The ‘Love’ That Won’t Keep Quiet

Homosexuality was once called "the love that dare not speak its name." Nowadays, it won't keep quiet. Hardly a day goes by that doesn't bring fresh evidence of the increased social acceptance of homosexuality. The recent Supreme Court decision that overturned Texas's law against sodomy is only one more example of this trend. Justice Kennedy's statement that such laws reveal a "bias" against homosexuals reflects this growing acceptance. It isn't only the courts. Following on the success of "reality" television shows like The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, Bravo announced its take on dating shows: Boy Meets Boy. Once again, a contestant will choose from many potential suitors. Only this time, all of the show's participants will be men. Viewers of this year's Tony Awards witnessed a kiss between two male winners and heard a speech about how gays should be allowed to marry. These events led New York Times columnist Frank Rich to call the "gay rights movement" a "juggernaut." Well, he's right, but the question Christians need to ask is, "How did we get here?" The answer lies in our changing beliefs about sex and personal autonomy. Historically, sex served two important purposes: procreation and promoting spousal unity. While these may not have always been honored in the observance, no one doubted that these were the purposes of sex. What's more, it's important to note that this belief went beyond purely personal concerns and had social implications. Society had an obvious interest in the birth of children and the stability of the families that raised them. The well being and perpetuation of the community depended on this institution. But all of this changed with the sexual revolution. Instead of serving moral and social purposes, sex's overriding purpose was to bring pleasure to those having sex. We see that in all of the literature and all of the discussions through the sexual revolution years. Within that worldview, it became difficult, if not impossible, to judge the morality of any sexual act between consenting adults. Once you determine consent, there is nothing left to say. This suits our culture's obsession with personal autonomy perfectly. It's not just that people want to be free to do as they please, they want to live their lives without any scrutiny at all, especially in sexual matters. In this context, merely suggesting that something is wrong is a form of "coercion" and, thus, prohibited. It's these attitudes, and the worldview that produces them, that have fueled the gay-rights movement. It rolls on because it resonates with what many Americans believe. And that means that the only way to slow it down is to change the terms of the debate: to once again establish that we are not lower than the animal species, that sex is not for recreation -- it is for procreation. As Jennifer Roback Morse, the eminent Stanford economist, has argued so eloquently, we must recapture this understanding of the natural order of sex's purpose in our culture. Christians have to step forward and make this case. And until we do, there will be no stopping the gay rights "juggernaut." For further reading and information: BreakPoint Commentary No. 030630, "'Majestic' Foolishness: The Supreme Court Legislates Again." Frank Rich, "Gay Kiss: Business As Usual," New York Times, 22 June 2003. (Archived article; costs $2.95 to retrieve.) Suzanne C. Ryan, "Progress or pigeonhole? Homosexual men have mixed reactions to two new series," Boston Globe, 24 July 2003. Bill Werde, "A First at Bride's Magazine: A Report on Same-Sex Unions," New York Times, 28 July 2003. (Free registration required.) Matt Kaufman, "Selling Homosexuality," Boundless, 27 June 2002. Joan Biskupic, "Court's opinion on gay rights reflects trends," USA Today, 18 July 2003. Stanley Kurtz, "Beyond Gay Marriage," Weekly Standard, August 4/11, 2003. Maggie Gallagher, "What Marriage Is For," Weekly Standard, August 4/11, 2003. Charles A. Donovan, "The Dogcatcher's Coat," BreakPoint Online, 17 July 2003. Roberto Rivera, "No Other Kind," BreakPoint Online, 22 October 2002. "What We Can't Not Know" -- In this "BreakPoint This Week" interview, Managing Editor Jim Tonkowich speaks with Wilberforce Forum Fellow Dr. J. Budziszewski, University of Texas professor of government, about absolute moral truths written on our heart that we "can't not know." "Why the Laissez-Faire Family Doesn't Work" -- At the April 4-6, 2003, BreakPoint conference, "Christians in the Marketplace," held in Colorado Springs, CO, Jennifer Roback Morse spoke about the "laissez-faire family" and the new definition of freedom: "To be free is to be unencumbered by human relationships." The July/August issue of BreakPoint WorldView magazine includes an article adapted from her speech. Peter Kreeft, How to Win the Culture War (InterVarsity, 2002).


Chuck Colson



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