinthians and 1 Timothy to see that homosexuality is at best considered to be a grave sin, at worst an abomination before the Lord. It is important to know these pertinent verses but what is more important it the ability to move beyond them and see the Bible as a cohesive whole, as a chain with individual links holding together a greater whole. In this light why then is homosexuality a sin? Specifically it goes back to the idea of Family as God ordained it. If we were to create a brief timeline we would see how important procreation is to Gods will.
* Before Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden God speaks to Eve about procreation.
* Noah is chosen to save mankind through his descendants. Not to mention the presence of breeding pairs of animal. God could have simply recreated the earth and yet he chose to allow the earth to flourish through procreative acts.
* Abraham is chosen in his old age past the age of parentage and the first covenant is marked through procreation. Without procreation there would be no great nation.
* Time and time again we are given generations in the bible. Without a value on procreation there would be no value on familial history.
* One of the ten commandments is to honor your father and your mother.
* The world is saved through Jesus Christ who is both man and God. Without procreation there would be no Virgin Mary and thus no Jesus Christ.
So while we can argue all we want about the purpose of God there is no doubt that his purpose was carried out through procreation and that He places high value on procreation. By contrast, anything that goes against the procreative ability God takes a hostile view of, from Spilling ones seed, to homosexuality, to the failure of parents to provide for their children, etc.
What does this all mean to Christians
Having said all this, let us now reflect on what it means to be Christian… We are all sinners and all in need of saving Grace. When we were warned of passing judgement on others while we have a plank in our own eye it was not, as some liberals will argue, a caution not to issue any criticism. That is absurd and dangerous moral relativism. Christians are called to evangelize and to show discernment. When the stakes are death it would be a cruelty not to rebuke others for their sins, just as it would be a cruelty for our own sins to go unnoticed by our fellow Christians. Instead it was a call to stay away from hypocrisy in all its forms. So while we might rightly condemn homosexuality, we must do so with an eye towards serving the glory of God and saving our fellow man. We must never allow ourselves to become moral elitists nor should we lose sight of our own sinful nature. It is far too easy to convince ourselves that what really matters to God is everyone else’s sin, but not our own.
Remember that the world does no claim to be an absolute truth, so it is free to define truth any way it wishes. The world makes no claim to moral authority, so it is free to embrace any morality, or none at all. Christians on the other hand are called to a single truth and a single moral authority. If one person fails the measure of the world, then the world takes no notice, but if one Christian fails the measure of God, then the world takes notice of all Christians. To be a community of the faithful also means that the world will judge us by those in our community.
Also remember that while the issues at hand could be qualified as a Gay agenda or you are opposed, or a Gay rights movement if you support, it is actually a personal, individual concern so when choosing our words remember that at the other end of our words are real people, often people who are confused, angry, alone, looking for love and compassion. The truth is we love one another in ways that are complex and often confounding so to stand against the sinfulness of homosexuality is morally correct it not particularity helpful to a dialogue. As Christians we need to do as good a job, or better of loving the sinner, as we do of hating the sin and we should always remember that when we hate any sin, we hate not only the sin of others, we also hate the sin within our own hearts because Jesus Christ died for all of us, the adulterer, the murderer, the homosexual, the tax cheat, the liar, you and me. Ours is but to strive to live a new life according to the way of Jesus Christ and to show that way to others, sometimes correcting them, sometimes, pointing out their sins, and sometimes by getting out of the way and allowing God to the work he wants to do in their hearts and minds.
Oswald Chambers once wrote…
“One of the hardest lessons to learn comes from our stubborn refusal to refrain from interfering in other people’s lives. It takes a long time to realize the danger of being an amateur providence, that is, interfering with God’s plan for others”.
Now be firm, be resolute, stand under the protection of the living God, but also stand with your God given strengths be it silence or speech, argument or example and remember to be catechized in Biblical truths and why they matter.
***addendum 1 why the government should stay out (expand) – Puritans endorsed purely civil marriage ceremonies, stripping religion from the matrimony… By giving the government authority to legislate marriage, be it in favor of or against homosexuality we give the government authority to define what marriage itself is for everyone.