“Gay Marriage”… A Closer Look at the Rhetoric, Part 1
Guest Post by Ben Rossell
We need to reverse these outdated and unfair laws! My sister steals things because she is a clepto. She was born a clepto and she will die one. For her it’s the same as being tall or fair-skinned. For her, NOT stealing would be unnatural … even borderline immoral! Calling her theft “wrong” is naive, judgmental, and cleptophobic! Why don’t these people understand this! Our nation’s laws and our societal stigmas have persecuted robbers for far too long! I stand on the side of love and equality with my sister and every burglar like her! Stop the ignorance and stop the hatred!
This Holy Week*, our Supreme Court is considering whether sexual acts performed between two people of the same gender is something that the United States has an interest in endorsing so much so that it should officially overturn four centuries of legal precedent on this continent, not to mention millennia of cultural norms and moral consciousness as well as to contradict the uniform historic testimony of each of the three major monotheistic faiths.
It is here we see the chink in Libertarianism’s armor . The system so many Christians thought would be our salvation, is coming up impotent. Liberals as well as Conservatives-with-a-Libertarian influence both surprisingly find themselves in vocal agreement supporting “gay marriage”. Their basic argument is the simple one we’ve all heard:
What 2 adults do [sexually] in the privacy of their own bedroom is none of the government’s business [as long as no one is “hurt”].
If you can get past the fact that, thinking ethically and epistemo-logically, this is a completely arbitrary pronouncement – a brief, honest consideration of that statement is enough to demonstrate that it is clearly NOT true, nor is it an accurate or fair argument to enlist in the current “gay marriage” “debate”. Let’s take a turn at the spigot, and see how long it holds water [this is the part where the faint-of-heart may want to skip a paragraph].
First of all, what if the case in question involves a father and his 18 year old son? Or two brothers? Or an uncle and his eighteen year old niece? What if it is a man and woman who are already married to other people? What if it is a man who has just paid the woman for her part in it? And those are just the easy ones that come readily to mind. What if it is two men and a goat who are recording it on video and posting it to the internet so that anywhere else in the world other adults can watch, “use”, and mimic “in the privacy of theirown bedroom”. What if it is a single adult man who is using only computer software to generate pornographic images and videos of children and then post them to the world wide web for the same purposes?
And that is where I’ll stop, hoping that I haven’t already ventured too far into the realm of indecency [please bear with me, I tried to be as euphemistic as possible.]
But this brings me to the second problem which the last two scenarios anticipate – the claim of PRIVACY. For clarity’s sake, let’s try a thought experiment and instead substitute the word SECRECY.
If this debate is about privacy [now SECRECY], then why can’t I read the internet news for 60 seconds without having it thrust in my face? Or the radio? Or Facebook? Or virtually any TV sitcom, TLC series, etc? Or local school board curriculum meetings? Or city council policy manuals? Or corporate onboarding sessions? Or Major Denominational Assembly Meetings? Or THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES?!?!?
Gay “marriage” is about anything but privacy because it is the product of gay activism which is about the opposite of privacy. That’s why we call it “coming OUT”! Weddings are public events. Marriage is a public institution. Activism, by its very nature, is loud and in your face.
If I engage in unseemly acts with animals when no one else is around – that’s private. That’s a secret. But if I then begin to have T-shirts made that announce this fact and I wear them around town, it’s not private anymore. It’s public. If I then put the word out and form a community of people with similar “interests” and we march through the streets twice a year proclaiming our “common bond” on banners and chanting that everyone else in the town is obligated to accept our behavior or find somewhere else to live, this is not a private thing we’re talking about. It’s public – VERY PUBLIC!
If two men are in fact engaging in sexual activity behind closed doors in total secrecy year after year [as surely happened in past generations of American history], maybe the neighbors suspect something; maybe they don’t. Maybe their families wonder; maybe they don’t. Either way, it’s a secret. It’s private.
When those two men “come out” to the world and identify themselves – their whole lives, bodies and souls- by the one distinguishing characteristic of that act that they engage in, and then demand that society accept, support, and accommodate it; teach their children to accept, support, and consider it for themselves; and even press the nation legally to redefine the ancient institution of marriage to include their version of sexual behavior … that is not a private act in a bedroom. If I drink poison in my bedroom, it’s private. But if I wave a cup of cyanide in your face or dump it into the village river – it’s not private anymore.
Which brings us to the third problem with our argument: it assumes before-hand
that no one is “hurt”. Which, of course, is sort of the whole debate in the first place: whether a society can simply throw off the order of nature and her God in a matter as deep as this one, with no expectation that harm will follow.This is why everyone should
care. Everyone should
be concerned. I’m fond of using the analogy of an airplane. If there is a problem with the plane at the most superficial level … say the ice dispenser is jammed and we have to drink lukewarm gingerale at cruising altitude … well, hey – feel free to mess with it and see if you can’t fix the problem. But when we’re all way up in the air with a strong tailwind, I don’t want a team of engineers to undertake a fundamental redesign of the wings. And that’s precisely what we’re doing culturally. This plane is not on the ground. And there is a lot at stake here.
Or to change metaphors, let’s think in terms of the planet – ecosystems with interconnected microclimates at specific ratios in fragile balance. One can hardly listen to five minutes of public discourse without being scolded for not recycling every stray soda can, shrinking our carbon footprint, and denying our various appetites and urges in order to be more responsibly “green”. We are told that as result of our negligence and excess, the average temperature rises globally something like half a degree every decade. And if this trend continues, it will have a radically negative affect on the world of our great, great, great grandkids, not to mention the polar bear cubs.
Let me ask this: Do we really think that nationally endorsing the act of sodomy is not going to affect our society over the next 10 generations? Sure. If there is no such thing as the human soul, then maybe not. But if we do have souls, and moral natures, and possess developing [or eroding] characters, ethical standards and societal taboos matter gravely over the long run. The sexual drive is one of the most powerful impulses present in a society. And keeping it in check is one of the central challenges any culture can face. To tinker with the fundamental elements of the formula undermines the only means by which this is done. It drastically and significantly changes the whole moral climate of our culture.
What are the smokestacks pumping into our moral atmosphere? [And please note- most of the pollution is of the heterosexual variety-more on that in Part 2]. This is why the prophetic voices often refer to the dilemma itself as an act of judgment already. Is it in any way truthful to claim that no one is “hurt” by these things? Can anyone really assert that society as a whole is not “hurting” and further “hurt”? What do all the numbers say? What does virtually every collection of health statistics tell us? What do the suicide fact sheets and mental health data compilations report?
Right or wrong, “gay marriage” is not about a private act which the government has no interest in discouraging and which hurts no one.
*This piece was written before the Easter Season.
Ben Rossell is the the Pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Valparaiso, Fl.