Why Christians – and Not “Gay Marriage”- Are Destroying America
Recently, Douglas Wilson held a debate with Andrew Sullivan on the issue of same-sex marriage.
Blogs have been unraveling the debate, including one written by Wilson’s colleague Peter Leithart. While I am usually appreciative of Leithart’s insights, his thoughts this time left me wanting. I understand that academics typically ask more questions than give answers, but in this case Leithart seems to be steering the conversation in the wrong direction.
“I came away from a debate on gay marriage between Douglas Wilson and Andrew Sullivan deeply impressed with the difficulties that Christians have, and will continue to have, defending a biblical view of marriage to the American public. It will take nothing short of a cultural revolution for biblical arguments to be heard, much less to become persuasive.”
And in closing, Leithart remarked that,
“Whatever the political needs of the moment, the longer-term response to gay marriage requires a renaissance of Christian imagination. Because the only arguments we have are theological ones, and only people whose imaginations are formed by Scripture will find them cogent.”
Agreeing with Leithart’s sentiment, Kuyperian Commentary writer Matt Bianco added,
“Rather than imposing our values on a nation that doesn’t want them, maybe it would be best to live out our values and show the nation they are worth wanting. Maybe, just maybe, the world will see the righteousness of the Law and start wondering who it is that gave us these laws. Then, the nation will have an imagination formed (or, at least desirous to be formed) by Scripture and will begin to understand our arguments.”
The Return of Cicero
Homosexual culture is at war with Christianity. There shouldn’t be any doubt concerning the depraved agenda of those who suppress the truth in unrighteous behavior. At the same time, our discussion on same-sex marriage must not be guided by reactionary thought or by humanistic views of sexuality. Leithart’s solution is to refocus our imaginations and to move past mere theological solutions. He calls for a renaissance of imagination – is this the proper direction for dealing with this current crisis of culture?
Years of absorbing Francis Schaeffer’s work have taught me to be suspect of anything labeled renaissance. While Leithart’s use of the term is not to be tied to that specific period of humanistic thought, this idea of imagination outside of theology that is anchored by the law of God makes him the new patron of a neo-Medici philosophy. Leithart is attempting to address a real issue, and he understands our need to re-work our arguments for a culture that doesn’t accept Scripture. It would seem that he believes that our old theological defenses have less impact than in years past. Here is where he places the blame for our lost ground in the battle for Christian culture.
An imagination that no longer depends on the persuasiveness of Scripture is nothing new, and I would contend that this renaissance thinking is another resurgence of the Thomistic apologetic.
His “new imagination” is the “old imagination” of the conservative thinkers who embraced a standard of morality relative to the perversity of those around them. This relativism is directly responsible for our lost ground in the same-sex marriage debate.